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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Remarks at a Fundraising Breakfast for Gubernatorial Candidate Jon Grunseth in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for that warm welcome. Jon, thank you for that generous introduction. Vicki, great to be with you. Also, my old friend Senator Dave Durenberger, delighted you're here, sir. And it's good to see our wonderful emcee, another friend of some time, State Auditor Arnie Carlson; and our State chairpeople, Bob Weinholzer and Barb Sykora; and our national committee man and woman, Frank Graves, Evie Axdahl. What a team we've got. And then our next Republican in Congress, Republican taking Bill Frenzel's place, Jim Ramstad. He's got to win. We want him to win. I think he will win.

And let me give a special hello to my friend and outstanding United States Senator, Rudy Boschwitz. Rudy is up for reelection this year, and I feel good about it. But I can't think of a Senator anywhere in this great country more deserving of another term than Rudy Boschwitz. He has done an outstanding job for the State, and he has been a strong supporter of this President when I've needed him, and I'm very, very grateful to him. I seldom speak for the Silver Fox, but, Rudy, Barbara and I wish you the very best. Good luck! [Laughter]

And now to Jon's talented runningmate, Sharon Clark. Let me pose a question of the hour: Isn't it about time we had a hog farmer on the ticket? [Laughter] Talk about rooting for a candidate. Whoops! [Laughter] I knew I shouldn't have done it; I'm sorry.

Well, in any event, moving onward, it is an honor to be here, to root for Jon Grunseth. His talents as a leader have been noted already at the Federal level several years now. One example: After Minnesota experienced the worst pipeline explosions in history, it was Jon who was called upon by his current opponent to cochair the Commission on Pipeline Safety. So, President Reagan appointed him to the National Board. And I personally looked to the entire Grunseth family during the last Presidential campaign when they served on this State's steering committee. So, I am very proud to be here today to support a great candidate.

You know, I was talking just as we walked in here a few minutes ago with someone involved in planning this event. She told me that, of all the details and decisions, what concerned her most was the speaker. I said I imagined she wanted someone influential, a world leader, a charismatic speaker. And she said, ``No, Mr. Gorbachev has already been here.'' [Laughter] In any event, President Gorbachev came to Minnesota to see some of the leading-edge technology being produced by your private sector, the kind of technology and aggressive economic enterprise Jon Grunseth understands because he's made it happen himself.

Today I've come here to affirm the kind of leadership that can make sure Minnesota moves forward with fresh ideas, new leadership and, indeed, new hope for the future. But before I focus on change in Minnesota, I'd like to make note of a significant change in our relations with Moscow.

Over the last year, if anyone were to ask me what is the most meaningful and really hopeful sign of change in the world, I'd point to the quality of real cooperation now shared by the United States and the Soviet Union as we work to face down aggression in the Persian Gulf. It is amazing what's happened, and it is strongly in our interest that it continue. Our two nations haven't shared such unity of purpose for 45 years, but now in the heat of crisis in the Middle East, we forge reason for real hope -- hope for a more peaceful, more stable world order. Through uncommon cooperation, we have made peace our common cause. That is reason for celebration.

Still, while that kind of cooperation is new, there's one thing we've been able to rely on: that is the commitment of the American service men and women to contain aggression and the American people's support of our men and women in uniform. We've seen no greater proof of that commitment than right here among the people of Minnesota: Minnesota radio stations sending tapes of local news, Park Center High School students tracking down names of earlier graduates now in the Gulf and writing them to let them know how the football team's doing. And among so many others, I heard about a group here in Minneapolis, newly established, called S.O.C.M., Support Our Country's Military. They're a volunteer group providing financial and emotional support for people with family members in the military. Writing letters and sending board games to the troops -- even arranging for child care to help the grandmother of two girls who was worried her son and daughter-in-law might both be called up. That kind of collective spirit, that kind of shared commitment, is important. And it is those actions, large and small, celebrated or little noticed, that make possible American leadership around the entire world.

