George W. Bush on Principles & Values

Faith helps me in service to people

All presidents of the United States have come to the National Prayer Breakfast, regardless of their religious views.

No matter what our background, in prayer, we share something universal -- a desire to speak and listen to our maker, and to know his plan for our lives.

An American president serves people of every faith, and serves some with no faith at all. I have found my faith helps me in the service to people. Faith teaches humility.

Source: Remarks at National Prayer Breakfast Feb 1, 2001

Communitarianism: Society over unfettered individualism

Bush’s actions have less to do with the left vs. right than with his embrace of many of the ideas contained in the movement known as “communitarianism.” Communitarianism, or “civil society” thinking, at its center is a notion that years of celebrating individual freedom have weakened the bonds of community and that the rights of the individual must be balanced against the interests of society as a whole. Inherent in the philosophy is a return to values and morality, which can best be fostered by community organizations.

Many of Bush’s early proposals fit this approach, [such as his support for Charitable Choice], AmeriCorps, and character education in schools. Bush’s inaugural address was full of words like “civility,” “responsibility” and “community.”

Communitarians say Bush has yet to embrace some of their other favorite ideas: workplace flexibility, limits on urban sprawl, campaign finance reform, and having the wealthy pay more for certain government benefits.

Source: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Page A1 Feb 1, 2001

Our grandest ideal: no insignificant person was ever born

The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation. And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.

I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America’s leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story, a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the American story, a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise: that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Build a single nation of justice and opportunity

While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise - even the justice - of our own country. Sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country.

We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice & opportunity. I know this is in our reach, because we are guided by a power larger than ourselves, who creates us equal in his image. And we are confident in principles that unite and lead us onward.

America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American.

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Commitment to civility, courage, compassion and character

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Citizenship is as important as government

Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against easy attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.

Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Bush ended news conferences in Sept.; Gore now accessible

Bush [has had only one news conference] in nearly two months. Bush had almost daily news conferences through the summer, while the Bush campaign mocked Gore for going weeks at a time without submitting himself to the press gaggle. The RNC faxed reporters a running tally of the days Gore went without having a news conference. How the tables have turned. In recent weeks, Gore has been offering reporters Air Force Two “availabilities.”

The Bush campaign’s strategy shifted after Sept. 12, when reporters refused to play along with the campaign’s “theme of the day” and instead launched a barrage of questions about reports that suggested Bush suffered from dyslexia and that the campaign had subliminally slipped the word “rats” into a television ad. That was the end of all-access-all-the-time.

Bush aides insist that the cutback in news conferences reflects a setting of priorities in increasingly jam-packed days. “The press was trying to write about rats instead of the issues,” an aide said.

Source: Terry M. Neal, Washington Post, p. A18 Nov 2, 2000

Promised 4 reforms in Texas; delivered all 4

Q: Will you keep all these promises when you’re in office?

BUSH: [When I ran for Gvoernor of Texas] I said I’d do four things: tort reform, education reform, welfare reform and juvenile justice reform. And I won and I had the will of the people in my state behind me, and then I brought folks together to get it done. And that’s what we need, I think, in this election. To me, that’s what it’s all about. I know, [people say] “These guys will say anything to get elected.” But there’s a record. That’s what other people look at.

And one of my promises is going to be Social Security reform, and you bet we need to take a trillion dollars out of that $2.4 trillion surplus. But it’s going to require people to bring both Republicans and Democrats together to get it done. That’s what it requires. There’s a chance to get this done. There’s a bipartisan approach, but it’s been rejected. I’m going to bring them together.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Favorites: PB&J, tacos, Winston Churchill, kissing Laura

Source: Glen Johnson, Boston Globe, p. A8 Sep 27, 2000

Not running for president on father’s name

He believes in God, he’s grateful for love, he thinks he’s of the people and smarter than them all at once. He gushed about his wife, cheered up when talking about his daughters’ birth. The son of America’s 41st president did get a little more specific when asked by a viewer what he thought was the public’s greatest misconception about him: “Probably [that] I’m running on my daddy’s name, that, you know, if my name were George Jones, I’d be a country and western singer.”
Source: Maria L. La Ganga, LA Times Sep 20, 2000

