Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on the Republican National Convention and George Bush

August 20, 1988

My fellow Americans:

You and I had the privilege of attending quite a party this week in New Orleans. Of course, I'm talking about the Republican National Convention. And let me tell you, when the Grand Old Party throws itself a grand old party, it can even give the exuberant folks of New Orleans a lesson or two in how to have fun.

I was moved beyond words to see my very, very good friend and colleague George Bush accepting the nomination for President. On Monday night, I said I wanted to work as a foot soldier in George's campaign. After hearing his speech Thursday night, all Americans could see what I've seen for 8 years: dedication, integrity, and commitment to principle; a strong man and a strong leader. I've said many times that George has the experience, the credentials, the savvy, and the—well—the just plain grit to be President of the United States.

Jerry Ford put it so beautifully in his address Tuesday night: "When his nation needed him to fly 58 combat missions during World War II, George answered America's call. When our intelligence agencies were under siege during the 1970's, George made a vital contribution to our national security by restoring their dignity and integrity." I said the other night that, as Vice President, George Bush brilliantly served his nation's quest for peace by playing a vital role in the process that has led to the historic INF treaty that will eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles.

He also led the battle on a quiet but absolutely critical front in our struggle to restore America's economic strength. I'm talking about his determined attack on unnecessary government regulations that had our economy under siege and were assaulting job creation. Yes, if you're one of the many millions of Americans who has found a new job in the last 8 years, one major reason that job exists may well be George Bush. And one other thing: George has always given me straight-from-the-shoulder advice and counsel on how we could advance our vision for the future, and he's always been candid with me when we disagreed. That's the George Bush I know best. But there's also the George Bush who's a father of 5, grandfather of 10, a devoted husband, a man never too busy to take the time to help a friend who needed him.

The strength and wisdom of George Bush was reflected this week in the strength and wisdom of the Republican Party itself, just as the energy and enthusiasm of the party were reflected in the energy and enthusiasm of Senator Dan Quayle. Dan was elected to the Senate on the day I was first elected President. Dan shares with George Bush and me a vision of an America and a world no longer threatened by the specter of nuclear attack. That's why Dan has labored with conviction for the Strategic Defense Initiative. And he shares a vision of opportunity for all Americans. And that's why he's stood with George Bush and me throughout the fight to lower tax rates and increase opportunity for all Americans.

Throughout the week our party's leaders came together in a display of force and grace—the no-nonsense wit and wisdom of Bob Dole, the intellectual dynamism of Jack Kemp, the big-hearted populism of Tom Kean, the Texas gusto of Phil Gramm, and so many others. And there were those who brought a special message of unity to the party. Like me, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Bill Bennett were once Democrats, and like me, they've found a home in the Republican Party. Yes, Bill and Jeane and all those who spoke proved that the Republican Party is a party proud of its vision for the future and ready to lay it out in detail.

Just look at the Republican platform. This 40,000 word document spells out the views of George Bush and our party on almost every major issue facing the Nation today. Like it or not—and I like it—when you read it, you know where George stands. Now, compare it with the 4,000 word document passed by the opposition last month in Atlanta. That document is a plethora of platitudes, and it points up the difference between the two parties. Our friends in Atlanta won't tell you what they'll do if they get elected, but George Bush and Dan Quayle already have. George and Dan and our party have spread their roadmap out on the table for all to see, while the other guys won't tell us where they're going and won't even give us directions. It will take more than platitudes to convince the American people: It will take the courage to stand up for principle.

Yes, this week, as in every week for the past 8 years, George Bush has stood up for principle. He's been in on the tough decisions, working for peace through strength and prosperity through liberty. And I'm proud to stand with him.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:06 a.m. from his ranch in Santa Barbara County, CA.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the Republican National Convention and George Bush Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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