updated 8/31/2004 4:34:32 PM ET 2004-08-31T20:34:32

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Let‘s go right now to Senator Lindsey Graham—he‘s on the podium, from South Carolina—introducing John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go up there and watch. 

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  Because during these troubling times, ladies and gentlemen, much is at stake for our nation and our party.

Our political opponents talk of two Americas—a divided nation.  Tonight, our speaker, John McCain of Arizona, will call for a united America to ensure we win a great struggle we cannot afford to lose.

There will be no class warfare in this hall tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

John McCain is one of the most respected and admired men in this country, a person who embodies the American spirit, which is always searching for a cause greater than ourselves.

His biography is well known to many of us:  brave soldier, inspiring leader, straight talker, crusader against wasteful spending, independent thinker.

Most of all, I thank him for his lifetime of support for our troops.

(APPLAUSE)

As President Bush recently said of Senator McCain, “When he speaks of service and sacrifice, he speaks from experience.  The United States military has no better friend in the United States Senate than John McCain.” 

(APPLAUSE)

Truer words have never been spoken by our president.

Ladies and gentlemen, John McCain has seen and experienced things no person should ever have to endure, but he has endured with his honor and dignity intact.

He respects dissent, but has always kept faith with and respected his comrades in arms.

(APPLAUSE)

He is respected by the American people regardless of their ideology or political affiliation because they know he speaks from the heart and has the courage of his convictions.

Because of this, John McCain is a great asset to our party and will help carry us to victory in November.

(APPLAUSE)

However, this you must know and never forget, ladies and gentlemen: 

Until John McCain takes his last breath, he will always do what he thinks is best for his country.

And tonight, he will tell us and the world the best thing for his country is to re-elect George W. Bush president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my friend, a true American hero, Senator John McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. 

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Lindsey.  Thank you. 

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.  Thank you, Lindsey.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, my fellow Republicans, and thank you, Lindsey.

I‘m truly grateful for the privilege of addressing you.

This week, millions of Americans, not all Republicans, will weigh our claim on their support for the two men who have led our country in these challenging times with moral courage and firm resolve.

So I begin with the words of a great American from the other party, given at his party‘s convention in the year I was born.

My purpose is not imitation, for I can‘t match his eloquence, but respect for the relevance in our time of his rousing summons to greatness of an earlier generation of Americans.

At a time of deep distress at home, as tyranny strangled the aspirations to liberty of millions, and as war clouds gathered in the East and West, Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted his party‘s nomination by observing: “There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given.  Of other generations much is expected.  This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

(APPLAUSE)

The awful events of September 11, 2001, declared a war we were vaguely aware of, but hadn‘t really comprehended how near the threat was and how terrible were the plans of our enemies.

It‘s a big thing, this war.

It‘s a fight between a just regard for human dignity and a malevolent force that defiles an honorable religion by disputing God‘s love for every soul on earth.  It‘s a fight between right and wrong, good and evil.

(APPLAUSE)

And my friends, should our enemies acquire for their arsenal the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek, this war will become a much bigger thing.

So it is, whether we wished it or not, that we have come to the test of our generation, to our rendezvous with destiny.  And much is expected of us.

We are engaged in a hard struggle against a cruel and determined adversary.  Our enemies have made clear the danger they pose to our security and the very essence of our culture:  liberty.

Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war. 

Like all wars, this one will have its ups and downs.  But we must fight. 

We must.

(APPLAUSE)

The sacrifices borne in our defense are not shared equally by all Americans.  But all Americans must share a resolve to see this war through to a just end.  We must not be complacent at moments of success, and we must not despair over setbacks.

We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

If we do less, we will fail the one mission no American generation has ever failed:  to provide to our children a stronger, better country than the one we were blessed to inherit.

You remember how we felt when the serenity of a bright September morning was destroyed by a savage atrocity so hostile to all human virtue we could scarcely imagine any human being capable of it.

We were united, first in sorrow and anger, then in recognition we were attacked not for a wrong we had done, but for who we are:  a nation united in a kinship of ideals, committed to the notion that the people are sovereign, not governments, not armies, not a pitiless theocracy, not kings, mullahs or tyrants, but the people.

