FROM THE 2004 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
NEW YORK • SEPTEMBER 1, 2004
Mr. Chairman, delegates, distinguished
guests, and fellow Americans: I accept your nomination
for vice president of the United States.
AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more
I'm honored by your confidence. And tonight I make this
pledge: I will give this campaign all that I have.
And together we will make George W. Bush president for
another four years.
Tonight I will talk about this good man and his fine record
leading our country. And I may say a word or two about
I am also mindful now that I have an opponent of my own.
People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his
good looks, his sex appeal and his great hair. I say to
them: How do you think I got the job?
On this night, as we celebrate the opportunities that
America offers, I am filled with gratitude to a nation
that has been good to me, and I remember the people who
set me on my way in life. My grandfather noted that the
day I was born was also the birthday of Franklin Delano
Roosevelt. And so he told my parents they should send President
Roosevelt an announcement of my birth.
Now, my grandfather didn't have a chance to go to high
school. For many years he worked as a cook on the Union
Pacific Railroad. And he and my grandmother lived in a
But the modesty of his circumstances didn't stop him from
thinking that President Roosevelt should know about my
My grandfather believed deeply in the promise of America
and had the highest hopes for his family. And I don't think
it would surprise him all that much that a grandchild of
his stands before you tonight as vice president of the
It is the story of this country that people have been
able to dream big dreams with confidence they would come
true, if not for themselves, then for their children and
And that sense of boundless opportunity is a gift that
we must pass on to all who come after us.
From kindergarten to graduation, I went to public schools.
And I know that they are a key to being sure that every
child has a chance to succeed and to rise in the world.
When the president and I took office, our schools were
shuffling too many children from grade to grade without
giving them the skills and the knowledge they need.
So President Bush reached across the aisle and brought
both parties together to pass the most significant education
reform in 40 years.
With higher standards and new resources, America's schools
are now on an upward path to excellence, and not for just
a few children, but for every child.
Opportunity also depends on a vibrant, growing economy.
As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation
was sliding into recession, and American workers were overburdened
with federal taxes. Then came the events of September 11th,
which hit our economy very hard. So President Bush delivered
the greatest tax reduction in a generation, and the results
are clear to see.
Businesses are creating jobs. People are returning to
work. Mortgage rates are low, and home ownership in this
country is at an all-time high. The Bush tax cuts are working.
Our nation has the best health care in the world and President
Bush is making it more affordable and accessible to all
And there is more to do. Under this President's leadership,
we will reform medical liability so the system serves patients
and good doctors, not personal injury lawyers.
These have been years of achievement, and we are eager
for the work ahead. And in all that we do, we will never
lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving
the freedom and security of this nation against determined
AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more
Thanks you all.
Since I last spoke to our national convention, Lynne and
I have had the joy of seeing our family grow. We now have
a grandson to go along with our three wonderful granddaughters...
And the deepest wish of my heart and the object of all
my determination is that they and all of America's children
will have lives filled with opportunity, and that they
will inherit a world in which they can live in freedom,
in safety and in peace.
Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm, and
many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to
danger. That thought might have been comforting; it was
also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon
discovered that history had great and unexpected duties
in store for us.
September 11th, 2001, made clear the challenges we face.
On that day we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men
armed with knives and boarding passes. America also awakened
to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy, whose hatred
of us is limitless, armed with chemical, biological, or
even nuclear weapons.
Just as surely as the Nazis during World War II and the
Soviets during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is
bent on our destruction.
As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and
have no choice but to win.
Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by
a superb commander in chief, we will prevail.
The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans
may have thought they could attack us with impunity, because
terrorists had done so previously.
But if the killers of September 11th thought we had lost
the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America,
and they did not know George W. Bush.
From the beginning, the president made clear that the
terrorists would be dealt with and that anyone who supports,
protects or harbors them would be held to account.
In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have
captured or killed hundreds of Al Qaida. 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.
Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and fortunes
of 25 million people. Tonight he sits in jail.
President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half
measures. And his determination has sent a clear message.
Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government
of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program
and turn the materials over to the United States.
Tonight, the uranium, the centrifuges and plans and designs
for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are
locked up and stored away in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, never
again to threaten America.
The biggest threat we face today is having nuclear weapons
fall into the hands of terrorists. The president is working
with many countries in a global effort to end the trade
and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important
result thus far, and it is a very important one, 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.
The world's worst source of nuclear weapons proliferation
is out of business, and we are safer as a result.
In the global war we are fighting, we owe a mighty debt
to the men and women of the United States armed forces.
They fought the enemy with courage and reached out to
civilians with compassion, rebuilding schools and hospitals
They have won stunning victories. They have faced hard
duty and long deployments. And they have lost comrades,
more than 1,100 brave Americans, whose memories this nation
will honor forever.
