FROM THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
George W. Bush
Remarks in Ohio
October 29, 2004 • Toledo, OH
Laura and I are so honored so many came
out to say hello. We appreciate it very much. I'm honored
-- (applause.) We thank you for taking time out of your
day. I've got something to tell you. I'm traveling Ohio
a lot. I'm asking for the vote, and I'm asking for your
help. (Applause.) We have a duty in this country to vote.
You may have heard, the election is right around the corner.
(Laughter.) And I'm asking, you get your friends and neighbors
to go to the polls. Make sure our fellow Republicans vote.
Make sure independents vote. Find some discerning Democrats,
and there's a lot across the state of Ohio. (Applause.)
And get them headed to the polls, and remind them, if they
want a safer America, a stronger America, and a better
America, to put me and Dick Cheney back in office. (Applause.)
One of the most important reasons why I think you ought
to put me back into office is so that Laura is the First
Lady for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Laura! Laura! Laura!
THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to offend anybody who is follically
challenged, but I admit my great Vice President doesn't
have the waviest hair in the race. (Laughter.) The people
of Toledo will be proud to know that I didn't pick him
because of his hairdo. (Laughter.) I picked him because
of his judgment, his experience. He's getting the job done
for the American people. (Applause.)
I want to thank Senator Mike DeWine for joining us today.
I'm proud to call him friend; you're proud to call him
Senator. (Applause.) I urge you to put George Voinovich
back in the United States Senate. (Applause.) I want to
thank your Governor for joining us. I want to thank Paul
Gillmor, Congressman Paul Gillmor, for being here today.
(Applause.) I want to thank Betty Montgomery for joining
us. And I want to thank the next congressman from the 9th
congressional district, Larry Kaczala, for joining us.
I want to thank the Wil Gravatt Band. I want to thank
the Anthony Wayne High Marching Generals for being here.
(Applause.) I will try to keep my speech short so you can
get home and do your homework.
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank the grassroots activists.
I want to thank my friend, Bernadette Noy and Tom Noy for
their leadership in Lucas County. (Applause.) I remember
our breakfast. She had me flipping pancakes. (Laughter.)
I want to thank those of you who are putting up the signs
and making the phone calls. I want to thank those of you
who are working long hours. We're almost there. Election
day is almost here. I urge you to continue working to turn
out that vote. With your help, we'll win Ohio again, and
win a great victory. (Applause.)
We've just got four days to go, and the voters have a
clear choice between two very different candidates and
different approaches and different records. You know where
I stand. (Applause.) And sometimes, you even know where
my opponent stands. (Laughter.) We both have records. I'm
proudly running on mine. (Applause.) My opponent has an
interesting idea of how to win friends. During this campaign,
he's insulted our allies, and he questioned the good work
of our troops in combat.
THE PRESIDENT: Earlier today, my opponent even insulted
the American people saying, you need to -- quote -- "wake
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the American people are awake. (Applause.)
Their eyes are wide open. They are seeing more clearly
every day the critical choices in this election: the Senator's
failed out-of-the-mainstream policies, or my commitment
to defend our country, to build our economy, and to uphold
our bedrock values. (Applause.)
This election comes down to some clear choices -- five
clear choices for America's family. The first clear choice
is the most important because it concerns the security
of your family. All progress on every other issue depends
on the safety of our citizens. This will be the first presidential
election since September the 11th, 2001. Americans will
go to the polls in a time of war and ongoing threats, unlike
any we have faced before. The terrorists who killed thousands
of innocent people are still dangerous, and they are determined.
The outcome of this election will set the direction of
the war against terror. The most solemn duty of the American
President is to protect the American people. (Applause.)
If America shows uncertainty or weakness during these troubling
times, the world will drift toward tragedy. This is not
going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)
Since that terrible morning of September the 11th, we've
fought the terrorists across the Earth -- not for pride,
not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are
at stake. Our strategy is clear. We're strengthening the
protections for our homeland. We're reforming our intelligence
capabilities. We are transforming the all-volunteer army.
There will be no draft. (Applause.) We are determined,
we are relentless. We are staying on the offensive. We're
chasing the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face
them here at home. (Applause.)
