George W. Bush on Civil Rights
President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)
Federal courts have approved the authority to wiretap
It is said that prior to the attacks of 9/11 our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the US placed telephone calls to Al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until
it was too late. So to prevent another attack, based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute, I have authorized a terrorist-surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al Qaeda operatives
and affiliates to and from the US. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist-surveillance
program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with Al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address
Jan 31, 2006
Reauthorize the Patriot Act
Our country must remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military and homeland security.
These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime. So I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address
Jan 31, 2006
Local control with consequences if racial profiling occurs
Q: Do you support a federal law banning racial profiling by police?
GORE: Racial profiling is a serious problem. Imagine what it is like for someone to be singled out unfairly and feel the unfair force of law simply because of race or ethnicity. That
runs counter to what the United States is all about. If I am entrusted with the presidency it will be the first civil rights act of the 21st century.
BUSH: I can’t imagine what it would be like to be singled out because of race and harassed. That’s
just flat wrong. So we ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling. One of my concerns, though, is I don’t want to federalize local police. I believe in local control of governments. Most officers are dedicated citizens who are putting their
lives at risk, who aren’t bigoted or aren’t prejudiced. I do think we need to find out where racial profiling occurs and say to the local folks, get it done and if you can’t, there’ll be a federal consequence.
Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University
Oct 11, 2000
$145M over 5 years for disabled transportation
Governor Bush today proposed the following initiative totaling $145 million over five years:
Source: Press Release, “Help for Disabled”
Jun 28, 2000
- Promote innovative transportation solutions for people with disabilities by funding pilot programs. Bush will provide $45 million in funding for
10 pilot programs run by state or local governments in regional, urban, and rural areas.
- Administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, pilot programs will be funded at up to $1.5 million a year for three years and will be
selected on the basis of the use of innovative approaches to developing transportation plans that serve people with disabilities.
- Help create a network of community and faith-based providers of alternative transportation. Bush will establish
a competitive, $100 million matching grant program to promote access to alternative methods of transportation.
Government should promote independence for the disabled
I am proposing today a New Freedom Initiative to ensure that all Americans with disabilities have every chance to pursue the American dream. First, we will promote independent living. My administration will be a champion of assistive technology.
Independent living should also include greater opportunities for homeownership. For the first time, a section eight recipient who has a disability will be able to use up to a year’s worth of rental vouchers to finance the down payment on a home of their
own, and continue using vouchers to pay the mortgage. Second, we will help citizens with disabilities to claim their rightful place in the workforce. We will spend $20 million in federal matching funds to enable Americans with disabilities to buy
computers and other equipment. We will help Americans with disabilities to gain fuller access to community life. My administration will seek $10 million each year to aid religious and civic groups in making their facilities more accessible.
Source: (X-ref Health Care) Speech on Americans with Disabilities
Jun 15, 2000
Ten Commandments OK in schools for “inherent values”
Q: Does posting the Ten Commandments in schools invalidate the religious expression of children who are not in the Judeo-Christian heritage?
A: “Thou shalt not kill” is pretty universal. Districts ought to be allowed to post the Ten Commandments,
no matter what a person’s religion is. There’s some inherent values in those great commandments that would make our society a better place for everybody. I also believe our schools ought to expand character education.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa
Jan 16, 2000
Leave decisions on flying Confederate flag to the states
Q: At the South Carolina state capitol building, the Confederate flag flies with the state flag and the US flag. Does the flag offend you personally? A: I believe the people of SC can figure out what to do with this flag issue. I don’t believe it’s the
role of someone from outside SC to come into this state and tell the people of SC what to do [about] the flag. Q: As an American citizen, do you have a visceral reaction? A: As an American citizen, I trust the people of SC to make the decision for SC.
Source: Republican Debate in West Columbia, SC
Jan 7, 2000
English-plus, not English-only
Bush firmly rejected “English-only,” which has caused problems among Hispanics. “I support English-plus, not English-only,” said Bush. “English-only says to me that if Hispanic happens to be your heritage, you’re not part of the process.”
Source: Mike Glover, Associated Press
Aug 6, 1999
State lottery OK, but qualms about casino gambling
Bush presided over a state lottery approved by Texas voters three years before he became governor. Bush himself, as a private citizen, voted in favor of creating the lottery, his office said. Yet, Bush has made clear that he has qualms about gambling and
would campaign and vote against the introduction of casinos if voters are presented with another ballot question. “Casino gambling is not OK. It has ruined the lives of too many adults and it can do the same thing to our children,” Bush declared.
Source: Laurence Arnold, Associated Press
Jul 26, 1999
Patriot Act does not water down civil liberties
Q: Why are my rights being watered down and what are the specific justifications for these reforms?
