Thank all of you for this warm welcome. I'd like to single out all the kids here today from Mashpee Middle School -- music to my ears. You were just great!
And now I have the pleasure, if I haven't fouled this thing up, to ask the Falmouth High School Band to play the national anthem for us. I think it's most appropriate on a day like this. And if -- are you guys geared up? Let's fire it up.
[At this point, the band played the national anthem.]
Great. Thank you so very much, all of you.
Let me say how great it is to be back on the Cape, to breathe the deep magic of this place. You know, Henry David Thoreau, Massachusetts' native son, once said about the Cape: "A man may stand here and put all America behind him." Way back in 1943, in the fall, just about this time in 1943, I spent some time at the Cape, stationed at the naval air station, then at Hyannis. I've never forgotten the joy and the wonder of the Cape. It's great to be back, and it's great to be back with these winners.
Let me first say hello to a friend and a candidate I want to see added to the Republican ranks down on Capitol Hill. I'm talking about John Bryan -- whoops, here he is. He made it. John Bryan, the right man for the Cape in the 10th District. Good luck to you.
And of course, I want to mention two that are helping me so much in the White House, two of Massachusetts' sons: Andy Card, one of our top staff people there, and Ron Kaufman, the national committeeman for the State.
And now to the team that's ready to run things for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: your next Senator, Jim Rappaport. We need him in Washington. Another man I've known for years, a Republican of fine standing, a leader -- I'm talking about Joe Malone, the next State treasurer.
One of my earliest supporters in politics -- and some of you all on the Cape might remember this -- is the next Lieutenant Governor of this State, Paul Cellucci, who is with us today. And then, of course, the man of the hour, the man we're counting on to turn this State around, Bill Weld, the next Governor. I am for him 100 percent.
You know, this area, I'm told -- doing a little homework for this visit -- I'm told that Mashpee has a long independent streak, as long as the winters are out here on the Cape. Here in Mashpee, you know better than most that the time has come for a change. If there's ever been a State in the Union that has been a playground for one-party politics, it's Massachusetts. The Democrats are the ones that have every statewide office, and they are the ones that hold all but one of the congressional seats, and they are the ones holding 8 of 10 seats in the statehouse in the senate. And the Massachusetts taxpayers -- they're the ones holding the bag. We are going to change that by the election of this outstanding team.
I like the way they are campaigning for change, because I believe that one of the most important things that we can do together is to get more Republicans elected at every level. Because this party is the party with an agenda; the party of change, not the status quo; and the party of new ideas with a finger on the pulse of this nation.
There is no higher domestic Republican agenda item than this nation's economy, because America's economy is the job-creating engine that every family in the country counts on.
You know, in the events in Eastern Europe -- and I'm sure some of you kids have been reading about these in schools -- and around the world -- other changes -- if they've reminded us of anything, it is that free markets and free enterprise are good for people. And America still does it better than anybody else. Still, in recent months, we've seen some uncertainty and some concern about slower economic growth. And that's one reason that getting a budget agreement was crucial, why I was willing to go the extra mile.
I couldn't agree more with Jim; there's an awful lot of it I don't like. The negotiations were difficult; they were tough. But we finally reached an agreement with the Democratic majority that controls both Houses of the Congress. And there were clear differences between the parties. They wanted to raise taxes, including income tax rates. I wanted to reduce the deficit in the way my budget called for: reduce it with spending cuts, not by raising taxes on the working man and woman of this country.
We did get a $492 billion, 5-year reduction program, about a half a trillion dollars. And $350 billion of that was in spending cuts -- the largest cut in history. And then -- this is critical -- we did manage, through a lot of hard work by the Republican leaders, to get Congress on a pay-as-you-go plan, the enforcement provision. I'm sure there's a lot of skepticism anytime that Congress takes action. But the enforcement provisions of this agreement are real, they are strong, and no longer will these programs be funded with red ink, mortgaging the future of the young people here in Mashpee today.
And as we landed at Otis, I thought of another thing. We did hold the line against the reckless cuts of our Armed Forces. Defense spending went down; but I can certify to the American people, I think, given the changes in the world, I believe we do have proper levels now to sustain United States interests around the world. And I am determined to ensure that this nation's defense remains strong and prepared. And certainly we owe that much to our men and women now serving with pride in the Persian Gulf.
And there were some other things in there that were good. You know, we're the party that knows nothing is more precious than the well-being of our children. So, that's why we called for a child-care bill, one that would put the choice in the hands of the parents, in the hands of the American family, empowering parents.
Some in Congress tried to build a bigger day-care bureaucracy at double the cost of our bill. Then the House outdid the Senate -- Democratic-controlled House -- by tripling our request. But we turned the classic, budget-busting bidding war around and gave choice back to the families. And we've got a child-care bill that puts dollars in the pockets of low- and middle-income parents, because we know Americans don't want government-sponsored day-care centers to warehouse our kids, designed and managed by bureaucrats miles away. Keep the child care close to the family. Because -- as Bill said and Jim said -- because Republicans care about change, American parents will now have increased choice in child care.
There's still more work to be done, lots more on our agenda, the agenda I outlined for you several years ago when I was here. American education has got to be second to none. This party understands that our ability to compete demands that our kids' education is nothing less than the very best. That's why we sent Congress the Education Excellence Act: for fundamental education reform; to reward achievement; to encourage accountability; and to give parents more say, more choice in their kids' education.
