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Special Event

George W. Bush Addresses Rally in Appleton, Wisconsin

Aired October 28, 2000 - 10:45 a.m. ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Wisconsin traditionally is a swing state in presidential elections, and this year is no different. The state's 11 electoral votes are the prize in the tug of war between the Texas Governor George Bush and Vice President Al Gore, 11 votes that could be crucial just 10 days from now.

Texas Governor George Bush is in Appleton, Wisconsin, this morning. You're looking at live pictures, as he's working his way through the crowd to make it up to the podium up there on stage.

Recent polls in the state do show that Wisconsin voters rank taxes as their most important issue, an issue that Governor Bush is expected to talk about.

Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson you can see right there next to the governor. He gave a short introduction, fired up the crowd. Dick Cheney, vice presidential running mate Dick Cheney is also with the governor.

Let's listen in a bit.

And it was within the last hour there, but we brought you live coverage of Vice President Al Gore when he was speaking to folks on health care issues in Pennsylvania.

AUDIENCE: We want Bush, we want Bush, we want Bush.

GOV. TOMMY THOMPSON (R), WISCONSIN: Let's hear it.

PHILLIPS: We're now going to turn it over to Governor Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, as he introduces George Bush.

THOMPSON: Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that I haven't seen this much enthusiasm and excitement for a presidential candidate since 1980: Ronald Reagan, the next...

(APPLAUSE)

We...

(APPLAUSE)

Governor...

(APPLAUSE)

He's got to get back to Texas sometime today, so be quiet.

Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, all of the Republican candidates, Art Green (ph), our great congressman, the state senators who are here, the state representatives and the candidates for those offices and myself just want to say thank you to the crowd, 10,000 plus. And as Dick Cheney said to me a few minutes ago coming up here, he says, we should do more of these rallies in ballparks. This is really fun.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Cheney, Cheney, Cheney...

THOMPSON: Ladies and gentlemen...

AUDIENCE: ... Cheney, Cheney, Cheney...

THOMPSON: Wait a minute, I've got to introduce him.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have two outstanding Americans, and the one I...

(APPLAUSE)

THOMPSON: The one I...

(APPLAUSE)

THOMPSON: The one that I am privileged to introduce has been a friend of mine for a long time. He has served his country so admirably and with such diplomacy and such wisdom and expertise. And during that debate, I was so proud to be able to call Dick Cheney my friend. I...

(APPLAUSE)

He's the favorite son of Wyoming, but I want you to know we claim him, too, because he has some Wisconsin blood in him and some Wisconsin roots. And we are delighted to have him back home with us. And I give you a great secretary of defense, a great American, my friend, yours, the wonderful vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney. Let's give him a Wisconsin welcome.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Cheney, Cheney, Cheney...

RICHARD B. CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

AUDIENCE: ...Cheney, Cheney, Cheney...

CHENEY: We must be in Wisconsin.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, the good news is the election's only 10 days away.

(APPLAUSE)

And the other good news is that 10 days from now will mark the end of the Clinton-Gore era.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: No more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore.

CHENEY: Now we've been campaigning -- the governor and I have been campaigning all across the country, coast to coast and border to border. Earlier this week I arrived down in Memphis, Tennessee, and you know I was amazed when I got to Tennessee because there were Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. I thought that was his home state.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, we're not having a campaign in Wyoming. We're going to be OK in Wyoming, my home state.

(APPLAUSE)

We're going to carry Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

And we're going to carry Wisconsin.

(APPLAUSE)

Now I don't know how many of you got to watch the debates. I thought Governor Bush did a hell of a job in those debates.

(APPLAUSE)

Especially since he had to beat three different characters on the other side.

(APPLAUSE)

I don't know if you heard Al Gore's description of the debates. You know, he said, "A debate for a candidate like that is like a job interview with the American people." And then he said, "In the first one I was too hot and then in the second one I was too cold, but in the third one I was just right." And then he compared himself to Goldilocks.

(LAUGHTER)

Now I don't know about you, but if I was interviewing somebody for a job and he came in and sat down and compared himself to Goldilocks, I don't think I'd hire him.

(APPLAUSE)

But before I introduce the governor, I want to raise one serious subject here, though, this morning. Because this is a very important election, and the decision we make on November 7 is not only about picking a president of the United States, it's about picking the next commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces.

(APPLAUSE)

There is no more solemn obligation or duty of the president of the United States than the constitutional responsibility he has to make those life and death decisions about when we commit American troops, about when we send young men and women in harm's way, if need be, to defend our freedom. No more solemn obligation.

And there's a debate that has developed in this campaign because we've had a dispute between ourselves on the one hand and Al Gore and Joe Lieberman on the other with respect to the state of the U.S. military. And unfortunately, I think it's fair to say today that the United States military today is not nearly as well off as it was eight years ago. Anybody's who been on active duty, anybody who's active in the Guard and Reserve, anybody who's got family members out there serving today, knows whereof I speak.

And it's important for all of us to remember, as we think about that, that we're a democracy, defended by volunteers. Everybody serving on the Cole, those 17 young sailors who gave their lives the week before last, every single one of them was a volunteer. Everybody wearing the uniform out there today is a volunteer.

And that places a special obligation on the rest of us as Americans to make certain that our young men and women in uniform have the resources they need to do the job we ask them to do for all of us.

(APPLAUSE)

Now I know we've got a lot of veterans in the audience here today, and let me say on behalf of all of us here: Thank you for what you did for all of us.

(APPLAUSE)

But this debate we're having is a very important debate, because the fact of the matter is, the U.S. military is not as well off as it used to be. There's an enormous amount of evidence that can be cited to show that, that our readiness levels are down, our retention rates are down. We've dramatically shrunk the size of the force, overcommitted it and denied them the resources they need to do that very, very important piece of business.

Now Al Gore has suggested that somehow it is inappropriate for us to mention that during the course of a presidential campaign. He's dead wrong. He's dead wrong. There is no more important subject for us to address during the course of a presidential campaign than the state of the United States military.

(APPLAUSE)

Now one of the lessons I learned when I was secretary of defense is that there's very little you can do to improve the quality of the force that's there for you to deploy. The force you have to go war with was created lots of times by your predecessors and work that had been done previously.

The day after the Gulf War ended, I picked up the telephone and I called former President Reagan out in California and I thanked him for what he'd done to rebuild the U.S. military in the '80s that made it possible for us to win in the 1990s.

(APPLAUSE)

I don't think any future secretary of defense is ever likely to call Al Gore and Bill Clinton and thank them for what they did for the U.S. military. It's not going to happen.

But there is a new day, and we're going to have the opportunity, as I say, on November 7 to make that decision about who our commander in chief is going to be for the next several years.

And it is my great pride and privilege to be on the ticket with a man who I think, just like Ronald Reagan, will make us a superb president and a great commander in chief, the Honorable George W. Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

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

AUDIENCE: W, W, W.

I think what the secretary just said is: Help is on the way.

(APPLAUSE)

What a good man I picked to be the next vice president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

What a solid citizen. I'm so honored to have him by my side, I'm proud to call him friend, and this country's going to be proud to call him Mr. Vice President.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm proud to be on the stage with a fantastic governor, a man who is...

(APPLAUSE) Yes, what a good man he is, too, the kind of fellow who does in office what he said he was going to do. It's about time we had that kind of leadership in Washington, D.C.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Tommy's a good friend and a good man. And you all keep electing because he performs.

Thank you for being here, Tommy.

And thank you all for coming. It's a huge honor for Dick and me to be here in Wisconsin, a state that the people said we couldn't possibly win. Yes, but watch what happens in November.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, watch what happens on November 7.

I'm sorry my wife isn't here. You see, you can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.

(APPLAUSE)

I keep really good company. So does Dick Cheney. We both married above ourselves. And one thing is for certain, should all go well on November 7, my wife is going to be a fantastic first lady for the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, we're coming down the stretch, and I've got to tell you, our teams feel great.

(APPLAUSE)

But we're taking nothing for granted. This is a close election and I'm here to ask for your vote. Yes, I want your help.

(APPLAUSE)

I want your support. Not only do I want your vote, but Dick and I want you to help turn out the vote. You see, the team with the most energized grassroots organization is the team that's going to win. We're ready to go. Let's get to work.

(APPLAUSE)

We need your help to turn out the vote. And don't be afraid to turn to openminded Democrats, disillusioned independents, because they know we can do better in Washington, D.C. They know there's a better day ahead. They know it doesn't have to be a place of bitterness and acrimony, that Washington can be a place where we come together to get the people's business done.

Make no mistake about this, we're running against a formidable opponent. He's got the president getting ready to campaign for him.

He's the incumbent. Yes, he is so confident about his abilities he claimed he invented the Internet.

But if he was so smart, how come all the Internet addresses start with W?

(APPLAUSE)

Not only one W, but three Ws.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: W, W, W.

BUSH: Now we're on our way.

BUSH: We're on our way but we need your help, and you need to tell your friends and neighbors who haven't made up their minds yet that, one, every vote matters; but secondly, there is a big philosophical difference between what we believe and what our opponent believes.

I think, you know, this has been a campaign of a lot of humorous moments, but I think the funniest one of all may have occurred during one of our debates when my opponent really looked America in the eye through the TV cameras and with a straight face said, "I'm against big government." I could barely contain myself.

(LAUGHTER)

I knew the man was prone to exaggerations, but that one took the cake.

(APPLAUSE)

After all, when we've added up all his spending increases, when we've totalled all the promises he's made, when we've taken those promises he's made on the West Coast and added them to the promises he's made on the East Coast, he's more than spent the projected surplus. He's proposed more spending increases than Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale combined.

PHILLIPS: Live on the campaign trail in Appleton, Wisconsin, Texas Governor George Bush and his vice presidential running mate Dick Cheney speaking to a rally there. Cheney talking about the support of military resources, Bush talking about taking nothing for granted.

CNN "TRAVEL NOW" with Carolyn O'Neil is up next.

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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