Remarks at People for Greg Ganske Dinner
The Crowne Plaza Hotel
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 15, 2002
5:23 P.M. CDT
Thank you all very much. Thank you all. Please be seated. Well, Greg, thank
you very much for that warm introduction. I want to thank you all for the warm
welcome. I'm here because I want Greg Ganske to become the next United States
Senator from Iowa. (Applause.)
I'll never forget that I ended up where I am because of the good folks in Iowa;
it all started here. (Applause.) And I want to thank many of you who -- I want
to thank you all so very much for making this, Greg tells me, the largest fundraiser
in Iowa history. I want to thank you all very much for supporting Laura and
me. I want to thank those of you involved in the grassroots politics in Iowa
for all your hard work, for the phones you dial and for the envelopes that you
stuff. I want to thank you all for working hard to make our country as great
a country as it can possibly be.
It is an honor to be back in Iowa. I'm only sorry that First Lady Laura Bush
didn't come with me. Like Ganske, we both married above ourselves. (Laughter.)
I appreciate Corrine Ganske, I appreciate her patience, and I appreciate her
willingness to work with Greg to ensure that he becomes the next United States
Senator from Iowa. (Applause.)
I was most impressed that Ganske's mother in law came. (Laughter.) That's a
good sign. (Laughter.) I want you to know that I am incredibly proud of Laura,
just as proud of Laura as Greg is of Corrine. She has brought a lot of calm
and steadiness to our country. You know, when I asked her to marry me, she was
a public school librarian. She didn't particularly care for politics. She wasn't
all that thrilled to be around politicians. But people in America are now beginning
to realize why I asked her to marry me. A lot of folks are still somewhat concerned
as to why she said "yes." (Laughter.) But I want you to know that
she is doing a fabulous job, and I'm really proud of her. (Applause.)
I want to thank Greg's colleague, Jim Leach for being here tonight. Jim Leach
is one of the true class acts of the United States Congress. (Applause.) He
still reminds me that he was a fine wrestler in high school and college, but
not nearly as good as Dan Gable, and I want to thank Dan Gable for being here
tonight, too. (Applause.)
I know Greg is proud to call you friend and supporter, and I know Iowa is proud
to call you son. And they're also proud of Cael Sanderson, and his incredible
accomplishments, as one of the finest college athletes ever. Cael, thank you
for being here tonight, as well. (Applause.)
I know that two former governors are here, friends of mine, people who distinguished
themselves when they held the high honor of being Governor of Iowa, and that's
Terry Branstad and Bob Ray. I want to thank you all for coming. (Applause.)
I know that Ron Corbett is here, and I appreciate Ron helping Greg, and I appreciate
him being the President of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce. And Chuck Larson,
the Chairman of the Republican Party. He's doing a fantastic job on behalf of
the Republicans in Iowa. (Applause.)
But most of all, I want to thank Greg for his willingness to run for the Senate.
You know, Washington, D.C. needs people like Greg, who care more about getting
things done than trying to be as shrill as they possibly can be. Washington,
D.C. needs people of accomplishment; people who are not interested in needless
partisan fighting, but who put America -- and Iowa, in this case -- foremost
in their agenda. And that is Greg Ganske. (Applause.)
I was here today at General Mills, and I want to thank that fine company for
their hospitality, and remind people that April 15th, today can actually be
called tax relief day. (Laughter.) I came to Iowa and I laid out a tax relief
plan in Des Moines, Iowa -- it's the first place that I talked about it. And
I said, if you give me a chance to be the President, I look forward to taking
your message to Washington, D.C. And that is, first of all, that the money we're
dealing with is not the government's money, it's the people's money. (Applause.)
I said as plainly as I could, if you give me a chance to be the President, I'm
going to work with whoever will listen, to make sure people have got plenty
of money, their own money in their pockets so they get to make the decisions
as what to do with their own money. And thanks to people like Greg Ganske, we
delivered on that promise. Tax relief was incredibly important, not only to
working families in America, tax relief came at the right time. Our economy
was beginning to grind down. Our economy was slowing down too much.
