Remarks at Texans for Rick Perry Reception
Hyatt Regency Hotel
June 14, 2002
6:09 P.M. CDT
Thank you for that warm welcome. It's another reason I'm glad to be home. (Laughter.)
That, plus getting a little culture. (Laughter.) I can't tell you how great
it is to see so many friends. I want to thank you for your prayers, for your
friendship. I want to thank you for helping Laura and me serve our country.
I'm here today to talk about a man who there's no doubt in my mind is not only
going to win in November, but do a fine, fine job on behalf of the Texas people.
(Applause.) We've shared a lot. We have been both been governors. And we both
married above ourselves. (Laughter.) I appreciate Anita Perry, the First Lady
of the state of Texas, and she's bringing a lot of class to the office. (Applause.)
I'm sorry Laura isn't here with me. She's in Crawford.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We are, too.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm sure you are. I can understand that. (Laughter.) You
probably wish she was speaking. (Laughter.)
It's hard to believe that a public school librarian who didn't particularly
care about politics or politicians -- (laughter) -- is now the First Lady of
this great country, and she's doing a magnificent job. (Applause.)
I'm really proud of her. Of course she, like my mother, is still telling me
what to do. (Laughter.) Marjorie, I'm of course listening. (Laughter.) But we're
doing great. We really are. Our family's strong. Our spirit is strong. Our love
for our country has never been greater. (Applause.)
I want to thank all the elected officials who are here. I particularly want
to say something about the next Attorney General, Greg Abbott. Greg, I want
to thank you for your -- (applause.) I want to thank Henry Bonilla for being
here and for his work on behalf of our party and the Victory Committee. (Applause.)
I want to thank Justices Jefferson and Rodriguez who are here with us tonight.
I know there's all kinds of candidates. Judge Carter, who's running in the 31st
Congressional District this year. I know my friend -- thank you, Judge. I know
my friend, Tommy Craddick, is here and members of the State House, both Republicans
and Democrats are here tonight, and I want to thank you all for coming. (Applause.)
I want to thank you all for supporting Rick. I want to thank you for contributing
your money and, as importantly, thank you for contributing your time.
I see a lot of what they call grassroots activists here. I tell you, I know
I could never have won the governor's race and/or the Presidency without those
of you who man the phones and sign the envelopes and lick them and mail them
and do all the hard work. And so on behalf of grateful candidates, thanks for
what you have done and thanks for what you're going to do come November. (Applause.)
I appreciate Rick's record. I want to talk a little bit about education. It
is a passion of mine and it's a passion of Rick's. It is absolutely essential
and at all levels of government we have people who are willing to raise standards
for every child. It is absolutely essential for the good of the state of Texas
that we have a governor who believes every child can learn, somebody who doesn't
lower the bar. See, if you lower the standards, if you expect mediocrity, you'll
get mediocrity, and that's not good enough for the state of Texas. (Applause.)
As Rick mentioned, we reformed the education code out of the federal government.
It mirrors what Rick is doing here in Texas. Let me explain it to you right
quick. It says that if you receive money from the taxpayers, you've got to measure.
If you get help from the federal government or the state government, you've
got to show the taxpayers but more importantly the parents whether or not the
children all across the state of Texas are learning. And if they're learning,
we'll praise the teachers. If they're meeting standards, if they're meeting
expectations, there will be all kinds of praise for the hardworking teachers
all across the country and in the state of Texas.
But when we find children who aren't learning, children who can't read, we've
got to address the problems early, before it's too late. You see, every child
is important in the state of Texas. Every child matters. And you can't tell
whether or not children are learning to read and write and add and subtract,
unless you have the courage to hold people accountable. (Applause.)
Texas must not go backwards. Texas must continue to have strong accountability
systems, so that this business about just shuffling children through the system
stops. You see, it's easy to quit on a young, black child. It's easy to say
that person can't learn, let's just move them through. It's easy to quit on
somebody whose parents may not speak English as a first language. It's easy
to quit. But by having accountability and local control of schools, we measure
each child, because each child counts. You cannot possibly fix the problem unless
you know the problem exists. (Applause.)
