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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Remarks at a Republican Reception in Cincinnati, Ohio


The President. Thank you all very, very much. Thank you. How long have you been standing there? I won't say please be seated, but listen, I am delighted to be back here. I'm something a little more than an adopted son. Yesterday, when I was in Massachusetts -- I was born there, so I said, ``I'm your native son.'' My dad was born in Columbus, and Barbara's family grew up here, so I claim a little bit of Ohio. I know enough about the State to know that when I say we need change and we need George Voinovich and Mike in the capitol, I'm talking Ohio values. We need them to be elected.

And we have an outstanding ticket that can represent change. I've known Bob Taft for years. He helped me get elected President of the United States. And I want to see him in there -- and Judy Brachman and Paul Pfeifer. We need this kind of quality and class act to be elected across this State. It is time for a fundamental change for Ohio.

And you do that, you can take care of State government. But I need a little help in Washington, DC. We've got a couple of great Congressmen sitting up here right now -- McEwen and Gradison -- outstanding. But I want to have John Boehner in Washington with me, and I want to have David Hobson with me. We've got to strengthen the Ohio delegation. And if we did we would not have to have any compromise with the tax-and-spend Democrats that I'm up against every day in Washington. Good luck to both you guys.

I want to salute our State chairman, Bob Bennett, who's doing an outstanding job in strengthening and building this party. I want to salute Martha Moore. That, of course, brings me to another man of the hour for this area, and I'm talking about Ken Blackwell, who we need desperately in the United States Congress. I love the feel of the Blackwell campaign. Everybody I met with -- one of the reasons we kept you waiting is we were talking to some of those that had been over, actively involved, I should say, and doing maybe a disproportionate amount. But the enthusiasm for Ken Blackwell, so well-known here because of his own public service, is infectious. And I know that he will be elected next Congressman from Cincinnati and from Hamilton County.

I'm sorry Barbara's not here.

Audience members. We love Barbara.

The President. Yes, I do, too, but -- [laughter] -- she threw that fastball at the Cincinnati catcher, and she didn't dare come back after the opening pitch [of the World Series]. [Laughter]

You know, Pearl Buck, talking about Ohio, said there's no flashiness, nothing fleeting in Ohio's approach to life. One feels in the very atmosphere a combination of stability and progress. And I like that because it makes you think about the traditional old-fashioned values, fundamental values of real America, values that say, we don't need more government in middle America, we need more middle America in government.

And if there ever was a ticket that embodies these values -- the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the names George Voinovich or Mike DeWine or Bob Taft or Ken Blackwell are honesty and integrity and experience, too. George has -- you've heard the record, but he's brought back the city from the brink of financial collapse. And he's brought back its people from the brink of despair. And he shares my belief that government works best when it draws upon the time and the energy and the expertise and, above all, the commitment of its people.

And I'm going to take George's message to Washington when I ask the Congress to work harder and smarter and do more with less. That's what we have to do when we have tough times. But it can be done. Bill [Gradison] told you the revenues in the Federal Government are up by billion in one year. You're not being taxed too little; they're spending too much in that Congress back in Washington, DC.

I can bring you some news from our drug czar: We're beginning to turn things around in the fight on drugs. But when you vote for George and Mike, you're part of a pledge, a pledge that we will not allow our communities to be held hostage to gangs and drug dealers. And you can count on George and Mike to keep that pledge with the people of Cincinnati.

As to Bob Taft, I remember many sessions with him back in '88 when he was cochairman of my campaign here in Ohio, running for President of the United States. And I don't have to tell you, anybody in this room knows how high the stakes are in this race for secretary of state. It's absolutely critical for the upcoming redistricting process. We have to elect this tough, experienced watchdog, this man with a sparkling clean record as a citizen's advocate and as a leader. Bob Taft must be elected secretary of state.

And back to the man of the moment here for the congressional battle. I don't want to overlook my old friend Bill Gradison, but he doesn't seem to be overly concerned about his reelection. [Laughter] And the reason is he's done such a superb job they can't find anybody talented enough to run against him. But really it is great to have Ken on the ticket. A terrific candidate. He's got the new ideas. He's got a commitment to fight for them. And we need this fresh approach. We all know that Congress desperately needs change. And I need this man in Washington. And as I say, I like the feel of the campaign; I believe you're going to send him to Washington as the next Congressman.

