Congress for Action on Defense Appropriations Bill
Bob Beauprez for Congress Luncheon
The Adam's Mark Hotel
September 27, 2002
11:26 A.M. MDT
Thank you all. Nice to be out West. (Laughter.) Thank you all for coming today.
And, Congressman, thank you for that kind introduction. (Applause.) Bob Beauprez
is the right man to represent the state of Colorado. There is no question in
my mind. I am proud to stand with him, and I hope the good folks of Colorado
are wise enough to send him to Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
I'm honored to be up here with Claudia, mother of four. These two folks love
their family, they love their country. And, Claudia, I appreciate you're willing
to sacrifice -- see, moving out of Colorado is a pretty good size sacrifice.
(Laughter.) But, like Bob, I married above myself. (Laughter.) And my good wife
sends her love and her best to our friends who are here, and to the Beauprezes
in their quest of this high office. The Governor and the First Lady of the state
of Colorado, she sends her best, as do I.
By the way, she's doing a fabulous job. She was down in Mexico representing
the United States. She's winging her way back to Crawford. I'm going to see
her tonight after my trip. Tomorrow we're going to spend a little quality time
on the ranch, helping to make sure we maintain perspective, understanding that
there's life outside of the Beltway, that the values -- (applause) -- that the
values of central Texas and the values of the West out here in Denver are important
values to keep a part of our spirit.
And so I'm honored to be here to campaign. She sends her love, by the way. She
is doing a fabulous job. She is a great First Lady for America, and I'm really
proud of her. (Applause.) Not bad for a west Texas girl who, when I married
her, was a public school librarian who, frankly, didn't care for politics, and
wasn't too keen on politicians. (Laughter.) She's a great lady and she sends
I also am honored to be here with your Governor. He is one of the nation's best
governors. (Applause.) Unlike some of them, he can run on his record. (Laughter.)
And it's a record that's going to put him back in office. And that's good for
Colorado. I'm honored Frances is here with him, as well, a great First Lady
for the state of Colorado. (Applause.)
I want to thank the grassroots activists who are here. I want to thank Chairman
Benson. I've known him for a long time. He's a fine leader. I want to thank
you for what you have done and what you're going to do, and that is, you're
going to turn out the vote. You're going to man the precincts. You're going
to do what you're really good at, which is grassroots politics. And a lot of
times you don't get thanked enough. I'm here to thank you. I want to thank you
for turning out the vote, not only to make sure the Governor wins, and Bob wins,
but to make sure Wayne Allard goes back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
I want to thank Senator Campbell for being here, and the rest of the congressional
delegation. You sent some fine folks to Washington, D.C., and I've enjoyed working
with all of them. And I want to thank the folks who have organized this dinner
-- or lunch, however you want to call it. (Laughter.) It's a big crowd. Bob,
it's a good sign. See, the folks here know what I know, that you're a man of
principle, a man of character.
I love the Beauprez story. It's an American story, really, when you think about
it. It's a Colorado story. It embodies the values of the state of Colorado and
the best of America. After all, his grandfather came here penniless in 1910,
left a wife and child behind. He wasn't sure if he could make it in America.
He came and worked hard. Had the honor of meeting Bob's mom and dad. One of
them got out of the 8th grade, and the mom got a little farther in school --
she got out of the 9th grade. But they're truly the American story, that hard
work and dreaming big dreams and loving one another and raising your family
means you can get ahead in America. Those are the values of Bob Beauprez, and
they're important values for America to understand, and they're good values
for the United States Congress. (Applause.)
I like to support a man who's made a living, who understands what it means to
take risk, who's not only worked on a farm, but has had a vision, and saw that
vision come to be. It's the kind of thinking we need in Washington, because
we've got a problem with our economy. And here's the problem: Any time somebody
who wants to work can't find work, that's a problem. And even though there is
economic growth, we don't have enough growth. And even though interest rates
are low and inflation is low, the foundation for a growing economy -- we need
to do more.
But here's our attitude about the economy. 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 the producer can make a living, in which
the small business can grow to be a big business. (Applause.)
You're backing the right man for Congress. He understands how the economy works.
He will join me and others in making sure the tax cuts which we passed are a
permanent part of American life. (Applause.) There's an interesting debate in
Washington about taxes -- there always is; there's some who want more of your
taxes in Washington, there are some who want less. I believe that when the economy
slowed the way it was slowing when we came in, we needed to let people keep
more of their own money. Here's the page of the textbook which we read. It says,
if you have more money in your pocket, it means you're more likely to demand
a good or a service. And if you demand a good or a service, in the American
system somebody is going to produce the good or a service. And when somebody
produces the good or a service, somebody is more likely to find work. The tax
cuts came at the right time in American history. (Applause.)