In that moment...

(APPLAUSE)

In that moment, we were not different races.  We were not poor or rich.  We were not Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. We were not two countries.  We were Americans.

APPLAUSE)

All of us, despite the differences that enliven our politics, are united in the one big idea that freedom is our birthright and its defense is always our first responsibility.  All other responsibilities come second.

We must not lose sight of that as we debate among us who should bear the greatest responsibility for keeping us safe and free.

We must, whatever our disagreements, stick together in this great challenge of our time.

My friends in the Democratic Party—and I‘m fortunate to call many of them my friends—assure us they share the conviction that winning the war against terrorism is our government‘s most important obligation.  I don‘t doubt their sincerity.

They emphasize that military action alone won‘t protect us, that this war has many fronts:  in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy.

They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies.

We agree.

And, as we‘ve been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle.

(APPLAUSE)

That is what the president believes.  And thanks to his efforts, we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe, even if we have, at times, been disappointed with the reactions of some.

I don‘t doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.

(APPLAUSE)

Our president will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all.

War is an awful business.  The lives of a nation‘s finest patriots are sacrificed.  Innocent people suffer.  Commerce is disrupted.  Economies are damaged.  Strategic interests shielded by years of statecraft are endangered as the demands of war and diplomacy conflict.

However just the cause, we should mourn for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us.

But there is no avoiding this war.  We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly.

(APPLAUSE)

And while this war has many components, we can‘t make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct. 

This is not just an expression of strength.  It is a measure of our wisdom.

That‘s why I commend to my country the re-election of President Bush, and the...

(APPLAUSE)

... and the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our vice president, Dick Cheney.

(APPLAUSE)

Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America‘s distinction as the world‘s only superpower.

I promised he would not let America “retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy,” that he would “confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened.”

I knew—I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center with his arm around a hero of September 11th and in our moment of mourning and anger, strengthen our unity and our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.

(APPLAUSE)

He promised our enemies would soon hear from us.  And so they did.  So they did.

(APPLAUSE)

He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies and away from our shores, seriously injuring al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven.

He worked effectively to secure the cooperation of Pakistan, a relationship that‘s critical to our success against al Qaeda.

He encouraged other friends to recognize the peril that terrorism posed for them and won their help in apprehending many of those who would attack us again and in helping to freeze the assets they used to fund their bloody work.

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq.

(APPLAUSE)

Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war.  But there was no status quo to be left alone.

(APPLAUSE)

The years of keeping Saddam in a box were coming to a close.  The international consensus that he be kept isolated and unarmed had eroded to the point that many critics of military action had decided the time had come again to do business with Saddam, despite his near daily attacks on our pilots, and his refusal, until his last day in power, to allow the unrestricted inspection of his arsenal.

Our choice wasn‘t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war.  It was between war and a graver threat.  Don‘t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

(APPLAUSE)

Not our political opponents.  And certainly—and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...

AUDIENCE:  Booo!

Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

Please, please, my friends.

That line was so good, I‘ll use it again.  Certainly not a disingenuous film maker...

(APPLAUSE)

... who would have us believe, my friends, who would have us believe that Saddam‘s Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact—when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls.

(APPLAUSE)

Whether or not Saddam possessed the terrible weapons he once had and used, freed from international pressure and the threat of military action, he would have acquired them again.

My friends, the central security concern of our time is to keep such devastating weapons beyond the reach of terrorists who can‘t be dissuaded from using them by the threat of mutual destruction.

We couldn‘t afford the risk posed by an unconstrained Saddam in these dangerous times.  By destroying his regime, we gave hope to people long oppressed, that if they have the courage to fight for it, they may live in peace and freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

Most importantly—most importantly, our efforts may encourage the people of a region, that has never known peace or freedom or lasting stability, that they may someday possess these rights.

I believe as strongly today as ever, the mission was necessary, achievable and noble. 

(APPLAUSE)

For his determination to undertake it and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.

(APPLAUSE)

As the president rightly reminds us, we are safer now than we were on September 11th, but we‘re not yet safe.  We are still closer to the beginning than the end of this fight.

