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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks to the Community in Oshkosh, Wisconsin


The President. Thank you. Thank you, Tommy. Thank you, Governor Thompson.

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

The President. Thanks for that great Oshkosh welcome. Thank you. And may I salute Governor Tommy Thompson, who's doing such a great job for this State and for the whole country. You've got a great leader in Tommy.

And you've got a couple of good races going right here, but we must send Bob Kasten back to the United States Senate. He's doing a great job for Wisconsin and for the country. And I want to suggest that we get Tom Petri going, get him back there. He's looking awful good. We need him in the Congress. There he is over there.

You know, this Spirit of America, this wonderful train, is going all the way across Wisconsin. And we are not going to stop rolling until we win this election on November 3d. We are going to surprise these mournful pundits. We are going to annoy the media, and we are going to finish the job. I love it. And I'll tell you why we're going to do it. It's because the choice before the American people is a vast difference in experience, on philosophy, and yes, a vast difference on character.

I hate to ruin this day by talking about the Arkansas record. But before we go to the polls, let me just put a couple of figures in perspective. Here's the way Arkansas is doing. They are 50th in the quality of environmental initiatives; 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 on spending on corrections; 46th on teachers' salaries; 45th in the overall well-being of children. And Governor Clinton said in that debate, ``I want to do for America what I've done for Arkansas.'' No way! We're not going to let him do that. The people who know Governor -- --

Audience members. We need Bush! We need Bush! We need Bush!

The President. His own hometown newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette, couldn't endorse him for President. And the people that know him best agree that he will be wrong for America. Now, he talks about change. He says he's the candidate of change. We do not need to change by raising taxes and increasing spending. You want to go the Clinton route, every day will seem like Halloween. [Laughter] Fright and terror, witches and devils everywhere.

Governor Clinton dreams of expanding the American Government. I want to expand the American dream by stimulating small business.

The last time we tried the change that he wanted, you all remember that, remember what it was like with a Democrat in the White House and these same Democrats controlling Congress? You had interest rates at 21 percent -- she remembers -- you had inflation at 15, you had the ``misery index'' at 20, and you had hope and despair. Things are better, and they're going to be even better if you send us more Members of Congress like the ones that are here today.

You talk about change; with this guy's tax plan, that's all you're going to have left in your pocket if you get Clinton and the Ozone Man in there.

The only way that they thought they could win was to tell everybody in America that things were terrible. Some families are hurting, but we have grown for six straight quarters. We grew at 2.7, and we're doing far better than Japan, Germany, and the other countries around the world. It is the United States leadership that is going to lead the world to economic recovery with more jobs for America.

And here's how we're going to do it. In Wisconsin and others, we've got the best workers anywhere in the world. Let's open markets abroad. Let's expand trade with ``Buy USA'' products, ``Made in USA'' products going into every market around the world. And we are the ones to lead for that.

The farm economy is at a record high. We're doing better on ethanol. I was so pleased to drive through the corn country and see a good crop. We're doing better on exports. But this environmental extremist of the Ozone Man and Governor Clinton is not the way to go. Somebody ought to care about the working men and women in this country. We've got a strong environmental record, but it is not an extreme. And I do not want fuel efficiency standards of 40 to 45 miles per gallon that says to every auto worker, your job is at stake. Hold the line. Do not let them do that.

Governor Clinton says, ``I want to have Government invest more.'' What I want to do is unleash small business. They create two-thirds of the job. Less regulation, less taxes, and less -- these crazy lawsuits that run the cost of business up. Governor Clinton refuses to even try to put the caps on these lawsuits, these crazy malpractice suits, these liability suits. I will stand up to the trial lawyers. With a new Congress, we will get the job done.

We've got the best plan on health care. Governor Clinton wants to set up a board, a Government board for health care. I want to give vouchers to the poorest of the poor. I want to give credits to those overtaxed Americans. I want to make insurance available to all. I want to go after the malpractice suits. I want to pool insurance. But I do not want to let Uncle Sam try to run the health care in this country.

