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Public Papers - 1992 - February

Remarks to the Georgia Republican Party in Atlanta, Georgia

1992-02-29

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you, Alec. Thank you, Newt. And thank all of you. Let me single out our chairman, Alec Poitevint, and thank him for his leadership of this obviously activated, insurgent, and wonderful Georgia Republican Party. Get to Newt in a minute, but may I salute the members of the Georgia General Assembly that are here, my old friend Senator Mack Mattingly, who is sorely missed in the United States Senate, I might add.

And I understand that Savannah's Mayor is here, and I look forward to being with Susan Weiner tomorrow as well. And I thank our national committeewoman, Carolyn Meadows, and our Georgia campaign chairman, my old friend Fred Cooper, who is over here somewhere but doing a great job.

And as for Newt, there is no one quite like him. Let me simply say he is, as you know, clearly one of the very, very top leaders of the Republican Party nationally. And I am very grateful to him for the steadfast support and leadership that we get on Capitol Hill. Every single day that I work with him and with Bob Michel, I'm saying to myself: We have got to take the message to the people in the fall to get more Republicans in the Senate and get more Republicans in the House of Representatives. If you want change, that's the kind of change we need.

And my thanks to all of you for coming to Atlanta from all over, Macon to Marietta, from the four corners of this great State. This gathering marks a great triumph. You look around this room, and I think it's just clear how far we've come. It must be something about the Republican Party and red clay. [Laughter] In this State and all across the South, the Republican Party is here to stay. And that is what this meeting is about. And that's what the votes in this State are all about.

And with this rise comes a new generation of Georgia Republicans, the reformers, who are trying to teach Washington, DC, the wisdom of their ways. And I'm talking, of course, about Newt Gingrich and Mack, and about Bo Callaway and thinking back; thinking about Lou Sullivan now. And when we call the roll, let's not forget Pinpoint's favorite son, Supreme Court Justice of the United States Clarence Thomas. And I'm proud I named him to that Court.

Our party prospers here because the great strengths of the Republican Party are the great strengths of the South: bedrock belief in family and in faith, community and country; the virtues of hard work and humble worship; the willingness to sacrifice for country in times of war and to help others in times of peace. These are the beliefs that sustain us. It's our commitment to family, to jobs, to peace that inspires us. And all across America, these values are growing stronger, coming back by popular demand. And as a Nation, we've begun to see in these values a solution to so many of the crises that plague our cities and our schools and our streets.

People are coming home to the values that never left their hearts. We believe that parents, not the Government, should make the decisions that truly matter in life. Parents, not Government, should choose their children's schools. Parents, not Government, should choose who cares for their children. Parents know better than some bureaucrat in Washington, DC. And yes, we believe there's a place for voluntary prayer in our children's classroom.

And we believe America's first so long as we put family first. And these bedrock beliefs, they don't fade with age. They don't change from one election to the next. They are the home truths that call this Nation forward to greatness. And if America holds fast to these truths, we'll never lose our bearings.

Still, right now there's no denying it, in too many ways we're going down the wrong track. We've got to reform our legal system. The home of the free has become the land of the lawsuit. And we've got to end that. And that's why we sent up a bill to the Congress to stop these frivolous lawsuits. Nuisance suits sap our economy and tear its social fabric of our society. And when you're as likely to serve your neighbor a subpoena as a cup of coffee, something's gone wrong. And when doctors won't deliver babies and dads won't coach Little League for fear of lawsuits, something's wrong. America won't find its way out of this mess until we spend more time helping one another than we do suing one another. We need more people like Newt Gingrich in the Congress to support reform legislation in terms of these vicious and outrageous lawsuits.

