Remarks by the President and the First Lady at Iowa Send-Off
|Friday May 7,
Grand River Center
9:54 A.M. CDT
MRS. BUSH: I'm the one who gets to introduce the President. (Applause.) We're so glad to be here. We're so happy to be here in Iowa. Thank you all very, very much for coming out. It's great to see such a huge crowd. And thank you all. (Applause.)
George and I first traveled together in his first campaign in 1978, when he ran for Congress out in West Texas, in our home district, Midland, Texas. Newly married, we spent a year on the road, driving up and down the panhandle of Texas through that congressional district. The race didn't turn out as we hoped, but we had a wonderful time. We met many, many of our best friends then. And believe me, you learn a lot about your husband when you spend a year traveling with him in a car. (Laughter.) By the end of the campaign, he'd even convinced me to vote for him. (Laughter.)
I know you all see what I see. The President is a steady leader during these historic times. (Applause.) He's hopeful about the future because he has tremendous confidence in the American people. As we've traveled together, I've seen the President encourage young children to read, or to go to college; I've seen him pitch in to help a family build their first home; I've seen him rally our men and women in uniform at military bases here in the United States, and in Europe. (Applause.) My husband treats the men and women that he meets with dignity and respect. And it's the same dignity and respect he has for the office he holds. He gives me every reason to be proud of him, as our President, and as a husband and a father.
Today we're so glad to be here. This is the second bus trip of our last campaign. But we look forward to the campaign this year. Being on the campaign trail, though, isn't what it used to be. These days we get to travel in a very nice bus, or airplane, instead of an old car, and George isn't behind the wheel anymore. (Laughter.)
But today we face a different world than we did back then in 1978. These are especially challenging times for our country, times that require a disciplined and determined and strong leader. And I'm so proud that my husband is that kind of leader.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you all, very much. Thanks for coming. I'm really glad you're here. It is great to be back in Dubuque. (Applause.) Once again, here I'm asking for the vote. (Laughter.) I'm asking for your help. (Applause.) I remember last time I campaigned here, the crowds weren't quite as big. (Laughter.) Neither was the entourage. (Laughter.)
But I am thrilled to be here. I know most of you are here to see Laura, and I appreciate you coming. (Applause.) She's such a fabulous First Lady, and a great wife, and wonderful mom, that I think she deserves four more years as the First Lady. (Applause.)
Now, I'm here to ask for your help. I want to thank those who are involved with the grassroots. I want to thank those who are willing to put up the signs and to talk to your neighbors, those who are willing to go to the community centers and the houses of worship, those who are willing to work door-to-door and remind people that this administration has a positive vision, a hopeful vision, an optimistic vision for everybody who lives in this country. (Applause.)
I want you to remind them I got a plan to win the war on terror and to spread peace and freedom throughout the world -- (applause) -- a plan that helps to create jobs and spreads opportunity to every corner of America; a plan that taps into the compassionate spirit of our country. Working together, we'll make this country safer and stronger and better. We got a positive platform -- one that I am convinced the American people understand and appreciate. We will become reelected on November the 2nd. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. When you're out there gathering up the vote -- by the way, make sure you talk to discerning Democrats and independents, as well. (Laughter.) And remind them I put together a fantastic team of people to serve this country, people who have come to Washington, D.C. from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, all bound together by the desire to serve this country, not their self-interest. We've got a fabulous Vice President in Dick Cheney. (Applause.) One time I had given a speech, and Mother was in the crowd. I said, "You know, Dick Cheney is the finest Vice President our country has ever had." (Applause.) She said, "Wait a minute, buster." (Laughter.)
I am proud to have traveled with some really fine members of the Congress. Iowa sent some good, decent souls to Washington, D.C. to represent you and to represent our nation. (Applause.) And one such person is the fantastic United States Senator Chuck Grassley. (Applause.) Remember when we campaigned together? We'd be traveling the back roads of Iowa, and he would say, I know the farmer who lives there. (Laughter.) And we'd go down the road for another couple of miles, and he'd say, oh, I know who lives there. No wonder this guy is constantly reelected. He not only does his job, he knows everybody, everywhere across the state of Iowa. (Applause.)
