[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 42, Number 45 (Monday, November 13, 2006)]
[Pages 2017-2022]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Perry for Governor 2006 Rally in Dallas, Texas

November 6, 2006

    The President. Thank you all very much. Rick, thanks for the kind 
introduction. Let me put it to you this way: Everything I learned, I 
learned right here in Texas. All I've tried to do in Washington is what 
you expected me to do when I was your Governor--speak plainly, make 
decisions based upon principles, and stand strong with Texas values.
    And that is exactly what Rick Perry has done. I'm proud to be here 
with him. You know, one of the great comforts that I had when I left the 
State to head up to Washington was knowing that Rick Perry was going to 
be the Governor. He's optimistic. He's done in office what he said he 
would do, and he's got a record. He's got a strong record to run on: 
Taxes are low, budgets are down, surpluses aplenty, fix the school 
funding issue. People are working here in the State of Texas. He passed 
tort reform. Rick Perry has got a record and deserves to be reelected 
Governor of Texas.
    Laura and I are honored to be with the Perrys. You know, we've had 
quite a week--well, quite a couple of days. First, we had Laura's 
birthday. I'm not going to tell you how old she is, but we were born the 
same year. [Laughter] And 60 ain't all that bad. [Laughter] Then we had 
our 29th wedding anniversary. And Tuesday is going to be a great victory 
for Republicans here in Texas.
    I appreciate Anita Perry, one of the fine first ladies in our 
State's history.
    I'm proud to be here with the Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst. 
He deserves to be reelected. He's working on safe schools; he worked 
with the Governor to do something about school funding. He's got a 
strong, solid record to run on, and when you get in there to vote for 
Rick, make sure you vote for Dewhurst as well.
    I appreciate very much that the chairman of the Railroad Commission 
is with us, Elizabeth Ames Jones. A lot of people around the country 
think the Railroad Commission has a lot to do with railroads. [Laughter] 
The Railroad Commission has got a lot to do with whether or not this 
State has got wealth to invest in our schools. And I appreciate her 
leadership, and I appreciate the leadership of my friend, Commissioner 
Michael Williams, who is with us. The speaker of the house from Midland, 
Texas, Tommy Craddick--thanks for coming, Tommy.
    Rick Perry knows what I know, that we need judges who strictly 
interpret the law and not try to write law from the bench. I named two 
fantastic judges for the Supreme Court, Sam Alito and John Roberts. Rick 
Perry understands that, and we've got three important Supreme Court 
nominees with us today--actually sitting on the bench: Justice Don 
Willett, Justice David Medina, and Justice Dale Wainwright.
    I appreciate the Members of the United States Congress who are here: 
Michael Burgess, Jeb Hensarling, and Michael Conaway. Thanks for coming.
    But most of all, thank you all for being here. It warms our heart to 
be with our fellow Texans. I must say, I miss it, living here in this 
State. But I want you to know, for the next 2\1/4\ years, I'm going to 
sprint as hard as I can to make this country as great as it can be.
    We're in the home stretch of this campaign, and you all will play an 
important part of making sure that our fellow citizens get to the polls. 
When you send them to the