We've got to reform this Nation's health care system. Right now, the quality of American health care is the best in the entire world, make no mistake about it. The problem is access. Too many Americans with families do not have health insurance coverage. And you know how even a short stay in the hospital can rip a hole right through the family's budget. Well, all Americans deserve quality health care and a sense of well-being. But socialized medicine is not the answer, and I will fight against those plans. We have a good, specific plan. And my plan focuses on opening up access to health insurance for all Americans, rich and poor. And if we wanted long lines and revolving-door health care, we'd put our doctors to work at the department of motor vehicles. The last thing we want is the Government playing doctor. And you listen to the campaign plans on the other side, and you'll know exactly what I mean. I will continue to fight for health care for all, and I will fight against those astronomically expensive schemes to socialize American health care.

We've got to reform our welfare system. People are willing to support benefits for families in need; of course they are. And yes, Americans care. We always have; we always will. But they want to see some connection between welfare and work. And they want to see government at every level work together to track down the deadbeat dads, the ones who can't be bothered to pay child support. And they want to see us break the cycle, that dreadful cycle of dependency that destroys dignity and passes down poverty from one generation to the next. Think about it. Think about a young child born into that. It's wrong. It's cruel. We've got to do something to change it.

A number one issue today, though, is the economy. I think we all know that. It's jobs. And that's what's keeping people up late at night, worrying about how they're going to pay the bills and put food on the table, care for their kids, and still manage to put away something for their own retirement. We've got to get this economy moving. And Americans want to work. They want the opportunity to earn more money. And that's why in my State of the Union Address, I laid out a two-part plan to spark economic recovery, to create jobs: a seven-point short-term plan to stimulate the economy as early as this spring and then a longer term plan to keep America growing tomorrow and into the next century.

And because I knew I couldn't wait for Congress to act, I set a deadline to help them along the way. And that's why I was sorry to see what the House Democrats did this past Thursday. Instead of working on my plan, liberal Democrats pushed through one of their own. And true to its form, it's a tiny temporary tax cut in exchange for a huge permanent tax hike. And to play election-year politics as usual, they passed up a chance to stimulate the economy. And the plan they passed will raise the deficit, raise taxes a whopping 0 billion, and ruin our economic recovery. And worst of all, it will not create jobs at all. And so, let me end the suspense. If that plan reaches my desk, I will veto it instantly and send it right back up to Capitol Hill.

And frankly, there's even greater danger here. If the liberal Democrats ever decide to make that two-bit tax cut permanent, they'd have to jack up -- and I think Newt expressed this on the floor; certainly I've heard him speak about it -- they'd have to jack up the tax rate for every American making more than ,000 a year. You heard it right, ,000, for a plan that's supposed to help the middle class. And that's going to come as real news to a lot of factory workers and hard-working schoolteachers, people you know, everyday Americans struggling to make ends meet.

Let's face it, when that tax-and-spend crowd talks about taking aim at the champagne-and-caviar set, it's middle America that always takes the hit. And the liberals are going to tax that middle class for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks, because that's where the money is. So, do not listen to this silly campaign rhetoric out there. Ask any economist, and they'll tell you the quickest way to cut this recovery off at its knees is to raise taxes.

If they're serious about this recovery, Congress must pass my plan. My plan contains an investment tax allowance to create incentives for American businesses to buy new equipment and then hire more workers. To bolster sagging real estate markets, this plan will give the first-time homebuyer a ,000 tax credit to help them with that down payment. For families here in the Atlanta area, that credit is worth 6 months' mortgage payments on the average Atlanta home.

And let me say to these opponents of mine: No one is fooled by your paying lip service to competitiveness and practicing class warfare. Quit punishing the people who create jobs, and pass my plan and cut the capital gains tax, cut it down so we can get America back to work.

My plan really, if you look at it, you'll see that it's shaped to meet the new economic realities, realities that have helped make Atlanta the South's great international city. And come 1996, Atlanta comes of age as America's very own Olympic city. And that's going to be just great. There's a popular saying: When I pass into the hereafter, I don't know if I'll be going up or down, but wherever I go, I'll change planes in Atlanta. [Laughter] They're going to see that one in 1996.