And people in Washington, people like Ganske and Leach and others understand
that when you let people keep their own money, they will spend. And when they
spend on goods and services, somebody is going to produce those goods and services.
And when somebody produces those goods and services, it means jobs for the working
people. Thank goodness we cut the taxes on the American people when we did.
And part of that tax relief not only deals with the marriage penalty -- because
Greg and I and others believe we ought to promote families and promote marriage
-- part of it recognizes the many in Iowa who are struggling to raise children,
single moms is -- the toughest job in our country is being a single mom. And
we increased the child credit.
But the other thing we did which was important for Iowa is that we put the death
tax on its way to extinction. (Applause.) It is important for Iowa farmers --
repealing that death tax is important for people who own the land. It makes
no sense to have a tax code that taxes people's assets twice.
Now, what's curious about how the United States Senate works is that the repeal
of the death tax is not permanent. In 2011, it can come back to haunt small
business owners and farmers and ranchers and people who work all their life
to leave their assets to their children. And what we need is to make all tax
relief permanent, and Greg Ganske is willing to make that tough vote and I appreciate
that very much. (Applause.)
There's a practical reason to elect Ganske, because he's going to be part of
the change of leadership in the United States Senate. And when we change the
leadership in the United States Senate, thanks to his election, Senator Chuck
Grassley will become Chairman of the Finance Committee and that's going to be
good for Iowa. (Applause.)
And that's not only good for Iowa, that's good for America. I appreciate Chuck
and I appreciate his hard work. He, like Greg, is a fine, solid -- solid --
citizen who represents your state with a lot of class and a lot of distinction
in Washington, D.C.
We need a majority because I want my judges to be given a fair hearing. (Applause.)
I want to tell you I appreciate Greg's understanding of the importance of trade.
Jim Leach reminded me that here in Cedar Rapids this is a town that relies upon
trade -- more dollars per capita generated through trade than almost any other
city in the United States. Of any city in the nation that understands the importance
of trade, it's right here.
And the President needs what's called trade promotion authority. I need the
ability to negotiate trade agreements all around the world. There are some in
Washington, D.C. who want to build walls and protection around America. But
a confident nation is one that tears those walls down. We are the best farmers
in the world and we ought to be selling Iowa products all across the world.
I appreciate very much Greg's understanding of the need for a comprehensive
energy policy. I submitted a plan to the House that Greg sponsored and supported,
that is a balanced plan. It says on the one hand we've got to do a better job
of conserving energy in America. And we've got to use our technologies to lead
the way to not only cleaner air, but to better conservation. I believe that
one of these days we're going to have brand new types of cars that are going
to make us less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil, and we'll be more
better at cleaning our air. And that's coming down the road. And part of the
bill that we worked together on has got the incentives for technological development
and it's going to happen. It's going to happen in our lifetime.
But I want you to know that in the meantime, for the sake of economic security
and for the sake of national security, we need to be finding more energy at
home. We import more than 50 percent of our energy from around the world. And
some of those countries from which we import, they don't like America. And I
don't like to be in a position of having to rely upon energy from countries
that don't like us. (Applause.)
I've heard the rhetoric like you. I just want you to know I've got all the confidence
in the world that we'll be able to explore at home and protect the environment.
Technology has developed so that we can have a exploration program that doesn't
permanently scar the environment, that understands the importance of environmental
policy. And as we're working on sound, comprehensive energy policy, we must
also work on renewables -- renewables such as ethanol. (Applause.)
All of these elements are a part of an energy bill that Greg helped get out
of the House, that is stalled in the United States Senate. I repeat: for the
sake of economic security of those who work for a living and for the sake of
national security, we need senators in Washington, D.C., who will promote and
work for a sound energy policy. It's good for the country. (Applause.)
I appreciate Greg's big heart. He's a fellow who's always served his fellow
citizen. He's used his God-given talents as a surgeon to help those in need.
And that's important, to have people with big hearts in Washington, D.C.
