at Terrell for Senate and Louisiana Republican Party Luncheon
The Fairmont Hotel
New Orleans, Louisiana
December 3, 2002
1:10 P.M. CST
Nice to be back in New Orleans, home of a new basketball team, home of a winning
football team, and in the state of the next United States senator, Suzie Terrell.
I'm thrilled to be here amongst a lot of our friends. It seems I've been coming
to New Orleans for a long time. (Laughter.) What a fabulous town. I'm honored
to be here on behalf of a great candidate, somebody who represents the values
of Louisiana; somebody who has got a record of accomplishment; somebody who
is not afraid to speak her mind to the President of the United States. (Laughter.)
But somebody who I know will do a great job on behalf of all of Louisiana. (Applause.)
I'm here to thank you for your support. I'm here to remind the good folks of
Louisiana they have a duty to go to the polls on Saturday. In the land of the
free, you have an obligation to defend freedom by being a part of our democracy.
I don't care whether you're Republican, or Democrat, or don't give a hoot about
a political party, you have an obligation in this country to vote. But I've
got a suggestion. (Laughter.) For the good of Louisiana, and for the good of
America, Suzie Terrell needs to be the next United States senator. (Applause.)
She's got a lot going for her. First of all, she's a mother of three fabulous
young girls. There they are -- Julie, Bebe and Chrissy. Anybody who can raise
three teenage girls -- (laughter) -- you know what I mean. (Laughter.)
I appreciate her willingness to serve the people, willingness to take the path
that a lot of people won't take, and that is offer herself up for office. And
she's done a great job in the office that she held. After all, you might remember
that the election commissioner's office needed a little house-cleaning, needed
to have the integrity restored, and Suzie Terrell did it. She saves the taxpayers
I need an ally up there who understands when it comes to spending what they
call the government's money, the government doesn't own that money. It's not
the government's money that we spend; it's the people's money. (Applause.)
And she's going to have some good hands to work with in the United States Congress
from the great state of Louisiana, starting with the chairman, Billy Tauzin.
(Applause.) I love working with Billy. He brings good common sense to the halls
of the United States Congress. And I like working with David Vitter from right
here in the New Orleans area. David, thank you for being here. (Applause.) And
Jim McCrery is with us today, and I appreciate your hard work, Jim. Thanks for
coming. (Applause.) And Richard Baker is with us. Where are you, Richard? Baton
Rouge. Good to see you, Richard. (Applause.)
I so very much appreciate being here with your Governor. He, too, gives the
President an earful. (Laughter and applause.) He's not the prettiest governor
in America. (Laughter.) But he's one of the most effective. He's done a heck
of a job for the people of Louisiana. (Applause.)
And I know we've got another governor here with us -- celebrating the Louisiana
Purchase, which I'm sure the people of Louisiana agree with me, is a heck of
a deal. (Laughter.) But Frank Keating from Oklahoma, is here today, as well.
Frank, I appreciate you coming. Yes, sir. (Applause.) He probably wants to talk
about the OU-Texas game. (Laughter.)
I'm honored to be up here with Pat Brister and Boysie Bollinger, both of whom
are good friends, and both of whom represent the grassroots activists in the
state of Louisiana. I'm here to remind you all that -- I want to thank you for
what you have done and what you are going to do over the next couple of days,
and that is to gather up your buddies and get them to vote; is to man the phones
and put up the signs and grab people by the wrists and say, you owe it to Louisiana
to vote for Suzie Terrell for the United States Senate. (Applause.)
I like Suzie's attitude and her tone, the way she wants to go to Washington
to get some things done, and we need more of that in Washington, D.C. Sometimes,
Washington is one of these towns where the person -- people who think they've
got the sharp elbow is the most effective person. Kind of zero sum politics
in Washington, I win, you lose -- that's not the right attitude for the American
people. We need a United States senator from Louisiana whose mission it is to
improve the lives as best we can of all our citizens. And we're making some
progress in Washington.