A: I really don't think your rights are being watered down. I wouldn't support it if I thought that. Every action being taken against terrorists
requires a court order, requires scrutiny. The tools now given to the terrorist fighters are the same tools that we've been using against drug dealers & white-collar criminals. Whoever's the president must guard your liberties, must not erode your rights
in America. The Patriot Act is necessary, for example, because parts of the FBI couldn't talk to each other. Intelligence gathering and the law enforcement arms of the FBI just couldn't share intelligence under the old law. That didn't make any sense.
Our law enforcement must have every tool necessary to find and disrupt terrorists at home and abroad before they hurt us again. So I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all. It's necessary.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO
Oct 8, 2004
Don't let Patriot Act expire-terrorist threat won't
We must continue to give law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us. And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells and
to seize their assets. Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year. The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule. Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens. You need to renew the Patriot Act.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress
Jan 20, 2004
On Patriot Act, willing to defy ethnic lobbies
When it was necessary to do so, Bush was more than willing to defy ethnic lobbies. Is administration wrote and put into effect new internal-security legislation, the USA Patriot Act of 2001, that expanded the government's power to deport noncitizens
associated with terrorist organizations. Bush's FBI summoned Middle Eastern students for voluntary questioning. Bush's INS directed enforcement resources toward Middle Easterners who had overstayed their visas. Bush added Hamas and Hezbollah to the list
of terrorist organizations, to the dismay of the leading American Muslim organizations.
In the past, efforts to protect the country against internal threats had been tainted by prejudice and panic. The FBI disgraced itself with its espionage against
Martin Luther King, and had overcompensated for past sins by building racial oversensitivity into its operations. Bush's conspicuous religious and ethnic sensitivity helped achieve a public consensus in favor of a little less sensitivity in the ranks.
Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p.167-68
Jun 1, 2003
George W. Bush on Affirmative Action
Help minority business by unbundling government contracts
Q: Do you see a need for affirmative action programs, or have we moved far enough along that we no longer need to use race and gender as a factor?
KERRY: Regrettably, we have not moved far enough along. And I regret to say that this administration
has even blocked steps that could help us move further along. On the Small Business Committee, we have a goal for minority set-aside programs. [The Bush Administration] doesn't reach those goals. They don't even fight to reach those goals. They've tried
to undo them. The fact is that in too many parts of our country, we still have discrimination.
BUSH: Like my opponent, I don't agree we ought to have quotas. I agree, we shouldn't have quotas. I believe the best way to help our small businesses is to
unbundle government contracts so people have a chance to be able to bid and receive a contract to help get their business going. Minority ownership of businesses are up, because we created an environment for the entrepreneurial spirit to be strong.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona
Oct 13, 2004
Minorities benefit from good climate for small business
Q: Do you see a need for affirmative action?
KERRY: We still have discrimination. And affirmative action is not just something that applies to people of color. It also is with respect to women, it's other efforts to be inclusive. This president is the
first not to meet with the NAACP, with the Black Congressional Caucus, with the civil rights leadership.
BUSH: It is just not true that I haven't met with the Black Congressional Caucus. We've expanded Pell Grants by a million students. Do you realize
today in America, we spend $73 billion to help 10 million low- and middle-income families afford college? I believe the best way to help small business is not only through loans, which we have increased, but to unbundle government
contracts so people have a chance to receive a contract. Minority ownership of businesses are up, because we created an environment for the entrepreneurial spirit to be strong. Today more minorities own a home than ever before. And that's hopeful.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
Oct 13, 2004
Race-neutral admissions first; race factor ok if that fails
Q In 2003, the Supreme Court split the difference on affirmative action, allowing Bakke to stand, but rejecting the numerical formulas used by the University of Michigan undergraduate schools. Your view?
I agreed with the Court in saying that we ought to reject quotas. I think quotas are discriminatory by nature. I think they discriminate on the bottom, and I know they discriminate on the top.
And so I agreed with their assessment that a quota system was an unfair system for all. We also agreed with the finding that-in terms of admissions policy, race-neutral admissions policies ought to be tried.
If they don't work, to achieve an objective which is diversification, race ought to be a factor. I agree with that assessment. I think it's very important for all institutions to strive for diversity, and I believe there are ways to do so.
Source: Speech at Washington DC Convention Center
Aug 6, 2004
Education, housing, and hiring must be equal for all
While our schools are no longer segregated by law, they are still not equal in opportunity and excellence. Justice requires more than a place in a school. Justice requires that every school teach every child in America.
The habits of racism in America have not all been broken. Laws against racial discrimination must be vigorously enforced in education and housing and hiring and public accommodations.
