The President on the Campaign Trail
Iowa Victory 2006 Luncheon
Des Moines, Iowa
October 26, 2006
Thank you all. Please be seated. (Applause.) Thank you for the warm Iowa welcome. It's kind of like old home week here when I look around. (Laughter.) It's good to be in the midst of a lot of friends who made possible for me to stand here and address you as the President of the United States. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be here with Jeff Lamberti. No doubt in my mind he is going to be the next congressman from this congressional district. (Applause.) He is smart, he is capable, he is accomplished. He listens and he cares. The right man to represent the 3rd congressional district in Iowa is Jeff Lamberti. (Applause.)
I not only feel that way, but Laura feels that way. (Laughter.) She sends her best to Jeff and Shannon and their family. She sends her best to you all. She has got to be the most patient woman in America. (Laughter.) I also happen to believe, in all due respect to my mother, she's the greatest First Lady our country has ever had. (Applause.)
I am proud to be here with one of the finest United States senators any state has ever produced in Chuck Grassley. (Applause.) Jeffrey, if you want to learn how to win, hire Grassley. (Laughter.) Jeff and I were talking about what we can do together when he wins. And I said, well, why don't we work with Senator Grassley and Congressman Tom Latham, who is with us, and Congressman Steven King, who is with us, to make sure that this renewable fuels initiative we started continues to remain an important part of not only the Iowa economy, but an important part of making sure we become less dependent on foreign sources of oil. (Applause.)
I can remember when this guy from Texas came here in 2000 and said, I support ethanol. I think old Grassley didn't really believe me. (Laughter.) I think he kind of thought, well, maybe that's just typical political talk. I meant what I said, and I mean what I say today. I'm looking forward to working with this new congressman to make sure that we use Iowa farm crops to power the U.S. economy. (Applause.)
I do appreciate Congressman Latham coming down to say hello to the man you'll be serving with. And I appreciate Congressman Steve King coming over to be here -- (laughter) -- to be here with Jeff. These are two fine, fine members of the United States Congress. I'm proud to call them friends. I'm proud to serve with you on behalf of the United States. (Applause.)
I ran into State Auditor Dave Vaudt. I said, how's your campaign going? (Laughter.) He said, pretty good. (Laughter.) What's it like to run unopposed? (Laughter.) But I'm proud of you, Dave, and I'm glad you're here with your wife, Jeanie. Thanks for coming. Now that you've got a little spare time on your hands, why don't you help our man get elected here in the 3rd congressional district? (Applause.)
The next secretary of state of Iowa is somebody I know quite well. I used to see her all the time in the Oval Office
-- Mary Ann Hanusa is with us today. Thanks for running. Vote for her. She'll do a fine job. (Applause.)
I'm proud that members of the ex-governors club are with us. (Laughter.) I'm a member. (Laughter.) Two of the better members are here: Governor Ray and Governor Branstad, two of the finest public servants the state has had. Thank you for coming. (Applause.) I particularly look forward to telling Mother and Dad that you're looking just fine, Bob. (Laughter.) And so are they.
I want to thank all the grassroots activists who are here. I appreciate the Chairman of the Iowa party, Ray Hoffmann. Thank you for coming. I want to thank all of you who are involved with helping this good man. I appreciate you giving -- helping fill the hat. But I also want to encourage you to make sure you do more than contribute just of your money. I ask you to contribute of your time and your efforts. There's nothing better for a candidate coming down the stretch in a campaign to know that he's got a lot of folks standing side by side with him. I ask you to make the phone calls and put up the signs and turn out the vote.
I know the other side is already dancing in the end zone, except they haven't made the end zone yet. (Laughter.) They're up there in Washington already kind of picking out their offices and measuring the drapes. (Laughter.) This campaign only ends after the voters have had a chance to speak. No doubt in my mind, with your help, Dave [sic] Lamberti will be the next United States congressman. (Applause.)
Dave [sic] and I believe a lot of things. We believe that you ought to keep more of your own money. We believe in family values. We believe values are important. And we believe marriage is a fundamental institution of civilization.
Yesterday in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and I believe -- (applause) -- and I believe it's a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended. And I'm looking forward to working with Jeff Lamberti to do just that. (Applause.)
I think one of the biggest issues in this campaign is what's going to happen to the money in your pocket. A big issue in this campaign is whether you're going to have more money to spend as you see fit. This election is going to have a direct impact on your family budget. When you go to the voting booth in less than two weeks from today, the lever you pull will determine the taxes you pay. Americans will cast their ballots on November the 7th, but you're going to feel the results every April 15th. And make no mistake about it, there is a big difference in philosophy when it comes to taxes.