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polls, don't overlook those discerning Democrats and wise independents, 
by the way, because we've got a philosophy that's best for this country 
and for this State.
    Laura and I have been traveling quite a bit, and we're enthused by 
the enthusiasm we see. We're closing strong because we're right on the 
issues. I understand you got the largest phonebank in the country here 
in Texas. That's what I expect. I thank you for manning it. My 
encouragement to you is to go out and keep dialing and get people to the 
polls. Send Rick Perry back to the Governor's office, and the State will 
be better off for it.
    Oh, there's a lot of issues we differ on with the Democrats. I want 
to talk about two of them today. First is taxes. And there are big 
differences. We have a clear philosophy. We think you can spend your 
money better than the Government can. We believe that when you have more 
money in your pocket to save, invest, or spend, the entire economy 
benefits. Democrats believe they can spend your money better than you 
can. That's why they want more of it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. But you didn't elect us just to be philosophers. You 
elected us to get things done. Republicans have acted on that 
philosophy. We delivered the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan was the 
President. You should have heard the debate. Democrats said the tax cuts 
wouldn't create jobs; it wouldn't increase wages; and it would cause the 
Federal deficit to explode. Well, the facts are in. The tax cuts have 
led to a strong and growing economy. The unemployment rate has dropped 
to 4.4 percent. People are working here in Texas, and they're working 
around the country. Over the last 3 months, we added 480,000 new jobs. 
Real wages are on the rise, and we cut the deficit in half 3 years ahead 
of schedule. The tax cuts worked.
    Taxes are an issue in this campaign. See, I'm convinced that your 
taxes go up when Democrats win. Now I know they don't want you to know 
about it. Back in Washington, the Democrats will tell you, ``We love tax 
cuts.'' But given their record, they must be secret admirers. They voted 
against reducing the marriage penalty, voted against cutting taxes on 
small businesses, voted against lowering taxes for families with 
children, voted against reducing taxes on capital gains and dividends, 
and voted against putting the death tax on the road to extinction. If 
that's their definition for love, I'd sure hate to see what hate looks 
    Here's how it's going to work. Unless these tax cuts are extended or 
made permanent, your taxes go up. And the Democrat leaders have laid out 
their position. They asked them about whether or not the tax cuts ought 
to be extended, and they said they can't think of one of them, see. So 
all they got to say is, ``Well, we're just not going to extend the tax 
cuts.'' Really what they're saying is they're going to raise your taxes. 
And I want you to think about what that means. For example, if the child 
tax credit is not extended or made permanent, your taxes are going to go 
up if you have children.
    So, for example, anybody got four kids, here? Nelson has got five. 
Senator Nelson has got five children. So when you're having dinner this 
evening, Senator, and you're sitting around the table, just count those 
heads--1 child, 2, 3, 4, 5--and multiply by 500--see, the tax credit 
goes from 1,000 to $500 a child if the tax cuts are not extended. So you 
can just multiply 500 by 5--that's $2,500. That may not sound like a lot 
of money to people in Washington. But Rick Perry knows it's a lot of 
money, and I know it's a lot of money, and that's why we're going to 
work to keep your taxes low.
    This election is taking place in an historic time for our country. 
And when our children and grandchildren look back on this period, one 
question will overwhelm all the rest: Did we do everything in our power 
to fight and win the war on terror? I wish I could report to you that 
we're not at war, but we are. We face a brutal enemy. They're bound by 
an ideology that's the opposite of our ideology. We believe in basic 
freedoms, and they don't. They also have designs to spread their 
ideology to the far corners of the world if they're able, and they 
understand we stand in the way of that. And that's why they still want 
to inflict harm on us.
    I want to tell you something about these folks. You cannot negotiate 
with them; you can't hope for the best with them. The best

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way to protect this country is to stay on the offense and bring them to 
justice so they don't hurt us.
    That is part of our strategy. The other part of our strategy is to 
protect you here at home. See, that's our most important job. Those of 
us who are honored to serve you have got a vital job, and that is to 
protect you from further attack. And so when I--after September the 
11th, I reviewed the tools to see whether or not our folks had the tools 
necessary to guard you. Let me talk about three items. It will give you 
a sense about how people are thinking in Washington, and thinking around 
the country, by the way.
    First is, there was a wall that prevented our intelligence folks 
from sharing information with law enforcement. Now I know that doesn't 
make any sense to you, but that's what happened. See, in this new kind 
of war, we can't protect you unless the intelligence folks whose job it 
is to figure out the designs and thinking of the enemy can share the 
information they have with the people whose job it is to stop the 
attacks. It's called the PATRIOT Act. It's a vital piece of legislation. 
It's a vital piece of legislation, but when it came up for 
reauthorization, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. There's just a different mindset. See, they must not 
think we're at war, or they must think it's okay to respond after we're 
attacked. Our view is, let's respond before we're attacked. Let's 
prevent the attack from happening in the first place. If the most 
important job of the Government is to protect you, I thought it was 
vital to listen to Al Qaida or Al Qaida affiliates making phone calls 
from outside the United States to inside the United States. The reason 
why we did that is because we've got to understand what the enemy is 
thinking in this new kind of war. When the terrorist surveillance 
program was brought to a vote on the floor of the House of 
Representatives, the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. When we pick somebody up on the battlefield, we've 
got to be in a position to detain and question those folks. And let me 
give you an example why. We picked up Khalid Sheikh Mohammed--in case 
you haven't heard of him, he's the person our intelligence officers 
think masterminded the September the 11th attacks. So my attitude was, 
if he knew about one attack, he might know about another attack. And 
therefore, we've got to question Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in order to 
protect you. This bill came up for a vote in the House and the Senate; 
the vast majority of Democrats voted against it.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. It is important that our professionals have the tools 
necessary to protect you, and I vow that so long as I'm the President, 
we'll give them those tools.
    This is a global war we're fighting, and we're facing the enemy on a 
multiple of fronts. One of the lessons of September the 11th is, when we 
see a threat, the United States must take those threats seriously, 
before they come home to hurt us. And it's a lesson all Presidents must 
remember. I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein; Members of the United States 
Congress in both political parties saw the same threat; the United 
Nations saw the same threat. My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was 
the right decision.
    And on Sunday, we witnessed a landmark event in the history of Iraq. 
Saddam Hussein was convicted. You're watching a country evolve from the 
rule of a tyrant to the rule of law. And we congratulate the Iraqi 
people. But I also want to remind our fellow citizens the reason this 
verdict was able to happen in the first place was because of the skill 
and the sacrifice of the United States military.
    And now Iraq is a central front in this war on terror. You know 
it's--I hear all the talk out of Washington where the skeptics say, 
``Well, Iraq is a diversion from the war on terror,'' or, ``Iraq isn't 
that vital to the war on terror.'' I don't think it's true; our troops 
do not think it's true; and Usama bin Laden doesn't think it's true. He 
has said the fight in Iraq is the third world war. He has said that 
victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and 
disgrace forever.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. There's a different mindset--there's a different 
mindset that you just got to know about. See, people have claimed that 
fighting the terrorists in Iraq

