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THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION | EXCERPTS

'America Sees 2 John Kerrys'

September 02, 2004|From Associated Press

Excerpts from Vice President Dick Cheney's speech to the Republican National Convention:

Mr. Chairman, delegates, distinguished guests and fellow Americans: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I am honored by your confidence. And tonight I make this pledge: I will give this campaign all that I have, and together we will make George W. Bush president for another four years.

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From kindergarten to graduation, I went to public schools, and I know that they are a key to being sure that every child has a chance to succeed and to rise in the world. When the president and I took office, our schools were shuffling too many children from grade to grade without giving them the skills and the knowledge they need. So President Bush reached across the aisle and brought both parties together to pass the most significant education reform in 40 years.

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These have been years of achievement, and we are eager for the work ahead. And in all that we do, we will never lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving the freedom and security of this nation against determined enemies.

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Just as surely as the Nazis during World War II and the Soviets during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction. As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and have no choice but to win. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander in chief, we will prevail.

The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity because terrorists had done so previously. But if the killers of Sept. 11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America and they did not know George W. Bush.

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In this election, we will decide who leads our country for the next four years. Yet there is more in the balance than that. Moments come along in history when leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long-term challenge abroad and how best to keep the American people secure.

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This nation has reached another of those defining moments. Under President Bush, we have put in place new policies and created new institutions to defend America, to stop terrorist violence at its source, and to help move the Middle East away from old hatreds and resentments and toward the lasting peace that only freedom can bring. This is the work not of months, but of years, and keeping these commitments is essential to our future security. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our history.

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The president's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Sen. [John F.] Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. History has shown that a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe, yet time and again, Sen. Kerry has made the wrong call on national security. Sen. Kerry began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed "only at the directive of the United Nations." During the 1980s, Sen. Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Sen. Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.

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Sen. Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve, as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. But as the president has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.

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A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a president, a president always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs and America has a president we can count on to get it right.

On Iraq, Sen. Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Sen. Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement and against it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it. Sen. Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys.

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