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Bush Addresses Veterans at Wright State UniversityAired September 7, 2000 - 12:20 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, flanked by General Norman Schwartzcopf and General Colin Powell, speaking now at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today I am so proud to be traveling the country with General Colin Powell. He's a great American.
General Charles Krulak and Congressman Sonny Montgomery are the co-chairman of this august committee. They're leaders, and they're strong men.
When Sonny was in the United States Congress, he was a Democrat out of Mississippi. But it should say something about my candidacy that a good Democrat is willing to stand up and support a Republican when that good Democrat thinks he's right for the veterans of the country.
And there's nothing better than having a Marine by your side when you're heading into combat...
... a Marine like General Krulak, who served our country with distinguish and honor.
I had the honor of speaking to the VFW convention, and there I was introduced by the commander of the VFW, who has since retired. He's now by my side, and I'm honored to have John Smart as a part of my veterans committee. John has had great service to the veterans of this nation.
(APPLAUSE) Two other generals that served our country with distinction and honor: General Chuck Horner and Lieutenant General Carl Mutter -- Carol Mutter of the Marine Corps. Fine, fine Americans.
I'm so honored to have your support. Thank you all for being here.
I'm proud to have the generals on stage, but I'm also proud to have somebody representing the enlisted folks: Sergeant Major Gary Lee.
Gary, thank you so very much for your supporting this team as well.
There he is.
Thank you, Gary.
My running mate, as you can see, isn't with me. But when it comes to understanding the defense of our nation, morale amongst the troops, there's no better man than Dick Cheney, a man who...
I made the right pick when I picked Dick Cheney. He's a solid citizen.
And I'm really proud to call him friend. And you mark my words: You will be proud to call him Mr. Vice President.
I'd like to make a few comments and introduce two of our distinguished guests.
I take my duty seriously as the potential commander in chief. I want our military to be strong to keep the peace. There's no more noble cause than to stand in front of our nation to speak to the moms and dads and grandparents of America and say as loudly and clearly as I can: If you elect me to be your president, I will do everything in my power to keep the peace, to make the world more peaceful. But in order to do so, we need to have a military of high morale, high spirits, a military that's well-paid, well-equipped, well-housed. I will rebuild the military power of the United States in order to keep the peace.
The job of the leader is to not look just at the moment, but to anticipate the future. You'll hear the case made for men who've worn the uniform of the United States, but the signs are disturbing: recruitment goals aren't being met; we're short of equipment; we've got people on food stamps.
It is time for new leadership in Washington, D.C., that will rebuild the morale of the United States military.
Part of rebuilding the morale of the U.S. military is to keep the commitments to those that have worn our uniform.
To the veterans of the audience, I say thank you from the bottom of my hear. To the veterans of the audience, a promise made will be a promise kept when George W. Bush becomes president of the United States.
Part of rebuilding the morale of the military is to pay our pay soldiers more and house them better. Part of rebuilding the morale of the military is to have a commander in chief who clearly sets the mission -- states the mission in a plain-talking way. The mission of the United States military is to be able to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.
The mission of the United States military is not to try to solve all the difficult diplomatic questions that this country faces. We must be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. We cannot be all things to all people.
And finally, our military must understand that not only will we be well-prepared today, but should I become the commander in chief, I will seize the moment to prepare our military for the future. We have a fantastic opportunity to redefine how war is fought and won, and, therefore, have an opportunity to redefine how the peace is kept.
Our military for the future must be easier to move, harder to find, more lethal; must be able to strike long distances in short times; must use the new communications of the 21st century in order to keep the peace.
I will ask the secretary of defense to immediately begin to review our commitments for the future. I will have a culture of innovation and change within the Defense Department. I will reward officers who are willing to think about how best to spend our resources to redefine how war is fought and won.
I will seize this moment. We will have a strategic plan that will not only keep the peace for the immediate days ahead, but to keep the peace for the future. It will be a blueprint for thinking within the Pentagon. It will become a blueprint for spending in the halls of the United States Congress.
It is so important to have a leader who understands how to project a strategic vision and to say to those who hold the purse strings of our taxpayers, "We expect the expenditures of U.S. taxpayers to be done in a focused way. Not in a political way, but in a focused way that will make the United States military of the future the best it can be possibly be." That is what we owe the people of the United States, and that is what we owe those brave souls who wear the uniform of the United States of America.
That's my vision.
BLITZER: George W. Bush sounding by now a familiar theme, a theme accusing the Clinton administration of neglecting the U.S. military readiness, promising there will be a new day for the U.S. armed forces if he is elected president. Getting some support for some veterans, once again, General Colin Powell, General Norman Schwartzcopf, both of whom spoke at the Republican convention in Philadelphia in August as well.
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