“RATS” TV ad not an intentional subliminal message

Bush defended a Republican television commercial that, in attacking Vice President Al Gore’s plans for health care, includes a fleeting, almost undetectable image of the word “RATS.” “Conspiracy theories abound in American politics. I am convinced that this is not intentional. One frame out of 900 is hardly a conspiracy, it seems like to me. But nevertheless, in order to put people’s minds at ease, I will say loud and clear this kind of practice is not accepted.”
Source: Frank Bruni, NY Times Sep 13, 2000

No need to excuse Cheney from energy issues

George W. Bush said he saw nothing improper with the large retirement payment that Dick Cheney’s oil company voted. “I was aware that he was going to get a retirement package, like the standard practice for CEOs when they leave major companies. I’m going to take [Cheney’s] advice on how to make our country less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil. What I want him to do is not be owning oil stocks so he benefits from decisions we make in the administration.”
Source: Ronald Brownstein, LA Times Aug 13, 2000

My generation tested limits; now we’re coming home

A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich in possessions and poor in ideals. Instead, we must usher in an era of responsibility.

My generation tested limits -- and our country, in some ways, is better for it. Women are now treated more equally. Racial progress has been steady, if still too slow. We are learning to protect the natural world around us. We will continue this progress, and we will not turn back. At times, we lost our way. But we are coming home.

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

Picked Cheney as a valuable partner and fully capable

I asked Dick Cheney whether he’d be willing to join me to accomplish some great goals for our country: to save and strengthen Social Security; to improve Medicare and provide prescription drugs for the elderly; to reform our public schools; and to rebuild our military to keep the peace.

Early this morning I called and asked him to join me in renewing America’s purpose together. So I’m proud to announce that Dick Cheney, a man of great integrity, sound judgment and experience, is my choice to be the next vice president of the United States.

I have to admit something. I didn’t pick Dick Cheney because of Wyoming’s three electoral votes, although we’re going to work hard to earn them. I picked him because he is without a doubt fully capable of being the president of the United States. And I picked him because he will be a valuable partner in a Bush administration.

Source: Statement on Vice Presidential selection Jul 25, 2000

Baseball is fun, politics is not

[I asked Bush,] Why’d he ever trade Sammy Sosa when he was managing partner of the Texas Rangers? Bush chuckled. He quickly named all the players involved, even though it was 11 years ago, [in a trade with] the Chicago White Sox.

“He’d just come up [to the big leagues] and gotten a quick look,” Bush recalled painfully. In 25 games, Sosa was batting a meager .238. Who could have predicted then that Sosa would become a superstar, slamming 66 homers for the Chicago Cubs in 1998 and dramatically dueling Mark McGwire for the all-time season home run record?

The team managers recommended the deal and he approved it, Bush remembered. “We were coming down the stretch, chasing Oakland. We were either going to kick in and stay or fade.” The Rangers faded. Oakland won the pennant and the World Series. “It just didn’t work out. Sosa just didn’t kick in.”

This is the fun stuff to talk about, I noted. “Politics is not, not fun,” Bush instantly replied.

Source: George Skelton, Los Angeles Times Jun 5, 2000

McCain didn’t change Bush’s opinions at all

Q: Has John McCain elevated your consciousness about reform? Has he changed your views?
A: No, he didn’t change my views. He made me a better candidate. He forced me to play to my strengths better. I needed to make it more clear that I not only believe in reform, I’ve got the record as a chief executive of getting reform done. There’s nothing like the humbling experience of getting whipped pretty bad to cause a man to re-evaluate. And I re-evaluated my message and how I was conducting myself
Source: Press interview in Austin, TX Mar 15, 2000

Priorities: Reaganesque tax cuts; education & health reform

Source: Television Commerical before CA & NY primaries Mar 2, 2000

Challenges the orthodoxy but is still a devout conservative

For as long as Bush has been describing himself as a “compassionate conservative,” people have wondered whether the phrase was a call for a flexible new ideology or an effort to put a friendlier face on an essentially unchanged philosophy. Bush’s public statements suggest a willingness to challenge some of the party’s assumptions about what it stands for. But Bush is by no means abandoning the basic conservative principles that have defined the party. Bush is clearly trying a delicate balancing act.
Source: New York Times, p. A1 Oct 8, 1999

Bush’s centrism: free trade; private IRAs; no new taxes

Bush is, broadly speaking, a centrist. Some important distinctions are that Bush believes in keeping government in check; Bush is an unabashed free trader; and Bush has pledged not to raise taxes. Bush may be willing to privatize Social Security by introducing individual retirement accounts but he may well succumb instead to an across-the-board tax cut.
Source: The Economist, p. 13 Jul 3, 1999

Government can create an environment for prosperity

Our country must be prosperous. But prosperity must have a purpose. The purpose of prosperity is to make sure the American dream touches every willing heart. The purpose of prosperity is to leave no one out. to leave no one behind.