But leadership abroad -- shifting back -- demands good leadership here at home. Minnesotans are great people, and they deserve a great Governor, and that's just exactly what Jon Grunseth will be. You've got a lot to be proud of. Nestled in this fertile land of 10,000 lakes, of forests and rolling farmland, the Twin Cities are vibrant, prosperous examples of urban life the way it ought to be. You've got a diverse economy -- building the world's largest and fastest computers and producing more turkeys than almost any other State. [Laughter] I hope your political opponents don't take that the wrong way. [Laughter]

But as one who first was exposed to Minnesota in the fall of 1943, when I came out here as an 18-year-old kid to learn to fly airplanes at Wold-Chamberlain as a naval aviation cadet, I understand -- because I saw it then and I've seen it every time I've come back here -- that Minnesota's greatest strength has always been its people. And so, today I'm here to give my whole-hearted support to a candidate for Governor who understands the power of the people themselves, a candidate for change who wants to unleash the full potential of the great State of Minnesota. And once again, Jon Grunseth understands that and is determined to empower the people.

Jon knows -- we've talked about this -- he knows that a bright future for Minnesota, industrial and agricultural, won't be built by a burgeoning bureaucracy. It will be built by the people, empowered and encouraged to make a difference for themselves and their communities.

He arranged for me to meet with some rural educators from Minnesota today, and you can just feel that sense -- not Federal Government do more but empower the people to help solve, in this case, the problems of rural education. I was most impressed, Jon, by that wonderful turnout from these dedicated teachers that came to rally support for you and to tell me of their concerns about rural Minnesota.

That's why Jon's devoted himself to reforming of education, also protecting the environment and controlling State spending.

Minnesota has always had a strong bipartisan tradition in education. But now education has captured national attention, and that says something about America because the importance of a well-educated citizenry transcends partisanship and politics. Real education reform demands that all of us work together to improve our schools. And that's why this candidate isn't interested in who's taking credit for what program. He cares about what works -- results. Results are what we're after. And working together with Jon Grunseth, results are what we are going to get.

But along with this deeply held conviction on the importance of education, Jon shares the environmental ethic that is so crucial to preserving the grandeur of the great North Woods. He believes, as I do, that we can and must recapture the heritage of Teddy Roosevelt. And he understands the importance of community involvement in preservation efforts, to carefully manage our wild lands and our wildlife.

But Minnesota's outstanding record on air and drinking water quality, conservation, and recreation reflects a community effort and a special volunteer ethic that Jon Grunseth will promote and expand. And he knows what he's talking about. He helped build a billion-dollar business, applying new ideas and new technology in environmental sanitation. As Governor, he will be a leader for the environment right here in Minnesota.

And he'll also be a leader in managing fiscal resources. You heard just the tip of the iceberg here this morning. He's proved his prowess in the private sector, and he'll apply the same financial fortitude that he's demonstrated there -- he'll apply that as Governor. He's called for a cap on State spending and real, honest property-tax reform. He has said, as this party believes, that the answer is not to spend as much as you can tax, but to tax only as much as you need to spend. And you know, there's a good lesson there for all of us. He's absolutely right about that.

Which brings me to my line of work. As you all know, we've been trying to reach an agreement on the Federal budget for months. Four days from today -- and I listened carefully to what Rudy said, and I had a chance to talk to Dave on Air Force One when Jon and he and I flew up here last night -- 4 days from today America, under the law, faces serious automatic, indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts in services of every kind. Why? Because Congress and that Democratic leadership there could not get serious about making real cuts in spending, enforceable cuts in spending, and they wouldn't get serious about real budget reform. No point going through this dance every year; we need budget reform in Washington, DC. Lacking discipline of their own, they've delayed so long that that Gramm-Rudman meat ax is about to do it for them.

