Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
8:32 A.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Thanks for coming. Please be seated. I'm honored to be here. Thanks for a warm
I remember campaigning for Rick in
I say he deserves it because he's got a record. And I'm going to talk a little bit about what we have done together to make
I'm sorry mama is not here -- Roberta is taking care of the kids. I understand that. But one of the good things about Rick is his family stands squarely with him, and it's important when you're in public service, when you're serving the people, that your family is with you. And that ought to give people in northern
I've got somebody else here who is running for reelection, and he's a man who has brought a lot of dignity to the office of United States Senator. He's solid, he is strong, he is influential, and that is Senator Jon Kyl. And I appreciate you coming, Senator. (Applause.) He brought Carryl along.
I appreciate Congressman J.D. Hayworth, who's up for reelection, and I urge you to vote for J.D. Thanks for coming, J.D. (Applause.) J.D. has got him a race, and I hope the people of his district are wise enough to send him back to
I'm proud to be here with another Congressman, and that would be U.S. Congressman Trent Franks, who brought his wife, Josie, with him.
Last night when I got here at the airport I was greeted by a young person running for governor, an attractive man -- (laughter) -- a family man, an honest man. And that's Len Munsil. I appreciate you coming, Governor. I'm glad you're here and I wish you all the very best. (Applause.)
I know Renzi well enough to know that he can be a plainspoken fellow, and he said to me, I want you to know, you weren't my first choice for this breakfast. (Laughter.) I said, well, thanks for having me fly all the way out here, you know. (Laughter.) I said, who might that have been? He said, well, I really wanted Laura to come. (Laughter.) Another reason to put him back in Congress is because he's got good judgment.
Laura sends her best. She's proud of your service. She says hello to all our friends here in the great state of
We're getting ready for -- we're coming down the stretch in these campaigns. I'm looking forward to traveling the country, making it clear there are substantial differences in the philosophy we adhere to and the philosophy advocated by the Democrats. I like campaigns. It's a good opportunity to explain to the American people why we make the decisions we make. It's a good chance to explain the philosophy of the two different parties.
I like to start with talking about economic philosophy. Rick and I believe that the way to grow an economy is to let you keep more of your own money so you can save, spend or invest. We strongly believe that the more you have in your pocket, the more likely it is somebody is going to be able to find work. That is not only our philosophy, that is a practice that we adhere to.
See, you might remember -- and when you're out there campaigning, I know Rick says, look what we have been through. In other words, we're not just talkers, we're doers. We've been through a recession. We had corporate scandals. We had a significant stock market correction. We had to suffer a terrorist attack on the
It's one thing to go out and advocate a philosophy; it's another thing to put it into effect. Pro-growth economic policies work. We cut the taxes on people who were paying taxes. Small businesses are growing. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong. Productivity is up. Our farmers and ranchers are doing well. The pro-growth economic policies of the Republican Party have made a significant difference to the working people in the
And if the other bunch gets elected, they're going to raise your taxes. Make no mistake about it, we have a different philosophy. See, they think they can spend your money better than you can. They want more of your money to enhance their vision of bigger government. Oh, I know that words get couched in different ways, or the reason we campaign is we help clarify Washington-speak. You'll hear people say, well, all we're going to do is just let the tax cuts expire -- those would be tax cuts on people who have got children, small businesses, those who are married -- we'll just let them expire. What that means is they're going to raise your taxes. See, if those tax cuts expire, your taxes are going up. It's like an employer saying to somebody, I'm going to give you a raise, and a couple of weeks later I'm going to take it away. But I hope you still think you got the raise. (Laughter.)
Rick and I strongly believe that the best way to keep this economy growing, the best way to keep
Oh, you'll hear them say in
It's really important that Congress prioritize, set priorities. If you try to be all things to all people, we're going to spend foolishly. And I've set some priorities. And I want the people of
I appreciate the fact that Rick joins me in what I call cooperative conservation. That means we're going to work with local folks, local stakeholders, and states to conserve our environment. You know, there is a mind-set in
I worked with Rick to pass what's called the Healthy Forest Initiative. See, his district has got a lot of important forests. It means that we can work together with local folks to thin out those forests so they're not full of combustionable [sic] fuel, to be able to help deal with the catastrophic fires that have plagued this state and other states. It is a wise use of government resources to plan and effect good environmental policy by working with the local folks. Rick understands that. People in northern
Rick and I firmly believe that it's really important that we diversify away from foreign sources of oil. Look, we're all applauding the fact that gasoline prices are going down. I'm sure that pleases you if you drive a car. I know it helps our small business owners and our families who are concerned about whether or not they'll have enough money to save for their child's education, for example. Declining gasoline prices are good for the economy. But they should not cause us to forget that dependence upon foreign oil is a national security problem. It's a national security concern. And, therefore, I look forward to continuing to work with the
I can't wait for the day when we can continue to say, corn is up and, therefore, dependence upon oil is down. I can't wait that we develop new ways to develop ethanol, like from wood chips, so that people in northern
And in the meantime, we need to be exploring for natural gas and oil in our own hemisphere in environmentally friendly ways. We've got a comprehensive plan to help this nation's national security and economic security by having a comprehensive energy bill, and I want to thank Congressman Renzi for working on that. (Applause.)
There's going to be a lot of domestic issues we'll work on, but there's no issue more important than protecting the American people. It's the calling of the 21st century. The most important job for the federal government is to protect you. After 9/11 I vowed that we would do everything in our power to prevent a further attack. We're at war with an enemy that would like to hurt us again. I know some would hope that the President wouldn't say that, but that's the reality of the world in which live. I live it every day. I think about the importance of defending this country every single day of my presidency. (Applause.)
It's important to have members of Congress who see the world the way it is and who understand the nature of the enemy. These are evil people who have taken the tenets of a great religion and used it to their ends to achieve objectives. These are ideologues. These are people bound by an ideology of hate. Their ideology is opposite of what we believe. We believe that anybody can worship any way they want and be an equal citizen of the
We believe in dissent in the public square. Oh, sometimes it gets a little loud, but nevertheless, we welcome dissent. We welcome the fact that in our country people can express themselves any way they want. If you express dissent with these ideologues, they will hold you to account. They have a dark vision of the world. It stands in stark contrast with those of us who believe in liberty, who love freedom. And they'll do anything they can to drive us out of parts of the world so they can achieve their ambitions. They will murder innocent lives in the hopes that the
After 9/11, I vowed that in order to protect the
And now we're involved in a great conflict in the war on terror in
They're wrong. The
Right after 9/11 I said to the American people we'll make sure that those on the front line of defending this country have the tools necessary to do so. The reason I said that is because I understand the nature of this war. See, it's a different kind of battle. World War II vets here -- and I thank you for your service -- will remember -- or the Korean War vets -- will remember the days that you could measure success against an enemy based upon the number of ships sunk, or aircraft shot out of the air. This is a different kind of war. It's a war that depends upon our capacity to find individuals and bring them to justice before they strike again. And, therefore, it requires intelligence and tools that we didn't need in other wars.
And so I vowed -- and the reason I know this is because, you see, we've got to be right a hundred percent of the time to protect you. And the enemy has got to be right one time. And, therefore, I work with people like Rick Renzi and other members of Congress to make sure those on the front line of terror had what it needed -- had what they needed to defend you.
That's why I proposed and worked hard to pass the Patriot Act. See, the Patriot Act -- prior to the Patriot Act, intelligence and law enforcement could not communicate. I know that's hard for you to believe, but matter -- somebody whose job it is to collect intelligence on what might be happening in the
And so I said to Congress, this is ridiculous. Let's tear down the walls that prevented good people from talking. And they agreed. The House passed a bill; right after 2001, the Senate did, 98-1. But I want you all to remember, when the bill came up again for renewal in 2005, a Democrat Senator filibustered the bill. Evidently, their attitude changed. Filibuster is Washington-speak for, like, try to talk it to death. I promise I'm not going to filibuster you here today. (Laughter.) As a matter of fact, during that period, I think it is illustrative for people to hear the words of the Senator Minority Leader. He bragged, "We killed the Patriot Act." That's what he said. And then when pressed by the press, he said -- they said, are you sure this is the right thing to do, to celebrate killing the Patriot -- he said, "Of course, it is."