Prosperity is not a given. Governments don’t create wealth. Wealth is created by Americans -- by creativity and enterprise and risk-taking. But government can create an environment where businesses and entrepreneurs and families can dream and flourish.

Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jun 12, 1999

Match conservative minds with compassionate hearts

Bush argued Republicans can be conservative - cut taxes, trim welfare rolls, reduce crime, improve schools, demand and promote personal responsibility - without being mean about it. He pledged not to retreat from criticism. “Is compassion beneath us? Is mercy below us? Should our party be led by someone who boasts of a hard heart? I am proud to be a compassionate conservative. I welcome the label. And on this ground, I’ll take my stand. [We] must match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart.”
Source: CNNAllPolitics Jun 12, 1999

George W. Bush on Campaign Themes

End season of cynicism and politics of anger

Bush’s message on the final day will be the well-honed one he now delivers everywhere. It boils down to it being the time for a change in Washington. “We need to get rid of the politics of anger, we need a fresh start after a season of cynicism,” he said in Florida on Sunday.
Source: BBC News On-line Nov 6, 2000

President should be a role model and uniter

There’s Democrats all around America who understand there’s a better day tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be the way it is in Washington. We need a uniter, not a divider. The president can set an example for the moms of dads of America.
Source: Speech in Pittsburgh Nov 4, 2000

They have not led. We will.

said, “We’ll say you can have other options, you know why? Because we trust you.”

[Bush concluded by echoing his nomination speech theme], again hitting Gore on the Clinton-Gore administration’s record on Medicare and Social Security: “On all the big issues facing this country, our message on November 7 will be loud and clear: You’ve had your chance. You have not led, and we will.”

Source: report from West Allis, WI Nov 3, 2000

I trust the people, and Al Gore trusts Washington

Bush has settled at last on a core message that resonates with a populist theme: “I trust the people, and Al Gore trusts Washington.”

In the most striking example of attempted political pick-pocketing, Bush is arguing that the last eight years of prosperity have nothing to do with the Clinton-Gore administration. “Our economy is strong today not because of Al Gore,” he says. “Our economy is strong today because we’re a land of dreamers and doers.”

Bush is, in effect, taking President Reagan’s classic reelection argument, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” and standing it on its side. He is acknowledging that the average American is better off today than four or eight years ago, and offering in its place his populist-tinged theme of trust. The polls show the public doesn’t want a tax cut, he says, but he believes it’s the right thing to do - that the surplus is the people’s money, and he’s going to give some of it back to the people.

Source: Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor Oct 31, 2000

Barnstorm for Reform: End D.C. cynicism & zero-sum politics

Bush was campaigning along with three GOP governors in his “Barnstorm for Reform” tour. “They are constructive reformists,” Bush said of his companions. He vowed to “give the nation a fresh start after a season of cynicism.” “Washington, D.C., doesn’t have to be a place of zero-sum politics, with one winner and one loser.”
Source: Ian Christopher McCaleb, Oct 24, 2000

Blueprint for the Middle Class: from birth thru retirement

The “Blueprint for the Middle Class” describes Bush’s plans to help real people on the issues of education; healthcare; Social Security; taxes; family, and community. “My plans help real Americans at every stage of their lives,” Bush said. “From birth through the retirement years, I have a plan to improve education, lower taxes, strengthen Social Security, and provide healthcare. This handy Blueprint guides voters through my policies, all of which lead to stronger families and safer communities.”
Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class Sep 17, 2000

Real Plans for Real People: Bush promises honest talking

Bush stumped Friday under the newly coined theme “Real Plans for Real People,” and vowed to speak plainly regardless of what surveys indicated. “I’ve got to get out and talk to people, and I’m going to do a lot of it,” Bush said. “I’m going to tell you what I think and let the political chips fall where they may.” A spokesman said that in addition to the “Real Plans” theme, changes would include offering Republican governors for Sunday talk-show interviews instead of campaign officials.
Source: Sep 8, 2000

Now is the time to do the hard things

Bush: “This is a moment in history when we have a chance to focus on tough problems. It’s not always popular to say ‘Our children can’t read’ or ‘Social Security needs improving’ or ‘We have a budget surplus and a deficit in values.’ But those are the right things to say. And the right way to make America better for everyone is to be bold and decisive, to unite instead of divide. Now is the time to do the hard things.”
Source: Television advertisement script, “Hard Things” Aug 21, 2000

Calling everything “Risky Scheme” is politics of roadblocks

Every one of the proposals I’ve talked about tonight, my opponent has called a “risky scheme,” over and over again. It is the sum of his message -- the politics of the roadblock, the philosophy of the stop sign.

If my opponent had been there at the moon launch, it would have been a “risky rocket scheme.” If he’d been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a “risky anti-candle scheme.” And if he’d been there when the Internet was invented, well..

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

Theme: change how Washington works & restore moral purpose

In the past two days, Gore and Bush have both put down markers on the themes they believe can carry them to the White House. Bush will seek to exploit the country’s disgust with the scandals, gridlock, and partisanship that have enveloped Washington in the 1990s. “In just seven months, we will leave our current president to the judgment of history,” Bush said yesterday. “What matters now is whether the bitterness that now prevails in Washington will continue after his term.”

Bush’s address was his latest attempt to say “I will be different” as he outlined a series of steps that he said would help de-escalate tensions, encourage compromise, and clean up some of the pork-barrel spending practices that have soured the public on politicians from both sides.

Bush explicitly promises to change the way Washington does business by reaching out to Democrats, sharing credit, and seeking results over partisan gains. But he also promises to restore a sense of moral purpose to the presidency.

Source: Dan Balz, Washington Post, p. A1 Jun 9, 2000

Bush’s conservatism: local solutions within limited govt

I am a conservative because I believe in the power of each individual. My philosophy trusts individuals to make the right decisions for their families and communities [instead of] from distant bureaucracies. I am a conservative because I believe government should be limited and efficient. I am a conservative because I believe in a strong national defense [and] I support free markets and free trade. I am a conservative because I believe government closest to the people governs best.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.235 Dec 9, 1999

Government if necessary, not necessarily government

[Citing his gubernatorial inauguration speech], “Texans can run Texas,” I told my fellow Texans. “I will ask the federal government to return to us the power to set our own course. My guiding principle,” I said, “will be government if necessary, not necessarily government.” I talked about the need to change our culture, and reform our schools and welfare and criminal justice laws. “I feel the wind at our backs,” I concluded.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 44 Dec 9, 1999

“Compassionate conservatism” allows individual potential

A conservative philosophy is a compassionate philosophy that frees individuals to achieve their highest potential. Conservative to cut taxes and compassionate to give people more money to spend. Conservative to reform welfare by insisting on work; compassionate to free people from dependency. Conservative to insist on consequences for bad behavior; compassionate to recognize that discipline and love go hand in hand.
Source: Exploratory Committee Announcement Mar 7, 1999

Prosperity with a purpose: Peaceful & prosperous future

I want the 21st century to be one of prosperity with a purpose. If America pursues limited government, low taxes, free and fair trade and free markets, our country will continue to be prosperous. America must be prosperous and strong so the next century is peaceful, and so our citizens can find high quality, high paying jobs. And we must make the purpose of prosperity to help every single person have a shot at achieving the American dream.
Source: Exploratory Committee Announcement Mar 7, 1999

George W. Bush on Florida Recount

Presidency of whole nation is his charge to keep

I have faith that with God’s help we as a nation will move forward together as one nation, indivisible. And together we will create and America that is open, so every citizen has access to the American dream; an America that is educated, so every child has the keys to realize that dream; and an America that is united in our diversity and our shared American values that are larger than race or party.

I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.

The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background.

Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect.

I will be guided by President Jefferson’s sense of purpose, to stand for principle, to be reasonable in manner, and above all, to do great good for the cause of freedom and harmony.

The presidency is more than an honor. It is more than an office. It is a charge to keep, and I will give it my all.

Source: Acceptance speech in Austin TX Dec 13, 2000

Together, we can unite and accomplish goals

Source: Acceptance speech in Austin TX Dec 13, 2000

With 50-50 Senate, challenge is to rise above partisanship

Q: Now that the Supreme Court has had its hearing, how do you feel your prospects stand?

A: We’ll wait and see what they say at the Supreme Court and in all these different courts. Dick and I felt like we’ve won the first election three times, and we’re confident that when it’s all said and done that he and I will be honored to be the president and V.P. That’s why we’re in the process of preparing to assume the offices to which we feel like we’ve been elected.

