FROM THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
George W. Bush
the National Urban League Conference
July 23, 2004 • Detroit, MI
Thanks for the warm introduction.
It's really good to be here. You know, Marc, you're right,
the National Urban League is a vital and important part
of the American scene. And I think the reason why is, not
only is the mission important, but the people involved
in the Urban League are dignified, decent American citizens.
And I am honored to be in your presence.
I see some friends like Willard who is -- I don't know
if you remember, Willard, but we were on the porch of the
governor's mansion in Texas. I'm not saying you drank all
my beer, but -- (laughter.) Never mind. (Laughter.) That's
unfair. (Laughter.) But thanks for having me.
Marc, I appreciate your leadership. I've had the opportunity
to work with Marc. I look forward to continue working with
Marc. He's a good man. He cares deeply about the country,
the people in our country. He is -- he has had a lot of
experience. He has, after all, been a mayor. It's a heck
of a lot tougher job than being President. After all, you've
got to fill the potholes -- (laughter) -- and empty the
garbage. And he did a fine job as mayor. He's doing a fine
job for this very important organization.
Speaking about mayors, the mayor of Detroit was here.
He's cutting a ribbon, which most mayors do. He's a fabulous
mayor, by the way. He's standing a little taller, as if
he needed to, because the Detroit Pistons are now the NBA
champs. (Applause.) I told him, I said -- I asked Kwame
if he took credit for it. He said, of course. (Laughter.)
I appreciate so very much Mike Critelli, who is the Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. -- Mike, it's great to see you again. And
Charles Collins, senior -- the Vice Chairman. These are
distinguished gentlemen who are helping to lead a very
distinguished board of directors. It was my honor to meet
with members of the board before I came out here today.
And I appreciate your service to our country.
Rick, thank you very much. Rick Wagoner is the CEO of
General Motors, who is sponsoring this conference. I appreciate
you doing that. It's an important conference and corporate
America needs to stand up and help organizations that are
out to help other people, and you've done so. And I know
people here appreciate that.
I appreciate Reverend Ernest Ferrell's blessings. They
asked me before the speech whether or not I would object
to a prayer. I said, absolutely not. All of us need prayer,
and I appreciate that. (Applause.)
And I appreciate Reverend Jesse Jackson. Thanks for coming,
And it's hard to run for office. Isn't it, Al? (Laughter.)
Al Sharpton is with us. (Applause.) But I appreciate you
putting your hat in the ring. (Laughter.) It's not an easy
thing. It looks easy.
REVEREND SHARPTON: It's not over.
THE PRESIDENT: There you go. It's not over. (Laughter
and applause.) Just don't declare right now. (Laughter.)
Welcome. Glad you're here.
Thank you all for coming.
The thing I like about the National Urban League is you
believe in the future of the African American community.
You've got this great faith that the future is going to
be better, and I share that. That's what I'm here to talk
about. I believe the same thing.
I believe this country can and will be a place of opportunity
and hope for every single citizen. It's not a given; there's
work to be done. But it's a goal, and it's an important
I don't care what party you're in, what city you live
in, or what state you're from, the goal has got to be --
America has got to be an hospitable, hopeful place for
every single citizen. That's what I believe. That's kind
of the heart of what they call compassionate conservatism,
that the American experience must be alive and viable for
everyone, and that government has a role to help people
have the tools so they can help themselves. See, I believe
in the human spirit; I believe if people have the opportunity
and the ability, they will achieve their God-given talents.
That's what I believe. And I think that's a proper role
for the federal government, to help people.
The last three-and-a-half years, we've worked on that.
We've worked hard to make opportunity available and prosperity
real and justice not a word. And I'm here to tell you,
we're making good progress.
Progress for African Americans and all Americans require
a healthy, growing economy. It's hard to realize dreams
if -- if you're in a recession; it's hard to realize dreams
if jobs aren't being created; it's hard to realize dreams
if the entrepreneurial spirit is flat, at best, and that's
not the case today.
