at Bush-Cheney 2004 Reception
San Francisco Airport Marriott
San Francisco, California
June 27, 2003
12:05 P.M. PDT
Thank you all very much. Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for coming. It's
great to be back in the Bay area. Bradley, if that is a short introduction,
I hate to see a long one. (Laughter.) But I appreciate your friendship, and
I appreciate your leadership. I want to thank you all very much for supporting
our efforts. I want to thank you for coming and giving of your hard-earned
dollars. You are laying the foundation for a nationwide victory next year.
I'm getting ready. I'm loosening up. (Laughter.) And I'm going to need your
help. I'll need your help not only financially, but also to pass our positive,
inclusive message around the Bay area. I want you to remind your citizens,
fellow citizens, that our vision is one that is hopeful and optimistic.
Listen, there's going to be plenty of time for politics. The political season
will come in its own time. Right now, I'm focused on the people's business
in Washington, D.C. And we have a lot on the agenda. And what I want to tell
you is that I will continue to earn the confidence of all Americans, regardless
of their political party, by keeping this nation secure and strong and prosperous
and free. (Applause.)
I'm -- I've just come from Washington to here, obviously -- I'm going down
to LA. I wish I came with my wife. I wish she were with me. She has done
a fabulous job. (Applause.) I will see her tonight in Crawford, Texas. Well,
she'll be the lump in the bed next to me, since I get in at 1:30 a.m. in
the morning. (Laughter.) But you drew the short straw. Had she come and spoken,
you would have had the long straw. She is a -- she's a remarkable person.
She has been calm and steady in the face of significant crisis. She can smile,
she can listen. She is a fabulous First Lady for the United States of America.
I do want to thank Brad and Gerry Parsky and the people that put on this
dinner and worked hard to raise the money. I'm so honored that -- for your
help. I also appreciate Dennis Miller. Obviously, after your one-liners,
Brad, he doesn't have anything to fear for his job. (Laughter.)
We've been through some remarkable times in America during the last two-and-a-half
years. This nation has acted decisively to confront great challenges. I came
to office to solve problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and
future generations. (Laughter.) I came to seize opportunities, instead of
letting them slip away. We are meeting the tests of our time.
Terrorists declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
We have captured or killed many of the leaders of al Qaeda. And the rest
of them know we're hot on their trail. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we gave ultimatums
to terror regimes. Those regimes chose defiance and those regimes are no
more. (Applause.) Fifty million people in those two countries once lived
under tyranny, and now they live in freedom.
Two-and-a-half years ago, our military was not receiving the resources it
needed, and morale was beginning to suffer. We increased the defense budget
to prepare for the threats of a new era. And today, no one in the world can
question the skill, the strength, and the spirit of the United States military.
Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession. Then the
attacks on our country and scandals in corporate America and war affected
the confidence of the people. But we acted. We passed tough, new laws to
hold corporate criminals to account. And to get the economy going again,
we have twice led the Congress to historic tax relief for the American people.
Here is what we believe and what we know. When Americans have more take-home
pay to spend, to save, or to invest, the whole economy grows, and someone
is more likely to find a job. We understand, as well, whose money we spend
in Washington, D.C. The money we spend in Washington is not the government's
money. It is the people's money. And we're returning more money to the people
to help them raise their families, and we're reducing taxes on dividends
and capital gains to encourage investment. We're giving small businesses
incentives to expand and hire new people. With all those actions, we are
laying the foundation for greater prosperity and more jobs across America,
so that every single person in this country has a chance to realize the American
Two-and-a-half years later -- (applause) -- two-and-a-half years ago, there
was a lot of talk about education reform, but there wasn't much action. So
I called for, and Congress passed, the No Child Left Behind Act. With a solid
bipartisan majority, we delivered the most dramatic education reforms in
a generation. We're bringing high standards and strong accountability measures
to every public school in America. We believe that every child can learn
the basics of reading and math, and we expect every school in America to
teach those basics. This administration is challenging the soft bigotry of
low expectations. The days of excuse-making are over. We expect results in
every classroom all across America so that not one single child is left behind.
We reorganized our government and created the Department of Homeland Security
to safeguard our borders and ports and to protect the American people. We
passed trade promotion authority to open up new markets for our entrepreneurs
and farmers and ranchers. We passed a budget agreement to help maintain spending
discipline in Washington, D.C. On issue after issue, this administration
has acted on principle, has kept its word, and is making progress on behalf
of the American people. (Applause.)
The United States Congress shares in these great achievements, and I appreciate
the hard work of the members of Congress. We will continue to work together
to change the tone in Washington, D.C. by focusing on the people's business,
and by focusing on results. And that's the nature of the men and women I
asked to serve our country in my administration. I have put together a really
good team of people. (Applause.) And the reason they understand is our jobs
are to represent something greater than ourselves, and that is the great
country called America.
And I'm proud of our Vice President. Dick Cheney is the best Vice President
this nation has ever had. (Applause.) Although my mother may not agree. (Laughter.)
In two-and-a-half years, we have come far. We've come far in two-and-a-half
years. We've accomplished a lot. But our work is only beginning. We have
great goals worthy of this great nation.
First, America is committed to expanding the realm of freedom and peace
for our own security, and for the benefit of the world. And second, in our
own country, we must work for a society of prosperity and compassion, so
that every citizen has a chance to work and succeed and realize the great
promise of this country.
