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Text: Remarks by Gov. George Pataki at the Republican National Convention

FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Thursday, September 2, 2004; 10:39 PM

The following are remarks by Governor George Pataki at the 2004 Republican National Convention:

PATAKI: Thank you, delegates and friends.

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I've been governor of this state for 10 years, through challenge...

(APPLAUSE)

... through challenge and triumph. And tonight is a great New York night.

I'm going to be brief, because tonight we hear from President George W. Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

The past few evenings we've spoken of September 11th, of our heroes and of those we lost.

But there's a part of this story that has never fully been told. I'd like to tell it.

After September 11th, our tourism industry was hit hard. Do you know what the people of Oregon did? A thousand people from Oregon came to New York and rented 1,000 hotel rooms so our workers and desk clerks and waiters could keep their jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: Where is the Oregon delegation? 

Oregon, please stand? Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

After September 11th, the people of Iowa heard that our guys at Ground Zero were getting cold, working through the night. So Iowa rushed 1,500 quilts to help keep them warm.

Iowa delegation will you please stand? Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Pennsylvania, where are you?

(APPLAUSE)

Five brothers in your state -- five brothers in your state had been saving for years to go to Disney World. They had saved almost $900. 

After September 11th, the boys drove to Brooklyn to a fire house that just lost eight men. They gave their Disney World money to the relief fund.

Pennsylvania, you raised those boys. 

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: Please stand. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I could tell a story like this about every single state in the country. But there was, of course, another state.

It woke up one morning and walked the kids to school, and suddenly the streets were full of sirens and there was fire in the sky.

You know what they did, the people of this state?

They charged into the towers. They stood on line like soldiers to give blood.

And then, in the days and nights that followed, the tough men and women of our great city came forward.

They quieted the fire and dug us out of grief. They got into trucks and went to Ground Zero, the construction workers and iron workers, our police officers and firefighters.

And the people of our city stood in the dark each night, waving flags, and calling out, "God bless you," as the trucks hurtled by.

And the men and women on those trucks waved back as if to say, "Hey, no problem."

This great state rolled up its sleeves, looked terrorism straight in the face and spat in its eye.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you New York.

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: On that terrible day, a nation became a neighborhood. All Americans became New Yorkers.

So what I've wanted to do for a long time was to say thank you, in front of our country, and with our children watching.

Thank you, America, from the very bottom of New York's heart.

(APPLAUSE)

And now, we have some business to do.

Every four years people say, "This is the most important election of our lifetime." This time it's true.

We have a choice between two very different men, different views, different histories. 

I know them both. We were at college together, the president a year behind me, Senator Kerry a year ahead.

John Kerry was head of the Liberal Union, I was head of the Conservative Union.

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: We never got to debate back then. But the senator has asked for a full and frank discussion. Well, let's start now.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to help voters compare President Bush's record of achievement with Senator Kerry's. That way they'll be able to see the difference, which is that President Bush has a record of achievement.

(APPLAUSE)

Almost four years ago, George W. Bush raised his right hand and took the oath of office. And from the first, he showed us something we hadn't seen in a while. When he said he was going to do something, he meant it. And then he did it. 

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: Given recent history, that's amazing.

He inherited a recession. And then came September 11th. But George Bush said he would turn around the economy and create new jobs.

He said he'd do it. And he did.

(APPLAUSE)

He said he would cut taxes on the middle class and ease the tax burden on all Americans.

He said he'd do it. And he did.

(APPLAUSE)

He said he'd help small businesses, protect Social Security and expand home ownership.

He said he'd do it. And he did.

He said he'd apply tougher standards to our schools. He'd help our seniors get the prescription drug coverage they need.

He said he'd do it. And he did.

And George Bush said he'd fight to allow the power of faith to help our young and help our troubled.

He said he'd do it. And he did. 

There's much more, but you get the point.

PATAKI: George W. Bush says what he means, he means what he says. You can trust him.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, what can we say of Senator Kerry? He was for the war and then he was against the war. He was for it, but he wouldn't fund it. Then he'd fund it, but he wasn't for it. He was for the Patriot Act until he was against the Patriot Act. Or was he against it until he was for it? I forget. He probably does, too.

(APPLAUSE)

This is a candidate who has to Google his own name to find out where he stands.