It says a lot about our country that -- that we've recovered
from a recession. Remember, the recession was started before
September the 11th -- as a matter of fact, right as I came
to office. The stock market had been declining for nine
months. In other words, the indications weren't all that
viable for the economy.
And then we got hit, and the attacks hurt. It hurt our
psyche, it hurt our economy, it hurt the ability to find
work. And then we uncovered the fact that some of our citizens
forgot what it meant to be a responsible citizen. See,
we had some CEOs in corporate America that didn't tell
the truth to their shareholders and their employees. That
also hurt the economy. It took confidence away from a system
that requires confidence.
We acted. It should be clear now to all Americans that
we're not going to tolerate dishonesty in the boardrooms
of America. We expect the high standard, and there will
be enforcement of law to enforce that standard.
So the economy went through a lot. But we acted. See,
I happen to believe if people have more of their own money
in their pocket, they're going to spend, save, or invest,
and when they do, that revitalizes economic growth and
entrepreneurship. That's what the tax cuts were all about.
That's why we raised the child credit. If you happen to
have a two-year-old son like Mark does, it enables you
to be -- have more money in your pocket. We reduced the
marriage penalty. What kind of tax code is it, by the way,
that penalizes marriage? We ought to be encouraging marriage
in the United States of America. (Applause.)
We reduced the 10 percent bracket; we reduced taxes on
everybody. I think that's the fair way to do things. And
as a result, the economy is growing. The economy, since
last summer, has been growing at the fastest rate in nearly
20 years. That's the truth, and that's positive news. If
people are looking for work, you've got to have an economy
which is vibrant and growing.
And that's the case. We've added 1.5 million new jobs
since August. There's more work to do, of course. Job opportunity
isn't in every neighborhood and every corner of the country,
I fully recognize that. But the economy today is strong,
and it's growing stronger. And we've always got to remember
why. I mean, inherent in the -- in new job creation is
small businesses. That's the most important part of new
job creation. See, most new jobs are created by the small
business owners of America. And therefore, policy has got
to recognize that. That's why we've got to have fair --
a fair legal system that doesn't -- these frivolous lawsuits
make it awfully difficult for a small business owner to
We've got to have affordable health care. We must have
trade policy that enables small businesses to sell products
overseas. That says we're going to level the playing field.
Listen, we can compete with anybody, anyplace, anywhere
if the rules are fair, which is precisely what this administration
is doing. They need less regulation on small businesses.
But remember about the tax policy in terms of small businesses.
Most small businesses pay tax at the individual income
tax rate. See, that's reality. Ask your friends and neighbors
who are entrepreneurs. They will tell you they're either
a sole proprietorship or a subchapter S corporation, which
means they pay tax at the individual income tax rate. And
so when you cut the individual income taxes, you're really
helping small business owners. It's an entrepreneur --
we're stimulating growth and the small business sector
of America today is alive and well. And more minorities
are owning their own small businesses, and that's really
good for the future of the country.
See, if you own something, you have a vital stake in the
future of America. This administration promotes what I
call the ownership society. When people tell me statistics,
they say, more people are owning their own small businesses,
and a lot of minorities are owning their own small businesses.
That's really good news for the future of the country.
It also happens to be really good news for the economy.
The more small businesses there are, the more likely it
is people are going to find work.
And there's more we can do to help people start their
own businesses. The SBA has got a vital role -- that's
the Small Business Administration. Loans to African Americans
were up by 75 percent from last year. That's positive.
In other words, somebody said, I need some help. They've
come to the federal government. They said, I've got an
idea, I want to start my own business, I want to say, I'm
the owner. And the government says, we want to help you.
It's a legitimate role to encourage ownership.
And that's what's happening right now in our society.
We've rewarded $6 billion in new markets tax credits. Those
are important. They promote economic and community development
in low-income areas. And when you do that, the spinoff
is more ownership for businesses. When there's a vitality
in a neighborhood that has been -- that needed help, new
businesses spring up. That's all part of a vital tomorrow.