You've got a really good Congressman representing you in Washington, D.C. I'm going to tell you, the Budget Chairman, Jim Nussle, is a good man. (Applause.) I'm proud to call Congressman Jim Leach my friend -- a good, thoughtful, decent guy. (Applause.) I'm proud that people from the other side of the state are coming here to east Iowa. And we got a fine congressman from the western part of the state in Congressman Tom Latham. Thank you for coming, Congressman. (Applause.) I had your breakfast laid out for you on Air Force One, but you were a no-show. (Laughter.) I won't hold it against you. (Laughter.) And I, finally, appreciate -- finally, I want to appreciate -- send my appreciation to Congressman Steve King from the great state of Iowa. Thank you for coming, Congressman. (Applause.)
I know there's a lot of state officials who are here today -- senators and representatives. I'm honored you all are here. I want to thank you for your service to the state of Iowa. I appreciate the -- I appreciate you working on behalf of the people of your districts. I was also honored to have been greeted by your mayor, Mayor Terry Duggan. He was out at the airport today. I am so honored, Mayor, that you took time to be here to greet the President of the United States. My only advice to you: fill the potholes. (Laughter and applause.) No, they tell me he's doing a fine job -- a fine job. And I really do appreciate you coming, Mayor.
I want to thank my friend, Michael Martin Murphy for coming today -- appreciate you coming. (Applause.)
Laura and I grew up in West Texas. We grew up in a town called Midland, Texas. That's right next door to Odessa, Texas. (Laughter.) And when you lived in Midland, Texas, you didn't particularly care for the people who played football for Odessa, Texas. And I'm proud to be associated, however, with a former Odessa football star, a man who has made his mark in helping youngsters understand the values of life, a person who came to this state and captured the hearts of the citizens of Iowa because he's such a decent fellow, a pretty good football coach, too, my friend Hayden Fry -- appreciate you. (Applause.)
When you're out rounding up the vote, you might start by reminding your friends and neighbors what this administration has accomplished. The last three years have brought serious challenges, and we have given serious answers. We've led -- we've risen to the challenge. We came into office with a stock market in decline and an economy headed into recession. But we acted, delivered historic tax relief, and now our economy is the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation in the world. (Applause.)
We uncovered corporate crimes, crimes that cost people their jobs and their savings. So we worked with the Congress and we passed strong corporate reforms. Wrongdoers are being brought to account. It is clear in America, we will not tolerate dishonesty in the boardrooms of our country. (Applause.)
We saw war and grief arrive on a quiet September morning. So we have pursued the terrorist enemy across the world. We've captured or killed many leaders of the al Qaeda network. And the rest will learn there is no cave or hole deep enough to hide from American justice. (Applause.)
When Dick Cheney and I came to Washington, we found a military that was underfunded and underappreciated. So we gave our military the resources and respect they deserve. And today, no one can question the skill, the strength, and the spirit of the United States military. (Applause.)
We confronted the dangers of state-sponsored terror and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We ended two of the most violent and dangerous regimes on Earth. We liberated over 50,000 million people. Once again, America is proud to stand against tyranny and to set nations free. (Applause.)
It is the President's job to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.) Great events will turn on this election. The man who sits in the Oval Office will set the course of the war on terror and the direction of our economy. The security and prosperity of America are at stake. I look forward to this campaign. I'm running for a reason -- I want our country to be safer and stronger and better. I've got a vision for the future of this country that is optimistic. (Applause.) I know where I want to lead us. I look forward the explaining it in clear and simple terms to the American people.
And we've got a tough race. So I've asked you to come today to get your uniforms ready, get ready for the contest. I take nothing for granted. I look forward to getting out amongst the people and talking about my vision.
I'm running against an experienced United States senator. He's been in Washington an awful long period of time. He's been there so long -- he's been there long enough to take both sides on just about every issue. (Applause.) He was for the Patriot Act, for NAFTA, for No Child Left Behind, and for the use of force in Iraq. Now he opposes the Patriot Act, NAFTA, No Child Left Behind Act and the liberation of Iraq. His positions remind me of that old Texas saying -- if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change. (Laughter.)