We need a leader with the experience to make the tough decisions and the resolve to stick with them, a leader who will keep us moving forward even if it is easier to rest.

And this president will not rest until America is stronger and safer still...

(APPLAUSE)

... and this hateful iniquity is vanquished.  He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him.

I salute his determination to make this world a better, safer, freer place.  He has not wavered.  He has not flinched from the hard choices.  He will not yield.  And neither will we.

(APPLAUSE)

I said earlier that the sacrifices in this war will not be shared equally by all Americans.  The president is the first to observe, most of the sacrifices fall, as they have before, to the brave men and women of our armed forces.  We may be good citizens, but make no mistake, they are the very best of us.

(APPLAUSE)

It‘s an honor to live in a country that is so well and so bravely defended by such patriots.

May God bless them, the living and the fallen, as he has blessed us with their service.

(APPLAUSE)

For their families, for their friends, for America, for mankind, they sacrifice to affirm that right makes might, that good triumphs over evil, that freedom is stronger than tyranny, and that love is greater than hate.

(APPLAUSE)

It is left to us to keep their generous benefaction alive and our blessed, beautiful country worthy of their courage.

We should be thankful for the privilege.

Our nation‘s security doesn‘t depend on the heroism of every citizen.

But we have to be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf.

We have to love our freedom not just for the material benefits it provides, not just for the autonomy it guarantees us, but for the goodness it makes possible.

We have to love it as much, if not as heroically, as the brave Americans who defend us at the risk, and often the cost, of their lives.

(APPLAUSE)

No American—no American alive today will ever forget what happened on the morning of September 11th.  That day was the moment when the pendulum of history swung toward a new era.

The opening chapter was tinged with great sadness and uncertainty.

It shook us from our complacency in the belief that the Cold War‘s end had ushered in a time of global tranquility.

But an absence of complacency should not provoke an absence of confidence.  What our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach.  It cannot be taken from us.  It can only be surrendered.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, we are again met on the field of political competition with our fellow countrymen.

It‘s more than appropriate, it‘s necessary that even in times of crisis we have these contests and engage in spirited disagreement over the shape and course of our government.

We have nothing to fear from each other.  We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom and support the general welfare.

But it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause and in the goodness of each other.

We are Americans first, Americans last, and Americans always.

(APPLAUSE)

Let us argue—let us argue our differences, but remember we are not enemies, but comrades in a war against a real enemy, and take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals and our unconquerable love for them.

Our adversaries are weaker than us in arms and men, but weaker still in causes.  They fight to express—they fight to express a hatred for all that is good in humanity.  We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. 

Keep that faith.  Keep your courage.  Stick together.  Stay strong.  Do not yield.  Do not flinch.  Stand up.  Stand up with our president and fight.

We‘re Americans.  We‘re Americans, and we‘ll never surrender. They will.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Let‘s take a look at the magic moment of this speech, the one that will be talked about for weeks and weeks ahead, when Senator John McCain, a top politician in this country, took a direct shot at a filmmaker, “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker Michael Moore.  What a personal assault it was personal assault right on the convention hall tonight, rare in history.

Let‘s take a look at John McCain nailing his nemesis, his bete noire, Michael Moore. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  Our choice wasn‘t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war.  It was between war and a graver threat.  Don‘t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

MCCAIN:  Not our political opponents, not—and certainly not, and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

(BOOING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Boy, you can hear from the reaction of the crowd out here mixed views.  Certainly, Michael Moore is a firecracker.  He‘s a lightning rod. 

Let‘s go back again to the floor. 

DEENA BURNETT, WIFE OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM:  We now know that what the passengers and crew members did prevented that airplane from hitting its intended target.  What they did...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

What they did was the personification of courage and a testament to the American spirit. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)    

We also know about the deeds of the businessmen who carried their injured co-workers down the stairwells of the World Trade Center. 

(APPLAUSE)

We know about the firefighters who ran into the doomed building and the policemen who put themselves in harm‘s way to evacuate the area. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

Do something.  Those words resonate in my heart and soul and everything I do.  I think those words directed the actions of all the heroes of 9/11.  And they should direct ours.

