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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Gubernatorial Candidate George Voinovich in Cleveland, Ohio


Thank you, George, for those kind words. Janet, what a pleasure it is to see you again.

Before we begin, I just got some good news from Washington. Just moments ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly endorsed my outstanding nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge David Souter. It was a 13-to-1 vote, and they recommended Judge Souter to the Senate. And I called and thanked Senator Biden just now and Senator Thurmond, two ranking Members on that important committee. I now would urge the full Senate to act as quickly as possible to confirm this man. He is an outstanding jurist, and I want to see him join his colleagues on the Nation's highest court, as the Court's new session begins next week. But I think that is good news for all of us who are committed to the Constitution of the United States. He'll be a superb Justice for the Supreme Court.

I understand now that -- back to the business at hand -- Wayne, you say you were in charge of the budget for the Cavs [Cavaliers]? If so, come with me on Air Force One. We have a mission to do. [Laughter] In Texas, as they say, we could use a man of your ``big'' over there. [Laughter] But thank you, sir, for being here and emceeing this. To Rabbi Rube, thank you, sir. We heard outside your very generous blessing.

I understand that most of our statewide ticket is here. I know Bob Taft is. Bob, where are you? Would you please stand up? [Applause] It's very important that Bob win as secretary of state -- that race. And then the next one, Jim Petro -- Jim, are you out here someplace? I can't see too well. But in any event, that's the State auditor's job Jim's running for, and that one's a key race because between the Governor and these two races it has an awful lot to say about fair, nongerrymandering redistricting. And also, another old friend of mine running statewide, Judith Brachman for State treasurer. I know she's here, because I saw her. Judith, please stand up wherever you may be. Maybe she fled.

Then, the ones who couldn't join us today: Mike DeWine, who was with me yesterday -- but his wife, Fran, is here, and want to wish her well -- a wonderful candidate for Lieutenant Governor. And then, the other is an old friend of mine, Paul Pfeifer, who we want to see elected attorney general. So, we have an outstanding ticket this year for the whole statewide offices in Ohio.

Of course, there's another that I want to pay tribute to, a person that makes it all possible. That is Bob Bennett, the chair of the Ohio State party. And then, of course, my old friend and compadre in the political wars from -- I don't want to date him or me, but he goes back a long time -- Bob Hughes up here. And Paul Mifsud. These are political operators, and good ones.

I'd be remiss if I didn't single out my old friend who gives me lots of free advice about the caribou and how to run the country, and I mean Jim Rhodes, who served this State with such distinction.

Now, with Wayne Embry, the general manager of the Cavs; Dick Jacobs, owner of the Indians; and Art Modell, my old friend, the owner of the Cleveland Browns -- Art, I don't know how the Browns are going to do this year -- [laughter] -- but I can tell you one thing: The way the fans throw the dog biscuits out onto the field, the Browns are Millie's favorite team. [Laughter]

But look, I mean this, it is great to be back here, and I look around this room out there, and then others up here, and I see so many to whom Barbara and I are indebted for your having given us the support that was required, the support that we needed when we were running for office, and now, most recently, when I ran for President of the United States. So, it is great to be back here, the capital city of the North Coast, to show my support now for one of the real standouts on Capitol Hill, a man who has been strong and effective in Washington. And again, I want to refer to him, because he's not here today. He's now ready to serve this State as Lieutenant Governor; I mean Mike DeWine. I wish he were here. You've got to know him. He's going to be a superb Lieutenant Governor.

And now to the piece de resistance. Center stage there's the man who led this city's comeback, the man who's served with distinction in a career that spans 3 decades in elective office. And I'm talking about the next Governor of the Buckeye State, Cleveland's own George Voinovich. Please give him a round of strong endorsement. [Applause] I want to again say hello to a woman who will make a great first lady, one that Barbara Bush loves, Janet Voinovich. Janet, good luck to you on the campaign trail.

