Remarks at Bill Simon for Governor Luncheon
Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, California
May 1, 2002
12:25 P.M. PDT
Thank you all very much. Well, thanks for that warm California welcome. It's
great to be back in this majestic state, and it's great to see so many friends.
I want to thank you all for coming. We're here for the same reason: It is important
for California to have a new governor, and Bill Simon is that man. (Applause.)
I'm honored to have been invited here to campaign, and I really appreciate the
chance to get to know Bill a little better. He flew on Air Force One from Albuquerque
over to Los Angeles yesterday, and one of the best parts of the flight was I
got to meet the future first lady of the state of California. (Applause.) We
both married above ourselves. (Laughter.)
Many of you have gotten to know Laura. What you didn't know is that when I asked
her to marry me, she was a -- didn't care for politics, didn't care for politicians.
And here she is as the First Lady of the United States -- thank goodness. She's
doing a fabulous job. (Applause.) I'm really proud of her, and I love her dearly.
Today she couldn't be with me here in California because she's in Arkansas,
talking about the need to make sure that we have early childhood education in
every neighborhood, in every state, all across the country. (Applause.)
I want to thank Richard Pombo, who's here. He's a member of the United States
House of Representatives from the great state of California. Richard, thank
you for coming. (Applause.) I want to thank all the state and local officials
who are here. I want to thank all of you all for helping this good man.
There are some people in this audience who are the grass-roots activists here
in California. I want to thank you for your hard work. I want to thank you for
dialing phones. I want to thank you for stuffing envelopes. I want to thank
you for being foot soldiers so people like me and Bill can run and win and do
our jobs. (Applause.)
In our audience today we've got a brave soul named Dorothy Garcia. Her husband
was on Flight 93. His name was Andy. The reason I bring that up is that Flight
93 really in many ways epitomized the best of America. Average citizens just
doing their job, who heard that America was under attack. They told their loved
ones good-bye; they said a prayer; and they made the ultimate sacrifice so others
could live. And for that, our nation is incredibly grateful -- grateful for
the sacrifice -- (applause.) And grateful for the example that Andy and others
set for future generations. Dorothy, I'm so honored you're here, and thank you
I appreciate so very much Bill and Cindy's values. They love their family, and
that's good. They love their state, and they love their country.
I've been somewhat amazed about -- reading some of the clips on the way out
here about what Bill's -- the supporters of Bill's opponent are saying. It kind
of runs this way: He never held elective office. (Laughter.) He's only been
a successful businessman. (Applause.) How could he possibly be the governor
of a big and diverse state? It sounds like to me that Governor Davis is getting
his advice from Ann Richards. (Laughter and applause.)
In '94, I showed up and I laid out a positive vision of where I wanted to lead
my state. I rejected the old-style politics, and that's exactly what Bill Simon
is going to do here in California. (Applause.)
I am proud to support this new face in American politics. I'm proud to support
somebody who doesn't need to take a poll or to have a focus group to tell him
what he believes. (Applause.) And I want to thank you all for joining us to
effect a positive change -- not just for Republicans, but for everybody who
lives in the state of California. (Applause.)
I appreciate so very much Bill's emphasis on issues that matter to everybody,
starting with education. I gave a speech a little earlier here in the Silicon
Valley, and I talked about the hope and promise of public education. It is so
important that we get our public education right in America. The public education
system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy.
After all, it is where children from all over America learn to be responsible
citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic
opportunistic society. And yet, we have failed in our public school system for
too many children.
As Bill mentioned, I had the honor of signing historic education reform that
set high standards for every child in America. Not just a few, not just people
from suburban California or suburban Texas, but every single child. We believe
every child can learn in America. (Applause.)
And in that bill we incorporate a uniquely Republican principle that says we
trust the local people to chart the path for excellence for the citizens and
children of California. I understand and Bill understands all wisdom does not
reside in Washington, D.C.; that if you're interested in achieving educational
excellence, we've got to trust the people of California to chart the path for
educational excellence. That's why it's important this man become your governor.
