09/01/04 - Remarks to the 2004 Republican National Convention

I’m proud to be from Massachusetts where John Kerry will be the junior senator until 2008. You see, I don’t believe Senator Kerry is the leader our country needs. I respect his four months under enemy fire in Vietnam. It’s John Kerry’s record in his nearly 40 years since Vietnam that’s the question. Study that record.

If you want someone who voted for tax hikes 98 times, send in John Kerry. If you think trial lawyers need more money, our economy needs more law suits, and malpractice costs should go even higher, then send in John Edwards with him.

And Senator Edwards, if you don’t like hearing that, sue me.

And if you think that during the great national policy debate of the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan was wrong and Ted Kennedy was right, then by all means send in John Kerry.

Senator Kerry now tells us he has a clear position on the war on terror. He voted no on Desert Storm in 1991 and yes on Desert Shield today. Then he voted no on troop funding, just after he’d voted yes. He’s campaigned against the war all year, but says he’d vote yes today.

This nation can’t afford presidential leadership that comes in 57 varieties.

We need a decisive president who stands his ground. We need George W. Bush.

America is under attack from almost every direction. We have been attacked by murderous terrorists here in this great city. Our employers and jobs are threatened by low-cost, highly skilled labor from abroad. American values are under attack from within.

Hard work, personal sacrifice, education, integrity and the foundation of family have been and always will be the source of our strength.

Throughout our history, when our country needed us, Americans have always stepped forward, standing up to every challenge. That’s what our parents generation did on the beaches of Normandy. We must step forward again today.

We step forward, first, by never forgetting that America is a great force for good in the world, fighting for freedom and [human rights.]

On the just war our brave soldiers are fighting to protect free people everywhere, there is no question: George W. Bush is right, and the “Blame America First” crowd is wrong.

We step forward by insisting that our schools are accountable for their successes and failures. Schools must be run by dedicated teachers and principals for the benefit of our children, not the teachers’ unions.

We step forward by insisting on Ronald Reagan’s vision of a compassionate and fiscally conservative government that promotes the opportunity of ownership and leaves more money in the hands of the taxpayers.

We step forward by entering marriage before we enter parenthood.

We step forward by expressing tolerance and respect for all God’s children, regardless of their differences and choices.

And at the same time, because every child deserves a mother and a father, we step forward by recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Americans will rise to every challenge we face.

I saw the character of our people when I ran the Olympics in Salt Lake City. I asked speed skater Derek Parra what had been his most memorable Olympic experience.

It was not winning the silver medal. It was not winning the gold medal.

It was carrying the tattered flag that had flown above the World Trade Center on September 11th into the opening ceremonies.

We had expected cheers from the 60,000-person audience as the flag entered the stadium.

Instead, total silence, complete reverence. Derek maintained his composure as the national anthem was sung.

But then the choir surprised him by singing a reprise of the last line: “Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, oe’r the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

And then, a gust of wind lifted the flag in his hands.

Derek said, it was as if it came from the countless men and women who had paid the price for America’s freedoms, a breath from above that stirred the hearts of those of us below who will always remember them.

My friends, we will move forward, safer, stronger and to better days under the courageous and compassionate leadership of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Thank you. And God Bless you.

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