Public Papers

Remarks at a Republican Party Fundraising Luncheon in Denver, Colorado


Thank you very much, Natalie. Thank you for that very, very generous introduction. What a job she's doing as Colorado's top elected Republican official -- outstanding -- and I am confident she'll win big in the fall. It's great to see so many friends out there and to be back in Denver -- be with our family, Neil and Sharon.

When Bruce Benson, the State chairman, called and said it would be a big boost if our party's number one asset came out to Colorado, I said, ``Sure. What time do you want Barbara to be there?'' [Laughter] I bring you greetings. I am flying solo today. She sends her regrets. She and our dog are doing a number in the bookstores, but nevertheless -- [laughter] -- I'm pleased, very pleased, to be back in Denver to show my support, to express my appreciation to Bruce and to Barb and everybody else that worked to make this luncheon so successful.

It is great to be in the Mile-High City. Today there's another city that's feeling a mile high, and that's Atlanta. And I want to say congratulations to them. We know they're going to host a terrific Olympics, and I'm proud the Olympic games will be back in the United States.

This tremendous ticket that we're here to support shows the great strength of the Colorado GOP. We've got a strong team of congressional challengers, ready to contribute, ready to fight for what's best for Colorado and for this country: Bob Ellis, Gloria Gonzales Roemer, Jason Lewis, Wayne Allard -- all good. And Colorado's got Capitol Hill veterans like my friend Joel Hefley and Dan Schaefer -- back at work in Washington, represented here today by their wives, Lynne and Mary. So, we've got a good team, and we need your support to get them elected. Then there's a well-known voice here in Colorado and Chairman of my Advisory Council on Education, Colorado's candidate for Governor, John Andrews.

And also I want to single out another. I'm talking about our nation's drug czar, who flew out here today with me on Air Force One, Bill Bennett. A year ago we announced a national drug strategy, and a few days ago, Bill and I gave a 1-year update to the Nation. In his view and mine, we are making significant progress on the war on drugs. And Bill has been waging a tireless fight, and he deserves a heartfelt vote of thanks from all Americans for what he's doing to help our kids.

And of course, there's another -- not with us today -- but my good friend and your great Senator, Bill Armstrong. And I think, like all his friends here, we regretted his decision to leave the Senate. Bill's been Colorado's articulate voice for lower taxes and balanced budget and a strong national defense and cleaner air. I would only say that Colorado, however, is very fortunate to have a strong successor waiting in the wings, a man who's made his mark as a proven leader on Capitol Hill -- and I'm talking about Hank Brown.

As you may know, he was scheduled to fly out here with us today, but congressional business kept him back in Washington, on the job -- and that's exactly where Hank Brown belongs. And it's great to have Nan with us today. But we need Hank elected to the Senate. All of us who've seen him work there in Washington know he's one of a rare breed. President Reagan and I learned in the eighties that we could rely on Hank in the Congress. And now we're moving briskly into this new decade, in the nineties, and we really do need him. We've got to hold that seat, and I need his excellence in the United States Senate.

Now that Congress is back in session, we've got a lot of work to do. We've got to preserve this precious natural legacy of ours and pass the first package of comprehensive amendments to strengthen the Clean Air Act, the first in a dozen years. And the Congress ought to move now and give the Nation that legislation. I'm convinced the people are coming to realize that this party, our party, is a strong advocate for clean environment. That's an issue that matters to us -- every one of us -- an issue championed by Hank Brown, a man whose roots in the Rocky Mountain State go back five generations, and the other members of this Colorado ticket that I've talked about here today.

We've got work to do to enhance in all our cities and towns a strong and saving sense of community. That means keeping our streets safe so that young and old alike are free from fear. You have my word: I will not sign a so-called crime bill that makes life tougher for the police than it does for the criminals. We must have strong crime legislation.

And above all, for the sake of our communities and our children, we must draw the line against drugs. No more free ride for drug users. No more freedom, period, for the illegal drug merchants who deal death right on our streets -- literally, sometimes on your doorsteps.

But for all of America, the key issue here at home remains, I think, the health of our national economy and the challenge we face to keep this recordsetting economic expansion alive. We can't meet this fundamental challenge until we break free of the spend-now-save-later mentality that has done so much to drive up the national debt.

Just 12 days from now, the fiscal year ends, and the automatic sequester begins. The clock is ticking. That's why I issued my challenge to Congress 1 week ago and why I will renew that challenge today. I've set out a budget agenda that goes beyond the quick fix and gets to the heart of real fiscal reform.

First, I've called on Congress to enact a package of growth-oriented tax incentives, everything from expanded IRA's and family savings accounts to enterprise zones and, yes, a cut in the capital gains tax. Once again, this is not a tax break for the rich. The Treasury estimates that my proposal will not lose revenue -- this is the United States Treasury -- not lose revenue. In fact, it will increase revenues to the Federal Government, and it will create jobs. And these are the steps we must take to spur savings, encourage investment, expand jobs for the men and women of America, increase competitiveness -- to give this national economy of ours more of what it needs to keep on growing.

And that's just one reason I'm counting on this talented Colorado team, because I need the support of people of Colorado and the votes up on the Capitol Hill to put this progrowth program into effect.

