Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Burlington, North Carolina
The President. Thank you. What a magnificent crowd. And let me tell the people of North Carolina something they already know: You have one great Governor in Jim Martin.
Let me say a word about the man that's also walking down here, Jesse Helms. He's served this country with great distinction and honor in the United States Senate. I am proud that he and Dot are Barbara's and my friends. You are lucky to have him up there. And if we had more like him they wouldn't be yelling, ``Clean House!'' Send Lauch Faircloth to the Senate to join Jesse, and let's get the job done.
And of course, I'm proud to be in the district of another old friend, a guy I've campaigned with and for whom I have great respect, and I'm talking about Howard Coble, who's right here with us. He's working the other side of the State right this minute, but it is important that we elect the Lieutenant Governor to be Governor of this State, Jim Gardner. I know him well, served with him in the Congress.
Now, I've got to ask this rhetorical question: Did anyone have the opportunity to see that debate a couple of nights ago? Well, I'll tell you something. What I think we saw and what I think the Nation saw was a vast difference in experience, in philosophy and, yes, a difference in character. I hate to ruin this beautiful rally here today, but I must share with you a little bit about Governor Clinton's record in Arkansas -- a sorry record.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. Now, please be fair as I click off these wonderful statistics. Arkansas and the people there are good. I lived next door to them. They're good, strong, wonderful people, and they're entitled to better than this. They are 50th in the quality of environmental initiatives; they are 50th in the percentage of adults with college degrees; they are 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice; they are 49th -- they have worked to ooze their way up one -- in per capita spending on police protection; they are 48th in percentage of adults with a high school diploma; they are 48th in spending on corrections; they are 46th on teachers' salaries; they are 45th in the overall well-being of children. And the other night Governor Clinton said to this country, ``I want to do for you, the rest of the country, what I've done for Arkansas.'' We cannot let him do that.
He's on all sides of all issues. He's like the guy that says, ``Oh, I'm for the Toronto Blue Jays, but I might as well be for the Braves.'' I'm for the Braves. You've got to make the tough decisions.
But Governor Clinton calls this, what he's running on, a change. He's the candidate of change. But you've got to look close at what he's offering: 0 billion in new taxes and 0 billion in new spending. I call that trickle-down Government. We don't need that. And he says he'll take it all from the rich. But everybody out there making about ,000 hold on to your wallet, watch your pocketbooks, he's coming after you. Watch your wallets, Mr. and Mrs. America.
And Jesse and I were talking about this, talking about change. The last time we had a liberal Democrat in the White House and a big-spending Congress, Jesse was there, and he remembers it well. And Jimmy Carter left -- interest rates were at 21.5 percent. We don't need that kind of change. Inflation got up at about 15 percent, and every senior citizen that worked all their lives to save their money saw it going up in smoke with the cruelest tax of all. We don't need that kind of change, either. Keep talking about that kind of change, and change is all you're going to have left in your pocket if this guy ever got in there. And we don't need that.
My plan -- and it's backed strongly by these two great Senators here today, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms -- is to cut the spending and cut the taxes and put more money in your pocket. And in the process, that will create more jobs. I'll tell you how we're going to get that spending under control in just a minute. But in the longer term issues, we've got to open new markets for our products.
North Carolina workers can outproduce, outhustle any other workers in the world. We need access to foreign markets and more export jobs. That's what I'm trying to do. And we need to get the burden of regulation and taxation off the back of the small businesses. I don't know much about Newlon Hardware, but I'll bet there's not a guy working over there that thinks he's paying too little in taxes. Let's give them a little relief: a little regulatory relief, a little relief by investment tax allowances, a little relief for the first-time homebuyer. Give them a break so they can buy a home. Give them a capital gains so you can start new businesses. And let's see this country move.
I've got a big difference with Governor Clinton on another thing. I worry about the doctors. Some of them can't practice medicine for fear of being sued all the time. I worry about Little League coaches that don't want to coach because they're afraid some crazy lawyer is going to come along and bring a lawsuit on them. I worry about the American spirit, when people pass by people that are hurt on the road for fear if they pick them up and help them, somebody will sue them. We are suing each other too much and caring for each other too little. And we've got to stop these crazy lawsuits. And Governor Clinton owes his election, his past elections to the trial lawyers. He refuses to move for tort reform and putting a cap on these lawsuits. Send me some new Members of Congress, and let's get that job done.
In health care, we've got a good program. But I want to keep the quality of the medicine up. I want to provide insurance to the poorest of the poor through vouchers. I want to give the middle class tax relief for -- so they can buy this insurance. I want to see us pool insurance, get the costs down, provide it to all. But I don't want to see the Government run insurance. They can't even run a post office or a silly bank up in Congress, and we don't want to have the Government doing it.