Education is the number one priority for this governor. And it's the number
one priority for the state of Texas, and that's as it should be. And we're making
progress. We are. One of the things I love about Rick is his vision of Texas
includes everybody, not just a few. His vision of Texas says every child counts,
and no child will be left behind in the great state of Texas. (Applause.)
One of the big initiatives in Washington, D.C. is the reauthorization of welfare.
One of the great successes in our country has been the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill.
And it basically said that we can do better than dependency upon government;
that we can free people by insisting upon work and by helping those learn how
to work. It gives me great confidence to know that Rick is going to be the governor
of Texas as we talk about reauthorization. The cornerstone of helping people
is to help them find the dignity of a job. And with Rick Perry as governor,
I'm confident that that dignity will spread throughout all parts of the great
state of Texas. (Applause.)
I appreciate a man who understands there needs to be fiscal sanity when it comes
to spending money, spending your money. And Rick saved the state $500 million
as a result of some bold actions he took. And as you know, the economy kind
of slowed down a little bit and, thankfully, you had a governor who is willing
to make the tough fiscal choices that's going to stand Texas in good stead in
the years to come. I appreciate your courage, Rick, and I appreciate your leadership.
But the thing I appreciate most is your integrity and your values. The fact
that you make your family your top priority. I love the fact that you love your
wife and you love your kids. You know, we were going down the Gulf Freeway today
-- (laughter) -- traffic wasn't all that bad, by the way. (Laughter.) If you
got stuck in one of the exits, I apologize. (Laughter.) We spent more time talking
about our family. I appreciate a governor who wanted to share with me the hopes
and aspirations of his children. It's important for the state of Texas to have
somebody in the Governor's Office whose got his priorities absolutely straight:
faith and family and the great state of Texas. (Applause.)
You know, when I was one time campaigning in Chicago, a reporter said, would
you ever have a deficit? And I said, I can't imagine it, but there would be
one if we had a war, or a national emergency, or a recession. (Laughter.) Never
did I dream we'd get the trifecta. (Laughter.) But I want you to know we're
making progress on all three fronts. I'm concerned about the economic security
of the American people. I know there's a lot of focus on statistics -- this
number comes out or that number comes out. Here's my attitude: so long as somebody
wants to work and can't find a job, we have a problem. And my focus is going
to be to continue to expand the job base of this country so people can find
We made a pretty good start when we cut the taxes on the working people. And
it came at exactly the right time. (Applause.) There's a school of thought in
Washington that says, if you take more of the people's money the economy will
benefit. I don't read the same textbook. (Laughter.) My attitude is, when times
are slow, you let people have their own money. And when they keep their own
money, they spend it. And when they spend their own money, they demand a goods
and service. And when you demand a good and service, somebody's going to provide
the good and service, which means somebody's going to be able to work. This
tax cut happened at the right time, and we need to make the tax cuts permanent.
In order to make sure people can find jobs and can work in America, we need
an energy policy. We need an energy policy that, on the one hand, encourages
conservation and makes sure that we promote renewable sources of energy; an
energy policy that promotes the new technologies that are coming on line. But
we need an energy policy as well that encourages exploration for oil and gas
in the United States of America. (Applause.)
The nay-sayers and the skeptics, you know, challenge that policy. They don't
understand the technologies now available that allow us to provide domestic
energy and at the same time protect our environment. But let me put it to you
this way. For the sake of economic security, we need a sound energy policy.
And for the sake of national security, we must become less reliant on foreign
sources of energy. Some of those sources don't particularly care about America,
I might add. (Applause.)
This Congress needs to give me a trade bill so I can open up markets for Texas
agricultural products, for high tech products. Listen, if you're good at something
-- and we're good at a lot of things when it comes to our economy -- we ought
to be selling them to people around the world. This country ought to be feeding
the people of the world. I need trade promotion authority from the United States
Congress for the good of the job creation. (Applause.)
We're making progress on economic security. And we've got a long way to go.
But I just want you to know, so long as somebody can't find work that wants
to work, I'm working.
And we've got a lot to do on homeland security, as well. I want you to know
what I think about the people that we're fighting. They are nothing but cold-blooded
killers. There was a bombing in Karachi. Innocent people lost their lives. Most
of the innocent people were Muslims. These people, these terrorists, these killers
have hijacked a noble religion -- but the world is seeing what they're made
out of, what they're like. They do not value individual life. And for the good
of freedom and for the good of America and our allies and friends, we're going
to hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. (Applause.)
