Public Papers

Remarks to the Community in Springfield, Illinois


The President. Thank you, thank you. Thank you, Jim Edgar. You in Illinois are lucky to have Jim Edgar and Brenda here in Springfield, I'll tell you. And of course, I'm very pleased that Illinois' own Ed Madigan is our Secretary of Agriculture. He understands it, and he's doing a great job. May I salute Bob Kustra, the Lieutenant Governor, and his wife, Kathy; an old friend of mine, the secretary of state, George Ryan, and Lura Lynn. George has been at my side through a lot of political battles, and I'm very grateful to him.

May I salute a good Member of Congress; if we had more like him we wouldn't need to clean House. I'm talking about Representative Thomas Ewing here. And two others that I want to single out because as we talk about change, real change to help this country, we've got to change the Clinton-Gore gridlock Congress. We've got to change it. And in Rich Williamson running for the Senate, we have a man that can do just exactly that. He's with you on the values. He's with us on taxing less and spending less. He's with us on the fundamentals, and we must have him in the United States Senate. And I want to see John Shimkus elected from the 20th District.

I am going to do what Harry Truman did in this campaign. No, it's not give 'em hell, but they're going to think it's hell when I get through with them. But here's what it is. Look, I'll tell you why I'm going to do it this way. For months, I've held out my hand to the Congress only to have it bitten off. And now I am starting right here in Illinois. The Congressman from this district voted against us on Desert Storm. He tried to bring legal papers against me. He is against the balanced budget amendment. And I want John Shimkus to replace him in the United States Congress.

We've had it. We've had it with this gridlocked Congress. The American people have told Barbara and me, ``Here are our values.'' And they've said, agreed with me in the election, ``Here's want we want to do.'' And it hasn't worked because the Congress blocks us at every turn. You've got to turn out these -- no matter how nice they are, how kind they talk about the farmer when they come back here, look at the record. Don't let them talk one way in Illinois and vote differently in Washington, DC.

And let me just say it is really great to be back in Springfield. Lincoln, you recall, Abraham that is, said of this, he said, ``To this place and the kindness of these people I owe everything.'' I think he had good taste in political parties. I think he had great taste in hometowns.

And as you know, until Houston I stayed out of the actual political arena. I stayed out of it because I was trying to get some things done to bring tax relief, incentives for the first-time homebuyer, investment tax allowance, reduction in capital gains, trying to get those done for the farmer and for the American people. But I felt like one of those corndogs at the fair, skewered by the Democratic opposition for 9 months. And that's changing; it changed as of Houston, and it's going to change for every single of the remaining 73 days.

You know, we've had dramatic change. I see these kids here. And you do not hear a word about this from the Democratic Convention. Don't you think it's a wonderful thing that these young kids go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war that the generations precedent had? This is big. This is important.

So we've got our priorities. And one of them affects every single Illinois farmer: We must open markets abroad. We will get a GATT agreement. We've gotten a NAFTA agreement. And we cannot go for protection. One fact: One-third of the corn and soybeans grown in Illinois head for markets outside the United States. And if we can get that playing field level, if we get access to foreign markets, it means bonanza for the farmers in this country. They can outproduce anybody, outhustle them, outwork them. And so, open trade, free trade without apology is what I believe in and the case I'm taking to the American people.

Illinois farmers and workers feel that the Government takes too much and gives too little. And so, when next year Congress comes back in, I pledge a dramatic new effort to slash Federal spending and then get these taxes down.

Listen to the opponents on this one. It's wonderful new -- --

Audience members. Clean House! Clean House! Clean House!

The President. Yes, as soon as we get a Congress in that will do it. And I want to cut spending and taxes. And he accuses me of fearmongering? He's wrong. Capital gains is one right there. That's a good place to start. Get the income taxes down. And if you'll excuse me one political comment, I have a message for Governor Clinton: Americans aren't afraid of cutting spending and lowering taxes. They fear most of all a rubber-stamp President that will rubber-stamp this spendthrift Congress. So there. We're not going to let that nightmare happen.

You know, I think that you all understand perhaps as well as any in America -- certainly is true in rural America -- the values, what we're talking about when we talk about family values. And here we learn that the family is there to teach us right from wrong, to lend a helping hand to a neighbor, respect for the law, hold out your hand to help somebody else, wipe a tear away when something goes wrong. Now, Barbara and I try to impart these values to our kids and grandkids. And I have great respect for what she has done, helping with literacy, helping other Americans to have a better life.

You know, today the American family is under attack. And we've got to defend it because it is the foundation of our nature. And that is why when we cut Government spending, I will fight for an increase in the personal income tax exemption so more Americans can afford to build and strengthen their families.

We're going to reform the welfare program to encourage families to stick together and have fathers stick around and do what they ought to do.

I see the signs out here of the teachers; God bless those people that teach our young people. And we have proposed the most far-reaching reform in American education in a century, and with a new Congress we will get it passed. We need to reform education, support the teachers, and be sure these kids can grow up in a competitive world number one.

I'll give you another idea why I want to change this Congress. I mentioned it in Houston. We are suing each other too much and caring for each other too little. And we have been trying for 3 years to reform the legal liability laws so that you don't have these excessive suits that drive doctors out of medicine, drive Little League coaches out of Little League. Locked in that gridlocked Congress by Bill Clinton and the liberal leadership in Washington. We've got to change it. We have got to change that gridlocked Congress. We've got to clean House.

Let me just say in conclusion: Two years ago I made, I think, the toughest decision that a President can make, and that is to send America's sons and daughters into battle. The sons and daughters of Illinois and every other State fought against aggression, fought to keep a people free, fought to prevent the Mideast from becoming a nuclear powder keg. Now they have come home. And this election, like every other, is about making an America that they can be proud of, an America we all can be proud of: good jobs, safe streets, and strong families. And so I ask for your support, not to change for the sake of change but to change America to make it more secure, more safe, more promising to every young person here today.

May God bless you all. And thank you for this fantastic rally. I am so proud to be back. Four more!

Note: The President spoke at 1:07 p.m. at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. In his remarks, he referred to Jim Edgar, Governor of Illinois, and his wife, Brenda.