Public Papers

Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato in New York City


Thank you all so much. And Charlie, thank you, Ambassador, for that very, very generous introduction. And let me just thank all responsible for this highly successful lunch. I want to salute our two Members of Congress here today, Senator Pressler and Norm Lent; I'll get to the third in a minute. Chairman Rich Bond -- if you want to get a guy to do a big national job, get someone from New York; and Rich is doing just that as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I want to salute our new committeeman, Joe Mandello; glad Joe's family could make it out there. Bill Powers, our wonderful State chairman who's taking them on up there and winning more than his share, for all of us, I might add. And David Brewer, Doug Barclay, Jack Hennessy, heading up our campaign efforts and doing such a superb job in this fundraising. Another salute to Roy Goodman, an old friend down here, the State senator. And Michael Long, let me just say, Mike, how grateful I am to you and the others in the Conservative Party. What that means is that with your help and now with the help of everybody across this State, New York is not only in play as a key targeted State for the Republicans, it is a State we will win. And this is a very important endorsement.

May I thank Yung Soo Yoo and Rabbi Milton Balkany for their introduction as well and their saluting us at the beginning of this program.

And now I'm here today to salute a great leader, a force for good, a titan of politics, Mama D'Amato. I think Al's learned a thing or two from Mama, things like getting it done, making waves, taking them on, and winning. And that's exactly what he's going to do this fall. But I've seen it in Washington, and when Al takes them on, the rest of them take cover.

Voters are frustrated, and they're tired of the status quo, and they're calling for change. But they also know that there's a flip side to change, and it is called trust, trust to make the right decisions and to block the wrong ones. I believe that we have the values, I believe we have the record that entitles us to take our case to the American people and win 4 more years in the White House and 6 more for Al in the Senate.

Our values are right. When we talk about family values, I'm thinking of what those mayors came to tell me. Liberals and conservative, Democrats and Republicans from the mayors came to see me, and they said the biggest problem in the cities is the decline of the American family. And we are the party that's trying to strengthen the American family through choice and opportunity.

I appreciated what Al said about changing the world. And I do believe that thanks to my predecessor, thanks to our administration, there have been fundamental changes in the world. Eastern Europe is free; Germany is united; the international communism as we know it is dead. Ancient enemies are sitting talking to each other in the Middle East. Democracy is on the move south of our borders. And we have a fantastic record of standing up against aggression. And don't let the revisionists try to tell you that Desert Storm was bad; it was a tremendous success, and we are not going to let them alter the record.

I notice these signs, and let me simply say that, look, the Israeli elections underscore the dynamism of the Mideast's solitary democracy. They point out the dynamism of the process. And we are confident that we can work with that new Israeli government to deepen our partnership, to promote our common objective of peace with security for Israel. And I am dedicating myself to that.

There's another thing that we'll take to the American people, and you don't hear it from either of the opponents at this Presidential level, and I don't expect Al's going to hear much about it. But it was under our leadership that we can now turn to the American people, particularly the children, and say, you can go to bed at night without that awful, deadly fear of nuclear war because of what we did in getting rid of these ICBM weapons. You listen to those pundits out there and listen to the opponents, you wouldn't think there was any responsibilities to the United States. We are the undisputed leader of the free world, and I don't care what the critics say. I am going to keep on leading for peace and democracy around the world.

And yes, yes, we're going to have some savings in defense, but I am not going to cut into the muscle of the defense. There are still many uncertainties out there, and the United States, in order to lead, must remain strong. Al has known that; Al has stood up against criticism on behalf of that principle. And I am convinced that we can keep our security strong so we can guarantee for the generations that come futures of peace and opportunity.

Some people say to me, ``Hey, how come you can't bring the same kind of purpose and success to the domestic scene as you did in Desert Storm and Desert Shield?'' And the fair answer to that is, we can. But when it came to going into Desert Storm, I didn't have to call one of the Senators entrenched on the Democratic side, one of the liberals, and get his permission. I did not have to stand up and watch everything I'm trying to do get blocked by the Senate. We moved, and then they came along. That is what we need in the Congress, and the way to get that is to give us more people like Al D'Amato and Terrence Pressler and Norman Lent and to get control of the Congress.

For 35 years, one party has controlled the House of Representatives. For 29 of the last 35, one party has controlled the United States Senate. We tried it with a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, and we got the worst interest rates, the worst ``misery index'' in the history of this country. What hasn't been tried and what we're going to take to the people in the fall is this: Give us a Republican President, a Republican Senate, and a Republican House, and we can give you the values that you want.

We've gotten some things done early in the Presidency: A child care bill that says, isn't it better for the parents to choose how to have child care rather than have some Government bureaucracy. We've passed the foremost, far-looking, far forward-looking piece of civil rights legislation in the Americans for Disabilities Act that said, let's give these people a chance, let them fit in, give them an opportunity, not have some Government program out here to keep the people with disabilities isolated. We passed a Clean Air Act that used market forces, harnesses market forces for a cleaner environment.

