Public Papers

Remarks to Working Families for Bush-Quayle in Chicago


Let me put it this way, I'm glad to be running against Governor Clinton instead of Randy here. [Laughter] He is tough. I mean that was a wonderful introduction and wonderful comments. And thank you very, very much. Thank all of you here and out there for being here.

Let me, of course, salute the Governor, Jim Edgar. You've got a first-class Governor in this State. And I'm very proud to have his support. May I greet Sam Panyotovich, the State representative. And to all of you, thank you for being with us.

When I first heard I was heading for the Windy City, I was afraid I was going up to Capitol Hill, as Randy was talking about them. Instead, here I am, glad to be back in this city of big shoulders and very, very proud to have the endorsement of these hard-working men and women.

Two men ask for your support this year and ask America to decide where we're going. Two different philosophies, two very different agendas, two candidates shaped by where each of us has been. My opponent started in politics with George McGovern. He spent almost his whole career on a government payroll. Kind of like a contestant on ``Jeopardy'': Alex Trebek would say, ``The answer to everything,'' and Bill Clinton would answer, ``What's `More Government'?''

My background's very different. I started a business. As Randy said, I met a payroll of working men and women. I learned that higher taxes and spending do not create jobs, they destroy jobs. And every day in the economy, every day, is high noon. I spent half of my adult life in public service and the other half in private sector. And I think that's a good mix, a good combination.

Sending Uncle Sam into the world to fight, burdened by higher taxes, is like sending Norm Schwarzkopf into Kuwait to fight with one hand tied behind his back. I didn't do the latter, and I do not want to see this country burdened further by taxes.

That's why my comprehensive approach to win the new global economy is built on lower taxes, lower spending, and less regulation. It's not a tax break for the rich, it's a jobs break for America. This Agenda for American Renewal that Randy very generously mentioned can create the world's first trillion economy by the dawn of the next century, not by turning inward but by reaching out to free markets and free trade and freedom itself, the freedom to save, to invest, to work, to keep more of what you earn.

This won't surprise you, but Governor Clinton disagrees. Maybe that's why last week in a Freudian slip -- didn't do it on purpose -- I referred to him as ``Governor Taxes.'' I was in Texas, I think, at the time. But nevertheless, he does want to raise taxes. He's already come out and said he wants to raise them 0 billion, boost Government spending by 0 billion. And that slogan of his is ``Putting people first.'' Well, based on what he'd do to the U.S. taxpayer, it should be ``Putting it to the people first.''

Now, most of you have families. Think about the family budget in 1955. Back then, the average family spent 5 percent of its adjusted gross income on Federal taxes. Today the figure is up to about 24 percent. We don't need a President who makes things worse. Yes, we've had tough economic times. Every country of our major trading partners in Europe have tough economic times. It's not simply the United States. The question is, who's best to get us out of these difficult times. You can't tax grocery and beer and gas and cable TV as my opponent has done in Arkansas. We do need lower taxes. We need spending to get lower priced goods for American consumers. And we need customers for American goods.

So look around you here. We've got six unions represented, I believe, union members from locals like UAW 551, the Operating Engineers, Carpenters Local 60, auto workers, pilots, the building trade, steel workers and tradesmen. And every day that you go to work, compete; do not retreat. And you work like the dickens. You strive to excel. You know that whether it's Munster, Indiana, or Rosemont, Illinois, it doesn't matter. When trade is free and fair, America beats the competition fair and square, anywhere.

I wish I could tell you that he agrees on this point. Very hard to tell. On the North American free trade agreement, which I'm absolutely convinced is going to increase jobs, he says, ``When I have a definitive opinion, I'll say so.'' You can't waffle when you're President of the United States. You've got to make the tough calls. Sometimes you make people happy, sometimes not so happy. But you can't have both sides of every single issue. Somebody mentioned the fuel standards, the CAFE standards. Let me just tell you his position here, if I can figure it out. In April he wanted to hike them from the current level, 27 miles per gallon, to, this is a quote, ``40 to 45 miles per gallon.'' Later it became a goal of 40 or 45 miles a gallon.

