Bush Talks War With Iraq In Indiana & Kentucky
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2002
President Focuses on
Economy and War on Terrorism in Kentucky Speech
Remarks by the President at Louisville, Kentucky Welcome
Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center
11:40 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thank you all. It is great to be here in the state of Kentucky. (Applause.) Let me say, it's great to be back to the state of Kentucky. I want to thank you all for coming.
It is my -- it's going to be my honor today to talk to you about our country, our future. I want to talk about how to make our country a safer country and a stronger country, and as importantly, a better country. And there's no better place to do it than Louisville, Kentucky. (Applause.)
I want to thank Anne for her kind introduction, and I want to thank the other members of the Kentucky delegation who are here today who are my friends, and that would be Senator Jim Bunning and Congressman Ken Lucas. I appreciate all three members of the congressional delegation coming down today. (Applause.) As you know, they're up there in Washington meeting, and it's an honor that three members decided to come and hear the President. (Laughter.)
I want to thank your Governor, Paul Patton, for coming today. Governor, I appreciate you taking time to be here. I'm honored that you're here. (Applause.) I want to thank Elaine Chao, who is a member of my Cabinet, the Secretary of Labor. (Applause.) I appreciate you coming, Elaine. I want to thank the head of the Small Business Administration, Hector Barreto, for joining us, as well. (Applause.) Thank you, Hector.
Oh, I forgot -- I forgot to mention the First Lady of Kentucky. One thing you learn is never to forget to mention the First Ladies. I appreciate Judy Patton being here, as well. (Applause.) Thank you for coming, Judy.
Speaking about First Ladies, my wife is doing great, too. (Applause.) I like to remind people that when I married her, she was a public school librarian. And for all the public school librarians out there, you've got an advocate in the White House. For all the teachers out there, I want to thank you for being teachers, too. (Applause.) She didn't like politics and she didn't like politicians when I married her. Now she's stuck with one. (Laughter.) She's doing a great job. I'm really proud of her. She sends her love and her best to all the people of Kentucky. (Applause.)
I want to thank the members of the Louisville community who happen to be small business owners for coming to visit. We just had a good hour discussion about small business issues. You see, one of the best ways to make sure that our economy grows is to have an environment in which the entrepreneur can flourish and the small business can be strong. Most new jobs are created in America by small businesses, and therefore, we'd better worry about the health of small businesses, if we're worried about the health and security of the country. (Applause.)
And I'm worried about the health and security of our country, I am. And we've got a lot of work to do. I'm not worried about our future because I'm optimistic about America. We've got a great future ahead of us. But so long as anybody who wants to work can't find work I think we've got a problem in America. And so, therefore, our thought process ought to be how to create jobs, how best to make sure that the foundation of economic growth remains strong and that we go forward with creating jobs. (Applause.)
And that's why I met with the small business owners and listened to their concerns and heard their points of view. First, let me tell you the foundation for our economy is strong. I mean, after all, interest rates are low, inflation is low. We've got the best workers in the world, our productivity is high. We've got the best farmers and ranchers in the world. We've really got a lot of things in America which creates the foundation for growth. I am not satisfied, however, until everybody can find work. And so, fundamentally, what can we do?
First, you've got to understand the role of government is not to create wealth. It's to create an environment in which people can realize their dreams, in which small businesses can grow to be big businesses. And one way to encourage that is to let people keep more of their own money. (Applause.)
When we came in, it turns out the country was in a recession. That's three quarters of negative growth. Fortunately, I was able to team up with members of both political parties to take a chapter out of this textbook. It's the chapter that says, if you let people keep more of their own money, they will demand a good or a service. And if they demand a good or a service, somebody is likely to produce that good or a service. And when somebody produces that good or service, somebody is more likely to find work. The tax relief came at the right time for the American economy. (Applause.)
If you listen carefully to some of the dialogue in Washington, you begin to hear a little tone about, well, maybe we ought to stop the tax relief from being fully implemented. That would be a mistake for our economy. That would be a terrible mistake for jobs and job creation. (Applause.) Not only should we resist anybody who wants to undue the tax relief, we need to make the tax relief permanent. (Applause.)
Well, people say, how can cutting income taxes on the people affect small business? Well, most small businesses are sole proprietorships, which means they pay tax at the individual income tax rate level. Or most small businesses are limited partnerships. And so when you cut the taxes on the people, you're really cutting the taxes on the sole proprietors and on limited partnerships. You're helping small business grow. And when small businesses grow, America is better off. (Applause.)
But let me also tell you that in the tax relief plan we began to mitigate the effects of the marriage penalty. Listen, the tax code ought to encourage marriage, not discourage marriage. (Applause.) And the other thing is we sent the death tax on the way to extinction. The death tax is bad for Kentucky farmers, it's bad for Kentucky ranchers, and it's bad for Kentucky entrepreneurs. (Applause.)
And then you say, well, why, Mr. President, do you need to talk about making the tax relief permanent? Because a quirk in the law in the United States Senate says that you won't -- we're going to cut your taxes, but in 10 years it will have come back. It's hard for me to explain. I mean, how can you say, on the one hand, we're cutting your taxes, on the other hand, it goes away after 10 years? Well, that's just the way the Senate happens to work right now. But there's a way to change that, and that is to get the United States Senate to agree to make all this tax relief permanent.
It will help people plan; it will help good policy; and anybody who wants to find work is more likely to be able to do so if the tax relief is permanent. (Applause.)
In order to make sure people find work and our economy is strong, Congress must not overspend. (Applause.) Every idea sounds like a good idea in Washington. Just that they cost billions of dollars. We need to set priorities, and we have set priorities in Washington -- priorities of how to make America safer, stronger, and better. And it's my job to hold the line on spending the people's money.
See, it's important to have the right mind-set up there. We're not spending government money, we're spending your money. In order to make sure it's spent wisely -- (applause) -- I look forward to working with Congress to make sure we spend your money wisely. If we overspend, it will serve as a drag on our economy. If we overspend, it will make it harder for people to find work. I'm worried about people finding work. I want anybody who wants a job to be able to find one here in America.
There's some other practical things we can do in Washington, D.C. We need to get us a terrorism insurance bill, to get our hard-hats back to work. Over $10 billion of construction projects are not going forward because people can't get the proper insurance because of what the terrorists did to America. The government ought to help here. It makes sense that the government help. We want our hard-hats back to working. The construction trades believe that over 300,000 workers will go back to work if we can get this bill out of Congress. I want a bill out of Congress that helps the hard-hats, not helps the plaintiffs' attorneys. I want people going back to work in America. (Applause.)