Our plan is to help people help themselves, is to create
an environment where the entrepreneur can flourish.
Marc, I read your comments, and the National Urban League
is a partner in the $127 million reward we announced in
May this year just to do that, to create an environment
where people have a chance to realize their dreams by owning
their own business. (Applause.)
An interesting project that's going on inside inner cities,
which makes life better but also helps the entrepreneurial
spirit, is the cleanup of brownfields. Since I've come
to office, we've cleaned up more than 1,000 brownfields.
Those are old industrial sites which have been abandoned.
They're not only eyesores, they're blight in the communities.
They've been cleaned up. They're now viable pieces of property.
Businesses are springing up -- businesses around, businesses
are springing up. An integral part of stimulating economic
growth and activity to give people a chance to start and
own their own company is wise policy in the inner city,
such as brownfields cleanup policy. We've been aggressive
with brownfields, just like we have with empowerment zones.
What I'm telling you is, the role of government is to
create an environment where people from all walks of life
have a chance to realize their dream. And that's precisely
what's taking place in America. And the economy is better
for it, and more people are finding work, and we must not
go backward to the days of high taxes, high spending, more
regulation and more lawsuits, if we expect more people
to own their own business.
Secondly, we've got work to do to encourage and train
a new generation of entrepreneurs. And that's why I'm pleased
to announce today that we're joining with the Urban League
to expand minority business ownership. (Applause.) It's
an interesting project. You can't say to somebody, you
must be an entrepreneur. You can't say that. But you can
say, if you want to start your own business, we'll help
you. And I want to thank Marc's leadership on this and
the board's leadership in understanding the need to work
with the federal government to set up what they call one-stop
centers where minority enterprise can receive business
training. It's one thing to say, let's go be an entrepreneur.
But if you're not certain how to do it, people need help.
You may have a great idea, but you're not sure how to keep
the books. It's a practical application of federal assets
to help people understand how to own and run their own
business. You can develop contacts there. You get advice
on financing. It's practical ways to help people realize
their dreams, is what we're talking about here.
The Business Roundtable, I'm pleased to say, those are
the CEOs of big corporate America, the Ewing Marion Kauffman
Foundation -- he used to be the owner of the Kansas City
Royals, he's a fine guy from Missouri -- will support the
work of the centers. And so, in other words, it's a collaborate
effort. The federal government, the Urban League and these
other citizens are coming together and saying, we're going
to set up these centers to help people help themselves.
Progress for African Americans, and progress for all Americans,
requires good schools. (Applause.) The system tended to
shuffle kids through, and you know what I'm talking about.
You know, the hard-to-educate were labeled that, and they
just moved through, that's what was happening. We can play
like it wasn't happening. It was happening. That's what
you get when you get low expectations. It's what I call
the soft bigotry of low expectations.
When I first came to the Urban League, I vowed to change
that attitude in Washington. It was one of the things I
said. I said, give me a chance to work the education system.
And we have. We passed good law. Listen, the government
has got a funding responsibility. We have. We've increased
federal funding for K through 12 by 49 percent from 2001.
I label that significant. (Applause.)
But you know what else has changed? For the first time,
the federal government is asking the question, can our
children actually read? And see, I feel comfortable asking
that question, because I believe every child can read.
You don't ask that question if you believe certain children
cannot read; you say, okay, fine, shuffle them through,
the consequences of which, when people get out of high
school, they're illiterate, they're lost, they're frustrated.
They don't have a chance to realize the great promise of
the country. We're changing that attitude in public schools.
We say, we're going to have local control of schools.
I really don't want the federal government trying to run
the school systems of America. I think that would be cumbersome,
too bureaucratic, stifling. It wouldn't encourage innovation,
it wouldn't say to the school boards, be imaginative and
strong and smart.
We stand with our teachers. But we're going to measure
now in America, because we want to know. Our goal is for
every child to be reading at grade level by the third grade,
because we believe every child can do that. And now we
want them to show --just please show us whether or not
it's -- whether or not you're achieving the objective.
