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The President on the Campaign Trail

George W. Bush
Indiana Victory 2006 Rally
Sellersburg, Indiana
October 28, 2006
printable version

Thank you all. Thank you for your warm welcome. (Applause.) I appreciate being here. You know, recently, the First Lady was here. (Applause.) She told me there's no finer day to spend a Saturday than in southern Indiana. (Applause.) She also told me there's no finer congressman for the people of this district than Mike Sodrel. (Applause.) As usual, Laura is right. (Applause.) Mike Sodrel needs to be sent back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

As a member of the Indiana National Guard, he has served our country in uniform, and as a congressman, he is a strong supporter of the United States military. (Applause.) Mike Sodrel supports the veterans. (Applause.) I think it's good to have a man representing you who knows what it means to build a company from the bottom up -- (applause) -- somebody who knows what it means to meet a payroll -- (applause) -- somebody who brings fiscal discipline to the Nation's Capital. (Applause.) As a father and a grandfather, Mike Sodrel understands Indiana values, and he's standing up for those values in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

The stakes are high in this election. Your vote will have an impact not only on your lives here, but a impact that will help determine the course of this nation. (Applause.) I want to thank you for supporting this good man. The election of Mike Sodrel is important for the United States of America. (Applause.)

Laura sends her love. (Applause.) Sodrel told me coming over -- he said, the event with Laura was so great, we felt like asking you to stay at home and bring her back. (Laughter.) I appreciate being with Keta -- Keta Sodrel. (Applause.) I appreciate being with all the Sodrel children and the grandchildren. (Applause.) These are people who put family first, and that's important. (Applause.)

I want to thank all the statewide elected officials who are here today. Thank you for coming. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank all the -- I want to thank all the grassroots activists who are here today. (Applause.) I thank you for putting up the signs. I thank you for making the phone calls. I thank you do the work -- I thank you for, in advance, what you're going to do in the next week, and that's send this good man back to the United States Congress. (Applause.)

Election Day is 10 days away, and we're going to sprint to the finish line. (Applause.) I understand you've probably been paying attention to the pundits in Washington, D.C. They think the election is already over. As a matter of fact, some of them in Washington are already measuring the drapes for their new offices.


THE PRESIDENT: In other words, they're taking your vote for granted.


THE PRESIDENT: This isn't the first time that's happened. You might remember back in 2004, they were picking out new offices in the West Wing. (Laughter and applause.) Things turned out a little differently on Election Day. (Applause.) The movers never got the phone call. (Applause.) This November 7th, voters are going to defy all the pundits in Washington, D.C. and send this good man back to the United States Congress. (Applause.) We will control the House of Representatives and we will control the United States Senate. (Applause.) We will win this election because we've got good, strong candidates like Mike Sodrel -- (applause) -- and we will win this election because we got a record to run on. (Applause.)

For decades our public schools failed too many students. We passed the No Child Left Behind Act; we demanded high standards and strong accountability. (Applause.) And we are bringing America closer to the day when every single child in this country gets a good education. (Applause.)

For decades we've been growing dependent on foreign oil. So we took the lead: We passed an energy bill that supports conservation and expands domestic production. But we're also spending money to make sure that Indiana farmers produce the fuel for our cars in the future. (Applause.) Mike and I understand this, when the agricultural economy is strong, that's good for the United States of America. (Applause.)

For decades, Medicare was outdated. It wasn't serving our seniors as well as it could. So we passed landmark legislation to modernize the Medicare system. Now 33 million seniors have more choices and access to affordable goods, and the days of our poor seniors having to choose between food and medicine are over. (Applause.)

For decades, we have not had complete control over our southern border and illegal immigration has been on the rise. So we have acted. I sent National Guard troops down there to help our border patrol. We're adding thousands of new Border Patrol. We will reform our immigration system and we will uphold the immigration laws of the United States. (Applause.)

Activist judges try to define America by court order. Just this week in New Jersey --


THE PRESIDENT: -- another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman, and should be defended. (Applause.) I will continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. (Applause.) America is better off because John Roberts and Sam Alito are serving on the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.)

We have a record to run on. And I appreciate Mike Sodrel's support on these important issues. (Applause.) There are big differences in Washington, D.C. between Republicans and Democrats, and when it comes -- and perhaps the biggest differences can be seen in two issues: which party will keep your taxes low and keep this economy growing -- (applause) -- and which party will take the necessary steps to protect you from the terrorists. (Applause.)

Let me start with taxes. We have a clear philosophy; we believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does. (Applause.) We believe that when you have more money in your pocket to save, invest, or spend, the economy benefits. (Applause.) The Democrats believe they should raise your taxes so they can spend your money.