The tax cuts stimulate economic growth. The tax cuts are good for small business
creation. Small businesses create 70 percent of the new jobs in America. Most
small businesses are not incorporated. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships
or limited partnerships, and therefore pay income taxes at the individual rates.
And so when you drop the rates, you're encouraging capital creation in the small
business sector of America. Those who oppose tax cuts do not understand job
creation and what the small business community does for job creation. (Applause.)
It's hard for me to explain why we need to make them permanent. It's kind of
some of the things that happen in Washington. On the one hand, they taketh away;
on the other hand, they giveth. In this case, we had tax reductions, but because
of a rule in the United States Senate, those tax reductions cease after 10 years
from the date of enactment. Congress gives, and then it takes away. And that's
not right. What I need, I need allies in Washington who will make those tax
reductions permanent, so people can plan and save and the job will grow. (Applause.)
And we did a good thing in that tax reduction plan. We sent the death tax on
its way to extinction. (Applause.) The death tax is bad for Colorado ranchers.
The death tax is bad for Colorado farmers. If you're interested in curtailing
urban sprawl, you ought to eliminate the death tax, so people aren't forced
to sell their farms and ranches when they don't want to, because of a bad tax.
The death tax is bad for small businesses. The death tax is just plain bad.
And this state and this district better send somebody to Washington who will
vote to permanently repeal the death tax. (Applause.)
Economic vitality and economic growth means that we've got manage our resources
wisely, and we're not managing our forests resources wisely in America. We're
allowing our forests to grow up like giant piles of kindling, and just hoping
that something doesn't happen. We're -- backwards policy. We don't listen to
the folks out West enough. We don't listen to the folks whose job it is to conserve
our forests for future generations. The fires that have devastated the West
should send a clear signal, and not only to the voters of this district, but
to the people in Washington, D.C., that America -- for the sake of our precious
resources, and America for the sake of future generations -- must have forest
policy based upon common sense. We must thin out our forests so that they're
not giant piles of kindling for future national disasters. (Applause.)
Bob's common sense approach makes sense for Colorado. He understands, as well,
when you're good at something, you ought to promote it. We're good at high-tech,
we're good at growing crops, we're good at producing things, and we ought to
be selling our products overseas. And so I appreciate that we're going to have
a fellow free-trader elected to the United States Congress from this district.
Trade is good for jobs. Trade is good for Colorado. And trade is good for America.
In order to create more jobs in America, Congress needs to act when it comes
to terrorism insurance. There's some significant projects on hold because people
can't get insurance because of what the terrorists did to us. It's estimated
it's over 300,000 jobs that have been delayed, 300,000 hard-hat, good, hard
-- good-paying jobs, because we can't get terrorism insurance. And Congress
ought to act. And they need to move.
The problem is -- well, here's the problem. Some of them are more interested
in rewarding the trial lawyers than they are the hard-hats. (Applause.) We need
a bill that focuses -- we need policy that focuses on the hardworking people,
those people wearing the hard hats. We've got to get them back to work. I need
somebody up there who will join me in putting good, common-sense policy in place
-- people can find work in America. We want them working.
And one other thing I want to share with you about how to make sure the economy
grows. We must be fiscally sound with your money. We cannot allow Congress to
overspend. And here's the danger: Every idea in Washington sounds like a good
idea. Everybody's idea sounds brilliant. And the problem in Washington politics
is every one of those brilliant ideas has got a price tag on them in the billions.
And it begins to add up.
And the other danger is, there's no budget. Senator Armstrong remembers the
days when the Senate had a budget. They don't have one now. And if you don't
have a budget, guess what's likely to happen? People overspend. For the sake
of job creation, for the sake of jobs, we need to make sure the United States
Congress understands whose money they're spending. They're not spending the
government's money, they're spending your money. And I need fiscal conservatives,
people who will protect your pocketbook in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
No, we're going to work together to make America a stronger place by making
sure people can find work. Oh, I know there's a lot of talk about national security,
and there should be, during these days. But part of making sure America is a
secure place is that our economy is strong, and we continue to focus on job
creation, which I'll do.
But my most important job these days is to protect the homeland, is to protect
America against nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers. Protect our country
against people who hate us because of what we love. They hate us because we
love freedom. They hate us because we love the idea that people can worship
an almighty God any way they see fit. They hate us because we speak our mind,
we allow public discourse and dissent. They hate us because we have a free press.
