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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Gubernatorial Candidate Clayton Williams in Dallas, Texas

1990-10-15

Thank you all very much. Thank you so very much, Claytie, for those generous and very kind words. And of course, my special thanks to all of you for that warm welcome. Let me just simply say it is great to be back home again. And it's always a pleasure for me to set my silver foot back on Texas soil. [Laughter] Uh-huh. [Laughter]

It is, as Claytie said, an honor to share this podium up here with so many of Texas' leading lights: my mentor, in a way, in Texas politics, my dear friend John Tower, over here. Governor Bill Clements, former business partner and great Governor of this State, and Rita -- I'm just so glad to see you all. Texas will long remember, I believe, your courage and your commitment to our great State. So, thank you, sir, for your leadership.

And on the end down here, another well-known to Dallas, Bill Moss, who is giving of his time as, you might say, one of our main Points of Light, heading the President's Drug Advisory Council and doing a first-class job in the battle against drugs. Bill, I'm glad you're with us today.

And of course, I'm delighted to be here to show my support for my friend from Midland, my old stomping grounds, the next Governor of this great State: Claytie Williams. Claytie, you've got to win it. You've got to win.

And when I finish up here, I'm going to be going to a reception for Texas' next Lieutenant Governor, Rob Mosbacher. What a team they will make in Austin. And I believe they're going to do it.

And of course, Barbara asked me to give Modesta a hug; glad to see you. Claytie, glad to see your great mom here. She shared with me a story about Clayton and his father: the time little Claytie -- if you can picture it -- [laughter] -- went to break his first bronco. The horse broke free and began to buck. Claytie's dad rushed in to separate the horse and his son and did all he could to keep this wild horse in front of him and Claytie right behind him. That's when Claytie said, ``Daddy, if you won't run, get out of the way for someone who will.'' And here he is. [Laughter]

But he's always run hard. Those of us who have followed his career in business, watched him in this election -- Modesta told me exactly how many months and days and minutes it's been since they've been on the campaign trail. He runs hard, and today he's running to win. His victory will be a triumph for the old-fashioned virtues that made Texas what it is, and the new spirit of enterprise that will take this State forward into the nineties.

He's a Texan, born and bred -- steady, strong, calls them as he sees them, straightforward, a tireless advocate for every hard-working Texan.

And I've watched the issues unfold. He's tough on crime. He knows that the handcuffs belong on the criminals and not on the cops and the courts committed to uphold the law. This position that he has staked out -- this position meshes perfectly with the no-nonsense anticrime package that I sent up to the United States Congress almost a year and a half ago. So, let me take advantage of you all to put a little heat on the Congress to act now and make life a little bit tougher on the criminals.

Claytie is ready to wage a statewide war on drugs. And we in Washington want to be at his side every step of the way. And again, our positions mesh perfectly with our national drug strategy that has resulted -- and I can report this accurately -- our national drug strategy has resulted in significant progress on the nationwide war on drugs. Claytie knows that the best way to win this war is to stop drug use before it begins. That means education; that means drug awareness. And he knows from a painful personal experience when it's time for compassion, time to help drug users battle back, break free from addiction, and rejoin society. And he knows when it's time to draw the line for drug kingpins, who deal death right out on our street corners. And he does, as I do, support the ultimate penalty, the death penalty, for those drug kingpins.

He is a friend to the Texas taxpayer, champion for fiscal integrity and fiscal sanity, for a government that is lean and limited. I know he'll fight for that when he gets to Austin.

With Claytie there, business men and women will have another Governor who knows what it means to meet a payroll. He knows what it means to start with nothing more than a dream and build a business from the ground up. The secret to his success as a businessman is plain, old-fashioned hard work. I can guarantee that, as Governor, no one will work harder for the State of Texas than Clayton Williams.

We had a chance to talk about this on the way down on Air Force One; and I agree with Clayton that what the States need is not more programs mandated, directed from Washington, DC, but more confidence and trust in people and in the power of the local communities. After all, Texas doesn't just have problems; Texas and Texans have the solutions.

The single most important factor for what the future will hold here in Texas and across the entire country is economic growth. That's why I want to speak to you for just a minute about the work that remains to be done back in Washington to reach final agreement on the Federal budget.

I pushed hard, as you all know, for a bipartisan budget agreement not because it was the best plan ever but because it was the best plan possible that would get the Federal deficit down by 0 billion over 5 years -- real significant enforcement provisions.

And I am grateful -- very grateful -- to Senator Phil Gramm, who couldn't be with us today, and also to your Congressman, Steve Bartlett, for their strong leadership and their support. And I will continue to press hard for a budget that fulfills the spirit of that bipartisan plan and proves to the American people once and for all that we can deal with this budget deficit.

Now, let me speak from my own experience. I'm -- I hate to confess -- 66. And that's a time in life when you begin to spend as much time thinking of the next generations as you do of your own. And our children deserve to inherit more than an avalanche of unpaid bills mounting up year after year.