Education: We've got the best plan, America 2000. Governor Thompson and Wisconsin are in the lead on it. And what we say is, let's not worry so much about the National Education Association, let's help the teachers. Let's help the teachers, and God bless them for what they do for our kids. Besides that, one way to make schools better -- public, private, and religious -- is to give the parents a choice; help them choose public, private or religious schools.

Tommy Thompson has been in the forefront of welfare reform. We've got to break the cycle of dependency. And I am proud that we have been able to work with him by giving him waivers because, you see, I agree with Wisconsin that we need learning and we need work, and we don't need to perpetuate dependency on welfare.

On crime, I have a very radical idea about crime. I think we ought to back up our police officers a little bit more and have less concern for the criminals themselves; a little more concern for the victims, a little less for the criminal element. Back to Arkansas, in Arkansas the prisoners spend 20 percent of their sentence in jail. Under the Federal Government it's 85. I think we need to be a little tougher. Send me more Congressmen like these who will help us back the law enforcement officers and back the communities that are suffering from this outrageous crime. And the other day some guys from Arkansas came up and endorsed me for President, and they represented the Fraternal Order of Police of Little Rock, Arkansas. How about that?

With the new Congress we're going to reform Government. We're going to get the deficit down, and we're going to do it whether the liberals like it or not. We're going to get a balanced budget amendment. We are going to give the taxpayers a check-off so they can check off 10 percent of their income tax to be applied against the debt. We're going to fight for a line-item veto to let me have a shot at cutting the spending. And how about giving the Congress back to the people by term limits? The President's term is limited; how about term limits for Congress? Now we're getting down -- --

Audience members. Clean the House! Clean the House! Clean the House!

The President. Clean the House! That's a good idea. You've got a good Congressman. Give us more like him, and I wouldn't be reading those signs. But yes, one institution. The liberal Democrats have controlled Congress for 38 years. They wouldn't know change if it hit them in the face. Let's clean House!

Now let's talk about something that is going to be the determining factor. Character and trust, both of them matter. And over the past 24 hours -- --

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

The President. Over the past 24 hours, Governor Clinton has become panicked. He uses the word ``pathetic.'' Well, he ought to know a performance like that when he sees one. He's afraid for the power that he's lusted for, the political viability that he wrote about when he was demonstrating against this country over in England, is going to slip away from him. He's afraid it's going to slip away, and he's begun a series of personal attacks on my character, and he has basically called me a liar. And the charges he makes are not new. I have responded to them repeatedly and under oath, under oath in numerous investigations in a 6-year, Democrat-run political fiasco that has cost the taxpayers million. And yet, he has now latched on to these silly little charges, accusations, in a desperate attempt to stop his free fall in the polls. And we're not going to let him do that. We're going to keep on -- --

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!7E

The President. You see, I welcome this. I welcome this spotlight on character because it is an essential test of the Presidency. And Governor Clinton, on character, simply cannot pass the test.

Here's a quote. Here's a quote from a paper a couple of days ago. Speaking at a crowd of 8,000, the Presidential nominee, in this instance that was Governor Clinton, said, ``President Bush is a liar.'' Well, frankly, being attacked on character by Governor Clinton is like being called ugly by a frog. Don't worry about it. You want to talk character, Governor? You and Ozone want to talk character? All right, here we go. You can't go to the trade unions one day and say you're against right to work, and then propound that you are for it. You can't say you're for the North American free trade agreement in a debate, and then add ``but.'' You don't need any ``buts'' in the White House. You've got to call them direct. Truman is right, the buck stops there.

Term limits, oh yes, he thinks that's good. But then he's opposed to it in the debate. He smoked a little, but he didn't inhale. Sure. Who believes that? This guy's wound up. You can't lead, you cannot lead the American people by misleading. And that's the bottom line. And the pumpkin in Arkansas Governor's Mansion has two faces: Whatever side you're on, he's right there. You can't do that as President of the United States.

Let me give you a little example of what I mean. On April 17th he said, ``I'm going to come out with all my draft records.'' Fine. Some people agreed with him on the war; some didn't. But he said he was going to do it; he hasn't done it. Let me remind you about the war. I've already said my position. Frankly, I don't think when your brothers are rotting in a Hanoi jail, or when people that are drafted out of the ghettos are serving and being killed in Vietnam, that you ought to lead demonstrations against your own country in a foreign land. I don't believe that. He differed. But you can't have it both ways, is my point. You can't protect your political viability, and then still try to ask for the trust of the American people.