And so long as we love freedom, they'll hate us. But we're never, ever going
to relinquish our love of freedom in America. (Applause.)
Let me tell you something else about the enemy. They're resourceful, they're
slippery, they're the ones who hide in caves and send youngsters to their suicidal
death. These are folks that have hijacked a great religion and then take innocent
life. And that's a huge difference between America. See, in America we value
life. Everybody matters, every person counts. Not only in America, but around
the world. Human life is precious to the American people. Part of our culture.
The enemy doesn't think that way. And therefore, we've got to do everything
we can to defend against them, to make sure they never hurt us again.
And a lot of good people are working a lot of long hours to protect the American
people -- just -- you got to know it. You've got to know that we're doing a
better job now of coordinating between agencies in Washington. I mean, once
we learned the oceans no longer protect us, there's a new mentality in your
Nation's Capital, as well as your statehouse, and at the local level, as well.
A lot of good people are sharing information, are running down leads. Any time
we get a hint something might be happening to America, we're going to react
to it. We owe that to the American people. We will do so and protect the United
States Constitution at the same time.
We're making progress at home. But we need to make more progress. And one way
to do so is to create a department of homeland security. I remember when I first
made the announcement, somebody said, well, all that's going to mean is bigger
government. I readily concede I didn't campaign on the slogan, vote for me,
I want your government to be bigger. But I do want it to work. I want it to
perform. There's over 100 agencies involved in the homeland defense. And if
the number one priority is to protect the homeland, it seems like to me it makes
sense to have them under one umbrella so we that we can have a new culture in
those agencies. It's not to say they won't do other functions, but we want them
focused on your job, on your security, and on their job. That's what we want
And so I asked Congress to respond. And the House acted quickly, and I appreciate
the votes of the members here from the House. The Senate is bogged down right
now. They're bogged down over a dispute as to how best to run the agency. I
want to thank Senator Campbell's strong support of my position which I'm about
to share with you, and it's this.
I don't need a giant -- and when I say "I," it's not only me, it's
other Presidents -- don't need a thick book of regulations trying to micromanage
the department of homeland security. That's not what we need. We need flexibility.
We need to be able to move quickly. We need to be able -- need to put their
hardworking people in the right place at the right time, to protect us from
an enemy. Let me give you some examples of what I'm talking about.
After September the 11th, the Customs Service wanted to require inspectors at
the nation's 301 ports of entry to wear radiation detection devices. That makes
sense. Put a radiation detection device on, that will help to determine whether
or not somebody is trying to struggle a weapons of mass destruction in the country.
Eminent sense, logic that folks should want to do that. The union that represents
the Customs workers objected. They didn't think that was right. They sought
to invoke collective bargaining, which would have taken at least a year to resolve.
We don't have a year to resolve issues like that. See, we need to be able to
move quickly. We need to be able to respond. It's our job. In order to locate
employees in cases of emergency, the Customs Service thought to have employees
provide their home addresses or their telephone numbers to the Customs Service.
In other words, if there needed to be a quick response, we needed to have their
numbers available. The union objected. They said, such a request would violate
the privacy rights of workers.
We're in a different time here in America. In this case, a union filed a grievance,
and sought to negotiate something as sensible as this request. I'm for workers
rights. I believe people ought to be able to have collective bargaining if that's
what they want. But in the name of national security, this administration, future
administrations need this flexibility to put people the right place at the right
time, in order to protect America from an enemy which still wants to hurt us.
Hope we can get it right in the Senate. An opportunity for the Senate, House
to leave behind a legacy that America is more fully protected as time goes on.
But the best way to protect America, short-term and long-term, is to hunt the
killers down, one at a time, and to bring them to justice. (Applause.) And that's
what we're doing. We're doing it in a variety of ways. First, you just need
to know the doctrine that says, if you're -- you're either with us or you're
with them -- it still stands. (Applause.)
A lot of people still with us. This is a different kind of war, and we need
people with us. As I mentioned, these are folks that like to hide in caves or
the dark recesses of cities around the world. They don't have tanks, they don't
have airplanes, they don't have ships. We don't measure success based upon our
capacity to destroy their ability to fight war. We measure success based upon
how many we have hauled in, or how many weren't so lucky. We've gotten over
a couple of thousand of them so far. "We" not only means the United
States, but others with whom we work. And like number have not been as lucky.
We're slowly, but surely, dismantling the al Qaeda terrorist network. (Applause.)
It's not a very glamorous war for some to cover. It's hard to get breathless
over an arrest. Binalsheib popped his head up. He was the guy that thought he
was going to be the 20th hijacker, or wanted to be. He's no longer a threat.