(APPLAUSE)

Whether it is serving in the military, doing volunteer work, or simply helping your neighbor, whatever your capabilities, it is the responsibility as citizens of the greatest nation in the world to do something. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)   

The heroes of 9/11 weren‘t created that day.  Their actions were the result of virtues practiced over a lifetime. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

The most fitting memorial we could build would not consist of marble, glass, or fountains.  It would be a living memorial, carved in our hearts through decisions and actions of faith, courage and integrity. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

As for my family, my friends and me, we‘re going to do something.  And we hope you will do something, too. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DEBRA BURLINGAME, SISTER OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM:  I‘m Debra Burlingame.  My brother, Chic Burlingame, was the captain of American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon. 

To those who knew him, Chic was a legend, U.S. Naval Academy class of ‘71, a fighter pilot, a Navy Reservist who volunteered for the Persian Gulf War.  His military experience trained him to be ready for combat.  But I‘m certain he never expected to see action in the cockpit of his commercial jet.  I know that he and every one of those pilots put up the fight of their lives that day. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

Losing Chic on 9/11 was the most difficult thing my family has ever faced.  But the burden was lessened by the things that ordinary Americans did to help us.  I want you to know that we were aware of what you did. 

(APPLAUSE)

We saw the responsible spontaneous memorials, the cluster of candles on a front porch, the sign outside the Wal-Mart that said, “Pray for the families.” 

We saw the flags on the office buildings, on storefronts, on kids‘ bikes.  We saw your Web sites.  We read your letters.  We received the pictures your children drew.  I‘ll also never forget the huge flag that was unfurled at the Pentagon just a few yards away from where the plane went in.  I especially remember it lit up against the dark sky in the wee hours of September 12.  That was Chic‘s birthday. 

My heart fell into a million pieces as it brought back the memory, a sweet memory, of my brother as a 9-year-old Cub Scout selling American flags door to door.  He would have loved that tribute. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

I am deeply honored and grateful for the privilege of standing before you, so that I can thank you for these tender gestures and for the endless generosity which helped to carry us on. 

May God bless you all. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

TARA STACKPOLE, WIFE OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM:  I‘m Tara Stackpole.

My husband, Timmy, was a fireman in New York City who ran through the doors of the World Trade Center, but did not walk out.  He was a patriot, a tremendous spirit.  He had just been promoted to captain on September 6.  Then he was summoned to fulfill an even higher calling.  The fact that he answered the calling is not surprising to those of us who knew Timmy. 

It was not the first time.  In 1998, he was badly injured in a fiery building collapse.  He endured three excruciating months in a burn unit and was told he might never walk again.  But he did. 

(APPLAUSE)

He must have known that others would be depending on him, his fellow firefighters, the people in the towers.  Timmy returned to duty, full duty on March 11, 2001.  Timmy is my hero.  I‘m honored...

(APPLAUSE)

I‘m honored to share him with you, just as I am proud to lend America my oldest son, Kevin (ph), who is headed to Iraq in December with his Navy unit. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

America must never forget the sacrifices of September 11 or the sacrifices that are made every day by our sons and our daughters in the military service. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

May we now have a moment of prayer in thanks and remembrance. 

(“AMAZING GRACE”)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ladies and gentlemen, a man who embodies the courage, strength, and heart of New York City, the Honorable Rudolph Giuliani. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY:  Thank you.  Welcome to the capital of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

New York was the first capital of our great nation.  It was here in 1789, in lower Manhattan, that George Washington took the oath of office as the first president of the United States.

And it was here in 2001, in the same lower Manhattan, that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center, and he said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, “They will hear from us.”

(APPLAUSE)

Well, they heard from us.

(APPLAUSE)

They heard from us in Afghanistan, and we removed the Taliban.

They heard from us...

(APPLAUSE)

They heard from us in Iraq, and we ended Saddam Hussein‘s reign of terror.

(APPLAUSE)

And we put him where he belongs, in jail.

(APPLAUSE)

They heard from us in Libya, and without firing a shot Gadhafi abandoned his weapons of mass destruction.

(APPLAUSE)

They are hearing from us in nations that are now more reluctant to sponsor terrorists or terrorism.

So long—so long as George Bush is our president, is there any doubt they will continue to hear from us ...

