at Bush-Cheney 2004 Luncheon
Miami Airport Hilton
June 30, 2003
12:35 P.M. EDT
Thank you all for coming. It's a big deal to be introduced by your brother.
(Laughter.) Especially one who's been so successful as the governor of the
state of Florida. I'm proud of him. (Applause.) I'm not surprised; we both
share the same political consultant. (Laughter.) Our mother. (Laughter.) Her
fees are low, but her opinion is plentiful. (Laughter.)
But it's been a successful event. We've raised a lot of money, and I want
to thank you for that. We're laying the groundwork for what is going to be
a victory in November of 2004. (Applause.) I'm getting ready. I'm loosening
up for the task ahead. But I just need to remind you that I'm going to need
your help, continued help. I believe our message is best for the country.
It is a message that speaks to everybody. It's a message of hope and peace
and freedom. And you're going to need to tell your friends and neighbors
-- we need a grassroots effort. (Applause.)
There will be plenty of time for politics. Right now I'm focused on the
people's business in Washington, D.C. We've got a lot on the agenda, and
I'm going to work hard to continue to earn the confidence of each American
by making sure this country is safe and secure and prosperous and free. (Applause.)
I just flew in from Crawford. I said good-bye to the First Lady. She sends
her best. I'm sorry she is not with me. She is, by far, the best thing I've
got going. (Applause.) I'm really proud of Laura. I'm proud of her steadiness
and her calm in the face of storm. I love her dearly. She is a great First
Lady for our country. (Applause.)
I'm honored that members of the United States Congress are here. Congressman
Foley and the two Diaz-Balart boys are with us, as well. I'm proud to call
them friends. I'm proud to work with them. They love Florida. They love America.
And they're fine United States Congressmen. Thank you all for coming today.
I, too, want to thank Zach and Tom Petway for putting this event on. I want
to thank them for serving in a big capacity for me in the Florida campaign.
I want to thank Al Hoffman, as well, as well as Mercer Reynolds, my longtime
friend who is the National Chairman. I want to thank the Party Chairman who
is here, Al Cardenas. But most of all, I want to thank you all. I'm honored
that you've given of your money and your time and your efforts. I appreciate
your love for our country. I appreciate your willingness to participate in
You know, we've been through a lot in two-and-a-half years. We really have.
But our nation has acted decisively to confront great challenges. I came
to office to solve problems, not to pass them on to future presidents and
future generations. (Applause.) I came to seize opportunities, instead of
letting them slip away. We are meeting the test of our time. (Applause.)
Terrorists declared war on the United States of America, and war is what
they got. (Applause.) We have captured or killed many leaders of al Qaeda,
and the rest of them know we're on their trail. In Afghanistan and in Iraq,
we gave ultimatums to terror regimes. Those regimes chose defiance, and those
regimes are no more. Fifty million people in those two countries once lived
under tyranny, and now they live in freedom. (Applause.)
Two-and-a-half years ago, our military was not receiving the resources it
needed and morale was beginning to suffer. So we increased the defense budget
to prepare for threats of a new era. And today, no one in the world can question
the skill and the strength and the spirit of the United States military.
Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession. Then the
attacks came on our country. And we had scandals in corporate America, and
we were at war. And all this affected the people's confidence. But we acted.
We passed tough new laws to hold corporate criminals to account. And to get
the economy going again, we have twice led the United States Congress to
pass historic tax relief for the American people. (Applause.)
We believe that when Americans have more money in their pocket to spend,
to save or invest, the whole country benefits and someone is more likely
to find a job. We understand whose money we spend in Washington, D.C. We
do not spend the government's money; we spend the people's money. It's your
money to begin with. (Applause.) And so we're returning more money to people
to help them raise their families. We're reducing taxes on dividends and
capital gains to encourage investment. We're giving small businesses proper
incentives to expand and hire people.
With all these actions, we are laying the foundations for greater prosperity
and more jobs across America, so that every single person in this country
has a chance to realize the American Dream.
Two-and-a-half years ago, there was a lot of talk about education reform,
but there wasn't much action. So I called for, and the Congress passed, the
No Child Left Behind Act. With a solid bipartisan majority, we delivered
the most dramatic education reform in a generation. We're bringing high standards
and strong accountability measures to every public school in America. We
believe every child can learn the basics of reading and math, and we expect
every school in America to teach those basics. (Applause.)
We are challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. The days of excuse-making
are over. And now we expect results in every single classroom, so that not
one single child is left behind. (Applause.)
We reorganized the government and created the Department of Homeland Security
to safeguard our borders and ports, and to better protect the American people.
We passed trade promotion authority to open new markets for America's entrepreneurs
and manufacturers and farmers and ranchers. We passed a budget agreement
that is helping to maintain spending discipline in Washington, D.C. On issue
after issue, this administration has acted on principle, we have kept its
word, and we have made progress on behalf of the American people.
The United States Congress deserves credit, and I will continue to work
with the Congress. I'll work with them to help change the tone in Washington,
D.C. to focus on results. And that's the nature of the people that I've surrounded
myself with. I've put together a fantastic administration of hardworking,
decent Americans, there to serve the American people. (Applause.)
Dick Cheney is a great Vice President of the United States, the greatest
Vice President. (Applause.) I say the greatest -- Mother might have a different
GOVERNOR BUSH: I was wondering about that. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: In two-and-a-half years we've come far, we really have. But
our work is only beginning. We have great goals, worthy of a great nation.
First, America is committed to expanding the realm of freedom and peace,
for our own security and for the benefit of the world. And second, in our
own country we must work for a society of prosperity and compassion, so that
every citizen has a chance to work and to succeed, and realize the great
promise of our country.
It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depend on the actions of
America. This nation is freedom's home, and we are freedom's defender. We
welcome this charge of history, and we are keeping it. The war on terror
continues. The enemies of freedom are not idle. And neither are we. (Applause.)
This country will not rest, we will not tire, and we will not stop until
this danger to civilization is removed. (Applause.)
Yet our national interest involves more than eliminating aggressive threats
to our safety. Our greatest security comes from the advance of human liberty.
Because free nations do not support terror, free nations do not attack their
neighbors, and free nations do not threaten the world with weapons of mass
Americans believe that freedom is the deepest need and hope of every human
heart, including those who live on the island of Cuba. (Applause.) And we
believe that freedom is the right of every person; and we believe that freedom
is the future of every nation.
America also understands that unprecedented influence brings tremendous
responsibilities. We have duties in the world. And when we see disease and
starvation and hopeless poverty, we will not turn away. On the continent
of Africa, which I'll be visiting next week, America is now committed to
bringing the healing power of medicine to millions of men and women and children
now suffering from AIDS. This great land is leading the world in this incredibly
important work of human rescue. (Applause.)
We face challenges here at home, and our actions prove that we're equal
to those challenges. I will continue to work on our economy until everybody
who wants to work and can't find a job is able to find a job. (Applause.)
We have a duty to keep our commitment to America's seniors by strengthening
and modernizing Medicare. Last week, the Congress took historic action to
improve the lives of older Americans. For the first time since the creation
of Medicare, the House and Senate have passed reforms to increase the choices
of seniors and provide coverage of prescription drugs. The next step is for
both Houses to come together to iron out some details, and to get a bill
to my desk. (Applause.)
And for the sake of a strong health care system for all Americans, we need
to cut down and end the frivolous lawsuits which increase the cost of medicine.
(Applause.) People who have been harmed by a bad doc deserve their day in
court. Yet the system should not reward lawyers who are simply fishing for
rich settlements. Because frivolous lawsuits drive up the health -- the cost
of health care, they affect the Medicaid budget, they affect the Medicare
budget, they affect the cost to our veterans. It is a -- they affect the
federal budget, is what I'm telling you. Medical liability reform is a federal
issue; it requires a federal solution. (Applause.) No one has ever been healed
by a frivolous lawsuit. This country needs medical liability reform now.
I have a responsibility as President to make sure the judicial system runs
well, and I have met that duty. I have submitted -- I have nominated superb
men and women for our federal courts, people who will interpret the law,
not legislate from the bench. But some members of the United States Senate
are trying to keep my nominees off the bench by blocking up or down votes.
Every judicial nominee deserves a fair hearing, and an up or down vote on
the Senate floor. It is time for some members of the United States Senate
to stop playing politics with American justice. (Applause.)
The Congress needs to pass a comprehensive energy plan. Our nation must
promote energy efficiency and conservation. We must develop cleaner technology.
We must use our technologies to help us explore for more energy at home.
For the sake of our economic security, and for the sake of our national security,
we must be less dependant on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
Our strong and prosperous nation must also be a compassionate nation. I
will continue to advance our agenda of compassionate conservatism by applying
the best and most innovative ideas to the task of helping our fellow citizens
in need. There are still millions of men and women who want to end their
dependance on government and become independent through work. We must build
on the success of welfare reform to bring work and dignity into the lives
of more of our fellow Americans.
Congress should complete the Citizen Service Act, so that more Americans
can serve their communities and their country. Both Houses should reach a
settlement on my faith-based initiative to support the armies of compassion
that are mentoring children, that are caring for the homeless, and offering
hope to the addicted. (Applause.)
A compassionate society must promote opportunity for all, including the
independence and dignity that comes from ownership. This administration will
constantly strive to promote an ownership society. We want more people owning
their own home. We want people to own and manage their own health care plan.
We want more people to own and manage their own retirement accounts. We want
more small business owners in America, because we understand that when a
person owns something, they have a vital stake in the future of America.
In a compassionate society, people respect one another and take responsibility
for the decisions they make in life. We're changing the culture of America
from one that has said, if it feels good do it, and if you've got a problem,
blame somebody else, to one -- to a culture in which each of us understands
we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.
If you are fortunate enough to be a mother or a father, you're responsible
for loving your child. If you're worried about the quality of education in
your neighborhood, you're worried about doing something -- you're responsible
for doing something about it. If you are a CEO in corporate America, you're
responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees.
(Applause.) And in a responsibility society, each of us is responsible for
loving our neighbor just like we'd like to be loved ourself.
We can see the culture of service and responsibility growing around us.
I started what we call the USA Freedom Corps to encourage Americans to extend
a compassionate hand to neighbors in need. And I'm pleased to report the
response has been strong. Our faith-based charities from all denominations
are vibrant and strong, as people who have heard the call to serve something
greater than themselves in life are doing so by helping somebody who hurts.
We've got policemen and firefighters and people who wear our nation's uniform
reminding us on a daily basis what it means to sacrifice for something greater
than yourself in life. Once again, the children of America believe in heroes,
because they see them every day.
In these challenging times, the world has seen the resolve and the courage
of America. And I've been privileged to see the compassion and the character
of the American people. All the tests of the last two-and-a-half years have
come to the right nation. We're a strong country, and we use that strength
to defend the peace. We're an optimistic country, confident in ourselves
and in ideals bigger than ourselves.
Abroad, we seek to lift whole nations by spreading freedom. At home, we
seek to lift up lives by spreading opportunity to every corner of America.
This is the work that history has set before us. We welcome it, and we know
that for our country, and for our cause, the best days lie ahead.
May God bless you. And may God continue to bless America. Thank you all.