You know, there's no higher domestic priority on the Republican agenda than the American economy, the job-creating engine that every family in this country counts on. And in recent months we have seen a slowdown, and we've seen some uncertainty and concern about slower economic growth. And that's why a budget agreement, in my view, was critical and why I was willing to go the extra mile to get it. And despite some tough negotiations, we finally reached an agreement with the Democrats that control the United States Congress.

But let's be clear, there was and always will be a major difference with our approach to a solution. The Democrats wanted to raise taxes, including income taxes, for working Americans. They tried to sneak through a proposal on indexing, automatic tax increases, that would have raised the taxes billion on the working families of this country. And they did it all under that demagogic title, ``soak the rich.'' They weren't soaking the rich; they were coming after every working man and woman in Cincinnati and all across the State of Ohio. And we stopped that. And I'm going to fight it every inch of the way from here on out.

And I would repeat this: If we had more Congressmen like those that are here and challengers elected like those that are here, we would not be in this fix. We would not be in this mess of tax and spend, tax and spend. Once in a while, you do have to compromise. Harry Truman was right: The buck does stop on the desk in the Oval Office. And sometimes when you're dealing with two Houses of Congress controlled by the opposition party, you got to give a little to get something done for the United States.

And though I didn't like a lot of that budget agreement, there's some good things in it. It's cut about 2 billion over 5 years off the deficit; that's progress. And 0 billion of that was in spending cuts. There's some incentives left in it. And we did put Congress -- and this is the most important part of it -- on a pay-as-you-go plan. The enforcement provisions of that deficit agreement are real, and they are strong. And no longer will these programs be funded with red ink, because I have that veto pen and I will use it over and over again to make this Congress live within its means.

There's another idea whose time has come, and the people understand it, but the Democrats in Congress are fighting against it. Give me what 43 Governors have. You give me that line-item veto, and let's see if we can't do something about cutting the spending in this government.

And one other thing that is rather serious out of that agreement: We did ensure something essential. The defense account took a big hit in the budget as we know, but I can certify to you that the Nation's defense remains strong. And so, we came out of that deal better than I'd hoped in many categories. But getting our fiscal policy on track is just part of what we've done in this party of change.

There's so many other things. Out of that deficit package came a child-care bill to put choice in the hands of the American families. The Democratic approach: Let Washington figure it out. Let Washington tell you what you've got to do on standards and regulations to have your child looked after in child care. And the Republican approach prevailed: parental choice. Keep that child care close to the family. We don't want any government agency warehousing the kids.

I worry, and so does Barbara, about the family values. I worry about the disintegration of family. And one way to keep it strong is to give parents more choice, not only in child care but in the education of their children. And we are going to continue to fight for it. I'm up against an entrenched liberal Democratic bureaucracy in the House of Representatives that wants to mandate more educational programs. Now you give me Ken Blackwell and these two people and add to that many more around the country, and we will try the new ideas that work and not the old ideas that have failed in the past.

Education, it is absolutely essential. And so, when some were calling for a bigger bureaucracy, we called for flexibility. And I believe that's the heartbeat of the State of Ohio. I think that's what they want in this State, and I think that's what they want in their Representatives in Washington, DC.

Our agenda is not fulfilled, but our ideas are still strong and they're still sound. And all we need is some more troops; all we need is some more quality, young, dynamic people in the Congress to help us fulfill our obligation to the American people. And once again, that's why I want Ken Blackwell elected to the Congress of the United States.

And now, because of knowing about the interest in what's happening halfway around the world, I want to ask you to shift gears with me. Because I view my responsibilities as President and I view my responsibilities as Commander in Chief as something very sacred. And we're at a partisan political event, but there is keen interest in what's happening halfway around the world in this Gulf crisis. And so, in the spirit of Arthur Vandenberg, who said politics ends at the water's edge, I want to just bring you up to date on how I feel as President about what's happening over there. And I will say at the very outset that regardless of the politics, the Democratic leaders in the House and the Democratic leaders in the Senate have been extraordinarily cooperative. The Republican leaders in the House and the Republican leaders of the Senate and the Republican and Democratic Members in both bodies have been extraordinarily supportive because our nation is together in our determination that Saddam Hussein's aggression will not stand.

Several of you earlier on asked me to make comments on this, or asked me about it, and I said I would. On August 2d, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and its soldiers literally -- this isn't figurative -- raped, pillaged, and plundered this once-peaceful land, Kuwait, a member of the Arab League, member of the United Nations. And the United States and the rest of the world did unite in anger and outrage and determination to force Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

The people outside with those signs -- I know -- I can share their concern. But they're wrong when they say it, no war for oil. We're not talking here about simply oil or the world economy. We are talking about brutal, naked aggression. We are talking about brutal, naked aggression. We are talking about one country bullying a neighbor. And that's why we are there: to say that will not stand. The United States, and only the United States, can lead this coalition against that kind of aggression.

And so, we did do what George said, we did do what he said: we put together a coalition unequaled in modern history. We revitalized the United Nations process, we and the other members of the Security Council. And indeed, the Security Council has passed 10 resolutions of condemnation and disapproval about Iraq.

On August 5th, I said that Saddam's aggression would not stand, and I'll repeat it today and I'll repeat it tomorrow and I'll repeat it the next day because we have a stake in seeing that one nation not bully a neighbor and take it over by force and then pillage and rape its citizens. Let me be clear: We have no argument with the Iraqi people. None at all. We bear no hostility towards Iraq, nor do any of the 25 countries that are represented with us on land or sea. And we're not alone there: over 25 on the land and the sea feeling exactly as we do. Many Arab countries, along with others -- Western Europe and Australia and Belgium and wherever -- all of us concerned, all standing against aggression.

Our problem is not with the people of Iraq; our problem is with the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. And I want, let me assure you, a peaceful resolution to this crisis. We need that. And I've worked, indeed, very closely with the U.N. in putting these sanctions into effect, passing resolutions, speaking with one voice against the invader's aggression. And we are giving these sanctions, unprecedented sanctions, economic sanctions against Iraq -- we are giving them time to work. And I hope there will never be a shot fired in anger. Let me be very clear, though. There cannot be any compromise with the stated objectives of the United Nations Security Council and the objectives that I have outlined as President of the United States. No compromise at all. Saddam Hussein must get out, and he must get out totally, and the legitimate rulers must be returned.

And one other point. The brutality against innocent civilians will not be tolerated and will not stand. The clear violation of taking innocent civilians and staking them out in areas that could be targets for military action contravenes every tenet of international law. It is inhumane. It is wrong. And it must not be rewarded.

They asked me at a press conference in Florida yesterday why I was concerned about our Embassy. There are several Americans there, a number of Americans. The American flag is flying over that place. And this man is systematically trying to drive these Embassies out by starving them out, keeping them from getting resupplies. And, yes, I have that on my mind and my conscience because I don't believe that is acceptable international behavior on the part of anybody, dictator or not. That is not the way you respect international law, and I think he is just as wrong as he can be in holding innocent hostages in Iraq and in trying to circle and starve out the United States Embassy in Kuwait. This must not be rewarded.

We do have the finest young kids in the armed services ever. Every member of the Joint Chiefs has told me this. They are volunteers. They're highly motivated, brilliantly trained. And they're serving us halfway around the world, and they're your sons and your daughters and your neighbors and your friends. And we owe them an enormous vote of thanks. And now, I will do my level best to bring every single one of them home without a shot being fired in anger. But we will not stop short of our stated objectives. We are the United States of America. We are standing for principle, and that principle must prevail.

And now before I head off to Minnesota, let me just shift gears back once again to the real world of politics. I have been very enthusiastic for many years about George Voinovich. I've seen him in action. I've seen what he's done in Cuyahoga County. I've seen what he's done for the great city of Cleveland. And I know him. I know his family's integrity and decency and honor. And so, when I stand up here and suggest as an outsider -- the one whose dad was born and whose mother-in-law and father-in-law were born here -- [laughter] -- I think I know what I'm talking about. And when Barbara comes out here and puts her arm around Janet and tells the people of Ohio how strongly she feels as a mother and one who also knows this State -- we're talking from the heart.

I want you to go out and work hard in the last days of this campaign to elect George Voinovich and the other statewide office seekers. And then I'd say this: We have a chance to make history in the Ken Blackwell race for Congress. Do not let history pass us by. Let's take this giant step for good government in Ohio and good government in Washington, DC. Get out to the polls 4 days from now and elect these outstanding leaders.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 8:47 a.m. in the Presidential Ballroom of the Westin Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to gubernatorial candidate George Voinovich and his wife, Janet; Michael DeWine, candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Judy Brachman, candidate for State treasurer; Paul Pfeifer, candidate for State attorney general; Martha Moore, vice chairman of the State Republican Party; and William J. Bennett, Director of National Drug Control Policy. Following his remarks, the President traveled to Rochester, MN.

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