Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Springfield
The President. Thank you very, very much. Give them the sign. [Laughter] Thank you very, very much. Let me say it's great to be back here in Springfield, great to be back in this all-important part of Pennsylvania, and great to be accompanied by one of the true national leaders who is your Congressman, Curt Weldon. He's doing an outstanding job.
I hope some of you tuned into last night's political talk-a-thon. I don't pretend to be an Oxford debater, but I think I did OK. What we're going to do is continue to tell the truth about this country, and let the voters decide 3 weeks from whenever it is -- tomorrow. Three weeks away. We need your support.
You know, listening to our opponents, you might think they want you to believe that America is a nation in decline. And of course, we've got our challenges, but we should never forget that our people are still the best educated; our economy, in spite of the problems, the most dynamic; our workers are still the most productive, more productive than any other workers in the entire world. And I am proud of what we have done to strengthen America's leadership all around the world.
Four years ago we said we'd bring America's disabled into the mainstream, and we delivered. I said we would do what no President has done in 10 years, and that is start to clean our air and get rid of acid rain, and we delivered. I said we would strengthen the family by letting parents, not the Government, choose our kids' child care, and we delivered again.
I am very proud that on my watch more than a billion people, almost one-fifth of the entire population of the world, have enjoyed the first breath of freedom. I'm proud that we stood up to the bully of Baghdad and led the world to saying no to aggression.
I am especially proud that the children here today, the young people, will grow up in a world that is safer because we reduced the fear of nuclear war. But as you people know, the Soviet bear may be gone, but there are still some wolves in the woods. It may be tempting to believe that we can turn the American Commander in Chief into the Maytag repairman. But there are still dangers in the world, and you've got to ask who do you trust to keep your families secure.
Governor Clinton has absolutely no experience in international matters, and I am the President who has led the world and made these kids safer. I ask for your support on that basis.
You see, the new world brings new challenges and new opportunities. We're part of a global economy, and this is no time to hand the wheel to a novice. When it comes to steering America through the new global economic challenges, America needs a driver who knows the highway. Do not take a risk on America's future.
I have laid out my Agenda for American Renewal, the steps that we must take to win the economic competition, to build a prosperous, secure nation for all the kids here today. And step number one is to tear down the barriers to free and fair trade so that we can create good jobs for American workers.
Yes, we've been caught up in a global economic slowdown. We have to understand that the nations of Europe would switch for our economy in a fast minute. We have lower inflation and lower interest rates. We're the world's leading exporter. And when you shop in the world, chances are that the goods in the stores say not ``Made in Japan,'' not ``Made in Germany'' but ``Made in the U.S.A.''
Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. And by opening up foreign markets, we will provide good jobs for our kids and our grandkids. You know, already the average export-related job pays 17 percent more than a traditional job. So if we want our sons and daughters of steelworkers to have good jobs, we must fight for free and fair trade. I am proud of our administration that last week signed the North American free trade agreement, forging a trillion market from Manitoba to Mexico. NAFTA will create 175,000 new American jobs.
In my second term, we will fight for new agreements with the nations of Europe and Asia and Latin America. And just as we once used our military alliances to win the cold war, we can use these economic alliances to win the new business war. We are number one. Let's make ourselves even stronger.
But let's be serious about one point: If we're going to win that competition in the new economy, we've got to do it, and we've got to do it by changing our schools. You know, we already spend more per pupil than any of our major industrial competitors and yet our kids rank near the bottom in math and science. We need to embrace new ideas. And again, I'm proud of what we've done already. Never in history has America had national education goals. But today we do. Now let's build on that goal to give every kid here a better education. Never before in America have almost 2,000 communities committed to literally reinventing our schools. And today they are. But we can't stop here. So in my second term I want to give every parent in America the right to choose their kids' school, public, private, or religious.
But you know, reforming education will not be enough if our graduates can't find jobs. So we have to strengthen American business. The past 4 years have not been easy. American companies are restructuring. But almost every American industry -- steel, computers, biotech -- is stronger than just a few years ago. Small business is the backbone of this economy, creating two out of every three jobs. Small business will lead the economic recovery if we can provide the kind of tax relief I'm fighting for, relief from taxation, regulation, and litigation.
America spends up to 0 billion every year on direct cost to lawyers. Japan doesn't spend this, and neither does Germany. I want to take on these trial lawyers and reform our lawsuit-happy legal system. People don't even dare coach Little League because they'll get sued. You see a guy lying along the highway, and you don't dare stop because you think somebody will sue you for trying to help. Or if you're a doctor, you don't dare deliver babies because you're afraid some crazy patient will sue you with a malpractice suit. Well look, we sue each other too much, and we care for each other too little. Let's start doing it the other way: care for each other more and sue each other less.
Step four is this: We've got to cut the cost of health care. With our current health care system, you get sick twice, first when you go to the doctor and then a month later when you get the bill. I want to reform this malpractice insurance. I want to use competition to drive the cost down. I want to make insurance available to absolutely everybody: the poorest of the poor right up through the overworked, overtaxed middle class. My plan does that, and we still keep the quality of American health care. Let's not go to socialized medicine; let's go to competitive medicine. A good doctor ought not to be a luxury, not something reserved for the privileged few: not here, not in Pennsylvania, not in America, not anymore. Pass my health care reform. Give me new Members of Congress. Clean out the House. Give us more like Curt. Give us people that will pass this kind of legislation.