Q: With a 50-50 Senate, how do you see getting an agenda forward, should you become president?

A: Part of our job is to make it clear that our agenda is good for America. This isn’t a Republican agenda; it’s not a Democrat agenda; it’s an agenda that addresses the problems that we now face. This election and the fact that it is so close and drawn out [means we] require a group of citizens that rise above partisanship to do what’s right for the country, more so than ever in recent modern history. And I look forward to the challenge.

Source: Bush news conference Dec 4, 2000

Declares victory; names transition team

Secretary Cheney and I are honored and humbled to have won the state of Florida, which gives us the needed electoral votes to win the election. We will therefore undertake the responsibility of preparing to serve as America’s next president and vice president.

All of us in this election fought for our views. Now we must live up to our principles. We must show our commitment to the common good, which is bigger than any person or any party. We cannot change yesterday, but we share a responsibility for tomorrow.

Time runs short, and we have a lot of work to do. So tonight I’m naming Dick Cheney to chair our transition effort. I’ve asked him to work with President Clinton’s administration to open a transition office in Washington. And we look forward to a constructive working relationship throughout this transition.

The end of an election is the beginning of a new day. Together we can make this a positive day of hope and opportunity for all of us who are blessed to be Americans.

Source: Bush speech following Florida certification Nov 26, 2000

Election principles: be fair, accurate, & conclusive

Source: Statement by Gov. Bush on Florida recount Nov 15, 2000

ush campaign opposes multiple recounts

The vote in Florida has been counted and then recounted. Governor Bush was the winner of the vote. He was also the winner of the recount. Based on these results, we urged the Gore campaign to accept the finality of the election, ubject only to the counting of the overseas absentee ballots in accordance with law. We will...vigorously oppose the Gore campaign’s efforts to keep recounting until it likes the result.
Source: Statement by Bush campaign official James A. Baker Nov 11, 2000

Voting machines are neither Republican nor Democrat

The manual vote count sought by the Gore campaign would not be more accurate than an automated count. Human error, individual subjectivity, and decisions to “determine the oter’ s intent” would replace precision machinery in tabulating millions of small marks and fragile hole punches. Machines are neither Republicans, nor Democrats-and therefore can be neither consciously nor unconsciously biased. A manual recount permits the electoral boards in each county in Florida to determine the intent of the voter-without setting forth any standards for deciding that intent. One electoral board may ecide to count votes that are not fully punched-another may not. One electoral board may decide that a stray mark indicated an intent to vote for a particular candidate-another may not.
Source: Statement by Bush campaign official James A. Baker Nov 11, 2000

American elections are based on ‘one person, one vote’

Florida has established procedures to design, approve, publish and, protest ballots before the election. The ballot was designed by a Democratic elections supervisor. She approved it. The Democratic Party did not question it. The overwhelming majority of voters who used the ballot understood it and cast valid votes. Our lawyers have confirmed the legality of this ballot. The Gore campaign has also tried to make a lot of the fact that double marked ballots are not counted. A key principle in America is one person, one vote. If we have ballots with two votes, of course we cannot count them or guess about them. No jurisdiction in the United States would accept such a ballot as a valid vote. These ballots must be disregarded.
Source: Statement by Bush campaign official James A. Baker Nov 10, 2000

Gore should accept that the people elected Bush in Florida

The vote count from Tuesday’s election in Florida shows that Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney won the state of Florida, giving them enough electoral college votes to become the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States. We expect the automatic recount that is now underway in Florida will confirm these results. We also expect that once this recount is complete, the Vice President will respect the will of the people of Florida.
Source: Statement by Bush’s campaign manager, Karen Hughes Nov 8, 2000

George W. Bush on Leadership Style

Reads people well; prefers one-on-one with legislators

Bush is touting an agenda of broad tax cuts, limiting the role of the federal Government and encouraging individual choice and responsibility to solve the nation’s problems. Bush, who reads people extremely well, would likely hold one-on-one meetings with lawmakers in a bid to bargain and flatter his way toward consensus. Bush believes it is his job to direct the “broad strokes of policy” and leave most of the details to others.
Source: Mike Ferullo, Oct 30, 2000

A leader has vision, credibility, and loyalty to friends

Q: How would you lead during the mid-east crisis?

BUSH: It requires a clear vision, willingness to stand by our friends, and the credibility for people, both friend and foe, to understand when America says something, we mean it.

