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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Speaks in Trenton, New Jersey

Aired September 23, 2002 - 10:26   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's cut away and go to New Jersey, Trent, New Jersey specifically. President Bush, we just saw him beginning his remarks moments ago. Let's listen in now.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're willing to kill in the name of a great religion.

(APPLAUSE)

And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value every human life, they're going to try to hurt us. And so our most important job is to defend the freedom, defend the homeland, is to make sure what happened on September 11 doesn't happen again. We must do everything we can, everything in our power to keep America safe.

There are a lot of good people working hard to keep you safe. There are people at the federal level and at the state level, a lot of fine folks here at the local level doing everything we can to run down every lead. If we find any kind of hint, we're moving on it, all within the confines and all within the structure of the United States Constitution. We're chasing down every possible lead, because we understand there's an enemy out there which hates America.

I asked the Congress to work with me to come up with a new Department of Homeland Security to make sure that not only can this administration function better, but future administrations will be able to deal with the true threats we face as we get into the 21st century; a homeland security department which takes over 100 different agencies and brings them under one umbrella so that there's a single priority and a new culture all aimed at dealing with the threats. I mean, after all on our border we need to know who's coming into America, what they're bringing into America, are they leaving when they're supposed to be leaving America.

Yet when you look at the border...

(APPLAUSE)

Yet when you look at the border there are three different federal agencies dealing with the border. There's Customs and INS and Border Patrol. And sometimes they work together and sometimes they don't. They don't.

They've got different work rules. They've got different customs. Sometimes they have different strategies. And that's not right. So I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary to be able to deal with the true threats of the 21st century by being able to move the right people to the right place at the right time so we can better assure America we're doing everything possible.

The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. I will not accept a Department of Homeland Security that does not allow this president and future presidents to better keep the American people secure.

(APPLAUSE)

And people are working hard to get it right in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats. See, this isn't a partisan issue. This is an American issue. This is an issue which is vital to our future. It'll help us determine how secure we'll be.

Senator Gramm, a Republican, Senator Miller, a Democrat, are working hard to bring people together, and the Senate must listen to them. It's a good bill. It's a bill I can accept. It's a bill that will make America more secure, and anything less than that is a bill which I will not accept. It's a bill which I will not saddle this administration and future administrations with allowing the United States Senate to micro-manage the process. The enemy is too quick for that.

We must be flexible. We must be strong. We must be ready to take the enemy on anywhere he decides to hit us, whether it's America or anywhere else in the globe.

(APPLAUSE)

But the best way to secure our homeland, the only sure way to make sure our children are free and our children's children are free, is to hunt the killers down wherever they hide -- is to hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

(APPLAUSE)

Far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter how long it takes. See, we're talking about our freedom and our future. There's no cave deep enough, as far as I'm concerned, and there's no cave deep enough as far as the United States military is concerned either.

I want you all know, if you wear the uniform of our great country, I'm proud of you. I've got confidence in you. I believe that you can handle any mission.

(APPLAUSE)

No, it's a different kind of war than our nation has seen in the past. One thing that's different is oceans no longer keep us safe. The second thing is, in the old days you could measure progress by looking at how many tanks the enemy had one day and how many he had the next day, and whether or not his airplanes were flying, or whether or not his ships were floating on the seas. It's a different kind of war. And America has begun to adjust its thinking about this kind of war .

See, this is the kind of war where the leaders of the enemy hide. They go into big cities or, as I mentioned, caves, and they send youngsters to their suicidal death. It's the kind of war we're having. It's not measured in equipment destroyed. It's going to be measured in people brought to justice.

And we're making progress. I had made it clear to the world that either you're with us or you're with the enemy, and that doctrine still stands. And as a result...

(APPLAUSE)

And as a result of the hard work by our United States military and the militaries and law enforcement officers of other countries, we've arrested or brought to justice couple of thousand or more. Slowly but surely, we're finding them where they think they can hide.

We brought in one of them the other day. He thought he was going to be the 20th hijacker; at least he was bragging that way. I don't know if he's bragging now. But see, he thought he was immune. He thought he was invisible. He thought he could hide from the long arm of justice. And like many -- about the like number haven't been so lucky as the 20th hijacker. They met their fate. We're getting them on the run, and we're keeping them on the run. There's going to be -- as part of our doctrine we're going to make sure that there's no place for them to light, no place for them to hide. These are haters and they're killers.

And we owe it to the American people, and we owe it to our friends and allies, to pursue them no matter where they try to hide.

And that's why I asked the Congress for the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was the president. I did so because I firmly believe that anytime we commit our troops into harm's way, you deserve the best pay, the best training and the best possible equipment.

(APPLAUSE)

I also asked for a large increase because I want to send a clear signal to the rest of the world that we're in this for the long haul, that there is no calendar on my desk that says by such and such a date we're going to quit, that by such and such a date we will all have grown weary, we're too tired, and therefore, we're coming home. That's not the way we think in America.

See, we understand obligation and responsibility. We have a responsibility to our children to fight for freedom. We have a responsibility to our citizens to defend the homeland.

And that not only means dealing with real, immediate threats, it also means anticipating threats before they occur, before things happen. It means we got to look out into the future and understand the new world in which we live and deal with threats before it's too late.

And that's why I went to the United Nations the other day, and I said to the United Nations, we have a true threat that faces America, a threat that faces the world and a threat which diminishes your capacity.

And I'm talking about Iraq. That country has got a leader which has attacked two nations in the neighborhood. A leader who has killed thousands of people. A leader who is brutal -- see, remember, we believe every life matters and every life is precious. A leader, if there is dissent, will kill the dissenter. A leader who told the United Nations and the world he would not develop weapons of mass destruction and for 11 long years has stiffed the world.

He looked at the United Nations and said: This is a paper tiger, their resolutions mean nothing. For 11 years he has deceived and denied. For 11 years he's claimed he has had no weapons, yet we know he has.

So I went to the United Nations and said: Either you can become the League of Nations, either you can become an organization which is nothing but a debating society, or you can be an organization which is robust enough and strong enough to help keep the peace -- your choice.

But I also told them that if they would not act, if they would not deal with this true threat we face in America, if they would not recognize that America is no longer protected by oceans, and that this man is the man who would use weapons of mass destruction at the drop of a hat, a man who would be willing to team up with terrorist organizations with weapons of mass destruction to threaten America and our allies, if they wouldn't act, the United States will. We will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to see strong resolutions coming out of that U.N. A resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone. A resolution which will hold this man to account. A resolution which will allow freedom-loving countries to disarm Saddam Hussein before he threatens his neighborhood, before he threatens freedom, before he threatens America and before he threatens civilization. We owe it to our children and we owe it to our grandchildren to keep this nation strong and free.

(APPLAUSE)

And as we work to make America a stronger place and a safer place, we always must remember that we got to work to make America a better place, too, a better place. And that starts with making sure every single child in America gets a great education.

Make sure that every child...

(APPLAUSE) Make sure that we focus on each child, every child. It says we expect and believe our children can learn to read and write and add and subtract.

HARRIS: We are going to move on President Bush's remarks in Trenton, New Jersey this morning. We were listening to see whether or not there would be any new words coming from the president with the case he is making for establishing a tougher policy on Iraq. We did hear him say that the threats that face this country, the needs to address the threats require the largest increase in defense spending since the Reagan administration, and not just the immediate threats. We should worry about and also dealing with threats before they materialize.

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