We believe -- the congressman-to-be and I believe -- the Senator, congressman-to-be and two Congressmen and I believe that we think you can spend your money far better than the federal government can spend your money. (Applause.) We believe that when you have more of your own money in your pocket to save, spend or invest, the economy benefits. We believe that the more money there is in the hands of private citizens the more likely it is people from all walks of life will be able to realize the American Dream. That's what we believe.
Not only do we believe that, that's what we acted on. I was proud to sign the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. (Applause.) And I thank Chairman -- yes, Chairman Grassley -- see, he's the Chairman of the Finance Committee -- for taking the lead. These tax cuts would not have happened without the leadership of Chuck Grassley, nor without the support of Latham and King.
And now the results of the tax cuts are in. What matters in this business is results -- that's what matter. And the results are strong. Because of the tax cuts we passed, small businesses flourish, the farm economy is strong, American families have got more money in their pocket. The United States economy is the envy of the industrialize world.
The Democrats said the tax cuts were not a solution for the economy that was slipping into a recession. The truth is that the tax cuts have helped make the American economy the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation. The Democrats said the tax cuts would lead to a jobless recovery. The truth is that our economy has added jobs for 37 months in a row, and since August of 2003, our economy has created 6.6 million new jobs. (Applause.)
The Democrats have said the tax cuts would not help increase wages. The truth is that real wages have grown 2.2 percent over the past year. The Democrats said tax cuts would cause the deficit to explode. Well, the truth is the tax cuts led to economic growth, and that economic growth helped send our tax revenues soaring. As a matter of fact, we cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)
And now the Democrats have another prediction -- they're predicting they're going to win this November 7th. The truth is, if their electoral -- election predictions are as good as their economic predictions -- (laughter) -- Lamberti is going to win. (Applause.)
One big reason we're going to win is because the truth is the Democrats will raise your taxes. You know, you're not going to hear much about it; they're not going to go bragging about that fact. But they've got a record they're going to have to run on. They're going to have to answer to the voters. Time and time again, they voted against the tax cuts we passed.
They don't want you to know the truth. As a matter of fact, recently, the top Democrat leader in the House made an interesting declaration. She said, we love tax cuts. Given her record, she must be a secret admirer. (Laughter.) It's just not -- just the so-called tax cuts for the rich she opposes. When we cut taxes for everyone who pays income taxes, she and her colleagues voted against them. When we reduced the marriage penalty, she and her colleagues voted against them. When we cut the taxes on small businesses, she and her colleagues voted against them. When we lowered the taxes for families with children, she and her colleagues voted against them. When we put the death tax on the road to extinction, she and her colleagues voted against it. Time and time again, when she had the opportunity to show her love for taxes, she voted, no. If this is the Democrats' idea of love -- (laughter) -- I wouldn't want to see what hate looks like. (Laughter.)
Now they're throwing out the same old line. I don't know if it's happening in this campaign, but in district after district, you can hear them saying, oh, we're just going to tax the rich. But that's not the way it works when you've got a spending appetite as big as their appetite. You might remember what happened in 1992. They said, we're going to run on middle-class tax cuts. Elect us, we're going to cut the taxes on the middle class. Sure enough, they got elected, and we had the largest -- one of the largest tax increases in American history.
Now, the way it works is this: If the tax cuts we pass are not made permanent and they are left to expire, your taxes are going up. See, these tax cuts we passed are set to expire. And if they were to expire -- something I'm against, and something Jeff Lamberti is against and something Senator Grassley is against and these two Congressmen are against -- your taxes go up. And make no mistake about it, the Democrats want these tax cuts to expire.
Why do I say that? Recently the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee -- that's the committee that decides the level of your taxes -- said he can't think of one of the tax cuts that he would extend. Those are his words, not mine. Asked if that meant he would consider tax hikes across the income spectrum, he answered, no question about it.
I want you to think about that, what happens if the tax cuts aren't made permanent. Say you're just sitting around the breakfast table, and you have three children. If those tax cuts are not made permanent, you could look at that child and say, $500 more on my taxes going to go up. Or you can look at that other child sitting there with you, that's another $500. If you got three children, your taxes are going up $1,500. Now, that may not seem like a lot to these Washington, D.C. Democrats, but it's a lot to the working people here in Iowa. The best way to make sure your taxes stay low, the best way to make sure we keep economic vitality alive, is to elect Jeff Lamberti to the United States Congress. (Applause.)
The biggest issue facing this country, as far as I'm concerned, is the security of the United States of America. I think about it every day. Every day I am briefed about the fact that there's still an enemy that lurks, plans and plots and wants to kill Americans. I wish I did not have to report that. You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war President. [sic] No President wants to be a war President, but I am one. Not because the United States chose war, but because an enemy chose to attack us. And these folks are lethal, and they are brutal. And the best way to deal with them is to bring them to justice before they can hurt the American people again. (Applause.)
