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Special Event

Bush Holds Campaign Rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Aired October 26, 2000 - 12:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: As we continue to track politics in the United States and dropping in on a number of live events around the country, we want to take you to Pittsburgh now. Here you see former Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell speaking. He precedes George W. Bush. We are going to listen to some of both speeches now, as we join the event.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEN. COLIN POWELL, FMR. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: ... under a Bush administration. There's no doubt in my mind about that. But it will be a strategy that fundamentally rests on what is best for the American people and how can we help people throughout the world to achieve what we have been able to achieve.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

And so here today, once again, in Pennsylvania, Governor Bush presents himself to you. A person of character. A man of principle. A man who will bring responsible leadership to the demands and challenges of the 21st century. A man we will be proud to call president.

Please help me in welcoming Governor George W. Bush, the next president of the United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all very much. Thank you all.

(APPLAUSE)

It is good to be back here in Pennsylvania.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you all very much. Thank you all.

We're coming down to the wire. We're in the stretch run. And I can't think of a better way to boost my spirits and keep this drive alive than to be introduced by a fabulous American named Colin Powell.

(APPLAUSE) I am honored to have you on my team. I am honored, and America's honored to have you as one of our leading citizens.

Plus, I like your governor. He's a pretty good fellow. Matter of fact, he's one of my favorite governors. What a good man he is.

(APPLAUSE)

He's the kind of fellow you want to be in the trenches with when you go to combat. And we're in combat here in the state of Pennsylvania.

But make no mistake about it: If we do our job on November 7, Pennsylvania will be Bush-Cheney country.

(APPLAUSE)

I've got some serious remarks I'd like to make about leadership and my vision of leadership, but before I do, I've got some serious political remarks to make, too, and it's this: I'm here asking for the vote. I'm here in western Pennsylvania, coming to this good part of the country, saying to both Republicans and Democrats and independents: I want your vote, I want you on my side come to voting time.

(APPLAUSE)

But as we're heading down the stretch, with less than two weeks to go, I'm also wise enough to come and ask for your help. I want you to join this campaign in reaching out across the neighborhoods all across western Pennsylvania and turn out the vote.

You're going to be liking what you hear and what you see when you start reaching out to people, because you know what? People from all walks of life in this important part of this important state understand, we can do better in Washington, D.C. It doesn't have to be that way, the way it is today. There's a better day ahead for tomorrow. Join me in this campaign to turn out a huge vote and we're going to carry the great state of Pennsylvania come November the 7th.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm so sorry my wife isn't here with me. Yes, I know. Well, that's the way it goes.

(LAUGHTER)

The reason why is I know you can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.

(APPLAUSE)

I keep really good company. Laura's going to be a fabulous first lady for America.

(APPLAUSE) I'm so proud of her. I'm so proud of her. America's going to love her as much as I do, which is a whole lot. She's at home in Austin with our daughters. She'll be back on the road here pretty soon.

And they say, the people who look at me pretty closely say, well, you know, I campaign a lot better when she's by my side, and that's true. We got a great, great relationship. And matter of fact, our marriage is even stronger than it was before after this campaign. Yes, and it was strong to begin with. What a good soul. I'm so proud of her, so proud of her.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm also proud of being on the stage with three recipients of the Medal of Honor. You all have welcomed them before. These are brave men.

(APPLAUSE)

These are men who are traveling with us. Last time I saw them was in Jacksonville, Florida, two nights ago. These are American patriots, which reminds me of my solemn obligation should I be the commander in chief, and that's to remember the sacrifices for those who have worn our uniform in the past. Remember bravery. Remember the fact that folks have fought for freedom. Remember that this nation's greatest export to the world is freedom.

And remember we have an obligation to those who have worn our uniform in the past to remain militarily strong so we can keep the peace in the future.

(APPLAUSE)

We will rebuild the military power of the United States of America. And while we're at it, we will keep our promises to America's veterans as well.

(APPLAUSE)

From the first day of this campaign, I talked about the goal of a responsibility era for America. And even before that, it was one of my priorities as governor. For too long, our culture has sent this message: If it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, just go ahead and blame somebody else.

Each of us must understand that's not right. Each of us must understand that we're responsible for the decisions and choices we make in life.

(APPLAUSE)

Around campaign time, the responsibility era is not merely a set of political promises, it's a set of challenges for the American people and for their government. It is not something a president can do alone. It is something that this nation must do together. Each citizen,each citizen, is responsible for loving the children that he or she brings into this world, to love them and to teach them right from wrong.

(APPLAUSE)

It is so important for this nation to remember that the character of our children is the destiny of our nation. Churches and synagogues...

(APPLAUSE)

Churches, synagogues and mosques are responsible, not only to worship but also to serve. Charities and community groups are not our last resort. They're this nation's best hope. Communities...

(APPLAUSE)

Communities are responsible to educate children of every background and to help those in need. This is the kind of country we want to be: a country of strong communities and self-governing citizens. And this is the kind of country our government should encourage.

In helping families and communities, we should give them options, not orders. We should trust people with responsibility.