And you might say: Well, what does that mean to me? What does that mean to Minnesota? What does that mean to my family or to the schools? What does it mean to you? It means many -- and this is not a worst case or what they call in Washington the Washington Monument syndrome -- it means many of Minnesota's spectacular parks, recreation, wildlife management programs will be shut down; they'll be closed. Funds to curb demand for illegal drugs through prevention and treatment will be cut by one third -- Federal programs. Air traffic controller cutbacks will lead to delays and cancellations. And nearly 1.5 million college students will lose their Pell grants because the Congress could not do its homework.

These cuts -- the figure is 0 billion in all, total -- will be hard for everyone to take. And there may be teachers who can't go to work in Head Start programs. There may be senior citizens wondering why their Social Security checks are late. We can't afford business as usual. The American people deserve better, and the people of Minnesota deserve better.

Let me give you a little history. Back in January I sent a complete budget up to the Hill. There was a deadline set by themselves, as Rudy and Dave know. The leadership there missed the deadline -- it was in April -- they missed the deadline to respond. And in May I then convened a budget summit -- some of you may remember that -- to get things moving. In June they still weren't moving. And the Democrats, seeking political gain because they know how I feel about taxes and they know how I feel about spending, demanded that I put everything on the table, including taxes, to get Congress off dead center. And I had to make a decision. It was a tough decision. But to put our fiscal house in order, I did what had to be done to get Congress to act.

And they acted, all right -- they acted like they had all the time in the world. And so, in July I offered up another budget plan that would save half a trillion dollars over 5 years, and again I extended a hand to the Members of Congress, asking them to work together in good faith. And again, they did not respond. We talked about the summer recess, and I said: Would it help to keep the Congress in? The Democratic leadership said: No, don't do that. That will be counterproductive. That will make it more difficult to get a job. So, I complied there with that request -- my gut instinct being we ought to have kept Congress there in August to get the job done.

Now, 2 months have passed since I made that proposal, and they have still offered no serious comprehensive plan with the needed budget reforms to reduce the deficit. And 4 days from now, sequestration will become a tragic fact of life. So, I call on the Congress again: Deal with this deficit through real, enforceable spending cuts and meaningful budget reform now.

Talks are going on probably -- well, probably now, but certainly within a few minutes, the clock ticking. And I'm very hopeful that the Congress will get the message and that there will be the compromise that's needed to keep this country from screeching to a halt at this critical time.

You know, everything I read, everyone I talk to tells me that they are fed up with the Federal lawmakers' evasion of responsibility. You hear this new thrust there. And thank heavens we have people like Rudy Boschwitz in the Congress, in the Senate -- this year up for election -- who sets an example that sends a strong message to the Democratic leadership and the Democratic opposition.

We need leaders who are going to fight for fiscal discipline in every branch of government and at all levels, from the White House to the Minnesota statehouse. And that's reason enough to be here this morning, because I do believe that here in Minnesota Jon Grunseth will make sure that spending stays under control. It has to happen at the Federal level, and it must happen at the State level. I honestly know in my heart that he'll make a great Governor.

It's been a genuine pleasure to come back here and join you today. But before I go, there's one more thing: Let me ask each one of you to make an effort to get out the vote this fall. On the farms and fields, in the suburbs and cities, make sure that the people of Minnesota know what's at stake here. In an era that celebrates the dawning of democratic freedoms around the world, when so many who have struggled so long have at last found their voice, those who live in freedom should never rob themselves of the priceless power of the ballot. Encourage people to exercise that power, to confirm the kind of leadership they're after, and to preserve the enduring glow of the North Star State.

By electing Jon Grunseth and by electing a Republican majority in the State legislature, you can unleash new ideas and bring about a change for an even greater Minnesota.

Thank you for what you're doing. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:27 a.m. in the Nicollet Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Jon Grunseth's wife, Vicki. Prior to the breakfast, the President met with educators at the hotel. Following his remarks, he traveled to Cleveland, OH.

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