He's no longer a threat to America, he's no longer a threat to our friends.
It doesn't matter how long it takes, folks, the enemy has got to understand,
we're going to get them. It doesn't matter how long it takes, we're going to
pursue them. You see, we're fighting for our freedom. We're fighting for that
which we hold dear.
I sent up to Congress the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald
Reagan was the President. I did it for two reasons. One, any time we commit
our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best equipment, and
the best possible training. (Applause.) We owe that to our troops, and we owe
it to their loved ones, as well. And for those of you in the audience who have
got a loved one in the military -- one, proud of your son or daughter; two,
I have got full confidence in your son or daughter; and three, thank you for
your sacrifice. (Applause.)
And secondly, the reason I asked for a increase the size of which I did is because
I wanted to send a message to friend and foe alike that when it comes to the
defense of our freedoms, we're not quitting. There's no calendar on my desk
that says, well, we've reached this time, it's time to stop. That's not how
I think. That's not how America thinks. We want our friends understanding that.
We want the enemy to know it, as well -- that when it comes to the defense of
our country, comes to defending the values we hold dear, it doesn't matter how
much it costs, it doesn't matter how long it takes, the United States will be
firm and resolved. We owe that to our children, and we owe it to our children's
I've got a problem, however. The defense budget I submitted hadn't made it to
my desk yet. Here we are trying to defend the homeland, and it's stuck. The
House passed it, the Senate passed it. Now it's time for the leadership in Washington,
D.C. to get the defense bill to my desk before they go home. It's important
for -- it's important signal to send. And they ought to stop playing politics
with defense appropriations at this time in American history. (Applause.)
There's not going to be an easy road to secure our freedom. There is going to
be -- there are some steep hills to climb. But we're ready to climb them as
a nation, I think. There's a steep hill to climb in Iraq. I went to the United
Nations the other day, and I want to share with you why I went. First, I wanted
to make sure the world heard the case, this man is a dictator who tortures and
rapes women -- has women raped in order to make a point, who kills, stifles
decent through murder. A man who said he would get rid of weapons of mass destruction
and still has them. And we need to fear the fact that he has weapons of mass
destruction -- he's used them before. He's used them on his own people before.
He's invaded two countries. He's lied and deceived the world.
The United States is no longer secure because we've got oceans. We're vulnerable
to attack, as we learned so vividly. My job is to not only deal with problems,
people kind of run around and lurk, my job is also to anticipate problems. My
job is to be realistic about our future. My job is to make sure that the world's
worst leader is not able to blackmail or hurt America or our friends and allies
with the world's worst weapons. We've got to make sure that these dictators
aren't able to team up with terrorist groups, use their weapons of mass destruction
as a way to intimidate those of us who love freedom.
So I went to the United Nations. My message was, we want you to succeed as an
organization. We remember what it was like when the collective body was the
League of Nations, unable to stop totalitarianism; that in order to secure the
freedom in the 21st century it's important to have an effective body. But you've
been ineffective, I said. For 11 long years you have said one thing to the dictator
in Iraq, and he has thumbed his nose. For 11 years you've allowed this man to
be -- to lie and deceive about weapons of mass destruction, and you have not
held him to account. And now is the time. For the sake of freedom, you have
got a choice: You can hold him to account. And for the sake of freedom, he has
got a choice: He can disarm.
There's no negotiations, by the way, for Mr. Saddam Hussein. There's nothing
to discuss. He either gets rid of his weapons and the United Nations gets rid
of his weapons -- (applause) -- he can either get rid of his weapons and the
United States can act, or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm
this man. (Applause.)
I'm willing to give peace a chance to work. I want the United Nations to work.
I want him to do what he said he would do. But for the sake of our future, now's
the time, now's the time. For the sake of your children's future, we must make
sure this madman never has the capacity to hurt us with a nuclear weapon, or
to use the stockpiles of anthrax that we know he has, or V-X, the biological
weapons which he possesses.
I appreciate both Republicans and Democrats in our country understanding this
issue. The other day I was at -- greeted in the Cabinet Room members of both
parties from the United States Congress, both parties, who understand the stakes
-- members of both parties who understand the stakes. People who are willing
to work with us to send a clear message to the world, a unified message, a strong
resolution which defines our vision for peace.
Soon I'll have a -- soon you'll see a resolution come forth supported by members
of both parties. Not everybody; I can understand that. This is an important
debate, a debate where people will speak their conscience. I'm absolutely convinced
as we've laid out the facts, members from both parties understand the stakes.