Source: William Douglas/Tom Fitzgerald; Kansas City Star
May 17, 2004
Affirmative access: qualified candidates guaranteed college
I going to find people that want to serve their country, but I want a diverse administration. I think it’s important. I’ve worked hard in the state of Texas to make sure institutions reflect the state, with good, smart policy that rejects quotas. I don’t
like quotas. Quotas tend to pit one group of people against another. But policies that give people a helping hand so they can help themselves.
For example, in our state of Texas, I worked with the legislature, both Republican and Democrats, to pass a
law that said if you come in the top 10% of your high school class, you’re automatically admitted to one of our higher institutions of learning. And as a result, our universities are now more diverse. I labeled it affirmative access.
In the contracting
business, government can help, not with quotas, but to help meet a goal of ownership of small businesses, for example. The contracts need to be smaller. The agencies need to recruit and to work hard to find people to bid on the state contracts.
Source: St. Louis debate
Oct 17, 2000
Guaranteed TX college racial preference for top 10% of class
Texas has 4.8M Latinos, but does not have a large number of blacks. In Texas, Bush has:
Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special
Sep 30, 2000
- guaranteed a place at a state college or university for the top 10% of every high school graduating class
pushed for school vouchers in Texas
- appointed Mexican-Americans to senior positions in his two campaigns for governor.
Affirmative access: end soft bigotry of low expectations
Q: What are your feelings about affirmative action?
A: The best thing to do is to educate every child and to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. We can have affirmative programs that enhance people’s chance to access the middle class
without quotas and without pitting race against race. We were the first state to put a rule in place that the top 10% of each high school class could go to a state university. I call it affirmative access. This is going to enhance the ability of state
universities to attract minorities. The pool of applicants must be increased for small-business ownership. I don’t mind measuring, I don’t mind a scorecard.
Yes, racism exists. I’m not going to be making policy based on guilt. The fundamental question
in certain neighborhoods is, how do we break a sense that the system isn’t meant for me? You need mentoring programs. Part of it has to do with there isn’t the entrepreneurial system being passed from one generation to the next.
Source: Interview with Time Magazine, CNN.com/Time.com
Aug 1, 2000
For affirmative action, but not quotas or preferences
Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’
Apr 2, 2000
- Opposes quotas and racial preferences
- Supports ‘affirmative access’ to open the doors of opportunity through programs such as the Texas 10 percent plan, where those who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class are automatically
admitted to any state college or university
- Advocates needs-based contracting and breaking down government contracts to smaller sizes to encourage entrepreneurship in all communities
Reach out to minorities, but without quotas
Bush opposes quotas and racial preferences, but said the private and public sector should be encouraged to reach out to minorities. He refused to state his position on a California law that eliminated affirmative action programs.
Source: Associated Press
Jun 14, 1999
George W. Bush on Gay Rights
Constitutional amendment to protect marriage
So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.
Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.
Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech
Feb 2, 2005
Don't know whether homosexuality is a choice
Q: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
A: I don't know. I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity.
It's important that we do that. I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live. And that's to be honored.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
Oct 13, 2004
We shouldn't change our views on the sanctity of marriage
As we respect someone's rights and profess tolerance, we shouldn't change-or have to change-our basic views on the sanctity of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. It's very important that we protect marriage as an institution, between a man
and a woman. I proposed a constitutional amendment. I was worried that activist judges are defining the definition of marriage, and the surest way to protect marriage between a man and woman is to amend the Constitution. It has also the benefit of
allowing citizens to participate in the process. When you amend the Constitution, state legislatures must participate in the Constitution ratification. I'm deeply concerned that judges are making those decisions and not the citizenry. The Defense of
Marriage Act protected states from the action of one state to another. It also defined marriage as between a man and woman. If it gets overturned, we'll end up with marriage being defined by courts, and I don't think that's in our nation's interests.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
Oct 13, 2004
Protect marriage against activist judges
Because the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, I support the protection of marriage against activist judges.
And I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech
Sep 2, 2004
Bush calls for constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
Bush called for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, saying that's the only way to protect "the most fundamental institution of civilization" from activist judges. "If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever,
our nation must enact a constitutional amendment," Bush said. "The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution . . . honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith."
Source: Deborah Orin, New York Post
Feb 25, 2004
Instinct on gay issues: do not touch them
Bush's instinct on gay-rights issues was clear and emphatic: Do not touch them. During the campaign he had refused to comment on Vermont's civil unions. They were, he said, a local issue for local officeholders. He refused to accept the support
of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay Republicans-and then met with a dozen prominent homosexuals in Austin after he had clinched the nomination. In office, he retained Clinton's Office of National AIDS Policy and named an openly gay man
to run it. He did not repeal any of the spousal benefits that Clinton had introduced for homosexual federal employees. He did not object when some of his cabinet secretaries participated in Gay Pride events in their departments-and he did not object
when others did not.