But in this bill, as well -- and what makes it different from the past is we're
now saying, if you receive any federal help -- and there's federal help, particularly
for Title I students -- you'd better teach them, in return for help, you show
us whether or not the children can read and write and add and subtract. You
administer tests to show us and you put the tests on the Internet for everybody
to see. And when we find success, we will praise success. But when we find failure,
we need to challenge failure. When we find children in schools that will not
teach and will not change, you better have you a governor that is willing to
challenge the status quo. It is essential that we educate every child in America
and that not one child be left behind. (Applause.)
I appreciate Bill's common-sense view of energy. This nation needs an energy
policy. We haven't had an energy policy for a long period of time. Finally they
got one bill passed out of the House, and they've got one coming out of the
Senate. Now they need to get together and get the bill to my desk. And here's
what it basically says.
It says, we can use technology to develop renewable sources of energy, which
we will. It says we must do a better job of conserving energy, which we must.
But it also says, in an environmentally friendly way, we can find more energy
in our country. And that's important. It's important not only for the economic
security of people looking for work; it is important for the national security
of the United States of America.
We import over 50 percent of our oil from overseas, and a lot of those countries
don't particularly care for us. (Applause.) And you need to have a governor
who's got a vision about energy, if you expect this state to grow and if people
want to find work.
And I appreciate Bill's view of taxing and the taxes and budget. I remember
campaigning in the Silicon Valley, and I said, if you give me a chance I'm going
to cut the -- work to cut the taxes. And thankfully, we did. And we did so right
at the right time. (Applause.)
There's a difference of opinion in our political system, and that's good. It
basically boils down to an understanding of whose money we're talking about
when we talk about budgeting and spending money. See, Bill and I understand,
when we're talking about taxpayers' money, it's not the government's money,
it's the people's money. (Applause.) When you let people keep more of their
own money, it is not only good for our economy, it is good to help people realize
There are so many fantastic stories of the entrepreneurial spirit here in California.
I've been impressed by some amazing statistics, like the number of Hispanic-owned
small businesses. When you cut the taxes, when you reduce the tax burden, you
encourage the growth of small businesses. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships,
or limited partnerships. They pay taxes on the individual -- through the individual
system. And by cutting tax rates we encourage entrepreneurial growth and ownership
in California and in America. (Applause.)
And we need to hold the line on spending. Bill understands that in California,
and we need to hold the line on spending in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) We've
got a temporary deficit, and there's a reason. We had a recession and a national
emergency. But the best way to make sure the deficit is small and temporary
is for the United States Congress not to spend excessively. That's why the President
has been given a veto.
I remember in Chicago they said to me, would you ever have deficit spending.
I said, only if there was a war, or a national emergency, or a recession. Never
did I realize we'd get the trifecta. (Laughter.) But this country is ready to
handle -- we're ready to handle the slowdown in the economy. And I understand
people are hurting here in the Silicon Valley. I've seen the statistics that
the economy grew at over 5 percent in the first quarter. That's fine. We'll
let the number crunchers talk about numbers like that. So long as people can't
find work, I'm worried. So long as somebody who wants to work can't find a job,
it's got my attention.
And so the best way to make sure our economy grows is to make our tax cuts permanent,
so there's certainty in the tax cut; is to promote free and fair trade all around
the world; and is to have an energy plan that makes sense for America. (Applause.)
And we're making progress on the economy, and we're making progress on making
sure our homeland is more secure. Cindy asked me to tell this story, which I
told last night, so I will. It is -- first of all, it's an unimaginable honor
to be able to go to work in the Oval Office. It is a beautiful place. It is
a powerful reminder of the greatness of our country. I treat it like a shrine.