I appreciate his deep concern, about the Medicare funding formulas that so affect
rural Iowa. He gave me an earful on Air Force One, I want you to know. (Laughter
and applause.) I appreciate so very much his concern about the doctor-patient
relationship, and making sure that's intact.
But most of all, the thing I appreciate him is he's a good thinker and a hard
worker, who cares deeply about the citizens of this state. Greg Ganske is going
to make a United -- a fine United States Senator, and there's no doubt in my
mind he's going to win next November. (Applause.)
And I look forward to working with him in the Senate on a lot of issues other
than those I've discussed. I want to talk about three issues facing America.
The first are homeland security. My most important job is to make sure the enemy
doesn't hit us again. My most important job is to protect innocent Americans.
You need to know that the nature of the people we're dealing with, they're cold-blooded
killers. They hate us. And you know why they hate us? They hate us because we
love freedom. They hate us because love the fact and honor the fact that we
worship freely in America. They can't stand the thought of free elections, free
press. And they're out there.
But I also want you to know we're doing everything in our power to protect the
homeland. We've got a homeland security strategy that is preparing our noble
and brave first responders, should something happen -- that would be the police
and the fire and the EMS folks.
We've got an initiative on bioterrorism that's smart and wise. We're increasing
our security at our borders. We want an INS -- that's the folks who're supposed
to know who's coming in and coming out -- to be modern. We want to know who's
coming in our country and why they're coming in, and if they're leaving when
they're supposed to be leaving.
And I also want to assure you that any time we get any lead, any hint that somebody
might try to do something to an American citizen or an American city, we're
responding. We're chasing down every single lead there is. We're on alert. Our
law enforcement officials are communicating much better than ever before.
But the best way to secure the homeland is to run down the killers, one by one,
and bring them to justice, and that's exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)
History has called us into action. And we're not going to tire, because when
it comes to the defense of our freedoms, when it comes to civilization itself,
this nation is going to stand tall.
You know, I can't imagine what was going through the minds of the al Qaeda killers.
I guess they just thought they were going to hit us, and because we were so
materialistic, in their minds, so self-absorbed, so incredibly selfish, that
all we were going to do was file a lawsuit. (Laughter.) They were wrong. (Applause.)
Any time anybody -- any time it comes to defending that which we hold dear,
this nation will be strong and resolute and determined. (Applause.)
I'm sure you've read about the budget priorities that I -- the budget I submitted,
with its priorities. And by far the biggest priority is a increase in the spending
for our national security and the defense budget. And I want to explain why.
First, any time we commit a troop into action, that person must have the best
equipment, the best training, the best possible -- the best pay possible. You
see, I've heard the debates in Washington about how high the budget is. The
price of freedom is high, but as far as I'm concerned, it's never too high.
I've also submitted a budget that's increased because we're in this thing for
the long haul. There is no calendar on my desk that says, by such and such a
date we're going to quit. I don't feel any constraints of time. I'm a patient
man. And, fortunately, so is the United States of America, much to the chagrin
of our enemy.
Our first task was to uphold the doctrine that said, if you harbor a terrorist,
you're just as guilty as the terrorists. And the Taliban understood -- understands
now exactly what the United States of America meant. (Applause.)
But I want to assure you that this great nation does not seek revenge. We seek
justice. We don't have revenge in our heart, we're going to defend freedom by
holding people accountable. The Taliban, the hosts to the parasites, was one
of the most backward and barbaric governments that modern man has ever seen.
And thanks to a vast coalition and the United States military, we routed them
And as a result, we were liberators of a country. It's so important for you
all to remind the young, your children or your neighbors, that this great, mighty
nation freed people. We gave people a chance -- young girls a chance to go to
school for the first time in their life. Not only are we protecting the homeland,
we're also protecting the human dignity of people around the world. (Applause.)