Understand we're talking about freedom, and understand we cannot allow this
madman to threaten us, to threaten others, to threaten our friends with the
world's worst weapons.
I want you to know that behind the rhetoric of war is a deep desire for peace.
That I believe that by remaining strong and diligent that we can achieve peace.
That we can achieve peace not only for America, but peace around the world.
I believe that by speaking clearly about terror, delineating good from evil,
remaining forceful in our desire for freedom, we can achieve peace in the Middle
I laid out a vision for peace. I'm going to stay on that vision. I believe so
strongly it's possible. And I believe we can achieve peace in South Asia. I
want you to tell your kids that when they hear the debate, listen to the rhetoric,
this administration has got a deep desire for a peaceful world. I also have
a deep desire for a better world, too. A better country.
As we work to keep the peace we've also got to work to make America a better
place for all of us. I mean every single citizen. That means we've got to have
an education system that is next to none. I believe strongly in setting high
standards and challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. I believe every
child can learn. (Applause.)
I know Bob shares that vision, and I know the Governor does, as well. I'm proud
to sign an important piece of education reform for the first time said that
if you receive federal money, why don't you show us whether or not your children
are learning to read and write and add and subtract. See, if you believe every
child can learn, if you're willing to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations,
then just show us. And if they are, we'll praise the teachers and praise the
superintendents. But when we find our children trapped in schools that won't
teach and won't change, we must demand something different. No child should
be left behind in America. (Applause.)
A better America is one that has got a modern health care system. And I look
forward to working with Bob to make sure that the Medicare system is modern.
Medicine has changed; Medicare hadn't. And it's time to keep the promise of
Medicare with a modern system, starting with prescription drug benefits for
our seniors. (Applause.)
And by the way, I appreciated what the House did. I call upon the Senate to
do the same thing that the House did the other day. In order to make sure medicine
is affordable and accessible, we need medical liability reform at the federal
level. (Applause.) Let me just put it to you this way: Too many lawsuits are
driving docs out of business. Too many lawsuits are making health care hard
to get for a lot of folks. Too many lawsuits, to many frivolous and junk lawsuits
are driving up your cost for health care, and we need to do something about
it, starting at the federal level. The House acted. The Senate must show the
same kind of courage, for the sake of the American people. (Applause.)
There's a lot of things we can do in Washington, but the best way to make America
a better place is to call upon our fellow citizens to love a neighbor just like
you'd like to be loved yourself. See, government can hand out money -- sometimes
we do a pretty good job of it -- but what it cannot do is cause people to love
one another. It can't put hope in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in
people's lives. That is done when a fellow citizen puts his arm around somebody
who hurts, and says, I love you. That's how that happens. That's done when a
church or a synagogue or mosque decides to feed the hungry or finds shelter
for those who have no housing. It's done when somebody mentors a child. It's
done when somebody runs a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop. That's what happens,
That's the true strength of the country, by the way. The true strength of the
country is in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens. You know, people
have asked me, what can they do to help in the war against terror. My answer
is, love a neighbor. If you want to fight evil, do some good. Try to make your
community a better place in which somebody can live and realize their dreams.
No, the enemy hit us. The enemy hit us. They didn't know who they were hitting.
They probably thought after 9/11/2001 that maybe a couple lawsuits would be
filed against them. They didn't understand America. They didn't understand our
view of freedom. Nor did they understand that this great nation would rise up,
this nation would take a step back and assess what was important and rise up.
A lot of people now understand to be a patriot means more than just putting
your hand over your heart, it means doing something to make your community a
better place. A true patriot is somebody who helps eliminate those pockets of
despair and hopelessness by loving somebody.
I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come great good. Still
mourn the loss of life, like we all do, but I know the culture is beginning
to change from one that has said, if it feels good, do it, and, if you've got
a problem, blame somebody else, to a day in which each of us understand we're
responsible for the decisions we make in life. We're responsible for loving
our children if you're lucky enough to be a mom or a dad. You're responsible
for the quality of life in the community in which you live. You're responsible
for loving your neighbor like you'd like to be -- self. If you're running corporate
America, you're responsible to tell the truth to your employees and your shareholders.
This great country is responding to the evil done. I'm an optimistic guy, because
I believe America can achieve anything it sets it mind to, believe we can achieve
peace, and I believe we can help eliminate the pockets of despair, and make
sure this country remains such a beacon of hope for everybody, for every citizen
who is fortunate enough to live in this great land.
The reason I believe that way is because I understand that America is the greatest
nation, full of the finest people, on the face of our Earth. God bless you all,
and may God bless America.