The President on the Campaign Trail
Georgia Victory 2006 Rally
October 31, 2006
Thank you all very much. Thanks for coming, thanks for the warm welcome. It's great to be back in the state of Georgia. (Applause.) Just seems like I was here yesterday. (Laughter.) I must have Georgia on my mind. (Laughter and applause.)
I got something else on my mind, and that is to make sure Mac Collins becomes the next United States Congressman from this district. (Applause.) I appreciate you coming. He's a self-made guy. He's a no nonsense fellow. He's got a lot of common sense -- just the kind of person you want representing you in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
You know, he kind of reminds me of a lot of folks in my home state. See, they didn't start off as a Republican. He was a Butts County commissioner and he ran as a Democrat -- a Reagan Democrat. And then he saw the direction of where the Washington, D.C. Democrats were taking his party, so he came home, he came home to a party -- (applause) -- he feels like I feel: We don't want Washington Democrats running the House of Representatives. (Applause.)
And I appreciate you coming to express your support for Mac. I'm honored you're here. With your hard work, Mac Collins will be elected and we're going to keep control of the House and the Senate. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be here with Julie -- that's Mac's wife. She, like my wife, is a very patient person. Mac married above himself -- (laughter) -- so did I. Laura sends her love. (Applause.) She sends her love to the Collinses, but she also sends her love to your governor. You talk about a man who deserves to be reelected, and that's Sonny Perdue. (Applause.) He's done in office exactly what he said he's going to do, and the state of Georgia is better for it. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be here with two United States senators who are making a huge difference in the nation's capital, folks who represent your state with a lot of class and a lot of dignity, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Senator Johnny Isakson. (Applause.) It's a good sign when you've got sitting members of the United States Congress come in to help one of their former colleagues, see. It means they know him, they respect him, they like him. So please join me and welcome Charlie Norwood, Phil Gingrey, and Tom Price. (Applause.)
I'm proud to be here with the next lieutenant governor of the state of Georgia, Senator Casey Cagle. (Applause.) I thank all the other candidates, and I thank all the grassroots activists. You're the people who put up the signs, make the phone calls, convince people to go to the polls. I want to thank you in advance for what you're going to do. (Applause.)
We're driving toward victory. I know up in Washington they've already decided the outcome of the election.
THE PRESIDENT: They're measuring the drapes in their new offices.
THE PRESIDENT: The same thing happened in 2004, you might remember. (Applause.) In 2004, the movers never showed up. (Applause.) And they're not going to show up in 2006. (Applause.)
One reason we're going to win this election is because we've accomplished a lot. We've done what the people expect us to do. We went up and represented the people's interests. You know, for decades, the public school system failed too many children, so we passed the No Child Left Behind Act and demanded schools show results in return for money. Test scores are rising, an achievement gap is closing, and we're bringing America closer to the day when every single child gets a quality education. (Applause.)
For decades, we've been growing too dependent on foreign oil, so we decided to do something about it. We passed a good piece of energy legislation that encourages conservation, encourages domestic production. But it does something else: It spends your money on new technologies so that we can use Georgia crops to fuel and power automobiles. (Applause.)
One thing you don't have to worry about Mac, he understands what I know: If the farm economy is strong, the American economy benefits. (Applause.) So for the sake of national security, we want our farmers growing the fuel of the 21st century. (Applause.)
Medicare was an outdated program. It's an important program. If you're a senior, you know how important Medicare is. But you might remember, Medicare was becoming old and it needed to be modernized. As a result of legislation that I signed, 33 million seniors have more choices and access to prescription drugs, but more importantly, the days of poor seniors having to choose between food and medicine, they're over. (Applause.)
For decades, we haven't had complete control over our southern border. Illegal immigration has been on the rise. So we acted. I sent the National Guard down on the border to help our Border Patrol. (Applause.) We're in the process of modernizing that southern border. We're adding Border Patrol agents. We'll reform our immigration system, and we will uphold the immigration laws of the United States. (Applause.)
For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order. I don't know if you paid attention recently to that New Jersey case -- another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended. (Applause.)
And I will continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. (Applause.) When you're out rounding up the votes, you remind people that America is better off with John Roberts and Sam Alito as members of the Supreme Court. (Applause.) And I want to thank these two United States Senators for helping these two fine men become confirmed. (Applause.)
We've got something to run on. We've got a record to run on. And with Mac Collins back in the Congress, we're going to build on that record. Obviously, there are big differences between how Republicans think and Washington Democrats think. Perhaps the two biggest areas of difference, though, come down to how much money you're going to have in your pocket -- that's taxes -- and which political party is going to take the necessary steps to defend you.
