Remarks by the President and Secretary of Commerce Nominee Carlos
The Roosevelt Room
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. I am proud to announce my nomination of
Carlos Gutierrez to be America's next Secretary of Commerce. Carlos
Gutierrez is one of America's most respected business leaders. He is a
great American success story.
As CEO of the Kellogg Company, he has been an effective, visionary
executive. He understands the world of business from the first rung on
the ladder to the very top. He knows exactly what it takes to help
American businesses grow and create jobs. I look forward to having his
creativity and expertise in my Cabinet.
Carlos's family came to America from Cuba when he was a boy. He learned
English from a bellhop in a Miami hotel, and later became an American
citizen. When his family eventually settled in Mexico City, Carlos took
his first job for Kellogg as a truck driver, delivering Frosted Flakes
to local stores. Ten years after he started, he was running the Mexican
business. And 15 years after that, he was running the entire company. At
every stage of this remarkable story, Carlos motivated others with his
energy and optimism and impressed others with his decency.
In his career, Carlos has been sustained by the values taught by his
parents, Pedro and Olga, and by the love of his wife, Edi, and his
children, Carlos, Erika and Karina. I know Olga Gutierrez, who lives in
Florida, is proud to see the boy she took from Cuba chosen to help
strengthen the world's greatest and finest economy.
Carlos will carry on the work of a distinguished leader, Secretary Don
Evans. During the past four years, our economy has overcome a recession,
terrorist attack, corporate scandals and the uncertainty that comes with
war. In all these challenges, Don has been a strong and steady advocate
for America's businesses and workers and entrepreneurs. Don has also
been my friend for over three decades. I've counted on his wisdom and
optimism and character at every step on my journey to the White House.
Now Don's own journey leads him back to Texas, where we were young men
together. Don is one of the finest people I have ever known. I will miss
having him in Washington. And Laura and I wish him and Susie well.
When he's confirmed by the Senate, Carlos Gutierrez will take office at
a time of historic opportunity for our changing economy. With Carlos's
leadership, we'll help more Americans, especially minorities and women,
to start and grow their own small business. We'll reduce the burden of
junk lawsuits and regulations on our entrepreneurs. We'll reform our
outdated tax code to eliminate needless paperwork and encourage savings,
investment and growth. We'll continue our commitment to free and fair
trade. Carlos and I know that America's workers can compete with anybody
in the world. And in all these policies, we will ensure that the
American economy keeps creating jobs and remains dynamic and flexible
far into the future.
In Carlos Gutierrez, the Department of Commerce will have an experienced
manager and an innovative leader. He will be a strong, principled voice
for American business and an inspiration to millions of men and women
who dream of a better life in our country. I ask the Senate to confirm
this fine nominee as quickly as possible. I look forward to welcoming
him into my Cabinet. Congratulations.
MR. GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm, needless to say, humbled,
I'm honored, I'm very grateful to be here. And should the United States
Senate confirm me, I look forward to working with you on your team,
helping you achieve the plans that you've laid out, the bold plans for
And I'll be especially honored, if confirmed, to walk in the footsteps
of Secretary Evans, who has served with great honor and distinction. And
I realize those are big, big shoes to fill. And I'm also grateful for
the President to have chosen me to succeed someone of the stature and
the caliber of Secretary Evans.
Mr. President, I believe passionately in your vision of a 21st century
where America is the best country in the world with which to do
business; we have the best people, we have the training, we have the
workers, we have the culture. And I believe that the 21st century is
really and truly the American century, as the President does. I believe
passionately in your leadership and the direction you've set. I believe
in your call for a vibrant, growing entrepreneurial society, where
everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy and the pride of
ownership, where everyone can contribute, and where everyone can
I have had the opportunity to live that American Dream, so I know that
the President's vision is noble, I know it's real and I know it's
tangible. I left Cuba to come to this great country in 1960 as a
political refugee. I left with my parents and my brother and we started,
essentially, from scratch at that time. Almost 30 years later, I joined
the Kellogg Company and started selling cereal out of a van in Mexico
I recall saying to someone the other day that one of my big
accomplishments in life was to obtain citizenship for my son and my
wife, because of where people were born -- born in different places;
they were not naturalized citizens upon birth, especially my son. So 14
years ago, they became U.S. citizens. I was walking out of the
courthouse and I told my son, you know, if I get hit by a truck today,
I'll feel a lot better because you are a citizen of the U.S.
So we never imagined, Mr. President, never imagined that this country
would give me this great opportunity and that you would have the
confidence in me, sir.
Mr. President, I'd like to recognize those who have been with me every
step of the way, who have supported me and with whom I would not be
here: my wife of 25 years, Edi, who has given me all the support and has
become a big part of the success that I have had; Carlos, my son; my
daughter Erika, and my daughter Karina. They've been with me throughout
this -- throughout this journey. I would also be remiss here if I didn't
mention the 25,000 people who work at the Kellogg Company, the board of
directors for their support throughout the years. I would be nowhere
near here without their support.
If confirmed by the Senate, I will be honored to serve President Bush, I
will be honored to serve my country, honored to serve the Department of
Commerce and play a role in advancing the President's great and bold
agenda for our country.
Thank you. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Great job, thank you. Congratulations.
Office of the Press Secretary
November 29, 2004