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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks to the Community in Holland, Michigan

1992-10-12

The President. Thank you, Governor. What a fantastic rally. Thank you all. Wall-to-wall people at Hope. This is beautiful. Thank you so very much. And may I thank your great Governor, John Engler, and salute your Lieutenant Governor, Connie Binsfeld, who's with us. And Peter Hoekstra, who we've got to have as a Member of the Congress. If we had more people in Congress like Peter, they wouldn't be yelling at me, ``Clean House!'' We've got to clean House, and one way to do it: Get Peter in there and others like him. Good, solid, Michigan people.

Out there in the audience is someone you ought to be very proud of, the man I had the pleasure of meeting awhile back, Professor Harvey Blankespoor, and his wife, Marlene. Great leader, great educational leader. And of course, it's a great pleasure to be here at Hope College, and great to be back in Michigan.

Now, may I begin by congratulating the Flying Dutchmen on your big victory Saturday. You know, I also couldn't help but notice that one of Michigan's great companies, the Herman Miller Corporation, made the furniture for last night's Presidential debate. They did a great job. Things got so hot in there that I commend whoever made the decision to nail the podiums to the floor. [Laughter] But, you know, Governor Clinton has a tendency to take two positions on every issue. So maybe Herman Miller should make a fourth podium, one for Clinton when he's for something and one for Clinton when he's against it.

You listen to him, and also to some degree to Ross Perot, and you get the feeling that America is a nation in decline. And yes, we've got our challenges. But we should never forget that our people are still the best educated; our economy, in spite of a world slowdown, the best, the most dynamic; and our workers the most productive, more productive than any other workers in the entire world. And that is the fact. I am proud of what we've accomplished the past 4 years: to strengthen America's leadership. We are respected around the entire world. And we are number one.

Let's talk about the record. Four years ago, I said we would bring the disabled into America's economic mainstream. And we delivered with the Americans for Disability Act, the best piece of civil rights legislation in decades.

I said I would do what no President has done for 10 years, 20 years and start to clean our air 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 on that, too. I'm also proud that on our watch more than a billion people, almost one-fifth of the population of the entire world, have enjoyed their first breath of freedom. Democracy and freedom are on the move.

And while Governor Clinton waffled, I stood up to a Baghdad bully, and we led the world in saying no to aggression. And I'm especially proud that the children here today will grow up in a world that is safer because we reduced the awful threat, the nightmare of nuclear weapons. That is a major accomplishment. But you know, while the Soviet bear may be gone, there are still 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 real dangers in the world. You must ask, who do you trust to keep your families secure?

This is about big things. It's about the Presidency. And Governor Clinton has absolutely no international experience. I am the President who has led the world and made our children safer.

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

The President. You see this new world, the new world today brings new challenges and also new opportunities. We are part of a global economy, and this is no time to hand the wheel to a novice to take a risk with the United States. When it comes to steering America through the new global economic challenges, America needs a driver who knows the highway. And I am that man.

I have laid out this agenda for America's renewal, the steps that we must take to win the new economic competition, to build a prosperous, secure nation for all the kids here today. Step number one is to tear down barriers to free and fair trade so that we can create good jobs for American workers. Today, we're in a global downturn. But while there is anxiety here at home, we have to understand that the nations of Europe would switch places with us in a minute. We have lower inflation. We have lower interest rates. And we are the world's leading exporter. When you shop in the world, chances are that the goods in the store may say not ``Made in Japan,'' not ``Made in Germany'' but ``Made in the U.S.A.''

And so we're going to pry open new foreign markets. In so doing, we will provide good jobs for our kids and our grandkids. Already the average export-related job pays 17 percent more than a traditional job. So if we want the sons and daughters of auto workers to have good jobs, we must fight for free and fair trade. I'm proud of our record, and I'm proud that last week we signed the historic North American free trade agreement, forging a trillion market from Manitoba to Mexico. And that will create 175,000 additional American jobs.

In the second term, we're going to fight for new agreements with the nations of Europe and Asia and Latin America. Just as we once used our military alliances to win the old cold war, we can use our economic alliances to win the new business war. Because give the American worker the chance and they will outthink, outcompete, outproduce any other worker on the face of the Earth.

Let's not kid ourselves. We're not going to compete in this new economy if we don't do better by education, if we don't change our schools. We already spend more per pupil than any of our major industrial competitors, and yet our kids in K through 12 rank near the bottom in math and science. We need to embrace new ideas.

And again, I am proud of what we have done already. Never in the history has America had national educational goals. Today we do. That happened under my being President of the United States. Never before in America have almost 2,000 communities committed to literally reinventing their schools. 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' schools, public, private, or religious.

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

The President. Reforming education, though, reforming education won't be enough if our graduates can't find jobs. So we have to strengthen American business. The past 4 years have not been easy as American companies restructure. But almost every American industry -- steel, computers, cars, biotechnology -- is stronger now than just 4 years ago. Small business is the backbone of our new economy, creating two out of every three new jobs. And small business will lead the new economic recovery if we can provide the kind of relief that I am fighting for, relief from taxation, regulation, and litigation.