Because every child matters, see. If you don't measure,
you do not know. (Applause.) If you don't take time to
determine whether or not a child has got the skills necessary
to succeed in America, you'll never find out until it's
The philosophy of the No Child Left Behind Act says, every
child can learn, we expect every child to learn, and we
expect you to show us whether or not every child is learning.
And it's paying off. The test scores, the accountability
systems are beginning to show that African American fourth
graders are catching up. There is an education gap in America
and so long as there is an education gap, we must be relentless
in our pursuit for excellence. (Applause.)
By the way, the law says that if -- we're going to detect
problems early before they're too late and correct them,
that's why we started measuring early. And there's money
in the budgets that say, if you need extra help, we'll
help correct them. It says to parents, that if the schools
continue to fail, if they won't adjust, if a child is trapped
in mediocrity, parents have different choices to make.
See, this is all part of making sure we focus on the child,
not the process, so no child in America is left behind.
And there's more to do. I'm working with Congress, hopefully
over the next four years, for intensive reading intervention
programs. It's one thing to start early, but there's a
-- you can imagine there's a group of kids that need to
be saved now before it's too late -- eighth and ninth grade
intervention programs. I know in Florida, there's some
great intervention programs. Willard, you'll probably take
credit for them, but they -- (laughter) -- they're beginning
to work well. They're good. It says we're not going to
quit on any child. We're going to be involved.
We need to make sure a high school diploma means something.
When a kid comes out of high school, an employer or community
college, the college says, that means something when they
hold up a high school diploma.
And so we've got to make sure we continue to work not
only in the early grades, but in the later grades in public
education so that people can say, I've got something that
means something. It's a -- it's a certification for the
ability to read, write, add, and subtract, to understand
-- to understand the sciences and maths, as well. That's
possible, see. You've got to think it's possible in the
first place, otherwise you wouldn't insist upon it.
Plus, I want to make sure the community college system
is vibrant. I put money aside and will continue to do so
for the community colleges. They're available, affordable,
they're accessible, they're good things, they can change
their curriculum to meet the needs of a local community.
They actually train people for jobs which exist. They're
good opportunities for kids coming out of high school.
Look, education is the future of the country. And that's
why, under my administration, we've increased the number
of men and women who will be receiving Pell Grants to nearly
one million. (Applause.)
And why, under my budget, funding for historically black
colleges is at an all-time high. (Applause.) It's what
I said I would do when I was running for President, see.
I told people I'd do that, and I've done it. And the country
is better off for it, because education is the cornerstone
of a hopeful tomorrow.
I was proud to support Mayor Tony Williams. He's my Mayor
right now. I've got one mayor in Crawford and one mayor
in Washington. (Laughter.) Tony is the Mayor of Washington.
He's a very good Mayor, by the way. He's a good man. Maybe
you know him. But he and I -- (applause.) I work with Tony.
And I signed a bill into law creating taxpayer-sponsored
scholarships for students in Washington, D.C. And let me
tell you why. I believe this: If school choice is good
for the wealthy, it's good enough for disadvantaged children
in America. This is a good piece of legislation. (Applause.)
It's a good piece of legislation, which is going to help
improve education for all children in the nation's capital.
Progress for African Americans and all Americans depends
on more citizens living the dream of owning their own home.
There's nothing better than somebody saying, welcome to
my house; I'm putting out the welcome mat in my piece of
property. (Applause.) And this has been a focus of this
administration, because we want people owning their own
home. It's a vital part of the -- of the American experience,
So we're providing downpayment assistance, good counseling.
Listen, people walk in, first-time home buyers, and they
take a look at the contracts and the print's about that
big, and they say, forget it. You know? They get driven
away by the complexity of the situation. Sometimes they
get skinned by loan sharks, you know? And we're doing everything
we can to make sure the loan application process is understandable
and fair and open. We're proposing tax credits to encourage
the building of more affordable housing, particularly in
inner-city America. In other words, we want there to be
a greater supply of homes. (Applause.)
