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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Remarks at a Reception for Gubernatorial Candidate Pete Wilson in Thousand Oaks, California


Thank you very, very much. Pete, let me give you my impartial view of the situation. [Laughter] It is absolutely essential to California and it is absolutely essential, I'd say, for the entire country that this, the biggest State in the Union, have Pete Wilson as the next Governor, following our outstanding Governor George Deukmejian.

And I'm delighted to be in Elton's congressional district. We need him back there and plenty more like him. And the same for Bob Lagomarsino for the next district. And this year in California, we have a class-act, skilled, seasoned ticket of excellence. With us today, Marion Bergeson, the next Lieutenant Governor; Joan Milke Flores, as secretary of state; Tom Hayes, State treasurer -- we need him there to watch these guys -- and of course, Dan Lungren, my old friend and former Congressman, who will be a great attorney general; and Wes Banister, the insurance commissioner. We've got a great ticket. Now you've got to vote for Pete and the rest of them. And after they've served their term, how about sending Eric Peterson off to be Governor of the State? The guy's tough.

I take great pride as President in the way the Marine Band, the President's own, plays ``Hail to the Chief.'' But if they ever get tired, what about the Thousand Oaks High School Band? They were marvelous. You guys were good, real good.

I am delighted to be back with you. What a reception I had at the airport, Point Mugu: red carpet, 21-gun salute, signs saying, ``Welcome back!'' ``We love you!'' And when I went down the stairs, I told someone I was surprised by the big greeting. He said, ``Not as surprised as I was. We were expecting Barbara.''

Gayle, she sends her love to you. She's your friend, as you know. And we Bushes, our entire family, just wish you and Pete all the best on this very important coming Tuesday.

You know, I won't regale you with the background, but you know the record: the great mayor of San Diego, superb Senator. President Reagan calls him principled. Even his opponents call him wonderful. [Laughter] And in January, everyone will call him Governor.

He's a great manager. As mayor, he balanced 11 straight budgets. As an environmentalist, he's playing a great big part in my decision to put a moratorium earlier this year on oil and gas leasing off the coast. An advocate for fiscal sanity, quality education. You know of his record as being tough on crime and wanting the laws in Washington to do something about it. And the same approach would be brought to bear following up on Duke's magnificent record right here in Sacramento. He deserves your support, so I came out here to say: Let's elect Pete Wilson the next Governor of this State.

You know, in recent months, we've seen some uncertainty and concern about the slower economic growth across our country. And that's why a budget agreement of sorts was crucial. And that's why I had to compromise -- found as Harry Truman said, that the buck does stop on the President's desk. And every once in a while, you have to make a tough decision to compromise. And despite tough negotiations, we finally reached a budget agreement with the Democrats that control both Houses of Congress.

And when it came to our approach, though, let me point out three big differences. The Democrats -- and Elton and Bob know this well, and Pete as well -- wanted to raise taxes, including income tax rates on every working man and woman in this country. And I wanted to reduce the deficit by spending cuts. We did get a 2-billion deficit reduction over 5 years -- 0 billion of it in spending cuts, incentives to make us less dependent on foreign oil. So, there were some good things there. But the main thing: Congress now is on a pay-as-you-go plan. There are real enforcement provisions. And finally, although the defense budget was reduced, thanks to Pete Wilson and others like him that know the importance of our national security we held the line against reckless cuts to ensure that this nation's Armed Forces remain strong. We are in a dangerous world, and we better not let down our guard. And thank God for Pete and Congressmen like these two.

That's just part of what we've accomplished as a party of change. For example, when it comes to the environment -- Pete mentioned it -- but he and I believe that to keep our environment green, we don't have to be Big Green. And in fact, Pete wrote the first coastal protection act, and a driving force for our environmental initiatives, supported our expanded land acquisition for national parks and wildlife refuges and forest and public lands. And all of this explains why I asked Pete to lead our crusade for clean air. And today, as a result -- thanks to the innovation and cooperation of the industry; of government; our EPA, under Bill Reilly, who's with me here today; and the environmentalists across the country -- we have broken a 13-year legislative logjam. And finally, I have a clean air bill that I will be proud to sign when I go back to Washington, DC.

I wish I could give you a better report on the Congress. If we had more Republicans in the Congress like these two, I could give you a better one. But let me just say this: There's still work to be done on our agenda.

Ask Pete, the grandson of a police officer who gave his life in the line of duty. He knows, I know, George Deukmejian knows, America is fed up with crime. And we want people who have a little more sensitivity to the police officers, and a little less for the criminals themselves.

Shortly after I took office, I stood before the Capitol and I called on the Congress to pass tough, new laws to help America take back the streets. And instead, in the final hours of the Congress -- George thinks he's got troubles with Willie Brown [speaker of the State assembly] -- [laughter] -- look, in the final hours of this Congress, the Democratic liberals choked, and they completely gutted our package to fight back against violent crime. We fought for habeas corpus reforms aimed at stopping the convicted criminals from endlessly abusing the appeals process. We fought for reforms of the exclusionary rule, a law that lets the guilty go free far too often. And we fought for a real Federal death penalty for drug kingpins and terrorists and those who gun down our police officers. And the liberals gutted those right out of our package. They blocked them, and we've got to get tough now.

