Transcript of George W. Bush's Acceptance Speech

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam. When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world — to turn these years of influence into decades of peace. And, at the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail.

Now is the time, not to defend outdated treaties, but to defend the American people. A time of prosperity is a test of vision. And our nation today needs vision. That is a fact … or as my opponent might call it, a “risky truth scheme.”

Every one of the proposals I’ve talked about tonight, he 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 … I understand he actually was there for that.

He now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But the only thing he has to offer is fear itself.

That outlook is typical of many in Washington — always seeing the tunnel at the end of the light.

But I come from a different place, and it has made me a different leader.

In Midland, Texas, where I grew up, the town motto was “the sky is the limit” … and we believed it.

There was a restless energy, a basic conviction that, with hard work, anybody could succeed, and everybody deserved a chance.

Our sense of community was just as strong as that sense of promise.

Neighbors helped each other. There were dry wells and sandstorms to keep you humble, and lifelong friends to take your side, and churches to remind us that every soul is equal in value and equal in need.

This background leaves more than an accent, it leaves an outlook.

Optimistic. Impatient with pretense. Confident that people can chart their own course.

That background may lack the polish of Washington. Then again, I don’t have a lot of things that come with Washington.

I don’t have enemies to fight. And I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect.

The largest lesson I learned in Midland still guides me as governor … Everyone, from immigrant to entrepreneur, has an equal claim on this country’s promise.

So we improved our schools, dramatically, for children of every accent, of every background. We moved people from welfare to work.

We strengthened our juvenile justice laws.

Our budgets have been balanced, with surpluses, and we cut taxes not only once, but twice.

We accomplished a lot.

I don’t deserve all the credit, and don’t attempt to take it. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to get things done.

A bittersweet part of tonight is that someone is missing, the late Lt. Governor of Texas Bob Bullock.

Bob was a Democrat, a crusty veteran of Texas politics, and my great friend.

He worked by my side, endorsed my re-election, and I know he is with me in spirit in saying to those who would malign our state for political gain … Don’t mess with Texas.

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