See, we just have a different attitude about the war on terror. My attitude is we've got to give people the tools necessary to protect you and not wait for another attack. You know, they filibustered the Patriot Act and then -- after they had voted for it -- kind of sounds familiar. (Laughter.) That old refrain from 2004 -- (laughter) -- appears to be coming back to -- coming back into the political dialogue.
The reason I bring this up is in an election year I want the American people and the people of
You might remember that I instituted a program through the National Security Agency to establish what's called the Terrorist Surveillance Program. I felt it was very important for those of us whose job it is to protect you to understand the nature of the enemy. And if somebody from al Qaeda is calling into the
This bill came up -- the idea of providing additional authority for the Terrorist Surveillance Program came to the House floor recently. And there was a vote, and people got to stand up and declare whether or not this program was important: 177 Democrats voted against listening in on terrorist communications; 177 of the opposition party said, you know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.
If the people of
After the 9/11 attacks I established a CIA program to detain and question key terrorist operatives and leaders who we captured on the battlefield. I did so because I believed that those who we think were responsible for planning attacks, such as the 9/11 attack, might be able to tell us some information about how the enemy operates, where they operate and what they intend. I understand this is a different kind of war and our most solemn duty is to protect you. And I felt -- I know it's vital to get this kind of information. For five years, really fine professional people at the CIA have worked tirelessly to get information from these captured terrorists.
It's important for people of
The reason I bring -- I declassified this information because I wanted the American people to understand the stakes of the debate on the detainee program, and I wanted them to understand with clarity that this program is essential to help get information to protect you. Were it not for information gained from the terrorists questioned by the CIA, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the
And the Congress held a vote on the future of this CIA program, and the choice between every member of Congress was clear: Should this program continue, or not? Congress, fortunately, continued the program. I'm going to sign it into law, and I thank them for their leadership.
But I want you to understand what happened during this vote. In the House of Representatives, 160 Democrats, including the entire Democrat leadership, voted against continuing the program. I want you to understand that I would never question a person's patriotism; I don't. They just have a different point of view about the war on terror, and it's a point of view that the American people must understand.
Think about that vote. Think about what it says between different philosophies. Think about the difference of how we view the world. Eighty percent of the House Democrats -- nearly 80 percent want to stop the program that has provided invaluable intelligence that saved lives, that saved lives of the
We just think differently. And it's important, during a campaign, for the American people to understand the facts. There is a difference between rhetoric and action in
We've got a clear record. We believe strongly that we must take action to prevent attacks from happening in the first place. They view this election -- they view the threats we face like law enforcement, and that is, we respond after we're attacked. And it's a fundamental difference. And I will travel this country for the next five weeks making it clear the difference of opinion.
You know, the House Democrat Leader summed up her party's approach to the midterm elections this way. She said, "This election should not be about national security." I strongly disagree. There's an enemy that wants to hurt the American people. The most solemn responsibility of the President and those of us who have been honored to serve you is to do what is necessary to protect the American people, and we will continue to do so. (Applause.)
I'm optimistic we will prevail in the great ideological struggle of the 21st century. You are witnessing historic times, and this is a historic election. You're witnessing a struggle between moderation and extremists, tyranny and freedom. You're witnessing a struggle between those who would impose their dark vision on others and people who just want to live in peace. These are historic times, and it's going to require strong
But I have got great faith. I believe in the universality of freedom. I believe all souls want to be free, and, if given a chance, they will help us yield the peace we want. I believe the hard work that we're doing to protect you is also laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. I want it to be said when people look back at this moment of history that the United States of America had confidence in the values that caused our founding to begin in the first place; that we believed strongly in an obligation to help others realize the blessings and benefits of liberty. We did our duty. We did what we were called to do. And that's going to happen.
I want to thank you for your interest. I thank you for supporting good, solid people who share my vision of peace. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the
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