Vice President's Remarks in Xenia, Ohio
Greene County Fair & Expo Center
1:15 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you and good afternoon. (Applause.) Looks to me like Xenia is Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
Well, we're delighted to be here this afternoon. And it's always a pleasure to get to travel with Lynne. She does a good job of introducing me.
MRS. CHENEY: I think so. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: She has known me since I was 14 years old, but she wouldn't go out with me until I was 17. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It was her dad, actually. (Laughter.) But I like to tell people that we got married because Dwight Eisenhower got elected President. In 1952, I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Eisenhower got elected, reorganized the government, Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming, which is where I met Lynne. And we grew up together, went to high school together, and recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Eisenhower's election victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) That's absolutely true, everybody knows it. (Laughter.)
But today we're out traveling across Ohio in our bus. You saw the bus come in the door. I wasn't quite sure what was on the other side of the door, but now I'm glad we came on through. It worked. (Laughter.)
We started this morning in Columbus, and we're going to finish out the day in Cincinnati. It's a pleasure to be with the fine people of Xenia, Ohio. The President, of course, was here in September.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Lynne.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay. We'll talk about that later. (Laughter.) Of course, the President was here in September and he's been campaigning all over the state. With two weeks left in this campaign, the choices in the election could not be more clear. The stakes are very high both at home and abroad. And I believe on November 2nd, the American people are going to make George Bush President for four more years. (Applause.)
Quite a crowd. (Laughter.) I want to thank Mike DeWine for his fine words. Mike and I have been friends for many years. I'm glad his wife, Fran, could join us today. We served together in the House of Representatives over 20 years ago and we've been friends ever since. And it's a pleasure to be back in Ohio with them. I also see Congressman Dave Hobson is with us today and his wife, Carolyn. (Applause.) And earlier we had Bob Ney with us, and of course, we've got Rob Portman. Rob Portman in another life -- (Applause.) I don't know -- I don't know if I'm supposed to say this in Ohio, but Rob has actually been masquerading as John Edwards the last few months. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Rob is better looking. (Laughter and applause.) But he was my debate partner, and he did the same thing four years ago. And one of the reasons that I think we were reasonably successful in the debate is because Rob has been great for me to work with, and has done a superb job. So I'm personally indebted to him for the outstanding job -- (Applause.) Steve -- there you are, Steve Chabot is with us, as well, too, today. So, Steve, great to have you here. (Applause.)
And we've got a great slate of candidates this year. The President and I are delighted to be running with so many fine candidates. And of course, Senator George Voinovich, who couldn't be here today -- but we're delighted to be on the ticket with him, as well. (Applause.)
Ohio voters understand the importance of steady, principled, consistent leadership in the White House. This is no ordinary time for America, and the last three-and-a-half years have brought some serious challenges to our country. We're meeting every one of those challenges with strength and resolve. Today, people in Ohio and across the land can be confident of a better future; a stronger economy; and a nation that is more secure thanks to the character and the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
In the final presidential debate last week I think people watching saw 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 sets clear goals; he works with members of both parties to achieve them. He puts the country first, and his deepest commitment is to making us safer, more prosperous, and more secure.
You saw something quite different, I believe, in the President's opponent.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: We're getting to the good part of the speech. (Laughter.)
You saw a man, I believe, who will say and do anything if he thinks it will advance his cause. (Applause.) Of course, this is nothing new. A year ago this past weekend, John Kerry turned his back on the troops he voted to send into combat because he thought it was to his political advantage to do so.
Senator Kerry, you'll remember, voted in favor of using force against Saddam Hussein, but then during the Democratic primaries when it came to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts Senator Kerry voted no.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He offered a ridiculous explanation for his action, saying, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
AUDIENCE: Flip-flop! Flip-flop! Flip-flop!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What are you guys doing for the next two weeks? (Laughter and applause.)
