Public Papers - 1992
Remarks on Arrival in Greenville, Mississippi
The President. Thank you all. Thank you, Kirk. Thank you, Governor Fordice.
Let me just start off by telling the people of Mississippi something you already know. You've got a great Governor, a great new Governor fighting for the people here, and a wonderful wife, Pat. May I salute our State chairman, Evelyn McPhail, a great political leader; I see her family's here; and national committeewoman, Suzanne Rogers; and my old friend whose hometown we're in, longtime political warrior, Clarke Reed. I'm proud to be standing next to him.
You know, you keep hearing the cry up there in Washington, ``Clean House!'' all around the country because of the mess the Congress has made of things. But you've got two people that we don't want to clean; we want to keep them there forever. I'm talking about Trent Lott, and I'm talking about Thad Cochran, two great United States Senators.
I want to take some catfish back with me; so I'd like to ask somebody to bring it to me. [Laughter] I love these signs: Arkansas for Bush. We're not giving up on one single State around here.
You know, for the past few weeks I've been traveling the length and breadth of our wonderful country, campaigning for the economic ideas that I believe in, my Agenda for American Renewal. I want to open up new markets for American products, create new jobs for American workers, because American workers never retreat; we always compete. And we always win. We must open up the markets.
All you hear out of the Clinton camp is gloom and doom. Let me tell you, the figures released this morning show that housing starts, a key indicator, are the largest increase in 18 months. Inflation is down. Interest rates are low. Our economy is poised for a takeoff if we make the right choice in November. Elect me as President. Do not put this recovery at risk.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. You know, the backbone of Mississippi is small business, small-business men, small-business women. I believe that small business will be the sturdy horse pulling the wagon of a recovering economy. So I want to give small business relief from taxation, from regulation, and yes, from litigation.
You know, this is a ghastly figure, but do you know that Americans spend up to 0 billion in one year on lawyers and lawsuits? I think that is outrageous. As a nation we ought to sue each other less and care for each other more. Help me put a lid on these outrageous lawsuits.
I am so glad to see so many kids here today. I want to give our kids what they truly deserve, the finest schools in the entire world. And I want every parent all across this country to have the freedom to choose their schools for their kids, whether it's public, private, or religious.
There's so much more to our Agenda for American Renewal: fighting crime, fighting drugs, many other things. But while I've been out talking positively for the future, my opponent has chosen to fix his energies on the past. Month after month, I believe it's about 11 months now, Governor Clinton has persisted in these one-sided attacks on me, distorting my record, telling untruths about what I've been trying to do for this country. Do you remember all the things about negative, ``be careful of the Bush campaign'' negative? This week Governor Clinton launched the first nationwide negative television advertisements. So far up to now I've resisted going after him. But I tell you, I'm tired of these exaggerations, and today I started to fight back. Today I started to fight back, and we're going to talk about his record, his record next door. It is not fair to the people of Arkansas.
Audience members. Hit him again, harder, harder! Hit him again, harder, harder! Hit him again, harder, harder!
The President. I will; just a minute here. [Laughter]
You know, today we've been to all six States surrounding Arkansas, and I want to see that we can move beyond Governor Clinton's rhetoric and see what he's really done for the people next door, for the people of Arkansas or, put it this way, what he's done to the good people in the State of Arkansas.
I support the people over there. I've been there many, many times. They are good, hard-working, decent people. They deserve better treatment than they have had from that Governor of theirs for 10 years.
You know, you hear a lot about debates. Governor Clinton is talking up there in Michigan, waving his arms around, talking about my being afraid to stand up with him. Who is he to call me afraid, for heaven sakes?
The other side says they're eager to debate. Well, I've got an idea. On the one side you can have candidate Clinton, standing over here. And then over here you can have Governor Clinton, and let them debate: the rhetoric versus the record. Let him talk about a series of broken promises. Let's just look at one issue, and that's the need to give the middle class, you who pay the bills and do the work, a big, fat chunk of the American pie.
Candidate Clinton, standing here, is playing the same old game that the liberals always play, class warfare. You've heard it over and over again. Candidate Clinton is good at it, using the same tired, twisted, partisan statistics to explain how the poor only get richer if the rich get poorer.
