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Transcript: Bush's Remarks to Unity

We've added community health centers all across the country. These are primary-care facilities for low-income Americans to get help. We want people to get help in primary-care facilities, not in emergency rooms. It's one way to help hold down costs.

BUSH: We provided health savings accounts, which will be beneficial for people from all walks of life. The tax-free health savings accounts make sure the patient and the doctor are at the center of the decision-making process in health care.

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I'm concerned about the fact that doctors all across America are leaving the practice of medicine. And one reason they are is because of the frivolous lawsuits that plague the medical profession. I think everybody ought to have their day in court when they've got a legitimate injury.

But these frivolous lawsuits are running up the cost of medicine and they're making medicine harder for people to access. We need tort reform in Washington, D.C. -- medical liability reform. And I will continue to work so on behalf of the patients and doctors of America.

Look, I understand Washington; you understand Washington. There's a powerful group up here in the trial lawyers. I don't think you can be pro-doctor and pro-patient and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. I think you've got to make your choice. And I made my choice.

I believe strongly that the Justice administration ought to enforce the civil rights laws, and we are. I'm the first president to have banned racial profiling in federal law enforcement.

I believe that the benches ought to reflect as best as possible the diversity of our country. And I believe my administration ought to, too. And I've fulfilled that commitment.

I've got people from all walks of life who advise me. My Cabinet is diverse. The people who walk into the Oval Office and say, "Mr. President, you're not looking so good today," they're diverse.

(LAUGHTER)

And I'm better off for it. I'm better off for listening from people from different walks of life.

And our bench will be too, if we can get people to have a fair hearing on the floor of the United States Senate. They need to stop playing politics with my nominees, for the sake of good justice, for the sake of diversity and for the sake of unclogging some of these federal courts that have got loaded dockets because the Senate won't approve some of my nominees.

Finally, I believe a compassionate America is one that taps into the strength of the country, and those are the hearts and souls of our people.

I'd like to remind our citizens, government can hand out money but it cannot hope in a person's heart. That happens when a loving soul puts their arms around somebody in need and says, "What can I do to help you?"

That's the whole crux of the faith and community initiative -- faith-based and community initiative that I have worked with Congress on and worked with my administration on to spread compassion in America.

Oh, I know there's a big debate here in Washington about separation of church and state, and I accept that debate. And I think it's important. The church should never be the state, and the state should never be the church; no question about it.

But when we find effective programs that are helping to save people's lives, the government ought to open up federal money to those programs for competitive bidding. We ought not to fear faith-based programs. We ought not to fear those who are willing to love their neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Shame on you, Mr. Bush!

Shame on you for your violence (ph)!

Shame on you for lying to the media and deceiving the public!

Shame on you!

BUSH: I think it's very important for the faith-based initiative to continue on, because I know we can save America one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time.

(APPLAUSE)

One of the most important initiatives is the drug rehabilitation initiative that I've asked Congress to work with me on.

Let me tell you how it works. They appropriate $100 million to help those who are hooked on drugs.

A lot of time a government counseling program can work, but a lot of time it requires a change of heart in order to change habits.

And so, therefore, a person who's desperately seeking help will be able to take a voucher and have that voucher redeemed at a program of his or her choice, faith-based or not.

We need to give people who need help the opportunity to interface with those fantastic healers and helpers that literally are saving our country one heart and one soul at a time.

I've got a duty as your president to work as hard as I can to secure our country. It's a duty that goes on.

September the 11th changed the world. It changed how we must look at our internal security.

There's some thinking in America that says if you go on the offense against the terrorists, you're creating more terrorists. That is a woeful misunderstanding of the nature of the terrorist threat.

(APPLAUSE)

These were the people who were training for years to bring harm to freedom-loving people. These were the people who gained confidence because there was no response when they wantonly killed around the world. These are people who you cannot negotiate with, you cannot bargain with.

BUSH: And these are people that you must not hope for the best. You see, they're cold-blooded killers. They will kill you, just like that, in order to create fear and intimidation.

My most solemn duty is to protect our country. I will continue to do so by hunting these killers down around the world and bringing them to justice before they hurt us here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

And as we do so, we will continue to spread freedom and peace.

I'll tell you a story about an event that took place in the Oval Office. Seven men came to see me from Iraq. They had had their right hands cut off by Saddam Hussein. You know why? Because his currency had devalued, and he needed a scapegoat. In this case, he needed seven scapegoats.

I asked one of the fellows who came in to see me, I said, "Why you?" I said, well, because he happened to have sold dinars to buy euros, I think he said, to buy gold, so he could manufacture the jewelry that he was making.

He made this transaction on, evidently, on the wrong day because the dictator picked him out. He said, "You're one of seven, and I'm cutting off your hand and burning an X in your forehead." And these were the fellows that came to see me.

They came to see me because their story was documented in Marvin Zindler -- I don't know if there's any Houstonians are here, but you know Marvin Zindler. He's a...

(APPLAUSE)

Yes. You know big Marv. Yes, sir. Born and raised in Houston. He knows me. He was brought up by Marvin Zindler, big 2 News.

He flew them over to Houston, and they got new hands. And they were coming to see me in the Oval Office. And it was a very emotional moment for all of us. Guy took a Sharpie, folded it in his new hand and wrote "God bless America" in Arabic.

You see, he said "God bless America" because he had been liberated from the clutches of a brutal tyrant who whimsically could cut off a hand.

The contrast was sharp to me about the nature of freedom, of free society and a tyrannical society. Free societies are peaceful societies. Free societies help people realize their dream. Free societies are compassionate societies.

In the Oval, I told them, I said, "You know, I'm glad you're here. It's very important for you to know that a successful president is one who realizes he's not bigger than the office, that the office of president is always bigger than the person. And that, as we help you build a free Iraq, the institutions must be bigger than the people, so that never happens to you again."

While we pursue the terrorists to protect ourselves, we must also be confident in the ideals of liberty and how freedom can change societies.

You might remember -- you cover the news -- you might remember a while back where there was doubt as to whether anybody would show up to register to vote in Afghanistan. Expectations were quite low as to how many people would dare take risk to exercise their God-given right.

BUSH: You might remember the incident when the Taliban pulled four women off a bus. They saw that they had voter IDs and killed them.

Since that time, millions of people in Afghanistan have registered to vote. I think the total is now over 8 million people are lining up to exercise their right as a citizen to participate in a free society.

The long-term solution to the world is to spread freedom and liberty, and America must continue to lead. We're the home of liberty. We believe in freedom.

Deep in my soul, I know that freedom is not America's gift to the world, freedom is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world. And I believe the United States of America must lead, must lead the world toward a more peaceful tomorrow by spreading hope and liberty in places that are desperate for freedom.

I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come today. It's my honor to be here. I look forward to answering some questions.

I'm off to shake a few hands in New Hampshire. But what the heck, it's the season, isn't it?

(LAUGHTER)

God bless you all.

(APPLAUSE)

JOIE CHEN, CBS NEWS, MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mr. President. We appreciate your being here this morning.

BUSH: By the way, it's Big 13 News, not Big 2. Thank you.

(UNKNOWN): Small difference.

BUSH: Yes, 11 numbers. Excuse me.

(LAUGHTER)

CHEN: A little addition.

Good morning, Mr. President. I'm Joie Chen with CBS News and with the Asian American Journalists Association.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: You've got quite a following out there.

CHEN: It is, after all, the season, isn't it?

(LAUGHTER)


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