at Texas Welcome
Southern Methodist University
November 4, 2002
6:08 P.M. CST
Thank you, all. It's nice to be home. I want to thank you all for coming. Laura
and I are working are way across the country to get back to Texas so we can
vote, and I want to tell you, we're not undecided. (Laughter and applause.)
For the sake of Texas and for the sake of America, vote John Cornyn for the
United States Senate. (Applause.)
And for the sake of the taxpayers of Texas and for the sake of the school children
of Texas, elect Rick Perry as the governor of Texas. (Applause.)
No, we're looking forward to getting -- we're looking forward to getting into
that voting booth tomorrow morning. And I hope you are, as well. I hope all
of Texas takes their responsibility serious. You see, we live in a land of freedom
and, therefore, we have an obligation to participate as free citizens. If you're
eligible to vote, you should vote. I don't care whether you're Democrat or Republican,
independent or could care less about a political party -- you have an obligation
in a free society. (Applause.)
You know, Laura went to SMU. (Applause.) They didn't have a course on how to
be a First Lady when she went here. (Laughter.) But if they had, she'd have
gotten an A-plus. (Applause.) I'm really proud of the job she's done.
THE AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: I'm proud to be up here with some fine public servants; really
proud of the job that Senator Kay Hutchison is doing on behalf of all of Texas.
(Applause.) She's a strong leader in the United States Senate. She's a strong
leader. She's doing a fabulous job. I'm proud to call her friend and I'm also
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: I'm also -- I'm also here to honor Senator Phil Gramm, who has
done a great job on behalf of Texas. (Applause.)
I appreciate so very much Congressman Henry Bonilla's hard work in the Texas
Victory Committee. That's the committee that's going to -- (applause.) That's
the committee that is going to turn out the vote. See, that's what we're here
to talk about. We're here to talk about how to turn out the vote, how to get
people to the polls.
I want to thank you all for what you have done. I want to thank you for what
you're going to do, which is to find good Texans and get them to vote, turn
them out to vote and get them to vote for this ticket. (Applause.)
These are candidates we can be proud of. These are people that you can have
confidence in. So work hard. And, by the way, I'm pretty familiar with Texas
politics. You know, there's a lot of discerning Democrats who are going to support
this ticket. Don't be afraid to talk to those good Democrats. (Applause.) Don't
be afraid to talk to independents. Our candidates can reach across party line,
because they've got a positive vision for the future of this state and for the
future of our country. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be up here with a great statewide ticket. I know them all well.
I can vouch for their integrity and their talents. The next Lieutenant Governor,
David Dewhurst. (Applause.) The next Attorney General, Greg Abbott. (Applause.)
A lady who has two sons working in my administration, that would be Carole Keeton
Rylander. (Applause.) Jerry Patterson and Susan Combs and Michael Williams,
all great candidates, all people you can trust. (Applause.)
I want to appreciate the members of the United States Congress who are here
today. We've got a great congressional delegation from the state of Texas --
Sam Johnson and Pete Sessions -- (applause) -- Joe Barton and Kay Granger. (Laughter.)
I'm proud to call them friends. I appreciate working with them. Any time there's
any doubt about my stance on some of these Texas congressmen, if they're voting
with me, I'm for them. (Laughter.) And they're voting with me. They're solid
friends. And we need Jeb Hensarling and the rest of the people running for the
United States Congress in Washington, D.C., too. (Applause.)
I want to thank the bands who are here tonight, the Waxahachie High School Band.
(Applause) Is the courthouse still standing? (Applause.) That's good. Lake Highlands
High School band, I appreciate you all coming. (Applause.) If you're 18, you've
got to vote now; if you're 18, you've got to vote.
The SMU band is here. I appreciate them coming. (Applause.) I know you're 18.
