Defending the War
July 9, 2004
Thank you all. (Applause.)
I'm honored you're here. We've had a fantastic day in the
great state of Pennsylvania. (Applause.) See my little
bus there? We've been traveling the back roads of this
great state. It's so beautiful. All kinds of people came
out to say hello. And what a great place to end a great
trip, in York, Pennsylvania. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)
You probably know this, but for nine months in 1777 and
1778, York was the capital of the United States. (Applause.)
Today, York is the capital of Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
I want to thank all my fellow Republicans, I want to thank
the discerning Democrats and wise independents who are
here today. (Applause.) I'm proud you're here. I'm here
to let you know that I have the desire, the drive and the
vision to lead this nation for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more
THE PRESIDENT: I'm back in this important state to ask
for the vote. (Applause.) And I'm here in this crowd to
ask for your help. Register your friends and neighbors.
Work those phones, put up the signs. If you want to help,
go on to GeorgeWBush.com on the Internet. You can find
out how to sign up to help. I'm counting on you. And together
we will win a great victory in Pennsylvania, and a great
victory across this nation on November the 2nd. (Applause.)
You know how many people running for President would love
to have Joe Paterno introduce him in Pennsylvania? (Applause.)
Everybody who has ever run for President wants Joe Paterno
to introduce him. (Laughter.) But in the year 2004, there's
only one. (Applause.) And I'm honored it's me. (Applause.)
I want to thank you, Joe. Thank you very much for being
here. I'm proud of the example you set. You're a fine,
fine, fine American. And you raised a fine son in Scott.
We need to send him to the United States Congress -- Scott
I regret that Laura is not here. I'm going to give you
all kinds of reasons to send me back to Washington today,
but probably the most important one is so that Laura is
the First Lady for four more years. (Applause.) I'm really
proud of her. She's a fantastic, fantastic woman. I love
her dearly. We talked to her on the phone on the bus --
she sent her best. And in her stead, traveling with me
today is a new graduate from the University of Texas, one
of my great daughters, Jenna Bush. (Applause.) Made it
through in four years, I want you to know.
Proud to be here on stage and traveling today with a fine
United States Senator, Senator Rick Santorum. (Applause.)
What a fine job Congressman Todd Platts is doing for the
people of this area. (Applause.) Where's your mother? There's
mom, right there. She made me some fudge. (Laughter.) I'm
going to run all day -- well, I'm going to bike all day
tomorrow. (Laughter.) Thanks for the fudge, I actually
I appreciate Jerry Pappert, the Attorney General from
the great state of Pennsylvania, who joined us today. Thanks
for coming, General. (Applause.) State Senator Jeff Piccola
is with us. I know other members of the statehouse are
here. Thank you all for coming. I'm proud you're here.
Turn out the vote. Make sure you spend enough time in your
district to get the vote out.
I want to thank state Senator Charlie Dent. He's running
for the Congress up the road here. He's going to make a
fine United States congressman. Charlie, thanks for coming.
(Applause.) I know we've got other candidates here, and
I want to thank you for running. I appreciate my friend,
Alan Novak, the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican
Party. He's representing the grassroots activists who are
A grassroots activist is somebody who is getting ready
to turn out the vote. And for those of you who are going
to do that, thanks a lot. It really means a lot. It's important.
The stakes are high in this election. Just like you're
counting on me, I'm counting on you. (Applause.)
I love the Oak Ridge Boys. (Applause.) Every time I see
them, they say, we're your friend, you can count on us.
And sure enough, every time I've counted on them they have
been there. I am honored to have you here. (Applause.)
Thanks for coming.
I want to thank the Matt Goss Band, as well. Thank you
for coming. (Applause.) Ethel Berdall (phonetic) is with
us. She is 101 years young. (Applause.) Hi, Ethel. I'm
proud to have your support. (Applause.) Thanks for coming.
The last three and a half years have brought serious challenges.
We have given serious answers. We came to office with a
stock market in decline and an economy heading into a recession.
But we acted. We led. We delivered historic tax relief,
and over the past three years, America has had the fastest
growing economy in the industrialized world. (Applause.)
There were corporate crimes in America recently, people
who forgot what it means to a responsible citizen. We acted.