No, he's an experienced senator, he's a tough opponent, and I understand that. I look forward to an honest and calm debate on the issues. I look forward to gathering the support of the American people. That's the endorsement I seek. I seek your endorsement. I seek the people who are working every day. (Applause.) He claims to have picked up some important endorsements amongst foreign leaders. (Laughter.) He just won't tell us their names. (Laughter.)
He did tell us -- gave us a hint the other day. On national TV, he said, and I quote, "What I said is true. I mean, you can go to New York City, and you can be in a restaurant, and you can meet a foreign leader." Now, I think this may be a case of mistaken identity. (Laughter.) Just because a fellow has an accent -- (laughter) -- and a fancy suit, and a nice table at a New York restaurant, it doesn't mean he's a foreign leader. (Laughter and applause.) But whoever these mystery people are, they will not determine the course of this election. The American people will decide the outcome of this election. (Applause.)
The voters will have a clear choice. It's a choice between keeping the tax relief that is moving this economy forward, or putting the burden of higher taxes back on the working people. It is a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence, or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger. I look forward to taking on the big issues with a sense of optimism and resolve and determination. I will make it clear that I stand ready to lead this country for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: A big issue in this campaign, and a big issue for every family in America is the federal tax burden. With the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was the President, we have left more money in the hands that earned. By spending -- (applause) -- by spending and investing and helping to create new jobs, the American people have used their money far better than the federal government would have. (Applause.) Our economy is strong, and it is getting stronger. (Applause.) The economy grew at a rate of 4.2 percent in the first quarter, and the economic growth over the past three quarters has been the fastest in nearly two decades. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Business investment is rising. Disposable income is up. Inflation is low. Mortgage and interest rates are at near historic lows. Home ownership is at the highest rate ever. (Applause.) Our farm economy is strong. America has had four straight years of rising farm exports. And last year we had the highest farm income on record. (Applause.)
This morning, we got some more good news about our economy. Last month, America added 288,000 new jobs. (Applause.) The economy has overcome a lot because the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. We've overcome a lot because of good policy. Since last August, we've added 1.1 million new jobs. People are finding work in this country. The tax relief we passed is working. (Applause.)
This administration understands he role of government is not to try to create wealth, but an environment in which the small business owner can grow to be big business. We understand the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit and the importance of small business owners in our society. Seventy percent of new jobs are created by small business owners. And therefore, this pro -- a pro-growth plan we passed has focused on small businesses.
Today I met with Lynne Oyen -- Lynne and her husband, Ken -- Kevin -- own an electrical supply company. It's a small business. It's a business that is creating new jobs. It's a business that's a sub-chapter S corporation, which means they pay taxes at the individual income tax level. Therefore, when you reduce income taxes on the individual, you're helping small businesses like Lynne's. Lynne is adding employees. Lynne is making investment decisions to expand our economy. (Applause.)
I want to thank you for coming, Lynne. Lynne and her husband represent the importance of stimulating growth amongst the small business owners of the Iowa economy. And that's what we're doing through good policy.
As well, we're helping individual families with good tax policy. We've got Greg and Lorie Foley with us today. They're right there. I appreciate them coming. (Applause.) Some of their neighbors are here. The Foleys -- first of all, Greg was deployed for 10 months on active duty. I appreciate his service as a member of the Iowa National Guard. (Applause.)
Because the child credit went up and the marriage penalty went down, and the 10-percent bracket was reduced because we reduced overall tax rates, this good family saved $2,200 on their taxes last year and this year -- $2,200 in one year, and $2,200 in the next year. Now, that may not seem like a lot for some of the folks in Washington, D.C., but it's a lot for them. It's a lot of money in their pocket to help them do their duty as a mom and a dad. That extra money comes in handy. It comes in handy when you're having trouble making -- making the bills. It comes in handy when times have been tough.
So I asked them, what are they going to do with the money. If they want to say, none of your business, I would have understood that. (Laughter.) Fortunately, they said -- they told me what they're going to do. They're going to improve their house. See, they'll make their house better for their family. Now, when they make a decision to make their house better, somebody has got to provide the supplies to make the house better, which means somebody is more likely to find work at the place that's selling the supplies. And somebody that made the supplies, that sells the supplies, is more likely to be able to keep a job.