I'm always a little leery about having George and me at the same event. You don't want the audience to suffer from a charisma overdose. [Laughter] We agreed not to speak too long because we realize you can only stand so much excitement, you know, here in Cleveland. [Laughter]

Cleveland may be the home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; but let me tell you, come November 6th, George Voinovich is going to make the opposition shake, rattle, and roll. You can count on him to lead the way, to make Ohio one of the great path-breaking States in the nineties -- in Ohio's cities and towns, where crime and drugs breed fear and violence and threaten our whole fabric of society, our sense of community. In Ohio's schools, he knows as well as I do that the key to competitiveness tomorrow is our classrooms of today.

He will bring the same drive and determination, the same intelligence and integrity to the Ohio statehouse that he brought to Cleveland's city hall. The people of Ohio can count on George Voinovich -- Governor Voinovich -- to create a climate for growth; to work with the business community to help the Ohio economy adapt and advance, attract new businesses, and -- you heard him -- create new jobs; to help the Ohio entrepreneur realize his dreams.

Take a look at this man's track record right here in Cleveland, the way he retooled this proud smokestack city to meet the high-tech challenges of the 1990's. The bottom line is beyond doubt: George Voinovich has developed a formula for success that can work statewide, right down from Cleveland to Cincinnati and in every city in between. George knows what it takes to keep this economy on the upswing. And rest assured, we're going to do our part in Washington to help this State prosper and grow.

And it starts with a sound Federal budget. Unfortunately, we're running out of time to put our fiscal house in order. Four short days from now the fiscal year ends, and there's still no budget agreement in hand.

You've seen the headlines about these negotiations, and you've heard the arguments over which party is on the side of the working people. Well, let me tell you -- let me tell you what Americans want. They want to keep on working. Ohioans want to keep on working. And the last thing they need is a budget breakdown that puts us on the road to recession.

We need a budget agreement to help maintain our economic vitality, our competitiveness, and our job creation. And that's why I continue to push the Congress to enact incentives for job growth; incentives that promote savings and investment, research and development; incentives that will help us sustain economic expansion and steer clear of recession. We need an agreement that contains real spending cuts and the means to enforce these real spending cuts. No more promises to spend now and save later. And finally, I insist on agreement that will reform the budget process itself. Let this be the last time that the American taxpayer is forced to witness a fiscal fiasco.

And I don't want to sound defensive, but I made a good-faith effort to reach agreement. Let me review a little history. In January I sent a complete budget to Congress, and under the rules, Congress was due to respond on April 1st. And Congress, with both Houses controlled by the Democrats, failed to respond. So, in mid-May -- you may remember this one -- we began this budget summit process -- 135 days ago. A month later, when the talks were at an impasse, I was asked by the Democratic leadership to allow taxes to be put on the table -- it's like making me eat broccoli -- [laughter] -- put them on the table. They called on me to make a sacrifice. It wasn't my first choice, it wasn't my second choice, but it's a concession I made to get Congress moving. And that was over 3 months ago, and still, no agreement. In late July, after both sides pledged to put forward a comprehensive budget plan, we delivered. Congress delayed. And since then, we've advanced a number of serious proposals built around a 5-year, 0-billion deficit reduction package; and still Congress has failed to offer a comprehensive plan with serious spending cuts, real budget-process reform and enforcement, incentives for growth, and a sound approach to the defense of this country.

Because of congressional inaction, the Nation is now 4 days away from mandated sequestration -- 0 billion in across-the-board budget cuts that will hit hard all across America. The sequester will -- it will cause real pain, and no one wants to see it take effect. But without an agreement, the lever of sequestration is the only way to force the Congress to make tough choices.

Take a look -- let me just give you some examples -- take a look at what sequestration will mean. For air travelers, it will mean cutbacks in air traffic control. And this will mean untold hours of flight delays and, in many cases, flight cancellations. For anyone living near a toxic waste site, it means no new cleanups, a complete stop in all the new Superfund projects. For college students, it means the loss of 1.2 million Pell grants. And with over 130,000 college students in the Cleveland area alone, that's bound to take its toll.

Of course, there are 4 more days now until the ax falls, and it isn't too late to act. So, today I say again to the United States Congress: Don't delay 1 day longer. Prove to the American taxpayer once and for all that we can deal with this impossible deficit. Let's get it down once and for all.

