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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Senatorial Candidate Bill Schuette in Detroit, Michigan


I was going to say it's nice to be back where I started; but I think back to that Republican Convention right here in Detroit, 1980, and maybe that's not an overstatement. But in any event, thank you for the warm welcome. And to my dear friend, close friend Max Fisher, thank you for that most generous introduction. And I'm proud, once again, sir, to be back at your side.

To Bill Laimbeer, it's amazing -- [laughter] -- how one of the ``bad boys'' can do such a good job as master of ceremonies. [Laughter]

And of course, I want to salute another old friend, a man that helped me enormously in 1988, a man who is going to be the next Governor of this great State, John Engler. John, good luck to you. Best of luck.

And one who next January will become a sorely needed Republican Congressman, Jim Dingeman. Jim, where are you? Somewhere -- right back in the middle. Good luck to you. And I also want to single out another traveler with me on Air Force One, a member of my Cabinet, doing an outstanding job, my superb Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Ed Derwinski. Where is Ed? Anyway, he's here. Oh, right here. There he is. How could I miss him?

And also I want to extend a warm welcome to your State party leadership -- our chairman, Spence Abraham, over here. Spence, good to see you again. And Detroit city councilman Reverend Keith Butler, welcome. Down there. And Larry Patrick, school board chairman. And finally, Jermaine Davis, who did such a great job of going with the Pledge of Allegiance. And that's it. You've got a lot of big shots out there.

So, thank you all. And ladies and gentlemen and honored guests, I appreciate the chance to be with you and, what's more, the chance to support a man who can provide ``the change we need'' and that Michigan needs; and that is the next Senator from the State of Michigan, Bill Schuette.

Now, I was told that Bill wanted a speaker who is beloved in Michigan, a man known for his popularity, quick reaction, grace under pressure. Unfortunately, Isiah Thomas could not make it -- [laughter] -- and so I'm here instead.

This past summer, Isiah, Bill, and the rest of Chuck Daly's team visited the White House after winning the NBA title. And we saluted that winning team, and today we salute another winning team: the entire Michigan Republican ticket. And I want to salute all of you who've worked so hard and long at the grassroots level.

You know that support has never been more crucial than in this election year of 1990. Together we must maintain our majority in the State senate and gain a majority of the house of representatives. Together we must elect a Governor who ensures fair reapportionment. No more gerrymandering! We need a Governor to guarantee fair reapportionment, and of course, that's John Engler once again. And together, we must bring change and new ideas to Michigan by electing the Man from Midland, Bill Schuette.

You all know him, but let me just recite a little background: educated at Georgetown University and the University of San Francisco Law School; became a practicing attorney up in the Saginaw Valley and then, at 30, the energetic, outstanding Congressman from the 10th District. The Detroit News calls him an unusually fine candidate. Bob Dole calls him the clear candidate. And Guy Vander Jagt calls him a natural. For my part, I plan to call him Senator.

Let me tell you why I support him. He's a friend, first. When he was managing my Michigan campaign in 1980, he drove me around the State in his car and in his mother's jeep. We spent more time on the road together than Hope and Crosby. [Laughter] So, if anyone tries to tell you that he's not a man of character, that Bill Schuette is not the candidate who can do more for Michigan's future, then tell them to ask somebody who knows him. Tell them to ask George Bush.

Without going into great detail, let me mention several issues where he can be ``the change we need.'' The first is education. He knows that excellence in our schools comes from accountability, flexibility, and more parental choice in their children's education. I need Senators like him to help pass our administration's Educational Excellence Act that for 17 months has sat on the Congressman's desk without any movement at all. The American people voted for that kind of education program when they elected me in 1988, and they've got no action on it because it's been stymied by the old thinkers who want to continue to have the Federal Government figure out all the answers from back there. I want the Michigan input into the educational excellence, and the way to get it is to get more like Bill Schuette in the Senate.

And the second issue -- and it's of great concern to everybody in this beautiful State -- is the environment. And here, too, Bill is what we need. He backed legislation to protect the Great Lakes from the oilspills, and yet he also believes we don't have to throw people out of work to protect these resources. For 14 months, Congress has delayed our administration's bill to rewrite the Clean Air Act, and I need Bill Schuette and Senators like him to help pass a Clean Air Act that I can sign.