I said, Greg, you going to do it yourself? He said he didn't think so. He was going to hire somebody to come in and do it. So the person that comes in and helps remodel the home now has a little extra money in his pocket. That's the way the economy works. We stimulated the economy by letting these people keep more of their own money. (Applause.)
And now Congress is debating whether to make sure this tax relief stays in their pocket. See, if they don't make sure that child credit stays at $1,000 next year, these good folks' taxes are going up. They'll be -- the government will be taken money out of their pocket. We don't need to be doing that at this time in our -- when the economy is starting to grow. See, the more money in people's pockets, the stronger this economy will be.
My opponent has a different view of that. He voted against every one of the tax measures that left more money in Greg and Lorie's pocket. He was a "no." And when it comes time to raising taxes, it's a lot easier to get a "yes" vote out of him. That's just his point of view. He voted to raise taxes over 350 times. He voted for raising the gas tax 11 times, and one time favored a tax increase of 50 cents a gallon.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, that would be a $5 or more increase on you every time you fill up your tank. You'd think with that amount of money, he'd at least throw in a free car wash. (Laughter.)
We just have a different view. We have a different point of view of how this economy works. The reason I bring up his view on taxes is because, in a campaign, as you know, it's easy to make political promises. Now, we've been watching carefully, and we've been toting up the amount of money he's promised to spend if he happens to be elected -- that's $1.9 trillion so far. And we're just getting started in the campaign. (Laughter.) And if he had a history of voting on tax increases, you can understand where he is going to get the money from. It's an important distinction in this campaign that people must understand. He said he's going to raise the money to pay for this by taxing the rich. We've heard that before, haven't we? The problem is you can't raise enough money by taxing the rich to pay for all those promises. So guess who is going to get to pay? You are. But we're not going to let him have that opportunity. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: This country -- the people of this country understand that we must not raise taxes right now. Raising taxes will undermine growth and destroy jobs. We need to keep taxes low. We should not raise taxes on the American people. (Applause.)
It is very important in this campaign for me to continue to lay out a vision of how America can be the most competitive country in the world, a good place to do business so people will be able to find work. That means a lot of things. It means we better have tort reform in this country. Frivolous and junk lawsuits make it awfully difficult for people to build their business. (Applause.) And part of that tort reform is medical liability reform so that we don't run up the cost of health care and run doctors out of business. (Applause.)
If we want to be competitive, if we want to be able to create jobs in the 21st century, we better get us an energy policy. We better get an energy plan. (Applause.) There's one stuck in the Congress. Here's what it ought to say -- it should say we ought to encourage conservation -- and we will. We ought to make sure we have alternative sources of energy. Listen, I'd love to be the President that says, the corn crop is up, or the -- there's more soybeans than ever before, and that means there's more ethanol available and more biodiesel available. Listen, we ought to be at some point in time in a position to have alternative sources of energy. (Applause.)
And we also need to have clean coal technology. We ought to be having safe nuclear power. We ought to be using every ounce of our efforts to find more energy to make us less dependant on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
The President has got to make sure that we're optimistic and confident in order for jobs to be created. That means we've got to reject what I call economic isolationism. Instead of shutting down markets and walling ourselves from the rest of the world, we ought to say to other nations, treat us like we treat you. See, you're able to sell your goods in our country; we want to be able to sell our goods into yours. Just give us a chance. Give our farmers a chance to compete, give our workers a chance to compete, give our entrepreneurs a chance to compete, and we can compete with anybody, anywhere, anytime. (Applause.)
We're going to make sure education systems work. The No Child Left Behind Act is a solid piece of legislation, really good reform, because we're challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. We're raising the bar. We're saying, if you can't read, we're going to correct the reading problems early. We're not going to quit on any child. No, to make sure we're competitive in the 21st century, we've got to make sure our public school systems fulfill their functions, fulfill the goal of educating every child. And we've got to use our community college systems to make sure that we train workers for the jobs which actually exist -- the jobs of the 21st century.
No, I can't wait to explain my vision for America, a vision that's got great faith in the entrepreneurs of our country; a vision that's got great faith in the workers of America; a vision that clearly says we will be competitive in the 21st century so our people can find work and we can compete. And the way to do that is through a pro-growth, pro-entrepreneur, pro-small business economic agenda. (Applause.)
