Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Thomasville, North Carolina
The President. What a great North Carolina day. Thank you, Governor Jim Martin. I'll tell you something, the people of North Carolina are lucky to have such a quality man of character leading this State as Jim Martin. Now we've got to keep that character and quality going by electing Jim Gardner to be the next Governor of North Carolina.
I'm delighted to see a man here who supports me and supports our country so much. Congressman Howard Coble. If we had more like him they wouldn't be yelling ``Clean House!'' at me. We need more like him. While we're at it, we need to help our distinguished guest today, Senator Strom Thurmond, one of America's truly greats over here. We need to help him by cleaning Senate, and that means send our friend Lauch Faircloth to the United States Senate. Lauch Faircloth is one of the great -- he'd be a great Senator. He'll go up there and change things, and the status quo is what's wrong. We need him in the Senate. Send him up there. He's doing just great.
Then we've got another sportsman here. I think of North Carolina as a sporting State, one that loves athletics. Charlotte's coming on strong. We've got Darryl Waltrip right here, one of America's greats. So we've got them all, and now we're ready to go.
Let me thank everybody responsible for this wonderful rally -- the great bands from Thomasville, East Davidson, and Ledford High Schools. It's great to be here with last year's State champions, the Thomasville High School Bulldogs.
Can I tell you something as a satisfied customer? You've got to make the best furniture in the entire world. Not only is it made right here, but also there's a certain generosity of spirit by the companies and the workers involved, because I'm told that you were sending furniture to the victims of Hurricane Andrew. That is the American spirit, and I'm very grateful to you.
Now on to the business at hand. Did anybody watch that debate the other night? Let me tell you, I thought we did all right. I thought we did okay. But let me tell you this. What I think you saw was a vast difference in experience, certainly a vast difference in philosophy, and a vast difference in character, and character matters for President of the United States.
Governor Clinton made a horrible comment. He said he wants to do for the United States what he's done for Arkansas. That would be terrible.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. Let me click off some gloomy statistics, and then we'll get on to something a little more positive. Arkansas -- he's got this Ozone Man on the ticket with him, you know, Gore. Arkansas ranks the 50th in quality of environmental standards. It ranks 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice. It ranks 49th in per capita spending on police protection. It ranks 48th in percentage of adults with high school diplomas. It is 48th on spending on corrections, 46th on teachers' salaries, and 45th in the overall well-being of children. You cannot take a failing Little League coach and put him on to coach the Atlanta Braves, manage the Braves.
He calls this change. He says he's the candidate of change. Well, let's take a close look at what he offers. How about this one for openers, and he hasn't got there: 0 billion in new taxes and 0 in new spending. That is trickle-down Government, and we don't need it in Washington, DC. He says he'd sock it to the rich. Watch out, middle America. Watch out, struggling nurse or family person. He's going to stick it right in your wallet, and you don't need that anymore. Let's get the taxes down and the spending down.
The last time we got that kind of change, you don't have to go back to Herbert Hoover. Go back to when you had a liberal Democrat in the White House and you had a Democrat spendthrift Congress that Lauch Faircloth wants to change. Go back and take a look. That was in the days of Jimmy Carter. Now, do you remember what interest rates -- --
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. Sorry, gang, but it's true. Do you remember what the interest rates were? Twenty-one and a half percent. Twenty-one percent. Inflation was robbing every senior citizen in this country -- 15 percent. We cannot go back to that failed policy. You keep going with that kind of change, and change is all you'll have left in your pocket. We've got to do better.
My philosophy is this: Cut the spending and cut the taxes and put more money, put more money into the pockets of the American working man. One way to do that is create more markets abroad. It's exports that have saved us in this global slowdown. We've got to increase exports, create more markets for the goods that are produced right here in North Carolina, and we can do it. But we can't do it by turning inward.
It's small business that creates the jobs in this country, and we ought never to forget it. They create two-thirds of the new jobs. That means we need relief for taxation from small business. We need relief from regulation; and certainly, we need relief from litigation. We are suing each other too much in this country and caring for each other too little. Legal reform is what we need. It's a sorry thing when malpractice insurance is running health care costs up for every American. When a guy sees somebody lying by the highway and doesn't dare stop to help him because they're afraid some trial lawyer will come along and sue him, when a person doesn't coach Little League because he's scared of getting a lawsuit by some nutty lawyer, it is time to put a lid on this. Sue each other less, care for each other more.
One big difference I've got is with him on health care. He wants to put a Government board in to kind of ration out the health care of this country. I want to make insurance available to the poorest of the poor. I want to give a tax credit to middle America so they can get a little relief, and make insurance available to everybody, but keep the quality up. We've got the best doctors in the world. Keep the quality up by keeping Government under control.