Let me tell you something hopeful about the country. For
the first time in our history, a majority of families and
minority groups own their own homes. We're making progress.
People are saying, this is my home. And we must continue
the progress we're making. (Applause.)
Progress for African Americans and all Americans depends
on safe streets. Safe streets are important for any --
any community, particularly important for communities in
which parents feel like they've got to keep their kids
And so we're making progress there. We've increased federal
prosecutors. And I want to tell you something, federal
gun law prosecutions are up by 68 percent in the last three
years. See, it's one thing to, you know, say, we're going
to pass laws. The thing is, you've got to enforce the law.
If you're going to want safe streets, you've got to do
a good job of enforcing the laws on the books, which is
precisely what we're doing. And as a result, violent crime
in America is down by 21 percent during my administration.
That's positive for people. (Applause.) Property crime
is down 13 percent.
But there's more than just fighting crime. We need to
help the 600,000 men and women who are being released from
prison each year. I went to the Congress in my State of
the Union, I talked about a prison reentry program. I said,
put some money up to help these souls come out. Let's make
sure we're the country of the second chance. Let's make
sure people have got a chance to get an education and a
job. Let's make sure there's -- if need be, let's make
sure there's church families available to welcome a person
back in community. (Applause.) And so this prison reentry
program is a vital part of making sure America is a safe
Progress for this country, for African Americans, and
all Americans, depends on the full protection of civil
rights and equality before the law. My administration and
its Justice Department has vigorously enforced the civil
rights laws. The Civil Rights Division has opened a federal
investigation into the murder of Emmett Till. (Applause.)
I'm the first President of the United States to ban racial
profiling in federal law enforcement. (Applause.)
And to serve the cause of justice on the bench, the federal
bench, I have nominated outstanding men and women to the
courts, including six superbly qualified African Americans
for the courts of appeal and 11 for district courts. (Applause.)
Progress for African Americans and for all Americans depends
on driving the drugs out of our neighborhoods. We put forth
a comprehensive approach. We're doing everything we can
to interdict drugs so they don't make it into the country
in the first place. We have encouraged faith-based programs
to help change hearts so people change habits. (Applause.)
We've got money directed at the people who need the most
help, which are the addicts of America -- an intensive,
focused, real effort to save lives.
But we're also working to reduce demand in the country.
It's a community effort. We're bringing together all aspects
of the community organizations to say to our youngsters,
don't use those drugs. And we're making progress. From
2001 to 2003, youth drug use has declined by 11 percent.
We're headed in the right direction. We're saying to our
kids, be responsible with your bodies, be responsible with
your behavior, and you have a chance to understand the
great promise of America. It's a vital effort. This isn't
a Republican cause or a Democrat cause; this is a community
cause, this is an American cause and it's important to
work together. (Applause.)
Progress for all our citizens, including African Americans,
depends on the spirit of compassion for others. Government
can hand out money, but it cannot put hope in a person's
heart or a sense of purpose in a person's lives. And we'll
have the traditional programs of help, the safety nets.
They're there. And that's an important part of federal
funding. But I strongly believe the federal government
must welcome programs of faith into the compassionate delivery
of help and service to those who hurt. (Applause.)
My community and faith-based initiative recognizes the
true strength of this country is in the hearts and souls
of our citizens; that we recognize that oftentimes there's
-- a change of heart will change behavior and governments
can't change hearts. That changes when somebody who has
heard a universal call to love a neighbor, puts their arm
around somebody who hurts and says, I love you brother,
I love you sister, what can I do to help you on your walk
so your life is improved. (Applause.) This community and
faith-based initiative is a vital part of this administration's
program to help save lives. We've opened up federal grants
to the faith community for the first time. I shouldn't
say "for the first time." Most vigorously, let
me put it to you that way.
And so now we've had over a billion dollars go out the
door to faith-based programs, programs all aimed at serving
America by saving lives. (Applause.) And it makes sense.
It just makes sense. It makes sense to tap into the great
strength and spirit of the country.
