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The President on the Campaign Trail

George W. Bush
Colorado Victory 2006 Rally
Greeley, Colorado
November 4, 2006
printable version

Thank you. Thank you all very much. (Applause.) I appreciate you coming. Thanks. It's great to be back in Greeley. (Applause.) Thanks for your hospitality. This isn't the first time I've been to Greeley. (Applause.) I like coming to places like Greeley, Colorado, because the people here are down to earth, hardworking -- (applause) -- people here have a lot of common sense. (Applause.)

That's what we need in Washington, D.C., common sense. (Applause.) And Marilyn Musgrave brings common sense to Washington, D.C. (Applause.) I'm not surprised she is a native of this important state, and she was raised right here in this district. (Applause.) And you raised her well. She understands your values, she knows what you're thinking. Send her back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

I appreciate you coming today. I'm sorry that Laura is not with me. Yes -- well, I don't want her to know that I know it's her birthday. (Laughter.) Well, she knows I know. I'm just not telling you the gift I'm going to give her. It's a surprise. (Laughter.) But she sends her very best to our friends here in Colorado. She understands what I know, Marilyn Musgrave is a fine United States Congresswoman and deserves your support. (Applause.)

I'm proud to be here with Senator Wayne Allard. (Applause.) He's doing a fine job for the people of this state. (Applause.) I know firsthand. I deal with him all the time; he's always got Colorado on his mind. (Applause.)

I'm proud to be here with a man who's done an excellent job as your Governor, Governor Bill Owens. (Applause.) And I'm also pleased that the next governor of Colorado, Bob Beauprez is with us. (Applause.) So when you're in that box voting for Marilyn, make sure you put your check by Beauprez's name, as well. (Applause.) You're going to get good, solid government with Bob Beauprez. (Applause.)

I appreciate very much that Mike Coffman is with us. I appreciate Bob Schaffer is with us. (Applause.) I want to thank the Mayor, Tom Selders, is with us. Mr. Mayor, thanks for coming. (Applause.) I want to thank all the candidates and local officials.

I particularly want to thank the grassroots activists who are here. (Applause.) You're the people putting up the signs and making the phone calls and turning out the vote. Rest assured, Marilyn is going to work hard, and she's counting on you to work hard with her. (Applause.)

This election is just three days away. Oh, you've probably heard them in Washington -- all the pundits and prognosticators have already determined the outcome of the election. I want to remind them, the folks of Colorado haven't even voted yet. (Applause.) It's not the first time we've been through this. You might remember 2004. (Applause.) I suspect it was about the time I came to Greeley that some of them in Washington were already picking out their offices in the West Wing. (Laughter.) And then you voted. (Applause.) And the movers weren't needed. (Applause.) They're not going to be needed on November the 7th. With your help, we will hold the House, Marilyn will win, and we will control the United States Senate. (Applause.)

And there's a reason. We've got a fantastic group of folks who will turn out the vote. But we also share the values with the majority of the American people. We share their priorities. We're going to win this election because our values and priorities don't change because of the latest polls, or the latest focus group. (Applause.) We're going to win this election because we've got a good, strong record to run on. (Applause.)

See, I got to know the Congresswoman well. Last time I talked to her, she said, don't you ever forget those Colorado ranchers. (Applause.) By the way, it's good to be in country where the cowboy hats outnumber the ties. (Applause.) She said, don't forget, we've got farmers here. Let me tell you something; I know what she knows, if the ag economy is strong, the United States' overall economy is strong. (Applause.)

I understand something about ranching and farming. You might remember I was raised in west Texas. (Applause.) And I understand that we need to be opening up markets, and we are. I also understand we have a fantastic opportunity to use agricultural products grown right here in Colorado to make us less dependent on foreign oil. (Applause.) And Marilyn understands that, as well. If you're a farmer or a rancher, or count on the agricultural industry to make a living, it is in your interest to send Marilyn Musgrave back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

One thing I don't have to worry about is her support for the United States military. (Applause.) I don't have to worry about her strong support for making sure our veterans get the benefits they deserve. (Applause.) She understands what I know, we will honor those who have worn the uniform and support those who wear it today. (Applause.)

Marilyn Musgrave understands the importance of defending traditional values. (Applause.) In Washington, she's worked to defend the Pledge Allegiance, and to protect the flag from desecration. (Applause.) She has worked to prevent the institution of marriage from being redefined by activist judges. (Applause.) She understands your values, and that's another reason to send her back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

Oh, there's big differences between how the Democrats think and how we think, and there's no clearer difference on two big issues: One issue is taxes, and the other issue is who best to defend the United States of America. (Applause.)