We passed tough corporate reforms. We're bringing wrongdoers
to account. It is now clear that we will not tolerate dishonesty
in the boardrooms of America. (Applause.)
We saw war and grief arrive on a quiet September morning.
We acted. I have led. We pursued the terrorist enemy across
the world. We have captured or killed many key leaders
of the al-Qaida network. We will stay -- (applause.) We
will stay on the hunt until justice is served and America
is safe from attack. (Applause.)
We confronted the dangers of state-sponsored terror, and
the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We acted against
two of the most violent and dangerous regimes on Earth.
We have liberated over 50 million people. (Applause.) America
is safer because of our actions. The world is better off;
America is once again proud to lead the armies of liberation.
When the Vice President -- and oh, am I running with a
fine man in Dick Cheney -- (applause) -- when he and I
came to Washington, the military -- remember back three-and-a-half
years ago -- the military was underfunded and underappreciated.
We gave our Armed Forces the resources and respect they
deserve. (Applause.) And today, no friend or foe can question
the skill, the strength, and the spirit of the United States
It is the President's job -- it is the President's job
to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents
and future generations. (Applause.) It is the President's
job to make hard decisions, to keep his commitments. That
is how I have led our country, and that is how I will continue
to lead our country for four more years. (Applause.)
I'm ready for the contest. I'm ready for the contest.
(Applause.) I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be
a tough race, make no mistake about it. That's why I'm
traveling stop to stop on this great bus. I take nothing
for granted. After all, I'm running against an experienced
United States Senator from Massachusetts.
THE PRESIDENT: He's been there a long, long time. He's
been there long enough to take both sides on just about
every issue. (Applause.) He voted for the Patriot Act,
for NAFTA, for the No Child Left Behind Act, and for the
use of force in Iraq. Now he opposes the Patriot Act, NAFTA,
the No Child Left Behind Act, and the liberation of Iraq.
If you disagree with the Senator from Massachusetts on
most any issue, you may just have caught him on the wrong
And now, just last weekend, he even tried to claim he
was the candidate with conservative values. (Laughter.)
I know -- I know, but I'm quoting his own words. Believe
it or not, that's what he said. (Laughter.) It's hard to
square that statement with his previous statement when
he said, "I'm a liberal and proud of it." On
issue after issue, from funding our troops who are on the
battlefield, to involving parents in important decisions
of their minor daughters, to supporting faith-based and
community organizations that are helping those in need,
the Senator is out of step with the mainstream values that
are so important to our country. (Applause.)
My opponent now has a running mate. I look forward to
a spirited debate. Senator Kerry is rated as the most liberal
member of the Senate, and he chose a fellow lawyer who
is the fourth most liberal member of the Senate. Back in
Massachusetts, that's what they call balancing the ticket.
Great events will turn on this election. The person who
sits in the Oval Office will set the course of the war
on terror, and the direction of our economy. I have a clear
vision to win the war on terror, and to extend peace and
freedom throughout the world. I'm asking for your vote
because I have a plan and a strategy to create more jobs,
so every single citizen has a chance to realize the great
promise of America. I'm seeking the vote to rally the compassionate
spirit of this country so every citizen can realize their
full, God-given potential. (Applause.) I will be clear
on where I stand and I'll be certain about where I'm going
to take this nation. (Applause.) When America gives me
four more years, America will be safer, stronger, and better.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more
THE PRESIDENT: A big issue for every family in America
is the tax burden. By providing the largest federal tax
relief since Ronald Reagan was the President -- (applause)
-- we have left more money in the hands that earned it.
(Applause.) By spending and investing and helping create
new jobs, the American people have used their money far
better than the federal government could have. (Applause.)
Our economy is strong and it is growing stronger. (Applause.)
Since last summer, our economy is outpacing the entire
world by growing at its fastest rate in nearly 20 years.
(Applause.) In less than a year's time, we've added more
than 1.5 million new jobs. (Applause.) In this state, in
the great state of Pennsylvania, you've added 44,000 new
jobs since February. (Applause.) The unemployment rate
in this state is at 5.1 percent, below the national average.
