Public Papers - 1991
Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Congressional Candidate Steve Pierce in Boston, Massachusetts
Thank you. What a wonderful enthusiastic turnout for Steve. I wanted to come up and tell you how firmly I am convinced that he ought to be the next Congressman. We need many, many more like him in the United States House of Representatives, believe me.
At the outset, let me salute several people here. I'll tell start with Bill Weld. Here's a guy who came in against big odds. He's making the tough calls on the budget, and I think he's earned the respect of everybody -- Republican, Democrat, and independent alike.
At his side are Paul Cellucci and Joe Malone, the State treasurer -- and of course, Paul, our Lieutenant Governor. I salute them. I thank my old friend Leon Lombardi for stepping up to the plate and taking over the chairmanship of the party. At his side, I'm proud to say, is one who works with me in the White House, my old dear friend Ron Kaufman, who is a Republican national committeeman. And I'm glad that this is a team working together to build the party here. I am one who feels that we have a good chance in the State of Massachusetts, particularly given the leadership that Bill Weld has given it, and particularly given the new breath of fresh air that Steve Pierce is going to give it when he gets to Washington, DC.
You see, he's come a long way to get where he is today -- 100 miles. [Laughter] Down the Mass Pike, all the way from Westfield. [Laughter] If you don't believe me, ask Andy Card. [Laughter] Steve's been -- and I might add, to Andy's many friends here, what a joy it is to have him as our Deputy Chief of Staff. The guy takes on more difficult problems, handles them with compassion and finesse, and always comes up with the right answer. It's a joy going to the White House, knowing he's right down the hall.
But on Steve, he's already proved that he's a fighter. He served in the legislature, in the statehouse, and he's demonstrated his convictions, what he really believes, what he can do. So, I think we're dealing here with a proven -- not just a candidate but a proven entity that has already made his mark. And now we need him in Washington.
You see, I asked him what the race is about, and I think I understand it. I understood it when he started in. The race is about taxes and the need to keep them down, and the race is about jobs and the need to get them up. And the two go hand in hand. And this man understands it, and he's going to fight for it when he gets to Washington.
You know, last fall we put on some meaningful caps on Federal spending -- long overdue. I'm proud to say they are working at the Federal level. And I take a look at what Bill Weld is doing at the State level, and it can work. You don't have to raise the tax on the working men and women in this country. And Steve understands that, and I believe he will hold the line -- we must do it -- and help us steer what will be known as a steady path to growth.
Incidentally, I am confident that this economy is coming out of recession. And I think this area of the country, which has been beleaguered, disproportionately so, will soon be on the road to recovery. I am confident of that.
We've been talking about this with some of our most outstanding Massachusetts business people, men and women, some of our most outstanding business leaders on the national scene, just this morning because a key to this continued growth is free and fair trade. Just a few minutes ago Bob Mosbacher and I, with our marvelous Export Committee, discussed this. And I am very proud to say that as we were discussing the matter in there, or just before I walked into that room, the Senate did what the House did last night, approved Fast Track. And I am convinced that's going to be jobs for the people of Massachusetts.
The U.S. exported more than 3 billion last year in goods and services. Exports generated 84 percent of our overall growth. Think about that one. In a slow economy, 84 percent came from exports, a sure sign that the future lies in free and fair trade. That's why our administration, joined by Governors like Bill Weld, place such an importance on ensuring American companies a fair shot in the global marketplace. We must demand -- and I think we can now through the negotiations on GATT and the negotiations with Mexico -- we must demand, should demand an even playing field. And if we get that, America can compete with anybody anywhere in the world.
So, what's at stake here is a successful conclusion to the Uruguay round of trade talks with Europe and all the rest of the countries of the world, an agreement that breaks down the barriers that now hold some of you all back when you try to export. And also, we want to create this free trade zone uniting U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and that will create a single market of 360 million people. We're working now through our Enterprise for the Americas Initiative to expand trade opportunities with all the nations of the hemisphere -- north, central, and south.
You see, it is my deep conviction that we must not neglect our neighbors to the south. And I don't think it will cost us jobs; I'm convinced it's going to create jobs if we can open up those markets and have those economies start back on the road to recovery, just as I'm sure ours will do.
I'm happy to salute the leaders of the United States Senate, Republican and Democrat alike, who joined the bipartisan leadership in the House yesterday to take this legislative action that was essential to give us what we need to negotiate these pacts.
We've shown the world, I believe, that we can meet the challenge of the 21st century and that we'll meet them united in purpose and in effort. So, let me just say to those who are interested in this free and fair trade and in this Fast Track: I pledge to the Members of the United States Congress that we are going to consult as we go along. We will not bring to them a bad trade agreement with Uruguay round or with Mexico; no point in that. It will pass, and it will pass because we will be consulting with the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States Congress.
Let me also say that this passage provides, I think, some of the best economic news we've had in months.
Now, to Steve. We've talked about this. He came down to check in with me in the Oval Office the other day, looking at the drapes. I don't want him to get too far ahead of himself there -- [laughter] -- but he understands -- listen, I know this guy. This is one that I've got my heart in, this endorsement, because I know him. I know what he stands for. I know what his political heartbeat is. I know that he understands the tremendous potential for growth that's represented in these global markets.
Also, I think we need a champion in the Massachusetts delegation who understands -- not just a champion for business itself but for jobs, for the men and women that are out there on the production line. And I think in Steve we have just exactly that because Steve is not a pessimist about it. He knows that these Massachusetts companies are ready to compete, and he wants to do what he can -- you heard him -- on growth, the empowerment agenda, to unleash the competitive energy.
So, let us stand nationally for what he stands for, not just in this race but in his past record: jobs, opportunity, and growth. That's the formula, and I think if we send Steve down there, you'll know that your wallets are safe for a while, anyway, at least as far as he's concerned. [Laughter]
This gives me an opportunity to get back in the political arena. I haven't been in it for a while because now we've had a little lull since last fall's election, and I feel the adrenaline flowing. I hope it doesn't go to my heart, but nevertheless -- [laughter] -- but I can't think of a finer young man, a finer family to represent the western part of this great State. So, when he asked if I would come up here and he asked Barbara to help out -- I believe she'll be doing it next week, but in any event, she's in his corner 100 percent -- I accepted before he could change his mind. And I'm glad to be here, proud to be with your Governor, your Lieutenant Governor, and our chairman, and especially proud to be with our next Congressman from western Massachusetts. What big shoes to fill, but he will do it.
Thank you all very much, and may I take this opportunity to make a nonpartisan comment. Bill and I and Paul Cellucci and others rode in from the airport, and I must say I was deeply touched and moved by the warm response and welcome from the people that lined the streets coming in from the airport. I was deeply touched, and it gives me one hell of a sendoff for what's going to be a great Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 1:22 p.m. in the Harborview Ballroom at the Boston World Trade Center. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. William Weld and Lt. Gov. A. Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts; Joseph Malone, Massachusetts State treasurer; Leon Lombardi, Massachusetts Republican Party chairman; Ronald C. Kaufman, Deputy Assistant to the President for Political Affairs; Andrew H. Card, Jr., Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff; and Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher.