George Bush photo

Address at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California

August 12, 1996

Thank you. Thank you so much, Governor. Thank you all very, very much. Please be seated. Thank you very much. Please be seated and thank you for that warm welcome -- and Governor, thank you for that wonderful introduction. This recept--on makes me feel not only very welcome and very grateful -- grateful to you, whose support led to my holding the highest office in the land. (Applause.)

If you'll excuse just a little parental pride, I am very proud of the governor of Texas, and I am equally proud of a certain Florida delegate, who waged an honorable campaign and almost was elected governor of the great state of Florida, Jeb Bush. (Applause.)

You know, strong families and sound values are the backbone of America, and they are the heart and soul of the Republican party. And families are also where leadership begins. Leadership based on trust, values and character. You know, as president, I worked hard to uphold the dignity and honor of the presidency. And I tried, as did my superb staff, to treat both the White House and the presidency itself with respect. (Applause.)

It breaks my heart when the White House is demeaned -- the presidency itself diminished. Bob Dole as president will treat the White House with respect, his staff will be beyond even the appearance of impropriety, and in the process he will increase respect for the United States of America all across the world. (Applause.)

Thanks to my friend and partner Ronald Reagan and to the able team of mature and tested experts who supported me in the defense and foreign policy matters, the world is a far safer place today. And while I was in office, we saw the Cold War end, the Soviet Union implode, the Berlin Wall come down; we saw Eastern Europe and the Baltic States go free, and we saw a reunified Germany, a Latin America on the democratic move, and when Saddam Hussein attempted to take over another country by bruta- aggression, we saw the United States of America lead an historic international coalition to kick him out of Kuwait. (Applause.)

And more, because of the heroism of our military and the skill of our commanders -- one of whom we'll hear from tonight -- who led these commanders -- because we were unwilling to listen to the doomsayers and the apologists for aggression, because we fought and won, we saw the Middle East peace process get underway at Madrid and even more -- we saw respect for our great country soar to new heights.

Here at home, even the most persistent cynic could neither deny nor diminish the feeling of patriotism that swept across this land. In all of these triumphs, every single one of them, Senator Dole stood at my side, never cutting and running when the going got tough. His support and leadership were vitally important. And some would tell us now that there are no more enemies, so we should turn selfishly inward.

Not so. International terror, nuclear proliferation, and even some future aggressor like Saddam Hussein will provide challenges to our next president. Consistent, strong, US leadership is vitally important to world peace. Leadership around the world means keeping one's word. It means policy by conviction. It means never blaming others or ducking or dodging, or putting our troops under the United Nations command-- (applause)--leadership means standing against the voices of isolation and protectionism. It means being able to make a tough decision, even when the pollsters and the handlers say no.

Bob Dole himself, bloodied in combat, tested by fire on the battlefield and in the world of politics, has proved his service to his country. He knows we need a strong defense and a strong economy. He will be a commander-in-chief whom our military respects, whom our allies will look up to, and who any future adversaries will fear.

There is no substitute for personal sacrifice, for courage, for honorable service to our country, and Bob Dole--(applause)--has served his state, his nation--in the Congress with honor. Always with honor. And for him, duty, honor, country--they mean something noble. He will be a president we can look up to. He will do us proud.

And finally, my friends, I must now confess that I've been going through a bit of an identity crisis. It is not easy being married to arguably the most popular woman in the United States of America -- (applause) -- a woman who unquestionably upheld the honor of the White House -- (applause) -- and she did it, you know, with class, and style and caring and love -- and with her commitment to literacy and to so many other good causes, her love of Americals good people, shown through every single day -- she sure did her part to make our a kinder and gentler nation.

A great first lady, who shares all of my enthusiasm for Bob Dole and Jack Kemp too, my wife of 51 years, Barbara Bush. (Applause.)

George Bush, Address at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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