But the real reason -- the real reason he turned his back on our troops was Howard Dean. Dean was the antiwar candidate, and Dean was surging ahead in the polls in the Democratic primaries. And so John Kerry, in order to advance himself in the Democratic primaries, turned his back on the troops. He said his vote was "complicated," but, my friends, supporting American troops in combat should never 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 will attack No Child Left Behind -- after he voted for it. He will 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 in his own party. And this past week when the House was given an opportunity to vote on reinstating the draft, the vote was overwhelmingly against it -- over 400 "no's" and two votes for it, both Democrats. (Applause.)
He will now try to scare seniors -- and he has this week -- by saying their Social Security is threatened, when he knows the President has guaranteed that those benefits will be there for them, and that we will work to ensure the system for today's young workers, as well. (Applause.)
Most of all, John Kerry will try to disguise his 20-year Senate record because it clearly shows that he is an out-of-the-mainstream, tax-and-spend, soft-on-defense liberal. (Applause.)
On the campaign trail, Senator Kerry talks about helping families with a middle-class tax cut, covering over the fact that when President Bush increased the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, and provided a new 10-percent bracket, all measures that leave money in the hands of middle-class taxpayers who earned it, when President Bush moved these measures through Congress, Senator Kerry voted "no."
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Senator Kerry doesn't mention these details, so we're going to have to do it for him. (Applause.)
John Kerry has voted to raise taxes 98 times; voted against tax cuts at least 126 times; and voted to bust the budget caps 277 times. Senator Kerry has earned a special distinction in Congress. The nonpartisan National Journal Magazine analyzed his record and named him the most liberal member of the United States Senate.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thanks to John Kerry, Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. (Laughter and applause.)
John Kerry is trying very hard to hide all that, making promises he can't keep about health care and being totally deceitful when it comes to medical liability reform. He says he has a plan to reform the medical liability system, but you know what his plan is? Put the trial lawyers in charge.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush has a better idea: let's keep medical decisions in the hands of doctors and patients not personal injury lawyers. (Applause.)
The record John Kerry is trying hardest to hide is the one on national security. He first ran for Congress advocating the idea that we should deploy American troops only under the authority of the United Nations.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He ran for the Senate on the platform that we should dismantle or cut most of the major weapons systems Ronald Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In 1991, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, John Kerry voted against America sending troops to expel him. He voted against Operation Desert Storm.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: In the first debate, this year, Senator Kerry said that America needed to meet some kind of "global test" before we could take military action.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Now, the President and I know better than this. We know it is not our job to conduct international opinion polls. Our job is to defend America. (Applause.)
John Kerry is now trying to back off that idea of a "global test." It's a notion fits with his whole career, but he doesn't want us to know about his whole career. He is trying to hide it, to cover it up by using a little tough talk during the course of the campaign. But you can't do that. It won't work. As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of a day, it's still a pig. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Who's got the pig? (Laughter.)
John Kerry does not have the judgment or the conviction that America needs in a President. He is not a steadfast leader, as our President is. And let me tell you why that matters. A country can never know what a President will be called upon to do. Just think of the last four years. Think of the challenges of 9/11 and the global war on terrorism, and because our President is a man of strong character and steadfast determination, he has led us very well. At the Republican Convention, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the story of 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 hundreds of al Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Eighteen months ago, he controlled the lives of 25 million people. Today, he sits in jail. (Applause.)