THE PRESIDENT: We not only have a philosophy, we acted on that philosophy. (Applause.) We passed the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. (Applause.) We cut the taxes on everyone who pays income taxes. (Applause.) We doubled the child tax credit. (Applause.) We reduced the marriage penalty. (Applause.) We cut taxes on small businesses. (Applause.) We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to encourage investment. (Applause.) And to reward hard work and small business owners and farmers for a lifetime of work, we put the death tax on the road to extinction. (Applause.)

You might remember the debate. The Democrats in Washington predicted the tax cuts wouldn't create jobs, would not create wages, and would cause the federal deficit to explode. Truth is, the facts are in. The tax cuts have led to a growing economy that has added 6.6 million new jobs since August of 2003. (Applause.) Real wages have risen 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. We have cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)

And now, the Democrats in Washington have another prediction -- they're telling you they're going win on Election Day. If their electoral predictions are as reliable as their economic predictions, November 7th is going to be a great day for the Republican Party. (Applause.)

They don't really want you to know their position when it comes to taxes. They really don't want you to know that they're going to raise up your taxes. As a matter of fact, the member from California, the ranking leader, the Minority Leader in the House, who wants to be the Speaker --


THE PRESIDENT: Here's what she said the other day. She said, we love tax cuts. That's what she said. Given her record, she must be a secret admirer. (Laughter and applause.) She and her party voted against reducing the marriage penalty, voted against cutting taxes on small business, voting against lowering taxes on families with children, voted against getting rid of the death tax. Time and time again, when she and the Democrat Party had an opportunity to show their love for tax cuts, they voted no. If this is the Democrats' idea of love, I wouldn't want to see what hate looks like. (Laughter and applause.)

See, here's the way it's going to work. If we don't make permanent the tax cuts or if the tax cuts are not extended, you're going to get a tax increase. And so they asked the man who would be head of the Ways and Means Committee, if we don't win -- we will win -- he said he can't think of one of the tax cuts he would extend. See, in other words, he's going to let them all expire. Now, think about what that means if you are a small business owner -- and we've got a lot of small business owners here in Southern Indiana. (Applause.) If you're a small business owner who pays taxes at the individual rate, the Democrats are going to raise your taxes. If you're a small business owner who wants to expand and invest in new equipment, the Democrats are going to raise your taxes.


THE PRESIDENT: If you're a small business owner who wants to pass on your life's work to your children and grandchildren, the Democrats want to raise your taxes. If you're a small business owner, you better vote for Mike Sodrel to make sure your taxes stay low. (Applause.)

When a Democrat can't -- say they can't think of one of the tax cuts they would extend, I want you to think about what it means for our families. The child tax credit would be cut in half, from $1,000 to $500. So when you're sitting around the dinner table this evening, and if you've got one child sitting there, you can rest assured that your taxes, if the Democrats take over, will go up by $500. If you happen to have two children, that's $1,000 tax increase. If you have four children, that's a $2,000 tax increase. That may not seem like a lot to the Democrats in Washington, D.C., but we understand it's a lot for you and we're going to keep your taxes low. (Applause.)

They want to get in your pocketbook. And we're not going to let them. A big issue in this campaign is taxes. The Democrats will raise your taxes, and the Republicans will keep your taxes low. (Applause.)

This election is taking place in an historic time for our country. When people look back at this period of time, the question will be, did we do everything in our power to protect the American people and win the war on terror? (Applause.) And we are in a war. It came to our shores on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) And on that day, I vowed to use every element of national power to defend the American people and to defeat the terrorists. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: We face an enemy that -- which is brutal. There is no negotiation with these people. These are ideologues who have a backward and hateful vision of the world. They do not believe in freedom. They hate America because we do believe in freedom. (Applause.) For those who say, bring them at the table to discuss our differences, they do not understand the nature of these people. The best way to protect the American people is to bring them to justice before they hurt us again. (Applause.)

We have been implementing a strategy to protect you. You know, the enemy can be right one time, and we must be right a hundred percent of the time to protect the American people. And that is why I said that we must break down walls that prevent the intelligence community and enforcement community from sharing information. (Applause.) And so, working with members in Congress like Mike Sodrel, we passed the Patriot Act.

I understand this is a different kind of war. For you World War II vets here, this is not a war that can be determined by how many airplanes we shoot down, or what kind of territory we take. It's a different kind of war. And it means good intelligence; in order to be able to protect you, we must know what the enemy is thinking and getting ready to do. That's why, when al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliate is making a phone call from outside the United States to inside the United States, we want to know why. (Applause.)