The Associated Black Charities of Baltimore, ask them
what it's like to be a partner with the federal government.
Or the Black Ministerial Alliance in Boston. Or the Metro
Denver Black Church Initiative. These are all initiatives,
all aimed at saying to somebody: the future is better for
you, somebody loves you, we care, and we're going to help
you. We're going to help mentor you, we'll save you from
drugs and alcohol. We'll do everything in our power to
save America one soul at a time. (Applause.)
We've done a lot in three-and-a-half years. I ask you
to look at the record of accomplishment. And I didn't do
this alone. I've got a good administration, really good
people. It's a diverse Cabinet. It's a Cabinet full of
strong people. It's a Cabinet who are serving our country
first. People like Rod Paige. You've heard my talk about
education. I hope you have a sense of my passion to make
sure we get it right. I understand the importance of schools
in America. I picked a good man to serve as the head of
the Education Department, Rod Paige. He was -- (applause.)
You heard me talk about owning your own home, it's a vital
part of this future of this country. Alphonso Jackson is
the head of the Housing and Urban Development. (Applause.)
Kay James runs the Office of Personnel Management. You
know, the government owns a lot of property. Steve Perry
is the head of the GSA. (Applause.)
We've got a diverse cabinet, diverse administration, people
who serve our nation with dignity. You know, when it comes
time to money, Allen Greenspan is a smart guy, so is the
Vice Chairman, Roger Ferguson, of the Federal Reserve.
(Applause.) Chairman of the FCC, the Federal Communications
Commission, Michael Powell -- in other words, what I'm
telling you is -- (applause) -- I feel I have an obligation
to reach out to people from all walks of life. I have met
that obligation, and the government is better for it. (Applause.)
And when it comes to national security, thankfully I've
had a good team. We've had some big challenges in this
country. And I've got a strong foreign policy, because
the architects of that policy are people like Condi Rice
and Colin Powell. (Applause.) These are good people. I've
seen them -- I've seen them under incredible pressure.
I know their steadiness and their clear vision.
See, our most solemn duty is to protect the American people.
That's our most solemn duty. It's a duty brought upon us
not at our asking, because we were attacked unmercifully
by people who hate what we stand for. They hate the fact
that we can have free dialogue just like this. They hate
the fact that there's open discourse. They hate the fact
that we're a free society where people can worship any
way they see fit.
They hate the idea that we welcome people who worship
God and we welcome people who don't worship God. They can't
stand the thought that we're a society that says, if you
choose to worship, you're equally American, if you're a
Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
And so they attacked us. And we have a duty, all of us
have a duty to respond. This is an American effort to protect
ourselves. And Colin Powell and Condi Rice have provided
valuable, valuable advice and counsel during these tough
And we're making progress. Listen, we're trying to do
everything we can to protect our homeland. There's people
from all walks of life working hard to protect the American
people. There's no such thing as perfect security. I tell
people, we've got to be right 100 percent of the time.
Those who want to cause us harm have to be right once.
But there's a lot of people working. It doesn't matter
what your party is, they're working hard to protect the
American people. And we've got a lot of people overseas
working to protect us, too, by bringing justice to the
enemies before they strike again. (Applause.)
Our foreign policy is tough and it's compassionate. It's
tough and we have to be tough, it's compassionate. We liberated
over 50 million people who were brutalized by tyrants.
We're proud to lead the armies of liberation. We're standing
true to this great American ideal that freedom is the almighty
God's gift to each man and woman in this world. (Applause.)
We've begun the largest initiative ever to combat global
AIDS. America is in the lead on dealing with the pandemic
that ravages the continent of Africa. We're taking the
lead because we're a compassionate nation. We feed more
of the hungry than any nation on the face of the Earth.
We're a compassionate nation.
We're also a wise nation when it comes to smart policy.
I signed the African Growth and Opportunity Acceleration
Act of 2004. It recognizes that the best way to help lift
people out of poverty is to trade, it's through the free
flow of commerce. And it's working on the -- this policy
is working on the continent of Africa.
