Vice President's Remarks in Los Lunas, New Mexico
Los Lunas High School
Los Lunas, New Mexico
5:04 P.M. MST
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. It's good to be back in the Land of Enchantment. (Applause.) And New Mexico looks like Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
Well, it's true Lynne has known me since I was 14 ,but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.) I explain to people that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President of the United States. (Laughter.) In those days I was a youngster living in Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the government, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter.) Yes, indeed.
Well, I don't know how much you've noticed about our opponent, Senator Kerry, of course. He went goose hunting the other day in Ohio. (Laughter.) He wore a new camouflage jacket for the occasion -- (laughter) -- which made me wonder how often he'd been goose hunting before. (Laughter.) My personal opinion is his camo jacket is an October disguise. (Laughter.) It's an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun owners every chance he gets. You want my opinion of the whole thing: John Kerry's goose is cooked. (Laughter and applause.)
With just two days left in the campaign, the choice in this election could not be more clear. The stakes are very high, both at home and abroad. And I believe on Tuesday, the American people are going to make George W. Bush President for four more years. (Applause.)
It's a pleasure to be with you today in Los Lunas. The President and I have a good feeling about this area, indeed, about the entire state because with your help, we're going to carry New Mexico on Tuesday.
I also want to thank Pete Domenici for those kind words, and for joining us today. (Applause.) Pete and I have known each other for 30 years, and he is a superb senator not only for New Mexico, but the entire country. He takes care. (Applause.) And although he could not be here today, I want to put in a good word for your Congressman, Steve Pearce. (Applause.) He does a great job, and I know he's on his way to another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Applause.)
But I also want to thank everybody who has helped with this campaign, putting up yard signs, making the phone calls, doing the door-to-door work, helping turn out the vote. This campaign has the greatest ground game in American political history, and I want to thank you for being a part of it. (Applause.)
New Mexico voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America. We've all seen the recent tape of Osama bin Laden. It's a reminder that we're engaged in a global war on terror. This is a conflict we did not choose, but it is one that we will win. (Applause.)
Over the course of the last four years, I think people have seen very clearly the character and the vision of our President. He's a man of loyalty and kindness who speaks plainly and means what he says. He's a man of conviction, who puts his country above himself. He works with steadfast purpose to do what's right for America.
For John Kerry it's all about politics rather than principle. After the bin Laden tape aired the other night, John Kerry's campaign ran a poll to see what his response should be. (Laughter.) He put his finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. My friends, let me say that George Bush doesn't need a poll to know where he stands in the war on terror. (Applause.)
Shameless as John Kerry's response to the Osama bin Laden tape was, it should not come as a surprise. Just over a year ago, John Kerry looked at the poll results and turned his back on our troops. Senator Kerry you will remember voted in favor of using force against Saddam Hussein, but then during the primary season when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our men and women with the body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts they needed, Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He offered a ridiculous explanation which, frankly, I think will go down in the history of American politics. He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.)
But the real reason he turned his back on our troops was Howard Dean -- Dean was the antiwar candidate; Dean was surging ahead in the polls; and so John Kerry in order to advance himself in the primaries, turned his back on our troops. He said his vote was "complicated." (Laughter.) But, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never be a complicated matter. (Applause.)
John Kerry will say and do anything in order to get elected. He will attack the Patriot Act -- after he voted for it. He'll attack the No Child Left Behind Act -- after he voted for it. He'll try to scare young people by raising the specter of the draft ?- when he knows the only people who have supported the idea of bringing it back are two members of his own party. Nobody but those two Democrats wants to change the all-volunteer force because it's the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)
John Kerry will say and do anything to get elected. America's military men and women have liberated 50 million people in three years. In Afghanistan, they managed to do in two months what the Soviet Union could not do in 10 years. (Applause.) In Iraq, they toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in just three weeks. (Applause.) But instead of praising their achievement, John Kerry harps away at phony charges. He says we took our eye off the ball at Tora Bora, a charge that General Tommy Franks, who commanded our forces, has totally refuted. Given a choice between John Kerry's opinion and General Tommy Franks, I'll go with General Franks every time. (Applause.)
John Kerry has spent a lot of this campaign playing armchair general, and, frankly, he's not very good at it. (Laughter.) This shouldn't surprise us given his weak record on national security. He first ran for Congress advocating the idea that we should deploy American troops only with the authorization of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He ran for the Senate on the platform that we should dismantle most of the major weapons systems that Ronald Reagan --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- that Ronald Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, John Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the first debate this year, Senator Kerry said America had to meet some kind of global test before we could take military action. The President and I know better than that. We know that it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls, our job is to defend America. (Applause.)
Now in the closing days of the campaign, John Kerry is running around, talking tough. He's trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness on national defense. But he can't do it. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but it's still a pig. (Laughter and applause.) That's my favorite line. (Laughter.) You want to hear it again?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As we say in Wyoming -- (laughter) -- you can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but at the end of the day it's still a pig. (Applause.) All right, I've got to concentrate here. (Laughter.)
John Kerry does not have the judgment or the conviction that America needs in a President. He is not a steadfast leader.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Our President is.
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And let me tell you why that matters. A country can never know what a President will be called upon to do. Think of the last four years; think of the challenges of 9/11 and the global war on terror. And because our President is a man of character and steadfast determination, he's led us very well.
At the Republican Convention, former Mayor Giuliani told how on 9/11 he turned to his police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, and said, Thank God, George Bush is our Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)
Under the President's leadership, we have reached around the world to capture and kill thousands of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Nineteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Tonight, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
Because of President Bush's determination in the war on terror, leaders around the world are getting the message. Just five days after Saddam Hussein was captured, Moammar Ghadafi in Libya agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the U.S. (Applause.)
The biggest danger we face today is having nuclear weapons technology fall into the hands of terrorists. The President is working with many countries in the global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. And the world is safer as a result. (Applause.)
We could not have succeeded in these efforts without the help of dozens of countries around the world. We will always seek international support for international efforts, but as President Bush has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. We will never seek a permission slip to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)
The clearest, most important difference in this campaign is simple to state: President Bush understands the war on terror and has a strategy for winning it; Senator Kerry does not. All doubt on that matter was removed when Senator Kerry recently said he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were -- to a time when terrorism was, in his word, a "nuisance."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Like illegal gambling or prostitution. That's the comparison he made.
When I read that, I thought to myself, when was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it just a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked and almost sunk and we lost 17 sailors?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was it a nuisance six years ago when they attacked two of our embassies in East Africa and killed hundreds of people?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 11 years ago when the World Trade Center in New York was first bombed?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago when Pan Am 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie Scotland?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a suicide bomber in a truck loaded with explosives drove into our barracks in Beirut and killed 241 Marines?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, there never was a time when terrorism was just a nuisance. (Applause.) There never can be a time when terrorism is just a nuisance. Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level. Our goal is to defeat terror, and with George Bush as President, that's exactly what we will do. (Applause.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, or who fail to understand the nature of the struggle we're in. Our troops, our allies, and our enemies must know where America stands. The President of the United States must be clear and consistent. In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate and fortunately -- fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevail. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a President -- a President -- always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs ?- and America has ?- a President we can count on to get it right. (Applause.)
President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) I want to thank them, their families, and all our veterans here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.)
Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home. When President Bush and I stood on the inaugural platform on the west front of the Capitol and took the oath of office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck on 9/11 and shook our economy once again. We faced a basic decision – to leave more money with families and businesses, or to take more of the American people's hard-earned money for the federal government. President Bush made his choice. He proposed and he delivered tax cuts for the American people not once, not twice, but four times in four years. (Applause.)
Every American who pays federal income taxes benefited from the Bush tax cuts ?- and so has the economy. We've created jobs for 13 consecutive months – a total of over 1.9 million new jobs during that period. Here in New Mexico, nearly 42,000 jobs have been added since '01. (Applause.) The President's tax cuts are allowing more people to live out the dream of owning their own business. And in the last four years, the number of Latino-owned small businesses has increased 33 percent to nearly 2 million. (Applause.) The President's policies have helped bring home ownership, another piece of the American Dream, within reach of more Americans. We're working to close the home ownership gap. I'm proud to report there are more minority home owners today than ever before in history. (Applause.)
We're also seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong and that's good for the entire nation. (Applause.) Our economy is growing and in a second term, we'll keep moving it in the right direction by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
We'll also work to end lawsuit abuse. We know it's easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
We'll continue to work to help parents and teachers improve our public schools. With high standards in place, the achievement gap is closing. I know you're as proud as I am that last school year New Mexico children from every background improved their overall performance. (Applause.)
We'll work for medical liability reform so that America's doctors are able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
President Bush and I will also continue to defend our society's fundamental rights and values. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life and reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment and will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe our nation is "one nation under God." And we believe Americans ought to be able to say so when we pledge allegiance to the flag. (Applause.)
There shouldn't be any question about this ?- and there wouldn't be if we had more reasonable judges on the federal bench. (Applause.) The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can – including using the filibuster – to keep the President's sensible, mainstream nominees off the bench.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: They are hoping to wait the President out. But I've got news for them. That's not going to happen because we're going to win this election. (Applause.)
The President and I are honored by your commitment to the cause we all share. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the American people. The signs are good – here in New Mexico, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.)
According to a news account, people leaving the Democratic National Convention in July asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, Leave here ?- and go vote Republican. (Applause.)
President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer -- (laughter) -- and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of New Mexico. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome this evening. We're proud to have you on the team. (Applause.) And together, on November 2nd, we'll see our cause forward to victory.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 5:24 P.M. MST
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President's Remarks in Los Lunas, New Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/281086