The vice president feels the love

OK, so it's in Idaho, but you take it where you can get it -- and where it won't inspire anyone to vote against the GOP.


Tim Grieve
November 4, 2006 1:09AM (UTC)

There aren't many places George W. Bush can go right now to goose Republican turnout without stirring up a more-than-offsetting negative reaction from independents and Democrats. That's why the president is spending time this week only in states he won pretty comfortably in 2004. For Dick Cheney -- he of the 30 percent approval rating -- the welcome map is a little smaller still. The vice president's campaign destinations of late: Montana, Idaho, a military base in Missouri and interviews with conservative media outlets.

Cheney may not be able to change any minds in the middle, but he sure can feel the love, at least in the red corners of the nation where there's a risk of a blue tide rising. Here's how it went for the vice president Thursday in Kootenai County, Idaho, a place where Bush beat John Kerry by more than a 2-to-1 margin in 2004.

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Cheney: In this election season, national security is at the top of the agenda, which is where it belongs. Every voter in the United States needs to know where we stand, as well as how the leaders of the Democratic Party view the global war on terror. Time and time again, we're seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the nature of the enemy we face, and the need to wage this fight aggressively. No sharper example can be found than the Democratic Party chairman himself, Howard Dean --

Audience: Booo!

Cheney: -- who said the capture of Saddam Hussein did not make America any safer. And maybe it should be no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman, who's been unapologetic in supporting the fight against terror.

Audience: Applause.

Cheney: Instead, they highlight people like John Kerry.

Audience: Booo!

Cheney: ... Of course, he was their presidential nominee just two years ago. The titular head of the Democratic Party. Aren't we lucky he lost that election?

Audience: Applause.

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Cheney: I see you all remember John Kerry --

Audience: Laughter.

Cheney: -- the senator who voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, the guy that was always lecturing us about "nuance."

Audience: Laughter.

Cheney: He's the one, you'll recall, who last year said that American soldiers were terrorizing children in Iraq.

Audience: Booo!

Cheney: And just this week he took another swipe at the U.S. military. Here's what he said, word for word: "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

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Audience: Booo!

Cheney: Of course, Senator Kennedy -- Kennedy, I'm sorry -- Senator Kerry --

Audience: Laughter and applause.

Cheney: -- Come on, now. I've got to get through this speech.

Audience: Laughter.

Cheney: Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it.

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Audience: Laughter and applause.

Cheney: He has now apologized, and rightly so. All Americans realize that the men and women serving in Iraq aren't there because they didn't study hard or do their homework. The all-volunteer force represents the very best of this country.

Audience: Applause.

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Cheney: They are smart, patriotic, exceptionally well trained, and dedicated to their mission. They are heroes, and they are the pride of the United States of America.

Audience: Applause.

Cheney: Among the leading Democrats, you'll find a range of views on Iraq. Some of them want to pull out all the troops right away. Some want to withdraw on a timeline set by politicians in Washington. And some Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to cut off all funds for the troops in Iraq.

Audience: Applause.

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Cheney: All these proposals have a common theme: They would have America leave Iraq before the job is done. That's the kind of withdrawal that Osama bin Laden has been predicting. He and his followers believe that America doesn't have the stomach for this fight, and they are absolutely convinced they can break the will of the American people.

Audience: Booo!

Cheney: If we left before the job was done, we would simply validate the al-Qaida strategy and reinforce the notion that if they kill enough Americans they can change American policy. So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day: For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the war on terror.

Audience: Applause.

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Cheney: This is a great crowd. What are you doing for the next four days?

Audience: Applause.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

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2006 Elections Dick Cheney War Room




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