BOSTON—Addressing guests at a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser, George W. Bush pledged Monday that, if re-elected in November, he and running mate Dick Cheney will "restore honor and dignity to the White House."
"After years of false statements and empty promises, it's time for big changes in Washington," Bush said. "We need a president who will finally stand up and fight against the lies and corruption. It's time to renew the faith the people once had in the White House. If elected, I pledge to usher in a new era of integrity inside the Oval Office."
Bush told the crowd that, if given the opportunity, he would work to reestablish the goodwill of the American people "from the very first hour of the very first day" of his second term.
"The people have spoken," Bush said. "They said they want change. They said it's time to clean up Washington. They're tired of politics as usual. They're tired of the pursuit of self-interest that has gripped Washington. They want to see an end to partisan bickering and closed-door decision-making. If I'm elected, I'll make sure that the American people can once again place their trust in the White House."
Bush said the soaring national debt and the lengthy war in Iraq have shaken Americans' faith in the highest levels of government.
"A credibility gap has opened between the Oval Office and America," Bush said. "The public hears talk, but they don't see any result. But if you choose me as your next president, the promises I make in my inaugural address will actually mean something. The president of this country will be held accountable for his promises, starting Jan. 20 of next year."
Bush said that, if chosen to be the next president, he would "set the nation on a course to a new, different, and brighter future."
"One thing is clear—it's time for a fresh beginning," Bush said. "Choose the ticket that leads to freedom, peace, and security. Choose Bush and Cheney."
Cheney spoke Monday at an event in Atlanta, addressing a crowd of 2,500 supporters from the tobacco and soft-drink industries.
"After these past three years, we need to rebuild a government based on old-fashioned American values: duty, dignity, and responsibility," said Cheney, who has served as a Wyoming congressman and U.S. vice-president. "George Bush is a man of these values, and he's ready to begin to put them to work in Washington."
Cheney continued: "George W. Bush will lead this great nation by building coalitions, not burning bridges; by serving the people, not special interests; by looking to the future, while borrowing from the great lessons of the past."
Cheney said he and Bush will return "time-honored American values" to the White House.
"In years past, American citizens looked to the president as a paragon of decency, a beacon in the storm," Cheney said. "When did America lose her way?"
In an interview published in Tuesday's Washington Post, Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman summarized the new platform.
"Bush-Cheney 2004 is a campaign built on straight talk," Mehlman said. "It's time for a president who can be a role model for Americans. Bush is the man for the job. He'll finally restore integrity to the highest office in the land. Won't you give him a chance?"