Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Montgomery, Alabama
The President. Thank you very much. Wow! Thank you very much. And I am so very pleased to be back in this great State on this beautiful Saturday day. Let me just say I want to pay my respects to your Governor. I want to thank Mayor Emory Folmar, my long-time, longstanding friend. I'll give you a little advice. If you want to win a State and if you want to win it with conviction and honor, get Emory Folmar at your side. I am proud he is at mine. And also, I want to salute my bass fishing friend, Ray Scott, who has made this great Alabama pastime a national pastime. I have threatened to him that when this election is over, with a much more relaxed attitude, I'm coming back to Pintlala, Alabama, and catch some bass.
And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't single out Bill Dickinson, who has served this area with such distinction in the Congress. If we had more like him, they wouldn't be holding up these signs everywhere I go saying, ``Clean House!'' We must clean House. We'll get this guy up there, get Terry Smith up there, and we'll clean the House out, I'll tell you. Now, also while we're at it, let's clean Senate and elect Rick Sellers to the United States Senate. And I want to say, here's the guy. Now vote for this man. Come on, Rick. Another man, Don Sledge, running in another area for Congress, good luck to you. Terry Everett is running for the Dickinson seat, and we've got to get him elected there. So thank you all. And I'm told that we had a -- --
Audience member. [Inaudible] -- man, Kervin Jones.
The President. Hey, what district? For the 7th District. Hey, listen, we get these guys elected and we won't see those signs saying, ``Clean House!'' We will have done our part. Besides, he's big enough to whip 'em all up there, so -- [laughter] -- that's good. We need that man there, I'll tell you.
Now, may I thank the Jefferson Davis and Lee High School participants around here. Great job. And finally, Bart Starr. You know, I look over my shoulder and see a great son of Alabama, the legendary quarterback Bart Starr. You know, many years ago in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, Bart Starr led those Packers to a stunning playoff victory against the Dallas Cowboys. And let me tell you something, he is here today because that accentuates the fact that we are going to achieve another stunning upset victory and represent these people in the United States for 4 more years. Thank you, Bart.
Now, I hate to ruin this beautiful Saturday, but I do think we must get in perspective, before the American people go to the polls, the Arkansas record. The people in Arkansas -- everyone in Alabama knows it because we have friends, we in Texas, you in Alabama have friends in Arkansas -- they are good and decent and honorable people. But let me tell you what the record has been with Bill Clinton. They are the 50th in the quality of environmental initiatives; 50th in percentage of adults with college degrees. They are 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice. They are 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 in the overall well-being of children. And the other night, Governor Clinton said in that debate in Michigan, he said, ``I want to do for America what I've done for Arkansas.'' No way. We cannot let him do that. It's like sending the guy who finishes last in managing the Little League in Montgomery, telling him to manage the Braves. We don't need that kind of change.
This guy talks about change. That's all your going to have left in your pocket if we listen to his program. And here it is -- all right, you taxpayers, get ready -- this is before he's even gotten started: 0 billion in new taxes, bigger than McGovern and Dukakis put together; 0 billion in new spending. And I call that trickle-down Government. Give it to the Government, and you never see it again. He says he'll get it from the rich. But the rest of you guys out there that have to work for a living, you nurses or you teachers or you cab drivers or you truck drivers, watch your wallet. There aren't enough rich people to pay for this guy's promises and all Al Gore's extreme environmental positions. There are not enough so he's coming after you. Watch your wallet, America. This guy is coming after you. But I'm not going to let him do it.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. All right, it's fine to stand up and point out all the things that are wrong. And yes, we've got problems, and yes, people are hurting, and yes, some people at work want to know where they're going to get the jobs, how they're going to keep them. But let me tell you something. The last time we tried his kind of change, when you had a liberal Democrat in the White House and that same old crowd controlling the Congress, who remembers? He changed inflation, all right; he changed it up to 15 percent. He destroyed the family budgets. And the interest rates -- some of you homeowners remember what they were -- they were 21 percent. We do not need that kind of change for America.
My view is to cut that spending, get the Government spending down and the taxes down, and then stimulate investment in small business, not in Government but in small business. They create two-thirds of the jobs, two-thirds. Give them a tax break, and get America back to work.
The doom-and-gloom crowd is a little too much. You know, my favorite bumper sticker -- I don't know whether we've got any of them around here -- there's a marvelous -- yes, it's here, right over there. That's over there: ``Annoy the Media.'' They wouldn't know good news if it hit them in the face. Have you gotten this from your television yet? Have you heard this on the television at night, that unemployment claims have gone down to the lowest in 2 years? Have you heard that inflation is down, that interest rates are down, that total employment is 93 percent, inflation 2.5 to 3 percent, home mortgages are 8 percent? Now, ask yourself this: Can Bill Clinton do better than this, or will he make things worse? I think he'll make things worse.
Here's what we're going to do. We're going to increase our exports. We're going to create more jobs right here in Montgomery, Alabama, and all across this country that are concerned with exports. Exports have saved us in what is essentially a global recession or a global slowdown. Our economy -- don't listen to Governor Clinton, you'll never hear this; nobody will report it on the news -- is doing better than Japan, doing better than Germany, doing better than Europe, doing better than Canada. It's not good enough; it's not good enough. We're going to create export jobs by barging into those foreign markets. And that means prosperity for people in Alabama. Not protection, exports.
And I'll tell you another one where I've got a big difference with the Governor from Arkansas. That is on legal reform. I think it's a shame when people don't dare coach Little League because some crazy trial lawyer is going to come along and try to sue them; or when somebody sees an automobile accident and they don't dare stop along the highway because if they move a person, trying to help them, and then it doesn't work out, somebody's going to sue him for caring; and when a doctor is afraid to practice and deliver babies because of a crazy suit. We've got to sue each other less and care for each other more.
