Public Papers

Remarks to the Community in Stratford, Connecticut


The President. Thank you. Thank you all. What a fantastic rally. Four more.

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

The President. Thank you all. Thank you so very much. What a great welcome back to Connecticut. Thank you very much. Thank you very, very much for that warm welcome back. And to all of you inside and the 10,000 outside, thanks for that welcome back.

May I start by saluting our great congressional delegation, the Members of Congress, Chris Shays, Gary Franks, and Nancy Johnson. We've got a great delegation. And now help them clean House by electing more to the United States Congress. We need Brook Johnson, we need Tom Scott, we need Phil Steele, we need Edward Munster all to go to Washington.

I salute John Rowland, our emcee. I thank Paul Overstreet and the Gunsmoke for the great music. And let me thank the others that made this great rally possible, Doc Gunther, Betsy Heminway, Brian Gaffney, Dick Foley, and Fred Biebel -- came to Connecticut in late 1988 just before the election. We won then, and we are going to win now and annoy the media.

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. I am very grateful to all of you, and I thank my brother Pres for the introduction. The choice before the American people this year is very different, a vast difference in experience, a vast difference in philosophy, and a vast difference in character. And we are going to win on all three.

There's another collateral reason, not nearly as important, but people are beginning to take a look or have already looked at the record in Arkansas. And without ruining a fantastically upbeat rally, let me just click off a couple of numbers for you. I think of Connecticut as an environmentally sound State. Arkansas is the 50th in the quality of environmental initiative. They are 50 in the percentage of adults with college degrees.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. I don't want to ruin the evening, only a few more here. They are 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice. They are 49th in per capita spending on police protection. They are 48th in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. They are 48th in the spending on corrections. They are 46 on teachers' salaries. They are 45th in the overall well-being of children. And Clinton has said, ``I want to do for America what I've done for Arkansas.'' No way! Governor Clinton, we do not need that kind of change in this country.

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

The President. We got it.

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

The President. For a long time, the Governor's been running around talking about change. Well, let's take a look at what he's already proposed: 0 billion in new taxes, 0 billion in new spending. You talk about trickle-down Government, that's it. His numbers don't add up. And as I say to the middle class, he says he's going to sock it to the rich, but everybody that's got a job, every teacher, every cab driver, every farmer, watch your wallet. The guy's coming after you, and we're not going to let him do that.

Change, change, change, change, that's all he talks about. Remember what it was like when we had a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic liberal leadership in the Congress? You had inflation at 15 percent; you had interest rates at 21 percent; you had the ``misery index'' at 20. And we are not going back to that kind of change. Change, that's all you'll have left in your pocket if we go his route, I'll tell you. [Laughter]

You know, the bad news for Governor Clinton is that there's been some good news for our economy. The economy grew at 2.7 percent. It's grown for six quarters. Clinton and the Ozone Man tell you that we are worse off. They tell you that we're worse off than Japan and Germany. We're not. We've been in an economic international slowdown. It is the United States of America, with knowledgeable leadership on international affairs and increasing our exports, that's going to lead the way to new recovery. And the answer to it is not tax and spend but hold the line on taxes and put a cap on the growth of these mandatory spending programs and then stimulate small business, investment tax allowance, capital gains to get people to start new businesses, a credit for that first-time homebuyer that wants to live the American dream. That's the way to do it, not bigger Government.

I have a responsibility as the Commander in Chief and in charge of the national security to be sure we don't cut into the muscle of the defense. Because we've been successful with world peace and because we've stayed strong and made some tough decisions, I've been able to cut defense. But now along comes Governor Clinton, and he wants to cut the muscle of our defense billion more. We cannot let him do that. And besides that, besides the national security, we don't need to throw an additional 1 million people out of work, including 9,500 right here in Connecticut. So we are going to hold the line and keep this country secure, because who knows where the next threat is coming to. We'd better have a leader that understands international affairs.

You know, Connecticut is a great trading State. We've got some of the best made products in the world right here by Connecticut workers. And what we're going to do is expand our exports. Exports have saved us at a critical time, and we are going to create more American jobs by increasing exports, by increasing free and fair trade.

I mentioned small business. You know, small business creates about two-thirds -- has about two-thirds of the jobs. I don't want to slap a tax on them for any reason. What I want to do is give them less taxes, less regulation, and less litigation, fewer of these crazy lawsuits, so we can move small business ahead and create jobs for everyone in Connecticut that needs jobs.

I mentioned legal reform. We're having a big battle in Congress. We must put a cap on some of these outrageous lawsuits. You know, when a Little League coach says, ``Hey, it's not worth it; I don't want to get sued by somebody''; when a person along the highway sees somebody that's been hurt and hesitates to help his or her fellow man because they're afraid of getting sued; and when we've got baby doctors that refuse to deliver them because they're afraid of malpractice, it is time to stand up to Governor Clinton and the trial lawyers and do something about it. I think the bottom line is we ought to sue each other less and care for each other more in the United States.