Slowly, but surely, we're changing the tone and getting things done on behalf
of the American people. This week, last couple of weeks, I signed some important
legislation. I signed the Department of Homeland Security, which will better
enable our federal government to plan and to protect the American people from
further attack. And I want to thank the members of the Senate and the House
who finally came together to get that legislation done.
And I signed a bill on terrorism insurance. It's a bill that will get our hard-hats
back working again, a bill that should make it easier for big construction projects
to get started so that a lot of hardworking Americans can find work. By the
way, a bill which is more favorable to the hard-hats than to the trial lawyers
in America. (Applause.) It's a good piece of legislation that shows what can
happen when people come together to get the people's business done.
Yesterday at the Pentagon, I signed the Defense Authorization bill, fulfilling
a promise that I made -- Dick Cheney and I made -- that said that we're going
to do everything we can to make sure we've got the strongest military in the
world. A strong military makes it more likely the world is going to be peaceful.
We not only had pay raises for our folks, I can say to those whose families
serve in the service, you're going to have the best training and the best possible
equipment when you put on the uniform of the U.S. military. (Applause.)
We're making good progress, but there's a lot of work to be done. And I look
forward to working with Senator Terrell -- (applause.) We did some good things
in education, but there's more to do. So long as any child can't read we've
got a problem in America. As a matter of fact, the new civil right is to make
sure every child can read in America. I look forward to working with a Senator
Terrell -- (applause) -- to make sure we maintain the highest of high standards,
to challenge what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations.
I look forward to working with Senator Terrell to make sure that we continually
pass power out of Washington, D.C., because we believe in local control of schools.
I look forward to working with Senator Terrell to make sure that in return for
federal money, that we know whether or not our children can read and write and
add and subtract. In order to make sure no child gets left behind, we must challenge
schools which will not teach and will not change. And I'm confident I have an
ally in Senator Suzie Terrell. (Applause.)
We need a senator who can help break logjams in the United States Senate, particularly
when it comes to getting us a good energy bill. I see Billy nodding his head
-- he's been working on an energy bill. He agrees with me, in this world we
need an energy strategy. Face it, we import a lot of energy from overseas. Some
of the people we import from don't exactly like us. (Laughter.) We need an energy
plan that encourages conservation and new technologies. We need an energy plan
that encourages the development of safe nuclear power. We need an energy plan
that encourages clean-coal technologies. We need an energy plan that encourages
environmentally safe exploration for hydrocarbons in the United States of America.
I look forward to working with Senator Terrell to modernize Medicare. Medicare
is an aged system which is not adapting to the times. Medicine has changed,
but Medicare hasn't. Medicine is modern. There's all kinds of new technologies
and prescription drugs which can save lives. But Medicare is stuck in the past.
I want to work with Senator Terrell to see to it that we modernize Medicare,
making sure we fulfill our promises to our seniors. And a modern Medicare system
means prescription drug coverage for our seniors. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with Senator Terrell to make sure the environment
for the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. We understand the role of government
is not to create wealth; the role of government is to create an environment
in which the entrepreneur can flourish, in which small businesses can grow to
be big businesses. And one way the federal government can affect job growth
is to let people keep more of their own money, is through tax relief. (Applause.)
Tax relief is not a political slogan, it's good economic policy. If a person
has more of their own money, they're likely to demand an additional good or
a service. And in the marketplace when somebody demands a good or a service,
somebody is likely to produce the good or a service. And when somebody produces
the good or a service, somebody in Louisiana or elsewhere in America is going
to be able to find work. We passed tax relief at the right time in American
economic history, and now I need a senator to join me in making sure that tax
relief is permanent. (Applause.) And there is no question where Suzie Terrell
stands on tax relief.
And I need somebody to work with me to make sure that we've got a good judiciary.
(Applause.) It's amazing what an election will do. (Laughter.) For a long period
of time, I couldn't get my judges even to have hearings. There's a vacancy gap
on our federal bench -- benches -- and that's a problem. It's a problem for
people who need to have a hearing. It's a problem for people who want justice.