Across the country, the manufacturing sector is growing
stronger. Homeownership rate is at an all-time high. (Applause.)
Interest rates are low; business investment is growing;
consumer confidence is at a two-year high; personal incomes
are on the rise. The economy is moving into high gear.
The tax relief we passed is working. (Applause.)
My opponents look at all this progress and somehow conclude
the sky is falling. But whether their mission is -- whether
their message is delivered with a frown or a smile, it's
the same old pessimism. And to cheer us up, they propose
higher taxes, more federal spending, and economic isolationism.
That's the surest way to end economic growth and to put
Americans out of work. This nation is on the path of progress,
and we're not turning back. (Applause.)
To sustain economic growth, we need to keep your taxes
low. (Applause.) Higher taxes right now would undermine
growth and destroy jobs. To help grow the American economy
and create more jobs for American workers, I have a better
idea. Congress needs to make the tax relief permanent,
and not raise taxes on the American people. (Applause.)
To make sure this economy continues to grow we've got
to be wise about how we spend the money you send to Washington.
That's why we need discipline -- spending discipline --
in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) And spending discipline
starts with understanding whose money we spend. We're not
spending the governor's -- government's money in Washington,
D.C., we're spending the people's money in Washington,
I not only want us to grow next year, but I want us to
keep growing in the out-years. So I've got a plan to do
so. First, we've got to stop these frivolous and junk lawsuits.
(Applause.) You cannot be pro-small business and pro-trial
lawyer at the same time. (Applause.) You have to choose.
My opponent has made his choice, and he put him on the
ticket. (Applause.) I have made my choice. I will continue
to push Congress to reform tort laws and end frivolous
and junk lawsuits. (Applause.)
And that includes medical liability reform. (Applause.)
Small businesses make it difficult -- it's very difficult
for small businesses to hire new people, because their
health care premiums are going up. And one of the reasons
why is because there's too many junk lawsuits suing the
docs around this country and in this state. (Applause.)
We need energy legislation, common-sense energy legislation
if we want our economy to continue to grow. A couple of
years ago, I submitted a plan to the United States Congress
that encourages conservation, that modernizes our electricity
grid, but also says that we need to use the resources we
have at hand in environmentally-friendly ways. We need
to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
We need to be opening up markets for Pennsylvania entrepreneurs
and farmers and ranchers. Listen, I know we've got some
farmers here. (Applause.) You're making a good living these
days, and one of the reasons why is because we're selling
Pennsylvania farm products all around the world. (Applause.)
We need to be opening up markets. Our market is open; let's
get other countries to open up theirs. Give us a level
playing field, and America can compete with anybody, anyplace,
anywhere, anytime. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Angry talk, and class warfare rhetoric,
and economic isolationism won't get anybody hired. That's
not a plan for the future. The best way to make sure our
people find work and keep work is to reelect a pro-growth,
pro-entrepreneur, pro-small business, pro-farmer President,
George W. Bush. (Applause.)
America's future also depends on our willingness to lead
in the world. The momentum of freedom in our time is strong,
but we still face serious dangers. Al Qaeda is wounded
but not broken. (Applause.) Terrorists continue to attack
in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regimes in North Korea and Iran
are challenging the peace. If America shows weakness or
uncertainty in this decade, the world will drift toward
tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.)
As in other times, many Americans are serving and sacrificing
to keep this country safe and to bring freedom to others.
And we thank them for their sacrifice. We mourn the dead
and vow never to forget their sacrifice. (Applause.) I
thank the families, the wives and the husbands, the moms
and the dads, and the sons and daughters of those whose
loved one is overseas serving our nation. We stand with
your loved one. America honors their service. (Applause.)
They serve because after the attacks of September the
11th, 2001, this nation resolved to fight the terrorists
where they dwell. We resolved to hold regimes that hide
and sponsor terrorists to account. Afghanistan was a terror
state, provided safe haven for al Qaeda. They trained and
plotted and planned there. Because we acted, America is
more secure, the training camps no longer exist, Afghanistan
is a rising democracy. Young girls go to school for the
first time in their lives. And they're an ally -- Afghanistan
is an ally in the war on terror. (Applause.)