Priority number five is to reach out to every American because in the next century we need the talent of every person from the city to the suburbs to the furthest rural town. And to do this we must take back our streets from the crackheads and the criminals. We must back our law enforcement people. Today I've just come from a marvelous meeting of 20 leaders of national firefighting people. And we've got to make them safe by better law enforcement. We must protect those who are helping us.
I'm proud that under my administration about 85 percent of the people served their full sentences on Federal crimes. We have appointed Federal judges who have a little less respect for the criminal and a lot more for the victims of crime. And that's the kind of judges we need.
But we want to do even better with tough new laws for new crimes like carjacking and special laws for crimes against women and the elderly. And so I put forward a specific plan to eliminate over 4,000 Government projects, almost 250 programs that waste your hard-earned tax dollars. And I want to control the growth of mandatory Federal spending without touching Social Security. Leave Social Security safe.
As Curt knows, the Congress can't do anything about the deficit, so give me a chance. Give me a balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto, a check-off on our tax return. A check-off on the tax return to take the deficit off our children's shoulders. We've got to get the job done, and the current Congress won't do it. The good news is because of the fraud in the banks and the post offices, we're going to have a lot of new Congressmen. And I'll sit down and say, let's change America. Let's get the deficit off the back of these kids.
Governor Clinton simply cannot stand up to the congressional bosses. He refuses to endorse term limits. I say let's limit the terms of Members of Congress and give the Government back to the people.
So this is some of our agenda for America's renewal. It's a comprehensive, it's an innovative, a new approach, a new plan, and it offers the promises of a very different America than the plan Governor Clinton proposes.
Now, look at each of the items I've mentioned and you'll see the difference. I hate to ruin this beautiful sunny day in Springfield, but I've got to tell you a little bit factually about Governor Clinton's record.
On the question of the North American free trade agreement, he was first for it and then against it. Now he's for it again. You can't do that. They don't serve waffles in the Oval Office on these tough issues. You have to take a position. You can't keep everybody happy, but you've got to take a position. You can't be on all sides of every issue.
In education Governor Clinton talks a good game, but he's flunked the test in Arkansas. He can't reform American schools because he doesn't want to attend the very powerful union leaders. I want to support the teachers, not the teachers' union. He wants to listen to the union and not to the teachers.
You see the same thing when it comes to small business. Governor Clinton and the trial lawyers act like Boris and Natasha in those old Bullwinkle cartoons, you remember? They play goo-goo eyes with each other. He wants small business to pay a stiff new payroll tax for health care, and that would drive away jobs in small business. And we don't need to destroy jobs; we need to create jobs.
And on crime, I have been endorsed, because we have a strong record of backing the law enforcement officers, by the National Fraternal Order of Police. And get this, the police in Little Rock, the ones who know Governor Clinton best, have endorsed me for President of the United States.
Here's the biggest difference of all. Here is the biggest difference of all. Where I want to make Government smaller, Governor Clinton has already proposed -- worse than Mondale, worse than Dukakis -- 0 billion in new taxes. And that ain't all of it, man. He's also proposed over 0 billion in new spending, and he hasn't got there yet. We cannot have that. You've got to ask who's going to pay for it. He says sock it to the rich. There aren't that many people that are rich. What he's going to do is stick it right to the cab driver, the teacher, the nurse, the firefighter, the construction workers. I say we need to help the middle class, not sock it to them with more taxes.
So we've got two fundamentally different philosophies of Government. He puts his faith in more Government, in special interests, in higher taxes to pay for all his promises. And I offer smaller Government, lower taxes, and more power to the people so that we can renew America.
The Democrats don't like it when I talk about it, but we've got to find ways to strengthen the American family, not tear it apart at the shreds by crazy social legislation. When Barbara Bush reads to those children in the Diplomatic Entrance to the White House, she's saying, ``Love your kid. Read to the children. Strengthen the American family.'' And that's what we must do. [Applause] And I agree with you. I think we've got the best First Lady in a long, long time.
You know, as I told them last night, in the Oval Office, the buck does stop there. You've got to make tough decisions. You can't keep everybody happy. When you make a mistake you pick up and go on and try to continue to help the American people. When you do something wrong, do like a family person does, say, ``Look, I made a mistake and now I want to go forward.'' I believe I have been a good, strong leader in tough times for the United States of America.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. I believe I have the ideas, the experience, and the character to lead again so that together we can make our Nation more safe and more secure. Let us not take a risk on America's future. I ask for your trust so that I can finish this job. I am proud of the United States. I do not tear it down. I want to lift it up and make life better for every single American.
And may God bless you all. May God bless you. And thank you for this fantastic show of support. I am very, very grateful to you. Thank you all.
Note: The President spoke at 11:57 a.m. at the Springfield Township Municipal Amphitheater.