We've made some progress. The other night when I announced this Department of
Homeland Security, I laid out a statistic that said we've rounded up about 2,400
of them so far. Make it 2,401.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That's right.
THE PRESIDENT: And that's good. And that's good. Except there's still a lot
of them out there. And so it is -- it is my most important job to do everything
in my power to prevent the enemy from taking innocent life again.
We've got over 100 agencies in Washington, D.C. involved with homeland security.
They're scattered all throughout the bureaucracy. As you can imagine, it makes
it kind of tough to get an efficient plan in place. And so I've asked the Congress
to make the most impressive and far-reaching reorganization since Harry Truman
reorganized the Defense Department.
I want it all under one -- one authority. I want to align authority and responsibility.
I want it to be said that as a result of reorganizing government, our country
is better prepared to enforce our border, to respond to emergency; our country
is better prepared to respond to bioterrorism. We need the capacity to analyze
the information we're getting to predict what might happen so that we can react.
Now, this isn't going to be as easy as it seems, reorganizing government. After
all, there's a lot of turf in Washington, D.C., and people are guarding their
turf. There's an appropriation chairman here, a ranking member there that likes
the idea of deciding how much money goes to this agency or another. For the
good of the American people I call upon Congress to think about not turf, but
I'll never forget my first hard discussion with the Director of the FBI. I don't
know if you are aware of this fact, but he came on to work one week before September
the 11th, so he got right in the middle of the action pretty quickly. And he
was talking to me about, you know, they're doing a pretty good job of going
after this white-collar criminal and arresting this person.
And I said, that's all fine and good and you need to keep doing it. But your
most important priority now is to prevent attack. I want you running down every
lead. If you've got a hint that somebody might be coming in here to do something
to America, I want to know about it, and I want you on them. I want you doing
everything in your power. Your agency is vital, but your mission has -- the
priority of the agency, your new mission is to use the resources of the United
States of America to protect the homeland.
And we're making progress. We really are. The CIA and the FBI communicate in
a lot closer way these days. There's a lot better sharing of information. You've
just go to know that there's a lot of hardworking people doing everything they
can to protect you. But the best way to secure the homeland, the best way, is
to chase these killers down one by one and bring them to justice. (Applause.)
We will use every tool at our disposal. We've assembled a vast coalition of
freedom-loving countries and we're -- and they're working. We're communicating
with these folks.
Every time I meet with a foreign leader, I remind him or her that our most important
collective job is to win this war on terror. History has called us into action.
History will look back and determine the mettle and drive and desire of all
of us who have been given awesome responsibilities.
We're cutting off their money, and that's vital. It's kind of hard for them
to operate unless they have cash. And although the enemy doesn't require much
money, if they don't have any, it's going to be hard for them to move. So we're
working with financial institutions all round the world on a regular basis to
cut off their money.
Probably the most effective force we've used, of course, thus far is the United
States military. (Applause.) For those of you who've got relatives in the military
or are in the military yourselves, thanks from the bottom of my heart and our
I was at West Point the other day and I was honored to give a graduation speech
where I laid out a new doctrine called preemption, which I'll describe here
in a second. But I shook every hand of the graduates. Let me tell you, the military's
in good shape. These are fine, fine young Americans. (Applause.)
I sent up to Congress the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald
Reagan was the President, and I did it for two reasons, and I want to explain
it to you right quickly. One, any time we commit our men and women into harm's
way, they deserve the best equipment, the best training, the best possible pay.
And, secondly, I submitted a significant increase, because we're in for a long
war. I know some would hope the enemy would go away. They're not going away
until we get them. That's a fact. The good news is the American people are united
and strong and resolved. They understand what I know, that we must defend our
freedoms at all costs.
You know, I can't imagine what went through the mind of the enemy. They probably
looked at America and thought we were so self-absorbed and materialistic and
selfish that after they killed thousands of our citizens, all we would do is
file a lawsuit or two. (Laughter.) They and the world have seen the true character
of America. (Applause.)