Where some called for a bigger bureaucracy, we called for flexibility. Where the liberal Democrats said throw more money at the status quo -- we spend more per capita than almost any country in the world on education -- we call for reform, finding a way to do it better. We need excellence in education. This party is committed to fundamental change in American education. I know that Jim Rappaport in the Senate and Bill Weld right here in the statehouse in Massachusetts agree with me: Reform and change is what is needed to make education better for these kids.
So, we are at a turning point. There are so many other issues that we are making some progress on. I'll be signing a clean air bill in a few days. We would never have done it if we hadn't had Republicans fighting for that legislation.
We'll be signing -- I think there will be some kind of crime legislation. But the kind of crime legislation that I want, the one that defends the police officers and a little tougher on the criminals, never got anywhere because of the liberals in the United States Congress. If we had more people like Jim down there, we would get good, sound anticrime legislation that would make the streets safe in this country.
So, there's an unfulfilled agenda, and I want to fulfill it promptly by getting more Republicans in Washington and by having more Republicans in the statehouses across this country. And in this ticket and in this candidate for the Senate, we have an outstanding chance for reform and for change. Elect Bill Weld, his team, and elect Jim Rappaport to the Senate. That's what you can do to participate in this change.
Now, let me just make a few comments on the Middle East. As I mentioned earlier at a reception outside of Boston, we are at a partisan political event. But I want to ask you now to shift gears. Just for a moment, let me speak to you as President of the United States for all and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. And I want to ask you to put politics aside, because I know that everyone is vitally interested in the situation in the Middle East.
I believe, as Arthur Vandenberg did long ago -- Senator Vandenberg -- who said that politics ends at the water's edge. That's a noble sentiment. It's strong. It makes sense today. We crept away from that because of the agony of Vietnam. Now we are united.
First, I am very grateful to the Democrats and the Republicans, the leaders and the Members of Congress, for their strong support for what I felt I must do -- bipartisan support, bipartisanship at its best.
On August 2d, Iraq invaded Kuwait. They literally -- literally, not figuratively -- literally raped, pillaged, and plundered this once-peaceful land, this nation that is a member of the Arab League and a member of the United Nations. Iraq began to brutally and systematically dismantle Kuwait -- shipping its medical equipment, its machines, its records, its assets all back to Baghdad; taking machines out of the factories and machinery out of the hospitals, sending it back to Baghdad.
They've tried to silence Kuwaiti dissent and courage with firing squads, much as Hitler did when he invaded Poland. They have committed outrageous acts of barbarism. In one hospital, they pulled 22 premature babies from their incubators, sent the machines back to Baghdad, and all those little ones died.
The United States and the rest of the world, united in anger and outrage, determined to force Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. On August 5th, Saddam Hussein announced that he was pulling his forces out of Kuwait. And at the very moment, there was a picture of a truck with some lonely Iraqi soldier smiling and waving as the truck went north. Saddam Hussein's armor went south to the Saudi Arabia border, threatening yet another member of the United Nations, another member of the Arab League.
Subsequently, the United Nations Security Council passed 10 resolutions of condemnation and disapproval. And on August 5th, I said that Saddam Hussein's aggression will not stand. And today I am more determined than ever in my life: This aggression will not and must not stand.
This morning, this very morning, over 300 Americans, innocent civilians, are held against their will in Iraq. Saddam Hussein calls them guests. They are held in direct contravention of international law, many of them reportedly staked out as human shields near possible military targets. Brutality that -- I don't believe Adolf Hitler ever participated in anything of that nature.
Many more Americans are in hiding in Kuwait, their lives at stake. A number imprisoned in the United States Embassy in Kuwait City, the Embassy surrounded by Iraq forces. They're cut off from food. They are cut off from other supplies. They're surrounded. And our flag still flies, but the rights of these American citizens at this very moment are being denied by Iraq's brutal dictator.
So, let me be very clear with you: We have no argument with the people of Iraq. We bear no hostility to the people of Iraq, nor do any of the other 25 countries represented on land and sea in the Gulf area bear hostility to the people of Iraq. Our problem is with Saddam Hussein alone.
And I want desperately to have a peaceful resolution to this crisis. Indeed, we have worked and gone the extra mile, working with the United Nations and putting sanctions into effect, in passing resolutions, in speaking with one voice against the invader's aggression. And we are giving sanctions time to work. I hope there will never be a shot fired in anger. But I owe it to you, the American people, to make this clear, very clear: There will be no compromise on the stated objectives of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, none at all.
The brutality against innocent civilians will not be tolerated and will not stand. Saddam's clear violation of international law will not stand. And that means, yes, Saddam Hussein's brutal aggression of Kuwait will not stand. And that is the message from the United States to the dictator in Iraq. No one wants a peaceful solution to this crisis more than I do. And no one is more determined to see this aggression turned back -- more determined than I am.
You know, as our own force is deployed in the Gulf, I think I should tell you, as to them, that they are the best young men and women ever to serve in our Armed Forces. They are volunteers. They are well-trained. They are highly motivated. They are your sons and daughters and your neighbors' kids. And they are the finest, and we owe them a vote of thanks.
Well, I tell you, these men and women don't take democracy for granted. And thousands upon thousands of them will be sending in their ballots from the Saudi desert. And if they can find the time to vote under such challenging conditions, so can every single American here at home. We have an obligation to show these extraordinary GI's that we don't take democracy for granted, either. Let's make them as proud of us as we are of them. Go to the polls and vote. Do it on Tuesday, and vote for our outstanding ticket.
Thank you all, and God bless you.