There's a lot of work to be done. Afghanistan is still a dangerous place. A
couple of weeks ago they bunched up, and we got them. I don't know if they're
going to bunch up again. (Laughter.) But if they do, we're going to rout them
out. We denied sanctuary for them. We've ruined their training bases. We're
disrupting their finances. We got them on the run. We're treating them exactly
the way they are, international criminals. And the only way to treat an international
criminal is to hunt them down, and bring them to justice. For the good of the
world, this country is going to do exactly that. (Applause.)
And I meant what I said when I talked about making sure that our nation or our
friends are never threatened or blackmailed by some of the world's worst leaders,
harboring and developing the world's worst weapons. We cannot allow nations
that -- run by people who have gassed their own citizens, nations who want to
destroy our friends and allies, nations who hate America, to develop and deploy
weapons of mass destruction. You need to know I'm patient, I'll consult with
our allies and friends, I'm steady when it comes to the mission. But they're
not going to get away with it. (Applause.) For the good of our future, they're
not going to get away with it.
And so our nation has got to keep its resolution. But that's easy, because this
is such a fabulous land. We know what's at stake. I want you to know that out
of this evil is going to come some good, and I firmly believe that. If we remain
steadfast and strong and determined to rout out terror, we can achieve peace
in the world. That's my dream and that's my hope. Oh, I know talking about military
budgets and getting them and all that stuff is part of my -- the way I talk.
But you just need to know in my heart is the drive and desire to achieve lasting
And we're willing to work for peace in regions of the world where some may say
peace never has a chance. I am very proud of the hard work and the diligent
effort of Secretary of State Colin Powell, working to lay the foundations for
peace in the Middle East. (Applause.)
And I also believe that out of this evil will come incredible good at home.
People say, they say, gosh, I want to try to contribute in the war against terror.
And there's an easy way to do that: it's to love a neighbor just like you'd
like to be loved yourself. If you want to fight evil, do some good -- mentor
a child, start a program in your church or your synagogue or a mosque that feeds
the hungry. Understand that in our nation there are pockets of hopelessness
and despair, but those pockets of hopelessness and despair can be changed as
a result of loving Americans, working hard to save our country one heart and
one soul, one conscience at a time.
No, the enemy hit us, but they have given us a good chance to work for peace,
and to show the world the true compassion of America. If there's a young one
out there looking for something to do, we've got what's called the USA Freedom
Corps. Go to the Peace Corps, and help spread American values. Become a teacher,
and teach a child not only how to read and write and add and subtract, but teach
them the important values that make our country unique. (Applause.)
I always have said that I believe our nation can work together to change a culture
which has said, if it feels, just go ahead and do it, and if you've got a problem,
blame somebody else.
I believe -- I believe we're in the process of ushering in a new type of culture.
One which says we're all responsible for the decisions we make in life. (Applause.)
That if you're a mom or dad -- that if you happen to be fortunate enough to
be a mother or a father, it's your responsibility to live that child with all
your heart and all your soul.
But if you're fortunate enough to be an American -- responsibility to love your
neighbor. That if you run in -- if you're in corporate America you have a responsibility
to your workers and your shareholders to fully disclose assets and liabilities.
And this great country is responding. The gathering momentum of millions of
acts of kindness truly defines our nation. The notion of sacrificing for something
greater than yourself has become a part of our national conscience. Sacrifice,
again I repeat, is to help somebody in need.
That sacrifice came very clear to me and Americans on Flight 93, when people,
passengers, people going to work or wherever they were going to, were on cell
phones and realized America was under attack and realized the plane they were
on was going to be used as a weapon. And they told their loved ones they loved
them, said a prayer and sacrificed their lives so others could live.
To me, that defines the American spirit, and what is possible, in all kinds
of ways, across the country. The evil ones hit us, but this great nation is
not going to allow the evil ones to have its day. This great nation will rise
up, with its goodness and kindness and compassion, and show the world not only
our strength, not only our determination, but show the world we understand the
true meaning of love.
I want to thank you all for coming tonight. (Applause.) It is my honor -- it
is my incredible honor to be the President of the greatest nation on the face
of the earth. May God bless you all. (Applause.)