Because we led, Afghanistan is a free nation and an ally
in the war on terror. Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders.
Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests. Because we led,
Libya is dismantling its weapons programs. The army of
a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters
of al Qaeda's key members and associates have been brought
to justice. (Applause.) We have led, many have joined,
and America and the world are safer. (Applause.)
And part of our strategy is to spread liberty and peace.
I believe in the transformational power of liberty to change
societies. I want you to remind your sons and daughters
what has taken place in a relatively quick period of time
in Afghanistan. It wasn't all that long ago that young
girls could not go to school, or their mothers were taken
into the public square and whipped, and sometimes into
a sports stadium and killed because of the barbaric vision
of the Taliban. Because we acted in our self-interest,
because we acted to uphold the doctrine which I laid out
that said, if you harbor a terrorist, you're equally as
guilty as the terrorist, millions of people -- (applause)
-- millions of people in Afghanistan voted in a presidential
election. The first voter was a 19-year-old woman. (Applause.)
Free societies will be peaceful societies. Free societies
will help us keep the peace. Iraq is going to have elections
in January. Think how far that society has come from the
days of mass graves and torture chambers. Freedom is on
the march. I believe everybody years to be free. I believe
people long for freedom. I believe this. I understand freedom
is not America's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty
God's gift to each man and woman in this world. (Applause.)
A President -- a President must lead with consistency
and strength. In a war, sometimes your tactics change,
but not your principles. Americans have seen how I do my
job. Even when you might not agree with me, you know what
I believe, you know where I stand, and you know where I'm
going to lead our nation. (Applause.) On good days and
on bad days, when the polls are up or the polls are down,
I am determined to protect the American people. (Applause.)
And I'll support our troops in harm's way. You know, I
want to thank those who wear our nation's uniform. I want
to thank -- (applause.) I want to thank the military families
who sacrifice on behalf of our nation's freedom. (Applause.)
I want to thank the veterans who have set such a great
example to those who wear the uniform. (Applause.) And
I assure you, we will keep the commitment we have made.
Our troops will have what they need to complete their missions.
That's why I went to the Congress and asked for $87 billion
of supplemental funding in September of 2003. And we received
great bipartisan support for this necessary and critical
funding. As a matter of fact, the support was so strong
that only 12 members of the United States Senate voted
against the funding, two of whom were my opponent and his
THE PRESIDENT: But let me give you a more -- a more startling
statistic, one that I would hope you would use as you're
gathering up the vote. Four members of the United States
Senate, only four, voted to authorize the use of force
and then voted against the funding necessary to support
our troops in combat. Two of those four were my opponent
and his running mate.
THE PRESIDENT: So they asked him why he made that vote,
and you might remember this quote. He said, "I actually
did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Now,
look, I haven't spent all that much time in Toledo, but
I doubt I'm going to find many people who talk that way
here in Toledo, Ohio. (Applause.)
He has given several answers about why he made the vote.
Perhaps the most revealing was when he said the whole matter
was a complicated matter. My fellow Americans, there is
nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.
Senator Kerry's record on national security has a far
deeper problem than election-year flip-flopping. On the
largest national security issues of our time, he has been
consistently wrong. When Ronald Reagan was confronting
the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, Senator
Kerry said that President Reagan's policy of peace through
strength was making America less safe.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, history has shown that Senator Kerry
was wrong, and President Reagan was right. (Applause.)
When former President Bush led a coalition against Saddam
Hussein in 1991 because he had invaded Kuwait, Senator
Kerry voted against the use of force to liberate Kuwait.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, history has shown that Senator Kerry
was wrong and former President Bush was right. (Applause.)
In 1994, just one year after the first bombing of the
World Trade Center, Senator Kerry proposed massive cuts
in America's intelligence budget, so massive that even
his Massachusetts colleague, Ted Kennedy, opposed them.
(Laughter.) History shows that Senator Kerry was wrong
-- and let's be fair about it -- Senator Kennedy was right.