(APPLAUSE)

... until we defeat global terrorism?

We owe that much and more to the loved ones and heroes that we lost on September 11th.

(APPLAUSE)

The families of some of those we lost on September 11th are here with us.  To them, and to all those families affected by September 11th, we recognize the sacrifices your loved ones made.  We recognize the sacrifices that you‘re making.  You are in our prayers, and we are in your debt.

(APPLAUSE)

This is the first Republican convention ever held here in New York City. 

(APPLAUSE)

I‘ve never seen so many Republicans in New York City.  It‘s great.

(APPLAUSE)

I finally feel at home.

(APPLAUSE)

And you know something?  Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, all of you that worked so hard in bringing this convention to New York, our president and the party that decided they‘d have it here, above and beyond everything else, it‘s a statement, it‘s a strong statement that New York City and America are open for business and we are stronger than ever.

(APPLAUSE)

New York.  New York.  New York.

AUDIENCE:  New York.  New York.  New York.

(APPLAUSE)

This is getting to be like a Yankee game.  I don‘t know.   Watch out.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, we‘re just not going to let the terrorists determine where we have political conventions, where we go, how we travel. We‘re Americans, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE:  USA.  USA.  USA.

From the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, to President George W. Bush, our party‘s great contribution is to expand freedom in our own land and all over the world.

And our party is at its best when we make certain that we have a powerful national defense in a still very, very dangerous world.

I don‘t believe that we‘re right about everything, and Democrats are wrong.  They‘re wrong about most things.

(LAUGHTER)

But seriously, neither party has a monopoly on virtue.

We don‘t have all the right ideas.  They don‘t have all the wrong ideas. 

But I do believe there are times in history when our ideas are more necessary and more important and critical, and this is one of those times when we are facing war and danger.

(APPLAUSE)

There are times when leadership is the most important. 

On September 11, this city and our nation faced the worst attack in our history.  On that day, we had to confront reality. 

For me, when I arrived there and I stood below the north tower and I looked up, and seeing the flames of hell emanating from those buildings, and realizing that what I was actually seeing was a human being on the 101st, 102nd floor that was jumping out of the building, I stood there, it probably took five or six seconds, it seemed to me that it took 20 or 30 minutes, and I was stunned. 

And I realized, in that moment, in that instant, I realized we were facing something that we have never, ever faced before.  

We had never been confronted with anything like this before.  We had to concentrate all of our energy and our faith and our hope to get through those first hours and days.  And we needed all the help that we could get and all the support that we could get.

And I will always remember that moment as we escaped the building that we were trapped in at 75 Barclay Street, and I realized that things outside might actually be worse than inside the building.

We did the best we could to communicate a message of calm and hope, as we stood on the pavement watching a cloud come through the cavernous streets of lower Manhattan. 

Our people were so brave in their response.

(APPLAUSE)

At the time, we believed that we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed.  Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, “Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president.”

(APPLAUSE)

I say it again tonight.  I say it again tonight: Thank God that George Bush is our president, and thank God...

(APPLAUSE)

And thank God that Dick Cheney, a man with his experience and his knowledge and his strength and his background is our vice president.

(APPLAUSE)

On September 11, George Bush had been president less than eight months.  The new president, the vice president, the new administration were faced with the worst crisis in our history virtually at the beginning of their administration.

President Bush‘s response in keeping us unified, in turning around the ship of state from being solely on defense against terrorism to being on offense as well and for his holding us together...

(APPLAUSE)

... for that and then his determined effort to defeat global terrorism, no matter what happens in this election, President George W.  Bush already has earned a place in history as a great American president.

(APPLAUSE)

But you and I, we‘re not going to wait for history to present the correct view of our president.  Let us write our own history.  We need George Bush now more than ever.

(APPLAUSE)

The horror, the shock and the devastation of those attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and over the skies of Pennsylvania lifted a cloud from our eyes.

We stood face to face with those people and forces who hijacked not just airplanes, but a great religion and turned it into a creed of terrorism dedicated to killing us and eradicating us and our way of life.

Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001.  It started a long time ago.  And it had been festering for many years.