And next, the third issue, where the needed change Bill can bring will help America -- and I don't know whether they're number one issues or two, but this is right up at the top -- and I'm talking about crime and drugs. Bill supports our Comprehensive Violent Crime Control Act. And he and I want a crime bill with a workable death penalty for the killers of Federal law enforcement officers. And we want a bill that gets tougher on the criminals and cares more about the victims of crime, not one that slaps the handcuffs on the police officers. And we've got such a bill, and it's gone nowhere because of the liberal control of the Congress.

So far, I've talked about Bill's views -- some of his views and achievements. And if that isn't enough for you, think about this one: Last month he won the celebrity cow milking contest at the Michigan State Fair. [Laughter] But even without that experience, Bill Schuette knows it's the cows who should be milked, not the taxpayers. [Laughter]

Which leads to a final domestic issue where change is needed. And of course, I refer to what he mentioned, the Federal budget negotiations, and to this twilight zone of sequestration, now just 4 days from now -- 4 days away.

Let me take a moment -- not to bore you to death -- but I just want -- it's important. We're going right down to the wire, this nation is, towards sequestration. So, let me take a moment to briefly sketch the history of these negotiations.

Last February I proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year, and Congress by its own rules needed to respond by April. It did not. In May, in order to get Congress off the dime, I called for a budget summit, bringing together the leaders of the Republicans and the Democrats in both Houses of the Congress. And by the end of June, the talks were going nowhere. To jump-start the budget process, I agreed to the demand of the Democratic leadership to put everything on the table, including revenues, including taxes. I didn't want to, but felt I had to, to get this deficit down and get the Democrats off of dead center. And 1 month later, we prepared another revised comprehensive budget plan -- we did, and again, the Democrats came up emptyhanded. And that was 2 months ago. I thought about keeping Congress in session in August. I talked to the leaders and they asked me not to do that. They felt it would be counterproductive and that if I didn't do that we'd have a better chance to get a budget agreement early in September. So once again, I compromised and went along, hoping that this would be the approach to use to get a deficit reduction deal early in September.

And here we are, 4 days from sequestration, and today Congress still refuses to make real spending cuts, enforceable cuts, or enact real budget-process reform that we've got to have. And the result? Under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, we face a mandated sequestration that will cause 0 billion -- 0 billion -- in automatic spending cuts. Need this occur? Of course not. If it occurs, there will be no doubt whatsoever about who is responsible: a Congress addicted to tax and spend.

And here are just a few examples of what would happen -- and this isn't what we call in Washington the Washington Monument syndrome, when you cite all the things that ought to go on in order to get your way with the Congress or something of that nature. Let me tell you what would happen under sequestration. Here in Detroit, the Social Security office will be closed on Fridays. Hundreds of young children will be cut off from Head Start funding. And investigations of white-collar criminals will drop by 25 percent. All of this and more will happen -- much, much more -- unless Congress does what it was elected to do: serve the American people.

And so, today I call on the Congress to do exactly that -- to avoid sequestration and, instead, help fix the budget problem. We need the Congress, particularly the Democrats, to support growth incentives -- growth incentives that promote savings, job creation, and capital investment. Congress has got to stop being manic-depressive: manic on spending, depressive for the economy. [Laughter]

And one more thing: If Congress doesn't see the light, on November 6th the voters will make it feel the heat, because they know where the blame for this delay stands.

Bill Schuette, of course, has always seen the light at home, as a member of the Budget Committee, receiving the Golden Bulldogs award from the Watchdogs of the Treasury. That's an organization that's trying to keep spending down. Watchdogs of the Treasury -- the Golden Bulldog award -- our dog Millie liked that award. [Laughter] Incidentally, I bring you -- because I talked to her this morning at 5 a.m. I woke up at 5 a.m., and I was on the next time zone over. And I thought, well, Barbara is always up at 6 a.m., so I called. Regrettably, she was in Texas, and it was also 5 a.m., and I did not get an overly warm welcome. But I did tell her I was going to be here this evening. She shares my affection for Bill Schuette and for Max Fisher and for so many people in the room. So I bring you warm regards from the Silver Fox, who in my view is doing an outstanding job for education all across this country.