During the last 20 years in key moments of challenge and
decision for America, Senator Kerry has chosen the position
of weakness and inaction. With that record, he stands in
opposition not just to me, but to the great tradition of
the Democratic Party. The party of Franklin Roosevelt,
the party of Harry Truman, the party of John Kennedy is
rightly remembered for confidence and resolve in times
of war and hours of crisis. Senator Kerry has turned his
back on "pay any price" and "bear any burden," and
he's replaced those commitments with "wait and see" and "cut
Many Democrats in this country do not recognize their
party anymore. And today, I want to speak to every one
of them. If you believe that America should lead with strength
and purpose and confidence in our ideals, I would be honored
to have your support, and I'm asking for your vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more
THE PRESIDENT: In this campaign, there are big differences
about how to protect America's families. One time in our
debate, my opponent said America must submit to what he
calls a global test before we commit force.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not making that up. (Laughter.) I heard
it. (Laughter.) As far as I can tell, that means our country
must get permission before we act in our own defense. As
President, I'll always work with friends and allies. I'll
always build coalitions. But I will never turn over America's
national security decisions to leaders of other countries.
My opponent says that September the 11th did not change
him much at all. And that's clear in his policies. He believes
that the war on terror is primarily a law enforcement and
intelligence-gathering operation. September the 11th changed
me. I remember that day when I was at Ground Zero on September
the 14th, 2001. I'll never forget the sights; I'll never
forget the sounds. I remember the workers in hard hats
yelling at me at the top of their lungs, "Whatever
it takes. I remember the first responder -- I can't remember
if he was a firefighter or a policeman -- who came out
of the rubble, and he grabbed me by the arm and he looked
me square in the eye, and he said, "Do not let me
down." Ever since that day, I've gotten up every morning
thinking about how to better protect our country. I will
never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. (Applause.)
The second clear choice in this election concerns your
family budget. When I ran for President four years ago,
I pledged to lower taxes for American families. And I kept
my word. (Applause.) We doubled the child credit to a thousand
dollars per child. We want to help the moms and dads of
America do their duty. We reduced the marriage penalty.
We believe the tax code ought to encourage marriage, not
penalize marriage. (Applause.) We dropped the lowest bracket
to 10 percent. We reduced income taxes for everybody who
pays taxes. Real after-tax income is up 10 percent since
I've been the President. That's money in your pocket. That's
money you can spend. (Applause.)
I want you to remind your friends and neighbors that the
stock market was in serious decline six months prior to
my arrival in Washington. And then we had a recession.
And we had some corporate scandals. We passed tough laws;
we have made it abundantly clear we will not tolerate dishonesty
in the boardrooms of America. (Applause.)
The attacks of September the 11th cost us nearly a million
jobs in the three months after that attack. But our economic
policies are working. They have led us back to the path
of growth and recovery. Our economy is growing at rates
as fast as any in nearly 20 years. We've added 1.9 million
new jobs in the last 13 months. Home ownership rates are
at an all-time high. Minorities are owning their home at
rates than ever before in our history. (Applause.) Farm
income is up. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in America.
Small businesses are flourishing. The national unemployment
rate is 5.4 percent. Let me put that in perspective for
you. That's lower than the average rate of the 1970s, the
1980s and the 1990s. (Applause.)
I know people are still struggling here in Ohio. I understand
that. I've traveled your state a lot; I've spoken to people.
But that doesn't mean we should get away from pro-growth
economic policies. Quite the contrary. We need to keep
your taxes low. We need to do something about lawsuits.
We need to do something about regulatory reform. To keep
this economy going, I will empower our small businesses,
our consumers, and American families by keeping the taxes
Speaking about taxes, my opponent has got some plans for
your budget --he's going to take a big chunk out of it.
He voted against the higher -- the higher child tax credit,
and he voted against the marriage penalty relief, he voted
against lower taxes. If he'd have had his way, the average
middle-class family would be paying $2,000 more a year
THE PRESIDENT: That's probably not a lot for some of the
folks in Washington. It's a lot for the folks in Toledo,
Ohio. That means a lot to the people in this part of the
world. (Applause.) That means a lot to the people in this
part of the world. That money helps moms and dads. It helps
You know, he's been in the United States Senate for 20
years and he's -- and he's voted to raise taxes 98 times.