First, let me talk about taxes. Mac and I have a philosophy. It says, you can spend your money better than the government can. (Applause.) As a matter of fact, we believe that when you have more money in your pocket for you to save or spend or invest, the economy benefits. (Applause.) The Democrats believe they need more of your money to spend because they can spend it better than you can.
THE PRESIDENT: But you know, sometimes philosophers don't act. We act. See, we say we're going to do something, and we do it, and we cut the taxes on everybody who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit, we reduced the marriage penalty, we cut taxes on small businesses, we cut taxes on capital gains and dividends. And for the sake of our family businesses and farmers, we put the death tax on the road to extinction. (Applause.)
Oh, you might remember the debates -- I certainly remember them. Democrats in Washington predicted the tax cuts would not create jobs, would not increase wages, and would cause the federal deficit to explode. Well, the facts are in. The tax cuts have led to a strong economy that's added 6.6 million new jobs since August of 2003. (Applause.) Real wages are on the rise, and the deficit has been cut in half three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)
Tax cuts work, and Mac Collins understands that. (Applause.) And the Democrats don't. I want the folks out there who are trying to make up their mind about this election to understand that the Democrats don't want you to know what their tax plans are. They just don't want you to know.
Recently, the top Democrat leader in the House made this observation. She said, we love tax cuts. Given her record, she must be a secret admirer. (Laughter.) She and her party voted against reducing the marriage penalty, reduced -- voted against cutting taxes against on small businesses, voted against lowering taxes for families with children, voted against every single tax cut. If this is her definition of love, I'd hate to see her definition of hate. (Laughter and applause.)
It's important for you to understand, when you're out there hustling for the vote, that if these tax cuts are not made permanent, or not extended, your taxes are going up. See, that's what happens. If they don't extend the tax cuts or pass a law that says they'll be a permanent part of the law, you can count on your taxes going up. I think it is interesting to note that the person who wants to be the head of the Ways and Means Committee for the Democrats said that he can't think of one tax cut that he would extend. That's code word for "get ready." If the Democrats take the House, your taxes are going up.
THE PRESIDENT: And it's a fundamental issue in this campaign. They may try to hide their intentions, but that's what's going to happen. I want you to think about it: If the tax cuts aren't made permanent, or not extended, and you've got a child, your taxes will go up $500 a child. The tax credit is now $1,000 per child, thanks to people like Mac Collins. (Applause.)
The man who wants to be the head of the tax committee said they're not going to extend those tax cuts, which means the tax credit goes from $1,000 a child to $500 a child. So when you get to dinner tonight, and you're sitting around the table with your children, you can just count heads -- (laughter) -- and multiply that by $500. So if you're a family with four children, that's four times $500, is $2,000. That's a $2,000 tax increase. That may not sound like a lot to Washington Democrats, but it sounds like a lot to me and Mac Collins, and we're going to keep your taxes low. (Applause.)
This election is taking place in an historic time. When our children and grandchildren look back on this period, one question will overwhelm all the rest: Did we do everything in our power to fight and to win the war on terror? That's the fundamental question this generation faces. We face an enemy that is brutal. There is no negotiation with these people. You can't try to talk reason into these totalitarians.
They have an ideology. Make no mistake about it, they believe things. What they really believe is they believe freedom is bad. They can't stand the thought of free societies. And that's why they hate what the United States of America stands for: the ability for people to worship freely, the ability for people to vote, and to express their opinion freely is something we hold dear. It's the exact opposite of what these ideologues believe in and what they're trying to impose on other parts of the world.
The best way to protect the American people is to bring the enemies to justice before they hurt us again. (Applause.) And the best way to protect you is to make sure our professionals have all the tools necessary to do their job. When it comes time to protecting the homeland, the United States of America must be right 100 percent of the time, and the enemy, which desires to strike us again, only has to be right once.
And that's why I decided to work with the Congress and our professionals to change some things. I decided it didn't make any sense to have a wall between our intelligence and our law enforcement folks. It may be hard for you to believe, but right around September the 11th, 2001, the folks in charge of protecting you couldn't share intelligence. And so I asked Congress to pass the Patriot Act, to tear down that wall -- (applause) -- that enabled people to share information.
This is a different kind of war. I know there's probably some World War II vets out there. In those wars, you could measure progress by how many airplanes you were able to shoot down, or you were able to measure progress by how much land mass you took. This is a different kind of war. This is a war that requires good information in order for this government to do its most important job, which is to protect you. And so, therefore, I felt it was important if al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliate was making a phone call into the United States, we better understand what they're calling about. (Applause.)