Health care: we've got the best health care plan. The first thing we don't need is what Governor Clinton wants, is a big Government board to ration health care. What I want to do is provide insurance to the poorest of the poor through vouchers. I want to give the next tax bracket up a break with some tax credits. We want to pool the insurance so everybody can get the benefit of a lower premium for these ever-increasing insurance costs. Then I want to keep the Government from mandating prices. I want to keep the Government out of the business, because we've got the best health care quality in the entire world.

And education: we've got a great program, America 2000. It's beginning to work, 1,700 to 2,000 communities across this country already sitting down, the teachers, the parents, the school boards, to literally revolutionize education in this country. I believe that parents ought to have a right to choose the school of their choice, public, private, or religious, and get some help from the Government. It's been tried, and where it's tried it works. It works. And those schools that aren't chosen do a better job. It worked for the GI bill. It is separation of church and state. Let's try something new in this country. Let's help these young kids have the best education possible.

Welfare reform: we've got to break the back of welfare dependency. We've been working with the States to give them waivers so they can try learnfare or workfare and try to help people get off of welfare. And we can do it. But we've got to do it by giving waivers to the States and reforming our welfare system.

I've got a big difference on Governor Clinton on crime. You know, in Arkansas prisoners spend 20 percent of their sentences and that's all; Federal Government, it is 85 percent of their sentences in jail. It's my firm belief that we need to back up our police officers more. We need to have a little more compassion for the victims of crime and a little less for the criminal element. Thank God for the local police that are out there standing up against these drug and criminal elements. Our police officers are trying to make our neighborhoods safer. And the other day I was endorsed by eight people, came up from Arkansas, and they were the Fraternal Order of Police from Little Rock, to endorse me for President of the United States.

I wish we had more Members of Congress like the ones -- --

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. I wish we had more Members of Congress like the ones here who care about the Federal deficit. And here's some ideas for getting it down. Give us a balanced budget amendment to discipline the Congress and the President. Give us a taxpayer check-off so you, the voters, can say -- if the thing that concerns you the most is the deficit, you can check off 10 percent of your tax return and compel the Congress to bring that spending down to meet that contribution. Then if the liberal leadership in the Congress can't do it, and they haven't been able to do it, why don't we give the President what 43 Governors have: Give him the line-item veto, and let the President draw a line through these pork barrel projects.

And now let's talk about what people are going to decide on, in addition to who's got the best program and who has the best record on world peace. Let me tell you this: I see these kids here, and I take great pride that our administration did an awful lot to help eliminate the fear of nuclear weapons from the minds of these kids. That is major. That is significant.

But now let's talk about character and trust. Over the past few days you've seen Governor Clinton kind of panic, afraid that the power for which he has lusted -- do you remember when he wrote back from Oxford, when he was over there organizing demonstrations against this country when his country was at war? Do you remember that? In the letter to Colonel Holmes, he said something about protecting his political viability. Well, we are going to give his political viability a chance to mature a little more in Arkansas, because he is not going to win the Presidency.

Do you remember that old expression ``Sticks and stones hurt your bones, but names will never hurt you?'' He called me a liar the other day, but that doesn't hurt. It's like being called ugly by a frog. It doesn't matter. I didn't invent the word ``Slick Willie.'' He got that long before I started running against him. I have a confession to make. I did say in the convention ``slippery when wet,'' and I refuse to take it back. Because look, he's on one side of an issue and then on the other side of the issue. And as President you simply cannot do that.

A lot of people objected to the war. I've no problem with that. I happen to be proud that I did serve my country in uniform and served with honor. What I object to is trying to have all sides of it. He ought to level with the American people on the draft. In April he said, ``I'm going to come up with all my draft records.'' And we haven't heard a peep out of any record yet. And even today there was new evidence: an affidavit that when he first ran for office, Governor Clinton's friends used special connections to seize his ROTC file and destroy all others. He ought to level on these kinds of things.

He'll talk about term limits one place -- may be good; then in the debate says he's against it. He goes to the auto workers and said, oh, he's against the fuel efficiency standards, but then he goes to the environmental group and says he's for them. He says one thing on one place, another thing in another place. And you simply cannot be all things to all people.

All during this campaign Governor Clinton has been talking about, ``Let's get Government to invest.'' I have a different philosophy. I don't think the Government invests anything. I think it's private business and private individuals that invest.

But here are his own words from 4 years ago in Newsweek magazine. Here's what Clinton said. He said, ``There's lots of evidence you can sell people on tax'' -- exact quote. Let me start. ``There's lots of evidence you can sell people on tax increases if they think it's an investment.'' His own words revealed this duplicity. We're talking about investment, and he means tax increase.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. Hey, listen, this is Halloween, but you can't have a pumpkin with two faces on it. You know what I mean? We simply cannot let the American people fall for this scam. Let me tell you what he said on the Gulf war. It was a tough decision. Let me tell you what he said. When I had to make this very difficult call, a call to which Connecticut's sons and daughters responded with great patriotism, great service, and great pride, Governor Clinton put it this way. He said, ``I agree with the arguments the minority made, but I guess I would have voted with the majority.'' You talk about a waffle iron. You can't have that in the White House. You cannot take a risk for the White House on character, on inexperience. His do not add up and don't meet the demands of this high office that I'm honored to hold.

You know, the world is still a dangerous place, and I think we've got to remember that. Who knows where the next crisis is going to come from? You know, I loved this yesterday, the message out of Baghdad. I don't know if they covered it in the Connecticut papers. Saddam Hussein's government is planning a party for 500,000 people in downtown Baghdad predicated on the fact that I'm going to lose. They're wrong. No party. No loss. A big win. A big win. And we are going to keep the pressure on the Bully of Baghdad. We are going to keep the pressure on him until he lives up to every single United Nations resolution; until we can bring peace and relief to his people, the people of Iraq. Stay strong. Do not vacillate.

And one other thing, I don't mean to be hypercritical of Governor Clinton, but the other night he started -- at one point -- no, no, I'm not giving him hell. No, no. I don't give him hell. It's like Truman said, you know, you tell the truth, and they think it's hell. That's the difference.

You know, the other night in Michigan he told a voter that he's already thought hard about what he's going to do. He said he'll play his saxophone in the White House. He's already planning an inauguration parade. Recently he said he was the underdog, and yesterday he's got his saxophone hanging in the Oval Office. Only Bill Clinton can change his mind that fast.

I know that he studied at Oxford. He's a very bright fellow. But maybe he doesn't understand exactly how it works. You see, it's not these pollsters, it's not the pundits, it's not these talking heads on television that tell you how to vote. The American people make up their own mind on election day.

I don't know why it is there's been such a hot-selling item as that bumper sticker that says ``Annoy the Media. Reelect Bush.'' There it is. Everyone knows what it means, including the press. But I should caution you, we've granted amnesty to all these that are traveling with us. My ire is not at most of them. It's certainly not at the photo dogs and all these guys with the boom mikes. So grant them amnesty and welcome to Connecticut. But I'll tell you where it is. I'll tell you where it stands. It's with these network know-it-alls and these talking heads. They tell you what to think, and we're going to prove them wrong. I love a good fight, and we're going to take it right to them, right around the media and right to the American people.

No, this has been a strange political year. But we're on the move. And I honestly in my heart of hearts tell you, I believe I am going to win this election on November 3d. I have never wavered, and I never will.

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

The President. I really believe that the American people want a person with experience, certainly don't want one with a pattern of deception, and they want a leader who's been tested. Let me just take you back into history. I'll never forget a cold and rainy day up at Camp David just before I had to make the toughest decision of my life. Kuwait had been invaded, and it stood to the United States to demonstrate to the entire world that aggression would not stand. And yes, Barbara and I went to our little chapel there and prayed that our young men and women would return alive, victorious, and well.

And let me say this: This town and all the good people of this State responded in a way that brought this country together unlike anything since the end of World War II. We lifted up the country and with it the veterans of Vietnam and every other occasion, all because we stood firm and did what was right.

I learned then the agony of making a really difficult decision, one where you have to send somebody else's son or somebody else's daughter into combat. And it isn't an easy decision. I believe that you have to have the experience. I think you have to have the character. I hope you have to have the strength to be able to make a difficult call like that in the face of all the controversy; in the face of all the press telling you hadn't made your case; in face of all those experts telling us how many body bags would be taken overseas. I made a tough call. I did it not to be popular but because it was right. I know I can do it. I know I can lead this country to 4 more years of prosperity.

So your call is: Who best to lead the United States of America into new prosperity? Who best? Who best to say to these young kids, our best days are ahead of us? Who best to accept the trust, the trust of the American people to be in that Oval Office?

Thank you for all you've done. Thank you in the inside and the 10,000 people outside. Thank you for what you're doing. Now, go to the polls, elect these people here with me. Do something for your country. Keep America on the move. And don't let them tell you we're a nation in decline. We are the freest, the fairest, the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. Now, let's go and win this election.

May God bless you all. May God bless the United States of America. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 7 p.m. at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. In his remarks, he referred to the Paul Overstreet and Gunsmoke bands; George L. (Doc) Gunther, State senator; Betsy Heminway and J. Brian Gaffney, Connecticut Bush-Quayle '92 cochairmen; Richard Foley, Connecticut Republican State Central Committee chairman; Fred Biebel, former Connecticut Republican Party chairman; and Prescott Bush, his brother.