at Scott McCallum for Governor Luncheon
August 14, 2002
11:55 A.M. CDT
Thank you very much. And you know what I think? I think the voters of Wisconsin
are going to say, "yes", to Scott McCallum as the Governor. (Applause.)
I am here to help this good man, because I believe in him. And I believe he's
going to win. And I want to thank you all for helping him. I want to thank you
for being here today. I especially want to thank you for what you're fixing
to do, which is to man the phones, go to the coffee shops, and turn out the
vote. You've got a good one in Scott, a good, honest, decent, honorable man
who is willing to make tough decisions. And you need to send him back to the
statehouse for four more years. (Applause.)
And I appreciate so very much the First Lady of the state of Wisconsin, Laurie.
It is good to see her again, and their children. I want to thank those boys
and the girl for supporting their dad in his run for the governor's race. I
bring greetings from the First Lady of the United States. (Applause.) She is
actually campaigning today in Texas for a friend of ours who is running for
the United States Senate in Texas. And you drew the short straw. (Laughter.)
But she is doing great. I don't know if you remember the story about Laura and
me, but when I married her, she was a public school librarian. And the truth
of the matter is, she didn't particularly care about politics, or politicians.
And now here she is, the First Lady of the United States, and she's doing a
fabulous job. I'm really proud of her. (Applause.)
We're working out of Crawford this month. It's a nice temperature differential.
(Laughter.) But she sends her regards, and sends all her best to Scott and Laurie
and the family during this really important quest to be your governor.
I want to thank very much the Lieutenant Governor, Margaret Farrow for being
here as well. (Applause.) I find it very interesting that Governor Ferro is
breaking the glass ceiling. She is the first female lieutenant governor in Wisconsin
I want to thank leaders of the state house who are here, Mary Panzer and Scott
Jensen, who is the Speaker of the House. Thank you both for coming. I want to
thank other members of the legislature who are here. It is in your interest
that this good man win. I want to thank Scott Walker. I call him cousin; after
all, I'm George Walker Bush. (Laughter.) At least I call him cousin so long
as he's doing a good job. (Laughter.) And they tell me he's doing a fine job.
Scott, thank you for taking on a very important assignment, as the Milwaukee
County Executive. And we wish you all the best. (Applause.)
I had the privilege of meeting the next Attorney General of the state of Wisconsin,
Vince Biskupic, and I want to thank Vince for being here as well. I want to
thank Rick Graber, who is the Chairman of the Republican Party, a fellow I've
gotten to know quite well, and trust, and appreciate his leadership. I want
to thank Mary Buestrin who is the National Committeewoman. And I want to thank
Craig Leipold, who is the finance chair for this fine event. Thank you all for
I particularly want to thank the -- those of you involved in grass roots politics.
Oftentimes we come to these events and we never thank those who have manned
the phones to even get the event going in the first place. I understand politics
well. I know you cannot win without people energized at the grass roots. And
for those of you who have worked tirelessly for Scott and for my behalf as well,
thanks from the bottom of our hearts. And I hope this dinner serves as a way
to continue -- to get you to continue working, because you're vital to the success
of any candidate running for public office. So thanks for coming today, it's
great to see you. (Applause.)
I like a man who does what he says he's going to do, and that's what Scott did.
Scott said he was going to deal with the budget in an up front way, but he was
going to do so without raising your taxes. (Applause.) A lot of folks in politics
try to find the easy way out, but Scott stuck to his word. He said, we've got
a budget problem, I intend to work with people from both parties to solve the
problem, but we're not going to solve the problem by raising the taxes in a
state whose taxes are already too high. And he stuck to his word, and Wisconsin
is going to be better off for having a governor who sticks to his word. (Applause.)
I appreciate the fact that he is working to hold down spending. That's what
I'm going to do in Washington. And yesterday I sent a pretty clear signal I
intend to bring some fiscal discipline to Washington, D.C. We've got a process
called the supplemental budget process. It's an opportunity for the Congress
to fund emergency needs. And we needed extra funding for our military and we
needed funding for homeland security and we needed extra funding to fulfill
the commitment to the citizens of New York.
But Congress, in its willingness to spend your money, added $5 billion extra
dollars. And what made that interesting, was that in order to spend any of the
extra $5 billion, I had to spend it all. In other words, you either spend all
the $5 billion, Mr. President, of you don't spend a dime. They made their position
clear. I made mine yesterday clear: we're not spending a dime. (Applause.)
It is important for those of us who have been charged with the people's money
to be fiscally sound and responsible. It's important to set priorities and make
sure the appropriators stick to those priorities. And that's what Scott's done
here in the state of Wisconsin. It's an important signal to send: during tough
times, you've got to have somebody who's willing to make tough decisions. And
that's what a leader does.
A leader is also somebody who understands that every child must be educated.
I used to say that education is to a state what national defense is to the federal
government. The most important priority of a governor is to insist that there
be quality education.
We passed a good piece of legislation out of Washington -- which passes power
out of Washington, D.C. -- because I believe in local control of schools. But
it also says, we're going to set the highest of high standards for every child.
Scott knows what I know, that if you set low standards for children, you're
going to get low results. If you expect mediocrity, you'll have mediocre students.
We believe every child can learn, and therefore are willing to insist upon high
standards for every child.
And as importantly, I insist, and so does Scott, that we measure, that we hold
people to account. See, if you believe children can't learn, you don't measure.
But if you believe they can learn, you measure to see whether or not they are
learning. And if they are, there ought to be praise for the teachers. But when
we find children trapped in schools that won't teach, and schools that won't
change, it is essential you have leadership that demands something other than
the status quo. (Applause.)
I appreciate Scott's vision of public education, and I believe under his leadership,
the public education system here in Wisconsin will demand excellence. And by
demanding excellence, our children will start to learn. No child in this country
ought to be left behind.
I also appreciate Scott's integrity and his decency. He's a down to earth fellow.
As we say down in Crawford, Texas, he doesn't have a bunch of fancy airs, what
you see is what you get. And that's important. That's important for people in
politics to say what they mean and do what they say. You know, we've got a lot
of good talkers in the political process, a lot of people who spin fancy promises.
What the state needs here, and what I believe we need in Washington are people
who just say what they believe, work hard with people of both political parties
to achieve it -- in other words, be willing to be judged on accomplishment.
And when people in Wisconsin judge this man on his accomplishments, they're
going to put him back in the governor's chair. (Applause.)
I appreciate Scott's understanding the role of government is not to create is
not to create wealth, the role of government is to create an environment in
which the producer and the entrepreneur can flourish. And that's an important
distinction between he and how some of the others think. The other people think
that government is there to create wealth, that government is the answer.
Scott knows what I know, that you've got to trust the people. You trust the
people with their own money, you trust the people with their own ambitions,
you create an environment in which people -- no matter where they're from, or
what they're like -- can achieve their dreams. That means good regulatory policy,
that means good tax policy, that means good fiscal policy. And that's the kind
of governor he has been, and that's the kind of governor he will be. (Applause.)
Not only do I appreciate the chance to come and talk about Scott, I appreciate
the chance to come and briefly talk about the hurdles our country faces, the
challenges that we face. Yesterday we had a fantastic event in Waco, at Baylor
University. As I needled the crowd that came down there, I said, I appreciate
welcoming you to the middle of Texas in the middle of August. (Laughter.) That's
a heck of a commitment. (Laughter.)
We had people from all walks of life. We didn't ask their party registration,
we just said, would you like to come and discuss your concerns about the economy.
We had laboring people and union heads and entrepreneurs and small business
people and farmers and ranchers, grandmothers. We had all kinds of people.
It was a very interesting session, because it showed that there is a concern.
But it also showed me that we've got great strength in this country to deal
with the economic challenges we face. I heard over and over again that even
though the statistics were pretty good these days, that people's confidence
had been somewhat shaken.
Nevertheless, they were confident in the long-term of the American system. They
were confident that so long as we have the right policies out of Washington,
the entrepreneurial spirit would flourish. They were confident if we make right
choices when it comes to tax and fiscal policy, the economic growth will continue.
I mean, after all, when we first got into office, we endured three quarters
of economic negative growth. And then the last three quarters have been positive.
So the trend is in the right direction, and interest rates are low, inflation
is low, productivity is up, consumer spending is strong. I mean, the ingredients
for economic vitality are there.
But there are some more things we need to do. We need to make sure that not
only is Congress fiscally responsible, we need to make sure that the tax cuts
we passed become permanent. (Applause.) We cut taxes at the right time. You
see, Scott and I understand that if you let a person keep more of their own
money, a person is going to demand a good or a service. If they demand a good
or a service, somebody is going to produce the good and service. And when somebody
produces a good and service, somebody is likely to find work. That's how the
In Washington, and I suspect here in Wisconsin, there are some who say, let's
don't trust the people with their own money, let's raise the taxes, let's prevent
tax reductions from going forward. There would be nothing worse for our economy
than to take money away from the people who make the economy grow. We need to
make the tax relief plan passed permanent. (Applause.)
I say you need to make it permanent because under a quirk in the Senate law,
all the work we did ends 10 years from the time I signed the bill. That's kind
of an odd piece of legislation. It's one where you reduce something and then
10 years later it pops back up. That's why we need to make it permanent. And
we also need to make the repeal of the death tax permanent. The death tax is
terrible on entrepreneurs, terrible on Wisconsin farmers, terrible on small
business owners. It's a terrible tax when you tax a person's assets twice. (Applause.)
No, I believe our economy is going to make good progress. I particularly believe
if the Congress does the right thing that we can make substantial progress.
They did the right thing on trade, by the way. For the first time in a long
time I now have what's called trade promotion authority. And I understand good
trade policy will yield good jobs. If you're confident about something, you
try to promote it.
I'm confident about the American people's ability to out-produce anybody in
the world. I'm confident the Wisconsin farmers are the best in the world. I'm
confident that our high tech entrepreneurs are the best in the world. I'm confident
that we can compete with a level playing field. I intend to use trade promotion
authority to sell U.S. products abroad, which will be good for high-paying jobs
here in America.
I believe in terrorism insurance. There are over $8 billion of construction
projects which have been delayed because people can't get terrorism insurance.
For the sake of hard-working Americans, for the sake of visionaries who want
to build, Congress must have a terrorism insurance bill on my desk as soon as
possible -- a bill which rewards hard work, not trial lawyers. (Applause.)
We need an energy policy that promotes renewable energy, that uses technology
to conserve more; but we need an energy policy that encourages environmentally
friendly exploration at home. It is not only important for our economic security
that we have an energy policy, it is important for our national security that
we're less reliant on foreign sources of crude oil. (Applause.)
No, I believe we can make great progress and we'll continue to work with people
of both political parties to create the environment necessary for our entrepreneurs
And one thing is certain, and one thing now people understand, that if you cook
the books you're going to be held to account. If you do not tell the truth to
the American people, there is going to be a consequence. I signed, as Scott
mentioned, the most comprehensive corporate reform since Franklin Roosevelt
was the President. It should send a chilling effect on those who want to fine
print the American people. It should send a chilling effect to those who believe
they can use fancy accounting footwork in order to achieve some kind of short-term
I've got a corporate fraud task force that's going to find those who have committed
fraud, arrest those who have committed fraud, prosecute those who have committed
fraud. The American people have got to trust the books of corporate America.
I trust, by far, the vast majority of people who run corporate America. I proudly
wear a pair of Allan Edmond shoes every day. (Laughter and applause.)
I know my friend who runs Harley Davidson is here. These are great corporations.
They're corporations because the CEO has decided to set the right kind of example,
by not only treating employees with respect, but by understanding they've got
an obligation to shareholder, as well. I signed a good piece of legislation.
We'll enforce the law. And Americans can be confident -- can be confident that
if somebody cheats them, there's going to be a consequence and they need to
be confident. But by far, the vast majority of our corporate leaders are honest
and decent and honorable people. (Applause.)
We're making progress on the economic security of the American people. We're
making progress on the homeland security for the American people. The most important
job is to do everything we can to protect the homeland, is to prevent the enemy
from hitting us again. And I sent up a pretty significant proposal to do just
that. There's over 100 agencies in Washington, D.C. that have got some part
of the responsibility of protecting the homeland. It kind of makes it hard to
hold people to account when there is 100 agencies scattered around.
And so for the sake of setting priorities and for the sake of changing agencies'
cultures so that they focus on homeland security, I proposed to Congress that
we have a Cabinet office, a Cabinet agency involved with protecting our homeland
-- we move key agencies within an umbrella organization. And we're making progress
We're making progress because the House of Representatives passed a pretty good
piece of legislation which will allow me and my Cabinet Secretary to put the
right person at the right place at the right time in order to protect the homeland.
And now the Senate must act. But the problem is, the first blush of the Senate
legislation shows that some senators are more concerned about protecting their
turf than they are protecting the American people. Some senators are more worried
about special interests, than the interests of protecting the homeland. I'm
not going to accept a piece of legislation which gives us a book this thick
of bureaucratic rules, thereby hamstringing the capacity of this administration
to protect the American people. (Applause.)
There's a lot of people -- there are a lot of people working hard to protect
us, there really are, they're working overtime. Any time we get a hint or a
piece of evidence, we're running it down. We take everything seriously here
in America about -- as to whether or not somebody might be trying to come and
hurt American citizens.
But the best way to protect the homeland is to chase the enemy down one by one
and bring them to justice. That's the best way to protect the homeland and that's
what we're going to do. (Applause.) It's a different kind of war than what we
are used to. I guess the best way to describe it is it's like we're on an international
manhunt for cold-blooded killers. These are people that hide in a cave and send
youngsters to their death.
They don't require a lot of equipment. They don't have tanks going across a
field or formations of aircraft flying around. These are people that don't value
life and hate freedom. They don't care whether innocent people die and they
hate the fact that we value life here in America. They can't stand the fact
that we worship freely, that we welcome all kinds of religions, that our government
is not a government that promotes a religion -- our government promotes freedom
of religion. It irritates them.
And so long as we hold those values of freedom dear to our hearts, we're a target.