In education, we've got to do better. And we've got a good program, America 2000. It says to the communities like Burlington, you design it. You teachers, you PTA people, avoid the bureaucracy in that big union that controls the teachers far too much. Give the teachers a shot themselves, and we will revolutionize education in this country. One way to do it is to give the parents more choice. Give them a little assistance to choose between private, public, and religious schools, and give the parents a chance. We did it in child care; let's do it in education.
In crime, I hate to bring this one up, Arkansas has got a sorry record on that, a sorry record. You get a guy into jail in Arkansas, 20 percent of his sentence is all they serve, and that's not good enough. We've got here today Strom Thurmond, who is fighting in the Congress against all the liberals to make tough anticrime legislation. My view is make it tougher, have a little more concern for those police officers out there, and a little less for the criminal.
I said I'd mention the approach to how we want to get that deficit down. You've got to control the growth of mandatory spending. But here's three ideas that haven't been tried. You want to try some change, try this. Give us a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and make us balance the budget. How about this one: Give a check-off to the taxpayer. Those that are concerned about the deficit, check it off. Ten percent of your funds will then have to go in, but it will have to go for lowering the Federal deficit. The Congress is going to have to make offsets on the spending. And the third one is this: 43 Governors have it. They can take a pen and line it right through the budget, knocking out the pork. Give the President the line-item veto. Congress has failed. Give me a shot at it.
We hear all this talk from Clinton and Gore about change. I love this sign: ``Bill, you're just blowing smoke.'' And the American people are not going to believe this. Blowing it out. I don't know about inhaling. That's not my line. That's somebody else's over here.
But let me say, let me end this way. I don't know if you heard in the debate we had in Richmond, Governor Clinton said it's not the character of the President, he said, it's ``the character of the Presidency.'' I don't believe that. I believe they're interlocked. I don't believe you can have a person in that White House unless he stands for principles in character. And I don't believe blowing smoke is the answer. I don't believe you can flip-flop on every issue, whether it's the right-to-work laws -- whisper to the unions you're against it, then in the South say you're for it. Term limits -- in one place he's for it, one place he's against it. Free trade -- one place he's for it, the next time he has to tell the unions, oh, no, I've got problems. CAFE standards are going to drive the autoworkers out of their jobs -- one place he's for it, another he is against it. You cannot be the waffle house if you want to be in the White House.
Let me remind you about the position on the war. You've got a lot of revisionists up there in Washington trying to make something bad out of something noble. But let me tell you something: When I had to make that tough decision and commit the sons and daughters of North Carolina to go in there and defeat the fourth largest army in the world, we did it. We did it. And I didn't waffle. I led. And where was Governor Clinton? About the time of that tough decision, he said, ``Well, I'm with the minority, but I guess I would have voted with the majority.'' You cannot waffle when it comes to the national security of the United States of America. You cannot lead by misleading.
Sometimes that phone rings in the White House, and you can't say maybe. You've got to say, here's what I believe. And you might make mistakes. Then you do what you teach your kids to do. You say, if you're wrong, say it and go on about representing the American people. Hold your head up, and do the best you can, but not waffle and be on every side of every issue.
The biggest difference I have, I believe, with Governor Clinton and the Ozone Man with him, Senator Gore -- where is he up there? You put those environmental -- I'm an environmental man, but I'm not going to throw every worker out of work because of some snail darter or some smelt or some owl.
But the biggest difference I have is they go around trying to win by saying that America is in decline. They say that we're less than Germany -- this is their words, or Clinton's words -- less than Germany, but a little above Sri Lanka. They ought to open their eyes. We are the most respected nation on the face of the Earth.
I see these young people here today, and frankly, I take great pride in the fact that we have literally changed the world. Soviet communism is gone; ancient enemies are talking peace in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein is back in his box, and we have lowered the threat of nuclear war from the face of the Earth.
And now let's bring that leadership together. Give Jesse some support in the Senate with Lauch Faircloth. Give Howard Coble some support with new Members of Congress. When they yell ``Clean House!'', they mean send us some new ones up there to help him. Do that, and then let's try to make life better.
We're in an international slowdown in this economy. The United States is doing better than most of our trading partners. And with my program for America's future we are going to lift this country up, make life better for every single worker, and restore total hope to these young people here today.
May God bless the United States. And many, many thanks for this fantastic rally. Thank you all very much. Duty, honor, and country -- you're right.
Note: The President spoke at 5:42 p.m. on the observation deck of the Spirit of America train.