Iraq only last year was controlled by a dictator who threatened
the civilized world. He had used weapons of mass destruction
on his own people. For decades he tortured and tormented
the people of Iraq. We must never forget the mass graves
of the thousands he murdered. Because we acted, America
is more secure. Because we acted, Iraq is free and a sovereign
nation. (Applause.) And because we acted, the dictator
is now in a prison cell and will receive the justice he
denied so many for so long. (Applause.)
We must never forget the lessons of September the 11th.
It's a lesson -- there are many lessons, but I want to
share one with you that we -- I will never forget, and
I hope this country never does: America must confront threats
before they fully materialize. (Applause.) When we see
a threat, we just can't hope for the best anymore. That's
the lesson of September the 11th. And we must never forget
the lesson. My administration looked at intelligence, and
we remembered the past of Saddam. We remembered he used
weapons on his own people. And then we looked at further
intelligence, and we saw a threat. The members of the United
States Congress from both political parties looked at the
very same intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United
Nations -- the United Nations looked at the intelligence
and it saw a threat.
Remember I went to the United Nations. I said, for too
long you have said the man is a threat and he has ignored
you. And so we went to the United Nations and he -- and
demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons
programs. That's what the United Nations said. And as he
had for over a decade, he ignored the ultimatums of the
free world. He said, your resolutions don't matter to me.
I happen to believe that when you say something, you better
mean it. (Applause.) Well, we said -- we, being the free
world out of the United Nations Security Council -- said,
disclose your weapons, disarm, or face serious consequences.
That's what was said. And he denied, he deceived, he wasn't
about to listen to the demands. So I had a choice to make.
Either take the word of a madman, or defend America. Given
that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Although we haven't found stockpiles of
weapons, I believe we were right to go into Iraq. (Applause.)
And America is safer today because we did. (Applause.)
We removed a declared enemy of America who had the capability
of producing weapons of mass destruction and could have
passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring
them. In the world after September the 11th, that was a
risk we could not afford to take. (Applause.)
We've got tough work to do. We've got hard work to do
in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our immediate task in those countries
is to capture or kill the terrorists and foreign fighters.
(Applause.) Every terrorist we deal with abroad is one
who will never do harm to an innocent American or anyone
else. (Applause.) You can't talk sense to these people.
You can't negotiate with these people. They're cold-blooded.
They are -- they've hijacked a great religion. They're
not religious people. You cannot sit back and hope for
the best. We must engage these people in Afghanistan, Iraq,
and around the world, so we do not have to face them here
at home. (Applause.) And that's exactly what I will do
during the next four years. (Applause.)
My most solemn duty -- my most solemn duty is the security
of American families. (Applause.) It's my solemn obligation.
There is no such thing as perfect security. The threats
to our homeland are real. We know the terrorists want to
strike us again because they want to spread fear and disrupt
our way of life. We've reorganized our government to protect
the homeland. I put a good man in there to run that organization.
(Applause.) You trained him well. Tom Ridge is doing a
great job. (Applause.) A lot of people are working hard
on our behalf, your behalf, a lot of good people.
I want to thank the police and firefighters and emergency
teams from York, Pennsylvania, for standing on the front
lines of homeland security. (Applause.)
We're defending our homeland, we will defeat the terrorists
abroad. Yet, in the long run, our safety and the safety
of our children and grandchildren requires something more.
We must work to change the conditions that give rise to
terror in the Middle East -- the poverty, the hopelessness,
and the resentments that terrorists can exploit. Life in
that region will be far more hopeful and peaceful when
men and women can choose their leaders and the people can
decide their own future.
By serving the ideal of liberty, we are bringing hope
to others, and that makes America more secure. (Applause.)
By serving the ideal of liberty, we also serve the deepest
ideals of our country. We know that freedom is not America's
gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to
each man and woman in this world. (Applause.)
Because we have taken this fight to the enemy, because
freedom is rising in places they claim as their own, the
terrorists are increasingly desperate. They know their
cause is failing. They know that time is against them.
