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Remarks of Condoleeza Rice
Republican National Convention
Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow delegates from the Golden State of California and fellow delegates from across this great country.
Tonight, we gather to reflect on America’s unique opportunity to lead the forward march of freedom and to fortify the peace.
We offer special thanks to all those Private Ryans who served over the decades – so that tyranny would not stand.
We remember those great Republican Presidents who sustained American leadership through the decades, ended the Cold War and lifted our nuclear nightmare. Thank you - Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.
And we acknowledge together this remarkable truth: the future belongs to liberty – fueled by markets and trade, protected by the rule of law and propelled by the fundamental rights of the individual. Information and knowledge can no longer be bottled up by the state. Prosperity flows to those who can tap the genius of their people.
We have a presidential nominee who knows what America must do to fulfill the promise of this new century. We have a nominee who knows the power of truth and honor. We have a nominee who will be the next great President of the United States –Texas Governor George W. Bush.
It is fitting that I stand before you to talk about Governor Bush’s commitment to America’s principled leadership in the world, because that is the legacy and tradition of our Party – because our Party’s principles made me a Republican.
The first Republican I knew was my father and he is still the Republican I most admire. He joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did. My father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I.
I joined for different reasons. I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group. I found a party that puts family first. I found a party that has love of liberty at its core. And I found a party that believes that peace begins with strength.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney live and breathe these Republican principles. They understand what is required for our time, and what is timeless.
It all begins with integrity in the Oval Office. George W. Bush is a man of his word. Friend and foe will know that he tells the truth.
He believes that America has a special responsibility to keep the peace – that the fair cause of freedom depends on our strength and purpose.
He recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America’s armed forces are not a global police force. They are not the world’s 911.
They are the strongest shield and surest sword in the maintenance of peace. If the time ever comes to use military force, President George W. Bush will do so to win – because for him, victory is not a dirty word.
George W. Bush will never allow America and our allies to be blackmailed. And make no mistake; blackmail is what the outlaw states seeking long-range ballistic missiles have in mind. It is time to move beyond the Cold War. It is time to have a President devoted to a new nuclear strategy and to the deployment of effective missile defenses at the earliest possible date.
George W. Bush knows that America has allies and friends who share our values. As he has said, the President should call our allies when they are not needed, so that he can call upon them when they are needed.
He understands the power of trade to create jobs at home and extend liberty abroad.
The George W. Bush I know is a man of uncommonly good judgment. He is focused and consistent. He believes that we Americans are at our best when we exercise power without fanfare or arrogance. He speaks plainly and with a positive spirit. In the past year, I have had a glimpse of what kind of President he will be.
I traveled with him to Mexico and saw the respect he has gained from its leaders and the affection he has won from its people. When he enters office, he will know more about our neighbor Mexico than any President in our history. He speaks to the Mexican people not just in the language of diplomacy but in their native tongue.
I have watched him explain America’s interests to the Russian foreign minister, while assuring him that a peaceful Russia has nothing to fear from America.
He told the South African president of his hope for peace and prosperity in Africa.
I know that he understands the complexities of our relationship with China. He believes that conflict between our nations is not inevitable. Yet he recognizes the challenge that the Chinese government poses to our interests and values and the irresistible demand for liberty that can be unleashed by freer trade with its people.
And he has joined the bipartisan tradition of support for Israel’s quest for enduring peace with its neighbors.
George W. Bush will work with Congress so that America speaks with one voice. He has demonstrated in this campaign that he will never use foreign policy for narrow partisan purposes.
The United States cannot lead unless the President inspires the American people to accept their international responsibilities. George W. Bush will inspire us, because he understands who we are.
He knows that we are an innovative people who find kinship with those in other nations who are entrepreneurial in spirit.
He realizes that we are a nation that has been forged not from common blood but from common purpose – that the faces of America are the faces of the world. It has not been easy for our country to make “We, the people” mean all the people. Democracy in America is a work in progress – not a finished masterpiece.
But even with its flaws, this unique American experience provides a shining beacon to peoples who still suffer in places where ethnic difference is a license to kill.
And George W. Bush understands that America is special among nations. That throughout our history, people everywhere have been inspired to flee tyranny and the constraints of class to gain liberty and pursue happiness in this great land.
In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you came from – it matters where you are going. But that truth cannot be sustained if it is not renewed in each generation – as it was with my grandfather.
George W. Bush would have liked Granddaddy Rice. He was a poor farmer's son in rural Alabama – but he recognized the importance of education. Around 1918, he decided it was time to get book learning, so he asked, in the language of the day, where a colored man could go to college. He was told about little Stillman College, a school about 50 miles away. So Granddaddy saved his cotton for tuition and went off to Tuscaloosa.
After the first year, he ran out of cotton and needed a way to pay for college. Praise be – God gave him one. Grandfather asked how the other boys were staying in school. “They have what’s called a scholarship,” he was told, “and if you wanted to be a Presbyterian minister, then you could have one, too.” Granddaddy Rice said, “That’s just what I had in mind.” And my family has been Presbyterian and college-educated ever since. This is not just my grandfather’s story – it is an American story.
My friends, George W. Bush challenges us to call upon our better selves – to be compassionate toward those who are less fortunate; to cherish and educate every child, descendants of slaves and immigrants alike, and to thereby affirm the American dream for us all.
On that foundation, confident of who we are, we will extend peace, prosperity and liberty beyond our shores.
Elect George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!
God bless you and God bless America.