Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Dover, Delaware
The President. Thank you very, very much. Thank you, Governor Castle. Hey, listen, you've got an outstanding Governor, one of the greatest in the United States, and he's going to make an outstanding Member of the United States Congress, too.
Before I get started here may I single out all these marvelous bands, the -- [applause] -- just a minute, you guys -- Caesar Rodney High School Band and their show choir, the Dover High School Band and their select chorus, and the Smyrna High School Band and the great soloist, Marva Thomas.
I am delighted to be here. And Mike, not only have you done a great job, but I am grateful to you for that kind introduction. Good afternoon, everyone. What a spectacular Delaware day. And what a fantastic turnout. We are going to carry the State of Delaware.
May I salute Lieutenant Governor Dale Wolf, another outstanding leader. Your Mayor, with whom I just met, Aaron Knopf; Basil Battaglia, our great State chairman; and the cast of fine candidates that have joined us here today. Donna Lee Williams over here, the candidate for insurance commissioner. Philip Cloutier, the candidate over here for Lieutenant Governor. And we've got to keep the governorship in Republican hands. Gary Scott is our outstanding candidate; vote for him for Governor. And I just talked to another friend of mine, a man with whom I served in Congress. He and I went there on the very same day back in the late sixties. I'm talking about your outstanding Senator, Bill Roth. I talked to him. He's doing a great job for this State, and he's a good friend.
But I came over to Dover this afternoon to talk a little bit about the choice that we face this November. This campaign, like every one, is about a simple question: What kind of America do we want for the young people here today? I have laid out my Agenda for American Renewal, a specific, comprehensive, integrated agenda so we can create in America the world's very first trillion economy by the end of this decade. My agenda for renewal asks that we look forward to open new markets for American products so we create new jobs for American workers. The answer is to expand our exports. We want to prepare our young people to work so they have the tools to compete and win, and to strengthen the American family because family is still the foundation of our great Nation. And we've got to save and invest because America must always put tomorrow ahead of today. Those are the four things we must do.
So here's what I am fighting for: I want to literally reinvent American education and give every American the fundamental right to choose the best schools for their children, public, private, or religious. And I salute Governor Castle for the leadership role that he is taking with our America 2000 program. It is new, it is revolutionary, and it puts the power in the hands of the teachers and the parents where it belongs. Mike, thank you very much for your leadership.
Another one: I want to reform our crazy legal system because as a nation we must sue each other less and care for each other more. It has gone too far when these crazy lawsuits keep people from coaching Little League, doctors from delivering babies, or whatever it is. We must put a cap on these outrageous lawsuits, and we've got to stand up against the special interests in Congress who are keeping us from doing just exactly that. Clean House!
I want to use competition to cut the cost of health care and make it affordable and accessible for you and your families. And our program provides insurance to the poorest of the poor and still keeps the quality of American medical care up there as number one in the world.
And finally, I'm fighting for economic security for every man, woman, and child in America. If we are truly to renew America, we must pay special attention to those who have been left behind. Today is National Child Health Day, a good time to remind ourself that America's greatest resource is her people. As we move into the new century, we cannot afford to lose a single American to indifference and to neglect. Good intentions and noble rhetoric are not enough. Our actions must match our words. When it comes to children's health, the actions of my administration has spoken loud and clear. And so, let's take a quick look at the record. Since I took office, we have increased spending on children's programs by 66 percent to over 0 billion a year. From infant mortality to childhood immunizations to making sure that our neediest kids get nutritious foods they need, we've done more than talk about children's health. And we haven't stopped there, believe me. We've increased Head Start funding by 127 percent, 0 million this year alone, so that every eligible 4-year-old will be able to start school ready to learn. We did it. And now let's take that case to the American people.
We've also pushed through a 96-percent increase in the earned income tax credit, putting another .5 billion in the hands of those hard-working, low-income, working parents. And our program encourages them to stay off welfare and stay on the job and gives them a leg up in providing stability and security for their families. We've got to support the families through this kind of program. Now these are good, solid programs, programs that work for families, not against them. But nobody should be fooled that we can spend our way out of problems. The bottom line for all our programs should be strengthening the family. And we must encourage families to stick together and those deadbeat fathers to stick around and do what they're obliged to do under the law.