And their only chance is to shake the resolve of America
and Iraq and anyone else who loves freedom. So their actions
have grown even more cruel and sadistic. They cover their
faces in videos of their crimes. But those hoods cannot
hide the face of evil. (Applause.) We've seen their kind
before, in death camps and gulags. And as before, America
will persevere, we will fear no evil, and we will prevail.
Our men and women in the military are keeping America
more secure. They're taking great risks on our behalf.
At bases across the country and around the world, I have
had the privilege, the high privilege, of meeting with
those who defend our country and sacrifice for our security.
I've seen their decency and their unselfish courage. And
I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, the cause of freedom
is in good hands. (Applause.)
And when we put our soldiers in harm's way, they deserve
the very best. They deserve the full commitment of the
federal government. That's why I proposed supplemental
funding to support our military in its mission. This legislation
provided for body armor and vital equipment, for hazard
pay, for health benefits, ammunition, fuel, and spare parts
for the military. (Applause.)
In the Senate, only a small, out-of-the-mainstream minority
voted against the legislation -- and two of those 12 senators
are my opponent and his running mate.
THE PRESIDENT: When asked to explain his vote, the Senator
from Massachusetts said this: "I actually did vote
for the $87 billion before I voted against it." End
quote. That sure clears things up. (Laughter.) The American
President must speak clearly and mean what he says. (Applause.)
America is leading the world with confidence and moral
clarity. We have a strong coalition of more than 30 countries
in Iraq. I will continue to build on our alliances and
to work with our friends for the cause of security and
peace. But I will never turn over America's national security
decisions to leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
This nation is prosperous and strong, yet we need to remember
that our greatest strength is in the hearts and souls of
our the American citizens. We're strong because of the
values we try to live by -- courage and compassion, reverence
and integrity. We're strong because of the institutions
that help give us direction and purpose -- our families
and our schools, our religious congregations. These values
and institutions are fundamental to our lives. They deserve
the respect of the government. (Applause.)
We stand for good public schools by insisting on high
standards, local control, and strong accountability measures.
(Applause.) We stand for fair treatment of faith-based
groups, so they can receive federal support for their works
of compassion and healing. (Applause.) We stand for welfare
reforms that require work and strengthen marriage, which
have helped millions of Americans find independence and
dignity. (Applause.) We stand for a culture of life in
which every person matters and every person counts. (Applause.)
We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which
are the foundations of our society. (Applause.) We stand
for judges who strictly and faithfully interpret the law.
We stand for a culture of responsibility in our country.
The culture of America is changing from one that has said,
if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame
somebody else, to a culture in which each of us understands
we are responsible for the decisions we make in life. (Applause.)
If you're fortunate enough to be a mother or a dad, you
are responsible for loving your child with all your heart
and all your soul. If you're worried about the quality
of the education in the community in which you live, you're
responsible for supporting the teachers and the schools.
(Applause.) If you're a CEO in corporate America, you're
responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders
and your employees. (Applause.) And in this new responsibility
society, each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor
just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. (Applause.)
For all Americans, these years in our history will always
stand apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation,
when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one
of those times. You and I are living in a period when the
stakes are high, and the challenges are difficult -- a
time when resolve is needed. (Applause.)
None of us will ever forget that week when one era ended
and another began. On September the 14th, 2001, I stood
in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I'll never forget that
day. There were workers in hard-hats shouting at me, "Whatever
it takes!" I remember looking in the eyes of those
firefighters and policemen -- and a guy looked at me and
said, "Don't ever let me down." (Applause.)
As we all did that day, these men and women searching
through the rubble took it personally. I took it personally.
I have a responsibility that goes on. I will never relent
in bringing justice to our enemies. I will defend the security
of America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
In these times I've also been a witness to the character
of this nation. I've seen the unselfish courage of our
troops. I've seen the heroism of Americans in the face
of danger. I've seen the spirit of service and compassion
renewed in our country. We've all seen our nation unite
in common purpose when it mattered most.
We'll need all these qualities for the work ahead. We
have a war to win, and the world is counting on us to lead
the cause of freedom and peace. We have a duty to spread
opportunity to every part of America. We will make America
safer, stronger, and better. This is the work that history
has set before us. We welcome it. And we know that for
our blessed country, the best days lie ahead.
God bless. Thank you all. (Applause.)
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