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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks at a Bush-Quayle Rally in Gulfport, Mississippi

1992-08-21

The President. Wow. Thank you very, very much. This is good for the soul.

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

The President. Thank you, thank you. Thank you so very much. Thank you for this warm Mississippi welcome. It is great to be back in Gulfport, great to be back in Fordice, Lott, Cochran, and Bush-Quayle country. Thank you very, very much.

This is our first stop after Houston, the first step into the future. We're here to kick off a crusade to bring back values and to build a stronger, more secure America.

We're grateful to be here with your Mayor and our Lieutenant Governor, Eddie Briggs. And may I single out my dear friend, a man of real values, a man of real talent, Ricky Scaggs.

You talk about southern hospitality, let me thank all the Republican leadership, those who greeted us on the ground, all of you who worked on this fantastic rally, and those who came with me on Air Force One. This is, as I say, our first step out of Houston, on to the election. I am delighted to be back here in this place which has sound family values, great tradition, and believes in a strong America.

I understand that since my last visit, Biloxi is something of the Monte Carlo of the gulf coast. Well, my pastor may be listening, so I want to say I never was much of a gambler. But let me offer a little sporting advice: Don't bet against us in November. We are going to win this election.

Now, let me put something in perspective. You've been reading about some of these crazy reports about my health. Well, let me say I am blessed with good health, blessed with good health. Last night I laid out an agenda for America, and the reaction has been very positive. If those overnight polls are any barometer, the American people agree with me that I do look better in my jogging shorts than Bill Clinton.

You know, last night we answered some questions for the American people. One of them is, ``Well, why spend any time anymore on foreign policy?'' Well, remember the days when some of these schoolchildren, or when some of you all were schoolchildren, hiding under the desks in drills to prepare for nuclear war. Well, I saw a chance to rid our children's dreams of the nuclear nightmare. And I did it, with the help of many others before me.

Seriously, do you know that over the past 4 years, more people have breathed the fresh air of freedom than in all of human history? We saw a chance to help, and we did it. And understand something: These were the two defining opportunities, not of a year, not of a decade but of an entire span of human history. We can all take great pride in that.

And yes, now that we have made the world safer and more secure, it's time to build a safer and more secure America. Here in Gulfport, you understand how the world has become linked, interconnected. The challenge before America today is to bring together foreign policy, economic policy, and national security policy to make a difference in your home.

So this election isn't simply, as the opposition, as that new twin ticket says, simply about change. It's about who do you trust to make the change work for you. That is the question.

And our opponents, my opponent is -- --

Audience members. George Bush! George Bush! George Bush!

The President. Look, creating jobs is the number one issue. My opponent has laid out his plan; it is clear, present, and dangerous. Here's the way it starts out: 0 billion in new, what he calls, investment. When he says investment, watch out for your wallet. Investing 0 billion of your money, that is not investment.

It goes on with the largest tax increase in history. Right up front, right up front before he's had to govern at all, he says tax them 0 billion more. No, we are not going to have that.

Along with it, a massive scheme to have Government take over the health care system. We have a program to make health insurance available to the poorest of the poor, to everybody, but not to get the Government tell you who your doctor can be.

I was talking to Thad Cochran and Trent, the Governor coming down here. And my opponent, we all agree, seems to like to compare himself to Elvis Presley. [Laughter] Well, my apologies to the King, but to me, the Governor of Arkansas' plan really does sound like Elvis economics. Because the time he is finished, American workers will all be checking into the Heartbreak Hotel. And I think we ought to treat those Clinton-Gore ideas the way Elvis would: Return to sender. Return him to Arkansas. Send them back to Arkansas and Tennessee.

We offer a different way to create jobs and get the economy moving. And last night I proposed a brandnew idea -- some of you may have heard it -- to let you, the taxpayer, check a box on your tax return to vote up to 10 percent of your taxes to go for nothing but reducing the Federal deficit. And then for every check, we have to reduce Federal spending by that much.

There's something else that I want to do, and every place I go in America people are saying, ``Please get it done.'' I'm talking about this: A lot of sharp lawyers are wreaking havoc in middle America. Doctors sometimes, maybe it's true here in Biloxi, scared to practice medicine; some parents afraid to even coach Little League. The bottom line is we are suing each other too much and caring for each other too little.

We have been, with the help of Trent and the help of Thad, we've been trying to go to toe with that Democratic liberal Congress to take on the trial lawyers and take on their new hero, incidentally, the Governor of Arkansas. I am keeping on fighting to put an end to these outrageous lawsuits that raise everybody's costs and scare people half to death.

We've got other ideas we're fighting for: To open markets for our products -- I saw a sign here about agriculture. Our farmers can compete with and outhustle anybody in the world if we give them a chance. Open markets for our products, not protection. Make health care more affordable without a Government takeover of medicine. Improve our schools so our kids can get the education they need to succeed, and tell the union to start thinking new ideas. Let's help these kids.

Now the fundamental: In order to get all these ideas and more into action, I need your help. I need you to change the U.S. Congress, to clean House. Clean the House. Exactly, exactly.

Audience members. Clean the House! Clean the House! Clean the House!

The President. We've got two guys here today that are trying to do just that, Paul Harvey and Clyde Whitaker, so help them out. I might say, if we had more like Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, we wouldn't have this problem of a Congress that obstructs everything we're trying to do.

You know, let me be very candid with you, Congress is an institution in gridlock. The liberal Democratic leadership has been in charge -- it's hard for these young people to believe -- but has been in charge of the House of Representatives for 38 straight years. The gridlocked Democratic Congress has blocked my jobs program, blocked my education program, and blocked the progress of the people of Gulfport, Mississippi. They are caught in a knot of PAC's and perks and privileges and paralysis.

Let me give you one example: It took us, with the help of many sons and daughters of Mississippi, 43 days, 43 days to win the Gulf war, while Congress has taken 533 days, and still counting, to give us a national energy policy to cut our dependence on foreign oil. That is gridlock. That is congressional gridlock. As I said, I've ridden stationary bikes that can move faster than the U.S. Congress.

Make no mistake about it: We are not going to let the Clinton-Gore ticket fool the American people. The Clinton-Gore ticket and the gridlocked Congress are totally interlocked. One is C - G, and the other is G - C: Clinton-Gore, gridlocked Congress. But don't let them try to separate themselves from each other. They are one and the same, even though they tried to hide the leaders away at their Madison Square convention.

Now, let me give you one example of what I'm talking about. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, I turned to the American people -- and no area of our country responded better than the people of Mississippi -- I turned to the American people and asked for their support, and of course, to our young men and women, for sacrifice, before the Middle East became a nuclear powder keg threatening us all. Mississippi responded, and you made America proud. But many of the liberal Democrats in Congress stood against us.

As I said last night, what about the leader of the Arkansas National Guard, the man who hopes to be Commander in Chief? Let me repeat it for you. Two days after Congress voted to follow my lead, my opponent said this, and I want to be fair about it, so I'll give you the exact quotation: ``I guess I would have voted with the majority if it was a close vote, but I agree with the arguments the minority made.'' What kind of message would that send to a man like Saddam Hussein?

You talk about wishy-washy indecision that is offered up by both my opponent and the gridlocked Congress; they are one and the same. So if you want to see this country go forward with optimism, first send Bill Clinton back to Arkansas, but just as important, help me shake up that gridlocked Congress and get rid of them.

Speaking for this district, you can do it by electing a seasoned leader, General Paul Harvey, to represent you in the Congress. I told the general I was going to make a joke about his providing ``the rest of the story.'' But I'm sure you heard this kind of kidding. I'm sure he's heard it about 3,000 times every day.

Our crusade, and it is one, will not be easy. And I know that. But I'm absolutely certain that in November we will prevail. Two weeks ago, they were totally writing off the Bush-Quayle ticket, all those smart talking heads on television. We are going to take it to the American people. We're going to the people with our message.

For 9 months the Governor of Arkansas has been distorting my record. I don't care what the polls say, I'm going to take this case to the American people like Truman did, go against the Congress, go against the opponent, say what I'm for.

God bless the United States of America. We are going to win this race. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:25 p.m. in Jones Park. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Kirk Fordice; Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran; Ken Combs, Mayor of Gulfport; and entertainer Ricky Scaggs.

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