We're also helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan build representative governments. In Afghanistan, 10 million people registered to vote, nearly half of them women. Elections were held just over a week ago, the first in the 5,000-year history of that country, and the first voter in the election -- (Applause.) The first voter in the election, the first person to cast a ballot was a 19-year-old woman. (Applause.) In January, the people of Iraq will vote as well. The world is better as these countries move towards self-government. As free societies rise in the broader Middle East, millions of men and women will live hopeful lives. The terrorists will suffer a defeat, and every free nation will be more secure. (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, the government of Libya announced that it was abandoning its nuclear weapons program and turning the materials over to the United States. (Applause.) You'll note when Moammar Ghadafi decided it was not a good idea to continue to pursue nuclear weapons, he called George Bush and Tony Blair. He did not call the United Nations. (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 U.S. of America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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 the matter was removed by a recent comment Senator Kerry made in an interview with The New York Times. The Senator said he wanted to lead America back to the place where we were – to a time --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- to a time when terrorism was, in his words, a "nuisance" like illegal gambling or prostitution.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter and applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: This is a tough crowd. But that's the comparison he made. He said he wanted to get terrorism back to where it would be viewed as a nuisance like illegal gambling or prostitution, as thought it's something to be managed at an acceptable level. When I read that, I thought to myself when was terrorism only a nuisance? Was it a nuisance four years ago, when the USS Cole was attacked, almost sunk, and we lost 17 sailors? How about six years ago when they simultaneously blew up two of our embassies in East Africa?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Was terrorism a nuisance 11 years ago, when the World Trade Center was first bombed?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 16 years ago, when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Or 21 years ago, when a suicide bomber in a truck bomb hit the barracks in Beirut and killed 241 American servicemen?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, there never was a time when terrorism was just a nuisance. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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, America will stay in the fight until the fight is won. (Applause.)
These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, or who fail to understand the nature of this struggle that 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. (Applause.) In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate – and fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. 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.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. (Applause.) Just a few miles from here is Wright-Patt Air Force Base. (Applause.) I want to personally thank the tens of thousands of troops and civilians personnel of Greene County and southwest Ohio, and all the veterans here today, and all the military families for all that they have 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, the economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck us on 9/11 and shook the 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 1.9 million new jobs during that period – including almost 100,000 last month alone. (Applause.) Mortgage rates, interest rates, inflation are all low. Consumers are confident, businesses are investing, and families are taking home more of what they earn.
We're seeing record exports for farm products. Farm income is up. Our farm economy is strong and that's good for the entire nation. (Applause.)
We know there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing communities. The President and I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. So we're moving forward with job training programs that help people move to new jobs and prepare for better ones. And we're going to improve math and science education in our high schools. No work force in the world is as good as the one we have here in the U.S., and we're going to see to it that American workers have all of the opportunities they deserve. (Applause.)
Our accomplishments these past four years have made America safer, stronger, and better. In our second term, we'll keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. We'll work to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And to help -- (Applause.) And to help families and small businesses, we'll lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code. (Applause.)
We will work to end lawsuit abuse. (Applause.) We know it's a lot easier for America's businesses to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.) We'll work for medical liability reform because we know the cost of malpractice insurance is creating a crisis, not only in Ohio, but across the nation. (Applause.) America's doctors should be able to spend their time healing patients, not fighting off frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
President Bush and I will also defend our society's fundamental rights and values. We stand for a culture of life, and we reject the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause.) We stand strongly for the Second Amendment, and we will defend the individual right of every American to bear arms. (Applause.) We believe that our nation is "one nation under God." (Applause.) And we believe Americans ought to be able to say so when we pledge allegiance to our 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. The Democrats in the Senate have been doing everything they can – including the filibuster ?- to keep the President's sensible mainstream nominees off the bench.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: They're 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 the election. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: A good way to deal with the Democratic filibuster in the Senate is to reelect good Republicans like George Voinovich. (Applause.)
My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Right on. (Laughter.) On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action, and a strategy for victory. (Applause.) Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will use government to empower the citizens of this great country. (Applause.) John Kerry seems to think that all wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (Applause.)
Under President Bush's leadership, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back and defeating the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom around the world. (Applause.) Here at home, we'll continue building a prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world. (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 judgment of the American people. The signs are good ?- here in Ohio, and even in Massachusetts. (Applause.) According to news accounts, 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, and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We're grateful to our many friends across the great state of Ohio. I want to thank you for the tremendous welcome this afternoon. We're proud to have you on the team. And together, on November 2nd, we'll to see our cause forward to victory.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 1:45 P.M. EDT
Richard B. Cheney, Vice President's Remarks in Xenia, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/280950