And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed.  The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972.  That‘s a long time ago.  

That‘s not yesterday.

And the pattern began early.  The three surviving terrorists were arrested.  And then within just three months, the terrorists who slaughtered the Israeli athletes were released by the German government—set free.

AUDIENCE:  Boooo.

Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn time after time that they could attack, that they could slaughter innocent people and not face any consequences.

In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro.  And they murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer.  They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.

Some of those terrorist were released, and some of the remaining terrorists—they were allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals from the terrorists.

So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, would be accommodation, appeasement and compromise.

AUDIENCE:  Boooo.

And worse—and worse—they also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously almost in direct proportion to the horror of their attack.

GUILIANI:  Terrorist acts became like a ticket to the international bargaining table.  How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize while he was supporting a plague of terrorism in the Middle East and undermining any chance of peace?

Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of our world, much like observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate the Soviet Union through the use of mutually assured destruction.

President Bush decided that we could no longer be just on defense against global terrorism, we must also be on offense.

(APPLAUSE)

On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, a still grieving and shocked nation and a confused world, and he changed the direction of our ship of state.

He dedicated America, under his leadership, to destroying global terrorism. 

(APPLAUSE)

The president announced the Bush Doctrine, when he said, “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.  It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.  Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”

(APPLAUSE)

And since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid.

(APPLAUSE)

It doesn‘t matter to him how he is demonized.  It doesn‘t matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.

(APPLAUSE)

They ridiculed Winston Churchill.  They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists.  Leaders need to be optimists.  Their vision is beyond the present, and it‘s set on a future of real peace and security.

(APPLAUSE)

Some call it stubbornness.  I call it principled leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

President Bush has the courage of his convictions.

In choosing a president, we really don‘t choose just a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal.  We choose a leader.

(APPLAUSE)

And in times of war and danger, as we‘re now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.

There are many qualities that make a great leader.  But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.

(APPLAUSE)

One of my heroes, Winston Churchill, saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly.

Another one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan, saw and described the Soviet Union as “the evil empire,” while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and even belittled Ronald Reagan‘s intelligence.

President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is. 

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision. This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry.  I respect him for his service to our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

But it is important and critical to see the contrast in approach between the two men:  President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts and goes back and forth; and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often, even on important issues.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War.

AUDIENCE:  Boooo.

Ah, but he must have heard your booing...

(LAUGHTER)

...  because—because later he said he actually supported the war.

(LAUGHTER)

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for the presidency, he voted for the war in Iraq.  And then just nine months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

AUDIENCE:  Boooo.

He even, at one point, declared himself as an anti-war candidate.  And now he says he‘s pro-war candidate.  At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position four or five more times.

(APPLAUSE)

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words, not mine.  I quote John Kerry, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Maybe this explains John Edwards‘ need for two Americas.

(APPLAUSE)

One is where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against exactly the same thing.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, people in public office at times change their minds, or they realized they‘re wrong.  I have, others have, or circumstances change. But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception.

In October of 2003 he told an Arab-American Institute in Detroit that a security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories was a “barrier to peace.”  OK.

Then a few months later, he took exactly the opposite position. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post he said, “Israel‘s security fence is a legitimate act of self defense.”

AUDIENCE:  Boooo.

The contrasts are dramatic. They involve very different views of how to deal with terrorism.  President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we don‘t have to confront it, or we reduce of confronting it here in New York City, or in Chicago or in Los Angeles or in Miami or in the rural areas of America.

(APPLAUSE)

That‘s what it means to play offense with terrorism, and not just defense.

(APPLAUSE)

John Kerry‘s record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence that he‘ll pursue such a determined, difficult course.

President Bush would not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over 30 years to stand up to terrorists, he wouldn‘t allow them to stop us from doing what is necessary in the defense of our country.

(APPLAUSE)

He‘s not going to let them set the agenda.  Under President Bush, America will lead, not follow.

(APPLAUSE)

Remember, just a few months ago, John Kerry kind of leaked out that  claim that certain foreign leaders who opposed our removal of Saddam Hussein prefer him.

Well, to me, that raises the risk that he might well accommodate his position to their viewpoint.

