Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Kannapolis, North Carolina
The President. Lynn, thank you, and thank all of Kannapolis and all of North Carolina for this wonderful welcome. I'm delighted to be with you on this beautiful North Carolina day.
Again, my thanks to Lynn Safrit, and thank you for the introduction. Thank all of you for the welcome. Let me say at the beginning here, I am so proud to have the leadership and the support of your great Governor, Jim Martin. What a job he's done for this State. And I salute the three Members of the United States Congress that are with me, standing here, Cass Ballenger and Alex McMillan, and Strom Thurmond, the indefatigable Strom Thurmond from next door here. If we had more Senators like Strom and Jesse Helms, we'd be in great shape in that Senate. That's why I'm for Lauch Faircloth for the Senate. I hope you'll send him up there and clean Senate as well as cleaning House.
Audience member. Clean the House!
The President. The man says, ``Clean the House,'' and he's right. Well, let's start by sending Coy Privette up to the Congress. I served in the Congress years ago with Jim Gardner. I want to see him elected to the governorship to continue the work Jim Martin has done.
Also may I salute another American great. I think you've heard from him; I hope you have. You know him, you respect him as I do, and I'm talking about Darryl Waltrip here. What a great American, great fellow. We're so proud of his record and what he stands for.
It's great to be here today. I've got to ask this question: Did any of you all see that debate 2 nights ago or 3 nights ago, whatever it was? Well, let me tell you something. I hope what you saw was a vast difference in philosophy, approach to this great country of ours, and I hope you saw a difference in character, because that's what's going to decide this election.
You know, Governor Clinton talked about his record in Arkansas, and I don't want to ruin a beautiful gathering like this, but let me just -- --
Audience member. Please don't. [Laughter]
The President. I've got to do it. I've got to put it in perspective. Listen to this now, facts: Arkansas rates 50th in the quality of environmental initiative; 50th in the percentage of adults with college degrees; 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice; 49th in per capita spending on police protection; 48th in percentage of adults with a high school diploma; 48th in spending on corrections; 46th on teachers' salaries; 45th on the overall well-being of children. And Governor Clinton said the other night, ``I want to do for the country what I've done for Arkansas.'' We cannot let him do that. You cannot do that.
It's like sending some Little League guy to coach the Braves. The Braves are going to win. You've got the chop going. Governor Clinton's like the guy that says, well, I might be for Toronto, but on the other hand, I'm for the Braves. You've got to make a commitment. I am for the Braves. Let's be clear on that one.
You know, all we hear about from that Clinton-Gore outfit is change, change, change, and that's all you'll have left in your pocket if they go in and start raising your taxes and increasing spending. He got a little mad at me when I pointed out what he said he wanted. He said he wants 0 billion in new taxes, 0 billion in new spending, and I call that trickle-down Government, big Government trickling its way down to the people. Let's make it the other way, have the people telling the Government what to do.
I remember the last time we had the kind of change he wants to bring to Washington. I hate to bring this one up, but how many remember the ``misery index'' that was invented not by us but by the liberal Democrats, unemployment and inflation added together? It was 21 percent. Now it's 10. How many remember what interest rates were back then when the Democrats controlled the White House and the Congress? Twenty-one percent. We cannot have that kind of change for the American people.
No, that's change all right. And, as I say, we can't have change for the sake of change. We've got to keep this country moving. I've got a proposal, it's called the agenda for America's renewal, that will cut this spending down. I'll tell you how I'm going to do it. I'm going to get this new Congress, working with these Congressmen here who are good and solid, to give me a line-item veto to cut out some of the pork out of the budget.
We're going to insist to do what the people want: Give the Federal Government a balanced budget amendment and take the burden off the backs of these young people. You want to get the deficit down? Give the taxpayer a check-off. Let the taxpayer say, ``Okay, I'm checking this box on my income tax. Ten percent of my tax must go for reducing the deficit by reducing spending.'' If they can't do it, make it mandatory. Make it obligatory.
A couple of other ideas. I don't believe that the answer is to pull inward. I believe we ought to open markets abroad for agriculture, for our textile products, for whatever it is. We've got the most productive workers in the world. Now let's hammer out new markets, so North Carolina will continue to do what it's doing, growing and prospering.
Another thing is small business. We've got some big ones right around the corner here, but small business is what drives this country. We need less regulation. We need tax breaks, investment tax allowance. We need a capital gains incentive so small business can prosper. We do not need more Clinton-Gore big Government.
I think every American worries about health care. I believe our proposal to provide insurance to the poorest of the poor, to provide tax credit to the overworked and overtaxed middle class is the way to go, because it provides the quality of our health care, keeps that, and yet makes insurance available to all. And when you leave one job, the insurance goes with you. That's a very important part of it. Keep the quality of the health care, but do not let the Government get in and tell us how to run health care.
