FROM THE 2004 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
NEW YORK • SEPTEMBER 1, 2004
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Since I last stood...
Thank you very much.
Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation
of the Miller family has been born: four great-grandchildren.
Along with all the other members of our close-knit family,
they are my and Shirley's most precious possessions. And
I know that's how you feel about your family, also.
Like you, I think of their future, the promises and the
perils they will face. Like you, I believe that the next
four years will determine what kind of world they will grow
And like you, I ask: Which leader is it today that has the
vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect
The clear answer to that question has placed me in this
hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than
There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their
future, and that man's name is George W. Bush.
In the summer of 1940, I was an 8-year-old boy living in
a remote little Appalachian valley. Our country was not yet
at war, but even we children knew that there were some crazy
man across the ocean who would kill us if they could.
President Roosevelt, in a speech that summer, told America, "All
private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed
by an overriding public danger."
In 1940, Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee. And
there is no better example of someone repealing their "private
plans" than this good man.
He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime
draft, an unpopular idea at the time.
And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election
than make national security a partisan campaign issue.
Shortly before Wilkie died, he told a friend that if he
could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here
lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed
to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter.
Where are such statesmen today? Where is the bipartisanship
in this country when we need it most?
Today, at the same time young Americans are dying in the
sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation
is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats'
manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.
What has happened to the party I've spent my life working
in? I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the
duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny. It was
Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army
out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists
threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade
of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.
Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger,
Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that
freedom would not falter.
But not today.
Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security,
today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not
And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling
American troops occupiers rather than liberators.
Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because
Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.
Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that
is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators,
Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children
who are free today from the Poland to Siberia, because Ronald
Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.
Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed
more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than
the American soldier.
And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve
it for us here at home.
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier,
not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom
It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the
freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the
flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that
protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.
No one should dare to even think about being the commander
in chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his
heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders
of freedom at home.
But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders
of my party today. In their warped way of thinking, America
is the problem, not the solution. They don't believe there
is any real danger in the world except that which America
brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign
It is not their patriotism, it is their judgment that has
been so sorely lacking.
They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace. They
They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.
They were wrong.
And no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often
than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and
Together, Kennedy and Kerry have opposed the very weapons
system that won the Cold War and that are now winning the
war on terror.
Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried
his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off
our national security.
But Americans need to know the facts.
The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent
of the bombs in the first six months of Enduring Freedom.
The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air
strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's
command post in Iraq.
The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down
Gadhafi's Libyan MiGs over the Gulf of Sidra.
The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered
missile strikes against Tora Bora.
The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took
out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War.
The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover
over our Nation's capital and this very city after 9/11.
I could go on and on and on -- against the Patriot Missile
that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel;
against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic
Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile, against,
This is the man who wants to be the commander in chief of
our U.S. Armed Forces?
U.S. forces armed with what? Spit balls?
Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man
than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric.
Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you
are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.
Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military
force only if approved by the United Nations.
Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending.
I want Bush to decide.
John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants
to outsource our national security. That's the most dangerous
outsourcing of all. This politician wants to be leader of
the free world. Free for how long?
For more than 20 years, on every one of the great issues
of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong,
more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure.
As a war protester, Kerry blamed our military.
As a senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing
shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this
year to deny protective armor for our troops in harm's way,
George W. Bush understands that we need new strategies to
meet new threats.
John Kerry wants to refight yesterday's war. President Bush
believes we have to fight today's war and be ready for tomorrow's
challenges. President Bush is committed to providing the
kind of forces it takes to root out terrorists, no matter
what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl
George W. Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and
not let them go to get a better grip.
From John Kerry, they get a "yes/no/maybe" bowl
of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our
I first got to know George W. Bush when we served as governors
together. I admire this man. I am moved by the respect he
shows the first lady, his unabashed love for his parents
and his daughters, and the fact that he is unashamed of his
belief that God is not indifferent to America.
I can identify with someone who has lived that line in "Amazing
Grace" -- "was blind, but now I see." And
I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night
that he is on Sunday morning.
He is not a slick talker but he is a straight shooter. And
where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words.
I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found
someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine
of tempered steel, the man I trust to protect my most precious
possession: my family.
This election will change forever the course of history,
and that's not any history. It's our family's history.
The only question is: How? The answer lies with each of
us. And like many generations before us, we've got some hard
choosing to do. Right now the world just cannot afford an
indecisive America. Faint-hearted self-indulgence will put
at risk all we care about in this world.
In this hour of danger, our president has had the courage
to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with
God bless this great country. And God bless George W. Bush.
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