It would not be the first time that John Kerry changed his mind about matters of war and peace.

(APPLAUSE)

I remember—I remember the days following September 11th when we were no longer Republicans or Democrats, but we were Americans.  We were determined to do everything, everything that we could to help the victims, to rebuild our city and to disable our enemies.

I remember President Bush coming here on September 14, 2001, and lifting the morale of our rescue workers by talking with them and embracing them and staying with them much longer than was planned.

(APPLAUSE)

In fact—in fact, if you promise to keep this between us...

(LAUGHTER)

... because, I mean, I could get in trouble for this.

But I get in trouble all of the time.  I was mayor of New York.

It is my opinion that when President Bush came here on September 14, 2001, the Secret Service was not really happy about his remaining in the area so long.

With buildings were still unstable, with fires raging below ground of 2,000 degrees or more, there was good reason for their concern.

Well, the president remained there.  And talked to everyone, to the firefighters, to the police officers, the health care workers, the clergy.  But the people that believe—this is my opinion now from observing it—that the people that spent the most time with him were our construction workers.

Now, New York construction workers are very special people.  I‘m sure this is true all over America where you come from, but I know the ones in New York really well.

And they were real heroes that day, like many others.

(APPLAUSE)

But I have to tell you, they‘re big.  They are really big.  They have arms that are bigger than my legs.  And they have opinions that are bigger than their arms. 

(LAUGHTER)

So every time the president would go up to one of them, they would hold his hand a little bit longer.  And they would give him advice.  I think like his Cabinet, Mr. Vice President, gives him advice.

They would like tell him in their own language exactly what he should do with the terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

I can‘t repeat—after all this is the Republican convention...

(LAUGHTER)

I can‘t repeat what they said, but one of them really got the president‘s attention.  The president really bonded with him. They sort of hit it off.  And the guy‘s giving him this long explanation of exactly what he should do.  And when the man finished, President Bush said in a rather loud voice, “I agree.”

(LAUGHTER)

At this point, all of the people kind of looked at this guy, all of his buddies.  And can you imagine—I mean, you‘re a construction worker, and all your buddies say—and the president says, “I agree.”

The guy went up in his own estimation from his 6 feet to about 6‘10.

(LAUGHTER)

He lost total control of himself.  Forgot who he was dealing with.  He leaned over.  He grabbed the president of the United States in this massive bear hug, and he started squeezing him.

(GIULIANI GESTURES THE HUG)

(LAUGHTER)

And the Secret Service agent standing next to me, who wasn‘t happy about any of this, instead of running over and getting the president out of this grip, puts his finger in my face and he says to me, “If this guy hurts the president, Giuliani, you‘re finished.”

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

I didn‘t know what to say.  I was kind of shook when the—and I said

·         the only thing I could think of, and it‘s the moral of the story, I said, “But it would be out of love.”

(LAUGHTER)

I also remember on that same day, as I‘m sure Governor Pataki does, the heart-wrenching visit President Bush made to the families of our firefighters and our police officers at the Javits Center.  I‘m sure some of you remember it.

I remember receiving all the help and the assistance and support from the president, and even more than we asked for.  For that, and for his personal support of me, I am eternally grateful to President Bush.  He helped to get me through.

(APPLAUSE)

And I remember the support being bipartisan and actually standing hand in hand Republicans and Democrats, here in New York and all over the nation.

During a Boston Red Sox game in the seventh inning there was a sign that read, “Boston loves New York.”

(APPLAUSE)

You‘re not going to see it now with a 4.5 game spread between the two teams.

And then one of the most remarkable experiences was, I was driving along and I saw a Chicago police officer directing traffic in the middle of Manhattan, sent here by Mayor Daley of Chicago, who was a good friend of ours, and is.  And that‘s what I mean about no Democrats or Republicans.

Well, the guy is directing traffic.  And I got out to thank him, and I did.  And then I went back in my car and all of a sudden, I had this thought:  “I wonder where he‘s sending these people.”

(LAUGHTER)

I think some of them are still driving around the Bronx, but it was very reassuring to know how much support we had, and I thank all of you for it, because you all gave us support—Republicans, Democrats, everyone.

