9:15 P.M. MST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you all. (Applause.) This is a rowdy crowd. (Applause.) Why don't we ask Bob LaLond* to sit down back here with some of the other kids. (Laughter.) Really, take a seat. If you've got a seat, take it. I'm going to give you the whole load. (Laughter.)
Well, we're delighted to be home. This has been just a phenomenal experience for us. You can see tonight, we're enjoying it in part because we're accompanied by our family, by our granddaughters.
MRS. CHENEY: And our daughters.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And our daughters. And Lynne is here, too, of course. (Laughter and applause.) This is Granddaughter Kate. (Applause.) Granddaughter Elizabeth. (Applause.) And Gracie. (Applause.) But this last -- I guess, the last 10 days really since we started out on this last swing -- and since yesterday morning when we left Toledo, Ohio, we've covered 10,000 miles. (Applause.) And last night we had a tremendous event at 11:00 p.m. last night in Honolulu for -- about 10,000 folks showed up. (Applause.)
But it has been a remarkable experience for us. Lynne and I have covered the country. I think we've been in 49 states this election cycle doing Bush-Cheney events and congressional races, House and Senate races. And of course, our two daughters -- Mary and Liz -- were intimately involved in the effort. Mary has run the entire Vice Presidential Operations throughout the campaign, for the last 15 or 16 months. And Liz was in -- (Applause.) They're back here in the shadows someplace. And Liz was in charge of all my debate preparation. She's the reason we did a pretty good job on John Edwards. (Applause.)
But it has been a family affair. And I was just reminiscing, thinking about this campaign this time around. When I first came into the valley as a candidate was in -- about January 1978. And it was a cold winter, as I recall, when the snow was so deep that all the deer were living on the highway because they couldn't get off the road into the snow banks. But I came to Jackson all by myself in an old Ford, starting to round up votes because I was thinking about running for Congress.
And Jackie Montgomery took on the assignment of being my county chairman, which she did a number of times over the years. Where's Jackie? Jackie is back here. (Applause.) And of course, I'm not sure Dick and Maggie were even in the valley yet. Not yet. They came along after that. He was down running all the banks in Denver, and then they ran him off and sent him to Wyoming. (Laughter.) But a lot of great friends here, Cliff and Martha Hampton. Of course, Cliff has always been a role model for so many of us. (Applause.)
But when we started that first campaign, Liz was 12 years old, and Mary was nine. And they've been at it ever since. (Applause.)
MRS. CHENEY: I want to tell a story. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And this happens often during the course of the campaign. (Laughter.)
MRS. CHENEY: Yes. You have to scoot over.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right.
MRS. CHENEY: All right.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Get your box here. Here you go.
MRS. CHENEY: Liz was 12 years old, and her assignment was to carry around a little basket full of Dick Cheney For Congress buttons. And she passed them out in numerous parades. And this worked quite well until, in Douglas, the parade turned and she didn't, and we lost her. (Laughter.) She has been recovered, however. And Mary's job was to stand in front of Cheney Headquarters in Casper, Wyoming with a sandwich board on. And it said, Honk If You're For Cheney. (Laughter.) So they had good and early training.
All right, Dick. You can go on now.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's all? (Laughter and applause.)
And we've had -- this has been a fantastic experience for us, and as a family. And this year especially, it's such a privilege to participate in a national campaign. And there are always during the course of politics, moments when you need a fairly thick skin. It goes with the business these days. But what makes up for all of that are the tremendous people you meet along the way, and whether you're in Hawaii, or Wyoming, or Florida, or wherever it might be in this great land of ours, to have an opportunity to get out and spend some time with millions of Americans who say thank you and God bless you and we're praying for you, that's what makes the whole system worthwhile. Because in Washington, nobody ever says thank you. (Laughter.) But it has been a special privilege to be a part of all that, and it's great for us to come home tonight, to have an opportunity to wrap up this campaign and do it right here in Wyoming, and to do it with all of you. We're delighted to be here because -- (applause) -- I believe tomorrow, based on all the work we've done and working alongside this great President that tomorrow the entire country is going to be Bush-Cheney country. (Applause.)
MRS. CHENEY: I just want to emphasize that this has been a remarkably meaningful campaign for Dick and me because we've traveled across this country, and we've seen so many beautiful places -- none as beautiful as home, of course. (Applause.) But time and again we've thought how proud we are to be Americans. And I've thought to myself if I were going to make a list of all the things that make me proud, right at the top of it, I'd put our President George W. Bush. (Applause.) I have told crowds from one end of the country to the other that he has been a magnificent leader these past four years, and that the Vice President is no slouch either. (Laughter and applause.)