And let me give you one other example. I'll give you another example. If he wants to talk character and trust, how about this one? I had to make a tough decision on Desert Storm; it wasn't easy. But I'll tell you this. I looked the American people in the eye and said, this is what we're going to do. And where was Bill? He was saying, let me get it right now, he said, ``Oh, I agree with the arguments made by the minority, but I guess I would have voted with the majority.'' What kind of waffling leadership is that? Character, trust -- let's make the election on character and trust. That's the way we're going to win it.

And let me sum it up for you.

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

The President. Four more.

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

The President. Let me end on a very serious note, because on Tuesday we've got serious business. We have the privilege of going to the polls. And yes, I do believe character matters, not just because of the plans you make but because of the crises that you never foresee.

The world is a much safer place today. And I am very proud that these kids here go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war that their parents had. I am very proud that there is democracy and freedom around the world where there used to be imperial communism. But let me tell you this: We've got to stay strong. The Soviet bear may be gone, but there's wolves out there in the woods. And you'd better have a leader who you can trust when it comes to making tough decisions.

We have reached historic decisions to reduce and indeed eliminate nuclear weapons. But they've yet to be implemented. And just yesterday or the day before I talked to Boris Yeltsin, and I was reminded of how uncertain things can be in foreign lands. Imagine a year from today, if you pick up your newspaper in front of you and you see that there is a crisis around the world, imagine reading about an upheaval somewhere, or about a terrorist dictator getting ahold of a nuclear weapon. And then the question of character and trust becomes very, very important. And you have to ask yourself, do you want a leader that has proven himself in mettle, whether in battle or in making tough decisions, or do you want a leader about whose character we don't know near enough and who has no experience? I say choose experience and character.

You know, when the next crisis occurs, whether it's domestic or international, the entire world is going to be looking to the American President. And Governor Clinton said in the debate, he said it's not the character of the President, he said, it's ``the character of the Presidency.'' Wrong. They are interlocked. We are judged by the character of the person in the White House and, to some degree, by the family in the White House. And thank God we have Barbara Bush. And in this one, I think we've got a great First Lady. We've got a great First Lady.

Audience members. Barbara! Barbara! Barbara!

The President. This will go to her head if you keep this up. Now, come on. I've got to live with her.

You know, as President you are never, never more alone than at time of a crisis. And millions will feel the impact of your judgment. I believe I've been tested. We've managed world change of almost, I believe history will write this, of almost Biblical proportions. And our success can be measured by the headlines that were never written, the countless crises that never occurred.

But when a real evil did arise in the sands of the Persian Gulf, I did not waver. I took a stand and I made a decision to go to war, not because it was the popular thing to do but because it was the right thing to do. And I'll never forget, nor will Barbara, just before the war broke out, actually, praying in our little chapel there at Camp David for the safety of someone else's sons and daughters who had to go into battle. And did they ever perform with courage and did they ever make America proud.

But this showed me that there is indeed in that office an awful, awesome responsibility. It's a responsibility that I have tried to honor. It is a responsibility that I have tried to fulfill with honor and duty and, above all, integrity.

So on November 3d it all boils down to this: All those naysayers, those pundits on those Sunday morning televisions won't be heard anymore, because we're voting on a Tuesday and you don't have to listen to them on election day. All these polls that are all over the field that these people live and die by, we don't have to read those anymore.

But when you enter that voting booth, you have to ask yourself three commonsense questions: Who has the right vision? And I've touched on the positive answers of that today. Who has the right vision for our economic future? Who can lead us through what is a global transition? Which candidate has the character? And who would you trust in a crisis with your family or with the United States of America?

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. Ideas, action, and character. I have tried very hard to demonstrate all three. And so I came here to this great part of Wisconsin in Oshkosh to ask for your support, to ask for your vote. Do not believe we are a nation in decline. We are the United States of America, the most respected country on the face of the Earth. I ask for your vote for 4 more years to lead this country.

May God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:03 p.m. on the observation deck of the Spirit of America train.

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