It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depend on the actions of
America. This nation is freedom's home and freedom's defender. We welcome
this charge of history, and we are keeping it. Our war on terror continues.
The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. This country will
not rest, we will not tire, and we will not stop until this threat to civilization
is removed. (Applause.)
Yet our national interest involves more than eliminating aggressive threats
to our safety. Our greatest security comes from the advance of human liberty
-- because free nations do not support terror; free nations do not attack
their neighbors; free nations do not threaten the world with weapons of mass
terror. Americans believe that freedom is the deepest need and hope of every
human heart. And we believe that freedom is the right of every person and
the future of every nation. (Applause.)
America also understands that unprecedented influence brings tremendous
responsibilities. We have duties in the world. And when we see disease and
starvation and hopelessness, we will not turn away. On the continent of Africa,
a continent I'll be visiting in 10 days, America is now committed to bringing
the healing power of medicine to millions of men and women and children now
suffering with AIDS. This great land is leading the world in this incredibly
important work of human rescue.
We face challenges at home, as well, and our actions will be equal to those
challenges. I will continue to work on economic prosperity, until anybody
who wants to work and is not working today can find a job. (Applause.)
And we have a duty to keep our commitment to America's seniors by strengthening
and modernizing Medicare. Last night -- or, actually, this morning -- last
night here, this morning in Washington -- (laughter) -- the Congress took
historic action to improve the lives of older Americans. For the first time
since the creation of Medicare, the House and Senate have passed reforms
to increase the choices of seniors and provide coverage for prescription
drugs. (Applause.) The next step is for both Houses to come together, iron
out some details, and get the bill to my desk. The sooner the job is done,
the sooner Americans will get the health care they deserve. (Applause.)
And for the sake of our health care system, we need to cut down on frivolous
lawsuits which increase the cost of medicine. (Applause.) People who have
been harmed by a bad doctor deserve their day in court. Yet the system should
not reward lawyers who are simply fishing for a rich settlement. Because
frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost of health care, at the federal level
the medical liability issue is a federal problem that requires a federal
solution. (Applause.) No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit.
(Laughter.) We need federal medical liability reform now. (Applause.)
I also have a responsibility as President to make sure the judicial system
runs well. And I have met that duty. I've nominated superb men and women
for the federal courts, people who will interpret the law, not legislate
from the bench. (Applause.) Some members of the United States Senate are
trying to keep my nominees off the bench by blocking up or down votes. Every
judicial nominee deserves a fair hearing and an up or down vote on the Senate
floor. It is time for members of the United States Senate to stop playing
politics with American justice. (Applause.)
This nation needs a comprehensive energy plan. We need more natural gas
for California's electric plants. We need to promote new technologies. We
need to promote new conservation techniques. We need to explore in environmentally
friendly ways. For the sake of our national security and for the sake of
our economic security, we need to become less dependent on foreign sources
of energy. (Applause.)
Our strong and compassionate nation must also be a prosperous, and at the
same time, compassionate place for all. I will continue to advance our agenda
of compassionate conservatism, applying the best and most innovative ideas
to the task of helping our fellow citizens in need. There are still millions
of men and women who want to end their dependence on government and become
independent through work. We must build on the success of welfare reform,
to bring work and dignity into the lives of more of our fellow citizens.
Congress should complete the Citizen Service Act, so that more Americans
can serve their communities and their country. And both Houses should reach
agreement on my faith-based initiative to support the armies of compassion
that are mentoring children, that are caring for the homeless, that are offering
hope to the addicted.
A compassionate society -- (applause.) A compassionate society must promote
opportunity for all, including the independence and dignity that come from
ownership. My administration will constantly strive to promote an ownership
society in America. We want more of our citizens owning their own home. We
want people to own and manage their own health care plan, their own retirement
plan. We want more people owning their own small business. We understand
that when a person owns something, he or she has a vital stake into the future
of this country. (Applause.)
In a compassionate society, people respect one another and take responsibility
for the decisions they make. We're changing the culture of America from one
that has said, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and if you've got
a problem, blame somebody else -- to one in which each of us understands
we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.
If you are fortunate enough to be a mother or a father, you are responsible
for loving your child with all your heart and all your soul. If you are a
-- concerned about the quality of the education in the community in which
you live, you're responsible for doing something about it. If you're a CEO
in corporate America, you're responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders
and your employees. (Applause.) And in the new responsibility society, each
of us is responsible for loving a neighbor just like we'd like to be loved
We can see the culture of service and responsibility growing around us.
I started what we call the USA Freedom Corps to encourage Americans to extend
a compassionate hand to neighbors in need. And the response has been strong.
And our faith-based charities are strong and vibrant all across America.
Policemen and firemen and people who wear our nation's uniform are reminding
us what it means to sacrifice for something greater than yourself. Once again,
the children of America believe in heroes because they see them every day.
In these challenging times, the world has seen the resolve and the courage
of America. And I've been privileged to see the compassion and the character
of the American people. All the tests of the last two-and-a-half years have
come to the right nation. We're a strong country and we use that strength
to defend the peace. We're an optimistic country, confident in ourselves
and in ideals bigger than ourselves.
Abroad, we seek to lift whole nations by spreading freedom. At home, we
seek to lift up lives by spreading opportunity to every corner in America.
This is the work that history has set before us. We welcome it, and we know
that for our country and for our cause, better days lie ahead.
May God continue to bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)