(Laughter.) Eric Orson Band (phonetic), I appreciate them coming as well. I'm
sorry we weren't here in time to hear the music. We had to stop in Arkansas
on the way down. (Applause.) They're fixing to reelect a governor and you're
fixing to elect a good man to governor of Texas. That man is Rick Perry. (Applause.)
He knows what he's doing. He knows how to manage the budget. He understands
public schools. He understands jobs. he is the absolute right man for the job
of Governor of Texas. (Applause.) And, like me, he married well. (Laughter.)
Anita is a great first lady for Texas. (Applause.)
I can't be any stronger for John Cornyn than this: it is the right thing to
do for America, to put John Cornyn in the United States Senate. (Applause.)
I know him. I trust him. And we can work together on some big issues on behalf
of all of Texas and all of America. And there are some big hurdles facing this
First of all, this economy isn't doing as good as it should be doing. It's bumping
along. And, therefore, there's some people looking for work who can't find work.
And any time somebody is looking for work who can't find work, it says to me
that we've got to figure out how to continue to increase the job base of America.
But there's a fundamental difference of opinion in Washington, D.C., as to how
to do that. The page of the economic textbook that we've read from says that
if you let a person keep more of their own money, they're more than likely to
demand an additional good or a service. (Applause.) They're likely to demand
a good or a service, and when they do that, somebody is likely to produce the
good or a service. And when somebody produces the good or a service, it's more
likely somebody is going to be able to find a job. (Applause.)
And, therefore, the tax cuts we pass in Washington came at the exact right time
in economic history. (Applause.) And I need a senator who will stand strong
on this issue. I need a senator with whom we can work to make the tax cuts permanent.
And that senator is John Cornyn. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with John on a lot of issues. On education, and on
Medicare. Listen, medicine has changed and Medicare hasn't. Medicine has become
modern; technologies have changed, there's new discoveries. But Medicare is
stuck in the past. I need to work with Kay Hutchison and John Cornyn and members
of the Congress to modernize Medicare, which means prescription drug benefits
for our seniors. (Applause.)
And we've got another problem with health care. There's too many lawsuits. There's
too many junk lawsuits that are running up the cost of medicine. (Applause.)
They're filing suits all over this country, which means good, honest people
who have got a claim can't get to the judges, can't get into the courthouse.
It means that people aren't going to have accessible and affordable health care.
Excessive lawsuits run up the cost of medicine, and they're driving docs out
of the practice of medicine. We need a Senate who will join me in passing federal
medical liability reform. (Applause.)
And I need a senator from Texas with whom I can work, to help fulfil one of
my most serious responsibilities, and that is to put good people on the federal
bench. (Applause.) There is a vacancy on our benches. There is vacancies all
around the country, because the bunch that's running the Senate right now won't
give my nominees a fair hearing. And when they do give them a hearing, some
of them have their records distorted. I need a United States senator who will
stand strong for what most Texans want, and that is a judiciary full of honest
and honorable people who will not use their bench from which to legislate, but
to interpret the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.)
You may remember what happened to one of our finest Texans, Priscilla Owen.
I picked Priscilla to serve on one of our top benches. I did so because she's
a brilliant lady, she's an honest person, she finished tops in her law school,
she was ranked by the ABA as one of the top picks. She is backed by Republicans
and Democrats from the state of Texas. She ran statewide and was overwhelmingly
elected. I put her up there. Because these people are playing politics, petty
politics, with the nominees I've picked, her record was distorted and she was
denied a seat. She was grossly treated. I can assure you that with John Cornyn
in the Senate he would be a strong supporter of Priscilla Owen and my judges.
There's a big difference in this race between the two running for the United
States Senate. And that Priscilla Owen case is a clear example of what I'm talking
about. There's going to be a lot of issues we'll work on together. The biggest
issue we've got is to protect America, to protect you from further attack, to
do everything we can to prevent an enemy from hitting this country again. (Applause.)
