Public Papers - 1992
Remarks to the Community in Stevens Point, Wisconsin
The President. Thank you. Thank you, Tommy. Thank you, Tommy Thompson. What a great Governor Wisconsin has in Tommy Thompson, a leader all across this country. And may I thank Mayor Shultz for the hospitality, and everybody that arranged this outstanding rally. It is first-class. It's good for the soul. It shows that we're moving.
And let's do ourselves a favor. Let's be very sure that Bob Kasten is reelected for the United States Senate. It is an absolute must. And you keep hearing ``Clean House! Clean House!'' Well, elect Dale Vannes to the United States Congress. Let's try to really do something different here.
Audience member. Clean the House!
The President. That's it, clean the House! That's the one institution that hasn't changed for 38 years. Let's clean it out right.
Well, it's great to be by the hardest working river in America and to talk with some of the hardest working people in America. And I like the kids in these costumes, kind of like a thousand points of fright. [Laughter] I saw one of those great big pumpkins back there. It had a face on one side, and they turned it around and it had a face on the other. I thought Bill Clinton was back somewhere else, but here he is.
No, I've got this wonderful feeling that things are on the move. And yes, annoy the media and reelect George Bush for President. Have you ever seen a year with that kind of coverage? I haven't, as long as I've been in politics.
But we're going to show them. We are going to win this election on November 3d. And here's why: It's a difference between experience, philosophy, and yes, a big difference in character. And that's why we're going to win the election.
I have been pointing out all day what many have failed to point out in a year, and that is the sorry record of Governor Clinton in Arkansas. He threatened the other night to do for America what he's done for Arkansas. And we cannot let that happen.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. Let me just give you a couple of statistics: 50th -- here we are in a great outdoor state -- 50th in environmental initiative for Arkansas; 50th in percentage of adults with college degrees; 50th in per capita spending on criminal justice; 49th in per capita spending on police protection; 48th with adults with high school diplomas; 48th, spending on correction; 46th in teachers' salaries; 45th in overall well-being of children. We cannot let him do that to the United States of America.
His own hometown newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette, said they could not endorse him for President. The people that know him best think he is wrong for America.
Now, he talks about change, change, change. We cannot go back to the spend-and-tax ways that brought us inflation at 15 percent, interest rates at 21 percent, a ``misery index'' twice what it is today. Let us not go back to that change, because if we did, change is all you'd have left in your pocket. And we're not going to do that to the American people.
I guess one of the biggest differences we've got is on tax and spend. Governor Clinton has already said he wants to spend 0 billion more and he wants to tax you 0 billion, because he wants Government to invest. Government doesn't invest; small business does. So here's my plan: Let's cut the regulation. Got to give the break for investment tax allowances and for capital gains and for first-time homebuyers, tax credit. Let's get small business, the real employer, on the move.
Agriculture is doing well, thank heavens, and we cannot go back. And here's what we're going to do. Thank heavens ag income is up. Thank heavens I believe and have worked for ethanol, and ethanol is up under my administration. And the best answer is to close these trade agreements and open up the world market to the greatest production of agriculture in the world, the United States of America.
The only way, the only way that Governor Clinton and the Ozone Man can win election, the only way they can do it is by convincing the country that everything is bad. The worst news they had was when it came out this week that growth across the country was 2.7 percent. We must keep it growing until every single American has a job with dignity in the private sector.
Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!
The President. I'll tell you, I'm getting to that. I'm getting to that one. I'll tell you something else we need that I'm for and that he's against: legal reform. We are suing each other too much and caring for each other too little in this country. We're spending 0 billion on lawyers and we ought to spend more on helping each other. And so my proposal is to put a cap on these outrageous liability suits that keep people from coaching Little League, keep friends from helping neighbors, keep doctors from practicing medicine. It is time to stand up to the trial lawyers and do something for the people.
Another big area, we've got the best plan for health care. Governor Clinton started off by saying, well, he has a ``pay or play'' plan. We pointed out to him that would throw a tax on small business of 7 percent. So once again, why, he backs away, the Waffle Man, moving away from it all.
