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pd01no04 Remarks in Onalaska, Wisconsin...


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because the lives of our citizens are at stake. Our strategy is clear. 
We're strengthening the homeland. We're reforming our intelligence 
services. We are transforming our All-Volunteer Army. We will not have a 
draft. We are staying on the offensive against these terrorists. We are 
relentless and we are determined, and our strategy is paying off. More 
than three-quarters of Al Qaida's key members and associates have been 
brought to justice, and the rest of them know we're on their trail.
    My opponent has a different approach. He says that September the 
11th, quote, ``didn't change me much at all,'' end quote.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. And that's pretty clear. He considers the war on 
terror primarily a law enforcement and intelligence gathering operation.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. His top foreign policy adviser questioned it is even 
a war at all, saying, ``It's just like a metaphor, like the war on 
poverty.'' Anyone who thinks we're fighting a metaphor does not 
understand the enemy we face. You cannot win a war if you are not 
convinced we are even in one.

[[Page 2551]]

    Senator Kerry also misunderstands our battle against insurgents and 
terrorists in Iraq. After voting to authorize force against Saddam 
Hussein, after calling it the right decision when I sent troops into 
Iraq, the Senator now calls it the ``wrong war.''
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. The Senator used to recognize that Saddam Hussein was 
a gathering threat who hated America. After all, he said so. He used to 
recognize that Saddam was a state sponsor of terror with a history of 
pursuing and even using weapons of mass destruction. After all, he said 
so. He used to understand that Saddam was a major source of instability 
in the Middle East. After all, he said so. And when he voted to 
authorize force, the Senator must have recognized the nightmare scenario 
that terrorists might somehow gain access to weapons of mass 
destruction. Senator Kerry seems to have forgotten all of that as his 
position has evolved during the course of this campaign. You might call 
it election amnesia. [Laughter] I know then and I know now that the 
world and America are safer with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison 
cell.
    Senator Kerry now calls Iraq a ``diversion.'' But the case of just 
one terrorist shows how wrong his thinking is. A man named Zarqawi is 
responsible for the car bombs and beheading Americans in Iraq. He ran a 
terrorist training camp in Afghanistan until coalition troops arrived. 
He then ran to Iraq, where he's fighting today. He supports and swore 
allegiance to Usama bin Laden. If Zarqawi and his associates were not 
busy fighting American forces and Iraqi forces in Iraq, what does my 
opponent think he'd be doing, a peaceful businessman somewhere? Leading 
a benevolence campaign? [Laughter] Of course not. Our troops will defeat 
them there so we do not have to face them in our own cities.
    The choice in this election could not be clearer when it comes to 
the security of our families. You cannot lead our Nation to decisive 
victory, on which the security of every American family depends, if you 
do not see the true dangers of a post-September the 11th world. My 
opponent has a September 10th point of view. You might remember, at his 
convention he declared that his strategy would be to respond to attacks 
after America is hit.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. That would be too late. In our debates, he said we 
can defend America only if we pass a ``global test.''
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I'm not making that up. He was standing right there 
when he said it. I work with our friends and allies. We will strengthen 
our coalitions. But I will never turn over America's national security 
decisions to leaders of other countries.
    I saw some of our troops coming in. I want to thank them for their 
service. I want to thank the veterans who are here for having set such a 
great example for those who wear the uniform. I want to thank our 
military families who are here for supporting our troops fighting for 
freedom and security. And I want to assure you your loved ones will have 
the full support of our Government.
    That's why I went to Congress and asked for $87 billion of 
supplemental funding. This was money to support our troops in harm's 
way. When you're out gathering up the vote, I want you to remind your 
fellow citizens of this startling statistic. There were 4 Members in the 
United States Senate--only 4 out of 100--that voted to authorize the use 
of force and then voted against funding for our troops in harm's way. 
And four of those--two of those four were my opponent and his 
runningmate.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. They asked him about that vote. He said, ``I actually 
did vote for the 87 billion, right before I voted against it.'' You 
know--I bet you don't hear many people talking like that around the 
coffee shops here. They pressed him even further, and he finally just 
threw up his hands. He said, ``The whole thing is a complicated 
matter.'' My fellow Americans, there is nothing complicated about 
supporting our troops in combat.
    And to protect America, we will lead the cause of freedom. I believe 
in the transformational power of liberty. I want the youngsters here to 
understand what has taken place in a short period of time. Afghanistan 
was once ruled by the Taliban. Young girls couldn't go to school. If 
their mothers didn't toe the ideological line of the haters,