We face an enemy that has an ideology that is the opposite of what we believe. We believe in freedoms. We believe in the universality of freedom. We believe in the right for people to choose how they worship. We believe in freedom of the press. We believe in freedom of dissent. They don't believe in any of those freedoms. And what makes this war a tough war is that they're willing to kill innocent women and children to achieve their objectives. And they have objectives. They want to establish a governing authority from Spain to Indonesia in which they can impose their dark vision of the world. These are their words. The Commander-in-Chief must take the words of the enemy very seriously, particularly since the most important job that we have in Washington, D.C. is to protect the American people from further attack.
Here at the homeland, we must be right a hundred percent of the time in order to protect you, and the enemy only has to be right one time. And so, therefore, after 9/11, after September the 11th, 2001, I vowed to give our professionals all the tools necessary to protect the American people from further attack. For example, if al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliate was making a phone call into the United States of America, in order to make sure that we're doing our job to protect you, we've got to understand what that person is saying. If the enemy is making a phone call in this different kind of war that requires instant information to protect you, we better understand what the enemy is thinking and what they're planning.
Recently, the Terrorist Surveillance Program came up for a vote in the halls of the United States Congress. Our members stood strong in understanding that the number-one responsibility is to protect the American people, and that we must give our professionals the tools necessary to protect you. Over 80 percent of the Democrats voted, no, in giving the professionals the tools they need. There's just a different mind-set in Washington, D.C., in what we believe. They must not fear the enemy. You cannot wait to respond to the enemy after we have been attacked. To protect the American people, we have got to make sure. (Applause.)
This is a different kind of war. I see we've got vets here, and I want to thank you for serving. But this is a war unlike any we have fought before. In past wars, you could determine success based upon the number of ships sunk, or airplanes down, or territory taken. This is a war that is global in nature, fought on a myriad of fronts, that requires precise knowledge as how to interface and react with this enemy. We pick people up off the battlefield. We pick people off the battlefield like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who our intelligence services believe was the mastermind of the attacks that killed over 3,000 of our citizens on September the 11th.
I felt that it was important to understand and find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew, in order to protect you. I authorized the professionals of the Central Intelligence Agency to set up a program to inquire to Mr. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed about what he knew. This bill came in front of the United States Congress to authorize the government to be able to do so. Over 80 percent of the Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against giving our professionals the tools necessary to gain information so that we can protect you.
There is a difference of opinion, and our voters in Iowa and across the country must understand that the Democrats have a different view about this war on terror, a view that I think makes America less secure and makes it harder for us to do our job to protect the American people.
This front -- this war on terror is on many fronts. And the central front right now is in Iraq. The lessons of September the 11th are many: One, we got to stay on the offense and keep the enemy on the run. It's hard to plan, plot and attack if you're on the run. It's hard to plan, plot and attack if you're in a cave. And we got great professionals who are constantly keeping the pressure on this enemy. But there's another lesson of September the 11th, and I just mentioned -- we cannot afford to wait when we see a threat. If this is a different kind of war, this country of ours must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein was a threat; the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power. (Applause.)
And now the fundamental question is, does this country have the wherewithal and the perseverance to help this young democracy flourish in the heart of the Middle East? I will tell you, it's important to defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)
It's tough fighting in Iraq. It's tough fighting because there are folks there who understand the stakes in this important battle in the war on terror. They understand that if we lose our nerve and leave before the job is done that they will be able to gain safe haven from which to launch further attacks. They understand that if the United States were to withdraw, it would be a significant victory for them in the war on terror. It would embolden them to recruit. It would enable them to more likely topple moderate governments.
I want you to envision a world 20 to 30 years from now in which there are violent forms of radicals -- violent radicals fighting for power in the Middle East, in which moderate governments have been toppled, in which oil resources will have been used in order to blackmail Western countries into retreat. And couple all that with an Iran with a nuclear weapon, and a generation of Americans will look at our generation and say, what happened to them? Couldn't they see the threats? Weren't they able to see the dangers? Well, I want you to know I understand the dangers. I see -- clearly see the threats. We will help this young democracy in Iraq succeed. (Applause.)
We will help the Iraqis defend their democracy. We will help this country become a nation that can govern itself and sustain itself and defend itself, and serve as an ally in the war on terror. We will stand with the 12 million folks who went to the polls and said they want to live in freedom. We'll help train the Iraqis so they can take the fight to the enemy. And then our boys and girls will come home with the honor they have earned.
It's a mighty debate in the United States of America on this important subject. I will tell you, if we leave before the job is done, we will have let down a generation of Americans. If we leave before the job is done, we will have not honored the sacrifice of incredibly brave men and women who wear our uniform. If we leave before the job is done, we will embolden a dangerous enemy that still wants to strike the United States of America. No question, the fighting is tough, but the United States of America has done this kind of tough fighting before. We will adjust our tactics. We will support our troops. We will fight, and we will win in Iraq. (Applause.)
There is a difference of opinion in Washington on this important issue. The Democrat leadership and many of the Democrats have a more limited view of the war on terror. Recently, the top Democrat in the House, who wants to become the speaker, said this on a nationally televised interview -- she said, it's "not right" to say that "Iraq is part of the war on terror." She said, instead, "The war on terror is the war in Afghanistan."
Her position must come as news to Osama bin Laden, who has proclaimed that the "third world war ... is raging in Iraq." Her position would come as news to the number-two man of al Qaeda, who has called the struggle in Iraq "the place for the greatest battle." Her position would come as news to the terrorists from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and other countries who come to Iraq to fight the rise of democracy and the United States. Her position must come as news to the people of Iraq who have lost loved ones to terrorist car bombings and assassinations and attacks in markets and mosques. Her position would come as news to the American troops in Iraq who are risking their lives every day to fight the terrorists and prevent them from regaining the safe haven like they had in Afghanistan.
Her position on the war on terror, that it's contained only to Afghanistan, would come as news to the people in London, and Madrid, and Oman, and Bali, and Beslan, and Riyadh, and Istanbul, and Casablanca, and other cities where the terrorists have massacred and murdered innocent men, women, and children.
Her position in the war on terror is wrong. You cannot win a war if you do not believe we are in a war. It's very important for the citizens of this important state to understand that if we leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here. The best way to secure the peace for the United States, the best way to do -- the most important job of the federal government is to support the troops, to support the young democracy, and defeat the enemy in Iraq -- and what we'll do. (Applause.) And I'm proud to be standing here with Jeff Lamberti, who understands the stakes in this war.
We've got one other asset at our disposal I want to share with you, and that is the power of liberty. One of my favorite stories to share is the story that happened here a couple of weeks ago -- or weeks ago -- when I went to Elvis's place in Memphis with then-sitting Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. The reason I like to share that story is because it's got a good lesson for our citizens, particularly younger citizens who may not have really studied that period of history too much, the history of Japan-U.S. relations.
People say, why did you go down there? Well, I'd never been. (Laughter.) And the Prime Minister, he wanted to go. (Laughter.) He was an Elvis fan. (Laughter.) But here's the story I want to tell. My dad fought the Japanese. He was an 18-year-old kid who volunteered, just like a lot of our troops are doing today -- they're all volunteers. By the way, these men and women understand the stakes. They understand the consequences of early retreat. They know what it's like to give up the ground to an enemy. They have volunteered during dangerous times. I want to thank you for your service, brother. Thanks for joining us. (Applause.)
That's what happened, too, after the Japanese attacked us, see. By the way, we lost more people on September the 11th than we did at Pearl Harbor. But a lot of the young folks signed up. One of them was George H. W. Bush. And he and a lot of other brave Americans fought tooth and nail to defeat the Japanese. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. And it was a bloody conflict, a tough fight. And yet, some 60 years later, the Navy pilot's son is on Air Force One flying down to Elvis's place, talking about the peace.
You see, on the flight down, the Prime Minister of Japan, our former enemy, and I talked about what we could do to work together to make the world a more peaceful place. We talked about the fact that Japan had a thousand troops in Iraq to help that young democracy fight off the extremists and moderates -- to help the moderates fight off the extremists. See, Prime Minister Koizumi and I understand we're in an ideological struggle between moderate people and people who just want to live in peace, and extremists and radicals who want to impose their view. He understands that. And he knows that as a free nation we need to help struggling democracies survive if we want there to be peace for our children and our grandchildren.
And we talked about North Korea. We talked about helping HIV/AIDS victims in Africa. We talked about making this world a better place. Isn't it interesting that the son of a man who fought the Japanese is able to talk the peace with the Prime Minister of a former enemy. What happened was, Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. The power of the -- of that lesson is this: Liberty has got the capacity to transform an enemy into an ally -- just like liberty has got the capacity to transform a region of hate into a region of hope. Some day, an American President will be talking with elected leaders from the Middle East about the peace, and a generation of Americans, a generation to come, will be better off for it.
These are the stakes in this election. I'm proud you're here. Thank you for standing with Jeff. Take it to the final day, and he'll win. God bless. (Applause.)
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