We love our freedom. We care about our children. We love our values. We love
the fact that people can worship freely in America. We love the fact that you
can have honest political discourse. That's what we love. We love our lifestyle
and we will use all our might to protect it.
The threats we face go beyond just one terrorist network. The threats we face
are bigger than a group of these shadowy figures who try to hide in caves and
then send youngsters to their death.
We face threats of weapons of mass destruction. In the past, we used to have
a doctrine called containment and deterrence. You can't contain a shadowy terrorist
network. You can't deter somebody who doesn't have a country. And you're not
going to be able -- future Presidents won't be able to deter or contain one
of these nations which harbors weapons of mass destruction, nations who hate
For the good of the American people, I will use all the resources at my disposal
to make sure the world's worst regimes do not threaten, blackmail America and
our friends with the world's worst weapons. (Applause.)
I believe that out of the evil done to America is going to come incredible good.
I've got a great painting by Tom Lee. Many of you know Tom Lee from El Paso.
He passed away, unfortunately, earlier this year. And on my wall is his fantastic
picture -- painting, I guess you'd call it, of West Texas. And it reminds me
of a quote Tom Lee said, it's something I said at our convention. He said, Sarah
and I live on the east side of the mountain; it is the sunrise side, not the
sunset side. It is the side to see the day that is coming, not the day that
The day I see coming for this great country is one of peace. I want you to tell
your children that behind all the war rhetoric is a strong desire for peace.
That I long for peace not only in America, but I think if the United States
of America remains tough and vigilant and strong and steady, that we will be
able to achieve peace in parts of the world where there is no hope for peace
right now. I believe that. (Applause.)
I believe that the enemy -- much to their chagrin, much to their chagrin, out
of the evil will come a more peaceful world. And at home, I know out of the
evil will come a better America.
Today, I had the honor of speaking at the Ohio State University graduation ceremonies.
I told those kids, I said that patriotism is more than saluting the flag. Patriotism
is service to your country. Patriotism is loving your neighbor just like you'd
like to be loved yourself.
If you want to fight evil, if you want to join the war on terror, love somebody.
Do some good. It's the gathering momentum of thousands of acts of kindness and
generosity which will show the world the compassionate face of America and,
at the same time, show the world that this country is not going to be cowed
by evil people. (Applause.)
One person can't do everything in this society. I know that. But one person
can do something to save a soul. Listen, in this great land of ours, a land
of plenty, there are pockets of hopelessness and despair.
There are too many children who wonder whether America is meant for them, and
we're going to do something about that here in America. There are too many people
addicted and sad and lonely, and we'll do something about that too. The government
can hand out checks. But what government cannot do is put hope in people's hearts
or sense of purpose in their lives or love people.
That's going to happen because this great country is full of loving and decent
and caring souls. I call upon you all to continue what you're doing when it
comes to helping a neighbor in need. The acts don't have to be huge acts. Listen,
if you just walk across the street and tell somebody shut in that you love them,
it's a part of making our society whole and complete. Mentor a child. Grab a
child around the shoulders and tell them you love them and teach them how to
read. It's these acts of compassion and decency which will help lay the foundation
for a more hopeful America in the future.
You know, when I was campaigning for governor and still as President, I've talked
about a cultural change. I said, it's so important for us to change the culture
away from that of my generation, which has said if it feels good just go ahead
and do it and if you've got a problem blame somebody else. That's happening
in America. People understand that they are responsible for the decisions they
make in life.
I believe a culture of personal responsibility is beginning to take hold, and
perhaps the most important catalyst for that cultural shift is what took place
on Flight 93. People were driving -- flying across the country, trying to get
home, and all of a sudden they realized their airplane was a weapon. And they
said a prayer and they told their loved ones goodbye and they served a cause
greater than self by driving that airplane into the ground.
It's that sense of sacrifice and courage that will serve as an example for young
and old alike. It's that concept of serving something greater than you which
will allow this great nation to show the world that we will overcome evil with
I want to thank you all for your friendship. I repeat, I want to thank you for
the greatest gift you can give a President and his wife, and that's your prayers.
I want to thank you for supporting my friend, the current and next governor
of the state of Texas. I want to thank you all for coming. May God bless you
all and may God bless America. (Applause.)