My job is to take the dogs downstairs first thing in the morning. We've got
kind of an early morning White House. I try to show up right before 7:00 a.m.
every morning. And so Spot, who is -- not a very imaginative name, I admit it,
but nevertheless -- (laughter) -- was born in the White House, by the way. She's
13 years old. She's quite familiar with the grounds. She walks out, as does
Barney. Barney's the one-and-a-half-year-old terrier. Now, Barney, he doesn't
get to go in the Oval Office first thing in the morning, because the rug is
new. (Laughter.) But Spot and I walk in. Barney goes off with the gardeners,
chasing squirrels or something.
And I sit there at this fantastic desk, called the H.M.S. Resolute. Perhaps
you remember the picture of John-John Kennedy putting his head out of the door
of that desk with his dad. I think his dad was making a phone call or gazing
out to the beautiful South Grounds. I remember Edmund Morris, who wrote Theodore
Rex, walked in to give me a copy of his book. And he said, Teddy Roosevelt used
that desk. The door that John-John Kennedy put his head out of the desk is there
because Franklin Roosevelt had put that door on his desk to cover his infirmities.
It's been used by a lot of Presidents.
And I sit at this majestic piece of furniture and read a threat assessment every
morning, that the killers still want to hurt America. It's a daily reminder
that my most important job is to protect the American people. (Applause.) We're
still vulnerable, because we're a huge nation, big borders. But we're less vulnerable.
You need to know that we share information like never before. Anytime we get
any kind of hint, any evidence whatsoever that somebody may try to do something
to America, we're reacting. We're following every single lead. We've got better
coordination with our intelligence gathering and the FBI and law enforcement
at home. We're buttoning up America the way you'd want us to, within the confines
of the United States Constitution.
We're doing a better job of coordinating efforts with our brave police and firefighters
and EMS -- they're called first responders. (Applause.) We're going to do a
better job of reforming the INS so that we've got better border security in
the United States. (Applause.) We've got an initiative and a strategy to deal
with bioterrorism, should it come.
We're working hard, and a lot of good folks are working endless hours to protect
the American citizens. But the surest way to protect America is to hunt the
killers down one by one, and bring them to justice. And that is what we're going
to do. (Applause.)
I have submitted a budget that makes our defense a priority, and I expect the
United States Congress to pass the defense appropriations bill early, rather
than late, and not play politics with defense appropriations. (Applause.) It
is a big increase, because anytime we put our soldiers in harm's way, they deserve
the best equipment, the best training, and the best pay possible. (Applause.)
And it's also a big increase because it is indicative of the fact that we're
in this for the long pull. There is no calendar on my desk that says, by such
and such a date, you will quit. There is no time frame, artificial time frame.
When it comes to defending the freedom of the United States, America, we will
do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes. (Applause.)
Others may grow tired, but I'm not. I am so honored by our hard work of our
Secretary of State, my national security team -- by the way, one of who is doing
great, named Condoleezza Rice, came right out of this part of the world. (Applause.)
Thank goodness she's there and not at Stanford. (Laughter.) Nothing wrong with
Stanford, but America is better off with her leading our National Security Council.
We've got this coalition together because we said loud and clear, either you're
with us or you're with the terrorists. And I meant it. I meant that. I also
said that if you harbor a terrorist and feed one, you're just as guilty as the
killers. And the Taliban found out exactly what the United States of America
As we talk about this war, it's really important to remind young Americans --
and all Americans, for that matter -- that this country does not seek revenge.
We seek justice; and that we've got to be proud not only of the fact that we're
defending our freedoms, but we went into Afghanistan not as conquerors, but
as liberators. And for the first time, many young girls were able to go to school,
thanks to the United States of America. (Applause.)
You just need to know it's still a dangerous period in Afghanistan. There's
still a lot of killers roaming around, and they hate America. They hate us because
we're free. Then cannot stand the thought that we have freedom of religion in
America; that we respect each other based upon our personal religious beliefs.
They cannot stand the thought that there's honest political discourse. There's
free press -- confident they hate that. They hate us. And so, wherever they
try to hide, we're going to get 'em. There's no cave dark enough or deep enough
from the United States of America.