But we're not going to change our values because some international killers
don't like us. As a matter of fact, we're going to do something different. We're
going to chase them down. We're going to unleash a great military. We're going
to call upon a vast coalition. And no matter how long it takes -- no matter
how long it takes -- we'll hunt them down one by one to protect our country
and to secure our freedoms. (Applause.)
And we're making good progress. We're making good progress. In a little less
than a year we routed the Taliban. We upheld the doctrine if you harbor or feed
a terrorist you're just as guilty as the terrorists. And the Taliban found out
what we meant. I want you all to tell your children, we went into Afghanistan
not as conquerors, but as liberators. And thanks to the United States and our
coalition, young girls, many young girls now go to school for the first time.
And we didn't leave. We're helping that country build a democracy. We're helping
that country rebuild herself so that she has a chance to be a prosperous nation
with peace in her neighborhood. But there is still al Qaeda there in remote
regions, and we've got brave troops who are hunting them down. And sometimes
you'll read about it, and sometimes you won't. We have hauled in over 2,000
of them. One by one, we're finding them -- it's not only the United States,
but the Philippines or Spain, all kinds of countries are acting in concert.
And a like number weren't as lucky. But there's more work to do. There's more
work to do. And I just want to assure you that I haven't forgotten September
the 11th. I understand that history has called us into action. I'm never going
to forget the love of freedom that the American states hold dear. I believe
in our values. And so long as anybody is out there trying to bunch up or individually
come and hurt us, my job is to act, and act decisively. And that's exactly what
our government is going to do. (Applause.)
And so when you read about the defense budget I've submitted, I hope I'm giving
you a flavor as to why I did ask for the largest increase in defense spending
since Ronald Reagan was the President. I believe any time you put your troops
into harm's way they deserve the best pay, the best training and the best possible
And I know it's important to send a signal to our friends and our enemies alike,
that the United States is in this for the long haul; that there isn't a calendar
on my desk that says, oh, by such and such a date, we're going to quit, we're
just going to stop. That's not what America is about. We love freedom. We understand
we have an obligation to defend our freedoms.
But you need to know how I feel. I feel that by leading this, the coalition,
and by remaining strong and determined and patient, that we can achieve peace,
peace in parts of the world that have given up on peace. I think we can have
peace in the Middle East, I really do, by being strong and determined, by fighting
terror, and on the one hand -- and promoting democracy on the other. I believe
we can achieve peace in South Asia. I believe we can achieve peace here at home.
And that's my goal, and that's my dream.
See, I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible
good. At home I'm already beginning to see the signs of the good that's coming.
See, people understand that -- and people have asked the question, what can
they do to help in the war against terror? And my answer was, love a neighbor
like you'd like to be loved yourself. If you want to fight evil, do some good.
If you want to be a part of a war on terror, love somebody in need. It's the
gathering momentum of millions of acts of kindness and decency which show the
world the true character of America.
People have said, what can I do to help? And my answer is, serve something greater
than yourself. Serve something greater than your own personal satisfaction,
your own personal bottom line. Being a patriot in America, in my judgment, understands
that when one of us suffers, all of us suffers.
But I also understand government can't do everything. We can write checks, but
we can't put hope in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's lives.
That requires neighbor loving neighbor, that requires faith-based programs flourishing
throughout Milwaukee. You've got some fabulous faith-based programs here in
Milwaukee. I know, I've seen them first hand. I've seen the power of faith work
magic in people's lives, right here in your neighborhood.
And so my call to you is, if you want to be a patriotic American, help a neighbor
in need, it doesn't take a lot. Mentor a child. And I don't mean mentor a child
on a kind of a haphazard basis. I mean, take a child and mentor that child for
a while, until that child becomes literate. Or go into a shut-in's house and
say, I love you, on a daily basis or a regular basis. Feed somebody who needs
some food, help somebody find some shelter.
America is going to change, one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. Many
in your community understand one person can't do everything, but one person
can do something to be a part of a cultural change, which welcomes a new era,
one different from the old times when it said, if it feels good, go ahead and
do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a new era in which
it says, we're all responsible for the decisions we make in life. We're responsible
for loving our children, we're responsible for helping a neighbor in need, we're
responsible for the quality of the community in which we live.
Flight 93 was a defining moment in many ways. It was a time when people heard
that the airplane was going to be used as a weapon. They made a conscious decision
to serve something greater than themselves to save life. History will note that
they said a prayer, told their loved ones goodbye, a guy said, let's roll, and
they took the plane into the ground. It's a symbol of what is happening in America,
that people understand to be a patriotic America is to serve something greater
No, out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible good, a
more compassionate, a more decent, a more hopeful America.
I want to thank you all for coming to help this good man. May God bless you
all, and may God bless America. (Applause.)