Look at our child care reform. I pushed through my comprehensive child care program 2 years ago with Bill Roth's help and the help of others. The liberals in Congress wanted to create a brave new child care bureaucracy. I said let's try something different, and we did. We let parents, not the Government, choose the child care they want for their kids, whether it's in a church basement or a public school or in a neighbor's house. It gives parents the means and lets the parents make the choice. And that's what we need for this country. Just last week, I proposed a new tough child support policy. We're telling these deadbeat fathers: You can run, but you can't hide. And you will support the family you're responsible for -- no if's, no and's, no but's. You're going to pay up.
Now, I hate to ruin this beautiful day, but that's our record, and I'm proud of what it is. But what about Governor Clinton?
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. I hate to do this to you. I hate to do this to you, but let me tell you something. For about 11 months, he and those other Democrats have been ill-defining what we're trying to do, and now let me tell you what he has done. I know that he always talks a good game, but behind his word is a very different reality, the reality of his record as Governor of Arkansas.
Now, when it comes to protecting the children of Arkansas, the facts about his record are not pretty. But America must look at those facts because Governor Clinton isn't leveling with the American people. And during the 1980's, the death rate for American children, 14 and under, improved dramatically across the country, but in Arkansas it got worse. The State ranked 43d in 1987, and 2 years later it fell to 49 out of 50. And that is not what we want for the entire United States of America.
In the late 1980's, on Governor Clinton's watch, Arkansas' rate of violent death for teenagers soared at 3 times the national average. And over the decade, child abuse reports shot up 130 percent. Now, it's hard to believe Governor Clinton was unaware of what was going on. Throughout the 1980's, study after study offered detailed findings and recommendations -- a cry for help, if you will -- and Bill Clinton even commissioned some of these studies himself. And in 1990 his own department of human services reported, and here is the quote, ``Frequent and widespread official failures had placed the children of Arkansas in imminent peril.'' And still Governor Clinton did nothing. At last, a group of child welfare advocates had to take him to court, and they filed a class action suit naming him as the lead defendant. And finally 4 months ago, Governor Clinton settled. Bill Clinton's child health record in Arkansas is absolutely appalling. He ought to stop attacking me and try to help the good people of Arkansas before he becomes President of the United States.
There's no other word for it, appalling. Look at how his State matches up with other States: 45th in the well-being of children, 45th in low-weight babies, 47th in the percentage of children in poverty. And despite that record, the Governor travels the country calling himself an advocate for children. Well, maybe the children of Arkansas would be better off if he spent less time talking about them and more time trying to help them. They deserve better. The children of America deserve better. We've got a good record to take to the American people on child care and child support. And on issue after issue you see this same huge gap between Clinton's rhetoric and Governor Clinton's record.
Bill Clinton says he's for civil rights. And I am proud that we passed two historic civil rights bills since I've been President of the United States, the ADA bill and the Civil Rights bill. But Arkansas is one of two States that doesn't have even a basic civil rights law. He says he's for high-tech, but under Bill Clinton, Arkansas's been falling behind in high school. Three out of every four Arkansas graduates spend their first year in college relearning what they were supposed to learn in high school. You don't want that for Delaware, and I don't want that for the United States.
I'm just getting warmed up. [Laughter] Listen, take a look at our North American free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, NAFTA. I launched NAFTA, this free trade agreement, because it will create high-wage jobs for Americans right here in Delaware, right here in the United States. And I fought for it every step of the way because it is the right thing to do. That's what Presidential leadership is all about.
Once upon a time, Bill Clinton said -- here's one of the great problems, he's on all sides of every issue -- once upon a time, he said he was for NAFTA, this free trade agreement. Then the labor bosses told him that they were against it. So he said he wasn't sure if he was for it or against it. And now he's looked at the polls, he's seen that the American people want NAFTA, so just yesterday he said he's for it. And then again, maybe he's not. You see, he's saddled his support for this bill with all kinds of reservations and qualifications. He says we need special provisions to help workers, and he's right. That's why I've already proposed billion in job retraining programs to do just exactly that. And he says we need to complete NAFTA with environmental agreements, and he's right. That's why I have already negotiated with the Mexicans separate agreements, environmental agreements with the Mexican Government. And when I've asked Bill Clinton's Democratic friends in Congress to fund my proposals to clean up our border with Mexico, they said no.
