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Thursday, September 23, 2004


HAIL TO THE CHIEF: MEETING PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH 

An evening with President Bush at a New York fundraiser





On Monday night I was fortunate to attend a fundraiser for President George W. Bush at New York's Sheraton Hotel. First Lady Laura Bush joined the president and she was greeted with loud cheers. Billed as a "Victory 2004 Rally," the event was well attended by supporters and politicians alike. In attendance were dignitaries like Congressman Vito Fossella, NY Republican Chairman Sandy Treadwell, Conservative Party Chairman
Michael Long, former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former Fire Commissioner Thomas Van Essen, and former Congressman Rick Lazio. The president shared the stage with former mayor Rudy Giuliani and NY Governor, George Pataki.



Giuliani gave a great pep talk to fire up the crowd. He reiterated his strong support for the president. In addition, Giuliani highlighted how John Kerry claims to be a die-hard Red Sox fan but said his favorite players is "Manny Ortez" (there are Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, but no "Manny Ortez"). Giuliani said perhaps Kerry's favorite player is "David Ramirez."



Pataki spoke movingly of how the world witnessed the way that New Yorkers responded to 9/11. He highlighted the first responders heroism and how they saved thousands of lives that fateful day. And Pataki spoke of how President Bush is fighting the terrorists abroad so that we won't have to face them at home.

Pataki then introduced President Bush to the "swing state of New York" which delighted the crowd in light of the polls showing that the gap is only 4 points in New York state.


The following are excerpts of remarks by President Bush at the Victory 2004 Rally (Sheraton Hotel of New York)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. I'm ready for the stretch run. I'm ready
for the stretch run. I know where I want to lead the country. I look forward
to telling the people what I believe. I believe that schools can do a better
job of teaching our children. Listen, I went to Washington to challenge this
practice of just shuffling kids through schools year after year, grade after
grade. It's what I call challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations.

We've raised the bar, we've increased funding. But in return, we're now
saying, why don't you measure early, so we can correct problems early, before
they're too late. And the achievement gap in America is closing, and we're
not going to turn around. We're not going to go backwards. We're going to
stay on this path to excellence for every child. (Applause.) Por cada niZo,
por cada niZo.

I went to Washington to fix problems. I believed that we needed to fix
Medicare. You know, medicine has changed, Medicare hadn't. We would pay
$100,000 for heart surgery, but not a dime for prescription drugs that might
prevent the heart surgery from being needed in the first case. We used to
call it "Mediscare," because politicians were afraid to talk about it. I'm
not afraid to take on the tough issue. We modernized Medicare, our seniors
are going to get prescription drug coverage in 2006, and we're not going to
turn back. (Applause.)

I believe the role of government is not to create wealth, but an
environment in which the entrepreneurs can flourish. I believe that good
government policy unleashes the innovation and energy of our farmers,
ranchers, small business owners, dreamers, doers. And that's why we unleashed
that energy with the largest tax cut in a generation. (Applause.)

Listen, we've been through a lot when it comes to this economy. I don't
need to tell people in New York what it's been like. We had a recession, we
had some corporate citizens forget what it means to be responsible citizens,
and they didn't tell the truth. That affected our economy, by the way. We
passed laws that now say, we're not going to tolerate dishonesty in the
boardrooms of America, pure and simple.

The attacks on this city hurt us. They say we lost about a million jobs
in the three months after September the 11th, but we've overcome these
obstacles. This economy of ours is growing at a rate as fast as any in nearly
20 years. The national unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, which is lower than
the average of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. (Applause.) Over the past year,
47 of the 50 states have added jobs, including the great state of New York.
This economy is strong, and it is getting stronger. (Applause.)

A President's most solemn duty is to protect the American people. And
here's what I believe: I believe if we show any uncertainty or weakness in
this decade, this world will drift toward tragedy. (Applause.) This will not
happen on my watch. (Applause.)

I've got a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and more hopeful
America. I'm running with what I call a compassionate conservative philosophy
that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their
lives. (Applause.)



I'll tell you what else needs to happen -- (applause) -- I'll tell you
what else needs to happen, we've got to stop these frivolous lawsuits that are
running good docs out of business. (Applause.) It's an issue in this
campaign. Everywhere I go, people understand the high cost of medicine occurs
because of these frivolous lawsuits. They also understand they're having
trouble finding good docs. You talk to what it's like -- to people what it's
like to be an OB/GYN here in America these days. Many young pregnant moms are
having troubling finding an OB/GYN. They travel miles to get the help they
need. I don't think you can be pro-doctor and pro-patient and pro-trial
lawyer at the same time. (Applause.) I think you have to make a choice. I
think you've got to make a choice. I made my choice. I'm standing with the
docs, and I'm standing with the patients. I am for medical liability reform
now. (Applause.)

I'm going to talk about Social Security in this campaign. I'm going to
remind the seniors who are on Social Security, you're fine. You don't have to
worry. The trust has got you taken care of. Baby boomers like me are fine
when it comes to Social Security. But we need to be worrying about our
children and grandchildren; that's who we need to be worrying about when it
comes to retirement. I believe younger workers ought to take some of their
tax money and set it aside as personal savings accounts so Social Security
meets the promise for them, an account they call their own, an account they
can pass on to whomever they want, and an account the government can't take
away. (Applause.)

I also will tell you, in times of change, things shouldn't change: courage
and compassion, reverence and integrity. I believe in a culture of life in
which everybody matters and every person counts. I believe in family and
marriage, which are the foundations of our society. (Applause.) And I'm going
to stand for the appointment of federal judges who know the difference between
personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law. (Applause.)



We've got a great military, by the way. I can't tell you how proud I am -
- (applause.) We're going to support them. We'll support those in our
military. We have a duty in this country to support those we put in harm's
way. That's why, a year ago, I went to the Congress and asked for $87 billion
of supplemental funding. And it was vital funding. This was not only for
folks in Iraq, this was for troops in Afghanistan, as well. And the support
was strong for that piece of legislation, because most people in the Congress
understood how vital it was. Only 12 senators voted against it -- two of whom
are my opponent and his running mate. (Laughter.)

And when you're out there campaigning, when you're out there campaigning,
remind them, four people voted to authorize the -- four senators voted to
authorize the use of force, and not fund our troops. Two of those were my
opponent and his running mate.

So they said to him, why, and he said, I actually did vote for the $87
billion before I voted against it. (Laughter.) You know what else? They kept
pressing him and he said finally, the whole thing is a complicated matter.
(Laughter.) There's nothing complicated about supporting the men and women in
the uniform. (Applause.)

The President of the United States must speak clearly and mean what he
says. In order for this world to be peaceful, we must mean what we say. And
it's important not to send mixed signals around the world. Today my opponent
continued his pattern of twisting in the wind, with new contradictions on old
positions in Iraq. He woke up this morning and now decided, no, we shouldn't
have invaded Iraq. (Laughter.) After, last month, saying he would still have
voted for using force, knowing everything we know today. He believes our
national security would be stronger with Saddam Hussein in power, not in
prison.

Today he said -- and I quote -- "We have traded a dictator for a chaos
that has left America less secure." Direct quote.

AUDIENCE: Boooo!

THE PRESIDENT: I -- anyway. (Laughter.) You cannot -- it's hard to
imagine a candidate running for President prefers the stability of a
dictatorship to the hope and security of democracy. (Applause.) If I might,
I'd like to read a quote he said last December: "Those who doubted whether
Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who
believe we are not safer with his capture don't have the judgment to be
President, or the credibility to be elected President." I couldn't have put
it better. (Applause.)







President Bush gave a terrific speech. He spoke at length, over half an hour. He covered many topics from education to taxes to health care to social security to the War on Terror. He spoke forcefully, clearly and confidently. Looking at him up close, one can tell that President Bush feels good about the campaign, his policies and ideas. Monday night's rally was a great night for everyone involved.

I was lucky enough to stand right in front of the podium while the president spoke and was just as lucky to shake his hand after he finished his speech. Meeting President Bush was a great way to cap off an exciting and fun evening.


Here is the full transcript of President Bush's speech from Monday night's Victory 2004 Rally.

Update: Check out Blogs for Bush.

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