(APPLAUSE)

We should help people live their lives, not try to run their lives.

(APPLAUSE)

On the major issues before America, this is the choice: I believe younger workers, for example, should be trusted to invest some of their own payroll tax for their own retirement.

(APPLAUSE)

It is necessary, and it's going to be a part of a stronger Social Security system that will build personal wealth and independence. My opponent, he's opposed to trusting workers to manage some of their own money.

I believe education is a national priority, but it's also a local responsibility. I want to give schools the resources and authority to chart their own path to excellence. My opponent thinks Washington knows best.

I believe that when children, low-income children, are trapped in failing schools, their parents should be trusted to make other choices.

(APPLAUSE)

My opponent would deny them those options. I believe that seniors should have a better Medicare system with prescription drugs, access to the latest medical technology and more control over their health care. My opponent thinks differently; he has a one-size-fits-all answer, dictated by Washington from Washington.

I believe that every American deserves tax relief and a tax cut.

(APPLAUSE)

My opponent offers tax cuts for only the few and the favored, for those he calls the right people. And even his right people only get tax cuts when they do what the government says they ought to do.

I don't believe a president, by the way, should choose right Americans. All Americans are the right people in our vision.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe in supporting the good work of churches and synagogues and charities in communities all across America. My opponent calls their work -- and he did so during this campaign -- the crumbs of compassion and looks to government instead.

I trust people and communities with responsibility. And my proposals, time after time, help them meet those responsibilities in very practical ways.

There's a big difference in this campaign. I'm running against a man who would expand government more than we have seen in 35 years, and that's a threat to prosperity. But the problem runs even deeper. Even if we could afford to pay for the vice president's ideas, they would still be the wrong ideas.

(APPLAUSE)

They would be the failed policies of the past.

For decades, we've tried to solve problems with rules and mandates from distant bureaucracies, and theories from far away federal experts. But that doesn't solve communities problems. It doesn't answer the need. My opponent is promoting a big buildup of big government. Make no mistake about it: more spending, more programs, more of Washington talking down to us and thinking on our behalf.

I believe government works best when it relies on the good judgment and common sense of the people themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

Americans are not asking for a bigger, more intrusive government. We deserve a government that gives us the tools to dream and build and prosper on our own.

(APPLAUSE) In a responsibility era, government must trust the people.

(APPLAUSE)

And in return, in a responsibility era, people should also be able to trust their government.

(APPLAUSE)

Public officials should call on Americans to be responsible. But lectures do not replace leadership; leaders must lead by example.

(APPLAUSE)

Leaders must be responsible. And in our great democracy, the top responsibility rests with the president of the United States. I'm prepared to assume this awesome responsibility, and I will be guided by principles and convictions that will not change.

(APPLAUSE)

When I ran for governor of Texas, I told my fellow Texans that I'd be guided by four fundamental principles. They shaped decisions I had made as governor, and they will shape decisions I make as president of the United States. I believe our government should be limited and efficient. I believe in local control, because local people know better than anyone else the needs for their schools and their communities. I believe all laws and public policy should support strong families. And I believe in individual responsibility, that all individuals are responsible for their actions and for their decisions.

Responsible leadership is the most important task of an American president.

(APPLAUSE)

And it should be, and it should be the most important question Americans ask before they vote: What kind of leader will a potential president be?

A responsible leader sets a clear agenda and brings people together to achieve it. A leader accepts responsibility and is willing to share credit. A leader stands on principle. And a good leader's predictable. He doesn't try to be all things to all people or...

(APPLAUSE)

He doesn't change personalities, say, for a different debate.

(APPLAUSE)

Leaders get things done, and they realize they cannot do it alone so they surround themselves with good people and build a strong team.

(APPLAUSE)

Responsible leaders confront problems. They don't pass them along to others.

Leaders are never content with the status quo. They look down the road, anticipate and prepare for new challenges and new opportunities.

And good leaders create a climate of honesty and integrity.

(APPLAUSE)

And my friends, our nation needs leadership, because even in these good times, we face big challenges.

On Social Security, the crisis is coming. It will be in the red within a couple of decades, bankrupt by 2037. On education, the crisis is here -- stagnating scores and American students who perform near the bottom among industrialized nations.

On both of these issues, the current administration has left faint footprints, making time, not making progress. On both of these issues, my opponent would add four years of drift to eight years of failed leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

His idea is to issue government IOUs to fill the Social Security trust fund, a massive transfer from one government pocket to another. These IOUs amount to $40 trillion. But IOUs don't pay benefits and eventually they will come due. Our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay them with massive new taxes or major cuts in benefits.

It is not responsible leadership to deny future generations a chance to have secure retirement...

(APPLAUSE)

... all for the political purpose of frightening the greatest generation into believe that reform is their enemy. Pitting grandparents against grandchildren is the worst kind of old-style politics.

(APPLAUSE)

And as importantly, it is a failure of leadership. There was a time when leaders spoke of passing the torch to a new generation of Americans.

On Social Security, my opponent would pass the buck and the bill to the next generation of Americans, leaving trillions in debts to voters he will never face.