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creates terrorists. I disagree. Fighting the terrorists in Iraq is not 
the reason why the terrorists are fighting us. We weren't in Iraq in 
1993 when they bombed the World Trade Center. We weren't in Iraq when 
they bombed our Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq 
when they bombed the USS Cole. And we were not in Iraq on September the 
11th, 2001. You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. The 
best way to protect this country is to find the enemy overseas and 
defeat them there so we don't have to face them here at home.
    Our goal in Iraq is victory. And victory means a country which can 
govern itself, sustain itself, defend itself, and be an ally in the war 
against these extremists and killers. And we're on our way to victory, 
but it's a tough fight, and I know it's a tough fight, and so do you. We 
face a brutal enemy that is willing to kill innocent men, women, and 
children in order to achieve their objective. And one of their 
objectives is to cause us to leave Iraq. They don't believe we have the 
stomach for the fight. They believe that these images of carnage on our 
TV screens will weaken our resolve. They don't understand this 
administration, nor do they understand millions of our fellow citizens. 
We're not going to run from thugs and assassins.
    We have a plan to defeat them. I talk to our commanders on the 
ground all the time. We give them whatever they need to achieve our 
objective, and we make sure our tactics are constantly adjusting to 
those of the enemy. So, not only do we have a good plan, we've also got 
unbelievable people carrying out that plan. We've got the greatest 
military ever. And Rick Perry, who has worn the uniform, knows what I 
know, that any time we have an American troop in harm's way, he or she 
deserves all the support, all the help necessary to do the jobs I've 
asked them to do.
    And we've got something else going for us in this vital part of the 
war on terror, and that is the Iraqi citizens themselves. They've 
suffered unspeakable violence, yet they're still committed to a 
government of, by, and for the people. When the nearly 12 million Iraqis 
voted, I was pleased, but I was not surprised. And the reason I wasn't 
surprised is because I believe a gift from the Almighty to each man, 
woman, and child is the desire to be free. I believe in the universality 
of freedom. I don't believe freedom is America's gift to the world; I 
believe it is universal. And it doesn't surprise me when people demand 
to be free.
    It's hard work for Iraq to have a government that can defend and 
govern itself, but we're on our way. We've got a political plan to help 
them. Their economy will get help to improve, and we'll continue to 
train the Iraqis so they can take the fight to the few who want to stop 
the dreams of the many. And we will succeed. I want you to know this: If 
I didn't believe the cause was noble and just and if I didn't believe we 
can achieve our objective, I wouldn't have our troops there.
    We're going to succeed, unless we leave before the job is done. And 
this is an important issue for our citizens around the country to think 
about. We've got a plan for victory. But if you listen to the debate 
about Iraq from the Democrats, I don't hear their plan for victory. On 
this vital issue, they don't have a plan. Oh, they've got some ideas. 
Some of them say, ``Get out now.'' Some of them say, ``Have a fixed date 
and get out even though the job hasn't been done.'' One fellow up there 
said we ought to move our troops to an island 5,000 miles away. No, they 
don't have a plan, but they got a principle, and the principle is, get 
out before the job is done.
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I'm not saying these folks are unpatriotic; I'm 
saying they're wrong.
    If you happen to bump into a Democrat, you might want to ask this 
simple question: What's your plan? If they say they want to protect the 
homeland but oppose the PATRIOT Act, ask them this question: What's your 
    Audience members. What's your plan?
    The President. If they say they want to uncover terrorist plots but 
oppose listening in on terrorists' conversations, ask them this 
question: What's your plan?
    Audience members. What's your plan?
    The President. If they say they want to stop new attacks on our 
country but oppose

