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The President on the Campaign Trail

George W. Bush
Perry for Governor of Texas 2006 Rally
Dallas, Texas
November 6, 2006
printable version

Thank you all very much. Rick, thanks for the kind introduction. Let me put it to you this way: Everything I learned I learned right here in Texas. (Applause.) All I've tried to do in Washington is what you expected me to do when I was your governor -- (applause) -- speak plainly, make decisions based upon principles, and stand strong with Texas values. (Applause.)

And that is exactly what Rick Perry has done. I'm proud to be here with him. You know, one of the great comforts that I had when I left the state to head up to Washington was knowing that Rick Perry was going to be the Governor. (Applause.) He's optimistic. He's done in office what he said he would do, and he's got a record. He's got a strong record to run on: Taxes are low, budgets are down, surpluses aplenty, fix the school funding issue. People are working here in the state of Texas. (Applause.) He passed tort reform. (Applause.) Rick Perry has got a record and deserves to be reelected Governor of Texas. (Applause.)

Laura and I are honored to be with the Perrys. You know, we've had quite a week -- well, quite a couple of days. First, we had Laura's birthday. (Applause.) I'm not going to tell you how old she is, but we were born the same year. (Laughter.) And 60 ain't all that bad. (Laughter.) Then we had our 29th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) And Tuesday is going to be a great victory for Republicans here in Texas. (Applause.)

I appreciate Anita Perry, one of the fine First Ladies in our state's history. (Applause.) I'm proud to be here with the Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst. (Applause.) He deserves to be reelected. He's working on safe schools; he worked with the Governor to do something about school funding. He's got a strong, solid record to run on, and when you get in there to vote for Rick, make sure you vote for Dewhurst, as well. (Applause.)

I appreciate very much that the Chairman of the Railroad Commission is with us, Elizabeth Ames Jones. (Applause.) A lot of people around the country think the Railroad Commission has a lot to do with railroads. (Laughter.) The Railroad Commission has got a lot to do with whether or not this state has got wealth to invest in our schools. And I appreciate her leadership. And I appreciate the leadership of my friend, Commissioner Michael Williams, who is with us. (Applause.) The Speaker of the House, from Midland, Texas, Tommy Craddick. Thanks for coming, Tommy. (Applause.)

Rick Perry knows what I know, that we need judges who strictly interpret the law, and not try to write law from the bench. (Applause.) I named two fantastic judges for the Supreme Court, Sam Alito and John Roberts. (Applause.) Rick Perry understands that, and we've got three important Supreme Court nominees with us today -- actually sitting on the bench: Justice Don Willett, Justice David Medina, and Justice Dale Wainwright. (Applause.)

I appreciate the members of the United States Congress who are here: Michael Burgess, Jeb Hensarling, and Michael Conaway. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)

But most of all, thank you all for being here. (Applause.) It warms our heart to be with our fellow Texans. I must say, I miss it, living here in this state. But I want you to know, for the next two-and-a-quarter years, I'm going to sprint as hard as I can to make this country as great as it can be. (Applause.)

We're in the home stretch of this campaign, and you all will play an important part of making sure that our fellow citizens get to the polls. When you send them to the polls, don't overlook those discerning Democrats and wise independents, by the way, because we've got a philosophy that's best for this country and for this state. (Applause.)

Laura and I have been traveling quite a bit, and we're enthused by the enthusiasm we see. (Applause.) We're closing strong because we're right on the issues. (Applause.) I understand you got the largest phone back in the country here in Texas. (Applause.) That's what I expect. I thank you for manning it. My encouragement to you is to go out and keep dialing and get people to the polls. Send Rick Perry back to the Governor's Office, and the state will be better off for it. (Applause.)

Oh, there's a lot of issues we differ on with the Democrats. I want to talk about two of them today. First is taxes. And there are big differences. We have a clear philosophy. We think you can spend your money better than the government can. (Applause.) We believe that when you have more money in your pocket to save, invest or spend, the entire economy benefits. (Applause.) Democrats believe they can spend your money better than you can. That's why they want more of it.


THE PRESIDENT: But you didn't elect us just to be philosophers. You elected us to get things done. (Applause.) Republicans have acted on that philosophy. We delivered the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan was the President. (Applause.) You should have heard the debate. Democrats said the tax cuts wouldn't create jobs, it wouldn't increase wages, and it would cause the federal deficit to explode. Well, the facts are in. (Applause.) The tax cuts have led to a strong and growing economy. The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.4 percent. (Applause.) People are working here in Texas and they're working around the country. Over the last three months, we added 480,000 new jobs. (Applause.) Real wages are on the rise, and we cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. The tax cuts work. (Applause.)

Taxes are an issue in this campaign. See, I'm convinced that your taxes go up when Democrats win. Now, I know they don't want you to know about it. Back in Washington, the Democrats will tell you, we love tax cuts. But given their record, they must be secret admirers. (Applause.) They voted against reducing the marriage penalty, voted against cutting taxes on small businesses, voted against lowering taxes for families with children, voted against reducing taxes on capital gains and dividends, and voted against putting the death tax on the road to extinction. If that's their definition for love, I'd sure hate to see what hate looks like. (Applause.)

Here's how it's going to work. Unless these tax cuts are extended or made permanent, your taxes go up. And the Democrat leaders have laid out their position. They asked them about whether or not the tax cuts out to be extended, and they said they can't think of one of them. See, so all they got to say is, well, we're just not going to extend the tax cuts. Really what they're saying is they're going to raise your taxes. And I want you to think about what that means. For example, if the child tax credit is not extended or made permanent, your taxes are going to go up if you have children. So, for example, anybody got four kids here? (Applause.) Nelson has got five. Senator Nelson has got five children. So when you're having dinner this evening, Senator, and you're sitting around the table, just count those heads -- one child, two, three, four, five -- and multiply by 500 -- see, the tax credit goes from $1,000 to $500 a child if the tax cuts are not extended. So you can just multiply $500 by 5 -- that's $2,500. That may not sound like a lot of money to people in Washington. But Rick Perry knows it's a lot of money, and I know it's a lot of money, and that's why we're going to work to keep your taxes low. (Applause.)

This election is taking place in an historic time for our country. And 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 win the war on terror? I wish I could report to you that we're not at war, but we are. We face a brutal enemy. They're bound by an ideology that's the opposite of our ideology. We believe in basic freedoms, and they don't. They also have designs to spread their ideology to the far corners of the world if they're able, and they understand we stand in the way of that. And that's why they still want to inflict harm on us.

I want to tell you something about these folks. You cannot negotiate with them, you can't hope for the best with them. (Applause.) The best way to protect this country is to stay on the offense and bring them to justice so they don't hurt us. (Applause.)

That is part of our strategy. The other part of our strategy is to protect you here at home. See, that's our most important job. Those of us who are honored to serve you have got a vital job, and that is to protect you from further attack. And so when I -- after September the 11th, I reviewed the tools to see whether or not our folks had the tools necessary to guard you. Let me talk about three items. It will give you a sense about how people are thinking in Washington, and thinking around the country, by the way.

First is, there was a wall that prevented our intelligence folks from sharing information with law enforcement. Now, I know that doesn't make any sense to you, but that's what happened. See, in this new kind of war, we can't protect you unless the intelligence folks whose job it is to figure out the designs and thinking of the enemy can share the information they have with the people whose job it is to stop the attacks. It's called the Patriot Act. It's a vital piece of legislation. (Applause.) It's a vital piece of legislation, but when it came up for reauthorization, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: It's just a different mind-set. See, they must not think we're at war, or they must think it's okay to respond after we're attacked. Our view is, let's respond before we're attacked. Let's prevent the attack from happening in the first place. (Applause.) If the most important job of the government is to protect you, I thought it was vital to listen to al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates making phone calls from outside the United States to inside the United States. The reason why we did that is because we've got to understand what the enemy is thinking in this new kind of war. When the Terrorist Surveillance Program was brought to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: When we pick somebody up on the battlefield, we've got to be in a position to detain and question those folks. And let me give you an example why. We picked up Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In case you haven't heard of him, he's the person our intelligence officers think masterminded the September the 11th attacks. So my attitude was, if he knew about one attack, he might know about another attack. And therefore, we've got to question Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in order to protect you. This bill came up for a vote in the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: It is important that our professionals have the tools necessary to protect you, and I vow that so long as I'm the President, we'll give them those tools. (Applause.)

This is a global war we're fighting, and we're facing the enemy on a multiple of fronts. One of the lessons of September the 11th is when we see a threat, the United States must take those threats seriously, before they come home to hurt us. And it's a lesson all Presidents must remember. I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein; members of the United States Congress in both political parties saw the same threat; the United Nations saw the same threat. My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. (Applause.)

And on Sunday, we witnessed a landmark event in the history of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was convicted. (Applause.) You're watching a country evolve from the rule of a tyrant to the rule of law. And we congratulate the Iraqi people. But I also want to remind our fellow citizens the reason this verdict was able to happen in the first place was because of the skill and the sacrifice of the United States military. (Applause.)

And now Iraq is a central front in this war on terror. You know it's -- I hear all the talk out of Washington where the skeptics say, well, Iraq is a diversion from the war on terror, or Iraq isn't that vital to the war on terror. I don't think it's true, our troops do not think it's true, and Osama bin Laden doesn't think it's true. He has said the fight in Iraq is the third world war. He has said that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever.


THE PRESIDENT: There's a different mind-set -- there's a different mind-set that you just got to know about. See, people have claimed that fighting the terrorists in Iraq creates terrorists. I disagree. Fighting the terrorists in Iraq is not the reason the terrorists are fighting us. We weren't in Iraq in 1993 when they bombed the World Trade Center. (Applause.) We weren't in Iraq when they bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when they bombed the USS Cole. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.)

You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. The best way to protect this country is to find the enemy overseas and defeat them there so we don't have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

Our goal in Iraq is victory. And victory means a country which can govern itself, sustain itself, defend itself, and be an ally in the war against these extremists and killers. And we're on our way to victory, but it's a tough fight, and I know it's a tough fight, and so do you. We face a brutal enemy that is willing to kill innocent men, women, and children in order to achieve their objective. And one of their objectives is to cause us to leave Iraq. They don't believe we have the stomach for the fight. They believe that these images of carnage on our TV screens will weaken our resolve. They don't understand this administration, nor do they understand millions of our fellow citizens. We're not going to run from thugs and assassins. (Applause.)

We have a plan to defeat them. I talk to our commanders on the ground all the time. We give them whatever they need to achieve our objective, and we make sure our tactics are constantly adjusting to those of the enemy. So, not only do we have a good plan, we've also got unbelievable people carrying out that plan. We've got the greatest military ever. (Applause.) And Rick Perry, who has worn the uniform, knows what I know, that any time we have an American troop in harm's way, he or she deserves all the support, all the help necessary to do the jobs I've asked them to do. (Applause.)

And we've got something else going for us in this vital part of the war on terror, and that is the Iraqi citizens themselves. They've suffered unspeakable violence, yet they're still committed to a government of, by and for the people. When the nearly 12 million Iraqis voted, I was pleased, but I was not surprised. And the reason I wasn't surprised is because I believe a gift from the Almighty to each man, woman and child is the desire to be free. (Applause.) I believe in the universality of freedom. I don't believe freedom is America's gift to the world, I believe it is universal. And it doesn't surprise me when people demand to be free.

It's hard work for Iraq to have a government that can defend and govern itself, but we're on our way. We've got a political plan to help them. Their economy will get help to improve, and we'll continue to train the Iraqis so they can take the fight to the few who want to stop the dreams of the many. And we will succeed. I want you to know this: If I didn't believe the cause was noble and just, and if I didn't believe we could achieve our objective, I wouldn't have our troops there. (Applause.)

We've going to succeed unless we leave before the job is done. And this is an important issue for our citizens around the country to think about. We've got a plan for victory. But if you listen to the debate about Iraq from the Democrats, I don't hear their plan for victory. On this vital issue, they don't have a plan. Oh, they've got some ideas. Some of them say, get out now. Some of them say, have a fixed date and get out even though the job hasn't been done. One fellow up there said we ought to move our troops to an island 5,000 miles away. No, they don't have a plan, but they got a principle, and the principle is get out before the job is done.


THE PRESIDENT: I'm not saying these folks are unpatriotic; I'm saying they're wrong. (Applause.)

You happen to bump into a Democrat, you might want to ask this simple question: What's your plan? They say they want to protect the homeland, but oppose the Patriot Act, ask them this question: What's your plan?

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: They say they want to uncover terrorist plots, but oppose listening in on terrorists' conversations, ask them this question: What's your plan?

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: If they say they want to stop new attacks on our country, but oppose letting the CIA detain and question the terrorists who might know about the plot, ask them this question --

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. If they say they want to win the war on terror, but call for America to pull out from what al Qaeda says is the central front in the war on terror, ask them a simple question.

AUDIENCE: What's your plan?

THE PRESIDENT: I want to remind you they don't have a plan. (Applause.) Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy. We have a plan. Stick with us, and the country will be better off. (Applause.)

Retreat from Iraq before the job is done would embolden the enemy and make this country less secure. In this new kind of war, if we leave before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here. Retreating from Iraq before the job is done will enable these extremists and radicals to better recruit. Imagine their propaganda when they -- when they tell young recruits, we have conquered the great America, we have forced them to leave before the job is done. If we leave before the job is done, millions of people's, who simply want to live a peaceful life in the Middle East, hopes will be dashed. And if we leave before the job is done, it would dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)

The consequences of retreat from Iraq will be felt for generations. And that's important for our citizens to understand. Because the enemy has made it clear what their ambitions are: One, they believe we will leave so they can establish safe haven from which to launch further attacks, safe haven like they had in Afghanistan, from which they trained -- of which they launched the attacks after having trained thousands of killers. Secondly, they believe -- they want us to leave so they topple moderate governments. They want to spread their totalitarian ideology as far and wide as possible, starting in the Middle East.

Thirdly, imagine a world in which they controlled energy resources. You can just imagine the demands of the radicals and extremists to the West and to the United States. They would say things like, abandon Israel, otherwise we're going to run your price of oil up and crater your economy. Or they'll say, withdraw, so we can establish our caliphate. And you couple all that with -- and a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon, and they will look back 30 years -- they'll look back and say, what happened to them in 2006? See, if that's the world that we allow evolve, they'll look back and say, what happened to those folks? Could they not see the impending danger? What clouded their vision? What made it impossible for them to see -- to do their duty and see the threats?

Well, I want you to know I clearly see the threat. I understand the stakes. That's why we will stay in Iraq, fight in Iraq, and win in Iraq. (Applause.)

If you got a second, I'd like to share one story with you. It's a story about liberty. It happened recently when Laura and I took then Prime Minister of Japan Koizumi to Elvis's place. People say, why did you do that? And I said, well, I had never been. (Laughter.) And I thought it would be fun to go, and so did Laura. Secondly, the Prime Minister wanted to go because he's an Elvis fan. Thirdly, I wanted to tell a story about the power of liberty.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, thousands of citizens signed up to defend the country, one of whom was my dad, and I'm sure some of your relatives did the same thing. (Applause.) And we fought a bloody war against a sworn enemy, and thousands of people lost their lives in this war. And yet I'm on Air Force One with the Prime Minister of the former enemy, talking about keeping the peace. We talked about how to prevent the Korean Peninsula from having a nuclear weapon. We talked about the fact that Japan had a thousand troops in Iraq. The Prime Minister knows what I know, that we're involved in a grand -- in a great ideological struggle between extremists and reasonable people, and that when we find young democracies, we have an obligation to help those democracies survive and thrive, for the sake of peace.

We talked about the admonition, to whom much is given, much is required, and I assured him we'd continue to lead the fight against the pandemic of HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa. (Applause.)

I find it interesting that my dad fought the Japanese and I'm sitting down talking about keeping the peace with the Prime Minister of the very same country. Something happened: Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. The lesson for all to hear is that liberty has got the capacity to change an enemy into an ally; and liberty has got the capacity to change a region of the world that is full of hate and resentment, a region of the world from which people were recruited to launch attacks against us to a place of hope.

Some day, an American President will be sitting down with duly elected leaders from the Middle East talking about keeping the peace, and a generation of Americans are going to be better off for it. (Applause.)

This is our last stop before voting, but it's been a tradition in our family that we always end up the last stop in Texas. And there's a reason why. (Applause.) And there's a reason why -- because Laura and I are inspired by our fellow Texans. (Applause.) We appreciate the prayers that uplift us on a daily basis. We thank you for your friendship. We encourage you to vote. Send Rick Perry back to the Governor's Office, please.

God bless you, and may God bless Texas and the United States.



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