We need an energy bill. A good energy bill will create jobs in America. We also need an energy bill which will encourage conservation and the use of renewable energy. We can do that, but we also need an energy bill that will encourage exploration here in America, exploration in environmentally friendly ways, so that we become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil. (Applause.) An energy bill is good for jobs and it's good for national security, and it's time the Congress quit talking and get an energy bill to my desk. (Applause.)
Now, I'm optimistic about our economy, I'm optimistic about job growth, I'm optimistic about the future -- because I understand America. We've got problems, no question, but we have a spirit that is indomitable and strong. I'm also optimistic about being able to do my most important job, which is to protect the homeland.
You know, one of my concerns was the farther we got away from September the 11th, the more likely it would be that some in our country might not think the enemy still existed. But they do. And they're nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers. That's all they are. (Applause.) People in our country wonder why, why would somebody hate America. It's because we love freedom, that's why. We love the idea that free people can worship and almighty God any way they so choose in America. (Applause.) We value the freedom for people to speak their mind in this country. We value a free press. We value freedom. And the more we value freedom, the more they hate us. That's why. That's why the enemy still exists.
And there's another reason. Every life matters in America; everybody counts; everybody has worth. (Applause.) And these killers don't think that way. They're willing to take innocent life in the name of a hijacked religion. And so my job is to do everything we can to protect our homeland, it's to make America more secure.
You need to know there's a lot of good folks working hard to protect us. I mean, any time we're getting a hint that the enemy might be thinking about doing something to us, we're moving on it. We communicate better, we're aware of their hatred. Prior to September the 11th we would never assume that America would be a battlefield. It is now. It's a different era. I want you to know that you should take comfort in the fact that a lot of good people are doing everything they can to make sure that America is secure, not only at the federal level, but at the state level and here at the local level. A lot of really good people are getting better information and are acting on it as quickly as possible.
I went to Congress, and I said, in order to help me and future Presidents -- and notice I say future Presidents, because I don't think this war and this hatred is going to go away any time soon -- that future Presidents can deal with the threat of the homeland, I've asked for a new department in Washington called the department of homeland security. The reason I did is because there's over 100 agencies in Washington, D.C. that have something to do with protecting the homeland. They're scattered everywhere. In order to make sure the number one priority of these agencies is your protection, I've asked that they be put under one umbrella, one Cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the United States Senate.
I want to be able to align authority and responsibility. I want to be able to say clearly to the American people, we're doing a better job of protecting our borders. See, we need to know who's coming into America, what they're bringing into America, and whether or not they're going to leave America when they say they're going to leave America. (Applause.) We need to do a better job of coordinating our -- the strategy of our first responders, the brave police and fire and EMS teams that you've got right here in Louisville and all across America. We need to do a better job of being able to respond to potential weapons of mass destruction attacks. Need to do a better job of taking the intelligence we have and analyzing it and addressing the vulnerabilities that may be evident here in America.
And so I've asked Congress to act. And I appreciate the fact that the House of Representatives have acted. And I'm sure on your TV screens, if you bother to watch TV, you'll see that the Senate is debating this bill. I've got deep concerns about where the Senate is headed, however. I need the flexibility necessary to be able to move people to the right place at the right time in order to protect America. And I'll give you an example.
On our borders we've got three different agencies involved with protecting the border -- Customs, INS and Border Patrol. They wear different uniforms, they have different strategies, they've got different bosses. For the sake of protecting America, any administration must have the flexibility to move people around to address our vulnerabilities. The enemy moves quickly, and so should the federal government be able to move quickly. And yet, the bill out of the Senate has got rules this thick -- they want to micromanage the process.
The Senate must hear this. I expect to get a bill that is not in the best interests or vested interests in Washington, but in the best interests of protecting the American people. (Applause.)
The best way to protect our homeland is to hunt the killers down one by one and bring them to justice. The best way to secure America -- (applause.) The best way to secure our country and to protect our freedom is to find the killers. This is a different kind of war, but the war goes on. We've got some great veterans in this hall who remember the way war used to be. You could determine the size of the enemy based upon the number of tanks they have, or the number of airplanes they have, or the number of ships. This is a different kind of enemy. These are commanders who hide in dark caves, and then send youngsters to their suicidal death.
They kind of slither into cities and hope not to get caught. They're sophisticated, they understand we're after them. And they're allusive and they're determined -- but so are we. We've got a fabulous United States military, and they're on the hunt. (Applause.) We've got a strong coalition of nations which have heard, as Anne mentioned, the doctrine that says, either you're with us or you're with the enemy. We have upheld the doctrine that says, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist.
And I want you to tell your youngsters, your children and your grandchildren, that when this great nation went into Afghanistan, we didn't go to conquer anybody, we went in to liberate. We went in to liberate people from the clutches of the most barbaric regime in history. (Applause.) This great nation and our friends and allies not only upheld an important doctrine, but as a result of our action, many young girls go to school for the first time in Afghanistan. (Applause.)
And we're not leaving. We believe so strongly that every individual counts, that we want to help democracy flourish in that region. And we're not leaving because there's still al Qaeda and their buddies roaming around. And there's a lot of brave folks on the hunt. Probably some of your relatives. And if you've got a relative in the United States military, or if you're in the United States military, this nation is incredibly proud of what your relative is doing. (Applause.)
I have submitted a defense spending bill that is the largest increase since Ronald Reagan was the President. And I did so for two reasons -- two reasons. One, any time we put our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best equipment and the best training. (Applause.) And secondly, I did so because I want to send a message to friend and foe alike that we're in this deal for the long haul. When it comes to the freedoms we love, when it comes to something we hold dear, this country is determined and patient and plenty resolved to achieve victory. (Applause.)
Congress is back. The House passed a version of the defense bill; the Senate passed a version of the defense bill. I expect the Congress to work together and get that defense bill to my desk as soon as possible. It's in the interests of the United States. (Applause.) The American people are not going to like it if they see the Congress playing politics with the defense bill, when we're at war. (Applause.)
We're making progress. See, because the enemy is different and the nature of the war is different, sometimes you don't see what's going on. As I said early on, and right after September the 11th, sometimes you'll see what's happening, and sometimes you won't. That's just the nature of this war. Sometimes one of these killers will be brought to justice and you'll hear about it, and sometimes they won't. But we're making progress. Slowly but surely, we're making progress. Slowly but surely, we're bringing people to justice.