On issue after issue he is on one side and then the other, showing up in more places than Elvis Presley. And this 45 miles per gallon would kill off the auto industry. He went over and met with some auto industry leaders here, and he said, well, I'm studying. They've got a National Academy of Science study about this thick, and he's sitting there reading it every night in the campaign trail? Come on. There's plenty of information out about that. He's not studying that, I don't believe.

But you've got to take a position in this job, that's what I'm saying. I'll take a stand for policies that favor the working family. I want real reform, reform of that welfare system for example, to help the families stay together and make the fathers stick around some. And I'm the one who will keep the inflation low so that money buys more at the supermarket and every senior, every member of a union who has saved all his life is not going to have those savings wiped out by inflation anymore.

We got the interest rates down, so the working families can buy that first home. I'm for keeping the fuel standards at 27.5, not risking the future of the auto workers in this country by trying to make some environmentally extreme statement to keep the Sierra Club happy and at the same time throwing auto workers out of work. The worst environment of all is to be cold, broke, and unemployed. And so we've got to remember that.

Above all, I'm the one who will keep faith with the people who trust me, just as I have faith and trust in you. And the campaign is about trust. Some out there don't like the concept that I talk about, strengthening the American family. But we try to exemplify strength in family. I want to see discipline. I want to see families reading to their kids. I want to see the neighborhoods safe. I want to back up the local law enforcement officers, to whom we are beholden for many, many things. I put all of these under the heading of strengthening the American family. So let the liberal elite criticize it. Let them distort my position. But we are going to keep fighting for the American family, to keep it strong.

I heard Governor Edgar mention something about international affairs. You wouldn't think world peace had anything to do with anything, given the way the Clinton campaign doesn't even want to discuss it. It's Ted back here, Ted Myeka, is that right? Well, okay, he comes here, he fights before he's even a citizen for our country. I said, ``Where do you come from? What's your ethnic background?'' ``Poland.'' Look, I take great pride in the fact that it was under my Presidency that Poland is free and they are democratic. And there's a lot of these countries that are free and democratic because, with the backing of good men and women like these with me here today, we stayed strong. We didn't listen to the nuclear-freeze crowd or those that were demonstrating against the United States of America. We stood strong. And the result is democracy and freedom in Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, and all across the way.

So it's a wonderful thing. And there's another thing. You see this little guy here. I take great pride in the fact that that kid does not go to bed the same as some of you did a few years ago, worrying about nuclear war. I think that's an important change. So when we talk about change, let's get credit for some of the changes that make the world a little more peaceful. You think about these freedoms out there, and I don't have to lecture to a patriotic group like this, but I didn't work to help bring freedom to Eastern Europe to now lose it out here, right in this country.

We're going to fix these classrooms. We're going to make it better. We're going to give parents the choice of whatever schools they want to send their kids to, public, private, or religious, and help them do just that. And so we're going to keep fighting: Child care where the parents get the choice, and not rule out, as some of these liberals would have you believe -- if a church has a child care center there, why, of course the parents ought to have a choice to send the kid to that as well as have some Government-dictated, bureaucratically controlled child care center. So we're trying to strengthen the family, we're trying to strengthen the community, and we're darn sure trying to strengthen the American economy.

Last word: It is very easy to get on a bandwagon when somebody thinks the other guy's going to win, the front-runner. I'm going to win this election, and it's not going to be because I'm so smart. But it's because hard-working men and women who value their families and treasure their neighborhoods are going to stand with me when the going is tough, just like these guys have done, these women and men who are working for a living, and put principle ahead of dictation from some group.

So I'm very honored. This is one of the nicest events that I could possibly have been invited to attend, because it comes from principle. It comes from people that are willing to stand up based on fundamental principle.

Thank you very, very much for being here. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:45 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Randy Peters, recording secretary, United Auto Workers Local 551.