at Kentucky Welcome
Kentucky International Convention Center
November 1, 2002
5:51 P.M. EST
Thank you all. Thank you all very much for coming tonight. I'm here to talk
about the American spirit, and I'm here to remind the good folks of this part
of the state of Kentucky that if you're interested in good government, if you're
interested in sending somebody to Congress who will represent all the people
of the district, if you want somebody who can do the job, send Anne Northup
back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)
I love traveling America because it gives me a chance to see firsthand and to
feel the fact that the American spirit is alive and well. That's the spirit
that says, no matter what the cost, we'll defend our freedom. (Applause.) It's
the spirit -- the American spirit says to me that we'll serve something greater
than ourselves here in this country. The American spirit means that we love
freedom. And if you love freedom, you have a duty to participate in the democratic
I'm here to urge all the people of the great state of Kentucky to vote, Republican,
Democrat, people who don't care about any kind of political party. You need
to do your duty. But when you get in that poll, I've got a suggestion for you.
Anne Northup is the right choice. (Applause.)
I wasn't Anne's first choice tonight. (Laughter.) She wanted Laura. (Applause.)
I saw on TV that Laura was campaigning with Elizabeth Dole. She got the long
straw, you got the short straw. But she sends her love, she sends her best.
She's as strong for Anne as I am.
I want to tell you how proud I am of Laura. When I married her, she was a public
school librarian. (Applause.) I didn't realize there were so many public school
librarians here in Louisville.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's good. When I said, would you marry me, her state of mind
was this: She didn't like politics and she didn't care for politicians. (Laughter.)
And now she's doing a fabulous job as our First Lady. (Applause.) I appreciate
Anne's family. I appreciate Woody, and all of their kids. Heck, if they just
get the kids to vote it would be a landslide. (Laughter.)
I'm proud to be up here, as well, with a fine Kentucky couple, starting with
a United States Senator who had done a fabulous job for the people of Kentucky,
and that's Mitch McConnell. (Applause.) Like me, he married well -- so well
I put Elaine in the Cabinet. She's doing a really good job on behalf of the
American people. I'm proud of Elaine. (Applause.)
I'm also honored to be up here with another great Senator from Kentucky -- Jim
Bunning. (Applause.) We need to make sure Mitch goes back to the Senate. We
need him there for a lot of reasons. Some of the reasons I'll talk about later,
but one of the key reasons why Senators McConnell and Bunning are important
to our future is because they know what I know, we've got a problem on our federal
judiciary. (Applause.) There's too many vacancies. And there's too many vacancies
because the current leadership in the Senate has done a lousy job on letting
my people have a fair hearing when I nominate them. (Applause.) They don't like
the kind of judges I nominate. I put good, honest, honorable people who understand
their job is to interpret the Constitution, not use the bench from which to
legislate. (Applause.) We don't need any more legislators, we need good, honorable
judges on the bench. (Applause.)
I appreciate so very much Ernie Fletcher. Congressman Ernie Fletcher is with
us today -- he's one of the fine members of the United States Congress. (Applause.)
And Ron Lewis of the United States Congress, from Kentucky, as well. (Applause.)
These are two solid members, members with whom I can work for the good of everybody.
Also on the stage today we've got Geoff Davis, who's a candidate for the United
States Congress. And if you're living in Geoff's district, give him your vote
and give him your word. (Applause.) And Mike Sodrel is here. (Applause.) Sounds
like old Mike's got something going. (Applause.) We want both these good men
in the Congress. We've got a lot to do to work together.
I'm here to thank the grassroots activists, as well. I want to thank you for
what you have done, I want to thank you for what you're fixing to do over the
next couple of days. You need to go to your coffee shops and your houses of
worship and your community centers and tell the people they need to go and vote,
and tell the people that we've got some fine candidates. Tell the people that
Anne Northup is as good as it gets in the United States Congress. Urge them
to vote, and don't be afraid to talk about good, discerning Democrats to talk
to good, discerning Democrats and wise Independents. These people want good
government as well, just like we do. And the best person to represent good government
is Anne Northup. (Applause.)
I know Anne well. I know her well. I respect her a lot. I value her advice.
I appreciate the way she works hard in Washington to change the tone of politics.
People who know Anne well know what I'm about to say. She's got a big heart.
She cares for those who suffer. She doesn't need a poll or a focus group to
tell her what to think. (Applause.) She bases her decisions on a deep -- (applause)
-- a deep-seated philosophy. She's decency, she's great. She needs to be back
in the Congress. (Applause.) She's an effective person. She can get things done.
She secured funding for the Ohio River bridges project. She worked hard to make
sure transportation was effective in this part of the world. She worked closely
with me on making sure that we could get a faith-based initiative out of the
United States Congress. (Applause.) Anne feels passionately about that because,
as a Congresswoman, she has reached across the community divides to bring people
together. She knows what I know, that there are people who hurt and people who
suffer. And one of the ways to heal the broken heart is to unleash the great
faith and compassion of the American people.
I've worked closely with Anne on issues like adoption. She and Woody are adoptive
parents, which in my view is one of the greatest expressions of love. No, Anne
Northup can get things done. She cares deeply about the citizens of this district.
And she knows that we've got some hurdles to cross here in America, and I look
forward to having her in Congress to work on -- working to cross those hurdles.
One of the biggest problems we've got is our economy. It's just bumping along.
It's not going like it should. There are too many people in America who want
to work and cannot find a job. And so long as somebody is looking for work,
that means we've got a problem. And I need people in the United States Congress
who will join me in job creation.
But we understand the role of government. It is not to create wealth; it's to
create an environment in which the entrepreneurial spirit can flourish. (Applause.)
It is to create an environment in which the small business can grow to be a
big business. Anne and I understand that 70 percent of new jobs are created
by small business owners.
If you're worried about job creation like we are, then you must put forth policy
that encourages small business growth. Most small businesses pay taxes at the
individual income tax level. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships
or limited partnerships. So when you open up your tax forms and see the individual
rates, you've got to think of the fact that most small businesses pay those
rates. And therefore the tax relief plan that we passed was the best antidote
to a slowing economy.
If you're interested in creating jobs, you let small businesses as well as consumers
keep more of their own money. You see -- (applause) when people have more money
in their pocket, they're more likely to demand a good or a service. And in the
marketplace when they demand a good or a service, somebody is likely to produce
the good or a service. And when somebody produces the good or a service, somebody
is more likely to find work. The tax relief we plan came at passed came at the
right time, and we need people in the United States Congress to make the tax
cuts permanent. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with Anne and other members of the Congress, and working
with Mitch, to see if we can't get us a terrorism insurance bill, to get construction
programs started, projects started, and get the hard-hats working. We want our
good hard-hats in America building those buildings and building those projects
which are stalled because people can't find insurance because of the terrorist
attacks. But we'd better get us a bill that rewards the hard-hats, not the trial
lawyers here in America. (Applause.)
And we're going to work together to increase jobs so people can find work. I'm
optimistic about our future when it comes to the economy. We've interest rates
are low, inflation is low, productivity is high. We're the best workers, best
farmers, best ranchers, best entrepreneurs in the world. There's a lot going
right, but we are not going to rest until people can find a job.
And we're not going to rest until every child gets educated in this country
either. I worked closely with Anne. Anne Northup was a solid backer, strong
advocate of the No Child Should Be Left Behind legislation. To give you a sense
of her perspective, let me tell you what that bill says. It says every child
can learn in America, everybody can learn. And therefore, we must set high standards.
If you have low expectations and low standards, you're going to get lousy results.
Anne understands that we must challenge what I call the soft bigotry of low
expectations, must raise the bar.
But at the same time, we've got to trust the people of Kentucky to chart the
path for excellence for every child in Kentucky. We believe in local control
of schools. (Applause.) Thanks to Anne's hard work and Mitch's and Jim's hard
work and other members of Congress' hard work, the great state of Kentucky is
going to receive $650 million in federal monies for schools this year. (Applause.)
That money is to be used to help disadvantaged children. Those monies will be
applied to make sure every child can learn.
But for the first time in our history, we've asked the question, is the money
being well spent. Show us whether or not the children can read and write and
add and subtract. If you believe every child can learn, then it makes sense
to ask that question. Are we teaching our children? And if we are, we'll praise
the teachers. But if we find children trapped in schools which will not teach
and will not change, we will demand something different, because no child should
be left behind in the state of Kentucky. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with Anne to make sure our medical system works, to
make sure that health care is available and affordable. We've got too many lawsuits
here in America today, too many frivolous and junk lawsuits that are running
up the cost of medicine and making it harder for our docs to practice medicine.
We need medical liability reform, once and for all, so that medicine is affordable
for the American consumers. (Applause.)
I look forward to working with Anne and the other members of Congress up here
to fulfill our promises to our seniors. We're going to make sure Social Security
system works. And we're also going to make sure Medicare fulfills its promise.
Medicine has changed; Medicare hasn't. Medicine is modern because of technologies
and innovation; Medicare is stuck in the past. I'm going to work with Anne to
make sure Medicare is modern, and that means prescription drug benefits for
our seniors. (Applause.)
