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CNN Live Event/Special

President Speaks at Illinois Factory

Aired January 14, 2002 - 11:05   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to take you to Moline, Illinois, President Bush speaking at the John Deere tractor plant there.

Let's listen in to the president.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If my mother is listening, Mother, I should have listened to you: Always chew your pretzels before you swallow.



When I work the rope lines, people bring their children. I always turn to the child especially the teenagers and say, "Listen to your mother. It's the best advice I can give you." I obviously needed to do the same thing last night. But I'm feeling great. I'm so honored to be here.

Thank you very much for letting me come to this fantastic plant.


I'm impressed by the size of these monsters. Kind of makes me think I need a bigger ranch.


I'm also impressed by the quality of the work.


It's a great tribute to the men and women who work the floor here, which is a great tribute to the country that we've got such good workers with such an entrepreneurial spirit.

And part of my job is to make sure we preserve that spirit.

It's also an honor to be here on the Mississippi River. A river that really links our country together. And so, I'm going to start here, and then I'm going to go down to Missouri to talk to some farmers. And then, I'm going to go down to New Orleans, to the port of New Orleans, from whence your product and the products you help harvest, leave our country for foreign markets.

It's my way of doing a couple of things: one, reminding America about how important the food and fiber system is to our economy; reminding America that those who grow food and those who help the farmers harvest that food are an incredibly important part to the future of our country.

The food and fiber industry represents $1.3 trillion of gross domestic product in the year 2000. It employed over 24 million people.

I'm also here, not only to remind people about the importance of food and fiber, but to remind people that we need to make sure we create jobs in this country, and I've got some ideas I want to share with you on how we do just that. There's no better place to do this than on the mighty Mississippi River.


I appreciate members of my Cabinet traveling with me.

Secretary Evans and Secretary Veneman, both of whom are doing a fine job, representing all segments of our society.

I want to thank members of the United States Congress who are here. Senator Harkin from Iowa, Senator Fitzgerald from Illinois, thank you both for being here.


I appreciate member of the United States House Lane Evans who represents his district.


And they must have changed the immigration laws, because they let two congressmen from Iowa in here.


Congressman Ganske and Congressman Leach, thank you both for coming.


I appreciate the mayor of East Moline and the mayor of Moline for greeting me here today. Thank you both for coming.

I want to thank the officers of John Deere. I want to thank Bob Lane (ph) and John Gault (ph). And I want to thank Chuck Thompson (ph) and all the hardworking folks here at this plant.

Thank you for greeting me. It's my honor to be here.


The role of government is not to create wealth. The role of government is to create conditions in which jobs are created, in which people can find work. And I want to share with you some of my thoughts about how best to do that.

The first condition to make sure that people can find work is to make sure our nation is secure, secure against an enemy that wants to attack us. That starts with having a robust, active, strong homeland security for our country.

People say, "What does that mean?" Well, it means any time you get a hint that somebody wants to harm us, you do something about it. It means you're to share intelligence with people all across the world, so that we know if somebody's coming our way. It means we've changed the nature of our law enforcement, so that preventing an attack is the number one priority of the FBI and local local enforcement. It means we're going to have our ears up and our eyes opened. It means we'll be alert. And it means if we catch anybody trying to harm America or thinking about harming America, we're going to bring them to justice.


Bob mentioned the confidence of the American consumer, and there's no question the attacks on America on 9/11 have affected our confidence. But the more the American citizen realizes that our federal government, in combination with state government and local authorities, are working day in and day out to prevent any other kind of attack, confidence will return.

But I want to remind my fellow citizens this, that the best way to secure the homeland of America is to find the enemy where they think they can hide and bring them to justice no matter where they are. It's amazing to me that we've got an enemy, on the one hand, that's willing to convince young males to commit suicide on behalf of a cause that's empty and, at the same time, try to escape the justice of America in caves. They can run, they think they can hide, but this patient, strong nation will stay on the job until we find them, root them out and get them.


I'm proud of our military. For those of you who have got sons and daughters or brothers and sisters or moms and dads wearing the uniform, you need to be proud, too. They are accomplishing the mission that we set out, a mission that is dangerous, a mission that is just.

After all, we are fighting for the freedoms -- the freedom to live the life they way you want to, the freedom to worship the way you want and the chance for our children and our grandchildren to grow up in a peaceful and safe society.

The enemy made a mistake. They thought this nation was soft. They thought because we are a wealthy nation that we wouldn't rise to the occasion. Oh my, are they wrong.


The second way to make sure we've got sustained economic growth is to make sure our public school system works well.