And I couldn't get my judges through the Senate because they were playing politics
with the people I put up. Good, honorable, decent people; people whose job it
is not to try to write legislation from the bench; people whose job it is to
strictly interpret the United States Constitution. Those are the kind of people
I put on the bench. (Applause.)
And Louisiana needs a senator who will vote for Louisiana values when it comes
to the judiciary. And there's no question in my mind that when it comes to having
a good, sound judiciary, the right United States senator is Suzie Terrell from
the state of Louisiana. (Applause.)
No, there's a lot of issues we'll be working on, but there's no bigger issue
than to win this war against the terrorists. I talked about the homeland security
bill I signed, and you just need to know there's a lot of good folks working
overtime to protect the American homeland. But the best way to secure the homeland
is to chase the killers down, one at a time, and bring them to justice. (Applause.)
And that's what we're going to do.
It's a different kind of war. In the old days, you could destroy tanks and ships
and airplanes, and say you're making progress. This is a different kind of enemy.
It's an enemy that hides in caves and sends youngsters to their suicidal deaths.
These people do not value innocent life. In America, we say every life is precious,
everybody has value, everybody counts. Our enemy we face today murders in the
name of a great religion, and they could care less who dies. They're nothing
but cold-blooded killers, and we're going to treat them that way.
It doesn't matter how long it takes, it doesn't matter how deep the cave, the
United States of America and our friends and allies will hunt them down, one
by one, in the name of freedom. (Applause.)
I cannot imagine what was going through their mind when they hit America. They
must have thought we were so soft, so weak, so fragile that after 9/11, 2001,
we might file a lawsuit or two. (Laughter.) But they're learning something about
America that I know, that when it comes to our freedoms, when it comes to the
values we hold dear, this United States of America is plenty tough. And that's
the way we got to be in this new are of the 21st century.
And we're making progress. You just need to know we're making good progress.
After all, this great nation and our friends liberated a country from one of
the most barbaric regimes in the history of mankind, by routing the Taliban.
We went into Afghanistan not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people. And
now, thanks to our great country and our great soldiers and our wonderful friends,
young girls -- many young girls go to school for the first time in a country
that has been liberated by the American people. (Applause.)
And we've got more work to do there. And we'll stay there until we rout them
out. See, they think they can kind of hide in the countryside there in Afghanistan,
and they may be able to hide for a day or two. They may be able to hide for
a year. But it doesn't matter how long. See, that's what you just have to know.
It just doesn't matter how long, we're going to stay on the hunt. These people
are scattered in 60 different countries. They're scattered around, and slowly
but surely, we're dismantling their terrorist network.
Slowly but surely. The guy who led the USS -- the bombing, mastermind the bombing
on the USS Cole, he was the al Qaeda general for the Gulf states. He's not a
problem anymore. (Laughter and applause.) One by one, we're bringing them to
justice. That's what we've been called to do. History has put this big spotlight
on us, and we're not going to let future generations of Americans down.
And that's why I was so proud to sign this defense appropriation authorization
bill. The big increases in defense spending sent a clear message to the world,
we're in this deal for the long pull. And we've also got to recognize here in
America times have changed. See, when a lot of us were growing up, we could
feel pretty secure by the fact that we had two oceans surrounding us and protecting
us from dangers that might be gathering abroad. September 11th, 2001, completely
changed the strategic calculations of this country. The battlefield is here.
And, therefore, it's incumbent on the President and the Congress to work together
to anticipate gathering dangers before they become acute, before the situation
becomes so dire that drastic measures might be needed.
It's very important for us to recognize threats when we see them, and deal with
them appropriately. After all, the threat gathering in a distant land turns
out to be a threat directly on the American people. We've got to be wise about
how we view the world and make sure that the new arrangements, the new alliances
aren't allowed to develop. An alliance, for example, where a nation that has
weapons of mass destruction uses a shadowy terrorist network as a forward army,
perhaps encouraging them to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.
You've got to worry about disrupting training facilities.
And that's why I started talking about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Not only starting
a debate in the halls of the United States Congress, which overwhelmingly supported
any means necessary to deal with the threat to the United States, but also took
the debate to the United Nations, and a couple of weeks ago to NATO.
