Public Papers

Remarks to the College Republican Convention


The President. Thank you all very much.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Bush-Quayle in '92! Bush-Quayle in '92! Bush-Quayle in '92!

The President. Thank you so very much. Let me start by thanking Tony. And lest some of you don't know it, he has done a first-class job in this centennial year as president of the College Republicans. It is the best party on campus. And thank you all for this warm and enthusiastic welcome.

Let me tell you something. Let me let you and the rest of the world in on a secret: I finish what I start. I am going to be reelected for 4 more years. You know, we've heard the drumbeat for change; we've even heard the saxophone for change. I have news: You and I, we are the change. You give us 4 more years and give us, hopefully, a Republican House and a Republican Senate and then watch the change, Republican style.

You know, some have gotten so caught up in the moment that they've forgotten the hour, so caught up in changing course that they've forgotten where we're headed. I know where I'm headed, and I aim, with your help and with the help of the Congress, to lead America along to a future of good jobs, fueled by free trade, by low taxes. And I will keep on vetoing the Democratic tax bills that come down our way every day.

We will lead to a future where families stick together and fathers stick around and to another American century, a world of hard-won peace and growing freedom. Some would say, ``Well, this is a tall order.'' They're right, and that's exactly because our vision doesn't ride on the next election, though, it rests on the next generation. In just the last 4 years the world as we've known it before is gone. Our mission for the next 4 years is to shape the next 40 years, and we can do it.

I need your help in the fall elections. And the fall elections must be a referendum on some big ideas: what kind of economy we'll have in the future, what kind of families, and really it's this big, what kind of world. In America, blood, sweat, and tears have literally changed the face of the Earth, and American strength and determination have consequences. Look around the world. You don't hear one single thing about it in this strange campaign year, but it's your credit and ours and Ronald Reagan's and everybody that's gone before us.

Let me tell you what to remind the critics. Let me tell you what to remind the critics and those who would have hacked away at our defense spending. Eastern Europe is free. Germany is reunified. Ancient enemies are talking peace in the Middle East. And our own hemisphere, look south of our border, is almost totally democratic. Imperial communism is dead and buried. And just last week, standing in the Rose Garden, a democratically elected President of Russia stood with me in the Rose Garden as we announced the most sweeping nuclear arms cut in history. That is a sound record to take to the American people.

The doomsday clock and the bomb shelters and the nightmares of our children, they're folding out of the picture, and that's something to be proud of, that these kids tonight don't go to bed with the same kind of fear of nuclear war. Let's take credit for that change and take that case to the American people.

Let me just add this on the foreign side of things. While the world has become more free, it is less certain. The Soviet bear may be a creature of the past, and it is, imperial Soviet communism. But there are plenty of wolves out there, and you know who they are. This is no fantasy of some cold warrior; these are the realities of the new world.

From where I sit as President, I can see, I can survey the situation. There are real differences here, and remember this one, real differences with our opponents. Come next November we're going to take it to the American people that America is safe but only as long as we remain strong. And as long as I'm President, we are going to stay strong.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. You know, Ronald Reagan, speaking of being safe as long as we're strong, my predecessor knew this all along. President Reagan's picture of history has been vindicated. Now we've built on this legacy. And our actions in the Gulf -- don't listen to these revisionists, those that sat on the sideline criticizing and now that are trying to turn history around. Our actions in the Gulf proved that America will stand up for its own interests. We will keep the wolves at bay. And as long as I am President, aggression will not stand.

Some say, how come the difference between domestic policy, the difficulty to move things that we need and want on the domestic scene compared to how things work abroad? The answer is, I did not have to get permission from some subcommittee controlled by the Democrats to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. When American lives are threatened, as they were in Panama, we took action. And we'd do it again to protect American lives.

On the domestic scene, we've had some successes up there on Capitol Hill -- it's been tough -- legislation like our Child Care Act which said that parents, parents should raise the kids, not the U.S. Government, the Clean Air Act that harnesses the market forces for a cleaner environment. And we've got a great record to take to the college campuses on the environment. We've spent 0 billion in the last 10 years, .2 trillion in the next, to clean up the environment and keep this world safe and sound, and we're going to do it. We passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, the most forward-looking piece of civil rights legislation in the last few years, and it says to the disabled, hey, you're going to be part of the mainstream, not kept out, not pushed aside. Take that one out there to the college campuses and to the American people.

