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Text: Bush's Speech in Pennsylvania

Senator Kerry suggests we train Iraqi troops, which we've been doing for months. Just this week Iraqi forces backed by coalition troops fought bravely to take the city of Samarra from terrorists and Baathist insurgents.

Senator Kerry's proposing that Iraq have elections. Those elections are already scheduled for January.

(APPLAUSE)

He wants the U.N. to be involved in those elections. Well, the U.N. is already there.

There was one element of Senator Kerry's plan that's a new element. He's talked about artificial timetables to pull our troops out of Iraq.

He sent the signal that America's overriding goal in Iraq would be to leave even if the job isn't done. That may satisfy his political needs, but it complicates the essential work we're doing in Iraq.

The Iraqi people need to know that America will not cut and run when their freedom is at stake. Our soldiers and Marines need to know that America will honor their service and sacrifice by completing the mission. And our enemies in Iraq need to know that they can never outlast the will of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Kerry assures us that he's the one to win a war he calls a mistake, an error and a diversion. But you can't win a war if you don't believe in fighting.

(APPLAUSE)

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat. I have a strategy of victory.

(APPLAUSE)

We returned sovereignty to the Iraqi people ahead of schedule. We've trained about 100,000 Iraqi soldiers police officers and other security personnel and that total will rise to 125,000 by year-end.

We've already allocated more than $7 billion for reconstruction efforts so more Iraqis can see the benefits of freedom.

And although the terrorists will try to stop them, Iraq will hold free elections in January, because the Iraqi people want and deserve to govern themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

I understand some Americans have strong concerns about our role in Iraq. I respect the fact that they take this issue seriously, because it is a serious matter.

I assure them we're in Iraq because I deeply believe it is necessary and right and critical to the outcome of the war on terror.

If another terror regime were allowed to emerge in Iraq, the terrorists would find a home, a source of funding, vital support. They would correctly conclude that free nations do not have the will to defend themselves.

If Iraq becomes a free society at the heart of the Middle East, an ally in the war on terror, a model of hopeful reform in a region that needs hopeful reform, the terrorists will suffer a crushing defeat and every free nation will be more secure.

(APPLAUSE)

This is why Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman calls Iraq, a crucial battle in the global war on terrorism.

This is why Prime Minister Tony Blair has called the struggle in Iraq, the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined.

This is why the terrorists are fighting with desperate cruelty. They know their own future is at stake.

Iraq is no diversion. It is the place where civilization is taking a decisive stand against chaos and terror. And we must not waver.

(APPLAUSE)

Unfortunately, my opponent has been known to waver. His well-chosen words and rationalizations cannot explain why he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein and then voted against money for bullets and vehicles and body armor for the troops on the ground. He tried to clear it all up by saying, I actually did vote for the $87 billion dollars before I voted against it.

(LAUGHTER)

Now he says he made a mistake in how he talked about the war.

The mistake here is not what Senator Kerry said, the mistake is what he did in voting against funding for Americans in combat.

(APPLAUSE)

That is the kind of wavering a nation at war can never afford.

As a candidate, my opponent promises to defend America. The problem is that the senator, for two decades, he has built a record of weakness.

The record shows he twice led efforts to gut our intelligence service budgets. The record shows he voted against many of the weapons that won the Cold War and are vital to current military operations. And the record shows he has voted more than 50 times against missile defense systems that would help protect us from the threats of a dangerous world.

I have a record in office as well and all Americans have seen that record.

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the twin towers and it's a day I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me, Whatever it takes.

(APPLAUSE)

These men and women there took it personally. You took it personally. I took it personally.

I have a responsibility that goes on. I wake up every morning thinking about how to make our country more secure. I have acted again and again to protect our people. I will never relent in defending America whatever it takes.

(APPLAUSE)

Twenty-seven days from today Americans will make a critical choice.

My opponent offers an agenda that is stuck in the thinking and the policies of the past. On national security, he offers the defensive mindset of September the 10th: a global test to replace American leadership, a strategy of retreat in Iraq and a 20-year history of weakness in the United States Senate.

Here at home, he offers a record and an agenda of more taxes and more spending and more litigation and more government control over your life.

The race for president is a contest for the future, and you know where I stand.

I'm running for president to keep this nation on the offensive against terrorists, with the goal of total victory.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm running for president to keep this economy moving so every worker has a good job and quality health care and a secure retirement.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm running for president to make our nation a more compassionate society, where no one is left out, where every life matters.

I will carry this message to my fellow citizens in the closing days of this campaign. And with your help, we will win a great victory on November the 2nd.

God bless. God bless our great country.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you all. Thanks for coming.


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