Notice I don't say, slowly but surely we're seeking revenge. I said, slowly but surely, we're bringing people to justice. We owe that to our children. We owe that to our children's children. We must stay on the hunt for the sake of freedom here. We must continue to deny sanctuary. Once we get them on the run, we've also got to make it hard for them to light anywhere. We must make sure that those who would like to harbor them continue to get the message that there will be a consequence. We must anticipate problems before they occur. We must deal with threats to our security today, before it can be too late.
Yesterday I announced to the country that I would be working closely with our United States Congress and the American people to explain the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to world peace. I take the threat very seriously. I take the fact that he develops weapons of mass destruction very seriously. I remember the fact that he has invaded two countries before. I know for a fact that he's poisoned his own people. He doesn't believe in the worth of each individual. He doesn't believe in public dissent.
I look forward to a dialogue. I'm a patient man. I've got tools -- we've got tools at our disposal. And therefore, yesterday I began an important discussion about our future, about peace, about freedom; a discussion that I will continue to have with the United States Congress, Republican and Democrat alike; a discussion I will carry on with the American people; a discussion I will begin at the United Nations next week; a discussion I will have with the Prime Minister of Britain Saturday; a discussion I'll have with the Prime Minister of Canada on Monday; a discussion I'll be having with the President of Russia, Premier of China, President of France tomorrow.
I will remind them that history has called us into action; that we love freedom, that we'll be deliberate, patient and strong in the values that we adhere to, but we can't let the world's worst leaders blackmail, threaten, hold freedom-loving nations hostage with the world's worst weapons. (Applause.)
I can't imagine what went through the enemy's mind when they hit us. I can't imagine what they were thinking. Let me guess. They probably said, America is so selfish and so self-absorbed and so materialistic, that after September the 11th we might file a lawsuit or two, but that's all we would do. They were wrong. See, they don't understand America. (Applause.) They don't understand our character and they don't understand our fiber. They don't understand that when we love something, we love it dearly. We love life, and we love freedom. (Applause.)
And they understand one thing about us, too -- when we need to be plenty tough, we're going to be plenty tough. (Applause.) And they're learning another thing about America. When we need to be compassionate and loving, we can be compassionate and loving, too. You see, I believe out of the evil done to America -- and make no mistake, it was an incredibly evil act -- will come incredible good. You need to tell your loved ones, the little ones in particular, that when they hear the President talking about al Qaeda, Iraq and other places, I do so because I long for peace. See, I believe out of the evil done to America, if we're strong and focused and determined, we can achieve peace. We can not only achieve peace today for America, but peace in the long-term.
But not only for America. See, every life matters in this country. And you don't have to be an American for you to matter, as far as this nation is concerned. We want peace in parts of the world that have quit on peace. We want there to be peace in the Middle East. We want there to be peace in South Asia. We act because we believe in peace. And out of the evil done to America can come a more peaceful world.
And out of the evil done to America can come a more compassionate America, too. A lot of people say, well, what can I do on the war against terror? You can love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself is what you can do. (Applause.)
No, I'm for a safer and strong America, and I'm for a better America. A better America begins, by the way, with making sure every child gets an education in this country, and no child is left behind. (Applause.) A better America is when we take care of people who can't help themselves with a health care system that's modern. A better America is one that calls upon the best of America. See, government can hand out money -- we do a pretty good job of it. But what government cannot do is put hope into people's hearts or a sense of purpose in people's lives. That's done when a loving individual puts his arm around a fellow citizen and says, I love you, what can I do to help you.
You see, America is changing, one person at a time, one person at a time. We're saving America one soul, one conscience at a time, because thousands of our fellow citizens have recognized it's important to serve something greater than yourself. (Applause.)
Robert Mihalovic is here. I met two groups of people -- I met one group of people, and I met one person. I met Robert; I also met the Louisville Little League team. (Applause.) Both kind of heroes in their own way. One group of kids won a championship. I did remind them, it's just beginning for you. You've got a responsibility now that you're champs, a responsibility to make the right choices in life.
Robert is here -- Robert, if you don't mind standing up -- I'll tell you why Robert is here. He's a Navy World War II veteran. (Applause.) He's a Korean War veteran. But let me tell you something about him. He mentors children. See, he's decided that in order to make a difference, in order to be a patriot, he wants to help a child in need. Robert told me at Air Force One that his most beautiful moments come when the child hugs him and says, thank you, when the child says, thanks for giving me some hope, and thanks for giving me love.
No government program can do that. It happens because thousands of citizens like Robert, who I call soldiers in the armies of compassion, have heard the call to love their neighbor like they'd like to be loved themselves. One person, one Robert can't do everything. But he can do something. He can help change America, one heart, one soul at a time.
The enemy hit us. They did tremendous evil to America. But out of that evil is going to come a more compassionate country. We can deal with addiction and hopelessness and despair when our fellow citizens answer the call to make America a compassionate and a decent place. (Applause.) And that's what's happening in this country. It's happening in America. No, out of the evil done to America is going to come incredible good -- peace and a better society. Because we're the greatest nation, full of the greatest people on the face of the Earth.
Thank you for coming. God bless. God bless America.
END 12:14 P.M. EDT
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2002
the President at South Bend, Indiana Welcome
South Bend Regional Airport
South Bend, Indiana
1:57 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Listen, thank you all for coming. What a warm welcome. I appreciate this Indiana hospitality. (Applause.) I'm thrilled to be back here again. I wanted to come and talk to you about some of the problems we face and our -- this nation's great character, and our ability to overcome anything that stands in our way. See, we're all going to work together to make America a safer place, a stronger place, and as importantly, a better place. (Applause.)
I appreciate John Barnes for introducing me. I appreciate all the good folks who put this event on. I want to thank my fellow citizens for coming out. I particularly want to thank those of you who brought your family members with you. I love to see our nation's young. I love to be with our children. (Applause.)
I want to thank the mayor, Mayor Luecke of South Bend, Indiana, for greeting me here. I want to thank Mayor Beutter for coming, as well. I want to thank Mayor David Miller for being here. I want to thank any local official who has taken time out of your busy day to come and say hello. There's one member of the Congress who is here today -- that's Steve Buyer. I appreciate Buyer being with us. (Applause.)
As you can see, I had some folks meet me out there at this unbelievable airplane that you provide for the President. (Laughter.) I want to thank our long-time friend Digger Phelps for being here. I appreciate him coming to say hello. And as importantly, I want you to know that if you're a Fighting Irish fan, which I presume some people are -- (applause) -- that this great university hired a really good man to be its head coach, Ty Willingham. (Applause.) I appreciate Ty coming over.
And what's interesting about my administration, at least one person in my administration, one of the finest women in America, one of the smartest women in America is my close advisor on foreign policy -- that happens to be Condoleezza Rice. (Applause.) She was a former student here at Notre Dame, a former trustee at Stanford. She went and saw Notre Dame's first victory. She's constantly telling me to watch out for the Irish, because she knows Tyrone Willingham.
But anyway, I want to thank you all for coming. We've got some big challenges facing this great nation. The first challenge is to make sure that there is economic security in America. See, a better America and a stronger America is an America in which people are able to find work. If they're looking for work and can't find work, we've got a problem, and we need to do something about it. Our country was in recession -- when I got sworn in, it turns out the first three quarters of my time in Washington was in recession.
Secondly, the enemy hit us, which shocked our economy. Thirdly, it turns out we had some people that thought they could cook the books in America, people that were -- thought the best way to get ahead was to kind of shade the truth, to mistreat employee and shareholder. And we're dealing with all of them. We're dealing with the latter by passing law that says to those who want to cheat people, there's no easy money in America, just hard time. We're going to find you, and we're going to hold you to account. (Applause.)
We expect high standards, we expect high standards in America. And Democrats and Republicans came together. We passed the most comprehensive corporate reform bill since Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President. It's a good piece of legislation. By the way, it shows what's possible in Washington when we set aside our political parties and focus on what's doing right for the American people. (Applause.)
But our economy got hurt -- was hurting, and got hurt. But we're recovering. See, the foundations for growth are strong. Interest rates are low. Inflation is low. We've got the best workers in the world, the worker of the American -- the productivity of the American worker is up. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong. The foundation for growth is solid, it's solid.
One way to make sure that if people want to find work is to do more on the tax front. Let me tell you something about my view of taxes. Here's the textbook I read -- and by the way, some in Washington aren't reading this textbook, they're reading another chapter. I believe if you let a person keep their own money, that person is more likely to demand a good or a service. And when they demand a good or a service, in our society somebody is more likely to produce it. And when somebody produces that good or service, somebody is more likely to find work.
The tax relief we planned came at the right time in American economic history. (Applause.) It was the right thing to do. It was good for small business. America must understand that 70 percent of new jobs are created by small business people. And when you cut the tax rates like you did, and you understand most small businesses are sole proprietorships or limited partnerships -- in other words, they pay tax at the personal income tax level -- what we did was infuse capital into the small business sector of our society. People are more likely to find work because of the tax relief.
We also did two other things important. One, we mitigated the damage done by the marriage penalty. Our tax code ought to encourage marriage, not discourage marriage. (Applause.) And thirdly, we put the death tax on the way to extinction. The death tax is bad for Indiana farmers, it's bad for Indiana ranchers, it's bad for Indiana small business owners. It is plain -- it's just plain a bad tax. (Applause.)
But here's the problem, here's the problem -- because of the Senate rules, all the tax relief that we passed, which both Republicans and Democrats voted for, goes away after 10 years. Now, that's a hard one to explain at the coffee shop there in Crawford. (Laughter.) How do you say, on the one hand, you've got tax relief, but on the other hand, you don't. The one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away. It sounds like Washington to me. (Laughter.) But those are the Senate rules.
And so here's one way to make sure we continue to have jobs for people, so that people can plan, so that people have certainty when it comes to their businesses, so jobs will grow, is for Congress to make the tax relief permanent. (Applause.)
There are some who are beginning to make noises that they want to raise the taxes, they want to do away with the tax relief. For the sake of people who want to find work in America, for the sake of job creation, it is important for those voices in Congress to read the same text book you and I have read, that tax relief is important for job creation. (Applause.)
I'll tell you what else is important for job creation, is to make sure that Congress does not overspend. The problem we have in Washington is every program sounds like a beauty, sounds like a winner. Every program sounds good. Just the problem is they all cost billions. What we need to do is set our priorities, the priorities on how to make America safer, stronger and better, and not overspend. It's essential that the United States Congress meet our priorities and hold the line on spending. And one way they can better understand how to do that is understand whose money we're talking about. The money we spend in Washington is not the government's money. The money we spend in Washington is your money, the people's money. (Applause.)
We need an energy bill in America. An energy bill will be good for job security. It will also be good for national security. We need an energy bill which will encourage conservation, that will help unleash the technology necessary for us to conserve more, the technologies and the research necessary for us to do a better job with renewable sources of energy. But at the same time, we've got to understand technology has changed and we can explore for energy here at home in safer ways. For the sake of job security and for the sake of national security -- and I say national security because we must do everything we can to become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil. (Applause.)
They've been talking about an energy plan for months. And with the short time left before the Congress goes home for the elections, and for the sake of American jobs, they've got to stop talking and get me an energy bill. For the sake of the country, what's best for the country, we need an energy policy.
And we need, by the way, a terrorism insurance policy, too. When the terrorists hit us, they affected the ability of people to be able to get insurance necessary to start construction projects. There are over $10 billion of construction projects which have been delayed because we can't get terrorism insurance for developers. Congress ought to help. Congress ought to help not for the sake necessarily of the developers, but the sake of the over 300,000 hard-hats who will be able to find work. If you want to help economic growth, Congress, get me a terrorism insurance bill that is -- that recognizes the importance of the hard-hat, rewards the hard-hats of America and does not reward the plaintiffs attorneys in this country. (Applause.)
I've got -- I'm optimistic about our future, because I'm optimistic about America. I know the resiliency of our country. I know the strengths of our country. And while some hurt now because of the economic slowdown, I'm optimistic about our future, I really am. I feel strong -- I feel strongly that there are better days ahead for people who can't find work. The foundation is there, and we'll keep working, we'll keep working.
My biggest job, however, is to protect you, the American people. That's my biggest job now, is to secure the homeland, is to make sure that we're safe -- (applause) -- is to make sure our American families are protected. That job still exists, and it's important today because there's still an enemy out there that hates us.
It is really important for all of us to communicate the right message to our children when we talk with these harsh words. But you need to tell your kids that these killers hate us because of what we love. And what we love is we love freedom. We love the fact that freedom can worship an -- the freedom to worship an almighty God the way we see fit. (Applause.) We love our freedoms, we hold them dear, and we're willing to defend them. We love freedom to speak, we love freedom to assemble, we love freedom of the press. We love those freedoms.
And the other thing -- one of the other things that distinguishes from our enemy is that we value the worth of each life. Everybody counts. (Applause.) Everybody matters. Each person has worth here in America. And that's not the way the enemy thinks.
See, they've hijacked a great religion, and they don't care about life. They've got their desires, their dark, dark ambitions. And if people get in the way from them, that's just too bad, as far as they're concerned. But the problem -- what they've got is, they've got a mighty nation that stands between them and their ambitions. (Applause.) We know they're out there, we know they're out there. And therefore, we're doing everything we can to protect you. We're chasing down every lead, every hint. There's a lot of really good, hardworking people who are working overtime, working long hours to protect the homeland.
One of the reasons I've asked -- or the reason I asked for us to create a new department of homeland security is because I want to have all the tools at our disposal necessary to protect you -- not just me, but future Presidents. And notice I say future Presidents, because I believe this struggle is going to be going on for quite a while. Because we're not quitting freedom, and they're probably not going to quit hating for a while.
I've asked the Congress to join me in creating this homeland department because I want the over 100 agencies involved with your protection to be under one agency. In other words, in order to affect the culture of an agency, in order to set the right priorities, they ought to be under one umbrella. They ought to be working toward the same goal. That doesn't mean they can't do other things. But the number one priority, the most important job that these agencies have is to protect America.
And we're making some progress. I appreciate the way the House voted the bill. But we've got a little problem in the Senate. And here's the problem. I need flexibility in order to make decisions necessary to protect you. I'll give you an example. One of the ways -- one of the most important things to secure our homeland is to do a better job on our borders. See, we need to know who is coming in the country. We need to know what they're bringing into the country -- (applause) -- we need to know what they're bringing in and we need to know if they're leaving when they say they're going to leave. That's what we need to know.
And yet when you go down to the border, when you look at a border, there's Customs, and there's INS and there's Border Patrol -- three different uniforms, three different cultures, three different attitudes perhaps. In order to better secure America, the administration, the executive branch of government needs the capacity to move people to the right place at the right time. The enemy moves quickly; we should be able to move quickly. Yet the bill coming out of the Senate micromanages the process. Listen, there are senators up there who are more concerned about special interests in Washington and not enough concerned about the security of the American people. (Applause.)
And I'm not going to accept a lousy bill. I'm not going to accept a lousy plan. I insist for the sake of our security that the United States Senate get it right. (Applause.) The best way to secure our homeland and the best way to make sure that our children can grow up in a free world is to hunt these killers down, one person at a time, and bring them to justice, which is exactly what we're going to do. (Applause.)
It's a different kind of war than we're used to. In the old days, they could count tanks and figure out how strong the enemy was, or you could look at airplanes and formations and flotillas. This is a war where we're fighting tough people, smart killers, who hide in dark caves or who kind of slither into shadowy recesses in large cities and parts of the world and then send youngsters to their suicidal death. See, it's a different kind of war, which means we've got to think differently. We've got to be better at intelligence, we've got to uphold that doctrine that says, either you're with us or you're with the terrorists. (Applause.)
We will be steady, we will be patient. Sometimes you'll see the action in this war, and sometimes you won't see the action in this war. Sometimes you'll know whether we bring one of them to justice, sometimes you won't know whether we bring one of them to justice. (Laughter.) But you've got to know that we're after justice, that we're steadily, slowly but surely -- (applause) -- we are slowly but surely doing everything we can to protect the homeland; slowly but surely finding these people.
Sometimes they think they can outwit us, but they can't outwit a powerful nation that's just on the hunt. Once we get them on the run, we're going to make sure that there's no place for them to light, make sure that other countries under the consequences of accepting these al Qaeda killers and other terrorists who hate America.
I also laid out another doctrine -- and by the way, I think it's very important that when the United States speak, we do what we say, for our credibility and for the sake of peace. I told the world loud and clear, if you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you hide a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the killers who came to America. (Applause.)
And one group of folks found out what we meant, the Taliban. I want you to tell your children this, as well, that this great nation went into Afghanistan -- in upholding that doctrine -- we went into that country not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people. See, every life matters to us. Every life matters. You need to tell your young ones when they think about America and our values, that because of this country and our friends, many young girls went to school for the first time. We freed people from the clutches of a barbaric regime. (Applause.)
I submitted the biggest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the President to Congress recently. I did it for two reasons. It's important for you to know why. First, any time we put our troops into harm's way, our soldiers deserve the best possible pay, the best training and the best equipment. (Applause.) We owe it to our troops, we owe it to those who are sacrificing for our country, and we owe it to their loved ones. By the way, if you happen to have a son or a daughter or a nephew or niece or a mom or a dad in the military, you tell them, thanks, on behalf of a grateful nation. (Applause.)
I submitted that bill that size because I wanted to send a message to friend and foe alike that we're in this deal for the long haul, that there's not a calendar on my desk that says, by such and such a date we've got to quit. See, we love freedom. And it doesn't matter how long it takes to defend freedom, we will defend freedom in America. That's what we're made out of. That's the fiber of our country. (Applause.)
That's important for people to understand. If there is a threat to America, we will deal with it in a deliberative, smart way. If we face a threat, we must confront that threat if we want our children -- see, there's a new -- it's a new attitude around the world, we've got to understand that. The battlefield is now here in America. It used to be the oceans would protect us. But September the 11th taught us a new lesson, and it's a lesson that must -- that we must take seriously. We must understand the possibilities of what can happen in the new war of the 21st century.
And that's why I started a dialogue yesterday on another threat to America, a dialogue about Saddam Hussein. I want to assure you that I want the American people to full understand all the consequences. That's why we're going to have a debate here nationally. That's why there's going to be a lot of discussion. That's why I've asked the Congress to be a part of the deliberations. That's why there will be open hearings. That's why members of -- appropriate members of my administration will testify. That's why we'll share information as much as we possibly can with the American people -- not only with the American people, but with our friends and allies around the world.
I'll be meeting with Prime Minister Blair on Saturday, Prime Minister Chretien on Monday. I'll be talking to President Putin and Premier Jiang, and President Chirac tomorrow. I'll be beginning to talk about the need for freedom-loving countries to deal with threats today, before they become incredibly serious tomorrow. See, I believe we owe that to our children.
Some things are certain, however. This is a man who used poisons on his own people. He's invaded two countries -- two countries. He's a person who has ignored all admonitions by international organizations. There will be a good debate, but I firmly believe that the world cannot allow the world's worst leaders to hold America blackmail, to threaten America, to threaten our peace and threaten our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons. (Applause.)
I don't know what was going through the mind of the enemy when they hit us. They probably thought, you know, America is so self-absorbed, and so materialistic, so shallow and so selfish that after September the 11th, oh, they might file a lawsuit or two, but that's all they would do. No, they don't understand our country, do they. They don't understand the fact that when we need to be tough, we're plenty tough. And when we need to be compassionate, we've got a huge heart.
Out of the evil done to America is going to come some good. Out of the evil done to this country -- see, the enemy never could predict that. Haters don't -- can't see. They can't see beyond their selfishness. But I see something different, and I know many Americans do, as well. I see peace. I believe that by being strong and forceful when they need to be strong and forceful, by speaking clearly about good and evil, by leading other peaceful and loving -- freedom-loving people in a vast coalition, that we can achieve peace -- that we can achieve peace not only for ourselves and for our children, but we can achieve peace in parts of the world where people have quit thinking about peace.
We have a chance. The enemy hit us. They awoke a mighty country that not only will defend ourselves, but will lead toward a more peaceful tomorrow. I want you to tell your children that when they hear all the talk and all the speculation and all the thousands of hours of so-called experts babbling away about this, that or the other, that the true policy of this government is to achieve peace for generations to come.
And at home the enemy hit us, and they have awakened a new spirit in the country. I used to tell people, if you want to join the war on terror, do some good. If you want to fight evil, love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. (Applause.) You want to be a patriot, serve something greater than yourself.
Today we've got Ricardo Rios with us. He is a AmeriCorps member. Ricardo, give them a wave. I'll tell you about Ricardo. He's decided that he wants to serve something greater than self, so he became a teacher, a 6th grade teacher. He knows what I know -- and I want you all to hear this loud and clear -- one person can't do everything in society, I know that; but each of us can do something to help change America one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time.
See, that's the great hope here for this country. The enemy has awakened a new spirit of compassion in America. We've got to recognize that in this great country there are pockets of despair, there are pockets of hopelessness, there's addiction. There are people who wonder about the American Dream. And that can be changed. There can be light where there is darkness, particularly when our fellow Americans put their arm around people in need and say, I love you, what can I do to help, how can I help make your life better? If you want to join the war on terror, if you want to be a part of the change in America, love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. (Applause.)
No, the enemy hit us, and as a result, there are more soldiers in the armies of compassion all across America. The enemy hit us, and as a result, people have taken a step back and have asked, what's important in our lives? We've taken an assessment of our worth, an assessment of our future. And as a result of what they have done, I think our culture is changing -- a culture that used to say, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and you've got a problem, blame somebody else for your problem, to a new day in which each of us understand we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.
If you're a mom or a dad -- if you're lucky enough to be a mom or a dad, you're responsible for loving your child with all your heart and all your soul. (Applause.) If you're fortunate enough to be a citizen of South Bend, Indiana, you're responsible for the quality of education. You're responsible for the public school system. You're responsible for making sure that your faith-based groups, if they're looking for help, are joined. You're responsible for helping feed the hungry. It's your responsibility in order to be an American to serve something greater than yourself in life.
Perhaps the most vivid example of that came with Flight 93. I want you all to remember. For me, it's one of the most important moments of the change that is taking place in America, the most vivid and sad symbol of them all, but nevertheless vivid and clear. People are flying across the country on an airplane, at least they thought they were. They learned the plane was going to be used as a weapon. They got on their telephones. They were told the true story. Many of them told their loved ones good-bye. They said they loved them. They said a prayer, a prayer was said. One guy said, "Let's roll." They took the plane into the ground. (Applause.)
It is that spirit, it is that willingness to serve something greater than yourself in life which is a part of this great country's soul and fabric. No, the enemy hit us. They didn't know who they were hitting. And out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible good, because this is the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, full of the greatest people.
May God bless you all, and may God bless America.
END 2:34 P.M. EST
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2002
Remarks by the President
at Anne Northup for Congress Luncheon
Seelbach Hilton Louisville
1:05 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank you all. Thanks for coming. I'm really honored to have been invited back to Louisville by Anne to help in her reelection effort. She is a incredibly -- she is a breath of fresh air in Washington, let me put it to you that way. She's honest, she's open -- (applause.) The thing I love about Anne is her heart. It is as big as Texas. (Laughter.) She cares deeply about her fellow citizens.
You see, what we need in the political process is people who put the people ahead of partisanship. They put people's concerns and hopes and aspirations ahead of personal success, their own personal success.
See, I love the idea that this is a soul who is willing to work in neighborhoods where somebody might not have ever voted for her. She's not the kind of citizen who said, did you vote for me, and therefore, I'm going to help you. She's the kind of citizen who says, I'm honored to be in the position I'm in, and what can I do to make Kentucky, and Louisville, Kentucky, as hopeful a place for every citizen. Anne Northup deserves to be reelected to the United States Congress.
I value her advice. I value her friendship. I value being able to work with her to do what's right for America. I also like the fact that she loves her family. She's got her priorities straight. (Applause.) She loves Woody. (Laughter and applause.) And she loves her kids. I love the fact that Anne is an adopted mom. It shows something special about her heart and her willingness to love. I enjoyed meeting her mother and dad. She probably listens to her mother about as much as I do -- listen to mine. (Laughter.) But she is -- she's got her priorities straight -- her faith, and her family, and the people of Louisville, Kentucky. (Applause.)
So I want to thank you all for coming to help this good lady. I want to thank you for contributing, and I urge you to contribute your time. It's -- this fundraiser is going to be history in about 30 minutes -- or if I keep it shorter than that, about 20 minutes. But now you've got more work to do. And for those of you who are the grassroot activists here in this community, for those of you who help lead our party, I want to thank you for what you have done, I want to thank you for what you are going to do. You need to go to your coffee shops, churches, and community centers, and synagogues, and pass the word that when you've got a good soul like Anne Northup, citizens need to go out and support her.
So, thanks for helping her and thanks for coming. I also want to thank a member of my Cabinet, Elaine Chao, for being here. I appreciate her leadership. (Applause.) She's doing a fantastic job and I'm sure she would like me to mention the fact that she married old Mitch. (Laughter.) And when you're remembering Anne, don't forget Mitch. He's a great United States Senator. (Applause.) We need Mitch McConnell back in the Senate. He's doing a really, really good job for the state of Kentucky. I value his advice, as well.
And we're just traveling today from Washington to here earlier with another fine United States senator, and that's, of course, Jim Bunning. And I appreciate his leadership and his support. (Applause.) I want to thank Ellen Williams. I want to thank State Senate President David Williams. I want to thank the members of the statehouse who are here. I appreciate the fact that Jeff Davis, candidate for the U.S. Kentucky 4th District, is with us. And, Jeff, I appreciate you putting your hat in the ring.
I appreciate all my fellow citizens. We've got some issues we've got to confront here in America, and I want to share some of them with you. A lot of these issues are going to require having the steady hand of Anne Northup in the Congress.