That's five times for every year he's been in the Senate.
I would call that a predictable pattern -- (laughter) --
a leading indicator. (Laughter.) When a senator does something
that often, he really must like it. (Laughter.) And he's
proposed $2.2 trillion in new spending -- that is trillion
with a "T." That's a lot. That's a lot even for
a senator from Massachusetts. (Laughter.)
So they asked him how he's going to pay for it. He said,
well, he's going to tax the rich. You know, by raising
the top two brackets, you're taxing small business creators.
Most small businesses pay tax at the individual income
tax rate. Seventy percent of new jobs in America are created
by small businesses. It makes no sense to tax the job creators
in America. Running up the tax is lousy economic policy.
Let me tell you what else is wrong -- and you need to
tell this to your friends and neighbors. He's proposed
$2.2 trillion in new spending, but when you raise the top
two brackets, you only raise between $600 billion and $800
billion. So there's a gap. I would like to call it a tax
gap, a gap between what he's promised and what he can pay.
And guess who usually fills the tax gap.
AUDIENCE: We do!
THE PRESIDENT: You do. The good news is, we're not going
to let him tax you. We're going to carry Ohio and win on
November the 2nd. (Applause.)
The third clear choice -- the third clear choice in this
election involves the quality of life for our families.
A good education and quality health care are important
to a successful life. As a candidate, I pledged to challenge
the soft bigotry of low expectations by reforming our public
schools. I kept my word. (Applause.) We passed strong education
reforms in Washington. We're increasing spending, particularly
for low-income students. But in return for increased spending,
we're now asking whether or not a child can read or write
and add and subtract. See, we realize -- or we think every
child can learn, and we expect every school to teach.
You cannot solve a problem unless you diagnose the problem,
and we are diagnosing and solving problems all across America.
Our test scores in reading and math are up. We are closing
an achievement gap for minority students all across America,
and we're not going to go back to the old days of mediocrity
and low expectations in our nation's schoolrooms. (Applause.)
We will continue to work to make sure health care is available
and affordable. We'll make sure health care is available
by expanding community health centers so the poor and the
indigent can get good primary and preventative care in
places other than your emergency rooms. We're going to
make sure that children of low-income families are subscribed
to our health programs. We want to make sure people get
health care in America that can't afford it. We also want
to make sure it's affordable. Most of the uninsured work
for small businesses. Small businesses ought to be allowed
to join together, to spread risk, so they can buy insurance
at the same discount that big companies are able to do.
We will expand health savings accounts, which will help
our families and our small businesses. And to make sure
health care is available and affordable in this good state,
we will do something about the frivolous lawsuits that
are running up the cost of health care and running doctors
out of business. (Applause.)
I was campaigning in Canton the other day, and I met two
docs who are no longer practicing medicine because their
premiums got so high because of the lawsuits. I have met
too many OB/GYNs who are leaving practice because of the
lawsuits. And I have met too many young expectant moms
who are concerned about their health care because they
don't have a doc close by. And that's not right for America.
This is a national problem that requires a national solution.
You cannot be pro-doctor, pro-patient and pro-personal
injury trial lawyer at the same time. (Applause.) My opponent
has made his choice. He voted against medical liability
reform ten times in the Senate, and he put a personal injury
trial lawyer on the ticket.
THE PRESIDENT: I have made my choice. I'm standing with
the doctors of Ohio, I'm standing with the patients of
Ohio, I'm standing with the families of Ohio. I'm for medical
liability reform. (Applause.)
My opponent has got a different point of view when it
comes to health care. You might remember one of the debates
when they asked him about his health care plan, and he
said, with a straight face, the government doesn't have
anything to do with it. I could barely contain myself.
(Laughter.) The government has got a lot to do with it.
Eighty percent of the people would be signed up to a government
program under his vision. When you make it easier for people
to sign up for Medicaid, it means the small business owners
will stop writing insurance for their employees because
the government is going to. That moves people from the
private sector to the public sector. Now, when the government
starts writing the checks when it comes to health care,
they start making the rules when it comes to health care.