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letting the CIA detain and question the terrorists who might know about 
the plots, ask them this question----
    Audience members. What's your plan?
    The President. Yes. If they say they want to win the war on terror 
but call for America to pull out from what Al Qaida says is the central 
front in the war on terror, ask them a simple question.
    Audience members. What's your plan?
    The President. I want to remind you they don't have a plan. Harsh 
criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy. 
We have a plan. Stick with us, and the country will be better off.
    Retreat from Iraq before the job is done would embolden the enemy 
and make this country less secure. In this new kind of war, if we leave 
before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here. Retreating from 
Iraq before the job is done will enable these extremists and radicals to 
better recruit. Imagine their propaganda when they tell young recruits, 
``We have conquered the great America; we have forced them to leave 
before the job is done.'' If we leave before the job is done, millions 
of people--who simply want to live a peaceful life in the Middle East--
hopes will be dashed. And if we leave before the job is done, it would 
dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who have worn the uniform of 
the United States.
    The consequences of retreat from Iraq will be felt for generations, 
and that's important for our citizens to understand, because the enemy 
has made it clear what their ambitions are: One, they believe we will 
leave so they can establish safe haven from which to launch further 
attacks, safe haven like they had in Afghanistan, from which they 
trained--of which they launched the attacks after having trained 
thousands of killers.
    Secondly, they believe--they want us to leave so they can topple 
moderate governments. They want to spread their totalitarian ideology as 
far and wide as possible, starting in the Middle East.
    Thirdly, imagine a world in which they controlled energy resources. 
You can just imagine the demands of the radicals and extremists to the 
West and to the United States. They would say things like, ``Abandon 
Israel; otherwise we're going to run your price of oil up and crater 
your economy.'' Or they'll say, ``Withdraw, so we can establish our 
caliphate.'' And you couple all that with--and a country that doesn't 
like us with a nuclear weapon, and they will look back 30 years--they'll 
look back and say, ``What happened to them in 2006?'' See, if that's the 
world that we allow evolve, they'll look back and say, ``What happened 
to those folks? Could they not see the impending danger? What clouded 
their vision? What made it impossible for them to see--to do their duty 
and see the threats?'' Well, I want you to know, I clearly see the 
threat. I understand the stakes. That's why we will stay in Iraq, fight 
in Iraq, and win in Iraq.
    If you got a second, I'd like to share one story with you. It's a 
story about liberty. It happened recently when Laura and I took then 
Prime Minister of Japan Koizumi to Elvis's place. People say, ``Why did 
you do that?'' And I said, ``Well, I had never been''--[laughter]--``and 
I thought it would be fun to go, and so did Laura.'' Secondly, the Prime 
Minister wanted to go because he's an Elvis fan. Thirdly, I wanted to 
tell a story about the power of liberty.
    After Pearl Harbor was attacked, thousands of citizens signed up to 
defend the country, one of whom was my dad--and I'm sure some of your 
relatives did the same thing. And we fought a bloody war against a sworn 
enemy, and thousands of people lost their lives in this war. And yet I'm 
on Air Force One with the Prime Minister of the former enemy talking 
about keeping the peace. We talked about how to prevent the Korean 
Peninsula from having a nuclear weapon. We talked about the fact that 
Japan had 1,000 troops in Iraq. The Prime Minister knows what I know, 
that we're involved in a grand--in a great ideological struggle between 
extremists and reasonable people and that when we find young 
democracies, we have an obligation to help those democracies survive and 
thrive, for the sake of peace. We talked about the admonition, to whom 
much is given, much is required, and I assured him we'd continue to lead 
the fight against the pandemic of HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa.
    I find it interesting that my dad fought the Japanese and I'm 
sitting down talking about

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keeping the peace with the Prime Minister of the very same country. 
Something happened: Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. The lesson 
for all to hear is that liberty has got the capacity to change an enemy 
into an ally, and liberty has got the capacity to change a region of the 
world that is full of hate and resentment, a region of the world from 
which people were recruited to launch attacks against us to a place of 
    Someday, an American President will be sitting down with duly 
elected leaders from the Middle East talking about keeping the peace, 
and a generation of Americans are going to be better off for it.
    This is our last stop before voting, but it's been a tradition in 
our family that we always end up the last stop in Texas. And there's a 
reason why. And there's a reason why--because Laura and I are inspired 
by our fellow Texans. We appreciate the prayers that uplift us on a 
daily basis. We thank you for your friendship. We encourage you to vote. 
Send Rick Perry back to the Governor's office, please.
    God bless you, and may God bless Texas and the United States.

Note: The President spoke at 7:09 p.m. at Reunion Arena. In his remarks, 
he referred to Texas State Senator Jane Nelson; former President Saddam 
Hussein of Iraq; Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist 
organization; and former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan.