Public Papers

Remarks at a Victory '92 Fundraising Dinner in Detroit


Let me thank the Governor for that warm introduction and all of you for this welcome and all of you for what you've done to help get out the vote, to help the party, to help this President, and to help all the Republicans standing for election next fall. This is truly a most successful occasion, I'm told. It seems to me I just left here having thanked all of you, but I'll do it one more time because I am delighted to have this fantastic support for all of us who are standing for election in the fall.

I was delighted to see so many members of the State legislature here. And, of course, I want to thank Randy Agley and Mike Timmis and Heinz Prechter and so many others -- I'm going to get in trouble -- everybody that had a hand in making this so successful. I want to single out Councilman Keith Butler and our Lieutenant Governor who I've known for a long, long time, Connie Binsfeld, and the Republican leadership that helped turn this great State around.

And I am looking forward to repeating the experience of Cobo Hall. Barbara and I when we came in here just about 12 years ago, across the street to another hotel, it was there that I was picked to be Vice President on the stand on the Republican ticket. And that has propelled us now into a fascinating experience. What I want to talk to you tonight is I believe that we've got the record to take to the American people for 4 more years as President of the United States.

I like to finish what I start, and a lot of glib talk won't get the job done. I'm kind of holding back on going after the opponents until after the Republican Convention in the middle of August. But I'll tell you something: I am getting a little sick and tired of being on the receiving end of criticism day-in and day-out from all those sorry Democrats that were running for President, and now some independent. And when I am unleashed and when we get out of this mode, this nonpolitical mode we're in, I'll tell you, I'll be ready for the fray. I have never felt better, nor have I ever felt more eager to take my case to the American people.

Frankly, I don't care about those polls. Fortunately, when I was soaring around about 85 percent I said I didn't believe in the polls. Smartest thing I ever said. [Laughter] But they changed, and frankly, I don't think we're looking too bad. But let me tell you this: This election, when people get down to deciding who they want in the White House, they're going to say, ``Who has the temperament, who has the experience, who has the record to lead this country for 4 years?'' And I will be making the case, with your help, that we are the party that deserves a shot at controlling the United States Congress and, thus, facilitating our leadership.

Let me remind you: 35 years the Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives; 29 out of the last 35 years they've controlled the United States Senate. People are saying: Well, what about divided Government? Why don't you just say that you'll stand with whatever the people want, if they elect a Democratic Congress, a Democratic President? Let me tell you something. We tried that in the late seventies. We had a Democratic President. We had a Democratic House. We had a Democratic Senate. And we had the highest ``misery rate'' that this country has ever seen. It went right out through the roof. What we haven't tried is a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President. And if you want to bring change to this country, help me elect a Republican Congress in the fall.

You know, this year, as I say, has been a little weird, a little peculiar. The other day Boris Yeltsin came to town, the President of Russia, a democratically elected in a free election, certifiably free election, came to Russia. We stood in the Rose Garden, made a deal, signed an agreement in the White House to banish from the face of the Earth these tremendous intercontinental ballistic missiles known as the SS - 18. If any one of you has followed this and if you'd have said 4 years ago or 2 or even a few months ago that we could have worked out a deal to eliminate these most destabilizing weapons, people would have looked at you and said you're nuts.

We worked that deal out. Every child in America can sleep more securely without the fear of nuclear war that generations that preceded it had. And the country is totally focusing on something else. I am convinced that when we go to the people in the fall, we will say this: We have made the world safer because of our leadership in world affairs. And the American people are going to respond.

Heinz Prechter introduced me to a friend of his tonight who is here from East Germany. With tears in his eyes, he said, ``Thank you, Mr. President, for being a catalyst in reunification of the Germanys.'' This is major.

Looking to the Middle East, you have ancient enemies talking to each other, the one thing the Arabs, the one thing the Israelis wanted -- to sit down opposite the table. And it was your country that brought this about.

When Saddam Hussein invaded a neighbor, it was the United States that took the lead. Now you have a lot of revisionists running around Washington, DC, telling us that something was noble -- that something was wrong. And they are crazy. What we did is set back aggression, put together a coalition to lead, and today the United States is the undisputed leader of the world. That's something we can take to the American people. And the Baltics are free, and South America is moving almost entirely democratic. We have a lot to be grateful for.

Let me say this parenthetically: I am going to keep pushing to a successful conclusion of the GATT round, a successful conclusion of the North American free trade agreement because that means not only jobs for the United States, it means opportunity for other countries. Build their economies, and that'll help the world economy. And we're going to be free traders, not protectionists. That's the case I'm going to take to the American people.

So, I believe the record for world peace and democracy and freedom is clear. Out of focus right now in terms of people's attention, but I think in the final analysis people are going to say: To whom do you trust the national security of our great country? Who best to enhance the peace? Who best to fight for democracy and freedom? And I believe that will conclude that I am that person to lead the country for 4 years.

Now, people say to me, ``Well, you were successful on Desert Storm; why can't you bring that same kind of leadership to the domestic scene? Good question. And the answer is, we must make the changes in the United States Congress to move our program through because our values are in accord with the values of the American people.

Let me just give you one or two areas where I think we have a fantastic case to take to the American people. I have just come from a law enforcement meeting where we had sheriffs and police chiefs from all across the State. And I told them: Look, what we need is a strong anticrime legislation. We need to vary the exclusionary rule so that we don't have cases frivolously thrown out. We need to change habeas corpus so that we don't have appeal after appeal that deny the swiftness of the law. We need to be tougher on those who commit crimes against other people in terms of taking their life. And that means tightening up on the death penalty laws. We have had strong anticrime legislation before the United States Congress. The Democrats talk a good game, and they haven't even given us a vote on our crime package. The American people want to back our law enforcement communities because they know that strengthens neighborhoods and strengthens families. And I think we have a good case to take on that.

On the economy, though I believe the economy is moving, I still feel that what we ought to do is put incentives into the tax system. And that means a capital gains cut; that means an investment tax allowance; that means changing the IRA's; that means a first-time credit for homebuyers so the young American family has a shot at the American dream. And that is stymied, all of it, by the Democratic Congress.

We had a fight the other day on the balanced budget amendment. That's not going to solve all the problems. It's going to discipline the executive branch. It'll darn sure discipline the spend-and-spend Congress. We got almost two-thirds of the vote. Twelve Democrats who sponsored the resolution, sponsored the amendment, were taken to the woodshed by that liberal leadership of the House of Representatives, beaten over the head until they were a pulp, and they voted against their own amendment, and the amendment went down. We need to change the leadership in the United States Congress and give the Republicans a chance.

The Government is too big, and it spends too much. And we're trying to do something about it. I'd like to ask the American people this fall: Give me what 43 Governors have, give me that line-item veto, and give me a shot at cutting down on this Federal spending. You hear a lot now about these. Every candidate is supposed to get the budget in balance and get the deficit down. We have a concrete proposal before the United States Congress right now that makes some tough decisions. It controls the growth of mandatory spending programs. You can't do it just through the discretionary program. And it's languishing there as the Congress sends down bill after bill to me to raise people's taxes and to increase spending. We've got a good case to take to the American people, and says: Give me more Congressmen that will vote to control those mandatory programs, and then we can get this deficit down.

Speaking of Government reform, I think the time has come to limit the terms for the Members of Congress. The President's terms is limited; let's try to limit the terms of the Members of Congress and see if we can't keep them closer to the American people.

A major area where we've got outstanding proposals and a pretty darned good record is on education. We have a program called America 2000. It crosses party lines. The first thing I did as President was to get the Governors together, Democrat and Republican alike, to set the national education goals. Party was laid aside. The goals were set. And now we have a program to implement those goals called America 2000 that literally revolutionizes American education and brings to K through 12 the same kind of quality education that we're known for at the college and university level. And it is languishing. Parts of it are languishing in the House of Representatives because it has to go to some old subcommittee chairman that's been there for a thousand years and hasn't had a new thought since the day he arrived. We've got to change the United States Congress.

And while we're at it, I think we ought to have choice in education at K through 12. I was a beneficiary of the GI bill when I got out of the Navy in 1945. And they didn't say to me: Hey, you can't go to Holy Cross or you can't go to a private school. You went to wherever you wanted to go to; the family made that choice. In this instance, the sailor made that choice, the Navy man made the choice. And it's helped our colleges.

And the same thing can happen if they can pass our ``GI bill'' for children that we came up with the other day. It gives the families a little shot in the arm, gives them a little voucher so they can then choose where their children go to school. And it will help those schools that are bypassed because to stay alive they're going to have to compete. And it's not going to diminish the public education system. If you don't believe me, go up to Milwaukee and talk where it's been tried. Or go to Minnesota where they've been in the lead on choice in education. Choice in education is what we want. Choice in child care is what we now have because of Republican principles. And I want to take this case to the American people in the fall.

I want to thank some Members of Congress. I don't want to be down on all of them because one of the only tools the President has, when he is outnumbered in the Congress and when he is asked to pass things that the people who elected him oppose, is the veto. And the veto score: Bush 30, Congress 0. And I am going to keep on vetoing this tax-and-spend legislation as it comes to the White House until we can get enough people to pass sensible legislation.

Now, we've got a good record to take to the American people. The ideas and the values that I believe we all stand for are intact. What we need is to get it in focus now for the American people. I might say, parenthetically, when we talk about family values, this is not some demagogic exercise. When the mayors of some of the largest cities and some small ones too, the National League of Cities, came to see me -- and I mentioned this to the law enforcement people this afternoon -- they said that the biggest concern they had, the biggest single focus on the problem, the cause of the problems in urban America was the decline in the American family. And they are absolutely correct. I am convinced that we must find ways to strengthen the family. When I talk about reform of the welfare system, I have in mind a little girl who saved over ,000. And the welfare people came to her, her mother on welfare, and said your mother's going off of welfare if you save money like this because you're not allowed to accumulate over ,000. Change the welfare reform, reform the welfare system so that you can eliminate this kind of stupidity, and in the process, strengthen the family. And that's what we're going to try to do.

I heard one of the candidates for President ridiculing the fact that I have a session each year reading to children. Symbolic, yes. But what is the symbol? It is the idea that adults ought to read to their kids or that parents ought to read to their kids. And let the cynics who think everything can be legislated miss the point. The point is that when Barbara Bush holds an AIDS baby in her arms, she's demonstrating compassion. And when she or I read to kids, we're saying parents ought to do this. They ought to hold their families together and love them. And every kid ought to have that kind of opportunity. And that isn't cynical politics, that's what this country wants.

I'm just getting warmed up on you guys, I'll tell you, because I've only mentioned about four issues here where I think we are just exactly where the heartbeat of America is. But you couldn't tell it because of all the noise and the fury out there of Politics '92: endless polls, weird talk shows, crazy groups every Sunday telling you what you think, ninety-two percent of the news on the economy being negative when the economy grew, admittedly slowly, but grew at 2.7 in the first quarter. Ninety-two percent negative. What kind of reporting is that?

But the American people are smart. They're going to sort it out. They're going to separate fiction from fact. They're going to know reality when they see it. And I'm going to say this to them: I have worked my heart out as President of the United States. Barb and I have tried to uphold the dignity and the decency and honor that belongs in the White House. I need 4 more years, with a Republican Congress this time, to finish the job for the American people. And I ask you for your support. I promise you I'll work my heart out to that end.

Thank you, and may God bless you all. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:15 p.m. in the Mackinac Ballroom at the Westin Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Randolph J. Agley, chairman, Michigan Republican Finance Committee; and Michael T. Timmis and Heinz Prechter, dinner cochairmen.