But look, in all seriousness, Bill knows that we've got to meet this budget challenge to keep us economically strong; Max, an experienced businessman, once again driving that point home to me this evening. And as I look around the room, I am sure there is unanimous agreement that we've got to get a deal that's going to bring this deficit down once and for all. So, I hope that the negotiations that are going on right now -- right this minute -- that the Congress will result finally in the kind of budget agreement that I can accept and bring to you, the American people, for approval.

Bill also knows that we've got to meet our challenges abroad. You heard him refer to that. So in closing, let me just discuss an area where change is especially urgent. And I refer to the need for more Senators who understand, like Bill, that when it comes to national defense, preparedness is not something to rest upon. Preparedness is something to build upon. And all of us know that we must defend civilized values around the world. So, we are resolved that aggression in the Persian Gulf cannot stand.

Our four objectives in the Gulf reflect a multinational resolve. Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait immediately and completely. Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored. The security and the stability of the Persian Gulf must be maintained. And American citizens and others must be protected abroad. Those are our four objectives, and I will see that those four objectives are fulfilled.

I hope I don't need to repeat it, but let me say those objectives are unchanged. And we can't say how long it will take to reach these objectives. We don't know what sacrifice will be demanded, but this we do know: America will not stay in the Persian Gulf 1 day longer than necessary, but we will remain for as long as we need to complete our mission.

This means that our friends and allies must be with us, and they are. Think of what Max referred to: the unprecedented support in the United Nations, or aid -- economic or military -- from a variety of countries. Think of the support of the American people. They know that no country should mug another and get away with it. And finally, especially think of how our service men and women are standing for us, reflecting America at her finest. What wonderful young kids we have in the Armed Forces, all volunteers, every single one of them proudly serving with an unprecedented morale. The greatest soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that any country could have are showing that the best way to keep the peace is to keep America militarily strong.

Just a couple of examples -- all sons and daughters of Michigan now on active duty in Saudi Arabia. Navy Petty Officer Leslie Rogers is a medic from Williamston. He's standing shoulder to shoulder for what is right and good with colleagues like Lansing's Enrico Arquisola, serving aboard the U.S.S. Independence, or Army Engineer Todd Dimock of Mount Morris or First Lieutenant Stacey Miller -- she's from Kalamazoo -- of the Air Force's 379th Combat Support Group. These men and women reflect the true caliber of America and the vital essence of our mission. They show that America would not be the land of the free if it were not also the home of the brave.

Now, I think you may have detected that I have some disagreements with the Congress -- liberal Democrats, particularly -- on the budget issue -- and I do -- and, quite frankly, on a number of other issues as well, where Bill Schuette and I stand in one place on education, crime, child care, and those that control the Congress on the other party stand exactly 180 degrees opposite. But there's one thing we do agree on, and we agree strongly on it, and that is support for our service men and women in the Gulf. I am proud of them, and I am proud of the congressional leadership -- Democrat and Republican -- as well as individual Members for the way that they've pulled together to stand up against aggression. This is exactly what Senator Arthur Vandenberg meant years ago when he said that politics stops at the water's edge. We should all be grateful for this kind of bipartisan support because our effort isn't Republican or Democrat, liberal and conservative: it is an American effort, and it's gained the respect of everybody around the world.

And lastly, Bill Schuette knows that, while our forces are defending us around the world, we must provide leadership here at home and that a Senate sharing this belief can help build a truly better America. So, now let's go out and get out the vote. Let's win the statehouse. Let's win the Senate. Let's win both houses of the State legislature. Let's pick up seats in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Let's elect Republican Congressmen and John Engler as Governor. And let's roll up our sleeve and elect a superb United States Senator.

Thank you for this evening. God bless the United States. And let's make Bill Schuette the next Senator from the great State of Michigan. Thank you all very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:42 p.m. in the Renaissance Ballroom at the Westin Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Max Fisher, honorary dinner chairman; and Bill Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas, and Chuck Daly, players and head coach of the Detroit Pistons basketball team, respectively. Prior to the dinner, the President met with Eastern European-American community leaders and major campaign contributors. Following the dinner, he returned to Washington, DC.

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