GORE: I see a future when the world is at peace, with the United States of America promoting the values of democracy and human rights and freedom around the world. What can I bring to that challenge? I volunteered and went to Vietnam. In the House of Representatives, I served on the House Intelligence Committee. When I went to the United States Senate, I asked for an assignment to the Armed Services Committee. I was one of only 10 Democrats, along with Senator Joe Lieberman, to support Governor Bush’s dad in the Persian Gulf War resolution. And for the last eight years, I’ve served on the National Security Council.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

End bickering in Washington to revive politics

Q: How will you engage youth in politics?

GORE: Sometimes people who have great dreams, as young people do, are apt to stay at arm’s length from the political process because they think if they invest their hopes, they’re going to be disappointed. But thank goodness we’ve always had enough people who have been willing to push past the fear of a broken heart and become deeply involved in forming a more perfect union. We’ve got to address one of the biggest threats to our democracy: the current campaign financing system. I will make the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill the very first measure that I send to the Congress as president.

BUSH: A lot of people are tired of the bitterness in Washington. There are a lot of young folks saying, you know, “Why do I want to be involved with this mess?” And what I think needs to happen is to set aside the partisan differences and set an agenda that will make sense. I don’t think it’s the issues that turn kids off. I think it’s the tone.

Source: (X-ref Gore) St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Put U.S. interests first and execute goals with good team

Q: What are your ideas about leadership?

BUSH: The first question is what’s in the best interests of the United States. Peace in the Middle East is in our nation’s interests. Having a hemisphere that is free for trade and peaceful is in our nation’s interests. An administration is dedicated citizens who are called by the president to serve the country. One of the things I’ve done in Texas is I’ve been able to put together a good team of people. I’ve been able to set clear goals.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

The president must have credibility; Gore doesn’t

Q: Do you think the voters should question the Vice President’s credibility?

BUSH: It’s important for the president to be credible with Congress and foreign nations. It’s something people need to consider. I’m going to defend my record against exaggerations. Exaggerations like only 5% of seniors receive benefits under my Medicare package. That’s what he said the other day. That’s simply not the case.

GORE: I got some of the details wrong last week. I’m sorry about that. One of the reasons I regret it is that getting a detail wrong interfered with my point. However many days that young girl in Florida stood in her classroom doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of overcrowded classrooms in America and we need to do something about that. I can’t promise that I will never get another detail wrong. But I will promise you that I will work my heart out to get the big things right for the American people.

Q: Does that resolve the issue?

BUSH: That’s going to be up to the people.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest Oct 11, 2000

Leads by building consensus, not by following polls

You’ve got to look at how one has handled responsibility in office, whether or not you’ve got the capacity to convince people to follow, whether or not one makes decisions based on sound principles, or whether or not you rely upon polls and focus groups on how to decide what the course of action is. I’ve been the governor of a big state. I’ve had the capacity to work with both Republicans and Democrats. I think that’s an important part of leadership. I’ve shown I know how to build consensus.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

End irresponsibility like ‘No controlling legal authority’

Q: What kind of character should a president have?

BUSH: I think the thing that discouraged me about the vice president was uttering those famous words, “no controlling legal authority.” I felt like that there needed to be a better sense of responsibility of what was going on in the White House.

It’s time for a fresh start after a season of cynicism. And so, I don’t know the man well, but I’ve been disappointed about how and his administration has conducted the fund-raising affairs. You know, going to a Buddhist temple and then claiming it wasn’t a fund-raiser is just not my view of responsibility. We need to say that each of us need to be responsible for what we do. And people in the highest office of the land must be responsible for decisions they make in life. That’s the way I’ve conducted myself as governor of Texas. And that’s the way I’ll conduct myself as president of the United States.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Uphold law of the land & the dignity of the office

To lead this nation to a responsibility era, a president himself must be responsible. And so, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God. For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it IS the opportunity of a lifetime. And I will make the most of it.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

Bush has “hands-off” style, says the test is good decisions

Bush, 54, said in a recent interview that it is important for voters to judge “whether or not I could make the decisions given the degree of pressure that the president is going to have to face. Are you able to maintain a pace and make sound decisions?” In many respects, his calendars show, Bush is the antithesis of the man he seeks to replace in the Oval Office: He relies heavily on his staff to master issues, keeps close to normal working hours and usually tenders decisions on the spot.
Source: Alan C. Miller, Judy Pasternak, LA Times Aug 2, 2000

Surrounded by smart people, but he decides himself

Q: You sometimes seem deliberately anti-intellectual.