And another point: reaching a sound budget agreement is critical. We simply cannot fail to put our fiscal house in order, especially now, with the challenge that we face halfway around the world in the Persian Gulf.

Let me speak for a moment about what this crisis is all about. When Iraq crossed over the Kuwaiti border -- when Saddam Hussein set out to erase the existence of a sovereign nation that posed no threat to his own, he set in motion what is really the first test of this new postwar era. The stakes are clear. The world community must act to draw the line against Saddam's outlaw act. Failure is an invitation to further aggression. Success is a step into a new partnership of nations, more peaceful, stable, and secure than we've ever known before. And I am confident that we can succeed. World response, as George referred to it, has been swift and certain; and Saddam Hussein must know now that the world will not allow his outlaw aggression to stand.

As I mentioned before, I have major differences with the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party and with some of the leaders in this Congress on this budget question -- I don't hide that -- and, yes, on other issues like our crime bill and on our education bill and -- but let me just say this in fairness. In the finest tradition of partnership, support for our Middle East effort is strong; and that is what, you remember, Senator Vandenberg meant years ago when he said that politics stops at the water's edge. I am proud of our country. And I am very proud of the way the Democrat and Republican leadership as well as Members of Congress have pulled together, for our support effort is not Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative -- it is truly American.

And I can sense this when you meet with or interact with the American people. And I wish you could have been in the car riding in from the airport with George Voinovich and me and the mayor of Cleveland today. You could feel the support for what America is trying to do in leading all around the world. You could feel it from the hardhats in the construction projects or those working around that airport or those that -- more white-collar jobs -- when we came in here. It was for me a very emotional experience knowing that the American people stand steadfast in support of the principles I've outlined all the way around there in the Middle East. It is a wonderful thing. And I will do my level best to keep our country out front and to hold this fantastic international coalition together.

Now, let me close with a word of recognition for the young men and women in our Armed Forces, on duty now over there, halfway around the world, servicemen like Private First Class John Brickley -- known as the Brick to his old teammates on the Orange High School football team -- now serving with the 82d Airborne; like Air Force Staff Sergeant John Kinton -- a three-sport athlete from Cleveland's Collinwood High -- or as he's now called, Tiffany, as in ``Breakfast at Tiffany's.'' And Sergeant Kinton's tent kitchen serves up some of the best pancakes and scrambled eggs in Saudi Arabia -- [laughter] -- a little bit of home out in the sand and hot sun.

These two men -- all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines deserve every ounce of our support. And with them in mind, I want to add just one more thing -- and, incidentally, I might tell you, every member of the Joint Chiefs I've talked to has told me, as they looked back over their shoulders in history of military service in this country, that never have we had more motivated, better educated, or more dedicated troops than the men and women that are serving in Saudi Arabia right now. It is a great tribute to the young people in this country.

But I'd like to just add one more thing, a message to all Ohioans as November 6th draws near. Right now, in the sands of Saudi Arabia, the young men and women of our armed services are teaching us a lesson about what it means to love liberty, the precious freedom that gives America its meaning. And I urge every citizen in Cleveland and all across this great State to get out and vote. Do not take democracy for granted. And so, that's the message. Please participate. And all of you here are doing that in this magnificent support for our outstanding candidate for Governor.

Once again, let me thank you for this warm welcome back to Cleveland. I'm proud to be here to show my support for Mike DeWine, and for the man I am sure is well on his way to the statehouse, your next Governor, George Voinovich.

May God bless the State of Ohio, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very, very much.

Note: President Bush spoke at 1:40 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Stouffer's Tower City Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Robert Hughes, Cuyahoga County Republican Party chairman; Paul Mifsud, manager of the George Voinovich for Governor campaign; Jim Rhodes, former Governor of Ohio; Michael White, mayor of Cleveland; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. He also referred to Millie, the First Family's dog. Following the luncheon, President Bush met with Eastern European-American community leaders at the hotel and then traveled to Detroit, MI.

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