Bush tried to strike a formula of "morally traditional and socially inclusive." Gay issues demanded a choice between those two imperatives, and for that very reason Bush wished to have nothing to do with them.
Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p.103-4
Jun 1, 2003
Offices on AIDS and race will remain open
President Bush scrambled yesterday to defend his commitment to race relations and helping people with AIDS after his chief of staff mistakenly said the offices devoted to those issues would be closed.
White House officials insisted chief of staff Andy
Card had been misinformed when he told USA Today that the offices, both created by President Bill Clinton, would be shuttered. The officials said Bush will keep an AIDS office, although with a smaller staff, and will continue to focus on race relations
with a Task Force on Uniting America that will not have its own office but will involve senior officials from several parts of the White House.
“We’re concerned about AIDS inside our White House - make no mistake about it,” Bush said. “And ours is an
administration that will fight for fair, just law in the country.” Clinton created the Office of National AIDS Policy in 1994 to promote research on the disease. The Office on the President’s Initiative for One America was created in February 1999.
Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p A1
Feb 8, 2001
Bush claims gay tolerance but record differs
Bush claimed to be tolerant of gays, but he’s on the record as being adamantly opposed to hiring an openly gay person in his Administration. And Dick Cheney was forced to back off on his support for recognition of gay and lesbian relationships. Bush got
positively gleeful over sending the three men who dragged James Byrd on the back of a truck to the death chamber, when only two are going (the other got a life sentence). And contrary to what he said in the debate, he did block hate-crimes legislation.
Source: Time, p. 62, “Double Standard” at Wake Forest debate
Oct 19, 2000
Tolerance & equal rights, not gay marriage & special rights
Q: What is your position on gay marriage?
BUSH: I’m not for gay marriage. I think marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I appreciated the way the administration signed the Defense of Marriage Act. I presume the vice president
GORE: I agree with that, and I did support that law. But I think that we should find a way to allow some kind of civic unions. And I basically agree with Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, and I think the three of us have one view and the
governor has another view.
BUSH: I’m not sure what kind of view he’s ascribing to me. One day he says he agrees with me, then he says he doesn’t. I will be a tolerant person. I’ve been a tolerant person all my life. I just
happen to believe strongly that marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t really think it’s any of my concern how you conduct your sex life. That’s a private matter. I support equal rights but not special rights for people.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University
Oct 11, 2000
No gay adoptions; but listens to gay GOP group
Bush invited us, a dozen gay Republicans, after he’d refused to meet with a gay Republican group that criticized him. Bush didn’t like everything we had to say. I was struck with his lack of familiarity with the issues, as well as by his desire to learn.
Bush admitted that, growing up in Texas, he had not been as open to elements of America’s diverse culture. He had a narrow set of friends and a firm set of traditions. But he was surprised and dismayed to hear that people saw him as intolerant. “What
have I said that sent that signal?“ he asked repeatedly.
He assured us he would hire gays who both were qualified and shared his political views. When one of us talked about his lesbian sister and her partner adopting children, he acknowledged his
often-stated belief that gays should not adopt.
Though Bush was attentive--and does show a willingness to hear all sides--I don’t think we changed his positions. He still opposes gay marriage and opposes classifying crimes against gays as hate crimes.
Source: Former Congressman Steve Gunderson, Newsweek, p. 43
Apr 24, 2000
Against gay marriage, but leave it to the states
Q: So if you have gays working for you, that’s fine and you don’t have a problem-you’d appoint gays in the Cabinet and so forth.
A: Well, I’m not going to ask what their sexual orientation is. I’m going to put conservative people in the cabinet.
It’s none of my business what somebody’s [orientation is]. Now, when somebody makes it my business, like on gay marriage, I’m going to stand up and say I don’t support gay marriage. I support marriage between men and women.
Q: So therefore if a state were voting on gay marriage, you would suggest to that state not to approve it.
A: The state can do what they want to do. Don’t try to trap me in this state’s issue.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show
Feb 15, 2000
No gays in Boy Scouts
Bush disagrees with the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that said the Boy Scouts of America must accept gays in their organization. “I believe the Boy Scouts is a private organization and they should be able to set the standards that they choose to set,”
Source: USA Today, “Not taking GOP nomination for granted”
Aug 19, 1999
Hate-crime rules don’t apply to gays
Bush opposes the extension of hate crime laws to protect gays and homosexual adoption.
Jul 2, 1999