Transcript of George W. Bush's Acceptance Speech
Aug. 3 -- George W. Bush accepted his nomination and addressed the Republic National Convention and the nation for the first time. Read a full transcript of his remarks here.
George W. Bush:
Mr. Chairman, delegates, and my fellow citizens … I accept your nomination. Thank you for this honor. Together, we will renew America’s purpose.
Our founders first defined that purpose here in Philadelphia … Ben Franklin was here. Thomas Jefferson. And, of course, George Washington — or, as his friends called him, “George W.”
I am proud to have Dick Cheney at my side. He is a man of integrity and sound judgment, who has proven that public service can be noble service.
America will be proud to have a leader of such character to succeed Al Gore as Vice President of the United States.
I am grateful for John McCain and the other candidates who sought this nomination. Their convictions strengthen our party.
I am especially grateful tonight to my family.
No matter what else I do in life, asking Laura to marry me was the best decision I ever made.
To our daughters, Barbara and Jenna, we love you, we’re proud of you, and as you head off to college this fall … Don’t stay out too late, and e-mail your old dad once in a while, will you?
And mother, everyone loves you and so do I.
Growing up, she gave me love and lots of advice. I gave her white hair.
And I want to thank my father — the most decent man I have ever known.
All my life I have been amazed that a gentle soul could be so strong.
And Dad, I want you to know how proud I am to be your son.
My father was the last president of a great generation. A generation of Americans who stormed beaches, liberated concentration camps and delivered us from evil.
Some never came home.
Those who did put their medals in drawers, went to work, and built on a heroic scale … highways and universities, suburbs and factories, great cities and grand alliances — the strong foundations of an American Century.
Now the question comes to the sons and daughters of this achievement …
What is asked of us?
This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character.
Prosperity can be a tool in our hands — used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system — dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.
Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment. So tonight we vow to our nation …
We will seize this moment of American promise.
We will use these good times for great goals.
We will confront the hard issues — threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security — before the challenges of our time become crises for our children.
And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country.
To every man and woman, a chance to succeed. To every child, a chance to learn. To every family, a chance to live with dignity and hope.
For eight years, the Clinton/Gore administration has coasted through prosperity.And the path of least resistance is always downhill.
But America’s way is the rising road.
This nation is daring and decent and ready for change.
Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents. So much charm. Such great skill. But, in the end, to what end? So much promise, to no great purpose.
Little more than a decade ago, the Cold War thawed and, with the leadership of Presidents Reagan and Bush, that wall came down.
But instead of seizing this moment, the Clinton/Gore administration has squandered it. We have seen a steady erosion of American power and an unsteady exercise of American influence.
Our military is low on parts, pay and morale.
If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report … Not ready for duty, sir.
This administration had its moment.
They had their chance. They have not led. We will.
This generation was given the gift of the best education in American history. Yet we do not share that gift with everyone. Seven of ten fourth-graders in our highest poverty schools cannot read a simple children’s book.
And still this administration continues on the same old path with the same old programs — while millions are trapped in schools where violence is common and learning is rare.
This administration had its chance. They have not led. We will.
America has a strong economy and a surplus. We have the public resources and the public will — even the bipartisan opportunities — to strengthen Social Security and repair Medicare.
But this administration — during eight years of increasing need—did nothing.
They had their moment. They have not led. We will.
Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values — to show we have grown up before we grow old.
But when the moment for leadership came, this administration did not teach our children, it disillusioned them.
They had their chance. They have not led. We will.
And now they come asking for another chance, another shot.
Not this time.
Not this year.
This is not a time for third chances, it is a time for new beginnings.
The rising generations of this country have our own appointment with greatness.It does not rise or fall with the stock market. It cannot be bought with our wealth.
Greatness is found when American character and American courage overcome American challenges.
When Lewis Morris of New York was about to sign the Declaration of Independence, his brother advised against it, warning he would lose all his property.
Morris, a plain-spoken Founder, responded … “Damn the consequences, give me the pen.” That is the eloquence of American action.
We heard it during World War II, when General Eisenhower told paratroopers on D-Day morning not to worry — and one replied, “We’re not worried, General … It’s Hitler’s turn to worry now.”
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