We get some amazing mail at the White House, but let me share with you a letter sent to me at the White House from a little girl named Courtney -- no last name, no return address. And it's short, and it's simple. She says: ``Dear Mr. President: I don't want to owe when I grow up. I don't want to owe when I grow up.''

Well, I would say to Courtney, since I can't write her back: I got your letter, and I'm going to do my level best to make sure that the Democrat-controlled United States Congress gets that message. We owe it to these kids that they not be mortgaged over and over again.

Time is short. The meter's ticking up there. Four days from now, on October 19th, the clock on all these procedural things runs out. And the American people have every right to expect more from their elected representative. Congress has a responsibility. And if this is the best that the system can do, then it's time to build a better budget system.

One of the problems is that much of the political debate on the budget has been based on that inside-the-Washington-DC-beltway jargon. And the jargon just hides the basic issues. Let me try to simplify it. America must have a real and significant deficit-reduction budget to get the economy moving. And that deficit reduction will bring down interest rates on home purchases and car loans and help create new jobs. You heard the testimony of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board about the budget agreement we worked out with the leadership. He said those interest rates will come down. And that will help in creating new jobs. And to get these results, the budget cannot be smoke or mirrors or phony estimates -- business as usual -- can't be that. It must be real, it's got to be enforceable, and it's got to have incentives for growth.

And as always, the real problem has been the unwillingness in Congress to vote for holding down spending. I'm sure you're confused: the House now doing what they should, trying to come up with their agreement, and the Senate now working its will. And one thing that appeals to me about the current Senate package is that it holds the line on income tax rates. One of my biggest fears has always been that the Congress will continue to pay for its spending habits by raising income taxes on everybody. And in fact, the budget summit has moved us in the right direction and has brought us now to the final countdown week.

In the next 5 days, Congress has the chance -- and in my view, Congress has an obligation -- to act once and for all. And lest there be any doubt, let me make clear to Congress just how serious I am about meeting that Friday deadline. Thirty-seven times -- John Tower will remember some of these -- in the last 10 years, Congress has missed its own budget deadline. Twice now this year, I've signed emergency legislation to add more time to the clock. Well, this Friday, time's up. The American people deserve more than this stopgap government. And I'm confident now that Congress can meet this deadline, can complete its vital work, and pass the sound budget that puts this nation on the path to a long-term economic growth.

Getting that deficit under control is essential not just from the standpoint of the American economy but, as I look at the big picture, I'd say especially now, with the challenge that we face in the Persian Gulf. We all know the grave economic consequences of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. But as serious as these consequences may be, what is ultimately at stake is far more than a matter of economics or oil. What is at stake is whether the nations of the world can take a common stand against aggression or whether Iraq's aggression will go unanswered, whether we will live in a world governed by the rule of law or by the law of the jungle. And that is why America and the world cannot allow this outlaw act to stand. That is why Saddam Hussein will fail.

Every day now, new word filters out about the ghastly atrocities perpetrated by Saddam's forces: eyewitness accounts of the cruel and senseless suffering endured by the people of Kuwait, of a systematic assault on the soul of a nation, summary executions, routine torture. Under the forces of Iraqi occupation, we are told that mere possession of the Kuwaiti flag or a photograph of the Kuwait's Amir are crimes punishable by death.

And last month at the White House, I met with the Amir of Kuwait. And I heard horrible tales: Newborn babies thrown out of incubators and the incubators then shipped off to Baghdad. Dialysis patients ripped from their machines, and those machines then, too, sent off to Baghdad. The story of two young kids passing out leaflets: Iraqi troops rounded up their parents and made them watch while those two kids were shot to death -- executed before their eyes. Hitler revisited. But remember, when Hitler's war ended, there were the Nuremberg trials.

America will not stand aside. The world will not allow the strong to swallow up the weak. Not a day goes by that we don't think of the young men and women of our Armed Forces, side by side out there in the sands of Saudi Arabia. Today, with those young men and women in mind, let me just add one final note. Right now, our service men and women are teaching all of us a lesson about what it means to love liberty, as they prove once more to all the world that America means freedom. So, as November 6th draws near, I urge every Texan to do what some of those kids are doing by absentee ballot: Get out and vote. We must never take democracy for granted.

Once again, I am delighted to be here. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to be out of Washington. [Laughter] And it is always nice to come home, but it's a special pleasure to come home to support somebody I believe in, somebody who will be our next Governor: Clayton Williams.

Thank you all very much. Now go out and work and vote and get this man elected to the governorship. Thank you very much.

Note: President Bush spoke at 12:35 p.m. in the Reunion Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to former Senator John Tower; Governor Clements' wife, Rita; Clayton Williams' wife, Modesta; Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Amir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah of Kuwait. Following his remarks, President Bush attended a reception at the hotel for Rob Mosbacher, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and then traveled to Omaha, NE.

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