It's important for our fellow Americans to understand that, when we're talking
about Saddam Hussein, we're talking about a man who said he has had no weapons
of mass destruction, yet we believe has weapons of mass destruction -- a man
who has not only had weapons of mass destruction, but he's used weapons of mass
destruction. He used weapons of mass destruction on his neighbors and he used
weapons of mass destruction on his own citizens. He's a man who has professed
hate to America, as well as our friends and allies. He's a man who has got terrorist
ties, a man who helps train terrorists. He's a threat and he's a danger.
I went to the United Nations because I felt like, in a world that required cooperation
in this new war of the 21st century, that it was important the United Nations
show some backbone, that the United Nations be something other than an empty
debating society, that when they issue a resolution, they mean it. And on a
15-0 vote, the United Nations recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein and demanded
that he disarm.
I then went to our close allies in NATO and said the same thing. I said, this
man's a threat; he's a threat to us, he's a threat to you. He, too, must disarm.
And now, as you've seen in your newspapers, inspectors are inside of Iraq. Inspectors
are there not to play hide-and-seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein. Inspectors are
there to verify the will of the world. And the will of the world says clearly,
disarm. Saddam Hussein, for the sake of peace, must disarm. And if he refuses
to disarm, if he tries to deceive his way out of disarmament, this nation --
along with other willing nations -- will disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
I say that -- I say that because I believe in peace. I believe this is how you
achieve peace, by being strong and resolute, by fighting terror and all forms
of terror, by not allowing those who hate to try to dictate to those of us who
love freedom. See, I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come
some incredible good. Part of the good done to this -- part of the evil done
to this country is going to help lead the world to peace.
Oh, I know some don't believe that, but I do. I believe that if we remain steadfast
and strong, if we remain true to our values, we'll achieve peace -- not only
peace for ourselves, but because we believe every life is precious, everybody
matters, everybody has worth. We can achieve peace in parts of the world where
they've quit on peace, where people have given up hope.
I also believe here at home we can be a more compassionate country. See, there's
people who are hurting in America. Amongst our plenty, there are pockets of
despair of loneliness and hopelessness. There are people when you say, American
Dream, they wonder what the heck does that mean, American Dream? They have no
idea about the promise of this country. And my attitude is, so long as some
hurt, we all hurt.
And I also recognize the limitations of government. Government can hand out
money and, frankly, we do a pretty good job of it sometimes. But what it can't
do is put hope in people's hearts or a sense of purpose in people's lives. That's
done when a neighbor puts their arm around somebody who hurts and says, I love
you, what can I do to help. See, I strongly believe that America is going to
change one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. Because the spirit of
this country, a selfless spirit, is alive and well.
There are thousands of people all across New Orleans and Louisiana and all across
America who understand the responsibility of being an American. It's more than
just making a living. The responsibility of a true patriot is somebody who's
willing to serve something greater than themselves, serve their country. And
one way to best serve your country is to love your neighbor just like you'd
like to be loved yourself.
No, there was tremendous evil done to America, but out of the evil is a new
spirit, a vitality of the American spirit, perhaps best represented by the folks
on Flight 93. The story, in my judgment, is going to be one of the profound
stories of the September the 11th, 2001, tragedy. It captures what I know is
the strength of our country. People were flying across the land and they heard
the airplane they were on was going to be a weapon. Imagine what went through
their minds. They eventually got their thoughts together, they called their
loved ones and said goodbye and I love you. History will show that a prayer
was said. One guy said, "Let's roll." These citizens took the plane
into the ground to save lives, to serve something greater than themselves.
That spirit of America is so strong and so alive, it allows me to boldly predict
that, out of the evil done to this country, is going to come incredible good,
not only a peaceful world, but a more compassionate and hopeful and decent America
for every citizen who's lucky enough to live in this country. (Applause.)
And I can make that prediction with absolute certainty, because I know America.
This is the greatest country, full of the most decent people on the face of
this Earth. I'm honored you're here. May God bless you all and may God bless