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Exchange With Reporters on the Federal Budget Crisis

October 25, 1990

The President. Last picture.

Q. Got a budget?

Q. One big, happy family?

The President. Exactly. They got the message.

Q. How did you convert Mr. Gingrich, Mr. President?

Q. Are you all voting for the package?

The President. Some will, and some won't. But the point is we're unified and trying to win these elections, and that's what this is about. And we're going to do all right. And speaking for myself, I want to see this budget matter behind us. The leaders are going to meet outside with some of you all, and they can answer your individual questions. But I think all of us are totally united in our determination to take a sound, strong Republican message across this country. And if you got the symbolism, so be it.

Q. Is Rollins fired?

Q. What is the message, Mr. President?

Q. How about Rollins?

The President. Stay tuned. You'll start hearing that tomorrow morning, as you've been hearing it.

Q. What about a capital gains cut next year?

The President. Look, we're going to cross a lot of bridges next year, I'll guarantee you. I haven't given up my interest in incentives to get this economy moving, but we will see. We're working now to try to finish up the deal. And I will defer to the leaders; they'll speak to you about that out on the steps. But there are different views as to how quickly this will be done. But that's just one matter. It's a very important one. But we've got a lot of other problems, and we're coming together now to take our case for sound fiscal policy.

We have to keep the taxes down, get the spending down, and get this message out across the country. We've been bludgeoned by a bunch of demagogic attacks from the Democrats for months. And I've been relatively sanguine in the face of that because we've been trying to get something done; but as soon as we get this finished with, why, I will then be free -- as will everybody here who's been working on this -- to have our say.

Q. Are you going to bludgeon them now?

The President. Stay tuned, John [John Cochran, NBC News].

Q. What did you win, Mr. President?

Q. What did you get out of it?

Q. What do you think you won?

The President. Wait until we see what happens. Wait until you see the result.

Q. But what's all this unity based on?

The President. The fact that we're Republicans and that we all share the same values. We're the party that's trying to keep the taxes down. When they talk about taxing the rich, they're talking about taxing the working men and women of this country. We all agree on that, no matter how you feel on the budget deficit. We talk about the spending side -- we believe, and always have, people aren't taxed too little, the Government's spending too much. These broad themes are still strong, and they're still valid.

We happen to believe that we don't need a lot of mandated government programs from Washington, DC. Further, if you look at the way the Congress seems to be operating and the other party seems to think: Well, let's tell the States exactly how they ought to do it, whether it's child care or whatever the issue is. And education -- we've made some great progress here because of this Republican unity. And so, the message is strong, but it's been masked by the "inside the beltway" attention to a very important issue of one where the Democrats seemed to have carried the play with some of you all.

Q. Well, why did you go along?

The President. So, we're going to try to change all that. We're going to try to change it.

Q. "Outside the beltway" -- --

Q. -- -- the Albuquerque speech or the Phoenix speech?

The President. I feel if we had more Republicans, like everyone of them standing here, we wouldn't be in this fiscal mess. That's what I feel.

Q. What about Ed Rollins?

Q. Have you made a deal?

Q. Do you want Ed Rollins fired because of that memo that he wrote? [Laughter]

Q. -- -- raising taxes. Can you get away with that?

The President. You got out of there just in time, gang.

Note: The exchange began at 1:58 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Newt Gingrich is a Member of the House of Representatives. Edward J. Rollins, cochairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, had sent a memo to Republican candidates advising them not to hesitate "to oppose either the President or proposals being advanced in Congress."

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters on the Federal Budget Crisis Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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