It's still a problem for us, because there's an enemy lurking out there which
hates us. And they hate us because of what we love -- we love our freedom. We
love the fact that people can worship freely in America. We love the fact that
people can speak their mind in this country. We love a free press. We love every
aspect of our freedom, and we're not going to change. (Applause.)
So long as we take that stand, they're going to try to hurt us. And therefore,
we've got to do everything we can to protect you. And there's a lot of good
people doing that. I mean, listen, we're on notice. We remember, we remember,
remember what happened. And therefore, there's a lot of good people working
overtime to run down every hint, any idea, any suggestion that somebody is fixing
to or thinking about doing something to America, we're moving on it. It is our
most solemn obligation.
I think we can do a better job of protecting you, and that's why I went to the
United States Congress, to join me in the creation of a Department of Homeland
Security. It needs to be a department that brings agencies together, to focus
their attention, to change culture if need be, so that people who are working
hard on your behalf get the message that this is our number one job and number
And the House of Representatives responded. And I want to thank the House members
who are here. But the bill got stuck in the Senate. Here we are with an enemy
lurking out there, and the bill got stuck in the Senate because some Senators
want to take away power from the Presidency. They want to take away what every
President since John F. Kennedy has had, and that is the capacity to suspend
certain collective bargaining rules for the sake of national security. In other
words, if there's some rules that prevent me from putting the right place --
people at the right place at the right time, to protect you, I ought to be able
to suspend those rules. But not according to these people. (Applause.)
No, the special interests have grabbed them up there. They want to micro-manage
the process. I need John Cornyn in the Senate to make sure we get us a good
homeland security bill. (Applause.)
But the best way to protect the homeland is to hunt these killers down, one
at a time, and bring them to justice. (Applause.) That's what we have to do.
And that is what we're going to do. And that is why I went to the Congress and
asked for a substantial increase in defense spending, as a matter of fact, the
largest increase since Ronald Reagan was the President. (Applause.) And I want
to thank Senator Hutchinson, and I want to thank the members of Congress for
backing me on that request. And there's two messages in that bill that I want
to share with you. One, any time this country puts any of our youngsters into
harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training and the best possible
And the second message is equally important. And that is, we're in this deal
for the long haul. See, when it comes to the defense of our freedoms, it doesn't
matter how long it takes. We're going to do the job. We're going to defend freedom.
(Applause.) We're going to do a responsibility so future generations of Americans
will know we answered the call. It just doesn't matter how long it takes. There's
not a calendar on my desk in that wonderful Oval Office that says on such-and-such
a date, haul them home. That's not the way I think.
And we're making progress in this different kind of war. In the old days, if
you knocked down an airplane or sunk a ship, you could say you're making progress.
This group we fight now hides in caves or kind of slithers around the dark corners
of the world and they send their youngsters to their suicidal deaths. We value
life in America. We say everybody is precious. These folks have hijacked a great
religion and don't care who they kill. And that's the nature of the enemy. They're
tough -- we're tougher. (Applause.)
Slowly but surely -- slowly but surely we're dismantling the terrorist network.
It's important for us to be realistic here in America about the threats we face.
It's essential we see the world the way it is, not the way we hope it would
be. Because the stakes changed dramatically after September the 11th, 2001.
Prior to that date, we had oceans that we thought protected us; that if there
was a gathering threat somewhere around the world we could either deal with
that threat or ignore it, because we were safe at home. Geography kept us safe.
After September the 11th, 2001, geography doesn't keep us safe. And, therefore,
in my judgment, we've got to be cold-eyed realists about threats as they emerge
and deal with each one of them according to the level of threat.
There is a threat to the United States and our close friends and allies in Iraq.
The leader of Iraq is a man who for 11 years has deceived the world. He said
he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction -- he has weapons of mass destruction.
At one time we know for certain he was close to having a nuclear weapon. Imagine
Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon. Not only has he got chemical weapons,
but I want you to remember, he's used chemical weapons.
