THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. As your President, I have led this country with principle and resolve. We have confronted historic challenges and built a broad record of accomplishment. I have proposed and delivered four rounds of tax relief, and our economy is creating jobs again. We have added over 1.9 million jobs in the past 13 months, more than Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Canada and France combined. The unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, lower than the average rate of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Thanks to our education reforms, math and reading scores are increasing in public schools. We have strengthened Medicare to help low-income seniors save money on their medicine. And soon every senior will have the option of prescription drug coverage.
We have more to do. We will transform our systems of government to fit a changing world and to help more people realize the American Dream. We will expand health savings accounts and improve Social Security to allow younger workers to own a piece of their retirement. Because education is vital to our prosperity, we will raise expectations in public schools and invest in community colleges.
And to make sure America is the best place in the world to do business and create jobs, we will cut regulations, end junk lawsuits, pass a sound energy policy and make tax relief permanent. Senator Kerry takes a very different approach to our economy. He was named the most liberal member of the United States Senate, and that's a title he has earned. Over the past 20 years, Senator Kerry has voted to raise taxes 98 times. He opposed all our tax relief, and voted instead to squeeze an extra $2,000 in taxes from the average middle class family. Now he's running on an agenda of higher taxes and higher spending and more government control over American life. My opponent wants to empower government. I want to use government to empower people.
Since September the 11th, 2001, I have led a global campaign to protect the American people and bring our enemies to account. We have tripled spending on homeland security and passed the Patriot Act to help law enforcement and intelligence stop terrorists inside the United States. We removed terror regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now both nations are on the path to democracy. We shut down a black-market supplier of deadly weapons technology, and convinced Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction programs. And more than three-quarters of al Qaeda's key members and associates have been detained or killed.
In the middle of a war, Senator Kerry is proposing policies and doctrines that would weaken America and make the world more dangerous. He's proposed the Kerry doctrine, which would paralyze America by subjecting our national security decisions to a global test. He supports the International Criminal Court, where unaccountable foreign prosecutors could put American troops on trial in front of foreign judges. And after voting to send our troops into combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, he voted against the body armor and bullets they need to win.
For all of Senator Kerry's shifting positions on Iraq, one thing is clear: If my opponent had his way, Saddam Hussein would be sitting in a palace today, not a prison, and Iraq would still be a danger to America. As chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer testified this week, 'Most senior members of the Saddam Hussein regime and scientists assumed that the programs would begin in earnest when sanctions ended, and sanctions were eroding.' Instead, because our coalition acted, Iraq is free, America is safer, and the world will be more peaceful for our children and our grandchildren.
I will keep this nation on the offensive against terrorists, with the goal of total victory. I will keep our economy moving, so every worker has a good job, quality health care and a secure retirement.
Thank you for listening.