Public Papers

Remarks at a Fundraising Brunch for Rich Williamson in Rosemont, Illinois


Thank you all very, very much. What a wonderful welcome. And that makes me convinced that I'm going to win in November, too.

Let me thank Rich Williamson. And good morning and my respects to Jane, and of course, to Jim Edgar, who is just doing a superb job as Governor of this State. You ought to be very, very proud of him. Rich couldn't have a better man at his side than secretary of state George Ryan, longtime friend. I'm grateful also to the Lieutenant Governor, Bob Kustre, who was out there at the airport to say hello; and to the State's attorney, Jack O'Malley; my old friend Congressman Phil Crane, with us today. And if you want some heavy lifting done in the fundraising, get H. Clark involved. H., thank you very, very much for what you've done here. And also, I want to salute our State chairman, Al Jourdan. And national committeewoman Mary Jo Arndt is here today. I see she brought some of her family with her; that's good.

It's great to be back here in Chicago. I was half tempted to call the Mayor while I'm in town. My guess is that he was pretty upset by his party's recent gathering in New York. He thought Chicago had the nickname ``the Windy City.'' [Laughter]

But this afternoon, I want to tell you a story about a young girl, poor in pocket but rich in hope, who left her German village to come to America. She came in search of something larger than herself, a future for her children and for their children. Here in Chicago, she married another immigrant. She took in laundry; he sold clothes. They lived in a tiny apartment and never gave up hope that their daughter would have a better future and their daughter's son an even better one.

That's how this country was born. And that's how it grew into the most proud, the most free nation on the face of the Earth. America became great through millions of stories like this, stories of men and women who left behind their homes in order to take a chance on a dream for their children here in the land of opportunity.

If that young woman I just told you about were here today, she would see how her sacrifice made the American dream come true for her grandson. She would see with pride that he stands here today, determined to make that dream come true for all of us, the sons and the daughters of Illinois, the whole country. Helen Salisbury would be proud to see the next Senator from Illinois, her grandson, Rich Williamson.

As he said, Rich and I go back a long way. Rich and his dog, Mac, knew Millie before she was a best-selling author. [Laughter] So I'm here out of friendship for a brilliant, dedicated leader. But I'm also here for what's good for the United States of America. I thought George Ryan put it very, very well when he spelled out what's at stake here because Rich's race and the race I'm involved in have a lot in common. If you really want to make a change in this country, let's change the institution that hasn't changed for 38 years and change control of the United States Congress. Rich can do a lot to help.

In the dog days of summer, it's very easy to be attracted to the new candidate, the one who says the things the polls say the people want to hear. But by the fall, the American people look more closely, and they ask this question: Who do we trust to change America? Who has the ideas to carry us forward to a better future?

Rich Williamson is a leader worthy of your trust. Just as we've changed the world, we now have the ideas to change America. Rich and I both believe that to lead a great Nation you must first trust the people you lead.

Look at the two sides in this election, and the choice is very clear. On one side you have people advocating a Nation of the Government, by the Government, for the Government. Rich and I have a very different philosophy. We agree with another son of Illinois: America should be a Nation ``of the people, by the people, and for the people.''

Let me just take one issue today, discuss one issue to show the Grand Canyon of philosophy that separates the two sides in this election. It is one of the most pressing concerns that we face today: I'm talking about health care. Our health care system doesn't work today. We all know that. Thirty-four million Americans are without insurance. Millions more worry that they cannot afford the rising costs of health care.

What are we going to do about it? Well, the other side and I have both put forward plans; you can look them over. I invite comparison. The other plan offers health care reform. My plan offers health care reform. The other plan is printed on plain white bond paper, and my plan is printed on plain white bond paper. From there the differences are wider than an Illinois cornfield.

The other plan will dump 52 million Americans into a new Government bureaucracy, and my plan will help 90 million Americans afford private insurance to take care of their health care needs. The other plan would slap at least a 7-percent payroll tax on middle-income Americans, and my plan would provide tax relief to Americans to help them pay for their own health care. The other plan will cost America at least 700,000 jobs, and my plan helps small business afford health insurance so they can hire more people. The other plan will create lines at hospitals so long you'll think they were selling Bears tickets inside. [Laughter] My plan will allow you to get the care you need when you need it, and my plan will preserve the quality of health care in this country. The other plan is going to put bureaucrats in charge of setting health care prices, and my plan attacks the root causes of rising costs: faulty insurance, too much paperwork, far too many frivolous lawsuits out there.

Understand what's at stake here. If the Governor of Arkansas is elected with a Democratic Congress and a new Democratic Senator from Illinois, within a year the Government will run health care in this country. Our health care system will combine the efficiency of the House post office with the compassion of the KGB. I am not going to let that happen.

Give me Rich Williamson in the Senate, and we will fight against those who put the Government first all the time. We'll fight for what works for America. We will fight for what's right for America. That's what this election is all about, not about change alone because change always happens. The question is, who do you trust to change America? On health care, taxes, education, and every other issue we face, Rich and I say the same thing: Let others listen to the polls; let others listen to the pols. Rich and I want to fight for what's right for the United States of America.

Rich touched on it, and he and I share a strong love of a certain proud American tradition, one that his kids, Ricky and Lisa, already shared with us today. I want to close by asking all of you to listen once again to these familiar words. I believe with all my heart that Americans must join and once again pledge allegiance to the finest vision of the United States of America: ``one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.''

That is the country I love, the country Rich loves, the country you love. When I ask you to help that country by believing in this good man, working for him, and voting for him, I'm sure you'll answer in the words of the motto of this great city of Chicago: I will.

God bless you all. Thank you very, very much for this fantastic turnout and this wonderful support. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Jane Williamson, wife of Rich Williamson, and H. Clark, master of ceremonies.