But here's our plan: Make insurance available to all; make vouchers for the poorest of the poor so they can be insured and that insurance can go with them when they get a job, to another job; pool the insurance so you bring to small business, the guys along Main Street here, the same kind of price for insurance that the big companies can buy; go against malpractice suits. But do not do what Governor Clinton wants and then set up a price-fixing board by the Government. Government can't even run a post office, and the Congress can't run a two-bit bank. We don't need to get Government further involved.
Education: Clinton wants to do it the same old way. And we've got a program, America 2000, that gives the power to the communities, to the teachers, and to the parents, and gives school choice to every parent for private, public, or religious schools. It's worked in Milwaukee; it can work all across this country. Let's let Wisconsin lead the way to literally revolutionizing and improving our education.
A big difference on welfare. I salute Tommy Thompson, I salute all of you who have led the way for the Nation in saying this: We've got to break the cycle of dependency. We've got to give people a chance on welfare, some Learnfare, Workfare. It is not fair to the taxpayer unless people work their way off of welfare. And that's what we're doing.
A big difference on crime. We need more Senators there, like Bob Kasten, who stand up and favor the police officer and not the criminal element. Be tough on the criminal and have more compassion for the victims of crime. You know, I had a visit from about eight guys the other day. They came to see me; they were from Arkansas. They were the Fraternal Order of Police of Little Rock, Arkansas, and they endorsed me for President of the United States.
Now, I heard somebody ask about how we get this deficit down. First place, you do it by controlling the growth of mandatory spending. Second, you don't tax and spend. Third, how about this one, give us a balanced budget amendment and make that Congress live within its means. Give us a taxpayer check-off so everybody here that pays taxes, if he wants to or if she decides to, can check off on that tax return 10 percent of the tax to be used for one thing only: reducing the Federal deficit. And Congress must find the spending cuts to go with it. Then give me what 43 Governors have -- every day I get legislation down there, every day legislation comes down loaded up with pork -- give me the line-item veto. And if they can't do it, give me a shot at it.
And now let's talk about what's going to decide the election in addition to these good programs compared to the old tax-and-spend programs. Let's talk about character and trust. Governor Clinton, over the last 24 hours, has been frantically flopping around like a bass on the side of the Arkansas River, and panicked, afraid that these pollsters may indeed prove to be wrong, those that had us dead and buried 2 weeks ago and now see us moving. So he's begun a new bunch of assaults on my character. And if Bill Clinton wants to play on the character field, let's go to work right now.
These crazy charges you heard out of him last night are not new. We've responded to them over and over again, you taxpayers have spent about million on this Democratic witch hunt, and I'm sick and tired of it. The only way he can win is some last-minute smoking gun. The guy is not telling the truth about what happened. I am. I have. And I'll continue to.
Here is a guy, as I mentioned, whose hometown newspaper says he is a politician utterly devoid of principle; a guy whose supporters gave him the word ``slick.'' I haven't used that, he has. I say ``slippery when wet.'' I think that's a little better. [Laughter] Here's a guy who has waffled and weaseled about the draft. I can understand somebody not serving, but I cannot understand somebody trying to have it both ways, convincing the draft board one thing and then saying something else. He ought to level with the American people.
Here's a guy who actually went out -- he doesn't like name-calling. I made a mistake; I won't repeat it today. But the difference is, if I make a mistake I admit it. But here's a guy that called me a liar the other day -- I have the clipping here -- and very frankly, being attacked by Governor Clinton on character is like being called ugly by a frog. It doesn't matter. He has no credibility in that field.
But here's why character counts. You cannot be on all sides of every issue if you want to serve as President of the United States. You see, Truman was right; the buck stops in the Oval Office. And my view is, if you make a mistake, look the American people in the eye and tell them you made a mistake, and then get on about the business of leading the American people.
But all through this campaign and all through his political career he's trying to be one thing to one group and another thing to another. Somewhere in Arkansas, oh, yes, he's for right to work. He goes to the unions and says he's not. On the North American free trade agreement -- you heard it on the debate -- first he was, well, he wasn't sure. Then he was for it. Then in the debate he says, ÿ7Eÿ7E``Well, I'm for it, but I'll make some more changes.'' You can't have a lot of ``buts'' in the White House. You've got to make up your mind and call them as you see them.
One time he was for the term limits, and then it didn't seem so good. There is this pattern of deception. There is this pattern of deception that is troubling the American people. And you can't lead the American people by misleading them.