Problems come to our desk because of our influence in
the world. We've dealt with Liberia. We're now dealing
with Sudan. The United States is working closely with the
United Nations. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of State
was recently with Kofi Annan talking about this very subject.
We're working closely with the African Union to bring relief
to the suffering people in that region. We've made our
position very clear to the Sudanese government: They must
stop the Janjaweed violence. They must provide access for
humanitarian relief to the people who suffer. (Applause.)
Ours is a solid record of accomplishment. And that's why
I've come to talk about compassionate conservatism and
what I envision for the future. I'm here for another reason.
I'm here to ask for your vote. (Applause.)
No, I know, I know, I know. The Republican party has got
a lot of work to do. I understand that. (Laughter and applause.)
You didn't need
to nod your head that hard, Jesse. (Laughter.)
Do you remember a guy named Charlie Gaines? Somebody gave
me a quote he said, which I think kind of describes the
environment we're in today. I think he's a friend of Jesse's.
He said, "Blacks are gagging on the donkey but not
yet ready to swallow the elephant." (Laughter and
Now that was said a while ago. (Laughter.) I believe you've
got to earn the vote and seek it. I think you've got to
go to people and say, this is my heart, this is what I
believe, and I'd like your help. And as I do, I'm going
to ask African American voters to consider some questions.
Does the Democrat party take African American voters for
granted? (Applause.) It's a fair question. I know plenty
of politicians assume they have your vote. But do they
earn it and do they deserve it? (Applause.) Is it a good
thing for the African American community to be represented
mainly by one political party? That's a legitimate question.
(Applause.) How is it possible to gain political leverage
if the party is never forced to compete? (Applause.) Have
the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served
the African American community?
That's what I hope people ask when they go to the community
centers and places, as we all should do our duty and vote.
People need to be asking these very serious questions.
Does blocking the faith-based initiative help neighborhoods
where the only social service provider could be a church?
Does the status quo in education really, really help the
children of this country? (Applause.)
Does class warfare -- has class warfare or higher taxes
ever created decent jobs in the inner city? Are you satisfied
with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness
to the problem of the family? (Applause.)
Those are legitimate questions that I hope people ask
as this election approaches. I'd like to hear those questions
debated on talk radio, I'd like it debated in community
centers, in the coffee shops. It's worthy of this country
for this debate to go forward and these questions to be
asked and answered.
I'm here to say that there is an alternative this year.
There is an alternative that has had a record that is easy
to see. If you dream of starting a small business and building
a nest egg and passing something of value to your children,
take a look at my agenda. If you believe schools should
meet high standards instead of making excuses, take a look
at my agenda. If you believe the institutions of marriage
and family are worth defending and need defending today,
take a look at my agenda. (Applause.)
If you believe in building a culture of life in America,
take a look at my agenda. If you believe in a tireless
fight against crime and drugs, take a look at this agenda.
If you believe that our men and women in uniform should
be respected and supported 100 percent of the time, take
a look at my agenda. (Applause.)
If you're struggling to get into the middle class and
you feel like you're paying plenty of taxes, take a look
at my agenda. (Applause.)
If you're a small business owner who is trying to expand
your job base and are worried about excessive lawsuits,
increasing taxes and over-regulation, take a look at this
And finally, if you believe in the power of faith and
compassion to defeat violence and despair and hopelessness,
I hope you take a look at where I stand. (Applause.)
You see, I believe in my heart that the Republican party,
the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, is not complete
without the perspective and support and contribution of
African Americans. (Applause.)
And I believe in my heart that the policies and actions
of this administration, policies that empower individuals
and help communities, that lift up free enterprise and
respect and honor the family, those policies are good for
the nation as a whole. That's what I believe. And I'm here
to thank you for giving me a chance to come and express
I'm proud to be with an organization that does so good,
so much good for the American people. I'm honored that
your Chairman would extend an invitation to me. Thanks
for coming, and may God bless you and may God continue
to bless the country. (Applause.)