Here are excerpts of President Bush's acceptance speech prepared for delivery to the Republican National Convention:
. . . I want to talk tonight about the sharp choice I intend to offer Americans this fall -- a choice between different agendas, different directions and, yes, a choice about the character of the man you want to lead this nation.
I know that Americans have many questions -- about our economy, about our country's future, even questions about me. I will answer them tonight.
First, I feel great and I am heartened by the polls -- the ones that say that I look better in my jogging shorts than the governor of Arkansas.
Four years ago, I spoke about missions -- for my life and for our country. I spoke of one urgent mission -- defending our security and promoting the American ideal abroad.
Just pause for a moment to reflect on what we've done.
Germany has united -- and a slab of the Berlin Wall sits right outside this Astrodome.
Arabs and Israelis now sit face-to-face and talk peace.
Every hostage held in Lebanon is free.
The conflict in El Salvador is over, and free elections brought democracy to Nicaragua.
Black and white South Africans cheered each other at the Olympics.
The Soviet Union can only be found in history books.
The captive nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltics are captive no more.
And today on the rural streets of Poland, merchants sell cans of air labeled: The last breath of communism.
If I had stood before you four years ago and described this as the world we would help to build, you would have said: "George Bush, you must be smoking something, and you must have inhaled." . . .
My opponents say I spend too much time on foreign policy.
As if it didn't matter that schoolchildren once hid under their desks in drills to prepare for nuclear war. I saw the chance to rid our children's dreams of the nuclear nightmare, and I did. Over the past four years, more people have breathed the fresh air of freedom than in all of human history. I saw a chance to help, and I did. These were the two defining opportunities -- not of a year, not of a decade, but of an entire span of human history.
I seized those opportunities for our kids and our grandkids, and I make no apologies for that.
Now, the Soviet bear may be gone, but there are still wolves in the woods.
We saw that when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The Mideast might have become a nuclear powder keg, our emergency supplies held hostage. So we did what was right and what was necessary. We destroyed a threat, freed a people and locked a tyrant in the prison of his own country.
What about the leader of the Arkansas National Guard, the man who hopes to be commander-in-chief? Well, while I bit the bullet, he bit his nails. . . .
There will be more foreign policy challenges like Kuwait in the next four years. Terrorists and aggressors to stand up to; dangerous weapons to be controlled and destroyed. And freedom's fight is not finished. I look forward to being the first president to visit a free, democratic Cuba. . . .
This election is about change. But that's not unusual, because the American revolution is never ending. Today, the pace of change is accelerating. We face new opportunities and new challenges. The question is -- who do you trust to make change work for you? . . .
The world is in transition, and we are feeling that transition in our homes.
The defining challenge of the '90s is to win the economic competition -- to win the peace.
We must be a military superpower, an economic superpower and an export superpower.
In this election, you'll hear two visions of how to do this. Theirs is to look inward, and protect what we already have. Ours is to look forward, to open new markets, prepare our people to compete, to restore our social fabric -- to save and invest -- so we can win. . . .
I've asked Congress to put a lid on mandatory spending except Social Security. And I've proposed doing away with over 200 programs and 4,000 wasteful projects and to freeze all other spending.
The gridlock Democrat Congress has said, "No."
So, beginning tonight, I will enforce the spending freeze on my own. If Congress sends me a bill spending more than I asked for in my budget, I will veto it fast . . .
After all these years, Congress has become pretty creative at finding ways to waste your money. So we need to be just as creative at finding ways to stop them. I have a brand new idea.
Taxpayers should be given the right to check a box on their tax returns, so that up to 10 percent of their payments can go for one purpose alone: To reduce the national debt.
But we also need to make sure that Congress doesn't just turn around and borrow more money, to spend more money. So I will require that, for every tax dollar set aside to cut the debt, the ceilings on spending will be cut by an equal amount. That way, we'll cut both debt and spending, and take a whack out of the budget deficit. . . .
When it comes to taxes, I've learned the hard way. . . .
Two years ago, I made a bad call on the Democrats' tax increase. I underestimated Congress' addiction to taxes. With my back against the wall, I agreed to a hard bargain: One tax increase one time, in return for the toughest spending limits ever.
Well, it was a mistake to go along with the Democratic tax increase. But here's my question for the American people. Who do you trust in this election? The candidate who raised taxes one time and regrets it, or the other candidate who raised taxes and fees 128 times, and enjoyed it every time?
When the new Congress convenes, I will propose to further reduce taxes across the board -- provided we pay for these cuts with specific spending reductions that I consider appropriate, so that we do not increase the deficit. I will also continue to fight to increase the personal exemption and to create jobs by winning a cut in capital gains taxes. . . .
There are other things we need to do to get our economy up to speed -- and prepare our kids for the next century.
We must have new incentives for research, and new training for workers. Small businesses need capital and credit, and defense workers need new jobs.
And I have a plan to provide affordable health care for every American, controlling costs by cutting paperwork and lawsuits, and expanding coverage to the poorest of the poor. . . .
What about our schools? My opponent and I both want to change the way our kids learn. He wants to change our schools a little bit -- and I want to change them a lot.
Take the issue of whether parents should be able to choose the best school for their kids. My opponent says that's okay -- as long as the school is run by government. I say every parent and child should have a real choice of schools public, private or religious. . . .
Governor Clinton and Congress want to put through the largest tax increase in history, but I won't let it happen.
Governor Clinton and Congress don't want kids to have the option of praying in school, but I do. Clinton and Congress don't want to close legal loopholes and keep criminals behind bars, but I will. Clinton and Congress will stock the judiciary with liberal judges who write laws they can't get approved by the voters.
Governor Clinton even says that Mario Cuomo belongs on the Supreme Court. If you believe in judicial restraint, you probably ought to be happy. After all, the good governor of New York can't make up his mind between chocolate and vanilla at Baskin Robbins. We won't have another court decision for 35 years. . . .
There are times in every young person's life when God introduces you to yourself. I remember such a time. It was back many years ago, when I stood watch at 4 a.m. Up on the bridge of the USS Finback. I would stand there and look out on the blackness of the sky, broken only by the sparkling stars above. I would think about friends I lost, a country I loved and about a girl named Barbara. I remember those nights as clearly as any in my life.
You know, you can see things from up there that other people don't see. You can see storm clouds rise and then disappear. The first hint of the sun over the horizon and the first outline of the shore faraway.
Now, I know Americans are uneasy today. There is anxious talk around our kitchen tables. But from where I stand, I see not America's sunset, but a sunrise. . . .
Tonight I appeal to the unyielding, undying, undeniable American spirit. I ask you to consider, now that the entire world is moving our way, why would we want to go back their way? I ask not just for your support for my agenda, but for your commitment to renew and rebuild our nation -- by shaking up the one institution that has withstood change for over four decades.
Join me in rolling away the roadblock at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, so that in the next four years, we will match our accomplishments outside by building a stronger, safer, more secure America inside.
Forty-four years ago -- in another age of uncertainty -- a different president embarked on a similar mission. His name was Harry S. Truman.
As he stood before his party to accept their nomination, Harry Truman knew the freedom I know this evening, the freedom to talk about what's right for America and let the chips fall where they may.
Harry Truman said: "This is more than a political call to arms. Give me your help, not to win voters alone, but to win this new crusade and keep America safe and secure for its own people.
Tonight I say to you -- join me in our crusade to reap the rewards of our global victory, to win the peace, so that we may make America safer and stronger for all our people.