Our future also depends on America's leadership in the world. The momentum of freedom in our time is strong, but we still face serious dangers. Al Qaeda is wounded, but they are not broken. Terrorists are testing our will in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regimes in North Korea and Iran are challenging the peace. If America shows weaknesses and uncertainty in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.)
This nation is strong and confident in the cause of freedom. And today no friend or enemy doubts the word of the United States of America. (Applause.) America and our allies gave an ultimatum to the terror regime in Afghanistan. The Taliban chose defiance -- the Taliban are no longer in power. (Applause.) America and our allies gave an ultimatum to the terror regime in Iraq. The dictator chose defiance, and now the dictator sits in a prison cell. (Applause.)
September the 11th, 2001 taught a lesson I will never forget, and our nation must never forget: America must confront threats before they fully materialize. (Applause.) In Iraq, my administration looked at the intelligence and we saw a threat. The United States Congress looked at the intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw a threat. In 2002, the United Nations Security Council, yet again, demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapon programs. They did so, and we joined with them because we remembered the history of Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein professed hatred for America. Saddam Hussein had terrorist ties. Saddam Hussein paid suiciders to go into Israel to kill innocent Israeli citizens. Saddam Hussein attacked his neighbors. Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction not only against his neighbors, but against his own people.
So the ultimatum was delivered. Saddam Hussein, as he had for decade -- for a decade -- chose defiance. So either I had to -- I had a choice to make, see? I had to trust the word of a madman, or take action to defend our country. And given that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
My opponent admits that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He just didn't support my decision to remove Saddam from power. Maybe he was hoping Saddam would lose the next Iraqi election. (Laughter.) We showed the dictator and a watching world that America means what it says. Because our coalition acted, Saddam's torture chambers are closed. Because we acted, Iraq's weapons programs are ended forever. Because we acted, nations like Libya have gotten the message and have voluntarily disarmed. (Applause.) Because we acted, an example of democracy is rising at the very heart of the Middle East. Because we acted, the world is more free, and America is more secure. (Applause.)
We've had a tough -- tough weeks in Iraq. We face serious challenges. See, there's illegal militias and remnants of the regime who are joined by foreign terrorists. They're trying to take force by the power they can never gain by the ballot. That's what they're trying to do. They're trying to stop the advance of freedom. They can't stand freedom. They're trying to shake our will, is what they're trying to do. They don't understand our country. They don't understand our nature. They don't understand our resolve. America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. (Applause.)
We have a clear strategy as this country heads toward democracy and freedom. First we'll make sure the country is secure. We've got some fantastic troops over there, brave men and women -- (applause.) They're working with Iraqis so that the Iraqis can stand up and secure their own country at the right time. We're training people; they've got instructions, of course, to protect themselves at all costs. They've also got instructions, their timing, to take care of those who are trying to stop the advance of freedom, to make the country as secure as possible, because we're fixing to transfer sovereignty to the people of Iraq.
And that's the second phase of our strategy; there's a political strategy that we're now implementing. We put a schedule out there that says, on June 30th, we'll transfer sovereignty. We will meet that schedule. When America says something, we will do it. The Iraqi people -- (applause.)
By far, the vast majority of Iraqis reject the few who are trying to stop the advance of freedom. Iraqis want to run their own government. Iraqis want to be self-governing. And we look forward to helping be there. The stakes are high. This is an historic opportunity to make the world a more free place, and a peaceful place. Americans understand that free societies are peaceful societies. We also understand that freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to each man and woman who lives in this world. (Applause.) It's hard work, but it is essential work. America will finish what we have begun, and we will win this essential victory in the war on terror. (Applause.)
People in this country will have a clear choice when it comes to American security and national security. My opponent says he approves of bold action in the world -- but only if other countries do not object. (Laughter.) I'm all for listening to other countries. I'm all for working with other countries. We put together coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq to spread freedom and peace. But I will never turn over America's national security decisions to the leaders of other countries. (Applause.)
