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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Senatorial Candidate Pat Saiki in Honolulu, Hawaii


Well, thank you all, really, for that warm welcome back. Frank, thank you. Keep up the good work as campaign chairman. You know, you can get a feeling of these campaigns, and I love the feel of this Saiki campaign for the Senate. I feel we've got a winner out there. And I was privileged to be met at the airport by Senator Hiram Fong, an old friend of my family's and a friend of Barbara's and mine. Mayor Fasi greeted us and Fred Hemmings, our able candidate for Governor. I sure hope he'll get in there. We need a little change in that place.

And then we've got two great candidates for Congress: Mike Liu, we want you to win. Andy Poepoe, we want you to win. So good luck, First and Second Congressional Districts. And to David Kahanu, our Bush-Quayle chairman, my gratitude. To our State chairman, Andy Anderson, my respects and thanks for what you're doing to hold this party and build it. To Governor Peter Coleman, who's here from American Samoa somewhere, my greetings to you. I haven't seen Peter, but an old friend. And of course, flying out with me, the Representative of Guam, an old friend of mine, a former general officer in the Means, Congressman Ben Blaz. I know he's here, but I don't know where he is. But anyway, we want to welcome him -- Congressman from Guam. And of course, ones from amongst you are now head of OPIC -- Ambassador Fred Zeder is also here. [Applause]

Thank you all. I see Zeder's got two friends here. Well -- [laughter] -- thank you all for that warm welcome. I wasn't kidding when I told Pat, because it is nice to get away from Washington to warmer climes and to cooler heads. [Laughter] I was hoping to do a little fishing here, but after a lifetime catching fish with names like skate, perch, pike, bass, and trout, somebody told me that Hawaii's State fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua'a. If I can't say it, I'll never catch it, so anyway -- [laughter].

No, but Hawaii is a wonderfully welcoming place. And you feel it in the warm wind, and you see it in the eyes of the young and the old. Sense it even in your State capitol -- not some dark, exclusive dome but a roof open to the sky, to the Sun and the stars, as if to make room for higher aspirations. And Hawaii has taught the world that men and women from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, and Europe can tie their destinies together in a common cause. And so, we're here to support someone who brings that lesson to life every single day for all people, of any party or persuasion, who want a brighter future for Hawaii; a great teacher; a great lady; a great leader who cares about this State and its people and knows how to serve them well in Washington. And of course, I'm talking about our dear friend Pat Saiki, the next Senator from Hawaii.

She's been one who's been beating the odds. And back when the experts said she had no chance, she won her House seat with 60 percent. And next month, with your help, she's going to defy the odds again as the first Asian American woman in the United States Senate. And it's about time. She can reach out to independents, to Democrats. And over her two terms in Congress, I watched her in action, admired her bipartisan approach to her work, seen her build consensus across the aisle, getting Republicans and Democrats to pull together. And she's smart, and she's effective, and she moves government forward. And she knows that leaders are sent to Washington not to quarrel but to lead. And I know that America needs that spirit of aloha in the United States Senate.

You know, Pat Saiki adds an important voice to this great State's presence in Washington. She was part of a broad coalition concerned about Japanese Americans interned during World War II. And it was Pat who helped convince President Reagan to sign legislation reaffirming us as a nation of integrity and fairness. And just this month, I was proud to personally communicate the Nation's regret to the noble survivors of those camps.

Pat's commitment to justice is just one way that she has helped make America ever stronger and ever more proud. You know, long before it became a national code, Pat has been a leader in the Congress to safeguard Hawaii's precious environment: protecting marine life from drift netting, expanding wildlife refuges, and working to establish oilspill strike teams to protect Hawaii's waters. And very soon I hope to have on my desk in Washington a clean air act that I can sign -- the one my administration proposed way back last year to the United States Congress. And if I do get such a bill, I know that part of the reason will be the steadfast support Pat Saiki has given to our environmental initiatives. She's been a champion, a clear-thinking champion for the environment. And that bodes well for all of you when she becomes the next Senator from this great State.

You know, I remember the visit I had when Pat came to see me, urging that the bombing of Kaho'olawe should be halted. And just this week I directed the Secretary of Defense to discontinue the island's use as a weapons range, effective immediately. And if that is good, give some credit to Pat Saiki. She's an effective, compassionate leader -- sound judgment -- whose voice gets heard, who makes things happen.

You know, when she did come to see me in the Oval Office last spring, she stressed the importance of these environmental issues and also talked about trade with our Pacific Rim neighbors. And she's got a vision of Hawaii as more than a gateway to the Pacific Rim. She's excited about the meeting I'm having tomorrow with these leaders from the islands. And I think it's a good time -- and I think it's about time -- that an American President sat down with the heads of these countries out there and tell them that we are as one in our respect for and love of the Pacific.