On education, I am proud of our record. We have 1,700 communities across the land, North Carolina in the lead in many of its communities, literally reinventing our education. Let me be clear on the big difference with Governor Clinton. I believe that the parents should be able to choose. Just as parents choose day care now because of us, let them choose the school of their choice, public, private, or religion, and help them get that. Help them do it. Let's try it. That will make the public schools better. It worked in the GI bill after the war. State schools prospered. It will work for public schools to prosper if we try something different. School choice: Let the family stay together and have a say in all of this.
You know, coming along this trip on the train, I was talking to the Governor and these Congressmen about it. It makes me give thanks and count my blessings for those who serve in law enforcement, and I've tried to back them. Strom Thurmond here, your neighbor, has been a leader for tougher laws to go after these criminals, and we've been blocked by a soft-thinking United States Congress.
But when I see those police officers and sheriffs' people and whatever it is, I count my blessings for what they do in our neighborhood. The other day, we had a visit from six or eight people, came to see me. They were from Arkansas, and they came to give me their endorsement. The Fraternal Order of Police in Little Rock, Arkansas, are backing me for President of the United States. So let's support them. Let's support our law enforcement community.
You know, the last point I want to make relates to character. I don't quite understand it when Governor Clinton said in Richmond, Virginia -- he put it this way, it's ``the character of the Presidency,'' not the character of the President. I don't believe that. I believe it's both. I believe that the President influences the Presidency. I have tried to keep the public trust, and I believe Barbara has kept the public trust. I don't think you can be on all sides of every issue and keep the public trust.
Some of these guys were talking about Desert Storm. It was a proud moment in our history, and no State did more than North Carolina when their sons and daughters went there, none. And let me remind you where Governor Clinton is when I had to say a prayer up at that little chapel in Camp David a couple of days before we had to commit your sons and your daughters to war. Governor Clinton was saying this as soon as that tough vote was taken a couple of weeks before that moment. He said, well, I was with -- this is a paraphrase -- I could support the minority view, but I guess I would have voted for the majority.
If we'd have listened to that view, Saddam Hussein would be in Saudi Arabia today, controlling three-fifths of the world oil, and he'd have a nuclear weapon. Because we made a tough decision that didn't play both sides of the aisle, the fourth largest army in the world was defeated by your sons and your daughters. It's a proud moment, and don't let them try to convert it into something bad.
On every issue, whether it's the right to work, one day he's on one side of it; another day when he's talking to the labor bosses he's on the other side of it. On term limits, I'm for it. One day he says he's for it, and the next day he's against it. On the free trade, whatever it is, he's on one side and then another.
There's a pattern here of deception. And you cannot have a President who's going to try to be all things. You've got to make the tough decision. When you're right, get a little credit if you can, but when you're wrong, admit your mistakes and go on trying to lead this great country.
Audience member. Let's keep him in Arkansas -- --
The President. Well, let's do that, and let's also not turn the White House into the waffle house. We can't have that. We had breakfast at the Waffle House today, a little symbolism. Very good breakfast, I might add, but there was a message in that. I don't think the American people want a President who's going to try to be all things to all people.
You know, let me put it this way. Sometimes as President you're faced with pretty tough decisions. Sometimes the phone rings at night and you've got to make a call, or in the day you've got groups coming to compete for your interest and your activities and whatever it is, your vote. But it's a wonderful thing, the Presidency of this country. I want to be elected not to keep a job, but I want to continue to try to help the young people.
Today the young people go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war that they had 4 years ago, and we helped accomplish that for the whole world. Today democracy is on the move to the south and across the world. And yes, we're caught up in an international economic slowdown, in some places, a recession. But our economy -- you'd never get it from this media -- our economy is doing better than Canada and Germany and England and Japan and France.
Now, my goal is to make it even better still. We've got to help the people of this country. It's the United States that's going to lead our way to economic recovery at home and to global economic recovery so we can sell more products from this State all around the world.
So the job is not yet finished. And yes, we have changed the world. And yes, I'm proud that interest rates are far less than they were when we came in and inflation under control so every senior citizen is not threatened by being wiped out by this cruelest tax of all. But we've got much to do.
So I came here today to say we are not a nation in decline. Do not listen to the pessimists, these liberal Democrats posing as a friend of America. We are the number one nation in the world. Now help me make it even better.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. The American dream is still alive. And let me say in conclusion, the longer I am in this White House the more I understand what it means to say we are one Nation under God. Don't you ever forget it.
So with faith and with your support, we are going to show the pundits are wrong. We are going to do what Truman did and show these pollsters don't know what they're talking about. The American people will give us this victory.
Thank you, and be sure to go to the polls. May God bless the United States of America. Thank you very, very much. Thank you all. Thank you, kids.
Note: The President spoke at 12:45 p.m. beside the Spirit of America train. In his remarks, he referred to Lynn Safrit, president, Kannapolis Chamber of Commerce, and Darryl Waltrip, former NASCAR champion.