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pd08no04 Remarks in Wilmington, Ohio...

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    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I'm not making that up. [Laughter] He was standing 
about three yards away when he said it. I couldn't believe it either. As 
far as I tell, that means our country must get permission before we act 
in our own defense. As President, I'll build on alliances. We'll 
continue to work with our friends and allies, but I will never turn over 
America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries.
    We have a difference of opinion as to how to protect you on this 
crucial issue. My opponent said that September the 11th did not change 
him much at all. September the 11th changed me a lot. I'll never forget 
the day I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers on September the 14th, 
2001. I'll never forget the sights and sounds of that day, the workers 
in hardhats who were yelling at me at the top of their lungs, ``Whatever 
it takes.'' The worker came out of the rubble--policeman or a fireman, 
I'm not sure which one--who grabbed me by the arm. He looked me square 
in the eye. He said, ``Do not let me down.'' From that day forward, I 
get up every morning thinking about how to better protect our families. 
I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes.
    The second clear choice in this election concerns your family's 
budget. When I ran for President 4 years ago, I pledged to lower taxes 
for America's families. I kept my word. We doubled the child credit to 
$1,000 per child to help moms and dads. We reduced the marriage penalty. 
We believe the Tax Code ought to encourage, not penalize marriage. We 
dropped the lowest tax bracket to 10 percent. We reduced income taxes on 
everybody who pays income taxes.
    I want you to remind your friends and neighbors about this fact: 
When I came into office, the stock market had been in serious decline 
for 6 months; and we faced a recession and corporate scandals; and the 
attacks of September the 11th cost us about a million jobs in the 3 
months after that fateful day.
    But our economic policies are working. Because we increased 
consumption and encouraged investment, our economy is growing at rates 
as fast as any in nearly 20 years. We added 1.9 million new jobs in the 
last 13 months. The entrepreneurial spirit in America is strong. Small 
businesses are flourishing all across Ohio. Farm income is up in Ohio. 
The homeownership rate is at an alltime high. More minority families own 
a home than ever before in our Nation's history. The national 
unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. Let me put that in perspective for 
you: That's lower than the average rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 

[[Page 2699]]

    I fully understand there are still people hurting in the great State 
of Ohio, but we're heading in the right direction. Your unemployment 
rate dropped from 6.3 percent to 6 percent in the month of September, 
and we added 5,500 new jobs. We're headed in the right direction.
    My opponent has plans for your family budget. He intends to take a 
big chunk out of it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. He voted against the higher child tax credit. He 
voted against marriage penalty relief. He voted against lower taxes. If 
he'd have had his way, the average American family would be paying 
$2,000 more in Federal taxes.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. That may not sound like a lot to some of them in 
Washington, but it's a lot for families right here in Columbus, Ohio. It 
helps moms and dads. It helps the small-business owners. You know, my 
opponent has been in the Senate for 20 years and he voted to raise taxes 
98 times.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. That's five times for every year in the Senate. I'd 
call that a predictable pattern, a leading indicator. During this 
campaign, he's also made a lot of promises. He's promised $2.2 trillion 
in new Federal spending. That's trillion with a ``T.'' That's a lot even 
for a Senator from Massachusetts.
    So they asked him, ``How are you going to pay for it?'' And he said, 
``Oh, we'll just tax the rich.'' You've heard that before. Be wary. See, 
you raise, when you run up the top two brackets, between 600 and 800 
billion dollars. That is far short of the 2.2 trillion he's promised. I 
would call that a tax gap. That's the gap between what he's promised and 
what he says he can deliver. And guess who usually gets to fill the tax 
    Audience members. We do!
    The President. Yes, you do. The good news is, he is not going to tax 
you; we're going to carry Ohio and win a great victory.
    Third--the third clear choice in this election involves the quality 
of life for our Nation's families. A good education and quality health 
care are important to a successful life. As candidate for President, I 
pledged to end the soft bigotry of low expectations by reforming our 
public schools. I kept my word. We passed good education reforms. We 
believe every child can learn, and we expect every child, every school 
to teach. We increased Federal spending. But in return for Federal 
increases, we now expect State and local jurisdictions to measure. We 
understand you cannot solve a problem until you diagnose the problem. 
And we are diagnosing and we are solving problems all across America. 
Test scores are up in reading and math. We're closing an achievement gap 
for minority students. And we will not go back to the days of low 
expectations and mediocrity in our classrooms.
    We'll continue to improve life for our families by making health 
care affordable and accessible. We'll make sure the poor and the 
indigent get good health care in community health centers. We'll make 
sure our program for children of low-income families is fully 
subscribed. To make sure health care is affordable, we must allow small 
businesses to join together across jurisdictional boundaries so they can 
buy insurance at the same discounts big companies are able to do. We 
will expand health savings accounts to help our small businesses and our 
    And to make sure health care is available and affordable for 
citizens of Ohio, we will do something about the frivolous lawsuits that 
are running up the cost of health care. I have met too many ob-gyns who 
are having to leave practice because of increased premiums due to 
lawsuits. I have met too many expectant moms who are deeply concerned 
about getting the health care they need. This litigation problem is a 
national problem. You cannot be pro-doctor, pro-patient, and pro-
personal-injury-trial-lawyer at the same time. My opponent has made his 
choice. He voted against medical liability reform 10 times and he put a 
personal-injury trial lawyer on the ticket.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I have made my choice. I'm standing with the doctors 
of Ohio. I'm standing with the families of Ohio. I'm for medical 
liability reform.
    Senator Kerry has got a different idea about health care. You might 
remember in the debate when he looked square in the camera and he said 
about his health care

[[Page 2700]]

plan, ``The Government didn't have anything to do with it.'' I could 
barely contain myself. [Laughter] The Government has got a lot to do 
with it. Eighty percent of the people who are signed up under his 
program end up on a Government plan. If you make it easier for people to 
be on Medicaid, it is likely small-business owners will drop insurance 
for their employees because the Government will provide it. See, you're 
moving people from the private sector to Government plans. When the 
Government writes the check, the Government makes the rules. And when 
the Government is making the rules about your health care, the 
Government starts making decisions for you and they make decisions for 
your doctors. The wrong prescription for American families is to 
federalize our health care. In all we do to improve our family's health 
care, we will make sure the decisions are made by doctors and patients, 
not by officials in Washington, DC.
    The fourth clear choice 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 
kept my word. Medicare needed to be changed. See, we would pay thousands 
of dollars for a heart surgery but not one dime for the prescription 
drugs that could prevent the heart surgery from being needed in the 
first place. That didn't make any sense to our seniors. So I brought 
Republicans and Democrats together. We modernized Medicare for our 
seniors, and beginning in 2006, seniors will get prescription drug 
coverage under Medicare.
    And we'll keep the promise of Social Security for our seniors, and 
we will strengthen Social Security for generations to come. Now, you 
might remember the 2000 campaign when they started running those ads and 
putting out the leaflets and flyers that said this to our seniors: ``If 
George W. gets elected, our seniors will not get their checks.'' So when 
you're out there rounding up the vote, when you're working hard over the 
next 4 days, remind your friends and neighbors that George W. did get 
elected, and the seniors did get their checks. And our seniors will 
continue to get their checks. And baby boomers like me and Arnold--
[laughter]--we're in pretty good shape when it comes to Social Security.
    But we need to worry about our children and our grandchildren. We 
need to worry about whether Social Security will be there for them. And 
that is why I believe younger workers ought to be allowed to take some 
of their payroll taxes and set up a personal savings account, an account 
that earns a greater rate of interest, an account you own and an account 
the Government can never take away.
    My opponent takes a different approach. You know, he said he's going 
to protect Social Security. But tell your friends and neighbors that he 
voted eight times for higher taxes on Social Security benefits.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. Like on other issues, he can run, but he cannot hide.
    And he's offered nothing for the next generation when it comes to 
Social Security. The job of the President is to confront problems, not 
to pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. In a new 
term, I will bring people together so that we modernize and strengthen 
Social Security for generations to come.
    The final choice in this election is on the values that are crucial 
to keeping our families strong. I believe marriage is a sacred 
institution. I will promote a culture of life and proudly signed the ban 
on partial-birth abortion. And I stand for the appointment of Federal 
judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict 
interpretation of the law.
    All these choices make this one of the most important elections in 
our history. The security and prosperity of our country are at stake. 
The health of our families is at stake. The education of our children is 
at stake. And the direction of our culture is at stake. And the decision 
is in the best of hands. The decision is in the hands of the American 
    One of my favorite quotes was written by a fellow Texan named Tom 
Lea. He said, ``Sarah and I live on the east side of the mountain. It is 
the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It is the side to see the day 
that is coming, not to see the day that is gone.''

[[Page 2701]]

My opponent has spent much of this campaign talking about the day that 
is gone. I'm talking about the day that's coming.
    I see a day where prosperity reaches every corner of America. I see 
a day where every child is able to read and write and add and subtract. 
I see a day in which this world becomes more peaceful and we're able to 
achieve the peace we all dream for for our children and our 
    When I campaigned across your State in 2000, I made you this pledge, 
that if I got elected, I would uphold the honor and the integrity of the 
office. With your help, with your hard work, I will do so for 4 more 
    God bless. Thanks for coming. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 7:27 p.m. at the Nationwide Arena. In his 
remarks, he referred to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; Gov. 
Bob Taft of Ohio and his wife, Hope; Carolyn Hobson, wife of Congressman 
David Hobson; Lt. Gov. Jennette B. Bradley of Ohio; Chief Justice Thomas 
J. Moyer of the Supreme Court of Ohio; Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio Valley 
regional chairman, Bush-Cheney '04, Inc.; Doug Preisse, chairman, 
Franklin County Republican Party Executive Committee; Gen. Tommy R. 
Franks, USA, (Ret.), former combatant commander, U.S. Central Command; 
Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization; and 
former President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. This item was not received in 
time for publication in the appropriate issue.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2701-2707]
Pages 2689	2806
Week Ending Friday, November 5, 2004
Remarks in Grand Rapids, Michigan

October 30, 2004

    The President. Thank you all for coming. Thanks for taking time out 
of your Saturday morning to come by and say hello. Laura and I are 
honored to be back in western Michigan. You've lifted our spirits. We're 
proud to be in a home of a fine former President, President Gerald Ford, 
and a great First Lady in Betty Ford. I know you honor their service to 
our country, as do Laura and I. We're here to ask for your vote, and I'm 
here to ask for your help.
    Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
    The President. We're close to voting time. We have a duty in our 
country to vote. In our free society, we have an obligation, I think, to 
go to the polls and express our opinions. So I'm here to ask you to 
convince your friends and neighbors to do their duty. Make sure our 
fellow Republicans go to the polls. Make sure independents go to the 
polls. Make sure discerning Democrats go to the polls. And when you get 
them headed to the polls, remind them, if they want a safer America and 
a stronger America and a better America, to put me and Dick Cheney back 
in office.
    I enjoy traveling our country. I enjoy talking to the people. I love 
to tell the people what I am going to do for the next 4 years. Perhaps 
the most important reason to put me in, though, is to make sure Laura is 
the First Lady for 4 more years.
    Audience members. Laura! Laura! Laura!
    The President. I am proud of my runningmate, Dick Cheney. I readily 
concede he does not have the waviest hair in this race. [Laughter] But I 
know the people of western Michigan will be pleased to hear I didn't 
pick him because of his hairdo. I picked him because of his judgment. I 
picked him because of his experience. He's getting the job done for the 
American people.
    I want to thank my friend Betsy DeVos for her leadership and her 
community spirit. I want to thank the DeVos family for joining us today.
    I want to thank my friend Congressman Peter Hoekstra for joining us 
today. Pete, I'm glad you're here; his wife, Diane, is here; other 
family members are here. I look forward to working with the chairman of 
a really important committee to make sure our intelligence gathering 
works, to make sure America can stay secure. Appreciate your service, 
Pete. I want to thank Congressman Vern Ehlers for joining us today. 
Congressman, we're proud you're here. Thank you for representing this 
district with such distinction and honor.
    I want to thank the attorney general, Mike Cox, and Secretary of 
State Terri Lynn Land for joining us.
    I want to thank all the local and State officials who are here. I 
want to thank all the people who have thrown their hat in the ring and 
are running for office.

[[Page 2702]]

    I want to thank the Sparta High School Marching Band for joining us 
today, the Western Michigan Home School Northern Lights Marching Band. I 
want to thank Daron Norwood for singing for you today. He's good, isn't 
    But most of all, I want to thank you all and the grassroots 
activists, the people putting up the signs, the people making the phone 
calls. I know how much work it requires to get a crowd this big, and I 
thank you for what you have done. I want to thank you for what you're 
going to do. You're going to turn out a big vote in western Michigan, 
and we'll carry this State on November 2d.
    This election takes place in a time of great consequence. The person 
who sits in the Oval Office for the next 4 years will set the course of 
the war on terror and the direction of our economy. America will need 
strong, determined, optimistic leadership, and I'm ready for the work 
    My 4 years as your President have confirmed some lessons and taught 
me some new lessons. I've learned to expect the unexpected, because war 
and emergency can arrive on a quiet autumn morning. I've learned 
firsthand how hard it is to send young men and women into battle, even 
when the cause is right. I've been grateful for the lesson I've learned 
from my parents, respect every person and do your best and live every 
day to its fullest. I've been strengthened by my faith and humbled by 
its reminder that every life is a part of a larger story. I've learned 
how a President needs to lead, as Presidents from Lincoln to Roosevelt 
to Reagan so clearly demonstrated.

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