Recently, last week, I had the honor of traveling the country touting the fact that I was able to sign a good education bill. I know I shocked people...


I know I shocked people when I stood up and said, "Ted Kennedy is all right."


Probably shocked him more than anybody else.


But we showed what can happen in Washington when you put party politics aside and focus on what's good for the country. And what's good for the country is to make sure our education system produces smart, intelligent, literate children. And this bill I signed goes a long way for helping. It's a great piece of legislation.

And I want to thank both Republicans and Democrats for working with me to get an education bill that America can be proud of.


I believe the third condition necessary to make sure people can find work and those who have work can work harder is to make sure that we open up the world for American products.

Fearful people want to build walls around America. Confident people believe we ought to tear them down.

I'm confident in the American worker. I know the American worker can out-produce anybody, anywhere in the world.


I'm confident in the American farmer. I know the American farmer is more efficient and can raise more crop than anybody, anywhere in the world. I'm confident we need to open up markets, not close them down.

I'm confident we've got to get my friend Putin to be buying John Deere products.


I'm confident what this nation needs is to level the playing field and have trade that will create jobs all across America. The fourth ingredient is to make sure we've got an energy supply as we head into the future.

I oftentimes talk about how important it is to have, to be able to grow your own food. Part of the national security of the country is to know that we're self-sufficient when it comes to food production, that we can grow our own food, we don't have to rely upon another nation to feed our people. That's one of the luxuries this nation has.

We don't have the same luxury when it comes to energy. We are too reliant upon foreign sources of crude oil.

We've got to do a better job of not only conserving energy, but it seems to make sense to me that, when we've got energy on our own hemisphere and in our own states, we ought to explore for it to make us less reliant. It's in the national security interest of our country to have an energy policy.


And we need to get Congress to act on a good one. It's one that will make us less reliant. It's one that encourages more conservation, and it's one that's good for American workers and American jobs.

And finally, in order to make sure we have jobs, in order to make sure the economy expands, we've got to have good economic policy out of Washington, D.C.

Now I know there's a difference of opinion on about what's good economic policy. But mine starts with saying this: And when the economy slows down, one of the best things we can do is let people keep their own money, so they can spend it. If the economy slows down, one of the best answers is tax relief and trust local people to spend the money they want to see fit.


If you have more money in your pocket, you buy more things, which encourages more production. Consumer demand is stimulated by tax relief. And the great thing about our society is, when consumers demand, generally, somebody's there to produce. And so, there's more jobs as more production takes place.

Now there's going to be a debate, when we go back to Washington, about tax relief. But I've made up my mind, the tax relief plan we passed, which you are now beginning to feel the effects of, is going to be permanent.


There are some more things that we can do. We need to take care of the workers whose lives were affected as a result of the evil ones' attacks by extending unemployment benefits and by helping with their health care. I'm confident we can find common ground in Washington, D.C., and a way to help people.

But you know something, Americans don't want an unemployment check. Americans want a permanent paycheck, and that's got to be the mission of any good stimulus package.


So we need to work together to figure out ways to create stimulus: deductibility for more equipment purchased, speeding up tax relief. There are some positive things we can do. If we make up our minds to do it, it will give a little extra umph to an economic recovery that I hope is beginning to happen.

So those are some of the thoughts I wanted to share with you as I travel down the Mississippi River: good stimulus policy, good economic policy based on trusting people with their own money, good education policy, good trade policy and a good policy to bring these terrorists to justice.

You know, I'm amazed that anybody would think they could attack the country. They just didn't understand us. But I understand the great strength of our country, and it's the people. It's the people that live all across our land. I don't care whether you're a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. It's the people that make us great. You know why, because this nation is a nation of heart and soul and strength.

I am so pleased to hear the stories of moms and dads sitting around their dinner table, asking the fundamental question about life, people assessing their values. What's the most important thing in life? And moms and dads realizing it's to love your children with all your heart and all your soul. No, the evil one struck us, and they did serious damage.

But in so doing, they really lifted the spirit of the country in a unique way. They brought out the very best in America.

The best in America takes place when somebody walks across the street and says to a neighbor in need, "What can I do to help you?" Somebody knows there is somebody shut-in, and says, "I think I'm going to spread a little love today."

The best of America takes place in our churches and synagogues and mosques, when people walk out and listen to that call to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself, and then do something about it.

All this takes place, by the way -- these millions acts of kindness on a daily basis, which helps define the sole and spirit of America -- takes place not because of government, it takes place because of the people of the greatest land on the face of the Earth.

My call to you is: Work hard, like you do. Love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself. Love your children; tell them you love them every single day. Make sure they turn off the TV so they become good readers.

And always remember: That we're lucky to live in such a fabulous nation -- the nation called America.


Thank you.

KAGAN: We're listening to an upbeat speech from President Bush as he speaks at the John Deere factory in East Moline, Illinois. The president was talking about expanded trade and the strength of America as a nation.

Just as important, the president was showing just how good he was feeling after yesterday's fainting spell. You could see the "boo" for a lack of technical term on the left side of his face. We are going to have more on that with Dr. Gupta in just a moment.

First, let's bring in our Major Garrett, who is travelling with the president in East Moline, Illinois -- Major.

The president looks like he's fully recovered from yesterday's mishap.

The audience can judge for itself: The president clearly looks fit. He joked even at the top of his remarks, saying he expected to receive a gift, here in East Moline, from the John Deere company and its workers, hoping it might be a pretzel, a soft one -- easy to chew. The president will probably make lot of jokes about his fainting spell yesterday. The president wants to make light of what clearly was, at least for a moment or so, a serious situation in the White House yesterday.

The whole context for this trip, Daryn, is to sort of reorient the president's message to domestic policy and send a very clear signal to Senate Democrats that those issues on which they blocked the president's agenda at the tail end of last year will come right back at them when they come back to Washington, at this end of this month.

The president mentioned four key domestic items. One of them is resolved: the education bill. Three are unresolved: economic stimulus, trade promotion authority, and energy. The White House intends to bring all those issues to the Senate Democrats as soon as they get back to Washington.

The president will travel across the country not only this week, but also again next week and the week after that, talking about the importance of an economic stimulus bill the way he wants it, talking about an energy plan the way he's crafted it, and talking about the importance of moving on trade promotion authority.

The House Republicans have already passed all three of those things. Senate Democrats have blocked them. The president is going to try to use trips like this to generate grass roots support for that agenda through the Senate Democrats. He is a political force to be reckoned with even as he continues to prosecute the war against terrorism worldwide -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Major Garrett, travelling with the president, East Moline, Illinois. From here, it's on to Aurora, Missouri and then New Orleans.

Safe travels to you, Major. Thank you so much.

I want to hear more about what happened to President Bush yesterday at the White House, when he was watching this football game. We hear he choked on a pretzel.

With more on why that could have caused him to pass out, let's bring in our medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

You were talking earlier about this vegus nerve -- not Vegas like the place you go gamble.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an important nerve in the body, Daryn. It enervates many different things, including the heart. Sometimes, people can develop what's called a vagsovasal syndrome. The name is not as important, but what happens sort of is. It's sort of a protective reflex the body has when sometimes, because of fear, because of pain -- even intense coughing, as may have been the case in this case -- your body's heart rate and blood pressure will go up. Sometimes the body will say that's getting a little too high, and this vagsovasal will take place and your heart rate will come down, your blood pressure will come down. Your blood pressure will come down. That can cause you to faint. "Syncope" is the word they use in the graphic; that just means fainting.

Other possible reasons for someone to faint would be because of a heart arrhythmia -- your heart actually has a funny rhythm -- or dehydration; we know, Daryn, that he was feeling a little under the weather over the weekend -- had a bit of a cold -- sometimes that can lead to dehydration and make you a little more likely to have this fainting spell.

KAGAN: Because the explanation about what happened is only coming from the doctors, but really, the president by himself, and the only witnesses are the two dogs.

GUPTA: That's right.

KAGAN: The dogs know what happened.

GUPTA: That's right.

What we do know is that he has a pretty significant abrasion on his cheek and lower lip. And that's important because he looks like he really did lose consciousness here. When you pass out and actually injure yourself, even to that degree, means you did have a frank loss of consciousness -- not just a little light headed, not a little room spinning, but, frankly, losing consciousness. That's sort of important. KAGAN: That's the kind of thing where you should be taking off from a plane and traveling through three states in two days or taking it easy, maybe?

GUPTA: The thing about these sort of fainting episodes is they're pretty common, actually. As a doctor, we see it a lot in the ER. For example, some people get a little queasy at the site of blood.

KAGAN: Hopefully, not the doctors.

GUPTA: Not the doctors, usually -- right. Usually, the family members are the ones. But that's the same sort of thing.

The good news is that it usually is an isolated event. It's also good news that it usually doesn't happen again.

So probably, it's not any problem for him to be flying around.

KAGAN: If this speech that we just saw him give is any indication, clearly, he is feeling much better and looks good, except for the little bump on the cheek.

GUPTA: That's right.

KAGAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.