(APPLAUSE).

And as we look beyond this election and realize that elections do accentuate our differences, let‘s make sure that we rekindle that spirit that we had, that we are one America.  We are united to end the threat of global terrorism as one people.

(APPLAUSE)

Certainly President Bush will keep us focused on that goal.  When President Bush announced his commitment to ending global terrorism, he understood, I understood, we all understood that it was critical to remove the pillars of support for the global terrorist movement.

In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein needed to be removed.

(APPLAUSE) 

Frankly, I believed then and I believe now that Saddam Hussein, who supported global terrorism, slaughtered thousands and thousands of his own people, permitted horrific atrocities against women, and used weapons of mass destruction; he was himself a weapon of mass destruction.

(APPLAUSE)

But the reasons for removing Saddam Hussein were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction.

To liberate people, give them a chance for accountable, decent government and to rid the world of a pillar of support for global terrorism is nothing to be defensive about.  It‘s something for which all those involved, from President Bush to the brave men of our armed services, should be proud.  They did something wonderful.  They did something that history will give them great credit for.

(APPLAUSE)

President Bush has also focused us on the correct long-term answer for the violence and hatred emerging from the Middle East.  The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments.

Rather than trying to grant more freedom, or create more income, or improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and to Israel and to other external scapegoats.

But blaming these scapegoats does not improve the life of a single person in the Arab world.

It does not relieve the plight of even one woman in Iran.

It does not give a decent living to a single soul in Syria.

It doesn‘t  stop the slaughter of African Christians in the Sudan.

(APPLAUSE)

The president understands that the changes necessary in the Middle East involve encouraging accountable, lawful, decent governments that can be role models and solve the problems of their own people.

This has been a very important part of the Bush doctrine and the president‘s vision for the future.

(APPLAUSE)

Have faith in the power of freedom.  People who live in freedom always prevail over people who live in oppression.

(APPLAUSE)

That‘s the story of the Old Testament. 

That‘s the story of World War II and the Cold War.

That‘s the story of the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers who courageously saved thousands of lives on September 11, 2001.

President Bush is the leader we need for the next four years because he can see beyond just today and tomorrow.  He can see in the future.  He has a vision of a peaceful Middle East and a safer world.

(APPLAUSE)

Don‘t be discouraged.  Don‘t be cynical.  We‘ll see an end to global terrorism.  I can see it.  I believe it.  I know it will happen.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, right now, it may seem very difficult and a long way off.  It may even seem idealistic to say that.  But it may not be as far away and idealistic as it seems.

Look how quickly the Berlin Wall was torn down and the Iron Curtain ripped open and the Soviet Union disintegrated because of the power of the pent-up demand for freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

When it catches hold, there is nothing more powerful than freedom.  Give it some hope, and it will overwhelm dictators and even defeat terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

That is what we‘ve done and must continue to do in Iraq.  That‘s what the Republican Party, our party, does best, when we‘re at our best.  

We extend freedom, and it‘s our mission.  It‘s the long-term answer to ending global terrorism.  Governments that are free and accountable.

We have won many battles in this war on terror, at home and abroad.  But as President Bush told us way back on September 20, 2001 it will take a long-term determined effort to prevail.

The war on terrorism will not be won in a single battle.  There will be no dramatic surrender.  There will be no crumbling of a massive wall.

But we will know it.  We‘ll know it as accountable governments continue to develop in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We‘ll know it as terrorist attacks throughout the world decrease and then end and we save lives.  And then, God willing, we‘ll all be able on a future anniversary of September 11th to return to Ground Zero, or to the Pentagon, or to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and to say to our fallen brothers and sisters, to our heroes of the worst attack in our history and to our heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the war on terror, we will be able to say to them that we have done all that we could with our lives that were spared to make your sacrifices build a world of real peace and true freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

We will make certain, in the words of President Bush, that they have heard from us, that they‘ve heard from us a message of peace through free, accountable, lawful and decent governments giving people hope for a future for themselves and their children.

God bless each one we have lost, every soul, every single person, here and abroad, and their families.  God bless all those who are currently at risk and in harm‘s way defending our freedom.  And God bless America.

END   

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