We also have a difference of opinion on the war on terror. My opponent said the war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law enforcement operation. I disagree. I disagree. Our nation followed this approach after the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. The matter was handled in the courts and thought by some to bet settled. But the enemy was still training. The enemy was still plotting. The enemy was drawing up more ambitious plans. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and their allies declared war on the United States of America, and war is what they got. (Applause.)
We'll give our troops the best equipment, best possible -- for those of you who have got loved ones in the theater, I want to thank you for your service. (Applause.) You -- you email your guys and tell them the Commander-in-Chief is incredibly proud of what they're doing for the country. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with the members of Congress to make sure our troops get the best. That's why I asked for, and Congress supported, the $87 billion supplemental last fall. That means we spent money to make sure our troops had the best. My opponent voted "no" on that issue. So I asked him to explain his vote. He said, I actually did vote for the $87 billion -- right before I voted against it. (Laughter.) Our troops don't need double-talk. What they need is support. And I will support the troops. (Applause.)
Our men and women in the military have taken great risks and they're doing great work. At bases across our country and the world, I've had the privilege of meeting those who defend our country and sacrifice for our security. The abhorrent pictures on our TV screens have stained our honor. They do not reflect the nature of the men and women we have sent overseas. We've sent decent, compassioned, honorable, sacrificing citizens. (Applause.) I've seen their decency and unselfish courage. And I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, the cause of freedom is in good hands. (Applause.)
This nation is prosperous and it is strong. Yet, we need to remember that our greatest strength is in the hearts and souls of our citizens. We're strong because of the values we try to live by: courage and compassion, reverence and integrity. We're strong because of the institutions that help give us direction and purpose: our families, our schools, and our religious congregations. (Applause.) These values and institutions are fundamental to our lives, and they deserve the respect of our government.
We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based groups so they can receive federal support for their works of compassion and healing. We will not stand for government discrimination against people of faith. (Applause.)
We stand for welfare reforms that require work and strengthen marriage, which have helped millions of Americans find independence and dignity. We will not stand for any attempt to weaken those reforms and to send people back into lives of dependence. (Applause.)
We stand for a culture of life in which every person counts and every person matters. We will not stand for the treatment of any life as a commodity to be experimented upon or exploited or cloned. (Applause.)
We stand for the confirmation of judges who strictly and faithfully interpret the law. We will not stand for judges who undermine democracy by legislating from the bench, or judges who try to remake the values of America by court order. (Applause.)
We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. We are changing the culture of America -- all of us are helping to change the culture from one that has said, if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each of us understands we are responsible for the decisions we make in life. (Applause.) If you're fortunate to be a mother or a father, you're responsible for loving your child with all your heart. If you're worried 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 are responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees. (Applause.) And in the responsibility society, each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. No, the strength of this country -- the strength of this country lies in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens.
For all Americans, these years in our history will always stand apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. These are not one of these times. You and I are living in a period when the stakes are high, when the challenges are difficult, a time when firm resolve is needed.
None of us will ever forget that week when one era ended and another began. On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I'll never forget the day. A fellow pointed at me and said, "Do not let me down." Workers in hard-hats, and police and firefighters were shouting, "Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes." As we all did that day, these men and women searching through the rubble took it personally. I took it personally. I have a responsibility that goes on. I will never relent in bringing justice to our enemies. I will defend the security of America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
In these times, I have also been witness to the character of this nation. You know, not so long ago, some had doubts about our character. They questioned our capacity to meet a serious challenge or to serve a cause greater than self-interest. But Americans gave their answer. I've seen the unselfish courage of our troops. I've seen the heroism of Americans in the face of danger. I've seen the spirit of service and compassion renewed in our country. And we've all seen our nation unite in common purpose when it mattered most.
We'll all need these qualitites for the work ahead. I'm here to ask for your help and ask for your vote because we have a war to win, and the world is counting on us to lead the cause of freedom and peace. I'm here because I believe we have a duty to spread opportunity to every part of America. I'm here to ask for your help so we can make this country safer and stronger and better. This is the work that history has set before us. We welcome it. And we know that for our great land, the best days lie ahead.
Thanks for coming. May God bless. God bless our great country. Thank you all. (Applause.)
END 10:45 A.M. CDT
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