And she sees Hawaii as I do, a future focal point for international trade and new technology. For example, she and I know how important it is to achieve success at these GATT talks -- the final part of the Uruguay round. These negotiations, if we're successful -- and I was on the phone to some of the foreign leaders, the leaders of Europe, today on this very subject -- if these negotiations are successful, they will open up new markets for Hawaii's agricultural products. And I am absolutely convinced that the United States can compete with anyone, anywhere, as long as the playing field is level and the competition is free and fair. And that's what Pat and I are fighting for.

Further, she knows how to harness the power of Hawaiian business by unleashing the power of the people themselves. We'll have a brighter future with Pat in the Senate. You know, Pat knows the future will always be just out of reach if we follow the failed tradition of taxing and spending, spending and taxing. And that's why she's got the best spending record of anyone in the Hawaiian delegation. In fact, her efforts against waste in government made her a two-time winner of the Golden Bulldog Award. You can just picture it. You've got to be careful when I'm talking about these dogs because Barbara was out here recently and you may recall that our dog, Millie, is now a famous author. [Laughter] And if she hears Pat wins the Golden Bulldog Award, our springer spaniel may be jealous. Ever since her book hit the bestseller list, she's been a lot -- full of herself. Give her some Alpo and she asks for a wine list around the White House these days. [Laughter]

I'm sure you've been watching the news about these budget negotiations with Congress. Put it this way: I hope you haven't been watching the news about the budget negotiations with Congress. [Laughter] If you think it hasn't been pretty from 5,000 miles away, you ought to try it close up. [Laughter] No, it hasn't been pretty. But I think we are getting closer to an agreement -- an agreement that is long, long overdue. Because every time I see a little guy like this one in the front row -- and for you in the back, he's about this big -- I say to myself, we must stop mortgaging the future of these young kids by deficit after deficit after deficit. And the Congress better get going and get something done about it.

You know, it's different -- I've discovered a few things. One is, it's different being President. There's a weighty observation. [Laughter] And Harry Truman was right -- the buck does stop at my desk. Because as President, I do have to put the national interest first before the parochial interest. And so, I am determined to do my level best, in a spirit of compromise and in a spirit of outreach, to get an agreement that puts a stop to this congressional spending binge. Unless you haven't noticed it, I want a 5-year, 0-billion deficit reduction program that is enforceable -- a bill that cannot be overridden the very next year and that will really guarantee these young kids that they will not have their future mortgaged by the big-spending Congress of the United States. And I say this not in a spirit of partisanship, but if we had more people like Pat on our side of the aisle and we had more like her elected to the Senate, I can guarantee you we wouldn't be back year after year in a deficit mode. She is a fiscal conservative, and we need her in the United States Senate.

Some talk about the blending of principles between the Democrat and the Republican Party nationally. But principles like -- I think they're clear -- principles like the enduring commitment to freedom and justice and individual empowerment -- I think of that as a principle that unites us. The constant determination to place our faith in limited Federal Government -- one that's got compassion and one that's got conscience, though. And this party and our leadership in Washington continues to fight the failed policies of the past. Look back. Our 1988 platform called for limiting the terms on the Members of Congress. And as you look at the momentum growing across the country, I am convinced that it's an idea whose time has come.

We are the party that empowers people, not an entrenched bureaucracy of 20,000 congressional staffers on Capitol Hill. And we are determined to put the national interest ahead of the special interest. So I'm here at this event on a purely partisan mission -- because I believe so strongly in Pat Saiki. I know she can reach out and get voters from both sides of the aisles. I know she can make good things happen for the people of her State. So, I need her as part of our team.

But as Senator Vandenberg said many years ago, partisanship stops at the water's edge. I must tell you, in that spirit of bipartisanship, that I am truly grateful for the bipartisan support not only from the Congress but also from the American people for our efforts to stand up firm against Saddam Hussein's aggression and brutality in the Persian Gulf. The Democratic leaders in the House and the Republican leaders in the House, and the Democratic leaders in the Senate and the Republican leaders in the Senate came together in a resolution supporting the efforts that I have taken, the moves that I have made as President of the United States. And I think that sends a good, clear symbol of unity to that invading dictator halfway around the world.

On Sunday, I'm going to be putting partisanship aside and head out for Hickam Air Force Base to tell Hawaii's service men and women how much they mean to America and to the cause of peace in the whole world. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their family every day. And I know that Pat and all of you here join me in saluting the finest young men and women that have ever served in the uniform of the United States of America.

President Eisenhower worried about global conflict in 1959. And he said: ``Hawaii cries insistently to a divided world that all our differences of race and origin are less than the grand and indestructible unity of our common brotherhood. The world should take time to listen to Hawaii.''

Well, today Washington does listen to Hawaii and to Pat Saiki. And it's been a close race for her. But we're beginning to see the daylight. And that means bright days for this State are ahead. So this November, do absolutely all you can to get out the vote, from Hilo on the Big Island to Maui to Kaneohe -- where I flew out of there during World War II for a little bit -- to the bustling streets of Honolulu right here on Oahu. Get the people to the polls, and send Pat Saiki to the United States Senate. We need her. She is outstanding.

Thank you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 7:20 p.m. in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.

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