The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States
represent the very best of America. They have the thanks
of our nation. And they have the confidence, the loyalty
and the respect of their commander in chief.
In this election, we will decide who leads our country
for the next four years. Yet there is more in the balance
than that. Moments come along in history when leaders must
make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long-term
challenge abroad or how best to keep the American people
secure at home.
We faced such a moment after World War II, when we put
in place the policies that defended America throughout
the Cold War. Those policies -- containing Communism, deterring
attack by the Soviet Union, promoting the rise of democracy
-- were carried out by Democratic and Republican presidents
in the decades that followed.
This nation has reached another of those defining moments.
Under President Bush, we have put in place new policies
and created new institutions to defend America, to stop
terrorist violence at its source, and to help move the
Middle East away from old hatreds and resentments and toward
the lasting peace that only freedom can bring.
This is the work not of months, but of years. And keeping
these commitments is essential to our future security.
For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of
2004 is one of the most important not just in our lives,
but in our history.
And so it is time to set the alternatives squarely before
the American people.
The president's opponent is an experienced senator. He
speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him
But there is also a record of more than three decades
since. And on the question of America's role in the world,
the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush
are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the
History has shown that a strong and purposeful America
is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe. Yet
time and again, Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on
Senator Kerry began his political career by saying he
would like to see our troops deployed "only at the
directive of the United Nations."
During the 1980s, Senator Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan's
major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold
In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood
poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted
against Operation Desert Storm.
Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear
to understand how the world has changed. He talks about
leading a "more sensitive war on terror"...
...as though Al Qaida will be impressed with our softer
He declared at the Democratic convention that he will
forcefully defend America after we have been attacked.
My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked...
We are faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of
weapons to use against us, and we cannot wait for the next
attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it, and
that includes the use of military force.
Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries
don't approve, as if the whole object of our foreign policy
were to please a few persistent critics.
But, in fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan
and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our
But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference
between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting
to the objections of a few.
George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend
the American people.
AUDIENCE: USA. USA. USA.
Senator Kerry also takes a different view when it comes
to supporting our military. Although he voted to authorize
force against Saddam Hussein, he then decided he was opposed
to the war, and voted against funding for our men and women
in the field.
He voted against body armor, ammunition, fuel, spare parts,
armored vehicles, extra pay for hardship duty and support
for military families.
Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander
Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation
of a commander in chief, and that is to support American
troops in combat.
In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of
a 100 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
And in this time of challenge, America needs and America
has a president we can count on to get it right.
On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his
fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement
is with himself.
His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision and
sends a message of confusion. And it's all part of a pattern.
He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child
Left Behind Act and against it. He has spoken in favor
of the North American Free Trade Agreement and against
it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it.
Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the
whole thing mutual.
America sees two John Kerrys.
The other candidate in this race is a man our nation has
come to know and one I've come to admire very much. I watch
him at work every day. I have seen him face some of the
hardest decisions that come to the Oval Office and make
those decisions with the wisdom and humility Americans
expect in their president.
George W. Bush is a man who speaks plainly and means what
he says. He is a person of loyalty and kindness.
And he brings out those qualities in those around him.
He is a man of great personal strength and, more than that,
a man with a heart for the weak and the vulnerable and
We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space
of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we
lost at Pearl Harbor. We remember the president who came
to New York City and pledged that the terrorists would
soon hear from all of us.
George W. Bush saw this country through grief and tragedy.
He has acted with patience and calm and a moral seriousness
that calls evil by its name.
In the great divide of our time, he has put this nation
where America always belongs: against the tyrants of this
world and on the side of every soul on Earth who yearns
to live in freedom.
Fellow citizens, our nation is reaching the hour of decision,
and the choice is clear.
President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete
confidence in the judgment of the American people. The
signs are good, even in Massachusetts.
According to a news account last month, people leaving
the Democratic National Convention asked a Boston policeman
for directions. He replied, leave here, and go vote Republican.
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 are so fortunate, each and every one of us, to be citizens
of this great nation and to take part in the defining event
of our democracy, choosing who will lead us.
Historian Bernard DeVoto once wrote that when America
was created, the stars must have danced in the sky.
Our president understands the miracle of this great country.
He knows the hope that drives it and shares the optimism
that has long been so important a part of our national
character. He gets up each and every day determined to
keep our great nation safe so that generations to come
will know the freedom and opportunities we have known and
When this convention concludes tomorrow night, we will
go forth with confidence in our cause and in the man who
leads it. By leaving no doubt where we stand and asking
all Americans to join us, we will see our cause to victory.
Thank you very much.
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