(APPLAUSE)

You saw their convention a few weeks ago. They had a slogan: "Hope is on the way." But with all their flip-flopping and zig- zagging their real slogan should be, "Hype is on the way."

(APPLAUSE)

You know, as Republicans we're lucky. 

PATAKI: This fall we're going to win one for the Gipper.

(APPLAUSE)

But our opponents, they're going lose one with the Flipper.

(APPLAUSE)

I thank God that on September 11th, we had a president who didn't wring his hands and wonder what America had done wrong to deserve this attack.

I thank God we had a president who understood that America was attacked, not for what we had done wrong, but for what we do right.

(APPLAUSE)

The president took strong action to protect our country. That sounds like something any president would do. How I wish that were so.

You know the history. Osama bin Laden declared war on America -- and then came the attacks -- the first World Trade Center, the embassies, the USS Cole, hundreds dead, thousands injured.

PATAKI: How I wish the administration at that time, in those years, had done something.

(APPLAUSE)

How I wished they had moved to protect us. But they didn't do it.

On September 11th, al Qaeda attacked again. But this time they made a terrible mistake. There's one thing they didn't bank on. They didn't bank on George W. Bush. 

(APPLAUSE)

He didn't run from history. He didn't run from history; he faced it. 

George Bush raised our spirits. He came to New York, and stood on that smoking heap, looked at our heroes and said: I can hear you, and soon the whole world will hear you.

PATAKI: He declared a new doctrine: The United States would find and remove terrorists, whoever they are and wherever they are. And if you harbor them, there will be hell to pay.

(APPLAUSE)

He mobilized our forces and went to Afghanistan, where the United States fought and won a war.

Al Qaida camps were pulverized, the Taliban deposed.

George Bush protected our country, and he protects it still.

(APPLAUSE)

With supreme guts and rightness, President Bush went into Iraq. The U.S. had asked for peace, went to the U.N. time and again, asked Saddam to step aside. But Saddam would not be moved.

So President Bush moved him.

Our American troops, our citizen soldiers, and the coalition of the willing moved him. And soon a dictator who had used poison gas on his own people was found cowering in the earth.

Some people have called this an abuse of power. I call it progress.

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: There are those who still say that there was no reason to liberate Iraq. They ask about weapons of mass destruction.

On September 11th in New York we learned that in the hands of a monster, a box cutter is a weapon of mass destruction.

And Saddam Hussein was a monster, a walking, talking weapon of mass destruction.

It is good for the world that he is gone.

(APPLAUSE)

Where does Senator Kerry stand on all this? In Boston, he said that in the future "any attack would be met with a swift and certain response."

Well, respectfully, Senator, that's not good enough. We've already been attacked, time and again.

And President Bush understands we can't just wait for the next attack. We have to go after them, in their training camps, in their hiding places, in their spider holes, before they have the chance to attack us again.

(APPLAUSE)

PATAKI: Senator Kerry says -- Senator Kerry says, "America should go to war not when it wants to go to war but when it has to go to war."

Well, Senator, the firefighters and cops who ran into those burning towers and died on September 11th didn't want to go to war. They were heroes in a war they didn't even know existed. America did not choose this war. But we have a president who chooses to win it.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.

PATAKI: This is no ordinary time. This is no ordinary time. The stakes could not be higher. Fate has handed our generation a grave new threat to freedom. And fortune has given us a leader who will defend that freedom. This is no ordinary time.

And George W. Bush is no ordinary leader.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm a New Yorker. 

PATAKI: I'm a New Yorker. We've got a lot of feeling deep down, though we don't always show it.

But let me ask you: What is this election about if it isn't about our love of freedom?

A love for all we are, and can be -- for that old Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, for Constitution Hall, for that island, Ellis Island, where the whole world's people came to share in our freedom.

And love, too, for that statue in New York's great grand harbor. That noble statue that greeted the lonely, and seemed by her very grandeur to be telling them, "Take heart, take heart, it's going to be better here."

We had to close her down after September 11th. But we opened her again a few weeks ago.

That was a good day.

(APPLAUSE)

And now she stands, tall and immovable, lighting the way to dreams, that symbol of hope, that Statue of Liberty.

Ladies and gentlemen, on this night and in this fight there is another who holds high that torch of freedom. He is one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge. And he is lighting the way to better times, a safer land, and hope.

He is my friend, he is our president, President George W. Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.


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