No, there's a lot we can do to work together on behalf of all of the citizens
of Kentucky, and all of the citizens of America. But the biggest challenge we
have, our most important responsibility is to protect the homeland from further
attack. (Applause.) That's our biggest job, because there's still an enemy out
there that lurks, an enemy out there which hates America because of what we
love. We love freedom. We love the fact that people can worship freely in America.
We worship the fact that we have free elections. We love the fact we have a
free press. We love everything about freedom, and we're not going to change.
And it's our fervent love of freedom, and the fact that we're not going to change,
which really irritates the enemy. See, they don't like us. And there's something
else that differentiates us between them -- and that is, we value life. Everybody
counts, everybody is precious, every life matters. And these people are nothing
but a bunch of cold-blooded killers who have hijacked a great religion and could
care less about taking innocent life. (Applause.)
We've been warned. We've been warned. And now our most important job is to protect
you. And there's a lot of good people doing this. We've got people at the federal
level, and at the state level and the local level doing everything they can
to disrupt and deny the enemy. I'm telling you any time we get any whisper,
any hint, any idea that somebody is thinking about doing something to America
we're acting. We're going to do everything in our power to prevent the enemy
from hitting us again. (Applause.)
And that's why I went to the United States Congress and asked them to join with
me in the creation of a department of homeland security. There's over 100 agencies
in Washington involved with protecting you; it seemed like to me it made sense
to put them under one department so that we could set clear priority, so that,
need be, we could change cultures so that our government was functioning in
concert to do everything we could to protect the homeland.
And the House of Representatives passed a good bill, and I'm honored that Anne
and the other members of the Congress supported that good bill. But it's stuck
in the Senate. It couldn't get out of the Senate, because the Senate wanted
to take powers away from the President of the United States.
THE PRESIDENT: And here's what they wanted to do. For 40 years, since John Kennedy
was the President, Presidents have had the capacity, the ability to suspend
collective bargaining rules in the name of national security. In other words,
if there were certain rules which prevented the homeland Security Council department
from doing its job, I couldn't suspend those rules. If the Senate had its way
not Senator McConnell or Senator Bunning, but other senators, if they had their
way, I would have the capacity, the right to suspend certain rules at the Department
of Agriculture, but not at the department of homeland security. I would have
the flexibility necessary to do everything I could for the sake of national
security at Agriculture, but not to protect you through the department of homeland
I need the capacity to be able to move the right people at the right time to
the right place to protect the American people. (Applause.) Mitch McConnell
understands that and so does Jim Bunning and so does Anne Northup. They understand
They also understand what I'm about to tell you, that the best way to secure
America, the best way to protect you, is to chase the killers down one at a
time and bring them to justice. (Applause.) It's not an easy task. It's not
an easy task, because this is a different kind of army that we face, a different
kind of enemy. In the old days I see some guys who were probably involved with
World War II or the Korean War. In the old days, if you knocked out a couple
of tanks or knocked some airplanes out of the air or sunk a ship, you'd be able
to determine whether or not you were making progress against the enemy. Those
are the old days. Today we're facing cold-blooded killers who hide in caves
and send youngsters to their suicidal deaths, and there is no cave deep enough
for America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA, USA, USA!
THE PRESIDENT: It's important to see the world the way it is, not to see the
way that we hope it is. It's important to be cold-eyed realists about the threats
we face. And we're making progress on this war against terror. We've hauled
in over a couple thousand of them, and a couple thousand weren't quite as lucky.
Slowly but surely, we're protecting the American people and defending our freedom
by dismantling the terrorist network that came and unmercifully murdered American
citizens. (Applause.) And so long as I'm the President of the United States,
we're going to continue to hunt them down. (Applause.)
We owe that to our children. We owe that to our children's children. History
has called us into action, and this great nation is going to stay steady and
resolute and determined.
I asked the Congress to pass the largest increase in defense spending since
Ronald Reagan was President. (Applause.) And they did, and I want to thank the
members up here who voted with us on that bill. I did so for two reasons, two
important reasons. One, any time we send our troops into harm's way, they deserve
the best pay, the best training, and the best possible equipment. (Applause.)
And secondly, we just sent a signal to the world, to friend and foe alike, we're
in this deal for the long haul. It doesn't matter how long it takes, it doesn't
matter how long it costs, the United States of America will go after those terrorists
and bring them to justice. (Applause.)
No, it's important to be open-eyed about the threats we face. After all, oceans
no longer protect us. See, that's what's important for Americans to understand,
that after September the 11th, the stakes changed. See, prior to September the
11th, we used to think that, if there was a conflict or a threat somewhere else
in the world, we could pick and choose whether or not we wanted to deal with
it, because oceans protected us. The homeland was secure by geography.