A big difference on education. You see, he wants to put the control more in Washington. And I say this: We want to put control in the hands of the families. We did it in child care, and now I want to do it in school choice. Help parents send their kids to all schools, public schools, private schools, and religious schools. And he won't do that. I am proud that under my administration more money is going to kids to help them go to college than anytime in the history of this country.
You know, as I ride along the rails and I see these crossings, I see law enforcement people out helping us at every crossing. Let me just say this: Strom Thurmond, one of the great leaders for strong anticrime legislation, is fighting in the Senate to make our laws tougher so that we back up our law enforcement officials and have more consideration for the victims of crime and less for the criminals. That's what we've got to do.
And what is Arkansas' policy? Arkansas' prisoners spend 20 percent of their sentences in jail. That's not good enough.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. If a guy busts a law, and certainly, if they kill a law enforcement officer, they ought to stay there until they get on Willard Scott's program on that 100th birthday.
You heard the difference the other day between how we get the Government spending down. I'll give you three ideas. You give us Lauch Faircloth, and we're going to help Strom get that job done: one, a balanced budget amendment; two, a taxpayers' check-off that says if you're concerned about the deficit, check your tax return, and 10 percent of it has to go to lowering the deficit. If Congress can't make the priorities, make them cut right straight across the board until we get the job done. The last one is, I want that line-item veto. Forty-three Governors have it. Forty-three Governors have it. Let's stop that pork barrel spending, do what's right for the American people, but not do what's right for the reelection of every Member of the United States Congress. Frankly, I like the idea of turning the Congress back to the people by putting on term limits. The President is limited; why not the Congress?
You know, the other night I guess one of the big differences came -- this was in the Richmond debate -- when Governor Clinton said it's not the character of the President. He says it's ``the character of the Presidency.'' And to that I say, they're inseparable. You cannot separate it out, and character matters.
The liberals don't like it when I talk about family values, but America knows what I mean. We've got to strengthen the family. They don't like it when I say, yes, we're one Nation under God. And we are, and we'd better never forget it.
But my argument with the Governor of Arkansas is you can't please everybody. I found that out in this job. You've got to call them as you see them. If you make a mistake, you admit it. You don't try to cover it up and say one thing to one group and another thing to another group, and therein is a question of character. On everything from the right-to-work laws, to term limits, to free trade, to the Persian Gulf, he's tried to be on one side and then another. And you cannot do that as President, and that is a matter of character.
There's a pattern of deception here, and America better look at it. There is a pattern of deception. I love what Governor Martin said about the patriotism of this State, serving your country. And yes, North Carolina responded perhaps more than any other State in Desert Storm.
But where was Governor Clinton? Where was Governor -- never mind. Don't let this guy say that. You're going to get me in trouble with the media, and who would want to do that?
But let me remind you of where this man that wants to be Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces -- this one didn't happen 23 years ago, this one happened about a year and a half ago. And what he said was -- at the time, I had to make a very tough decision, leading the country and the Congress to make a tough decision -- he said this. He said, ``Well, I agreed with the minority, but I guess if it were a close vote, I guess if it were a close vote I would have voted with the majority.'' If we had listened to him, Governor Martin is right, Saddam Hussein would be in downtown Saudi Arabia and controlling the world oil supply and have a nuclear bomb. We didn't listen to that kind of waffle. We went ahead and made a tough decision. Character counts. Character matters. You cannot be all things to all people. And yes, it matters.
Let me say this. First place, I wish Barbara Bush were here because I think we've got a great First Lady. But, you know, she and I have talked about this, and as you know, we are blessed in our family. We're blessed with a bunch of grandkids, blessed with five wonderful children. And so, life has treated us pretty good. But when people are hurting in this country you feel it. You feel it right in your heart. And so I want to win this election not because I need this job, but I want to continue to serve the American people and lift up the hopes of these kids. We have literally changed the world.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. We have literally changed the world. The kids in these bands over here go to bed at night without that same fear of nuclear war that gripped their parents, and that is substantial change for world peace.
Now what we've got to do is take that same leadership with a new and changed Congress, and there will be one, and lift up America. We are not, as Clinton says, a nation in decline. We are the greatest, fairest, freest nation on the face of the Earth. And now let's make it better. Now let's make it better. Help me. But the change I'm talking about: Remember, send Lauch Faircloth to the United States Senate. We must change the Senate. Reelect Howard Coble. Let's move America forward.
And thank you, and may God bless this greatest country on the face of the Earth. Thank you all very much.
Note: The President spoke at 3:12 p.m. on the observation deck of the Spirit of America train.