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pd30au04 The President's Radio Address...
them we've helped American families by raising the child credit. We've helped America's families by reducing the marriage penalty. By the way, the Tax Code ought to encourage marriage, not penalize marriage. We helped small businesses. And this time the check actually was in the mail. Because we acted, our economy since last summer has grown at a rate as fast as any in nearly 20 years. Because we acted, we've created about 1.5 million new jobs over the past 12 months. Because we acted, the national unemployment rate is 5.5 percent. Because we acted, the unemployment rate in [[Page 1675]] your great State is 5.3 percent. Because we acted, the people of this country are working. There's more work to be done. In order to make sure American jobs stay here in America, we need less regulations on our employers. You ask your small-business neighbor what it's like to fill out the paperwork. They'll say it's quite onerous. My problem is I can't promise anybody in Washington has ever read the paperwork. We need tort reform to keep jobs here in America. To make sure people can find good work here at home, we need an energy policy. We need to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. In order to keep jobs here at home, we've got to make sure other nations treat us in trade the way we treat them. Our markets are open for other--for products from other countries because it's good for consumers. And all we're saying is, ``Just make sure you open up your markets.'' We can compete with anybody, anyplace, anywhere with fair rules. Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! The President. In order to make sure jobs stay here, we've got to make sure our workers gain the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. That's why I believe so strongly in our community college system, to make sure that there's money available, that the colleges are affordable for people all across America to be able to match their desire to work with the skills necessary to fill the new jobs. In order to make sure we keep jobs here in America, we've got to keep your taxes low. And we've got to be wise about how we spend your money. I'm running against a fellow who has already made over $2.2 trillion worth of new promises. And we're just getting started. We're coming down the stretch. You know how tempting it is to get out in front of people and make promise after promise, but he hasn't told us how he's going to pay for it. Well, he said he's just going to tax the rich. You've heard that kind of language before, haven't you? Audience members. Yes! The President. Yes. Just remember why we've got all those accountants and lawyers out there. There's not enough money to tax the rich to pay for all his promises. If he gets elected, he's going to tax you. But the good news is we're not going to let him get elected. We have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. We have more to do to keep this country secure. See, our future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. The world changed on a terrible September morning, and since that day, we have changed the world. Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base of Al Qaida, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up cells all around the world, including our own country. Today, because America acted, Afghanistan is a rising democracy. Over 10 million people have registered to vote in that country. Afghanistan is an ally in the war on terror. Many young girls now go to school for the first time, because we acted. And America and the world are safer. Before September 11th, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia didn't take Al Qaida seriously. Today, they are allies in the war on terror, and America and the world are safer. Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Because America and our allies sent a strong and easy-to-understand message, the leader of Libya abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and America and the world are safer. Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world. You might remember, he was firing weapons at American pilots who were enforcing the world's sanctions. He purchased and used weapons of mass destruction. He invaded his neighbors. He had harbored terrorists. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. Audience member. He's not doing it anymore! The President. He was a source of great instability. I saw a threat. One of the lessons of September the 11th that we must always remember is that we must take threats seriously, before they fully materialize. Remembering that lesson, I went to the United [[Page 1676]] States Congress. I said, ``I see a threat.'' They looked at the intelligence. They looked at Saddam's history. They came to the same conclusion I did, including my opponent. I went to the United Nations because this country must always try diplomacy first. I went to the U.N. I said, ``We see a threat.'' They looked at the same intelligence. They remembered the same history of Saddam Hussein. And as they had for over a decade, they demanded a full accounting, a disposal of his weapons and weapons programs, or face serious consequences. That's what they said. The world spoke. As he had for over a decade, Saddam Hussein defied the world. He said, ``I don't care what you say.'' We then sent inspectors into his country. He systematically deceived the inspectors. So I had a choice to make. Do I forget the lessons of September the 11th and trust the word of a madman or take action to defend America. Given that choice, I will defend our country every time. Even though we didn't find the stockpiles we expected to find, Saddam had the capability of making weapons. And he had the willingness to pass that capability--or he could have had the willingness to pass that capability on to our enemy. It's a risk we could not afford to take after September the 11th. Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision. America and the world are safer. Now, almost after--2 years after he voted for the war in Iraq and 7 months after switching positions to declare himself the antiwar candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance. He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, my opponent now agrees with me that even though we've not found the stockpile of weapons we all thought were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein. I want to thanks the Senator for clearing that up. There's still a little over 60 days for him to change his mind again. [Laughter] I'm running because I understand we have more to do. We will continue to work with our friends and allies around the world to aggressively pursue the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. See, you can't talk sense to these people. You cannot negotiate with them. You cannot hope for the best. We must engage them around the world so we do not have to face them here at home. America will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. We have put together a strong coalition to help us defeat terror. There are nearly 40 nations involved in Afghanistan, some 30 nations involved in Iraq, 60 nations involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative. I'll continue to work to build alliances and work with our friends for the sake of freedom and peace. But I'll never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries. We'll keep our commitments to help Afghanistan and Iraq become peaceful, democratic societies. Those two nations are now governed by strong leaders, people committed to the aspirations of their people. We have a clear goal in those two countries, to help them develop a peaceful, democratic country that will be an ally in the war on terror. It's in our national interest that they become peaceful, free countries. And to help them meet that goal, we're training Afghan forces and Iraqi forces so they can do the hard work of securing their country, so they can fight the terrorists who want to stop--[applause]. Our military will complete this mission as quickly as possible so our troops do not stay a day longer than necessary. The thing about our troops in these crucial times, our commitments are kept by the men and women who wear our Nation's uniform. At bases across our country and around the world, I've had the privilege of meeting with those who defend our security and defend our freedom. I've seen their great decency and their unselfish courage. I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, the cause of liberty is in great hands. I want to thank the veterans who are here today for setting such a great example for those who-- [applause]. I made a commitment to our troops and to the families of our troops, that they will have the resources they need to fight and win the war on terror. Last September, while our troops were in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, I proposed supplemental funding [[Page 1677]] to support them in their mission. The legislation provided funding for body armor and vital equipment, hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel, and spare parts for our military. We received great bipartisan support for that important spending. Matter of fact, the support was so strong that only 12 Members of the United States Senate voted against it. Two of them are my opponent and his runningmate. Audience members. Boo-o-o! The President. The Senator tried to explain his vote by saying this: ``I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.'' Now, he's offering a different explanation. Recently, he said he was proud of the vote. And then when pressed, he said it was just a complicated matter. There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat. In the long run, our security is not guaranteed by force alone. We must work to change the conditions that give rise to terror, poverty and hopelessness and resentment. A free and peaceful Iraq, a free and peaceful Afghanistan will be powerful examples in a neighborhood that is desperate for liberty. Free countries do not export terror. Free countries do not stifle the dreams of their own citizens. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're bringing hope to others, and that makes America more secure. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're spreading peace. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're serving the values we hold dear to our heart. We understand that freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to every person in this world. We have more to do to protect America. There are enemies out there that still are plotting to harm us. See, my opponent said something I thought was--showed the contrast between our visions. He said that the war with the terrorists is actually improving their recruiting efforts. I think the logic is upside-down. I think it shows a misunderstanding of the nature of these people. See, during the 1990s, the terrorists were recruiting and training for war with us, long before we went to war with them. They don't need an excuse for their hatred. I think it's wrong to blame the actions of this country for the evil of the killers. You don't create terrorists by fighting back. You defeat the terrorists by fighting back. We have more work to do, as the 9/11 Commission report said. It said America--the actions we've taken have made America safer but not yet safe. I agree. And that's why we're pushing hard for reforms in Washington, DC--intelligence reforms. That's why we created the Department of Homeland Security, so agencies talk better, so that Washington now talks better with New Mexico, and New Mexico talks better with Las Cruces--the great first-responders here in this part of the world. We passed the PATRIOT Act, which is a vital tool for our law enforcement to disrupt terrorist cells before they attack in America. There's a lot of good people working on your behalf to secure the homeland. I want to thank them--continually thank them for their hard work. We're working hard to achieve reform in Washington, but it's not easy over there in Washington to achieve reform. There's a lot of entrenched interests. There's a lot of people willing to defend the status quo. It's not enough to advocate reform, you have to be able to get the job done. When you're out there campaigning on my behalf, remember, when it comes to reforming schools to provide excellent education for every child, we're getting the job done. When it comes for health care reforms to give our families and our seniors more access and more choices, we're getting the job done. When it comes to improving our economy, we're getting the job done. When it comes to better securing our homeland, fighting the forces of terror, and spreading freedom and peace, we're getting the job done. Remind your friends and neighbors that when it comes time to elect a President, put somebody in there who can get the job done. This is a time of rapid change for our country, and it's an exciting time to be an American. Change can sometimes create instability, and Government ought to recognize that and stand side by side with workers and families. The role of Government is not to give you orders. The role of Government is to help you have the tools necessary to be able to realize your dreams. And one way to do that is to continue to promote an ownership society in America. We want workers [[Page 1678]] to be able to own their own health care accounts, so they can take them from job to job if they change jobs. Listen, I see a lot of younger folks here. I want to thank you all for coming. You ought to be listening very carefully to the debate on Social Security. Baby boomers like me are just fine when it comes to Social Security. Younger workers need to be concerned about the fiscal sanity of--fiscal stability of Social Security. I believe younger workers ought to be able to own a personal retirement account they call their own, so they can pass it on from one generation to the next. We want to create the conditions so more people own their own business. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in America. I intend to keep it that way. Listen, one of the great statistics of the modern era is more people--the homeownership rate in America is at an alltime high. We want to encourage--we want more people owning their own home. There's nothing better when somebody opens the door and says, ``Welcome to my home.'' I believe in encouraging ownership because I know if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. In this changing world, there are some things that will not change, our belief in liberty and opportunity and the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity. I believe in the individual values we try to live by, courage and compassion, reverence and integrity, hard work and duty. I believe in the institutions that give us purpose and direction, our families, our schools, and our religious congregations. We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which are the foundations of society. We stand for a culture of life in which every person matters and every person counts. We stand for judges who faithfully interpret the law instead of legislating from the bench. We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. The culture of this country is changing from one that has said, ``If it feels good, do it,'' and ``If you've got a problem, blame somebody else,'' to a culture in which each of us understands we're responsible for the decisions we make in life. If you're fortunate enough to be a mother or a father, you're responsible for loving your child with all your heart and all your soul. If you're worried about the quality of the education in the community in which you live, you're responsible for doing something about it. If you're a CEO in corporate America, you're responsible for telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees. And in this responsibility society, each of us is responsible for loving our neighbor just like we'd like to be loved ourselves. I'm running for 4 more years to continue to rally the armies of compassion which exist all across our country. I'm running because I understand the role of Government is limited. See, Government can hand out money, but it cannot put hope in a person's heart or a sense of purpose in a person's life. That's done when a loving soul puts their arm around somebody that hurts and says, ``I love you. How can I help you?'' See, I believe strongly American society can change one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time, by rallying the true strength of America, which is the hearts and souls of the American people. For all Americans, these years in our history will stand apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. This is a time where we need firm resolve, strong belief in the values that make us a great nation. None of us will ever forget that week when one era ended and another began. On September the 14th, with Rudy by my side, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget. There were workers in hardhats yelling at me, ``Whatever it takes.'' A fellow just came out of the rubble. He had bloodshot eyes. He looked at me right in the eye and said, ``Do not let me down.'' He took that day personally. Everybody--I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America, whatever it takes. We've come through much together. The last years, we have come through a lot. We have done a lot of hard work. There's more to be done. We will spread opportunity and ownership to every corner of America. We will pass enduring values of our country to [[Page 1679]] another generation. We will lead the cause of peace and freedom. And we will prevail. Four years ago, I traveled your great State and our country, when I was asking for the vote. I made a pledge to our fellow Americans that if you honored me with this great responsibility, I would uphold the honor
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