We are a patient country, we are a united country, we're plenty tough when we
have to be tough. You know, I can't imagine what went through their minds. They
must have thought -- they must have fallen prey to this notion that America
was so self-absorbed, so materialistic, so selfish, so essentially weak, that
all we were going to do when they attacked was file a lawsuit. (Laughter and
applause.) They found out we think differently.
Not only are we going to make sure we help secure Afghanistan, we will help
rebuild Afghanistan. We not only want the world to be more secure, we want the
world to be better.
The second phase of the war is to deny sanctuary and training grounds to any
al Qaeda organization. And we're doing a pretty good job of that. Yemen, for
example, is a country with which we work to make sure that they don't get to
bunch up in Yemen and start over. In other words, by denying sanctuary, we're
treating them as they need to be treated, as international criminals, cold-blooded
But this war is more than just one person, it's more than about one organization.
You see, there are regimes that -- governments, not just organizations, that
can't stand what we believe in, who develop and harbor and hold some of the
worst weapons in the world. And for the sake of our children, and for the sake
of our children's children, and for the sake of our friends and allies, we must
-- and we will -- not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to possess and
threaten us and blackmail us with the world's most dangerous weapons. (Applause.)
I'm proud of our military. I'm proud of our country. We send such a strong signal
to the world when we're united and resolved and determined. See, if we blink,
everybody else goes to sleep. History has called us into action. History has
laid the mantle of responsibility for peace squarely on our shoulders. I accept
that responsibility, and so does the American people. (Applause.)
I'm an optimistic person. I truly believe that out of this evil will come some
incredible good. I believe by being firm and tough and routing out terror, the
world will be more peaceful. I long for peace. I want our children to grow up
in a peaceful world. I want there to be hope where hope has been diminished
around the world. And we must not, and we will not, let terrorism rule the world.
No, by being tough and strong and diligent, this world, thanks to the leadership
of the United States of America, is going to be a more peaceful place, and I
think, at home -- (applause). And I think at home, we can be a more compassionate
place, as well.
People say to me, you know, Mr. President, what can I do in the war against
terror? My answer is, love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself.
That if you want to fight evil, do some good. It doesn't take much. We talked
about the ultimate sacrifice of serving something greater than yourself. But
you can serve something greater than yourself by mentoring a child. You can
serve something greater than yourself by feeding the homeless. You can serve
something greater than yourself by just walking across the street to a shut-in
and saying, I love you; is there anything I can do to make your day better?
If you want to fight evil, do some good. (Applause.)
And there's all kinds of opportunities. We've got the USA Freedom Corps for
old and young alike who want to volunteer. We've got a Peace Corps that we're
going to expand and send around -- double the size of the Peace Corps. There's
all kinds of opportunities.
In my state -- in my state -- my speech in front of the Congress, I said, why
don't -- if you want to help, dedicate 4,000 hours of your life from this point
forward to help a neighbor in need. And it's happening.
I truly believe out of the evil will come a new culture of personal responsibility--
one that says -- that stands in contrast, by the way, to a period of time that
said, if it feels good, do it; and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else.
There's a new culture that's coming around that says, I'm responsible for the
decisions I make in life. I'm responsible for loving my family. I'm responsible
for loving my neighbor. (Applause.)
And to make that responsibility era full, if you're running a company in America,
you have responsibility to be honest and open with your shareholders and your
employees, as well. (Applause.) It's happening, and it's happening in this country
because the strength of America is not in the halls of our governments; the
strength of this country is in the hearts and souls of incredibly decent and
kind and compassionate Americans.
No, out of evil will come incredible good. The world will not only be more peaceful,
but this world will show the true face -- this country will show the world the
true face of America: A welcoming society; a society that says that the American
dream belongs to all; a society that's willing to tackle the pockets of despair
and hopelessness with love and compassion and decency. Out of the evil done
on September the 11th, we will show the world the true nature of the greatest
country on the face of the Earth.
I want to thank you all for coming to support this good man, and thank you for
giving me the honor of being the President of the United States of America.