Let me tell you this: According to candidate Clinton, the one over here, the last 10 years have been a nightmare. Well, if you look at the facts, it simply is not true. Inflation is down. Interest rates are down, and the American worker is still the most productive in the entire world.
You know, back in Washington they have this thing called the Urban Institute, not usually one of my most ardent admirers. But listen to what they have to say about the 1980's, and I quote, ``The rich got a little richer, and the poor got much richer.'' That is the truth. Our conservative policies of cutting taxes have meant more money in the pockets of all Americans. Candidate Clinton doesn't think it is fair, but maybe it is because Governor Clinton doesn't have much experience with tax fairness right across the border in Arkansas.
He talks about my record. Let me talk about his, factually. He's more than doubled Arkansas's spending since '83. He's paid for it by raising taxes that hurt working families the most. He's raised and extended his sales tax repeatedly. He's more than doubled Arkansas's gas tax. He's even taxed food stamps until the Federal Government forced him to stop. He started taxing mobile homes, and then he raised taxes on beer, and then he tried to tax child care. I guess it doesn't matter whether the burp is from the beer or the baby bottle, he's going to slap a tax on it. I don't think we need that. I don't think we need that for the United States of America.
Listen to what the Arkansas paper -- I'm going right to his homefront for this one -- said about his tax policies. ``If Congress followed the example Bill Clinton has set as Governor, it would pass a tax program that would hit the middle class the hardest.'' Well, I don't want to favor the rich at the expense of the middle class. I want to cut taxes for all working Americans so that everyone can get rich because that's what America is all about.
Candidate Clinton wants to do for the American economy what Governor Clinton has done to Arkansas. I've got one question: Why in the world should we let him do that to us? As a candidate now he's come out of the box, and he has already proposed the largest tax increase in American history. That's not even counting the payroll taxes that he wants to slap on for training and health care.
Now, you tell me, is that fair to the middle class? The answer is no. He's been talking the talk of economic fairness, sounding like Robin Hood: Rob from the rich and give some crumbs to the poor. But Governor Clinton has been more like Captain Hook, scaring the wits out of the middle class. And I believe in something entirely different. I believe that Government is too big and spends too much of your money. I want to change that.
That's why I want that line-item veto and the balanced budget amendment and that tax cut-off to let people check their box on their income taxes. If the Congress can't do it, let the American people do it. Let me follow through to get these taxes down and get this deficit down.
Audience members. Clean the House! Clean the House! Clean the House!
The President. There's a good idea. They say ``Clean the House!'' I'll tell you, there's going to be 150 new Members of Congress or something like that. The day I am reelected, I'll sit down with them, and I'll say ``Look, the American people said they don't want to spend more. They don't want to tax more. They want to get Government under control. They want to do something about crime. Now, you new Members of Congress help me get all this done in the first 100 days. Give the people a break.''
You know, I feel the same way on this tax situation as Kirk Fordice does. He went to the mat with that State legislature to ease the tax burden on the working men and women. Governor Fordice might not have won that first round, but he's going to come back again and again. He knows the same as I know that you can spend your money better than any Government planner can. Low taxes are the way to get the economy moving again.
So whether the issue is fairness, the environment, health care, civil rights, fighting crime, improving our schools, candidate Clinton promises America the moon, while Governor Clinton watches the sky fall in over in Arkansas. He has a lousy record, and I don't want him to do to the United States that which he has done to the great State of Arkansas.
You know, I'm proud to be back in Mississippi, and I think of this one, as Kirk referred to it, as one of the most patriotic of States. I will say this -- no, I am not going to bring up the draft issue. But let me just simply say I am proud that I wore the uniform of the United States of America, and I am proud that I served.
We have a great country. We are the leader of the entire world. Soviet communism is dead. Peace is on the move all around the world. And Governor Clinton says we're a nation in decline. He ought to get outside of Little Rock and travel and find out that we are the most respected nation on the face of the Earth. I want to keep it that way by keeping us strong, keeping us determined, keeping us economically viable at home.
You have a great, proud State, and I'm proud to be back in it. May God bless the people of Mississippi and the people of the United States of America. Thank you very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 5:19 p.m. at Greenville Municipal Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Clarke Reed, State chairman, Bush-Quayle '92.