My job is to make America secure, to strengthen the country and make it a better place. And starting with making America a better place means we better make sure every child is educated. I don't mean a handful, or some in the suburban districts -- every child, I mean every child in America must be educated in order for America to be a better place. And I want to tell you how -- what an influence Anne Northup had in a significant piece of legislation that we passed. It's called the No Child Left Behind legislation.
That bill means what it says -- no child, not one child in America left behind. The philosophy of the bill should speak volumes to the people of this district about Anne's mentality. It first starts with understanding that every child can learn. You see, it challenges low expectations, or the soft bigotry of low expectations. When you lower the bar, when you expect mediocrity, you tend to get mediocrity. And that's not good enough for our children.
No, this bill says every child can learn. It also says the people who care more about the children in Louisville, Kentucky, are the citizens of Louisville, Kentucky. We believe strongly in local control of schools. We expect the local people to chart the path to excellence for every child -- every child -- who lives here in Louisville, Kentucky.
But inherent in this bill are two other features that I want to explain to you. One that says, if you believe every child can learn, therefore you want to know if every child is learning. And therefore, in return for a lot of federal money, we expect every school district in America to teach our children how to read and write and add and subtract. (Applause.)
And so we measure. We want to know. We expect there to be accountability. We're willing to ask the question, have you succeeded. And we're also willing to say, if you haven't we expect to see something different. We don't want our children trapped in schools -- (applause.) We won't be satisfied if our children are trapped in schools that won't teach and won't change.
But Anne's biggest contribution -- and I mean, a significant contribution -- was to fight for and get funding for a Reading First initiative. It is a federal initiative that recognizes all this talk about structuring our schools, all the talk about making sure the public education system is reformed doesn't matter a whit if our children can't read. And so, Anne, working with some of the best experts in the country, calling together the best minds, put in this bill a significant reading program, one that's not only funded for a billion dollars, but one that recognizes is a science, not an art. We know what works and we expect the curriculum around America to be in place that teaches every child how to read. (Applause.)
We've got work to do in our economy. There are some people in our country that can't find work and they want to work, and that means we've got a problem. The foundations for growth are good -- inflation is down, interest rates are down. Listen, we're the most productive workers in the world. We're really good at what we do in a lot of places. And even though there are some progress, I'm not satisfied. And one of the things I appreciate about Anne is that when we need to let people have more of their own money, to make sure that the economy didn't completely crater, and a matter of fact, to make sure that the growth started, that she joined me in fighting for tax cuts for the American people. (Applause.)
And we need her back up there. Because there are some in Washington, D.C. who want to take those tax relief plans away, see. There are some who can't stand the thought of letting the people have their money. They get confused about whose money we're talking about. We're not talking about the government's money. We're talking about the people's money. (Applause.) And the best way to make sure there are jobs available for people who work is to understand, if you let a person keep more of their own money, they're likely to demand a good or a service. And when they demand a good or a service, somebody is likely to produce a good or a service. And when somebody produces a good or a service, somebody is more likely to find work.
We need to make the tax cuts permanent. We need to make the repeal of the death tax permanent. (Applause.) And Anne understands that. She understands that. That's the kind of mentality we need in Washington.
Washington is a tough and ugly town at times. We saw that today in the United States Senate. I named a really, really fine woman from Texas to one of the appellate benches. This woman was ranked highly qualified by the American Bar Association. She ran statewide in my state of Texas and got over 80 percent of the vote. She's highly respected by Republicans and Democrats. And I named her to a higher bench. And today her nomination was rejected by the United States Senate. A handful of senators distorted her record; a handful of senators, acting out of pure politics, did not let this good woman's name go forward.
The United States Senate must act in better stead. This is a -- treating a fine woman this way is bad for the country, it's bad for our bench. And I don't appreciate it one bit, and neither do the American people. (Applause.)
I also appreciate the fact that Anne understands that the stakes are high for our future, that our country has entered into a new era, that our homeland is a battlefield, and that our most important job as a government is to protect the American people, is to do everything in our power to keep America safe, is to prevent the enemy from hitting us again. The enemy is still out there. They're people who just hate America, they just do They hate us because we love -- we love freedom. We love our values. We love the fact that our citizens can worship an almighty God freely in America. That's what we love. We love -- (applause.) We love free speech, we love a free press. We love all aspects of our freedom. And the more we love our freedom, the more they hate us.
And you've got to understand something about these people. They do not value life. In America, every life matters, every life is important, every individual counts. The enemy is willing to take innocent life because they hate, and they have no compunction in doing so. These people are people who have hijacked a great religion, distorted its tenets. And they're still out there. And so, therefore, we've got to do a lot here in America to protect our country.
And we're making good progress, we really are. There's a lot of really fine people that are communicating like they've never communicated before, that are sharing information. See, now that we're on alert, now that we know they're there, we're much better about responding. We've got people at all levels of government working overtime to chase down any lead, to make sure that any hint that somebody might do something to us is followed up on.
And that's why I went to Congress, by the way, because this is our priority, to get them to give us a new type of arrangement about how to deal with the new threat of the 21st century. Listen, I promise you I didn't run -- or you know I didn't run on vote for me, I want government to be bigger. (Laughter.) I ran on vote for me, I'll try to make it work better when it's supposed to work. And one way to make it work better is to collect the agencies involved with the homeland security and put them under one department of homeland security, so that we can make the number one priority of the people that are working hard in these agencies the protection of homeland. So that we can do a better job of protecting our borders.
We've got three agencies on our borders -- INS and Customs and Border Patrol -- and they've got different cultures and different strategies. And they ought to be working seamlessly, to find out who's coming in our country, what they're bringing in our country, and whether they're leaving the country when they say they're going to be leaving the country.
And yet, if the Senate bill goes through on homeland defense I won't have the capacity to move the right people in the right place at the right time in order to protect our homeland. We won't have the capacity to make this part of the homeland security work seamlessly. I am not going to accept a bill where the Senate micromanages, where the Senate shows they're more interested in special interest in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. (Applause.)
But the surest way to secure the homeland, the only way to fully secure our homeland, is to chase the killers down one person at a time and bring them to justice. And that's what we're going to do. (Applause.) They hide in caves and send young kids to their suicidal death. They don't have formations and flotillas. They're resourceful killers, is what they are. And so they're kind of slithering around, hiding, and trying to find a dark corner to get in. And we're shining the light on them.