First, let me start with taxes. We have a clear philosophy. This philosophy says this: We believe you know how to spend your money better than the federal government does. (Applause.) I know that the Democrats want to raise your taxes because they think they can spend your money better than you can.


THE PRESIDENT: We understand that when you have more of your own money in your pocket to save, invest, or spend, the whole economy benefits. (Applause.) But you didn't expect people to go off to Washington and just philosophize. You expected us to act, and that's what we have done. I have signed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. (Applause.) And Marilyn Musgrave is a strong supporter of lower taxes. (Applause.)

We cut the taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit. We cut taxes on small businesses. We cut taxes on -- we reduced the marriage penalty. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to encourage investment. And I want the farmers and ranchers to listen carefully -- we put the death tax on the road to extinction. We don't think you need to be taxed when you're living, and then when you die. (Applause.)

Oh, I'm sure you remember the debate in Washington, D.C. -- Democrats in Washington predicted that the tax cuts would not create jobs, would not increase wages, and that the tax cuts would cause the federal deficit to explode. Well, the facts are in. The truth is, the tax cuts have led to a strong and growing economy. (Applause.) And just yesterday, we got additional good news. The national unemployment rate is down to 4.4 percent. (Applause.) Our economy added 92,000 months [sic] last month, and over the past three months, America has added 470,000 new jobs. (Applause.)

The ag economy is strong in the United States. (Applause.) Real wages rose 2.4 percent over the past year. And thanks to our growing economy and being wise with your money, we cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.) Our economic policies are working. And if the Democrats' election predictions are as good as their economic predictions -- (laughter) -- next Tuesday is going to be a great day for Republicans. (Applause.)

It's important for people in this district and around the country to understand the Democrats are going to raise your taxes, but they don't want you to know it. (Laughter.) They asked the top Democrat leader in the House about tax cuts and she made an interesting statement. She said, we love tax cuts. But given her record, she must be a secret admirer. (Laughter.) See, she and her party voted against reducing the marriage penalty, voted against cutting taxes on small businesses, voted against lowering taxes for families with children, voted against reducing taxes on capital gains and dividends, voted against putting the death tax on the road to extinction. Time and time again, when she had her opportunity to show love, she voted no. (Laughter.) If that's their definition, I'd sure hate to see what hate looks like. (Applause.)

Let me explain to you how it works. Here's how it works. If these tax cuts we passed are not extended, or not made permanent, your taxes are going to go up.


THE PRESIDENT: In other words, if we don't have people in Congress who will join me in saying, let's make these tax cuts extend, or make them permanent, you'll be paying more taxes.

And so they asked the person who wishes that he would be the head of the tax writing committee, the lead Democrat, whether any of the tax cuts we passed should be extended, and the person said, not a one. In other words, what they're advocating without coming out and saying is, we're going to raise your taxes. And let me explain how it will work for you. If you have children, your child tax credit will go from $1,000 per child to $500 per child. So when you're sitting around the dinner table tonight, you count the number of heads you've got at the table with you, and then you multiply by $500 a child, the sum of which will be how much you're going to pay in increased taxes.

So just say you got three children -- one, two, three times $500 -- that's $1,500 additional taxes if the Democrats take over the House of Representatives. Somebody has got more than three children I bet in this crowd -- (applause.) Yes, how many you got? Got four children. There you go. Well, then you're going to go, one, two, three, four, times $500 -- that's a $2,000 tax increase. That may not seem like a lot to people in Washington, D.C., but it seems like a lot to me and Marilyn. And therefore, send her to the Congress and we'll keep your taxes low. (Applause.)

And the American people must understand the facts; if you vote Democrat you're voting for a tax increase. And if you're voting Republican you're voting for low taxes and a strong economy. (Applause.)

The election is taking place in an historic time for our country. And when the children and grandchildren look back at this period, one question will overwhelm all the rest: Did we do everything in our power to fight and win the war against the terrorists? I wish I could come to Greeley and report this war is over. It is not. There's still an enemy which desires to inflict harm on America. I live it every day. I understand what I am talking about. Our most important job in Washington is to protect you -- is to protect you from further attacks. (Applause.)

We face an enemy which has no conscience. They kill innocent people to achieve their objectives. They share an ideology, and it's an ideology that's foreign to the United States. It's an ideology that is the exact opposite of what we believe. We believe in basic freedoms. We believe in human dignity. We value human life. (Applause.) They use human life to achieve objectives. They don't believe in freedom. They are totalitarians, and they have a desire to spread their vision, their point of view throughout as much of the world as possible. And they recognize we stand in the way. And that's why they want to inflict damage on the United States of America. The best way to protect you is to find these enemies overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

Part of our strategy is to stay on the offense, and the other part of the strategy is to give our professionals the tools necessary to protect you here at home. So after the attacks I evaluated programs to determine what we could do better to do our most important job, and that is to protect you. One of the problems we had is that over time there was a wall that built up that prevented the intelligence community from sharing information with law enforcement. That didn't make any sense. You see, in this new kind of war we must understand what the enemy is thinking and what they're about to do, in order to protect you.

And so I asked the Congress to pass what we have called the Patriot Act, which makes it now possible for intelligence folks to give the information to law enforcement officials so they can do their jobs. Interestingly enough -- (applause) -- by far, the vast majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. And the reason I'm telling you this, it's important, if you have not made up your mind in this election, to understand there is a different mind-set between what Republicans and what you believe, and what Democrats in Washington believe.

See, they must not believe we're at war; otherwise, why wouldn't they have given them -- our intelligence folks and law enforcement folks the tools necessary to protect you? I've always believed that if the enemy, al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliate, is making a phone call from outside the United States to inside the United States, we must understand why, if our job is to protect you. (Applause.)

If we want to protect you, and somebody that we know wants to harm a fellow citizen is calling into somebody, it makes sense to understand why. Yet, when this program came up in front of the United States Congress, by far, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it. They must think it's okay to respond after we're attacked. I believe we've got to do everything to prevent the attacks in the first place. (Applause.)

We capture the enemy on the battlefield. Recently -- or not recently, a while ago, we picked up a fellow named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Our intelligence folks believe he's the man that masterminded the September the 11th attacks. And when they picked him up, I recognized it would be important to find out what he knew. See, if he ordered the first attack, he might know something about a further attack. And it makes sense, if our job is to protect you, to say to the CIA professionals, find out what he knows. It's a different kind of war. We must understand what the enemy is thinking in order to protect you. (Applause.)

So I sent this bill up to the United States Congress. By far, the vast majority of Democrats in both bodies voted against giving our professionals the tools necessary to protect you. There's just a different mind-set. If you want to be protected, you send Marilyn Musgrave back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

We are on the offense overseas. It's hard to plot and plan if you're on the run. It's hard to plot and plan if you're hiding. There's some fantastic people who have volunteered to serve your country, who are keeping the pressure on this enemy. (Applause.)

One of the lessons of September the 11th, a vital lesson of September the 11th, a lesson any President must always remember is that when we see a threat overseas, we have got take those threats seriously. You can't just hope for the best in a war against people who want to kill our citizens. And so when you see a threat, for the sake of our children, we must take those threats seriously.

I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. Members of the United States from both political parties saw the same threat. The United Nations saw the threat. My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision, and the world is better off for it. (Applause.)

We are in a global struggle. By global struggle, I mean we will find and face the enemy wherever we can. And we're on a multiple of fronts, the most important of which is Iraq. It is the central front in the war on terror. I have heard Democrats in Washington say Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror. What I'm describing to you over and over again, there is a different mind-set, and voters have got to understand when they're go into the polls, the difference of opinion. See, I know Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and so do our troops. But I want people to listen to the words of Osama bin Laden. If you have doubt about whether Iraq is important to this war on terror, listen to the words of the enemy. Osama bin Laden calls this fight the third world war. He went on to say, victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever. He understands the consequences.

But I want you to hear the words of a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives about her view. She said, "The President says fighting them there makes it less likely we will have to fight them here." I do say that, because I believe that. (Applause.) She went on to say, "The opposite is true. Because we are fighting them there, it may become more likely that we will have to fight them here." Iraq is not the reason why the terrorists are at war with us. You remind your citizens that we were not in Iraq when they attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they bombed our embassies in Kenya -- Tanzania and Kenya. We were not in Iraq when they attacked the USS Cole. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.)

You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. The best way to protect you is to stay on the offense and bring these people to justice before they can hurt us again. (Applause.)

Our goal in Iraq is victory. Victory means, a country which can sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself, and will be an ally in the war on terror. And this is tough fighting. I know it's tough fighting, and you know it's tough fighting. It's tough fighting because we face an enemy which is willing to kill innocent people in order to achieve an objective. See, they can't stand the thought of a young democracy succeeding in the midst of their plans to spread a totalitarian vision of darkness. And that's why you're seeing the struggle you're seeing.

And the enemy understands that if they put enough carnage on the TV screen that America will -- will be shaken. At least that's what they believe. And that's what you're seeing. And that's why a lot of our fellow citizens are justifiably concerned about Iraq. But what the enemy doesn't understand about this administration and millions of Americans is we're not going to run in the face of thugs and assassins. (Applause.)