And second, I've called on the Congress to take forward-looking measures to encourage additional energy production here in the United States. [Applause] I'm glad there's a few oil men left here in Denver. [Laughter] No, but we've indulged a dangerous habit as a nation far too long. And so, today we must move now to end America's excessive dependence on foreign oil. And that means alternate sources; that means more incentives to increase domestic drilling; and, yes, that means more conservation.

Third, I've made clear to Congress it's time to reach a binding budget agreement that shows the American people that we are serious about real deficit reduction. We all know the danger that high deficits can, indeed, drag our economy down. It's time to put ourselves to the test as a nation, as political leaders. Whether we've reached a budget summit agreement or not, I call again on the Congress to allow a straight up-or-down vote on a 5-year, 0 billion deficit reduction package no later than September 28th. I think the Congress owes that to the American people.

This is a critical time. There are challenges we face now in Washington and around the world, challenges that will affect each and every American. I want to speak for just a moment about the most momentous challenge of all -- Natalie so generously referred to, talking about me and introducing me -- and I'm talking, of course, about the situation in the Persian Gulf.

Never before has the world community been so united -- never, anyway, since World War II. Never since the invasion began has Iraq stood so isolated and alone. The key is collective action: sharing the responsibilities and the risks, the challenges and the costs; meeting Saddam Hussein's outlaw act with a common front against aggression. And that is why forces from over 20 nations -- rich and poor, Arab, Moslem, Asian, African -- now serve side by side in the Gulf. And that is why Britain and France are sending a substantial group of forces to Saudi Arabia. That's why our Arab friends, together with Japan and Germany, will contribute almost billion towards the costs of operations and to offset the effects of both sanctions and higher oil prices. The message is steady, strong, and certain: The world will not look the other way; Iraq's act of aggression will not stand.

Saddam's illegal act has meant misery and suffering for millions: the brave people of Kuwait, victimized but not vanquished; the hostages held against their will; and those pitiful refugees fleeing Iraq and Kuwait, flooding into neighboring nations ill-equipped to deal with this human tidal wave of tragedy -- the poorest of the poor being brutalized by that dictator's inhumanity. For the Iraqi people themselves, the pain that they now experience is a direct consequence of the path that Saddam has chosen.

Let me make clear about any humanitarian and emergency food and medical supplies we might send to the people of Iraq in the future: Should aid become necessary, it must be distributed under strict international supervision to make certain that emergency aid reaches those Iraqis who need it the most, because we cannot allow Saddam Hussein to divert needed humanitarian aid in order to sustain his army of occupation.

We mean to keep the sanctions in place, to keep the pressure on, and prove to Saddam Hussein that aggression does not pay.

You know there's a lot at stake. Much is at stake. And there's much the world stands to gain if we succeed. Even in the midst of the current crisis, I believe that we can all see the outlines emerging of a stronger, more peaceful world order, one where old animosities give way to a new partnership of nations acting to uphold international order and the rule of law. And let me be clear: With all that's at stake, the world will not allow one dictator's aggressive ambitions to stand in the way.

Let me close this afternoon by thanking the young men and women of Colorado who are doing their part out in the sand and hot sun halfway around the world, soldiers like the ones from Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado -- like Major Carmelo Otero, Dr. Otero, who's shipping out in the next few days. In the busy final days before his departure, Major Otero's spent most of his time with his wife and two kids. And he even found time to tape-record bedtime stories for his kids to listen to until he's back home again. Or Sergeant Clifton Gordon, an x-ray technician, who's been serving in Saudi Arabia since the end of August and who missed his son's first three football games -- three wins -- as a freshman quarterback.

And I want to pass along a request made by Sgt. Gordon's wife, Robin, who's here with us today. She's noticed how many support groups there are for spouses and parents; and she thinks maybe its time to spread the word that we've got to do all we can, as individuals and organizations, to help the kids out there whose moms and dads are on duty in the Persian Gulf. You know, she's right. Robin's right. And even as I ask, I know that that support is there in Aurora and here in Denver and in every community all across this country. Let's not wait until our servicemen come home to show our appreciation. Let's start right now by doing something special for their kids.

One final message today as we focus on November 6th. From the revolutions that changed the face of Eastern Europe from Budapest to Berlin, to the young men and women in our armed services serving now in Saudi Arabia, the world around us reminds us every day that there is nothing more precious than freedom. And so, I urge every citizen of Colorado and every American to get out and vote. Don't take democracy for granted.

Once again, it's a great pleasure to be here today to show my support for this party; to show my support for this strong ticket, for candidates who have so much to contribute to Colorado and to their country. And I thank all of you for this very, very warm welcome. And may God bless this great State and those young men and women serving overseas. Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to Natalie Meyer, Colorado secretary of state; Neil and Sharon Bush, the President's son and daughter-in-law; Bruce Benson, chairman of the State Republican Party; Barbara Card, chairperson of the fundraising luncheon; Representative Brown's wife, Nan; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The President also referred to Mrs. Bush's promotion of ``Millie's Book as Dictated to Barbara Bush.'' Following his remarks, the President traveled to Los Angeles, CA.