But we've had so much joy on this campaign trip -- this whole campaign, partly having family with us has made it joyful; but partly it just gets to be fun sometimes. I'm sure it's kind of hard to realize that when you see how campaigns can get kind of going after one another. But we have had some remarkably good times, and some remarkably good laughs. And I think that Dick ought to share a couple of his best lines with you. (Laughter.)
Now, Dick, I'll help you here. (Laughter.) But did you know, Dick, that John Kerry went goose hunting?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I did.
MRS. CHENEY: Tell us about it, Dick. Tell us about John Kerry going goose hunting. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't know how many of you noticed the other day he went goose hunting in Ohio. And before he could go goose hunting, he had to go buy a new camouflage coat, which made you wonder how often he'd been goose hunting in the past. (Laughter.) But we looked on him as sort of an October disguise, his camo -- in his camo coat. He's trying to cover up the fact that he always votes against gun owners every chance he gets. (Applause.) And we concluded that as this point that John Kerry's goose is cooked. (Laughter and applause.)
MRS. CHENEY: I think you ought to do how you got picked. All right, now, they liked that one. So let's try another one. Dick? (Laughter.) Dick, how did you get picked for Vice President?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's --
MRS. CHENEY: Oh. (Laughter.) Well, then you try it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm told -- I was told repeatedly that John Edwards got picked to be Vice President because of his good looks. He's sexy, charming, has great hair. And I said, how do you think I got the job? (Laughter and applause.)
MRS. CHENEY: Even Katie is in the act now. She's got an idea. All right, this is going to be another of "Cheneys' Greatest Hits." This one has to do with the fact that John Kerry has a completely and totally weak record on national security issues, that he's had a record for 30 years of weakness on national security issues. But --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, he's working very hard to cover it up. Now, we got into the campaign, of course, and he's trying hard to cover up the fact that he voted against the first Gulf War; against Operation Desert Storm; voted against most of the weapons systems that President Reagan used to keep the peace and win the Cold War. But the point is that no matter how hard he tries, no matter how much spin he tries to put on it, that you can't cover that record up with a little tough talk during the course of the campaign, that as we say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but in the end of the day, it's still a pig. (Laughter and applause.) The amazing thing is you can tell that story in any state in America and they get it. (Laughter.) You got anything you want to add --
MRS. CHENEY: No --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right, well, she set me up and then walked off. (Laughter.)
No, but it's a special, special occasion to come tonight and have all of you here to greet us back home because Wyoming does mean so much to us. And I wouldn't have been able to do any of the things that I've done over the last 20 some years if so many of you had not been willing to come forward 26 years ago and support me when I was very green, just starting out, and when I needed all the help I could get. And as I say, it has been a special privilege to serve alongside this President.
This election is very important. Out of all the ones that I have been involved -- and I added up the other night, I think there are some 15 campaigns now, going back to 1966, the first time I worked for somebody else, eight of those I've been a candidate myself -- but it's the first time that I've ever felt as strongly as I do about the importance of this election and the choice we're going to make tomorrow for the future of America and the history of the nation.
I think we're at one of those turning points where every once in a while we're faced with a brand new challenge. It happens maybe every 40 or 50 years, and we have to devise a brand new strategy to defend the nation. We had to do it when we were faced with the Cold War back in the 1940s. The Soviets all of a sudden emerged, armed with nuclear weapons, occupying half of Europe. And we were forced to develop a strategy that was then supported for the next 40 years by Republican and Democratic administration alike. I think we're at one of those turning points again in our history based on what happened on 9/11, based on our need to put together and support and sustain a tough, aggressive strategy of going after the terrorists wherever they are, going after those who support terror, wherever we find them. And I think what we've got in George Bush is a man who has demonstrated for the last four years that he knows exactly what needs to be done and he's been doing it. (Applause.)
And the other -- the other point that I always like to make -- in addition to my gratitude to having the opportunity to work alongside this President, and my appreciation for his leadership and his ability to make tough decisions and to see them through no matter what, no matter how much political pressure is brought to bear, or how much criticism comes with the very difficult task he faces every day in the Oval Office -- is the enormous debt of gratitude we all owe to the men and women of the United States military. They've done a superb job for all of us. (Applause.)
So it's a vitally important decision we'll make. As I say, I think it will set the strategy that will be vital to securing the nation, to defending the nation, to guaranteeing the safety and security of our kids and grandkids for a good many years to come -- very important tomorrow that we get it right, that everybody take advantage of the tremendous privilege we all have as Americans to participate in this magnificent process whereby we get to select our leaders. And I want to thank all of you for being out here tonight, for the tremendous support you've given us over the years, and again, say how much we appreciate and are proud to be home -- to be home here in Wyoming after the conclusion of what has been a remarkable campaign. And tomorrow night, we'll see our cause forward to victory.
Thank you very much for being here. (Applause.)
END 9:30 P.M. MST