Good morning. In just a few days, Americans will choose who will lead our country during a time of war and economic opportunity. And the choice on Tuesday comes down to a few issues of great consequence. The first choice is the most important, because all our progress depends on our safety.
Since September the 11th, 2001, I have led a relentless campaign against the terrorists. We have strengthened homeland security. We removed terror regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are on the offensive around the world, because the best way to prevent future attacks is to go after the enemy.
My opponent has a different view. Senator Kerry says September the 11th didn't change him much, and his policies make that clear. He says the war on terror is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation." He has proposed what he calls a "global test" that would give foreign governments a veto over American security decisions. And when our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq needed funding for body armor and bullets, Senator Kerry voted against it.
The direction of the war on terror is at stake in the election of 2004. And when you go to the polls on Tuesday, remember this: I will do whatever it takes to defend America and prevail in the war on terror, and I will always support the men and women who do the fighting.
The second choice in this election concerns your family budget. As a candidate, I pledged to lower taxes for families, and I have kept my word. We doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, and dropped the lowest tax bracket to 10 percent. Now working families keep more of their paychecks, and America's economy is growing faster than any other among major industrialized nations.
My opponent voted against all our tax relief for working families. His votes would have squeezed about $2,000 more in taxes from the average middle-class family. Now Senator Kerry is promising to increase federal spending by more than $2.2 trillion. And to pay for all that new spending, he would have to raise taxes on American families. I will keep your taxes low because I know it's not the government's money, it's your family's money.
The third choice in this election involves your quality of life. As President, I signed historic education reforms to bring high standards to the classroom and make schools accountable to parents, and our children are making progress in reading and math. We've strengthened Medicare, created health savings accounts, and expanded community health centers to help more Americans get health care. I'm proposing a series of practical reforms to make health care more affordable and accessible by expanding health savings accounts, allowing association health plans, and protecting patients and doctors from junk and frivolous lawsuits.
My opponent has a different approach. Senator Kerry voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, but he has pledged to weaken the accountability standards. He's voted 10 times against medical liability reform. And now, he's proposing a big-government health care plan that would do nothing about rising health costs, and would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health insurance and end up on government programs.
Finally, this election presents a choice on the values that keep our families strong. I believe marriage is a sacred commitment, and I will always defend it. I will continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law. And I will keep working to move this good-hearted nation toward a culture of life.
On these issues, my opponent and I are miles apart. Senator Kerry was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. He believes there ought to be a liberal litmus test for judicial appointments. He voted against banning the brutal practice of partial birth abortion. I believe that reasonable people can find common ground on difficult issues, and I will continue reaching out and bringing Americans together to protect our deepest-held values.
All of these choices make this one of the most important elections in our history. These past four years, you have seen how I do my job. Even when you might not agree with me, you know where I stand, what I believe, and what I intend to do. Soon, the decision will be in your hands. And however you decide, I urge you to get out and vote on Tuesday.
Thank you for listening.