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pd16fe04 The President's Radio Address...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i]
Monday, February 16, 2004


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Weekly Compilation of



[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

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Pages 209	234

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Addresses and Remarks

    Missouri, discussion on the national economy in Springfield--210
    National Defense University--216
    Pennsylvania, discussion on education and the Jobs for the 21st 
        Century Initiative in Harrisburg--221
    Radio address--209
    School choice, discussion--227

Communications to Congress

    Judicial branch, letter transmitting appropriations requests--221

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--234
    Checklist of White House press releases--234
    Digest of other White House announcements--232
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--233

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 209-210]
Pages 209	234
Week Ending Friday, February 13, 2004
The President's Radio Address

February 7, 2004

    Good morning. The past few weeks have confirmed that America's 
economy is strong and growing stronger. The Nation's unemployment rate 
fell to 5.6 percent in January, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, 
and we added 112,000 new jobs, the largest single month increase since 
December of 2000. Overall, the Nation has added 366,000 jobs in the past 
5 months.
    There's more evidence of a strengthening economy. Manufacturers 
report new orders. GDP rose at a 6.1 percent in the second half of 2003, 
the fastest pace in nearly 20 years. Inflation remains low, and our 
Nation's homeownership rate just reached an alltime high. For the first 
time in our history, more than half of minority households own their own 
    All of these are signs that our economic recovery is becoming a 
lasting expansion. Yet many of the new jobs being created require 
workers to learn new skills, and we can make sure that more Americans 
are prepared for these new opportunities.
    Our efforts begin in our elementary schools, where students learn 
the basic skills that carry them through life. With the No Child Left 
Behind Act, we have raised standards, and we're making sure children 
learn the basics. Now we need to stay the course of reform, because the 
No Child Left Behind Act is opening the door of opportunity for all of 
America's children.
    We must also help high school students to prepare for the new jobs 
our economy is creating. I've asked Congress to pass my Jobs for the 
21st Century proposal, a plan that would help students who fall behind 
in reading and math, expand advanced placement programs in low-income 
schools and provide larger Pell grants for students who prepare for 
college with demanding courses in high school.
    We also recognize that many workers change jobs in the middle of 
their careers, and they often get the training they need at community 
colleges. I have asked Congress to provide $250 million to community 
colleges to help Americans get the skills they need for high-growth 
fields. Over the last several weeks, I have met with men and women who 
are studying at these colleges and are on their way to better careers.
    Toledo, Ohio, I met with Mike Potter. After getting laid off in 
March 2003, Mike enrolled at Owens Community College's integrated 
systems technology program, which is supported by a Department of Labor 
grant. Mike got a new job soon and is earning more than he did before. 
Here is what Mike told me: ``People don't want to see a person with just 
one skill anymore. They want several skills.''
    My administration is committed to helping more people like Mike 
learn the skills they need. And we will continue pursuing a progrowth 
economic agenda so that every person who wants to work can find a job.
    We'll help create more jobs in America by making tax relief 
permanent, by enforcing spending discipline and reducing the deficit, by 
enacting commonsense reforms to our regulatory and legal systems, by 
taking steps to make health care more affordable and accessible, by 
passing a national energy policy, and by opening up more foreign markets 
for trade. Taking these steps will add momentum to our Nation's economic 
expansion and extend jobs and prosperity to more Americans.
    I'm optimistic about our future, and one reason is because of 
America's workers and entrepreneurs. They are talented and hardworking, 
and they carry with them the spirit that has always made America a place 
of hope and opportunity.
    Thank you for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 11 a.m. on February 6 in the Cabinet 
Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on February

[[Page 210]]

7. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press 
Secretary on February 6 but was embargoed for release until the 
broadcast. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish 
language transcript of this address.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 210-216]
Pages 209	234
Week Ending Friday, February 13, 2004
Remarks in a Discussion on the National Economy in Springfield, Missouri

