Vice President's Remarks at an Idaho Victory Rally
5:30 P.M. PST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mercy. A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again. (Applause.) I said almost, almost.
Well, I'm delighted to be here tonight, and I appreciate that tremendous welcome. It's great to visit one of the most beautiful cities in America. (Applause.) Although I must say, I like it better when the sun shines.
Two years ago, we had an important national election. I was honored to be on the ticket that got 68 percent of the vote here in Idaho. (Applause.) And I'm honored today to bring good wishes to the people of Idaho from the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
And I'm delighted to be here tonight, of course, with your governor, Jim Risch, Senator Larry Craig, Congressman Butch Otter, State Representative Bill Sali and all of our Republican candidates here in Idaho. (Applause.)
And, of course, I brought my wife, Lynne, with me tonight. (Applause.) How many of you saw her on CNN with Wolf Blitzer here about a week ago? (Applause.) We refer to that around the house as the "slap-down." (Laughter.) You can also tell you who wins the arguments in our house. (Laughter.)
But I tell people that Lynne and I have a Republican marriage, that in 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower ran for President, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service; Eisenhower got elected; they reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got shipped to Casper, Wyoming. That's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and recently celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explain to people that if it hadn't been for that great Republican victory in 1952, I would never have moved to Casper, Wyoming, and Lynne would have had to marry somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) No doubt in my mind.
But I'm here tonight on behalf of the President, and on behalf of our fine candidates to ask all of you to do everything you can to support the Republican ticket here in the state of Idaho. With only five days to go until voting time, it's important to talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to get to the polls. We need the support of Republicans and independents and discerning Democrats. Spread the word that if you want a strong economy, a safer America, a better future for your children and grandchildren, then cast your vote for the Republican team. (Applause.)
Idaho has a long tradition of leadership, and this state has produced many outstanding public servants. One of them is your former Senator and Governor, Dirk Kempthorne, who is doing a great job as Secretary of the Interior. (Applause.)
Idaho is extraordinarily well served by your United States Senators, Larry Craig and Mike Crapo. One of your excellent Congressmen, Butch Otter, is going to be the next governor of the state of Idaho. (Applause.) And Bill Sali is on his way to Washington, with Mike Simpson, to serve Idaho in the next Congress. (Applause.)
Bill Sali, of course, is an experienced member of the state legislature -- and a strong voice for economic growth and jobs and limited government. He understands the concerns of the taxpayer, the property owner, the sportsman, and the entrepreneur. Bill is ready to make a difference in Washington, and he's going to be the kind of Congressman who will make you proud. (Applause.)
We live in a period of incredible consequence for our country -- with difficult issues, with big debates, decisions that require not just toughness but wisdom. I'm humbled by the honor of serving the country in times like these. And I'm proud to serve with a President who makes decisions based on what's right for America, not based on the polls, or the conventional wisdom of the talking heads on television. (Applause.)
When you cast your ballot on Tuesday, you're going to be doing more than choosing candidates for office. In the congressional race, you'll be casting a vote for which party will have a majority control in the Congress over the next two years. And that's going to make a big difference when it comes to tax policy. You know the record of Republican leadership. We've given America the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan lived in the White House. (Applause.)
We cut taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, cut taxes on small business and began phasing out the death tax. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to promote investment and jobs. And the results are in: more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth, real wages on the rise, 6.6 million new jobs since August of '03. President Bush's tax plan was right for America -- and it is working. (Applause.)
Our party has a clear record on taxes, and so do our opponents. When we first cut taxes in 2001, most Senate Democrats and nearly 85 percent of the Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against it. When we cut taxes in 2003, most Senate Democrats and nearly 95 percent of House Democrats voted against it. And when we extended key tax cuts earlier this year, most Senate Democrats and more than 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.