But so much that we're trying to do, whether it's school choice or whether it's incentives for this economy, are being blocked by the United States Congress. And they control it; the Democrats control it. And I believe that the American people, in their quest for change, are going to say: Let's try something that hasn't been done in 35 years: Let's get a Republican Congress to back up this Republican President.

Sometimes the only time you can get something to happen down there is standing up against bad legislation. And I want to take this opportunity to thank our distinguished honoree, Al D'Amato, today for helping me with this veto record. The score is: Bush 30, Congress 0, on the veto. And we're going to keep on beating back bad legislation until we get good legislation.

Let me just click off a couple of our major initiatives. One of them is health care reform. It is not right that families go to bed wondering whether they're going to have any protection against illness. We have put forward on the Capitol Hill now, it's before the Congress, a new health care reform program that says we will make insurance available to everybody, the poorest of the poor, through a voucher system. We will revise and get rid of these awful malpractice suits by changing and getting some legal reform for this country. We're suing each other too much and caring for each other too little. So we've got a good, strong, health care proposal, and it doesn't do like some of these foreign countries or what some of the liberal Democrats want to do. It does not socialize medicine. It does not break every small business. It offers insurance to others, everybody. And it says we will maintain the quality of U.S. health care. It is the best in the world, and we are not going to diminish it by putting the Government in charge of our health care.

Another one is free trade. We stand proudly for free trade. And we're taking a hammering in some quarters. Election year is coming up; everybody is out pledging to this special interest, this protection or that protection. But let me tell you something: I am going to keep on fighting until we get a successful conclusion to the Uruguay round of GATT, and I am going to keep on fighting until we get a North American free trade agreement because that means jobs for the American worker. I am for free trade, not for protection, and we've got to keep fighting for those principles.

Another one is education reform. Mike talked about it, and Al D'Amato mentioned it. We've got a good program; it's not just another Government program. It's called America 2000. It literally revolutionizes the way we educate the kids from K to 12. We have the best university system in the world; we have the best quality education at that level. But what we don't have is the proper quality at those lower areas of education. And so our program says: Keep it close to the family, keep it close to the locality and the community, but literally revolutionize it. We've got a good, strong program to take, and Al is right. Our ``GI bill'' says this: Give the parents a choice. Give the family the same opportunity to choose those schools, religious, private, or public that we all got, the old guys here got when we got the GI bill right after World War II. It worked for the universities; it can work at the local level. What's wrong with letting the parents choose and giving them that opportunity?

We've got a great disagreement with the liberal Democrats on another one. I am fighting at every turn to do better on the deficit. The other day we had a vote in the Congress on a means to discipline the executive branch and discipline the United States Congress. Not a cure-all, but it was something that 80 percent of the American people want. It was victimized and brutalized and beaten back by that entrenched liberal Democrat leadership that wouldn't stand up against the special interests. I will continue to fight for a balanced budget amendment to discipline us all in Washington, DC.

And while we're at it -- and I heard a nice endorsement of this by the Democratic nominee, potential Democratic nominee for President -- I think it's about time to give the President what 43 Governors have. If they can't do it up there with the liberals that control these committees, give the President a chance. Give me that line-item veto, and let's see if we can't do better on the spending side.

In conclusion, let me say this: This has been a weird political year -- I'm talking strange. I've been in politics half my adult life, half of it in private business. It has been the strangest year I have ever seen. I think most people would agree with that. But in the final analysis, the American people are going to say this: Who has the temperament to lead this country? Who has the steadiness when the going gets really tough to make the proper decision? Who has the beliefs when it comes to the innate strength of American society, the family, the family values? Who has the will to fight for those values? Who has the demonstrated leadership to keep the peace and enhance it by helping democracy and freedom around the world? And who has the best program to stimulate the economy by getting jobs and opportunity moving by encouraging less regulation and by stimulating the investment tax credit and cutting the capital gains and changing the IRA's and doing all the things we should have done months ago to give the working man and woman an opportunity?

I believe we have not only the program, but I hope I have the integrity and that sense of honor about the United States to ask the American people: Give me 4 more years. Give Al D'Amato 6 more years. Give us more company on the House and in the Senate, and watch us get that job done. I cannot wait until the middle of August -- right now I'm in a nonpolitical mode. [Laughter] But I cannot wait until the middle of August when I get unfettered and say, all right, now the time has come to take this case to the American people. Not just to go after the other guys -- although I'm a little bit tired of hearing my name get criticized by five Democrats all spring long, and now some independent comes charging out with nothing but criticism. I'm ready to take them on when we get to August. And what happens here is this kind of arrangement will make us have a much better chance of taking them on, on our terms. Let them see if they can take the heat because I am going to dish it out and take the Republican record to the American people, and we are going to win in November.

Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the New York Hilton Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Charles Gargano, former Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago; Joe Mandello, chairman, Nassau County Republican Party; David Brewer, luncheon vice chairman; Douglas Barclay, New York State chairman, Bush-Quayle '92; Jack Hennessy, New York State finance chairman, Bush-Quayle '92; Michael Long, chairman, New York State Conservative Party; Yung Soo Yoo, luncheon general chairman; and Rabbi Yehoshua Balkany, dean of Yeshiva Bais Yaakov of Brooklyn, who gave the invocation.