Let me remind you of what he said at a critical moment in our history on the war. I had to make a tough call. And here's what Governor Clinton said. He said, ``I agree with the arguments of the minority, but I guess I would have voted with the majority.'' What kind of character, what kind of leadership is that? It is none at all.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!
The President. And when I stood with Boris Yeltsin -- and Yeltsin has said, ``It was George Bush, the first international leader to stand with me, and that did more for the failure of that coup and the support of democracy than anything else'' -- where was Governor Clinton? He's saying, ``Well, we better wait to see how it works out.'' You can't do that as President of the United States. So it does matter. Character does matter, and trust matters.
I believe we've got the best program. You see, Governor Clinton's going around telling everybody we're a nation in decline; we're less than Germany and maybe higher than Sri Lanka. Good heavens, he ought to open his eyes. Millie knows more about foreign affairs than he does. If you get out and look around the world, you'd see we have never been more respected. We are the leader. Even our economy is better than Japan and Germany and the rest of Europe and now Canada. We've been caught up in a global slowdown. And it is the United States of America that is going to lead the entire world out of it with more jobs for American workers.
And so in the final analysis, here's what it boils down to. Horace Greeley put it this way: ``Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing; only character endures.'' And I think that's especially true for the Presidency. Bill Clinton said -- you heard it in the debate -- it's not the character of the President, it's ``the character of the Presidency.'' I think he's wrong. I think they are interlocked. And I think what both Barbara and I do in that White House is reflective of the character of the Presidency. I am very proud of our First Lady. I am very proud of what she stands for and the way she has conducted herself with dignity and honor and caring and compassion. And that's another good reason for 4 more years.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. You know, if you'd have said 4 years ago, this President is going to be the one to see the end of the cold war, this President is going to be the one to have negotiated with the Soviet leader the elimination of all of these deadly ICBM missiles, this President is the one that's going to bring ancient enemies talking to each other in the Middle East and see democracy on the move south of our border, somebody would have said that you'd been inhaling. [Laughter] I'm telling you, these are dramatic changes, and I am very proud of them.
But here's the problem: That international communism, that imperial communism may be gone, the bear may be dead, but there are still wolves in the woods. And we'd better have a President who understands you've got to keep America strong to guarantee the national security of these kids, the security of these kids here tonight.
And so I ask you to imagine this. If you go in there, think about it when you go to the booth: Suppose there's a crisis here, domestically, some serious interruption, some crisis -- or abroad. The question is: Who has the character and the trust to lead the United States of America? You cannot have a troubling pattern of deception in that Oval Office. It is too special. It is too trusted in itself by people around the world.
And so, let me tell you just a little experience I had. I don't believe that we can take the kind of risks that Governor Clinton is asking us to take. When the next crisis occurs, and you can bet that it will, the entire world is going to be looking to the American President. They're going to look at experience, and they're going to count on character.
And you might say, well, what is character? And I quoted it today. A friend of mine says it's acting alone the same way you would act with a million people watching. As President, you're never more alone than at times of a crisis. And while nobody may be watching the Oval Office, millions will feel the impact of your judgment, millions here and millions around the world.
And I believe I have been tested. We've managed world change 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 event did occur in the sands of the Persian Gulf, I did not waver. I took a stand. I made the decision to go to war not because it was popular but because it was the right thing to do.
I'll never forget being with Barbara up at Camp David just before our kids were sent into battle in Kuwait. And yes, we attended a little chapel service there; and yes, we prayed for their safety because, I'll tell you something, it's a terrible responsibility to send somebody else's son or somebody else's daughter into combat. I think I was better able to make that decision because I did stand up and serve my country. Honor, duty, and country mean something to me.
But I have tried hard to keep the trust. And so on November 3d, when the pundits don't matter anymore, these instant replay guys come on the television, it doesn't matter what they say when you're alone in that voting booth. And when you enter it, please ask yourself these three commonsense questions: Who has the right vision, the right program to help Americans? Who can lead us through the global transition? And which candidate has the character? Who would you trust with your family? Who would you trust in a crisis?
I believe people will answer those three questions that George Bush is the one to lead. I am confident about America. We are not a nation in decline. We are the greatest, freest and most productive nation on Earth. Now let's join together and help every young person here live the American dream.
May God bless the United States of America. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at 5:25 p.m. beside the Spirit of America train.