And I think especially of the fine, young police officers like San Bernardino's own Rob Shultis, who was brutally killed last February. We will be tough on crime. And give me more Republicans in Washington, more people like Pete Wilson in Sacramento, and we'll get the job done for the American people and for the American families.

It is simply not fair -- I wish you all could see these little kids here -- but it is simply not fair that their parents have to worry in some areas of this country when the kids go to school, have to worry about the kids' safety. It is time -- not to be brutal about it -- but it is time to have more thoughtful people who want to be tough on crime to take back our streets. And that's another reason I'm for Pete Wilson.

There's a lot of wonderful young people here from this great school, and I'm grateful to President Miller -- [applause] -- I am grateful to the president and Eric and the students that are here today. But let me -- I saw some signs out here, and I understand them. And the signs -- so let me first put the caveat down. I want to shift gears. I want to ask you now to lay aside the partisan politics because this is -- it's not often I have a chance to talk to this many people in the State, in the State of California -- back in Washington all the time.

But we're at a partisan political event, but I'm asking you to shift gears now because everyone I know is vitally interested in what Pete talked about; that's the situation in the Gulf. And just a few words about our mission there, having said that I am very grateful to the Republican leaders, to the Democratic leaders, liberals, conservatives, whoever, for the support they are giving our policy in the Persian Gulf. It isn't partisan; it is American. And I am very grateful for that support.

So you have it -- and particularly the young people -- so you have it in your sights: We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people, none at all. We bear no hostility to the people of Iraq, nor do any of the other 25 countries represented on land and sea in the Gulf in the most fantastic coalition put together since World War II, or even including that. We have a magnificent U.N.-based coalition standing up to the aggressor of Iraq. So, our problem is not with the young people there or the man on the street there; our problem is with Saddam Hussein and his determination to be the neighborhood bully. And there's a fundamental moral point here: A neighbor cannot take over another neighbor, bully it, brutalize it, rape, pillage, and plunder in Kuwait, and get away with it. If we permit that to happen, we'll pay the price another day. And I will not let that aggression stand.

Yesterday at Point Mugu, I climbed off the plane and had a chance to at least shake hands with some of the wives of our young people over there. And look, they're your brothers, our neighbors, sons, daughters, friends. These aren't strangers. These are the finest trained American troops in the history of this country. Every single one of them is a volunteer. And they are beautifully motivated. And yet their families are split asunder. And so, my message is this: I will give the sanctions -- unprecedented economic sanctions -- the chance to work. I will give them the time to work. And I can tell each parent, each brother, each sister, I hope there never is a shot fired in anger. I hope that every single one of those kids will come home without a shot having been fired.

Now, having said that, we are the United States. I see these signs about Hungary and the other countries that now enjoy the freedoms that sometimes we have taken for granted, and I can identify with that. And I can identify with the fantastic changes that are taking place in Eastern Europe, but I also can identify with this principle that one country must not be able to bully its neighbor. And so, I will say this: I don't want a shot fired in anger, but there will be no compromise on the stated objectives of the United Nations Security Council -- none at all. The United States will lead, and we will stand, and we will prevail against the evil of that dictator.

Pete mentioned the fact that in a few weeks that the kids over there will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. And Barbara and I are really looking forward to visiting those young people halfway around the world. Each member of the Joint Chiefs has told me -- and to you parents, listen carefully because you know this, but listen anyway -- each member of the Joint Chiefs has told me that, as far as they know, in the history of the United States there have never been finer, more motivated, better trained soldiers than the men and women over there now. That is a fine tribute to your sons and daughters.

And so, that's the situation as I see it today in the Gulf. I will do my level-best to keep this coalition strong, together, standing always for principle. But you young guys remember: It is only the United States that can lead the entire world for this moral purpose. We're the only ones. Countries look to us, and that's the beautiful thing about the heritage groups represented here today. Every single one of them recognizes that this is the country that stands for freedom, stands against aggression. And as long as I'm President, I'll do my level-best to portray that message to every country in the world.

And now let me shift back to the business at hand -- salute all of you, thank the students on this great campus, and encourage you to do this: Do not take democracy for granted. Go out there and vote in this important national election. The elections in California will affect every State in the entire country. So go out and elect Pete Wilson and this distinguished team. Elect him Governor of this State. And do your part to move California ahead.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Note: President Bush spoke at 10:40 a.m. in the auditorium at California Lutheran University. In his remarks, he referred to Representatives Elton Gallegly and Robert J. Lagomarsino; Eric Peterson, president of the university's Republican students speakers' bureau; Jerry Miller, president of the university; Pete Wilson's wife, Gayle; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. He also referred to Big Green, the environmental protection initiative on the November ballot in California. Following his remarks, President Bush traveled to Albuquerque, NM.

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