Don't hold back. It's all right.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I notice that now, on the verge of the election, the leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- claims -- she claims Democratic leaders "love tax cuts." That only invites another look at her party's record on taxes. It's plain to see, and it stretches back a long way. The last time they had control of Congress in 1993, they passed a massive tax increase. They'll do it again if they can; and they've already figured out a way to do it. Under current law, many of the Bush tax cuts have to be renewed by Congress or they will expire, and the old rates will kick back in. Recently the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- Charlie, said that he "cannot think of one" of our first term tax cuts that he would extend. If the Democrats take control of the House, Charlie Rangel will be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He would then be in a position to block any legislation coming out of the committee. And if there's no tax legislation renewing the cuts, every tax rate will go back up to its old level, the marriage penalty will return, and the death tax will come back to life. The child credit, also, will go down from $1,000 to $500. In other words, take the number of dependent children you receive the tax credit for, multiply it by $500 -- and that's the additional amount you'll be sending to Washington if we get a Congress that lets the Bush tax cuts expire.
That's bad. (Laughter.)
That should raise the stakes of this election in the minds of every voter. If the Democrats take control, American families would face an immense tax increase, and the economy would sustain a major hit. As the President has said, this nation needs more than a temporary economic expansion, so we need more than temporary tax relief. For the sake of America's entrepreneurs, families, and communities, we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent -- and we will do that with a new Republican Congress. (Applause.)
And we have to remember, as we work to keep this economy on the right track, that we need good partners at the state level. We need governors who understand, as we do, that the key to more jobs is not big government but rather free enterprise, low taxes, and spending discipline. That's the kind of governor Butch Otter is going to be for the people of Idaho. (Applause.)
Out in Washington, we'll continue working on an agenda for growth and jobs, and better access to health care. We believe our job is to solve big problems, not simply pass them on to the next generation. That's how we'll continue to do business. And when vacancies arise on the federal courts, the President will keep appointing outstanding judges like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.)
Above all, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stay focused on our number one obligation: to protect and defend the people of the United States in this time of war. (Applause.)
After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush told Congress and the country that we were in for a long struggle against enemies who regard the entire world as a battlefield. He said the fight would be a serious test of our patience and our resolve as a nation. And he was exactly right.
Nine-eleven changed everything for this country. During the 1980s and 1990s, terrorists waged attacks against American interests. They were the ones on the offensive, and they became convinced that if they killed enough Americans, they could change American policy. In Beirut in 1983, terrorists killed 241 of our servicemen. Thereafter, U.S. forces withdrew from Beirut. In Mogadishu in 1993, terrorists killed 19 American soldiers. Thereafter, United States forces withdrew from Somalia. Over time, the terrorists concluded that they could strike America without paying a price, because they did, repeatedly: The bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993 in New York, the murders at the Saudi National Guard training facility in Riyadh in 1995, the attack on Khobar Towers in 1996, the simultaneous attack on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.
Then came September 11th -- that day we saw the murder of 3,000 innocent men, women, and children. After that attack we made a decision: We will confront this danger to civilization. We will take this fight to the enemy. And we will stay in the fight until the fight is won. (Applause.)
The enemy is still -- don't hold back -- (Laughter.) The enemy is still resourceful, still determined to hit us again. We've uncovered several plots since 9/11, most recently, of course, you'll remember the reports from the city of London this past couple of months. The attack that was then being planned and was successfully disrupted would have involved nearly two dozen suicide bombers hijacking nine or 10 airliners headed for the United States, blowing them out of the sky over the Atlantic or cities here in the homeland. It didn't happen because of the vigilance and the great work between the United States and our British allies. (Applause.)
In spite of efforts to launch attacks, we've now gone more than five years now without another 9/11. That is not an accident. (Applause.) Nobody can guarantee that we won't be hit again. Yet the fact is America is safer today because we've conducted this war on the offensive, and because we've used every legitimate tool at our command to protect the American people. (Applause.)
Going on the offensive requires us to track down the terrorists wherever they plot and plan. Prior to 9/11, Afghanistan was in the grip of the Taliban, a regime that brutalized the Afghan people and hosted the training camps of al Qaeda, where some 10,000 to 20,000 terrorists were trained in the late '90s, including many of those who attacked us on 9/11. Now that country has a democratic government that is an ally in the War on Terror. And Americans who return home from that part of the world can be proud of their service for the rest of their lives. (Applause.)