Our goals have not changed; our tactics constantly change. I have given our commanders all the authority they need to keep adjusting to the tactics of this enemy. And we are. We're constantly altering the tactics. As the enemy changes, we change. And we've got a lot going for us. We've got a good strategy that's going to work, and we've got a fantastic United States military that deserves the full support of the United States. (Applause.)

Whether or not the people of this country agree with my decision, one thing they need to do is to honor and respect the volunteers who wear the uniform. (Applause.) And you don't have to worry about Marilyn Musgrave making sure our troops have all then need to do the jobs I've asked them to do. (Applause.)

Something else happening in Iraq. There are brave Iraqis who've endured unspeakable violence, and the reason they have is because they want to live in freedom. I was pleased at the outcome of their elections, but I wasn't surprised. I'll tell you why I wasn't surprised. I believe in the universality of freedom. I believe there's an Almighty, and one of the gifts of the Almighty to each man and woman and child on the face of the Earth is a desire to be free. (Applause.)

So our strategy is to help this young democracy survive. And we'll help them politically. The 12 million people -- nearly 12 million voted and said, we want to be free. I believe there will be a government of, by and for the people. They've got good resources, and we'll help them get their feet on the ground after years of tyranny. And we're going to help train -- continue to train Iraqi troops so they take the fight, so they're capable of defending this country. No doubt -- let me say to you, if you've got a relative in the military, I wouldn't have your loved one in the theater if I didn't think we'd win. (Applause.) I can't look at the mothers and fathers and husbands and wives of those who wear our uniform who may be in Iraq, and say, it's noble, but not think I can -- we can win the -- the only way we can win is if we leave before the job is -- I mean, the only way we can lose is if we leave before the job is done. That's the only way.

You know, it's an amazing debate here coming down the stretch. Iraq is vital to our security. Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. But I've been listening for the Democrat's plan for success. (Laughter.) There's national silence. (Laughter.) They have no plan for victory. You know, some of the leading Democrats say we ought to pull out now. Others suggest we ought to pull out at a specific date, even though we may not have done the job. One leading Democrat suggested we move our troops 5,000 miles away to an island. Nineteen House Democrats introduced legislation that would cut off funds for our troops.

It was an interesting observation last week by a Democrat Senator who explained her party's position this way: "We haven't coalesced around a single plan. But we're in general agreement on the basic principles." Well, she's right, they are in agreement on one thing: They will leave before the job is done.


THE PRESIDENT: I'm not saying these people are unpatriotic. I'm just saying they're wrong. (Applause.) On this vital issue, the Democrats have taken a calculated gamble. They believe that the only way they can win this election is to criticize and not offer a plan of their own. One senior Democrat describes their strategy, "Well, the election is all about them" -- that would be us. There's three days left in this election, and there's still time for them to explain to the American people what they intend to do. (Laughter.)

If you happen to bump into a Democratic candidate, you might want to ask them this simple question: What's your plan? They say they want to protect the homeland, but oppose the Patriot Act, ask them this question: What is your plan? If they say they want to uncover terrorist plots, but oppose listening in on terrorist conversations, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to stop new attacks on our country, but oppose letting the CIA detain and question the terrorists who might know what those plots are, ask them this question: What's your plan?

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: If they say they want to win the war on terror, but call for America to pull out from what al Qaeda says is the central front on that war, ask them this question: What's your plan?

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, they don't have a plan. (Laughter.) I want the people of this district and around the country to understand harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. (Applause.) Second-guessing is not a strategy. You can't win a war if you don't think we're in a war. We have a plan for victory. And part of that plan is making sure we got people in the Congress who understands the stakes. Vote for Marilyn Musgrave. (Applause.)

Retreat from Iraq would embolden the enemy and would make this country less secure. This is a different kind of war. I know I said it once, I'm going to keep saying it, because it's important for people to adjust their thinking about the stakes. In this war, if we were to leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here. Leaving Iraq before the job is done would provide a tremendous victory for the extremists and radicals. It would enable them to further recruit. Leaving before the job is done would dash the hopes of the millions and millions of people in the Middle East who long for a peaceful life and who reject the extremists and the radicals. And leaving before the job is done would dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. (Applause.)

The consequences of retreat from Iraq would be felt for generations. The enemy has made it clear that, one, they believe we'll leave because if the fighting stays tough, that we don't have the stomach for it; and they want us to leave because they want to, one, establish a safe haven, just like they had in Afghanistan. And the reason they want a safe haven is so they have a place from which to launch further attacks.

Secondly, they have an objective -- by the way, this is all their words. I'm just telling you what they say. Secondly, they want to topple moderate governments. It's part of their desire to spread their caliphate, their governing -- their governing regime across as much of the world as they can.

Thirdly, you can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources. And then you can imagine them saying, we're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up, unless you do the following. And the following would be along the lines, well, retreat and let us continue to expand our dark vision, or it would be, give up your alliance with Israel because part of our objective is to destroy your ally.


THE PRESIDENT: In other words, they would use energy as economic blackmail. And then you can compound that further by a nation which doesn't like us, at this point in history, with a nuclear weapon. And 30 years from now, or so, people will look back and say, what happened in 2006? They'll look back at this period and say, what went wrong with our leaders? How come their vision was clouded to the point where they could not see impending danger for young Americans growing up?

Well, I want to assure you, I clearly see the danger. I understand the consequences of retreat. That's why we'll support our troops. That's why we'll fight in Iraq, and that's why we'll win in Iraq. (Applause.)

I have been sharing this story with our fellow citizens all around the country because I want people to pay attention to the power of liberty to help us defeat this ideology of hate. You might remember Laura and I had the honor of taking then sitting Prime Minister of Japan Koizumi to Elvis's place. (Laughter.) Memphis, Tennessee. (Laughter.) People said, why did you go down there? Well, I'd never been. (Laughter.) Secondly, the Prime Minister of Japan -- he was the then sitting Prime Minister, he's since been replaced -- loved Elvis. So I thought it would be fun to take him down there. But I wanted to tell the story -- the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, and millions of Americans volunteered to fight against the enemy. By the way, the same thing is happening today. We got kids -- men and women volunteering to fight the enemy. One of those people was my dad, and I'm certain some of your relatives did the same thing. They said, we're under attack; we're now going to go do everything we can to defeat the sworn enemy.

And it was a bloody war, and thousands of people lost their lives. And here I am on Air Force One flying down to Memphis, Tennessee, with the Prime Minister of the former enemy, talking about keeping the peace. We were talking about how we can work together to convince the leader in North Korea to give up his nuclear weapons. We were talking about the fact that Japan had a thousand troops in Iraq. See, the Prime Minister and I know that when you find a young democracy that is willing to fight off extremists and radicals, we have a duty, those of us who are free have a duty to support those young democracies. We're in an ideological struggle between extremists who cannot stand liberty and millions who want to live free.

We talked about the need for to whom much is given, much is required, and we'll continue to save lives on places like the continent of Africa by battling HIV/AIDS. We talked about our obligations in the world to make it more peaceful.

I find it interesting that my dad fought the Japanese, and his son is working to keep the peace with the Japanese. Something happened after World War II. (Applause.) Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. And the lesson is liberty has got the capacity to convert an enemy into an ally. Liberty is powerful. Liberty has got the capacity to change regions of hopelessness and despair, the type of thing that the extremists exploit to achieve their dark vision -- it has the capacity to change regions to hope and optimism.

Some day, some day, elected leaders from the Middle East will be sitting down with an American President talking about keeping the peace. And a generation of Americans will be better off for it. (Applause.)

And I thank you for giving me a chance to share with you the important issues facing our electorate. And these are fundamental issues, and they're important issues that will determine how you live and the world in which your children grow up. See, if you think health care decisions should remain in the hands of bureaucrats and insurance companies, then you ought to just vote for the Democrats. If you believe you and your doctor should control your health care decisions, vote Republican. (Applause.)

If you think trial lawyers should be allowed to continue driving out good doctors and honest job creators, vote Democrat. If you believe that we should rein in the trial lawyers and protect our physicians and small business owners from junk lawsuits, support the Republicans. (Applause.) If you think activist judges should be allowed to redefine our country and issue new laws from the bench, vote Democrat. If you believe that the role of the judge is to strictly interpret the Constitution and leave legislating to legislators, vote Republican. (Applause.)

If you think your family budget can afford more taxes, you vote Democrat. If you believe you pay more than enough in taxes, and you would rather invest your money, and save your money, and spend your money the way you see fit, vote Republican. (Applause.)

And if you think the way to best protect America and win the war against these terrorists is to simply criticize and offer no plan, vote Democrat. But if you believe the way to win the war on terror and to protect the United States is to stay on the offense, and to work hard to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come, you vote Marilyn Musgrave back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

I'm proud to be with you. Go from this hall and turn out the vote. (Applause.) Find your friends and neighbors and get them to the polls. And come Election Day, we'll have a great victory, and the country will be better off for it.

God bless. May God bless America. (Applause.)



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