Sometimes when you have a Congress controlled by politically active Democrat liberals, you've got to keep bad things from happening. And the record is, Bush 30, on these vetoes, Congress 0.

Let me just say a word on the veto. It's tough sometimes to stand up against what might be seemed and designated in the papers as a popular position. But principle demands that a President do what might not be popular, do what is principled, and I believe that Government should work for the people, not the other way around. The system is broken, and we're going to fix it.

Let me say this one: I think the executive branch could stand some disciplining, and I know very well the Democratic-controlled Congress could. So everybody in America knows that I've proposed an amendment to force a balanced Federal budget. They know I've fought for it, the only Presidential candidate to support it, and I am not going to give up that fight. I need your help.

It's just this simple: The Government is too big, and it spends too much. The American people know that, and the American people are with us when I call for what 43 Governors have in the States, 43 Governors, and I'm saying: Give me the line-item veto, and give us a chance to cut down on this spending.

The taxpayers know how the budget gets busted: an arrogant, permanent Congress, unaccountable. The American people are with us, and the time has come to limit the terms of the United States Congress.

Another one we've got going for us, and it's strong, and it's new, and it's good, and that is the total reform, a revolution in American education. Almost half a trillion dollars is spent at all levels on education each year. Does anyone think we are getting our money's worth?

Audience members. No!

The President. Of course not. So while the opposition stumbles along the beaten path with old ideas, we've come out with a brandnew trail. America 2000 is the program, and it is revolutionizing the way we'll educate our kids.

Today I sent up to the Congress the ``GI bill'' for children, a bill to help low- and middle-income parents choose what schools can best teach their kids. School choice can be a catalyst, the force behind a real revolution in our schools. The theory is this: Whether it's public, private, or religious, parents, not governments, will choose their children's schools.

Not everyone's going to like what we're doing. And frankly, I'd have to wonder if some people did. Not everyone is ready for these new ideas. We're not going to discover new horizons without the courage to lose sight of the shore, and we're halfway there.

Our journey's not done. I've found that sometimes in this job as President, you have to do something that's unpopular. The person that's there must have a steady hand, must have a proper temperament, must have an experienced eye, and must have some vision, some knowledge of the waters ahead. The American people know that there's a flip side to change, and that is called trust. I believe I have been a President to earn the trust of the American people.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. The American people know this, too, that we've got to ground our drive for change in some things that do not or should not change, things like values and family and faith. Too many Americans now feel that the country's on the wrong track. And how do we get it back on? We take the first step when we put the American family first. I am going to keep on fighting to find ways to strengthen the American family.

A man who served as executive director of this organization once said, ``Long before I was struck with cancer, I felt something stirring in American society. It was the sense among the people of this country that something was missing from their lives, something crucial. And my illness helped me to see what was missing, a little heart, a lot of brotherhood.'' Lee Atwater always had a way of getting to the truth. There are millions of Americans, ordinary citizens who are guided by that truth. We call them Points of Light. If every life is a portrait of a person who lives it, they are signing theirs with charity and good will. They're the true heroes of this country.

Government must not get in the way of what de Tocqueville found, when he came to America, was unique about America: the propensity of one American to help another. When I talk about kinder and gentler Nation, that's what I mean. Many of you are actively involved, in some way trying to help your communities, your neighborhood, your colleges, or whatever it is. People who feel as we do on this, let me say the work is not finished, and neither is ours. And this is an age of great, great change for America.

Let me end this way: November 3d is so important. These issues, these values that you and I share are the values that most of the American people have. So what we will do now is wait for our convention to be over. I'll try to keep making decisions that affect the welfare of America by moving through some legislation that remains. But I can't wait for the day when that Republican Convention is over, and I am going to roll up my sleeves with you at my side, and we are going to go after those Democrats.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Let's see, I'm thinking back, for 6 months I've stood out there as a spear-catcher for five Democrats and now one independent. Let me tell you, I know how to take it, but I also know how to dish it out. We haven't even begun yet. We haven't even started. Five months, five months of pounding in that political arena, and I have not yet begun to fight. But when I do, with you at my side, we are going to win on November 3d.

Thank you all, and God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:10 p.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Tony Zagotta, chairman of the College Republican National Committee.