Education is a similar story. He talks about reform, and he talks and talk and talks.

(APPLAUSE)

But for eight years, there's been little progress, few results, and his current proposals really don't require any.

Now he's attacking our successes in Texas in boosting student achievement, aligning himself with the voices of the status quo -- those who oppose testing, and thereby revealing his true stripes.

During our debate, he claimed to support accountability. But unless you measure, unless you test every child, every year from 3rd to 8th grade, reform is an illusion.

The vice president and the forces of the status quo find lots of excuses to avoid accountability. But without accountability, standards are just scraps of paper and parents will never know if their children are learning.

(APPLAUSE)

Vice President Gore's plan has no new accountability, and in too many schools, this will mean another generation of children lost to the soft bigotry of low expectations. This is not my idea of leadership. When you govern by focus groups and act for interests groups, you cannot confront real problems in America.

(APPLAUSE)

When you wait for the latest polls to point the way, you cannot lead. When you hold your finger to the wind, you cannot put your finger on a problem. And when you hold on to power, for power's sake, you cannot govern.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe when it's all said and done, America will realize my opponent's campaign is a fitting close to the Clinton-Gore years.

(APPLAUSE)

They're going out as they came in: their guide, the nightly polls; their goal, the morning headlines; their legacy, the fruitless search for a legacy.

(APPLAUSE)

Should I earn the confidence of the American people and become your president, I am going to confront the hard issues. I'm not going to leave Social Security as a problem for others to solve. My plan strengthens Social Security by increasing the rate of return that younger workers get on payroll taxes they pay into the system.

(APPLAUSE)

Ours is a vision that will create real assets and a more secure retirement for the next generation.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I know the Social Security issue is supposed to be what they call the third rail of American politics. You know, the one that shocks you when you touch it. And more than one person advised me before I got running to stay away from this issue.

But I'm running for a reason. I just don't want to hold the job. I understand if you don't touch it, you cannot fix it. And I intend to fix Social Security when I become the president.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'll also lead on education. I want the best public schools in the world. And we will no longer fund failure in my administration.

(APPLAUSE)

In return for federal money, we will insist local jurisdictions test every year. We'll raise the bar and require strong results for our children.

I believe our public schools will rise to the occasion, just as they have in my state of Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

But if schools do not teach and will not change, instead of accepting the status quo, we will give parents better options, different choices.

(APPLAUSE)

We'll leave no child behind in America. And that's what accountability means. And that's what leadership demands.

Responsible leadership does more than just sets an agenda; it sets a tone of civility and bipartisanship to get things done on behalf of the American people. In recent years, there's been too much argument in Washington and not enough discussion.

Too many standoffs and showdowns and shutdowns. Too much deadlock and gridlock. And Americans do not like what they see.

My opponent, in the course of this campaign, has set a tone about what he's going to be, should he win. He talked about ripping the lungs out of political advisories. Part of his campaign headquarters is called, incredibly enough, "the slaughterhouse," and his staff proudly calls itself a band, and I quote, "of killers." That's political killers, of course.

This is a sample of what we could expect: a bitter and negative tone that has nearly destroyed bipartisanship in our nation's capital -- the same attack politics that have disillusioned so many Americans, especially young Americans who want to believe in a cause larger than ourselves. But, folks, as you go together to vote, I want you to remind people, it doesn't have to be this way in Washington, D.C.

(APPLAUSE)

The last eight years are an example of what the next eight years will be. I'll change the tone of Washington. I'll change the tone of this nation's capital to call upon a better day tomorrow.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will bring good people to our nation's capital and surround myself with a strong team of capable leaders. I sent such a clear signal of my intentions when I named a great citizen to be my running mate, Mr. Dick Cheney.

(APPLAUSE)

It would be presumptuous for me to name other names for the people of this land have spoken, but I do have great respect for the man who introduced me today.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, it would be presumptuous to name names, and I do have great respect, but I hope his greatest days for service to his country might still lie ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

We're coming down the stretch, and I feel great about our chances. I feel great about our chances because the American people know the difference in philosophy, because the American people understand there's a better day ahead for this great country.

And should I earn the confidence of the American people, I'll work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done on behalf of the American people. We won't always agree in Washington, D.C.; I understand that. But I will work to keep our disagreements respectful. And I'll work to find common ground. I will do everything I can to restore civility to our national politics, a respect for honest differences and a decent regard for one another.

I know you can't take the politics out of politics. I'm from Texas; I'm a realist. But I'm convinced our government can show more courage in confronting hard problems, more goodwill toward the other side and more integrity in the exercise of power. This isn't always easy, but it's always important.

It's what the people expect of their leaders, and it's what leaders must require of themselves. My administration will provide responsible leadership.

SESNO: We have been bringing you a piece of the stump speech from George W. Bush. He is speaking in Pittsburgh right now. You heard him make reference to Colin Powell, who introduced him. We will be bringing you a bit of equal time later in the day, Al Gore, the vice president, in a speech from Davenport, Iowa. That is about 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Hear what he sounds like and what he is saying today out on the campaign trail as well.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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