It's going to take a while, see. This isn't something that's going to end anytime soon. In order to secure freedom we must keep them moving, keep disrupting. And that's why I have submitted a defense bill to the Congress which is the biggest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the President. Because I understand that this isn't going to be a short-term operation. I want to send the signal to our friends and allies that we're not quitting anytime soon. I want to send the signal to our enemy that you have aroused a compassionate and decent and mighty nation, and we're going to hunt you down.
I also asked for the increase because any time we send our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training, and the best possible equipment. (Applause.)
The House passed a defense bill, and the Senate passed a defense bill, but since they're different they've got to get together and reconcile. And so they need to start meeting today. You see, a lot of times in Washington they like to play politics with the defense bill. They like to hold it up. But I want to remind those who think they can play politics with the defense bill, the American people aren't going to stand for it in a time of war. They need to get the defense bill to my desk as soon as possible, so I can sign it. (Applause.)
And we're making good progress on our war. Sometimes you'll know it, and sometimes you won't. Remember, this is a different kind of war. We're having to adjust to the fact that sometimes we'll catch one of these killers and everybody will know about it. And sometimes you just won't know about it. (Laughter.) That's just the way it is. (Applause.)
Anne was right, we are enforcing the doctrines, however. We're enforcing the doctrines of this first war of the 21st century. One of the doctrines is, if you harbor one of these people you're just as guilty as they are. If you feed a terrorist, harbor a terrorist, hide a terrorist, you're just as guilty as those who murdered thousands of innocent citizens on September the 11th. And the Taliban found out what we meant. See, it's important in the world, when you say something, that you do it. (Applause.)
But what was important about that action was not only did we uphold doctrine, but more importantly, we liberated a country. I want you to tell your kids, if they start questioning about the motives of the United States of America, if they start to get concerned about war -- and I can understand why they would -- you can remind them that this great country went into Afghanistan not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people. And thanks to this nation, and our friends and allies, many young girls go to school for the first time in Afghanistan. (Applause.)
That's the way we think as a nation. We think about peace for our children and other people's children, and we think about liberating people. Because every life matters to us, see. Everybody counts. When I say every life matters, I'm not talking about just American lives. I mean every life around the globe. We believe in the value of human life here in America. That's what we hold -- we hold that dear to our hearts.
I also laid out a doctrine that says, either you're with us or with the enemy; either with us or with them. And a lot of times the actions that you're reading about are taking place because of friends and allies. And I'll give you one example: Gloria Arroyo, the President of the Philippines, hauled in this guy -- or actually, brought the guy to justice who was running the Abu Zubeyda group which was a group of al Qaeda type killers that had kidnapped two Americans called the Burnhams and were holding them hostage. They didn't care about their lives. One guy had lost his life. But slowly but surely, my point to you is that this coalition of nations which care for freedom and understand the stakes, are making good progress. We're hauling them in -- sometimes they're not as lucky as that -- but we're after them, one by one. And we're going to stay after them, one by one, until we win.
There are other challenges facing us. See, my job is to not only chase down those who have hit, but to anticipate. We're a battleground. We've never been a battleground before. Therefore, the stakes have changed. See, if you're not a battleground, if you don't have to worry about your people getting attacked because of vast oceans protecting you, then you can think one way. But September 11th changed thought here in America -- it should -- because now we realize the enemy is willing to take the battle here. And they're resourceful.
One of my jobs is to think ahead and to think -- is to cause debate, and I started that yesterday, to encourage the American people to listen to and have a dialogue about Iraq. And I meant it when I said that I'm going to consult with Congress. I want there to be a discussion about the threats that face America. Tomorrow I'm calling leaders in Russia, China and France to talk about the threats that face us all. I will see Tony Blair on Saturday. I'll see Jean Chretien Monday. My point to you is, not only will I consult with Congress and talk to Congress -- my administration and I will do so -- I will also see many of the leaders of the world and remind them of the facts.
The facts are, this is a man who gassed his own people, has invaded two countries, a person who stiffed the international organization time and time again.
I look forward to the debate. I look forward to the American people understanding the threats we face. But one thing is for certain -- I'm not going to change my view, and it's this -- (applause.) And my view is, we cannot let the world's worst leaders blackmail America, threaten America, or hurt America with the world's worst weapons. (Applause.)
I believe -- I believe -- I believe that good is going to come out of the evil done to America, because I know America. I know the strength of our country. I truly believe that we have an opportunity to achieve peace. These killers hit us, and in their hatred they have given us a chance to achieve peace. If we're tough and strong, if we stay focused on how to achieve peace, if we remind the world in clear terms the difference between good and evil, and speak clearly about the two, we can achieve peace. We can achieve peace not only for America, we can achieve peace for the people of Israel and Palestinians. We can achieve peace; I believe it. I believe we can achieve peace in South Asia. No, this enemy, these killers hit America. They in so doing created an opportunity to achieve peace.
They hit us at home, and out of that evil will come some incredible good. America is a compassionate country. The irony of the attacks is that America became a more compassionate place. In the face of the evil, thousands of our citizens understood that in order to fight evil they needed to do so by doing some good. That you can fight evil by loving your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourselves. That it's the gathering momentum of millions of acts of kindness and compassion which define the true character of America.
And that's happening. You see, the definition of patriotism has changed in America, for the better. A patriot is not only somebody who puts a hand on their heart, a patriot is somebody who helps somebody in need. A patriot is somebody who mentors a child. A patriot is somebody who goes to their church or synagogue and mosques and organizes a way to feed those who hunger, or house those who need shelter. A patriot is somebody who goes to a shut-in and says, I love you. A patriot is somebody who knows that somebody can't do everything, but somebody can do something to help America change one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time.
And that's happening. No, out of the evil done to America is coming a new culture, a culture which says each of us are responsible for the decisions we make. A culture which stands in stark contrast to, when I first got into politics, when it said, if it feels good just go ahead and do it here in America, and if you've got a problem blame somebody else. No, there's a new day here in this country. It's a day in which we understand that there's addiction and hopelessness and despair, and that government can hand out money -- and we do a pretty good job of it -- but what government can't do is change people's hearts, or put a sense of purpose in people's life. That's done when loving, decent, kind Americans hug a neighbor in need.
So the enemy hit us, and instead of retreating, instead of filing -- only filing a lawsuit, we decided not only to get after them, we decided not only to hold them to account, we decided that we were going to love our neighbor, just like we like to be loved ourself. And America will be a better country for it.
On September the 11th we'll mourn the loss of life, we'll remember what happened to us. And at the same time, I hope our country doubles our effort to make this land the greatest land on the face of the Earth, a hopeful place for every citizen who's fortunate enough to be a citizen. Thank you for coming. God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 1:40 P.M. EDT