[[Page 2552]]

they'd be whipped in the public squares and sometime shot in the 
stadiums. Because we acted in our own self-defense, millions of Afghan 
citizens went to the polls to vote for the President, and the first 
voter was a 19-year-old woman. Freedom is on the march. Freedom is 
precious. Freedom is powerful. And we're better off for it.
    Iraq will have Presidential elections in January. Think how far that 
country has come from the days of torture chambers and the brutality of 
Saddam Hussein. Fifty million people now live in freedom because we 
acted to secure ourselves. We're more secure. The world is better off as 
freedom is on the march. I believe everybody yearns to be free in this 
world. Freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the 
Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world.
    The second clear choice in this election concerns your family 
budget, your wallet. When I ran for President 4 years ago, I pledged to 
lower taxes for American families. I have kept my word. We raised the 
child credit. We reduced the marriage penalty. The Tax Code ought to 
encourage marriage, not penalize marriage. We created a 10-percent 
bracket to help working families. We reduced income taxes for everybody 
who pays taxes. We're helping our small-business owners. And as a result 
of these policies, real after-tax income, the money in your pocket, is 
up by about 10 percent since I got into office.
    Think about what this economy has been through. Tell your friends 
and neighbors what we have overcome. Six months prior to my arrival, the 
stock market was in serious decline, indicating the recession that came. 
Then we had some corporate scandals. And then we got attacked, and those 
attacks cost us about a million jobs in the 3 months after September the 
11th.
    Our economic policies are working. They've led us back to growth. 
Our economy is growing at rates as fast as any in nearly 20 years. We've 
added more than 1.9 million new jobs since August of 2003. The 
unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, lower than the average of the 1970s, 
1980s, and 1990s. Farm income is up. Homeownership rates are at an 
alltime high. The unemployment rate in Florida is 4.5 percent. We're 
moving forward, and we're not going to go back to the old days.
    My opponent has very different plans for your budget. He intends to 
take a big chunk out of it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. When I proposed the tax relief to help our families 
and get this economy going again, he voted against the higher child tax 
credit. He voted against the marriage penalty relief. He voted against 
lower taxes. He voted against the help to small businesses. If he had 
had his way, the average middle-class family in America would have been 
paying $2,000 more in Federal income taxes.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. It's part of a pattern. The Senator has voted 10 
times to raise gasoline taxes since he's been in the Senate. And all 
told, during his 20 years in the United States Senate, my opponent has 
voted 98 times to raise taxes.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. Think about that. That's about five times every year 
he served. When a Senator does something that often, he must really 
enjoy it. [Laughter]
    During this campaign, he's made a lot of big promises. As a matter 
of fact, he's promised about $2.2 trillion in new spending. That's with 
a ``T.'' [Laughter] That's a lot even for a Senator from Massachusetts. 
[Laughter] So they said, ``How are you going to pay for it?'' He said, 
``Oh, we'll just tax the rich.'' We've heard that before, haven't we?
    By running up the top two brackets, guess who he's taxing? He's 
taxing job creators. Seventy percent of new jobs are created by small 
businesses in America. Most small businesses pay tax at the individual 
income-tax level. It's a bad idea to tax the job creators in this 
country.
    Raising the top two brackets will raise between 600 and 800 billion 
dollars, so as you can tell, there's a tax gap. There's a difference 
between what he has promised and what he can deliver. Now, you know who 
gets to fill that tax gap, don't you? I'll tell you one other thing 
about taxing the rich. The rich, during tax time, hire lawyers and 
accountants for a reason: to slip the tab and to stick you with

[[Page 2553]]

the bill. We're not going to let him tax you; we're going to carry 
Florida and win a great victory on November the 2d.
    Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
    The President. The third clear choice in this election involves the 
quality of life for our families. A good education and quality health 
care are important for a successful life. When I ran for President 4 
years ago, I promised to end and to challenge the soft bigotry of low 
expectations in our schools. I kept my word, passed the No Child Left 
Behind Act, which is a great piece of legislation. It brings high 
standards to our classrooms and makes our schools accountable to our 
parents. We're seeing progress. Math and reading scores are rising. We 
are closing an achievement gap all across America. We will build on 
these reforms. We'll extend them to our high schools so that no child is 
left behind in America.
    We'll continue to improve life--the life of our families by making 
health care more affordable and accessible. We'll expand health savings 
accounts so small businesses can cover their workers and more families 
are able to get health care accounts they can manage and call their own. 
We'll create association health plans so small businesses can join 
together and buy insurance at the discounts that big companies are able 
to do. We will help our families in need by expanding community health 
centers. We'll make sure every child eligible is enrolled in our 
Government's low-income health insurance program.
    And we'll help patients and doctors everywhere by doing something 
about these frivolous lawsuits that are running up the cost of health 
care and running good doctors out of practice. I met too many ob-gyns 
that are having trouble making ends meet, and so they're quitting the 
practice. I met too many women who are driving miles to get the good 
health care they need for themselves and their child. And this isn't 
right for America. You can't be pro-trial-lawyer and pro-doctor and pro-
patient at the same time. You have to pick. My opponent made his pick. 
He put a personal injury trial lawyer on the ticket. I stand for medical 
liability reform--now.
    Senator Kerry has a different point of view on our schools and 
health care system. Listen, he voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, 
but now he wants to weaken the accountability standards. He has proposed 
including measures like teacher attendance to judge whether students can 
read or write or add and subtract. He voted against health savings 
accounts. He opposes association health plans that will help our small 
businesses. He voted 10 times against medical liability reform.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. He can run from his record, but he cannot hide.
    Now he's proposing a big Government health care plan that would 
cause 8 million families to lose private coverage they get at work and 
have to go onto a Government plan. Eighty percent of the people who get 
coverage under his proposal would be enrolled in a Government plan. In 
one of our debates, he said with a straight face that when it comes to 
his health care plan, and I quote, ``The Government has nothing to do 
with it.'' I could barely contain myself when I heard that. [Laughter] 
The Government has a lot to do with it. His plan would move America down 
the road to Federal control of health care, and that's the wrong road 
for American families. He can run from his record, but he cannot hide.
    In all we do to improve health care, we will make sure decisions are 
made by doctors and patients, not by officials in Washington, DC.
    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 4 years ago, I promised 
to keep that commitment and improve Medicare by adding prescription drug 
coverage. I have kept my word. You know, leaders in both political 
parties have talked about Medicare for years--for years. We got the job 
done. Seniors are now getting discounts on medicine with drug discount 
cards. Low-income seniors are getting $600 on their card this year and 
600 next year. And beginning in 2006, all seniors will be able to get 
prescription drug coverage under Medicare.

[[Page 2554]]

    My opponent voted against the Medicare bill that included 
prescription drug coverage, even though it was supported by the AARP and 
other seniors groups. Later he said, quote, ``If I am President, we're 
going to repeal that phony bill.'' A little later on, he said, ``No, I 
don't want to repeal it.'' Kind of sounds familiar. As your President 
for the next 4 years, I will defend the reforms we have worked so hard 
to pass and keep the promise of Medicare for our senior citizens.
    And we will keep the promise of Social Security for our seniors, and 
we'll strengthen Social Security for generations to come. Every 
election, desperate politicians try to scare our seniors about Social 
Security. It is predictable, and it's beginning to happen again. I want 
you to tell your friends and neighbors about what happened in the 2000 
campaign. They said, ``If George W. gets elected, our seniors will not 
get their checks.'' Now, you might remember that. Well, tell them George 
W. did get elected, and our seniors did get their checks. And our 
seniors will continue to get their checks, and baby boomers like me are 
in pretty good shape when it comes to the Social Security trust.
    But we need to think about our children and our grandchildren. We 
need to make sure that when they retire, there's a Social Security 
system available to meet their needs. And that is why I believe younger 
workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it 
in a personal account. It will earn a better rate of return, a personal 
account they call their own, a personal account the Government cannot 
take away.
    My opponent is taking a different approach. He talks about 
protecting Social Security. He's the only candidate in this race that 
voted to tax Social Security benefits eight times.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. He can run, but he cannot hide. And when it comes to 
the next generation, he has offered no reform. The job of a President is 
to confront problems, not to pass them on to future Presidents and 
future generations. In a new term, I'll bring Republicans and Democrats 
together to make sure Social Security is around when a younger 
generation of America needs it.
    The fifth clear choice in this election is on the values that are so 
critical to keeping America's families strong. And my opponent and I are 
miles apart. I believe marriage is a sacred institution. Marriage is a 
pillar of our civilization, and I will always defend it. This is not a 
partisan issue. When Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, 
defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the vast majority 
of Democrats supported it, and my predecessor, President Bill Clinton, 
signed it into law. Senator Kerry was part of an out-of-the-mainstream 
minority that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I believe that reasonable people can find common 
ground on the most difficult of issues. Republicans and Democrats and 
many citizens on both sides of the life issue came together and agreed 
we should ban the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion. Senator 
Kerry was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against 
the ban.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. He voted against parental notification laws.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. He voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I'll continue to reach out to Americans of every 
belief and move this goodhearted Nation toward a culture of life.
    My opponent has said that the heart and soul of America can be found 
in Hollywood.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I understand most American families do not look to 
Hollywood as a source of values. The heart and soul of America is found 
in communities like Lakeland, Florida.
    All of these choices make this one of the most important elections 
in our history. The security and prosperity of our country, the health 
and education of our families, the retirement of our seniors, and the 
direction of our culture are all at stake. And this decision is in the 
best of hands, because the decision rests with the American people.

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