You know, Georgia's unemployment rate is low. But I'm sure Georgians know the actions we take now affect our economic health for the long term. We're working to expand trade. We're working to open markets all over the world to American products. That was my mission when I went to Asia. It's what our trade teams push for every time they sit down at the negotiating table. And if we want to ensure good jobs for the future, we've got to work for free trade now.

The truth is, if we want to succeed economically at home, we have got to lead economically abroad. Right here in Georgia, in the past 3 years, manufacturing exports have almost doubled. Today, an estimated 165,000 Georgia jobs are tied to trade.

So, get past all the tough talk out there, all the patriotic posturing about fighting back by shutting out foreign goods. If this country starts closing its markets, other countries will close theirs. And when that happened, who gets hurt? Easy, we do. Our economy does. The workers in the State of Georgia do.

But my opponents aren't about to let fact intrude on fantasy. They're peddling protectionism, a retreat from economic reality into a dangerous pre-World War II isolationism. Look closely, that's not the American flag they're waving; it's the white flag of surrender. And that's not the America you and I know. I will veto any protection legislation that comes to the White House from this protectionist Congress.

The bottom line is, we do not run, and we do not cut out; we compete. And never in this Nation's long history have we turned our backs on a challenge, and we're not going to start now. I put my faith in the American worker. Level the playing field, and the American worker will outthink, outproduce, outperform anyone, anywhere, anytime.

And I say let the world know we are in it to win. Don't listen to those talking heads out there, the folks who can't seem to feel good unless they've got something bad to say about our great country. If you think I feel strongly about this one, you ought to hear Barbara Bush, the Silver Fox, speak about it. [Laughter.] She wouldn't even let me listen to the TV news last night. There's a lot of gloom and doom out there.

America isn't a nation that gets ahead by tearing down others. Time after time, America's been called upon. And time after time, America has met the challenge. And this time America will do it again.

Think back to one year ago today, to the calm after Desert Storm. Ask any one of the proud sons and daughters of Georgia who became a liberator of Kuwait, and they'll tell you military strength is nothing without moral support right here at home.

I won't ever forget my visit during those difficult times to Fort Stewart, Georgia, the wives and parents that I talked to, the people who, their loved ones in harm's way, still told me this: America must do what is right. And their quiet courage and their patriotism said it all to me. It was an emotional time, I'll tell you. And never would this country tuck tail and let aggression stand. America would do what was right and good and just, and America would prevail.

And there were those who didn't support us then, and there are those who second-guess us now. But not the good people of Georgia. In those difficult days when our kids laid it all on the line, this State, its young men and women never wavered because, you see, Georgia kept the faith. And we're bringing that same spirit to the fight we face today.

From next Tuesday through the first Tuesday in November, we are going to take our message all across the country. You don't have to be a negative message. You don't have to always be saying something bad about somebody else. We've got lots to be proud of, lots to advocate, lots to be for.

So if you want to send a message to Washington, send this President back for 4 more years and send -- --

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Send more good Georgia Republicans to Congress to help out this leader right here.

Let me close with just a couple of words right from the heart. Barbara and I are blessed. We are blessed to serve at this moment in time when so many of the old fears have been driven away, when so many new hopes stand within our reach. And since the day I took the oath of office, I made it my duty always to try to do what is right for this country. I have given it my best. I have done my level-best, and I'm not done yet.

And I ask the good people of Georgia -- together we've got a lot to be proud of. I take particular pride that the young people in this country go to bed at night not worrying about nuclear holocaust. I think that's something good and something strong and says something wonderful about what's happened in the last few years. But my pitch to you, the leaders of this great State, is unashamedly this: Together we have made a great beginning; now, you give me 4 more years to finish the job.

Thank you all for this warm welcome. And may God bless the United States of America. And be sure to get to the polls next Tuesday. Many, many thanks.

Audience member. Amen. Georgia's Bush country.

The President. Thank you all very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:25 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to former Representative Howard H. (Bo) Callaway.

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