In his weekly radio address, President Bush thanked the men and women in uniform as the nation celebrated Veterans Day. He also addressed Tuesday's elections, and discussed Texas A&M President Robert Gates' nomination to become the new Secretary of Defense.
Howard Dean, the Democratic Party chairman, made his party's radio address, saying Tuesday's elections were a signal that Americans want change on a number of fronts, including the war on terror. Dean also thanked military members for their sacrifices.
The following is the transcript of the President's Radio Address:
Good morning. This weekend we commemorate Veterans Day, a day when America honors every man and woman who has worn the uniform of our military. In Veterans Day celebrations across our Nation, we remember those who have served in previous wars, those who are serving today, and those who did not live to become veterans. Especially in a time of war, we see in our veterans an example of people who stepped forward to serve a cause larger than themselves. This weekend, I ask you to take a moment to thank our veterans for their service, and express your appreciation for the sacrifices they have made to preserve our freedom and way of life.
One freedom that defines our way of life is the freedom to choose our leaders at the ballot box. We saw that freedom earlier this week, when millions of Americans went to the polls to cast their votes for a new Congress. Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war. Our democratic institutions are a source of strength, and our trust in these institutions has made America the most powerful, prosperous, and stable nation in the world.
As a result of this week's elections, the Democrats now hold a majority in both Houses of Congress. After the elections, I called the Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate to congratulate them on the victory they achieved for their party. On Thursday, I had lunch with Congresswoman Pelosi and Congressman Hoyer, and on Friday I met with Senators Reid and Durbin. We had good discussions. I told them what I have told the men and women in my administration: We must put these elections behind us, and work together on the great issues facing America.
The elections will bring changes to Washington. But one thing has not changed: America faces brutal enemies who have attacked us before and want to attack us again. I have a message for these enemies: Do not confuse the workings of American democracy with a lack of American will. Our Nation is committed to bringing you to justice, and we will prevail.
Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. I look forward to listening to ideas from the new leaders of Congress on the best way to support our troops on the front lines -- and win the war on terror. I also look forward to hearing recommendations on the way forward in Iraq from a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
In the meantime, I have made an important change to my national security team. On Wednesday, I accepted Don Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense, and announced my intent to nominate Bob Gates to replace him. Bob is a proven leader who has served six Presidents -- four Republicans and two Democrats. As a former CIA Director and the current President of Texas A&M University, he has experience leading large and complex organizations, and he has shown that he is an agent of change. As Secretary of Defense, he will provide a fresh outlook on our strategy in Iraq, and what we need to do to prevail.
Bob replaces the longest serving member of my Cabinet, Don Rumsfeld. History will record that on Secretary Rumsfeld's watch, the men and women of our military overthrew two terrorist regimes, brought justice to scores of senior al Qaeda operatives, and helped stop new terrorist attacks on our people. America is safer, and the world is more secure because of the leadership of Don Rumsfeld, and I am deeply grateful for his service.
The message of this week's elections is clear: the American people want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together to address the challenges facing our Nation. This is important work that will demand the hard effort and good faith of leaders from both sides of the aisle, and I pledge to do my part.
Thank you for listening.
The following is the transcript of the Democratic Radio Address:
Good Morning. I'm Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Today our nation honors the sacrifices of our veterans who have honorably served and protected our nation. We also honor the sacrifices of their families and our brave troops who are serving around the world, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are grateful for the sacrifices they are making on our behalf.
This Veterans Day comes at the end of an historic election season. The American people sent a clear message for a new direction by electing strong Democratic veterans like Jim Webb in Virginia, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Phil Hare in Illinois, and Admiral Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy and Chris Carney in Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, Americans across the country made it clear that they want a new direction in Iraq and in the war on terror. Voters also made it clear that they want defense policies that are tough and smart. Our agenda includes a new direction in defending America at home and around that world. We will listen to the military, take their advice, and ensure that our troops and agencies have the tools and equipment they need to defend our freedom. And we will keep our promises to our brave men and women when their service is done.
Americans also chose hope and opportunity over fear and cynicism, returning Democrats to power in Congress, state houses and legislatures with a clear call for honest, competent leadership, accountability and change in Iraq, and economic policies that put working families first.
Democrats are honored by the trust voters placed in us. And on their behalf, we fight for the new direction that Americans want and America needs.
On Tuesday, American voters demonstrated that if Democrats show up, work hard and ask for votes, we can win in any part of the country. Working together, our party became a national party again. We won in places that some thought we couldn't. We earned the votes of people who may not have voted for a Democrat in a long time. By showing up in every state, and reaching out to all Americans, we were able to make marginal races more competitive in unexpected places like Kentucky, Indiana, and Montana. We also reached out to all Americans, regardless of party or religious affiliation, and we talked about the values and beliefs that we share as Americans.
Over the next two years, Democrats will lead with unified agenda that restores hope and opportunity, competence and responsibility. We believe America should work better for the people who work hard for us everyday.
Our agenda includes:
Making our nation safer, and we will begin by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 commission.
Making our economy fairer, and we will begin by raising the minimum wage.
Making health care more affordable for all Americans, and we will begin by fixing the Medicare prescription drug program.
We will broaden college opportunity, and we will begin by cutting interest rates in half for students.
We will energize America by achieving energy independence, and we will begin by rolling back the multi-billion dollar subsidies for big oil. We will use the savings to balance the budget because we are committed to no new deficit spending, with pay-as-you-go budgeting.
The most important promise we make is this - we will respect all Americans. We will value your beliefs and your families as we restore America to its position of moral leadership thought the world. Together America will be stronger. Together we will move America in a new direction.
I'm Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Thank you so much for listening.