In this different kind of war, we picked up people off the battlefield. We captured people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who our intelligence officers believe was the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks. I felt it was important for the Central Intelligence Agency to be in a position to question this person to determine if he knew information that would be necessary to protect you.
Now I want you to -- when you're out rounding up the vote, and people say, well, there's no difference between them, or they're saying, well, maybe I feel comfortable with the Washington Democrats, I want you to remind them about these three votes we just recently had. There's a clear pattern. When it came time to renew the Patriot Act, more than 75 percent of the members -- Democrat members in the House of Representatives voted, no.
THE PRESIDENT: When it came time -- when it came time to vote on whether to allow the CIA to continue its program to detain and question captured terrorists, almost 80 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.
THE PRESIDENT: And when it came time to vote on whether the National Security Agency should continue to monitor terrorist communications, almost 90 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.
THE PRESIDENT: On all these vital measures, measures necessary to protect you, the Democrats in Washington follow a simple philosophy: Just say no. When it comes to listening in on the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer? Just say no. When it comes to detaining terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?
AUDIENCE: Just say no!
THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to questioning terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?
AUDIENCE: Just say no!
THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to trying the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?
AUDIENCE: Just say no!
THE PRESIDENT: So when the Democrats ask for your vote on November the 7th, what's your answer?
AUDIENCE: No! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: One thing is, the people in this district don't have to worry about Mac Collins giving the professionals the tools necessary to protect you. Those tools are necessary, no question about it. But the best way to protect you is to stay on the offense, is to keep the pressure on the enemy. It's hard to plan and plot attacks against America if you're on the run, and that's exactly what our brave professionals are doing. (Applause.)
It's important that the United States not forget the lessons of September the 11th, 2001. I assure you I'm not going to forget them. And one of the important lessons is that when we see a threat overseas, we've got to take that threat seriously. When you see a threat, you just can't hope for the best in this day and age where terrorists are capable of inflicting damage on the homeland.
I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties saw that same threat. The United Nations saw the threat. I made the right decision in getting Saddam Hussein out of power. (Applause.)
In this global war against extremists who use murder as a weapon, Iraq is now the central front. Oh, I've heard all of the voices in Washington, D.C. They say -- a lot of them say, it's just a distraction in the war on terror. That's not a part of the war on terror, people in Washington -- Democrats say. Well, all I ask if you're undecided about this important issue is just listen to the words of Osama bin Laden, or Mr. Zawahiri, the number two of al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden calls this fight the third world war. He has said that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever. It's important to listen to the words of the enemy if you're in war.
Now I want you to listen to the words of a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives. The reason I bring this up is I want you to understand there is a different mind set in Washington. She said, the President says that fighting them there in Iraq means it's less likely we will have to fight them here. I did say that, and I strongly believe it. The opposite is true, she went on to say, because we are fighting them there, it may become more likely we will have to fight them here.
I want to remind that person that Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war against us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. (Applause.) We weren't in Iraq when they blew up the USS Cole, or the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 when they killed nearly 3,000 citizens on U.S. soil. (Applause.)
You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. The best way to protect you is to find the terrorists where they exist and bring them to justice so they can't hurt you again. (Applause.)
Our goal in Iraq is victory. Our goal is for a young democracy to be able to sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself, and serve as an ally in the war on terror. And the fighting is tough. No question about it, it's tough. It's tough because we face a brutal enemy without conscience. It's tough because the enemy kills innocent men, women and children. It is tough because they film the atrocities, and they broadcast them for the world to see. You see, they believe that the United States does not have the will necessary to complete the mission. That's what they believe. They don't understand this country. We will never run in the face of thugs and assassins. We will defend ourselves. (Applause.)
Our goals haven't changed, but our tactics constantly adjust. Our commanders on the ground have what it takes to succeed. And if they don't, I'll make sure they do. The enemy changes, we change. We got a lot of good things going for us in Iraq, starting with one of the finest United States militaries ever. (Applause.)
In the midst of a heated campaign season, there are some things we should all be able to agree on, and one of the most important is that every one of our troops deserves our respect and our gratitude. (Applause.)
Yesterday, my opponent in 2004 presidential race, Senator Kerry, was speaking to a group of young people in California.
THE PRESIDENT: I want you to listen to what he said. He said: you know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well; if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.
THE PRESIDENT: The Senator's suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting and it is shameful. (Applause.) The members of the United States military are plenty smart, and they are plenty brave, and the Senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology. (Applause.)
Whatever party you're in, in America, our troops deserve the full support of our government. (Applause.) And I don't have any doubt that Mac Collins will stand strong for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)
Something else is going for us when it comes to victory in Iraq, and that is the Iraqi citizens. They've endured unspeakable violence. But they are determined to repulse the extremists and the radicals. Nearly 12 million went to the polls and said, we want to be free. You know, I was pleased with the turnout, but I wasn't surprised, because I believe there is an Almighty, and I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty to every man and woman on the face of the Earth is freedom. (Applause.)
We'll help the Iraqis build their economy, we'll help them make sure their political system unites the country, and we'll help them defend themselves. The only way we can lose in Iraq is if we leave before the job is done. (Applause.) This is a vital issue for the security of our children. And yet when you listen to the national Democrats in Washington for their plan, if you listen for a plan, you will find they don't have one. They do not have a plan for victory on this vital issue.
Iraq is a central front in the war on terror, but the only thing they want to do is leave before the job is done. I want you to hear some of the voices of leading Democrats. They say we should pull our troops off the battlefield right away. My opponent in 2004 said there should be a fixed date for withdrawal. Others suggest that we ought to move our troops some 5,000 miles away to an island. Nineteen House Democrats introduced legislation that would cut off all the funds for the troops in Iraq.
THE PRESIDENT: I thought it was illustrative to listen to a United States Senator from the Democrat Party say last week, we haven't coalesced around a single plan, but we're in a general agreement on basic principles. She's right; they are in agreement. They will leave before the job is done.
THE PRESIDENT: However they put it, the Democrat approach comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses. And that's what's at stake in this election. The Democrats want to get us out of Iraq, and the Republican goal is to win in Iraq. (Applause.) I'm not saying these good folks are unpatriotic. I'm just saying they're wrong. You can't win a war if you're not willing to fight it. (Applause.)
I want you to go home and think about what retreat from Iraq would mean before the job is done; it would embolden the enemy. It would enable them to ridicule countries like the United States to folks who are wondering where the balance of power will lay in the world. It will embolden the extremists and radicals. It will enable them to gain a new safe haven from which to launch further attacks on the United States. It would strengthen the hand of the extremists and deny hope to millions and millions of people who simply want to live a peaceful life. It would dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who have worn our uniform.
I want you to understand in this different kind of war, if we leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here. (Applause.) Envision a world in which moderate governments have been toppled by the extremists because we left; envision a world in which people use oil -- extremists use oil as blackmail to the Western World; envision a world in which a country which can't stand America has a nuclear weapon. And people will look back and say, what happened to them in the year 2006? How come they couldn't see the impending danger to a generation of young Americans? Why weren't they willing to defend our security at that moment?
I see the impending danger. I will use all assets at my disposal to do the most important job of the government, and that is defend you. We will fight in Iraq, and we will win in Iraq. (Applause.) Oh, I know there are Democrats and independents in a great state like Georgia who do not share the views of the Democrat leadership in Washington. You may not agree with Republicans on every issue, but you should also realize what voting Democrat in this election would mean for the war on terror.
When you vote next Tuesday, your vote will determine more than who is your local congressman. It will also determine which party's leadership will set the agenda on Capitol Hill. A vote to send a Democrat to Congress is a vote for the liberal Democrat leadership in Washington, D.C. A vote to send a Democrat to Congress is a vote to make the Senate Majority Leader a man who bragged about killing the Patriot Act. A vote to send a Democrat to Congress is a vote to make the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee a man who said the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power.
THE PRESIDENT: A vote to send a Democrat to Washington is a vote to make the chairman of the House of Ways and Means Committee a man who has suggested cutting off funds for our troops on the battlefield.
THE PRESIDENT: A vote to send a Democrat to Congress is a vote to make the Speaker of the House -- the third person in line for the presidency -- a woman who said that capturing Osama bin Laden would not make America any safer.
THE PRESIDENT: If you want leaders in the United States Congress who will do what it takes to defend America and keep our country safe, then vote for Mac Collins on November the 7th. (Applause.)
I can't thank you enough for coming. I hope you go forth from the hall and round up our fellow Republicans, discerning Democrats, discerning independents, and remind them about the stakes in this election. If you want your taxes low, if you want more of your own money to spend the way you see fit, vote Republican and vote Mac Collins. (Applause.) If you want this country to stay on the offense, to do everything we can to protect, to do everything we can to do our most fundamental duty -- and that is to protect the United States of America -- vote Republican and send Mac Collins to the United States Congress. (Applause.)
I'm sure glad to be back in Georgia. (Applause.) I thank you for coming. May God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
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