February 9, 2004

    The President. Jack, thanks for having me. I want to thank the good 
folks who work here for allowing us to disrupt your day to talk about 
our economy and how it works. And hopefully out of this discussion, 
people will learn better how people make decisions, decisions with their 
own money or decisions with investors' money. I hope people come away 
from this discussion with this great sense of optimism about the future 
for our country. It's exactly what I believe. I believe we ought to be--
[applause]. So this ought to be a lot of fun.
    I am thrilled to be here with the two United States Senators from 
Missouri, Kit Bond and Jim Talent. I appreciate their friendship and 
thank them for coming. Congressman Roy Blunt, who you know well, is with 
us today. He's a man who knows a good deal. I said, ``Would you like to 
fly down to your hometown on Air Force One?'' [Laughter] Guess what his 
answer was? [Laughter]
    I appreciate the mayor coming, Tom Carlson. Mr. Mayor, thank you for 
being here. Fill the potholes. [Laughter] Sorry, Mr. Mayor, you didn't 
ask for any advice. [Laughter]
    I also want to thank the other State and local officials and 
community and business leaders for coming here. Thank you all for coming 
as well.
    Before I begin to talk a little bit about the economy and then of 
course have our panelists talk about what they think and some of the 
decisionmaking they made, I want to introduce a fellow who you may or 
may not know. His name is Travis Morrison. Travis, why don't you stand 
up right quick. [Applause] I guess you know Travis. [Laughter] I didn't 
until I arrived, but I know a lot of people like Travis.
    See, Travis is a person who takes time out of his life to volunteer 
in your community. When the tornadoes hit here, he went up to help those 
who suffered. When people are looking for food, particularly children, 
he's willing to take time out of his life to fill the knapsacks full of 
food for the kids. He walks for the March of Dimes. He works for the 
United Way. He's a soldier in the army of compassion.
    A lot of times, this country talks about our strengths, and we 
should. We talk about the military strength of America, and that's 
important, and we're going to keep us strong. We talk about how fat our 
wallets may be, and that's important too. But the true strength of 
America is found in the hearts and souls of people like Travis, people 
who are willing to love their neighbor just like they'd like to love 
    I like to talk about the Travis Morrisons of the world because 
everybody can be an army--a soldier in the army of compassion. Everybody 
can make a difference. This country's strength is found in the faith 
centers and neighborhoods and community centers, where people help 
somebody who hurts. And one of my jobs is to lift that spirit of America 
and invigorate it and to call people to action. One of the best ways to 
do so is to remind people that in Springfield, Missouri, there are 
thousands of people like Travis, and if you want to help your community, 
help make somebody's life a little brighter. Travis, thanks for what you 
do. Thanks for being a solid, sound American by volunteering to help 
somebody who hurts.
    Speaking about strengths, our country has been through a lot over 
the last 3 years. I just want you to think about what the economy has 
been through. In March of 2000, the stock market started to decline. And 
that matters if you own stocks, and a lot of you do. You own them 
through your retirement accounts, for example. It's the indication of 
the rough times ahead. See, when a stock market sometimes indicates--is 
a predictor of the future, and sure enough, in the first quarter of 
2001, the country was in a recession. And when you're in a recession, it 
means somebody is not going to be able to work. Things are going 
backwards. The economy is in decline. People are starting to get

[[Page 211]]

laid off. There's a lot of uncertainty out there. People just aren't 
sure what their future looks like. It's tough times when the country is 
in a recession.
    We started to recover from the recession, and then we got attacked 
on September the 11th, 2001. In other words, we had tough economic times 
to begin with, and then the enemy hit us. And that changed us. It really 
did. It hurt us economically. It changed our whole outlook about the 
world. Perhaps by now, you're beginning to get an impression of how it 
changed my outlook. It changed the way I look at the threats to America. 
It reminded me that my most important duty, my most solemn obligation, 
is to protect our country and the people. I'll never forget the lessons 
of September the 11th, and when I see a grave and gathering threat to 
the United States, we will deal with it. We will deal with it for the 
good of our country.
    The war on terror goes on, unfortunately, but we're going to win. 
We're going to win because America is tough and strong and disciplined 
and patient. We'll win because we've got fabulous men and women in the 
United States military who are willing to sacrifice for our own security 
and for the freedom.
    And then, after we settled in with the new reality of the world, we 
discovered that some of the corporate citizens in America forgot what it 
meant to be a responsible citizen. See, when you're a CEO of a 
corporation, you have a responsibility. Jack knows that, and I suspect 
he might talk about--at least when he talks, you'll hear he recognizes 
that. But we had some people in this country who didn't tell the truth 
to their shareholders and their employees.
    By the way, we passed laws--and I want to thank the Senators and the 
Congressmen who are here--we passed laws, and now they know there will 
be a consequence in America for not telling the truth. We expect people 
in positions of responsibility, in CEO America, in corporate America, to 
be honest to their shareholders and their employees. That affected the 
people's confidence. Make no mistake about it, when we started reading 
that some of these CEOs of publicly held companies lied with the 
numbers, it affected people's confidence.
    And then, of course, as you know, I made the tough decision to 
secure America by--after having gone to the United Nations and after 
having worked to--given Mr. Saddam Hussein a chance to disarm himself, 
to do what the world had demanded, we went and disarmed him.
    The march to war affected the people's confidence. It's hard to make 
investment. See, if you're a small-business owner or a large-business 

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