He's used weapons on people in his neighborhood, he's used weapons on people
in his own country. This is a man who cannot stand America, he cannot stand
what we stand for, he can't stand some of our closest friends and allies.
This is a man who has got connections with al Qaeda. Imagine a terrorist network
with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could
use his shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint
behind. He's a threat.
I went to the United Nations to make clear a couple of things. One, he's a threat.
And, secondly, that this august body has a chance to keep the peace. And yet
for 16 resolutions -- resolution after resolution after resolution -- Saddam
Hussein has defied the United Nations. It is now time for the United Nations
to choose whether it's going to be an effective peacekeeping organization, or
whether it's going to be like one of its predecessors, the League of Nations,
an empty debating society. It is their choice to make. (Applause.)
It is Saddam Hussein's choice to make. He's told the world he would not have
weapons of mass destruction, and in the name of peace, we expect him to honor
that commitment. Should he choose not to honor the commitment, the U.N. is incapable
of acting, the United States in the name of peace, in the name of freedom, will
lead a coalition and disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
I say, "in the name of peace," because that's what's going to happen,
in my judgment. See, out of the evil done to America is going to come some good.
I don't know what got into the minds of the terrorists when they hit us, I guess
they assumed our national religion was materialism, that we were so selfish,
self-absorbed that after 9/11/2001 we might take a step back and file a lawsuit
or two. (Laughter.)
They don't understand the nature of this great country. They don't understand
the depth of our passion for freedom. If we stay tough when we need to be tough;
stay strong when we need to be strong; speak clearly about good and evil; if
we remember that freedom is not America's gift to the world, but God's gift
to the world, we can achieve peace. (Applause.)
We can achieve peace here at home, we can achieve peace here at home. We can
achieve peace in parts of the world which have quit on peace. I believe it.
I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come good abroad, in the
form of peace. And I believe it's going to make America a better place.
I believe I know a lot of our citizens have taken a step back and taken an assessment
about that which is important in their lives. A lot of people have asked that
question, how can I help. Well, I've got some ideas for you. First, it's important
to remember that in the land of plenty there are people who hurt. There's pockets
of despair and hopelessness and addiction. People, when you say, the American
Dream, they have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. We've got to
remember in this country, when some of us hurt, we all hurt. And therefore we've
got to try to make a difference to improve the lot of everybody's lives.
And government can help. We'll work on Medicare and we'll work on education.
And government can pass out money. But I want you to remember what government
cannot do is to put hope in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's
lives. People's lives change when somebody puts their arm around them, and says,
I love you, can I help you, what can I do to make your life a better life? (Applause.)
And that's happening all across America. I'm sure there's mentors here, people
who are saving one child's life at a time. I know there are people here who
feed the hungry, provide housing for the homeless, or run a Boy Scouts troop
or a Girl Scouts troop, or Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
There's all kinds of ways that you can help change America, one heart, one conscience,
one soul at a time. No, the spirit of America is strong; it's alive and well.
It's a spirit that says, when it comes to the defense of our freedom, it doesn't
matter how long it takes, we'll defend freedom.
It also says that a true American is somebody who serves a cause greater than
themselves. I want the high school students and youngsters here to always remember
the story of Flight 93. These are people flying across the country, what they
thought was going to be just an average trip. They learned that the airplane
they were on was going to be used as a weapon. They told their loved ones goodbye.
They said a prayer, asking for guidance from the Almighty. One guy said, let's
roll. They took the plane into the ground to save lives, and to serve something
greater than themselves. (Applause.)
The enemy hit us, the enemy hit us. They had no earthly idea who they were hitting.
They didn't have any idea that the spirit of this country is strong and alive
and vibrant, which allows me to boldly predict that out of the evil done to
America is going to come a more peaceful world, and out of the evil done to
America will come a more hopeful America, where the great sunshine of hope of
this country shines its light into every corner of this land.
And I can say that with confidence, because this is the greatest country, full
of the most decent and honorable people on the face of the earth.