Public Papers

Remarks to the Community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


The President. Thank you, Colonel Bud Day, and thank all of you for being here. Let me also single out two Floridians: Jeanie Austin, who is the cochairman of the Republican National Committee, a great daughter of Florida with us today; and also the man I want to see elected to the United States Senate, Bill Grant, a good Congressman, a good man. And may I salute Guy Sanchez and Commander Donald Feak; and also a couple of friends of mine that came up on the plane, Andy Mill and Chris Evert, two of Fort Lauderdale's favorites over here. May I thank Gerald McRaney, a man of principle, who's campaigning. I'm glad to have ``Major Dad'' on my side, I'll tell you.

I'm sure some of you young ones are wondering what this is. This thing is a TBF Avenger. And I remember the first time I saw one of these. I could hardly wait to try it out. And then my flight instructor told me a curious aerodynamic fact. When the thing was loaded, it could fall faster than it can fly. I proved that a couple of times out in the Pacific flying one of these things. I took my flight training right here at Fort Lauderdale. It was quite a few years ago.

I am very pleased to be here to talk about the -- --

Audience members. Where was Bill? Where was Bill? Where was Bill?

The President. I am very pleased to be here to talk about the choice for this November. This campaign, like every campaign, is about a simple question: What kind of America do you want for the young people that are here today?

My opponent likes to tear America down. He says that we are, in his words, ``south of Germany, heading toward Sri Lanka.'' Well, maybe he ought to talk to a few folks in Germany or Asia, and they'll remind him of a few facts: Our people are the best educated. Our economy is still the most dynamic, and our workers the most productive. America is the greatest economic superpower the world has seen. I intend to keep it that way and make it better. I don't like Governor Clinton tearing down the United States of America.

Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

The President. I have laid out a comprehensive Agenda for American Renewal. It's a comprehensive, integrated agenda to create, right here in the United States, the world's very first trillion economy. You go with my plan, and we can do just that.

Here's what we've got to do. We've got to look forward, to open new markets for our products because that's the way we're going to create new jobs and better wages for our workers. My agenda charts a way to prepare our young people to excel in math and English and science because that's the way our kids will beat the socks off the Germans and the Japanese in economic competition. This agenda provides ways to strengthen the American family because families are the foundation of our Nation. I'm going to keep on talking about strengthening the family. And as the colonel said, Governor Clinton wants to gut our military forces. He wants to cut billion beyond what my military experts say is responsible.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. My agenda cuts defense, but only so far, because the only way America can stay safe is for America to stay strong. The reason we whipped Saddam Hussein is we stayed strong.

So here's what I'm fighting for, is to reinvent American education and give every parent the right to choose the best school for their kids, public, private, or religious; to reform our crazy legal system. We've got too many crazy lawsuits, and it is time that we sue each other less and care for each other more in this country.

With the help of that new Congress, I'm determined to cut the size of Government, because Government is too big and spends too much of your money. I want to limit, limit the terms --

Audience member. Clean the House!

The President. That's a good idea. The man says, ``Clean House!'' Wait a minute, I'll tell you how to do it.

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

The President. We need to do that, I'll tell you. We need to do that, and one thing we need to do is limit the terms for the Members of Congress and give Congress back to the people. The President's terms are limited; limit the Congress.

These are just some of the things I'm fighting for. But while I'm talking about the future, Governor Clinton only wants to talk about the past.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Clinton only wants to talk about the past. I say, if you want to talk about the past, take a look at Arkansas. These are good people, good, honorable, patriotic Americans, and they've had a bad leader. The more you know about him, the more you'll understand: Bill Clinton is wrong for America.

You know, he says he's for civil rights, but Arkansas doesn't even have a basic civil rights law. He says he's for a clean environment, but the Institute of Southern Studies ranked Arkansas the 50th in environmental policies, right down to the bottom.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. Governor Clinton would want us to believe he can walk on water. And maybe he can, over there in Arkansas in those rivers, they're so polluted. The Governor says he's tough on crime, but under him, Arkansas's crime rate has gone right through the roof, has risen 2 times faster than the Nation's. You don't have to take my word for it. Ask the police officers who know Bill Clinton the best, the people in Little Rock. The police officers in Little Rock have endorsed me for President of the United States.

Let me talk for just a minute about the economy. We've been through some tough economic times. But understand, we're being affected by a global economic slowdown. Our competitors in Europe would trade places with the United States in a minute. And yet, Governor Clinton offers for America this kind of European social welfare state with bigger Government and higher taxes. And we don't need it.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. Don't listen to what he's saying today. He is wanting to slap more taxes on the middle class.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. Let me give you the facts. He is proposing at least 0 billion in new taxes and at least 0 billion in new spending. ``Don't worry,'' he says, ``I'll take it all from the rich. I'll take it all from those who are the top 2 percent.''

But the problem is this: To get all the money he needs for that plan he's come up with, the 0 billion that he's promised in new taxes, Governor Clinton would have to get his money from every individual with taxable income over ,600. And to pay for his other promises, he'll have to sock it to the cab drivers, the teachers, the nurses, and the day-to-day citizens. And we can't let him do that.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. He wants the middle class to sweat more and send it to the IRS. I say his ideas deserve a cold shower. Do not give him a chance.

You know, we had some television ads on, exposing the truth about who's going to pay for all Governor Clinton's promises, and then he gets mad. Even today he's got a new ad on television trying to fog the issue. He's scared that you're going to find out the truth before November 3d.

His economic plan does not add up. Someone is going to have to foot the bill, and Governor Clinton says it won't be the middle class. But you cannot raise 0 billion in taxes and pay for at least 0 billion in new spending without touching the middle class. Middle class taxpayers believe that Governor Clinton won't touch their paychecks like they believe that Hurricane Andrew was a gentle spring shower. We cannot let him touch the middle class on taxes.

Now, you see he's got a habit of never trying to take a position on a tough issue. I've finally figured out why he compares himself to Elvis. The minute he has to take a stand on something, he starts wiggling. One day he looks right in with those blue eyes into the camera and says he's not going to run for President of the United States; the next thing you know, he announces his campaign. One day he says he's for a good trade agreement that we want, the North American free trade agreement, and then he says, ``I haven't made up my mind yet.'' One day he says the middle class deserves a tax break; the next day he's piling up spending programs that the middle class have to pay for.

Just 2 days ago in Wisconsin, he read a speech on foreign policy. It sort of sounded like a college term paper. Governor Clinton said, and I quote -- this has to do with the war in Iraq -- he said, ``I supported the President when it became necessary to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.'' He said that the other day. But last year, here's what he said, ``I guess I would have voted with the majority if it was a close vote, but I agree with the arguments that the minority made.''

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. This is crazy. You cannot act like that as a Commander in Chief. This guy couldn't remember in detail that he didn't inhale 20 years ago, and he can't remember what came out of his mouth 20 minutes ago. I think we've discovered a new disease: Clintonesia. [Laughter] The symptoms: weak knees, sweaty palms, and an incredible desire to say anything on all sides of every issue, depending on who you are trying to please.

So let me just comment about the young people here. You cannot keep everybody happy. You've got to call them as you see them. You've got to make tough decisions. We better not replace the American eagle with a chameleon in the White House. We still have some very tough problems both at home and abroad. I don't think that we ought to put our bet on a leader with no experience and a sorry record in his home State.

You know, this place is special for me. I mention it because this is where I took that final flight training before I went overseas, at the old Naval Air Station here. I was just a kid. I was 19 at the time. Maybe that's why I've never forgotten the lessons that military service teaches. It shaped my character, and I hope that that service to country has made me a better Commander in Chief, because I respect our military and the veterans. I respect the military. I do not loathe them, as Governor Clinton said in that famous letter. I respect them. I support the veterans, and we have a special trust with the veterans. We must protect them, and we will always stand beside the brave men and women who stood up for their country. And by the way, I do believe that serving in uniform is a good criterion for being Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

No, the question between our Agenda for American Renewal and the Clinton plan is like night and day. But the fundamental points are two: One, I don't believe we're a country south of Germany and just above Sri Lanka. I believe we are the best, fairest, most decent country on the face of the Earth, and I will never tear down America.

The last point relates to trust. I believe when people go into that voting booth, they're going to ask themselves the question: Who do I trust to the privilege, the honor, the duty of serving the United States of America as President? I hope I have earned your trust. Barbara and I have worked very, very hard, and I ask for your support for 4 more years.

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

Note: The President spoke at 2:25 p.m. at Hollywood International Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Col. George (Bud) Day, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; Guy Sanchez, representative of VFW Post 11297; Donald P. Feak, commander of VFW Post 1966; downhill skier Andy Mill; and tennis champion Chris Evert.