In this new kind of war, we must be willing to question the enemy when we pick them up on the battlefield. (Applause.) We have captured people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who our intelligence community thinks was the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks. When we captured him, I said to the Central Intelligence Agency, why don't we find out what he knows in order to be able to protect America from another attack. (Applause.)

In the past year, Congress has voted on each of these critical tools in the fight against terror, and these votes have revealed a clear pattern and a clear difference of opinion. When it came time to renew the Patriot Act, more than 75 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: When it came time on whether to allow the Central Intelligence Agency to continue to detain and question terrorists, almost 80 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: When it came time to vote on whether the NSA should continue to monitor terrorist communications through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, almost 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: In all these vital measures for fighting the war on terror, the Democrats in Washington follow a simple philosophy: Just say no. When it comes to listening in on the terrorists, what's the Democratic answer? Just say no. When it comes to detaining terrorists, what's the Democrat answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to questioning terrorists, what's the Democrat answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to trying terrorists, what's the Democrat's answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: So when the Democrats ask for your vote on November the 7th, what are you going to say?

AUDIENCE: Just say no! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Here are some questions we're asking all around the country: Do you want your government to listen in on the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to detain the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to question the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to do whatever it takes to bring justice to the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: And so when Republicans ask for your vote on November 7, what's your answer?

AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: We will continue to make sure our professionals have the tools necessary to protect you. And I want to thank Mike Sodrel for his strong support for our professionals on the front line of protecting the American people. (Applause.) But the best way to protect you is to go on the offense, and defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here. (Applause.)

One of the lessons of September the 11th is that when we see a threat, we must take it seriously, before that threat comes home to hurt us. (Applause.) I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein; members of both political parties in Congress saw a threat in Saddam Hussein; the United Nations saw the threat in Saddam Hussein. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right policy; the world is better off for it. (Applause.)

And now Iraq is a central front in this war against the terrorists. You know, in Washington, D.C. --

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You're the man, George! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I want you to listen to the words of a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives. The person went on to say, the President says that fighting them there makes it less likely we will have to fight them here. The opposite is true, the person went on to say, because we're fighting them there it may become more likely we will have to fight them here.

Here's what that person does not understand: You do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists, and Iraq is not the reason the terrorists are at war against us. I would remind that Democrat that our troops were not in Iraq when the terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. (Applause.) We were not in Iraq when they blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when the blew up the USS Cole. And we were not in Iraq when they killed nearly 3,000 of our citizens on September the 11th. (Applause.)

Five years after September the 11th, too many Democrats still do not get it. The best way to protect this homeland is to find the enemy and defeat them overseas. (Applause.) Oh, I know you've heard all the discussion about Iraq. They say -- in Washington, the Democrats say it's not a part of the war against the terrorists, it's a distraction. Well, don't take my word for it -- listen to Osama bin Laden. He has made it clear that Iraq is a central part of this war on terror. He and his number two man, Zawahiri have made it abundantly clear that their goal is to inflict enough damage on innocent life and damage on our own troops so that we leave before the job is done. And why do they want to do that? They want to establish safe haven, like the safe haven they had in Afghanistan, from which to launch further attacks on the United States of America. They want to have a base from which to topple moderate governments.

Imagine a world in which violent radicals have seized power in the Middle East and they've toppled moderate governments, and they use oil to extract blackmail from the West. And couple that with an armed nuclear Iran, and 30 years from now people are going to look back and say, what happened to them in 2006? How come they couldn't see the danger? And that is why we will defeat the enemy in Iraq. (Applause.)

We have a plan for victory. Our goal is a country that can sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself, and will be an ally in the war on terror. The enemy's goal is to get us to retreat before the job is done. I'm in close contact with our commanders. I tell them, whatever it takes to achieve victory I support. (Applause.) They tell me that they're constantly adjusting their tactics to meet an enemy which is changing its tactics. Oh, the fighting is tough, I understand that. And it is brutal. The enemy has an advantage because they're willing to kill innocent people, and that gets on our TV screens. It's hard to measure the progress of a new hospital, or new schools, or people willing to be brave and tough. The enemy understands that it's a matter of time, in their mind, before we retreat. But they don't understand the American people, and they don't understand this administration. We will put a plan in place. (Applause.)

I can't tell you how proud I am to be the Commander-in-Chief of such incredibly brave men and women who have volunteered to wear the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: And when it comes time -- and when they send those bills up there to support our men and women in uniform, I don't have any doubt where Mike Sodrel is going to land. He is a strong supporter of the military. (Applause.) He knows what I know: Any time you have an American in harm's way, he or she deserves the full support of the American government. (Applause.)