We learned a tough lesson on September the 11th. Which means that, as we see
threats, we must be prepared to deal with them. And I see a significant threat
to the security of the United States in Iraq. (Applause.)
Saddam Hussein is a man who told the world he would not have weapons of mass
destruction, but he does. He not only has them, he's used them. He has used
them against his neighbors and, incredibly enough, he's used them against his
own people. This is a man who was close to having a nuclear weapon a decade
ago. No telling how close he is now.
I viewed him as a threat, not only to the American people, because he could
become an arsenal to one of these shadow terrorist networks. He could use them
as surrogates and not leave any fingerprints behind.
No, he's a threat. He's not only a threat to us, he's a threat to our close
friends in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein is a man who has defied the United
Nations not once, not twice, not three times but 16 times they passed resolutions.
So I went to that august body and I said, the time has come for you to show
the world whether or not you've got the capacity to keep the peace, to defend
freedom. The time has come for you to show whether or not your resolutions mean
And I sent the same message to Saddam Hussein. You said you would disarm. Disarm.
For the sake of peace, disarm.
I took the debate to the United States Congress and, thanks to the members on
this stage and many others, the United States now speaks with one voice, and
here it is. Either the United Nations will do its job, either the United Nations
will show it is not the League of Nations, but a body with the capacity to keep
the peace, and Saddam Hussein will disarm, or for the sake of peace, for the
sake of freedom, the United States will lead a mighty coalition to disarm Saddam
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: I can't imagine what was going through the mind of the enemy
when they hit us. They must have thought the national religion of the United
States was materialism; that we were so selfish, so self-absorbed, so shallow,
that after September the 11th, 2001, we'd take a step back and maybe file a
lawsuit or two. (Laughter.) That's probably what they thought. But they found
out they are dealing with a different bunch, that we love our freedom. (Applause.)
That we care deeply about our future, that we love peace.
The evil done to America has given this great nation to show the world that
out of evil can come great good. I believe this, I believe that if we stay the
course, if we're strong, if we fight terror, if we lead a coalition of freedom-loving
countries, we can achieve peace.
I believe we can achieve peace if we remember that freedom is not bestowed on
the world by the United States, but freedom is God-given for everybody. (Applause.)
I believe that if we're strong and resolute, with a clear vision, that we see
reality the way it is, that we can achieve peace not only for America, but because
we value all life, everybody is precious, that we can achieve peace in parts
of the world who have quit on peace. I believe we can achieve peace in the Middle
East. I believe we can achieve peace in South Asia.
No, out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible good. Not
only abroad, but incredible good here at home. See, I believe that the evildoers
renew the American spirit, that sense of serving something greater than yourself
in life. Government can help. We'll work, members of Congress will work with
the administration to pass laws that will help people help themselves and improve
lives. But you've got to remember that while government can pass out money,
it can't put hope in people's hearts. It can't put a sense of purpose in people's
And at the same time, we've got to remember, amongst all the plenty here in
America, there are people who hurt. There's loneliness and addiction and despair.
And so long as any of us hurts we all hurt. And the best way to solve many of
the seemingly intractable problems here in America is for a fellow American
to put their arm around somebody who's lonely, and somebody who suffers, and
say, I love you, what can I do to help you. (Applause.)
No, the true strength of America lies in the hearts and the souls of our fellow
citizens. All across this country there are fine and decent people who are helping
America change, one heart, one conscience, one soul at a time. And it's happening.
They woke the great compassion of America when they attacked us. Perhaps the
spirit is best reflected in small ways and large ways -- small ways like Ray
Probus, who I met. He was at the airport today. He works with the Jefferson
County Police Department's Volunteers in Police Service Program. That's one
way people can help. I'm sure there's mentors here. I know there are people
who worry about feeding the hungry, who worry about the homeless and do something
about it. I know there's people involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scout troops
that are sending values to our children. I know there are people involved in
schools here to make sure every child can learn. All of us can help make America
a hopeful place.
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all of what I'm talking about, that great spirit
of America, took place on Flight 93 that fateful day. We had people flying across
the country. They heard the plane they were on was going to be used as a weapon
to kill Americans. They said good-bye to their loved ones. They said a prayer.
One guy said, "Let's roll." And they took the plane into the ground,
to serve something greater than themselves. To me, that epitomized the greatest
of the American spirit, which is alive and well in America. (Applause.)
No, the enemy hit us -- the enemy hit us, they didn't know who they were hitting.
Out of the evil done to America is going to come peace. And out of the evil
done to America is going to come a more hopeful tomorrow. I predict this; I
know it's going to happen. Because America is the greatest nation, full of the
finest, most compassionate people on the face of the Earth.
Thank you all for coming. May God bless. May God bless America. (Applause.)