I heard Mayor Folmar talking about health care. And yes, he is right, we need health care for all. Our program provides health care insurance to the poorest of the poor. Then it gives tax breaks to the income bracket above that that are trying to make ends meet. It gets pooling of insurance, works with managed care, does something about malpractice insurance. But it does something else: It provides the best quality of health care. We have the best. And I don't want to drive these doctors out of medicine by putting the Government further into medicine.
There's another area where I have a big difference with Governor Clinton, and that is on crime. Arkansas prisoners spend 20 percent of their sentences in jail; the Federal, the one I'm responsible for, 85 percent. I believe we need tougher laws that back up these dedicated people on the highways, these police officers in the neighborhoods, the sheriff's people. We need to back law enforcement. And in doing that, we will be strengthening the neighborhoods for every single family in this country.
One of the great meetings we had was in the Oval Office, I think it was last week. I think it was eight people came to see me. They were up there and said, we are supporting you. And they were from Arkansas. They were from the Fraternal Order of Police in Little Rock, who endorsed me for President of the United States. Good, decent, hard-working people.
We talk about reforming the Congress. Let's challenge Governor Clinton to say where he stands on these items: I want a balanced budget amendment to make the Congress get this deficit down. I want a check-off, to have a check-off on the income tax form. You can check up to 10 percent. And then you put it up there and add them all together across the country, and that is the force of law to make Congress reduce spending by that amount. And I believe it will work.
And another one is -- time has come for it, 43 Governors have it. I get legislation by this crazy Congress coming down there every day; two good things in it, eight bad. Give the President what the Governors have. Get the deficit down by giving me that line-item veto, cross it out.
I'll tell you, I'll tell you there's another thing. I'll tell you what's going to really decide this election at the last minute. It's going to be a question of character and trust. And I believe, I hope I have earned the trust of the American people. What you do -- you represent the American people's interest in that Oval Office, and you have to make tough decisions. And sometimes you make a mistake. You're human like everybody else, and you say, I make it. You look people in the eye and say, we're going to go forward together. But you cannot be on every side of every issue. It is a question of character, if you try to whisper one thing here and do something else there.
Governor Clinton tries to have it both ways. And yes, it's a fair issue. Flip-flopping on right to work: He's from a right-to-work State, says he's for it there; whispers up to the big labor unions, ``I'm against it.'' Term limits: one place he's for it, one place he's against it. Free trade: one time he's for it, then he's against it. In the debate you heard him say, ``Well, I'm for it, but I'll have to'' -- you can't say ``but''; you've got to make a decision.
The biggest difference I had with him was on the war. I had to make a tough decision. And Alabama responded with pride, great strength. The sons and daughters did something noble: They busted up the fourth largest army and kicked this aggressor out of Kuwait. And now we're having a lot of revision coming out. It was a noble moment, and where was Governor Clinton? He said this: Well, I was with the majority -- I'm paraphrasing -- I was with the majority -- and this I'm not paraphrasing -- but I guess I would have -- with the minority, but I guess I would have voted with the majority. You cannot waffle. You cannot make the White House into the waffle house.
And so I do believe that character and trust matters. I've got a big difference with him, and I know people here might or might not agree with me. I was a product of World War II, and I fought for my country, and I think that's made me a good Commander in Chief. I don't think everybody had to do that to be Commander in Chief. I don't believe that's the way to do it. I still think it is wrong, when your brothers are held prisoners in a Hanoi prison camp or kids are drafted out of the ghetto of Birmingham and Montgomery or New York City to serve their Nation, to be over in another country organizing demonstrations against your Nation. I just think it's wrong. I think it's wrong. But what I think is -- do we have the word ``wronger''? But what I think is worse, what I think is worse is if you don't level, if you don't tell the truth. One day, he says he got a draft notice; the next day, he didn't. One day, he said, well, he wanted to go into the ROTC; the next day, he didn't. You've got to level. If you make a mistake, look the American people in the eye and say, I was wrong about that. And the American people forgive, but they are entitled to have something other than waffling and a pattern of deception as President of the United States.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President: Thank you for this great rally. I have -- excuse me for drinking all this water up here, but I had 2 miles running out by your magnificent Shakespeare Festival building out there. It was superb.
But let me tell you this. I'm very sorry she's not here, but very candidly, I think we've got a great First Lady in Barbara Bush. We have tried very hard to exemplify what's right and decent about America, exemplify the trust and faith we have in the American family. Liberals don't like it, but it's right. We've got to strengthen the family: read to the kids; teach them right from wrong; support the law enforcement people and the teachers; teach discipline; give choice in child care or choice in education. We believe in these things. And when Barbara reads to those kids, she's saying every parent should read to their kids, take the time to lift them up and to make them better. And that's what we're talking about, and we've tried to do it.
Life has been good to the Bush family. There's no question about that. We're very, very lucky with our grandkids and a wonderful four sons and a great daughter. And so I have no complaints on the personal side at all. People say, well, why do you want to do this? It's ugly out there. You're getting clobbered by the national media over and over again. Can't be any fun. The answer is, something transcends your own personal well-being. And what transcends it for me is we have literally changed the world. These kids here go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war that their parents had. And that is a major change. And now what I want to do through the programs I've touched on today is make life better and more challenging by creating more opportunity in employment or education for every young person here today.
That is why I want to be your President. I ask for your support and your trust. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you all. A great rally and a beautiful day.
Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. at the Atlanta Crossing Shopping Center.