- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2002

The following are excerpts from President Bush's remarks at a town-hall meeting in Ontario, Calif.
I'm honored that so many came out for this weekend. It gives me a great chance to share some thoughts with you as we begin a new year that I believe is going to be a fantastic year for America.
And the job of government is always to remember the importance of the small-business and the entrepreneurial dream. The job of government is not to try to create wealth. The job of government is to create an environment in which people are willing to take risks to realize their dream. It's to educate people. It's to provide opportunity and then make the playing field as level as it is and see who can succeed or not in the great country called America.
I am very proud of the U.S. military. We're making steady progress in Afghanistan. The evil ones awakened a mighty giant. You know, we're a compassionate people, and we're a decent people, but if you come after us, you will learn that you have made a big mistake.
It seems like the more TV channels there are, the more anxious people become on TV. But I want to remind my fellow citizens, we've only been at war for 90 days. That's not a very long period of time. But in 90 days we've made incredible progress. The al Qaeda, the Osama bin Laden group, can't claim Afghanistan as a haven anymore.
You know, they were like parasites. I know we've got some ranchers and farmers here you understand what a parasite is. Parasites try to take over the host, and if there's enough parasites and if they've been there long enough, the host itself becomes ill. The host no longer is in a position of power in Afghanistan; the Taliban has been routed.
But you know what my most meaningful memory has been recently? And that has been the joy on the face of women and young girls in Afghanistan as they have been liberated from one of the most brutal regimes.
This conflict will have its casualties as we pursue our objective, and we mourn for Sergeant Nathan Chapman and we pray with his family for God's blessings on them. Nathan lost his life yesterday, but I can assure the parents and loved ones of Nathan Chapman that he lost his life for a cause that is just and important. And that cause is the security of the American people, and that cause is the cause of freedom and a civilized world.
The nation is united, and there is a resolve and a spirit that is just so fantastic to feel. And I am obviously grateful to be the president of such a strong and vibrant land.
We have responded to the issues abroad with unanimity and clarity of purpose and resolve. And that's the way we should respond to problems here at home, as well. We ought to come together to do the right thing. We need to focus on asking the question: What's the best thing for America? It's time to take the spirit of unity that has been prevalent when it comes to fighting the war and bring it to Washington, D.C.
The terrorists not only attacked our freedom, but they also attacked our economy. And we need to respond in unison. We ought not to revert to the old ways that used to dominate Washington, D.C.
But there are troubling signs that the old way is beginning to creep in to the people's minds in Washington. After all, it's an election year. It's tempting to revert back to the old ways, but America is better than that. We're better than that.
This economic debate is troubling me. You see, I'm the kind of fellow who says, let's work together and focus on results, not rhetoric. Let's do what's right for the people who have been hurt. We need to work and then share credit, not pass blame.
Somebody told me the funniest thing. They said there are some in Washington saying that the tax cut caused the recession. I don't know what economic textbook they're reading. The best way to come out of a recession is to say to the small business person, we'll let you keep your own money. When we cut taxes on all rates, we said to the sole proprietor or the limited partner, it's your money; you spend it in order to expand the job base in America.
We have priorities in Washington: Defending our homeland is going to be a priority. A strong defense is a priority. But something that shouldn't be a priority is to raise your taxes. There's going to be people who say, we can't have the tax cut go through anymore. That's a tax raise, and I challenge their economics when they say raising taxes will help the country recover. Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes.
I'm confident that a new spirit can prevail in Washington. I hope people come together and do what's right for the American people. It's going to be a task. For some, it's kind of a steep hill, but I believe if that's what the American people want, it can happen. It's certainly what your president wants.


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