President Bush's Remarks at Lee Summit High School
Today President Bush spoke at Lee Summit High School in Lee Summit Missouri. Here is an excerpt:
THE PRESIDENT: Because we acted -- because we acted to defend ourself, because we took action to make America a safer place, more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq are now free. (Applause.)
You know, it wasn't all that long ago, in Afghanistan, where many young girls didn't get to go to school because the leaders there were so backward. And their moms could be hauled out in the public square and whipped or killed because they didn't tow this barbaric line of reasoning. And yet, today, 10 million people have registered to vote in the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan. (Applause.)
Freedom is powerful, isn't it? It's powerful. In Iraq, there's a strong Prime Minister, there's a national council, national elections are scheduled in January. The world is changing. We're standing with the people of those countries, because when America gives its word, America must keep its word. (Applause.) When a President says something, he must mean it. (Applause.)
In serving this vital and historic cause that makes our country safer, we're changing the world. See, free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies which will no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them. That makes us safer.
Our mission in Afghanistan is clear. We will help the new leaders train their armies so that citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan can defend themselves against the few who are trying to stop the march of liberty for the many. We'll help them get to elections. We'll get them on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible, and then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.)
I've had the privilege of meeting those who wear our uniform. I've seen their great decency and unselfish courage. I assure you, the cause of freedom is in really good hands. (Applause.) And I want to thank the veterans who are here, who have set such a fine example for the men and women of our military. (Applause.)
I made a commitment to our troops and our loved ones, they will have all the resources they need to complete their missions. That's why I went to the Congress a year ago, a year ago this month. I proposed $87 billion in funding for body armor, and spare parts, ammunition, fuel, and other supplies needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. We received great support in the Congress. As a matter of fact, the support was so strong that only 12 members of the United States Senate voted against the funding, two of whom are my opponent and his running mate.
THE PRESIDENT: Only four United States senators voted to authorize the use of force, and then voted against funding our troops. Only four people did that, two of whom are my opponent and his running mate.
THE PRESIDENT: So they asked him, they said, what -- you know, how can you explain that? He said, well, I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.
THE PRESIDENT: And then they said, you know -- and he said, well, he's proud of vote. And then he said, well, the whole thing is a complicated matter. (Laughter.) Nothing complicated -- there is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat. (Applause.)
I think this country wants consistent, principled leadership. My opponent has now voted for the war, and against supplying our troops. When he got on in the Democrat primary, he declared himself the anti-war candidate. More recently, he switched again, saying he would have voted for the war even knowing everything we know today. And he woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position. (Laughter.) And this one is not even his own. (Laughter.) It is that of his one-time rival, Howard Dean.
THE PRESIDENT: He even used the same words Howard Dean did, back when he supposedly disagreed with him. (Laughter.) No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops, we were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)
It's also wrong for my opponent to denigrate the contributions of America's allies, who we're standing side-by-side with our men and women in uniform risking their lives for freedom. There are over 40 nations in -- nearly 40 nations in Afghanistan, some 30 in Iraq. Over the next four years, I'll continue to build and strengthen our alliances, but I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Is there any question who is going to win the debates? Kerry is a dead man walking! Every time he changes his stance on Iraq, legions of Bush supporters cry foul, and now with President Bush consistently nailing Kerry on this issue, I see no future for Kerry to make any headway on the Iraq war... even with today marking the 1000th US casualty in Iraq.
And yet, Kerry still never misses a chance to mention Vietnam... Senator Kerry, what do you think of partial birth abortion? Well... When I was in Vietnam.... Polls seem to suggest that most Americans feel safer with Bush leading the War on Terror, but, suprizingly - to me at least - a majority of Americans favor Kerry on domestic issues, particularly the economy. This is amazing considering that unemployment is lower today than under the economy Clinton was so proud of. This is also amazing because Kerry is running on a guarantee of raising taxes... not just on the rich, on everybody. Let's take a look at another piece of President Bush's remarks today:
I believe in the energy, innovation, and spirit of America's workers and small business owners, and farmers, and ranchers. And that is why we unleashed that spirit with the largest tax cut in a generation. (Applause.) We've overcome a lot. You know, I like to say this economy is strong and getting stronger. I say so because I know where we have come from. We've endured a recession, corporate scandals, a terrorist attack. And yet, this economy is growing. It's growing because our workers are great. It's growing because the small business sector of America is strong. It's growing because our economic stimulus plan is working. (Applause.)
Last Friday, the jobs report for August showed we added 144,000 new jobs. That's 1.7 million over the last 12 months. The national unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. (Applause.) That's fully a point below the peak last summer. It is lower than the average rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. (Applause.)
I believe a President must confront problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.) I believe the most solemn duty of the American President is to protect the American people. (Applause.) If America shows weakness or uncertainty in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
Do we ever hear this sort of optimism in the American worker coming from Kerry? When has Kerry ever had anything positive to say about our workers? Kerry criticizes the very tax breaks that put many Americans back to work.
Bush had a few good lines about Kerry's promises to raise taxes...
In order to keep jobs here, in order to make sure people can work, we've got to be wise about how we spend your money in Washington, and we must keep your taxes low. (Applause.) We have a difference of opinion in this campaign. I'm running against a fellow who has already promised $2 trillion of new money, see. And we haven't even gotten to the stretch run yet. It's awfully tempting, coming down the pike, to tell people what they want to hear. It's awfully easy to spend your money. And then they say, well, how are you going to pay for it? He said, oh, just don't worry about it. We'll just tax the rich.
First of all, you can't raise the money, enough money to pay for his promises, by taxing the rich. Secondly, when you tax the rich, you're taxing nearly a million small business owners, because they pay tax at the individual income tax level. Thirdly, you've heard that rhetoric before, haven't you?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Oh, don't worry, we'll tax the rich. Well, that's why the rich hire accountants and lawyers. They dodge, you pay, but we're not going to let him tax you, because we're going to win this election in November. (Applause.)
I seriously can't wait for the debates... I think Bush is gonna run away with this election.