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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks at a Dinner for the Senate Republican Leadership


Bob, thank you very much for those kind words, and let me just say how pleased Barbara and I are to be here. You all did a smart thing today in returning a true Republican leader to office: Bob Dole. In fact, Millie has already sent her congratulations to Leader. [Laughter]

I really wanted to be here for a lot of reasons, but one of them is because Bob has led our policy with style and wit, and with precision, with integrity. I've come to count on him every single day. And he's been a great Republican leader, as great as any in the past. And I say that -- we had another great one sitting here tonight: Howard Baker. And I also think of Joy's dad, Everett Dirksen -- great, great leaders. But I think we would all agree that Bob Dole is doing an exceptional and an outstanding job. And again, I count my blessings that he's leader in the United States Senate for our party.

While I'm at it, I want to congratulate the new head of the Red Cross, someone I will miss at our Cabinet meetings. And I'm very sorry she couldn't be with us. She's up still laboring under the Labor portfolio up there in New York at a big meeting of the AFL - CIO, I believe it is. But anyway, let me just say to you, my friends in the Senate, what I've tried to tell outside world when Elizabeth [Dole] and I walked into the press room: She has done an outstanding job for this country. And it's right and proper now that she go on to this new challenge. But what a superb Secretary of Labor she's been. Bob, tell her we miss her here tonight.

And of course, then, on the rest our leadership: Al Simpson, back from a landslide, proving that adage that you can fool some of the people all of the time. [Laughter] But nevertheless, I congratulate him. And a congratulations to the newly elected conference chairman, Thad Cochran; and the secretary, Senator Bob Kasten; to Phil Gramm, a fellow Texan, senatorial campaign committee chairman; Don Nichols, now the new policy committee chairman. And I look forward to working closely with every single one of you. And I would say to those who didn't make it: You didn't lose at all. And I detected at least a wonderful spirit of comradery upstairs. And the party here in the Senate is together and strong, and we've got great new leadership.

Let me also acknowledge the four Senators among us who have left their mark on our party and our nation. Senator Bill Armstrong has been a superb chairman of the policy committee, and now he returns to Colorado. What a great Senator he's been.

And I didn't see Gordon Humphrey, but if he's here, let me say that he's done an outstanding job. And now he's taken his case back at the grassroots level in the State of New Hampshire. And I admire him, and I respect him for that. And when I arrived in Washington as -- you won't believe this -- a skinny freshman in the House of Representatives, one of the first friends that I found was a colleague by the name of Jim McClure. We were elected in November in 1966, and since then I've seen him leave the House and become a truly great Senator from Idaho. And over the years, I can just say that Barbara and I have treasured our friendship with Jim and Louise. And I wish him all the very best, if he's out there -- I think he is somewhere.

And then, of course, Bob so appropriately saluted the other leaving a legacy of leadership here: Rudy Boschwitz. Rudy was on the national committee when I was chairman of the Republican committee, and we've been friends ever since. And I'll tell you, if there was ever a hurt -- a personal hurt -- coming out of this election, it was the Minnesota Senate race. But I have this wonderful, warm feeling that we haven't heard the last from Rudy Boschwitz. And I'll tell you, we love him, and we thank him for what he did.

And then, of course, I just want to add my hearty congratulations to Hank Brown, to Larry Craig, and to Bob Smith, and to say that I look forward to working with all of you. You've won a great victory for our party, and I think we're going to win a lot of victories for our country. And so, once again, to the three newly elected Members of this Senate, congratulations and best of luck to each and every one of you.

And now let me just conclude by saying that we gather here 1 week -- it seems like eons ago to me -- but 1 week after the American people turned to the polls and returned to Washington a government divided. It's a government that's divided by party; it's a government that's divided by purpose and vision. But our purpose as a party and my purpose remains undivided and clear. And we are as committed as ever to private sector, progrowth solutions, expanding our economy, not arguing over how the economic pie should be divided. We are as committed as ever to opportunity, not the failed policies that we fought here in the last Congress on the taxing and spending of the liberals. And we will, as a Republican President and Republican Senators, fight the opposition and fight the special interests for the sake of the national interest.

You know the world is changing, and those changes are going to produce exciting new challenges. Working together, we can prepare this great country to meet those challenges and lead the world into the 21st century. In my view, a lot of the action is going to be at the State level. And this brings me to one who left the Senate to move to the State level, and the biggest State in the United States. And I'm talking, of course, about Pete Wilson and his superb win out there in California.

As I look at our national agenda, it seems to me we've got to keep in mind that the government closest to the people does govern best. And, Pete, I look forward to working with you. I know all the Senate does in working with you and the other Republican Governors and other Governors to make this country just a little better.

You know, in the year ahead, perhaps we should draw some inspiration from a great American of the last century. I want to read you some words: ``Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably in themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble idea once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing.''

The man who wrote those words was Daniel Burnham, the architect who conceived and built this great Union Station. And as we had a chance earlier to look around at the ceilings and the gilded geometry that sprang from one man's imagination, let's remember to make big plans, to aim high in hope and work.

These are not particularly easy times. As we look -- Bob referred to the situation in the Gulf. It is my view that the United States will not and must not fail in its objectives. And the objectives are clearly outlined in the 10 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. And it isn't a question simply of the economic interests of the world -- and they are enormous, as you see the Third World driven to its knees already by the results of Saddam Hussein's aggression against Kuwait. It isn't simply the economic matters -- and they are enormous because we have enormous economic stakes in what happens in that part of the world. And I can think of nothing worse than to see an aggression rewarded and then tomorrow to have the economic noose tightened even further. We're already feeling the pinches in this country of what he's done.

But there's another and a more fundamental principle involved, and that is that one big nation not take over another, one big nation cannot bully and beat into submission another. And it is my view that the United States alone can lead and stand on principle to be sure that we don't set a dangerous precedent for tomorrow.

And so, I stand here to tell you that I am grateful for your support. And I am more determined than I've ever been that we hold this magnificent historic coalition together and that we not fall short of our objectives which have been clearly stated. The United States will not and must not fail. And to achieve that end, I need your support. And I'm grateful for that which you have already given to me and, thus, to our country. But these are serious times, and I expect I would be falling short of what's in my heart if I didn't tell you I am grateful to each and every one of you who have been able to support us in these very difficult times.

Thank you, and God bless you all. And, Bob, thank you for your magnificent leadership once again.

Note: The President spoke at 7:54 p.m. in the East Hall at Union Station. In his remarks, he referred to Howard Baker's wife, Joy; Jim McClure's wife, Louise; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. He also referred to the First Family's dog, Millie, and Senator Dole's dog, Leader.

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