The same is true of the men and women serving in Iraq. We maintain forces in those countries -- (applause) -- we maintain forces in those two countries because we're a nation that keeps its word, and because we understand what is at stake in that region. The terrorists understand, as well. The terrorists know that as freedom takes hold, the ideologies of hatred and resentment will weaken, and the advance of free institutions in the broader Middle East will produce a much safer world for our children and grandchildren. The war on terror is a battle for the future of civilization. It is a battle worth fighting. It is a battle we are going to win. (Applause.)
In this election season, national security is at the top of the agenda, which is where it belongs. Every voter in the United States needs to know where we stand, as well as how the leaders of the Democratic Party view the global war on terror. Time and time again, we're seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the nature of the enemy we face, and the need to wage this fight aggressively. No sharper example can be found than the Democratic Party chairman himself, Howard Dean --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- who said the capture of Saddam Hussein did not make America any safer.
And maybe it should be no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman, who's been an unapologetic in supporting the fight against terror. (Applause.)
Instead, they highlight people like John Kerry.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That is a great picture. (Applause.) Of course, he was their presidential nominee just two years ago. The titular head of the Democratic Party. Aren't we lucky he lost that election? (Applause.) I see you all remember John Kerry -- (laughter) -- the senator who voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, the guy that was always lecturing us about "nuance." (Laughter.) He's the one, you'll recall, who last year said that American soldiers were terrorizing children in Iraq.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And just this week he took another swipe at the U.S. military. Here's what he said, word for word: "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Of course, Senator Kennedy -- Kennedy, I'm sorry -- Senator Kerry -- (laughter and applause) -- come on, now. I've got to get through this speech. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it. (Laughter and applause.)
He has now apologized, and rightly so. All Americans realize that the men and women serving in Iraq aren't there because they didn't study hard or do their homework. The all-volunteer force represents the very best of this country. (Applause.) They are smart, patriotic, exceptionally well trained, and dedicated to their mission. They are heroes, and they are the pride of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Among the leading Democrats, you'll find a range of views on Iraq. Some of them want to pull out all the troops right away. Some want to withdraw on a time line set by politicians in Washington. And some Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to cut off all funds for the troops in Iraq. (Applause.) All these proposals have a common theme: They would have America leave Iraq before the job is done. That's the kind of withdrawal that Osama bin Laden has been predicting. He and his followers believe that America doesn't have the stomach for this fight, and they are absolutely convinced they can break the will of the American people.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: If we left before the job was done, we would simply validate the al Qaeda strategy and reinforce the notion that if they kill enough Americans they can change American policy. So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day: For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the war on terror. (Applause.)
This is a great crowd. What are you doing for the next four days? (Applause.)
Idaho is a two-party state -- I don't have a plane that big. (Laughter.) The President has got the big plane. (Laughter.) Idaho is a two-party state with a long tradition of leadership and service to the country. And I know there are lots of Democrats and independents in Idaho who don't find much in common with Democratic leaders like Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi. As you get ready to vote on Tuesday, it's important to remember that this election will have enormous consequences for this nation. In all the decisions that will come in the next two years, it's going to matter a great deal which party has the majority on the floor and the gavel in committee.
So this election is vitally important -- not just for the political parties but for the nation. The outcome will determine whether Americans pay higher taxes or lower taxes. It will determine whether this government remains firm and resolute in the war on terror, or falls into confusion, doubt, and indecision. The stakes are high for America's prosperity. The stakes are high for America's security. The stakes are high for American families. (Applause.) So now is the time to talk to your friends, put up the yard signs, to make those calls, and to give it one more big push before Election Day.
Here in Idaho, citizens deserve people in the Nation's Capital, and in the state capital, who speak up for your values and your interests. And that's why, with your help, we're going to see a clean Republican sweep in Idaho next Tuesday.
END 5:56 P.M. PST
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President's Remarks at an Idaho Victory Rally Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/283271