We've got a strong asset in our military. We've got something else going for us in Iraq: brave Iraqis. They have suffered unbelievable violence. But they remember the 12 million people that voted. They want to succeed. We've got a security track so that these Iraqis can defend themselves. We've got a political track so that the government is of and by and for the people. We've got an economic track to help them realize the vast potential of that country. We'll succeed. The only way we will not succeed is if we leave before the job is done. (Applause.)

And all the people listening here, I want you to think about the Democrat plan for success: There isn't one. (Laughter.) Iraq is the central front in this war, and yet, leading Democrats argue we should pull out right now.


THE PRESIDENT: Others suggest we should draw -- withdraw on a specific date, even if we have not accomplished the mission.


THE PRESIDENT: Others recommend moving our troops to an island some 5,000 miles away.


THE PRESIDENT: Nineteen House Democrats introduced legislation that would cut off funds for our troops in Iraq.


THE PRESIDENT: This week, one Democrat Senator explained her party's position this way: "We haven't coalesced around a single plan, but we're in general agreement on the basic principles." She's right. They are in agreement on one thing: They will leave before the job is done. And we will not let them. (Applause.)

I'm not saying these people are unpatriotic. I'm saying they're wrong. (Applause.) You cannot win a war if you're unwilling to fight the war. (Applause.) Retreat before the job was done would embolden the enemy. It would provide new safe haven. It would enable the enemy to recruit. It would dash the hope of millions who want to simply live in peace. It would dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. (Applause.)

This is a different kind of war, and it's important for Republicans and Democrats and independents to understand this fact: If we were to leave before the job was done, the enemy would follow us to the United States. And that is why victory is our goal, and that is why we will achieve victory. A victory will be a blow to the terrorists. A victory will say to those in the Middle East who believe in freedom that we do. A victory will make Iraq an ally on the war on terror. A victory in Iraq will make generations of young Americans more secure. And that is why we will stay, we will fight, and we will win. (Applause.)

I want to share a story with you. I want to share -- if you can stand it, I want to share a story with you. (Applause.) I want to talk about something really powerful that we've got at our disposal. It's called liberty. I don't know if you remember, but recently, I flew down to Elvis' place -- (applause) -- with the then sitting Prime Minister of Japan. People said, why did you go down there? And I said, well, one, I've never been there. (Laughter.) Secondly, he wanted to go there. (Laughter.)

But I also want to tell a story about the power of liberty, and here it is. In the late 1940s, we got attacked. And by the way, more people died on September the 11th than died at Pearl Harbor. And a lot of young Americans -- many of them probably your relatives -- volunteered to fight the sworn enemy, the Japanese. One of them was Navy fighter pilot George H.W. Bush, who at the age -- (applause.) And he fought them with all he had, just like a lot of other brave Americans. Thousands and thousands didn't come home from that war.

And yet, on Air Force One was the Prime Minister of the former enemy and this Navy fighter pilot's son talking about peace. (Applause.) We were talking about the fact that 1,000 Japanese troops were in Iraq helping this young democracy. See, the Prime Minister knows what I know; that the radicals and extremists want to overturn democracy. They want to spread their vision across what's called a caliphate, a vision opposite of what we believe. That's their ambitions. That's their goals. And yet, when we find young democracies, those of us who live in freedom have a duty to support that democracy because democracies yield the peace. (Applause.)

We talked about North Korea, how we could work together to convince the leader of North Korea to give up his nuclear weapons ambitions. We talked about HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa, and how "to whom much is given much is required" ought to apply to the United States and Japan, and how we must end the suffering of those poor people on the continent of Africa. We talked about a lot of big issues.

But I find it interesting that my dad fought the Japanese, and his son is talking about the peace with the Japanese. Something happened, and what happened is Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. And the lesson for our fellow citizens is, liberty has got the capacity to transform enemies into allies. Liberty has got the capacity to transform regions of hate to regions of hope. I firmly believe that some day, an American President will be sitting down with duly elected leaders in the Middle East talking about the peace, and a generation of Americans will be better off. (Applause.)

These are historic times. These are challenging times. It is such an honor to represent the United States of America during these historic times. I ask you to go from here and to call up your friends and neighbors, find our fellow Republicans, discerning Democrats -- (laughter) -- intelligence independents -- (laughter) -- and remind them of the stakes, remind them that the outcome of this election will determine how much money you have in your pocket. And remind them the outcome of this election will determine whether this government does its most fundamental job, and that is to protect the American people.

No doubt in my mind, with your help, we will win. Thanks for coming. God bless. (Applause.)



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