And when they start making the rules when it comes to health
care, they start making the decisions for you when it comes
to health care. And they make decisions for your doctors
when it comes to health care. The wrong prescription for
American families is to federalize health care. (Applause.)
In all we do to improve health care for our families,
we'll make sure the decisions are made by doctors and patients,
not by officials in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
The fourth clear choice in this election involves your
retirement. Our nation has made a solemn commitment to
America's seniors on Social Security and Medicare. When
I ran for President four years ago, I promised to keep
that commitment and improve Medicare by adding prescription
drugs. I kept my word. (Applause.)
We got the job done for our seniors. Medicare needed to
be modernized. Medicare would pay thousands of dollars
for a heart surgery, but not one dime for the prescription
drugs that might prevent the heart surgery from being needed
in the first place. That didn't make any sense to people
on Medicare. And so I brought Republicans together and
Democrats together. I signed a Medicare law. And beginning
in 2006, all seniors will be able to get prescription drug
coverage under Medicare. And we will keep our promise of
Social Security for our seniors. And we'll strengthen Social
Security for generations to come.
Now, you might remember the 2000 campaign, when they were
running the ads and the fliers and the mailers that said
if George W. gets elected, our seniors will not get their
checks. Well, as you gather up the vote, please remind
your friends and neighbors that George W. did get elected,
and the seniors got their checks. (Applause.) And the seniors
will continue to get their checks. And baby boomers like
me, and a couple other people I see out there, we'll get
our checks. But we need to worry about our children and
our grandchildren. We need to worry about whether the Social
Security system will be there when they need it. And that's
why I believe younger workers ought to be able to take
some of their own payroll taxes and set up a personal savings
account, a personal savings account that will earn a better
rate of return, a personal savings account they call their
own, a personal savings account the government cannot take
My opponent's taken a different approach on this issue.
He said he's going to protect Social Security. I want you
to remind your friends and neighbors that he has voted
eight times for higher taxes on Social Security benefits.
He can run from his record, but he cannot hide. (Applause.)
And when it comes to the young generation, he's offered
nothing. The job of a President is to confront problems,
not pass them on to future generations and future Presidents.
In a new term, I'll bring people together and make sure
the Social Security system is strong for generations to
The fifth clear choice in this election is on the values
that are so crucial to keeping our families strong. I stand
for the appointment of federal judges who know the difference
between personal opinion and the strict interpretation
of the law. (Applause.) I stand for marriage and family,
which are the foundations of our society. (Applause.) I
will promote a culture of life and I proudly signed the
ban on partial birth abortion. (Applause.)
My opponent's taken a different point of view. He voted
against the Defense of Marriage Act. He voted against the
ban on partial birth abortion.
THE PRESIDENT: And at one time in this campaign, he actually
said the heart and soul of America can be found in Hollywood.
THE PRESIDENT: Most families do not look to Hollywood
as a source of values. The heart and soul of America is
found in caring communities like Toledo, Ohio. (Applause.)
All these choices make this one of the most important
elections in our history. The security and prosperity of
our country are at stake. The health and education for
our families and our children are at stake. The direction
of our culture is at stake. The decision is in the best
of hands. It's in the hands of the American people. (Applause.)
It's in your hands.
Our country is a strong country. It is a great country.
(Applause.) I see a great day coming for all Americans.
One of my favorite quotes is from a fellow Texan named
Tom Lea. And he said, "Sarah and I live on the east
side of the mountain. It is the sunrise side, not the sunset
side. It is the side to see the day that is coming, not
to see the day that is gone." In the course of this
campaign, my opponent has spent much of the campaign talking
about the day that is gone. I'm talking about the day that
is coming -- (applause) -- a prosperous day, a hopeful
day, a compassionate day, and a day when we can achieve
the peace we so long for for our children and our grandchildren.
When I campaigned across Ohio four years ago, I made this
pledge, that if I was elected, I would uphold the honor
and the dignity of the office. With your help, with your
hard work, I will do so for four more years.
Thanks for coming. God bless. Thank you all. (Applause.)