But Governor Clinton won't let those facts get in the way. It doesn't matter what's right or what's wrong, he just tells people what he thinks they want to hear. You cannot do that when you are President of the United States. You have to make the tough calls. You can't be everything to everyone. And you cannot come down on both sides of the issue and call it leadership.
Look at the economy, the major issue in this campaign. I know America has had some tough economic times, but understand, we're being affected by a global economic slowdown. Our competitors in Europe, every single one of them, would trade places with us in a minute. And yet, Governor Clinton offers America the same European social welfare state policies: more Government, more special interests, more special interest spending, and more taxes on the middle class.
As Governor, Bill Clinton raised and extended the sales tax, including a tax on vegetables and other groceries. He raised the gas tax. He taxed mobile homes. And he even taxed cable TV. And he's now out telling us we need to raise taxes on the American people by 0 billion. We are not going to do that. In this campaign, he's going to get out there and do something else that we don't like. He says he's going to raise these taxes again, as I said, 0 billion worth, but only on the rich. Well, don't bet on it. To get the money he needs for this plan of his, just the 0 billion that he has promised in new taxes, Governor Clinton would have to get his money from every individual with taxable income over ,600. And that's just for starters. Listen to the newspaper from his own backyard, the Pine Bluff Commercial. Here's what they say: ``If Congress followed the example that Bill Clinton has set as Governor of Arkansas, it would pass a tax program that would hit the middle class the hardest.''
And there you have it: higher taxes on the middle class, more spending, a bigger deficit. And America deserves something better as we come out of these slow economic times and move this country ahead. At this time in our history, we simply cannot afford that kind of change. The man goes all around the country saying change, change, change. And with his kind of change, all you're going to have left in your pocket is a little change. We cannot let him do that to the American taxpayer.
So the bottom line is, Bill Clinton is wrong for America. Let him straighten out Arkansas before he tries to be President of the United States.
You know, I see a lot of young people here, and let me say this: I've been in the Oval Office now for 3/2\ years, close to 4. And in that office you face tough decisions, and you make mistakes. And when you make mistakes, you ought to say, look, I fouled this one up, or I made a mistake. That's the human way; in my view that's the American way. But I've also made some very tough calls. And I believe I've been a principled, strong leader. We have changed the world. We have literally changed the world the past 4 years. And I, too, want to salute those men and women in the armed services right here from Dover who did the right thing in Desert Storm. We've changed the world. And now let's use that same energy and that same enthusiasm and that same vision to change the United States of America, to make life better for every single citizen in this country.
And the last point I'd make is this: I believe we need a smaller Government in Washington and bigger opportunities, bigger opportunities in places like Dover and New Castle. I see an America where health care is more affordable; where we've reinvented education, creating these new schools for a new century. I see an America where we spend less time suing and more time caring and where we take back our streets from the crackheads and the criminals through tough anticrime legislation. I see an America where we limit the terms for Members of Congress. The President's term is limited. Let's limit the terms for Congressmen and give it back to the American people.
Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!
The President. For 38 years, one party has controlled the House. And no wonder these people here feel we ought to clean House. Let's clean it out. Get Mike Castle in there. You've got a great Governor. You've got an honest, decent Governor. Put him in there, and watch the change begin.
So, if you're looking for a leader with some experience and someone who shares your values and who understands that America's real strength is not in Government but in places like Dover and Camden and New Castle, then I know I can count on your support for 4 more years on November 3d.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. In this very historic setting one can't help but look over one's shoulders at history. One can't help but recognize how magnificent our system is. And you know, in these tough political times -- and this has been about as ugly a political year as I've ever seen -- the media has been rolling down the tracks in their own inimitable way, and it's not been very pleasant. The campaigning and stuff is not very much fun. But Barbara and I have tried to uphold the trust that was placed in us by the American people. Yes, I think we have the best First Lady in a long, long time. And I know it's tough going, although rallies like this make it just great.
But when people go into that booth, I think that in addition to all these issues, I think they're going to say: Who has made the tough decisions? But much more important, they're going to say: Who do I trust? Who has the character to lead this country for 4 years? And on that basis, I ask for your support as President of the United States so I can finish the job.
Thank you all, and may God bless you. Thank you very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 3:12 p.m. on the Green in front of the old statehouse.