You know I'm not anti-lawyer, but let me tell you something. We spend up to 0 billion every year on direct costs to lawyers. Japan doesn't spend this; Germany doesn't. And I want to take on those ambulance chasers and reform our lawsuit-happy legal system. You see, when doctors are afraid to practice, when people are afraid to help somebody along the highway, when coaches are afraid to coach Little League, my message is this: As a nation, we must sue each other less and care for each other more.

Step number four of my agenda is to create economic security for every working man and woman in this country. And that means cutting the cost of health care. With our current health care system, you get sick twice, first when you go to the doctor, then a month later when you get the bill.

I want to reform malpractice insurance. I want to use competition to drive costs down and make affordable insurance available to everyone in the United States, including the poorest of the poor. And my health care plan does exactly that without taxing small business. A good doctor should not be a luxury, not something reserved for the privileged few: not here, not in Michigan, not in America, not anymore.

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're fighting for strong anticrime legislation. And I'm proud that under my administration most Federal inmates serve at least 85 percent of their full sentence, while in Arkansas they serve 20 percent.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. We have appointed judges, and I will continue to do that, who have no respect for the criminals and a lot more concern for the victims of crime. But we must do better. We just passed a bill with tough laws against new crimes like carjacking. And now we need special laws for crimes against women and crimes against the elderly. Everybody should be secure in his or her own home. The way I see it, if you steal a car or if you mug an elderly woman, you ought to go to jail, and you shouldn't be let out until you're eligible for a birthday salute from Willard Scott.

The final part of my agenda is simply this: I believe that Government is too big and spends too much of your money. So I have put forward a specific plan to eliminate 4,000 Government projects, almost 240 programs that waste your hard-earned tax dollars. I want to control, as I said last night, to get this deplorable deficit down. We have got to control the growth of mandatory Federal spending without touching Social Security. We've got to do it. It means a little pain, but we cannot saddle the generations represented here today with more and more Federal debt.

And here's something that would help. I'm fighting for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. I am fighting for a line-item veto. And I want to give every taxpayer the power to designate up to 10 percent of your income tax to be used for one purpose only: to take the deficit off our children's shoulders. Congress won't make the tough choices, so it's time for some tough medicine. Governor Clinton won't stand up to the congressional bosses and endorse term limits. So I say let's limit the terms of Members of Congress and give Government back to the people.

And this, then, is my agenda for America's renewal. It offers the promise of a very different America than the plan Governor Clinton proposes. I hate to ruin this beautiful day, but just look for a minute at each of the items I've mentioned today, and you'll see the difference.

On the question of the North American free trade agreement, Governor Clinton was first for it and then against it. Now he's for it again. They do not serve waffles in the Oval Office. On tough issues, you have to take a stand. You can't be everything to everybody.

In education, Governor Clinton talks a good game, but he's flunked his test in Arkansas. And Governor Clinton can't reform American schools because he doesn't want to offend the powerful unions. I want to offend the unions and lift up the teachers, not the other way around. And so the Governor -- one side and then the other -- he tells the education establishment what they want to hear. I want to tell them what they need to hear.

You see the same thing when it comes to helping small business. Governor Clinton and the trial lawyers act like Boris and Natasha -- remember the old Bullwinkle cartoons -- goo-goo eyes with each other. [Laughter] And Governor Clinton doesn't want to touch the legal system. And he wants small business to pay a stiff new payroll tax for health care, which would drive away your jobs. And we do not need to destroy jobs by socking a tax to small business. We need to create jobs.

And on crime, which I mentioned -- I told you what I'm for -- but on crime, here's all you need to know about him. The prestigious National Fraternal Order of Police, the nationwide organization, have endorsed me for President. And the police in Little Rock, the ones who know Governor Clinton best, Little Rock, have endorsed me for President of the United States.

But here is the biggest difference and most important. Where I want to make Government smaller, Governor Clinton has already proposed, look at his plan, 0 billion in new taxes -- --

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. -- -- and he has promised well over 0 billion in new spending. We cannot have that.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. You've got to ask, who's going to pay for all those bills, all the promises? And the answer is: not the rich guys. It's the cab drivers, the barbers, the beauticians, the construction workers. And I say it is time to help the middle class.

And so we've got two very different, very different views of America. Governor Clinton puts his faith in more Government, in special interests, in higher taxes to pay for all these promises. And I offer smaller Government, lower taxes, and more power to the people so that we can renew America.

Today, as you know, is this glorious Columbus Day, and I'd like to point out that when Columbus set sail on his voyage, Spain's motto was three words: ne plus ultra. All you Latin students out there know that this meant ``no more beyond.'' And after Columbus returned from his discovery, Queen Isabella dropped the first word from her country's motto. And now it reads plus ultra, ``more beyond.''

And today we can say the same thing of the United States of America. We have triumphed around the world, but there is ``more beyond,'' more to reach for, more to reach for right here at home: better schools; safer streets; stronger families; a dynamic, growing economy where you can live your dreams. This is the future that I offer America. And that is why I ask for your support to finish the job.

Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

The President. Thank you for this fantastic rally. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:10 p.m. at Hope College.

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