A: I know it comes across that way. I don’t think it’s fair. This will be an administration of people well suited to their jobs. I’m secure enough that I want smart people around me. I’m comfortable with people who have high intellects.

Q: So how do you assure folks you’re smart enough to be President?

A: I’m confident of my intellect. I wouldn’t be running if I wasn’t. My job will not be to out-think everybody in my administration. My job will be to assemble an administration full of very capable and bright people.

Q: So getting the smartest people to tell you what to do.

A: No, no, no. Not tell me what to do. Make recommendations. Plus, I’m not going to have a group of people who say the same thing.

Q: So what happens when they disagree?

A: These people don’t decide for me. I’m going to have to decide. I will overrule my advisers. I’ve done that before. My job is to get good thinkers and get the best out of them.

Source: Interview with Time Magazine, Aug 1, 2000

Governs by outlining ideas & letting Legislature do details

Governor Bush’s theory of government is that “he has an almost Whiggish attitude regarding the Legislature, by which I mean that he puts his ideas forward and then lets the Legislature hash them out, almost a policy of legislative deference,” maintained a U. Texas professor. In his state-of-the-state address, Mr. Bush told the legislators how he wanted to divide up the state’s budget surplus. Some $2 billion, he said, should go for property tax relief, with $600 million split among business tax cuts.
Source: NY Sunday Times, p. 18, col. 1, “Bush Legacy” May 23, 1999

George W. Bush on Religion

US chosen by God to be a model among nations

In a speech to a B’nai B’rith convention, Bush spoke of his support for Israel and also praised the work conducted by faith-based social programs. “Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world of justice and inclusion and diversity without division. Jews and Christians and Muslims speak as one in their commitment to a kind, just, tolerant society.”
Source: Gustav Niebuhr, NY Times Aug 29, 2000

Talk at Bob Jones was a missed opportunity to speak out

Q: Were you aware of the anti-Catholic reputation of Bob Jones University when you went to speak there? A: I followed a long tradition of both Republican and Democrat candidates that went there to lay out their vision. Ronald Reagan went to Bob Jones, my dad went to Bob Jones, a Democrat governor the week before. I talked about bringing people together so America can achieve its greatnessI regret I did not speak out against that school’s anti-Catholic bias. I missed an opportunity. I make no excuses.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

Jesus is part of my life; but won’t exclude non-Christians

Q: There are 15 million atheists in this country, 5 million Jews, 5 million Muslims.. Should they feel excluded because of your allegiance to Jesus?A: No. I was asked what [philosopher most] influenced my life and I gave an honest, unvarnished answer. It doesn’t make me better than you or better than anybody else, but it’s a foundation for how I live my life. Some may accept the answer and some may not. But, I really don’t care. It’s me. It’s what I’m all about. It’s how I live my life.
Source: Republican Debate in Durham, NH Jan 6, 2000

“A Charge to Keep,” hymn & painting, inspire Bush

I started the [gubernatorial inauguration] day with a church service. One of the hymns I selected is titled “A Charge to Keep I Have.” Written by Charles Wesley, the words say:
A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!
[Hanging in my office is] a beautiful oil painting by W.H.D. Koerner entitled A Charge to Keep. The painting, inspired by the hymn, [pictures] a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep & rough trail. This is us. [The painting and] hymn have been an inspiration for me & for members of my staff. “A Charge to Keep” calls us to our highest and best. It speaks of purpose and direction. In many hymnals, it is associated with a Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 45 Dec 9, 1999

Charitable Choice has churches mentoring weflare clients

“Charitable Choice” applies when states enter contracts with faith-based organizations to deliver services to persons receiving federal welfare benefits. Under Bush, Texas leads the nation in aggressively implementing Charitable Choice. Last year, the Dept. of Human Services and Lutheran Social Services of the South, one the nation’s larger faith-based social service organizations, announced a partnership to recruit volunteers from area Lutheran churches to serve as mentors to former welfare clients.
Source: “Faith in Action” Jun 12, 1999

Allow religious groups to address social ills.

I think that it is far kinder to help people become independent than it is to trap them in a failed system. We must end dependency on government.. Any system that undermines the basic values of hard work, self-respect and personal responsibility is wrong.
Source: 12/31/98 Dec 31, 1998

Diminish role of govt as communities & churches take over