George Bush photo

Remarks at a Bush-Quayle Fundraising Dinner in Chicago

March 16, 1992

Thank you very much, Jim Edgar. And Brenda, thank you for being here. And may I say how very lucky I am to have Jim Edgar heading my campaign here in this so important State. He's doing a superb job as your Governor, and I'm lucky to have him as our chairman.

And there are a lot of Members of Congress here, I think. Bob Dornan, I'm very pleased that Congressman Dornan could be here, winning the long-distance award. Bob Mosbacher, our former Secretary of Commerce, was to be here. I haven't seen him, but he's doing a superb job as the cochairman of our national campaign. You met Bobby Holt, who is our national finance chairman. And let me quickly thank Andrea Parish for her beautiful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and my old friend, my dear friend Henry Hyde for participating in the program and the invocation, great Illinois Congressman. And of course, Pat Ryan, who just outdid himself, bossing everybody around and raising all this money. What a superb job he's done putting together this event. Thank you very, very much.

And let me also salute one that Pat singled out, my good friend Rich Williamson. Believe me, Illinois needs this man in the United States Senate. And so please vote for him. And I noticed the fitting hand you gave Bob Michel, and I want to salute him as our leader in the House and the other Republican Members of the Illinois congressional delegation with us today. And a special thanks to our Bush-Quayle finance chairman, Bill Cellini, from downstate; and Jim Kenny -- Bill, I see the Cellini family is here -- and of course, another old friend, a regional chairman, Bill Ylvisaker here. I am very, very grateful to all of these people.

And as a bit of a name dropper, I too would like to salute the Chicago Bears who are with us tonight and say how very pleased I am they're here. And I often say when I'm away from Washington, I worry that I've left Congress "Home Alone." [Laughter] Well, Barbara and I got a kick out of meeting Macaulay Culkin there who is with us tonight. Where are you, Macaulay? Here he is, this guy; he's wonderful. And thanks for being with us. That's it. I recognize him. He goes like that.

But anyway, it's a great evening, and it's great to be back in Chicago. And I might point out with great pride that I've imported my own Illinois army to Washington. And you've heard their names, but the Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Madigan, doing a superb job trying to bring this GATT round to a successful conclusion; Ed Derwinski, working well in the Veterans Administration and helping us through all the great ethnic communities of Illinois. Ed's the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. And of course, you know and I know Lynn Martin so well, former Congresswoman, now Secretary of Labor, and also doing a great job. And when I was looking to hire a Chief of Staff, once again we turned to Illinois, and Sam Skinner rose to the challenge. And I think he's doing an outstanding job, and I'm glad he's here.

Someone once wrote that "Chicago does not lie there, waiting for things to happen. Chicago moves, making things happen." This year, the people of Chicago and the people of this great State are going to make things happen again. The choices we make will affect not only the next election, they will really affect the next generation as well. We are now in a battle for our future. We want America to lead the world in good jobs with productive work. We want to remain a force for world peace and freedom. And we're fighting to protect our most basic institution, and that is the American family.

That's why this year of decision is so important for America. That's why tomorrow's primary election and November's general election are vital to our future. I'm asking you to get out the vote and create a resounding mandate to literally transform America. Let's nominate and elect men and women who share our values. We've got more to do to get America on the right track. We've got more to do. So I'm asking you for 4 more years as your President to get this job done.

America was built on family and faith and freedom. These form the foundation of our great country. And we must now renew those sources of our strength. We must, for example, allow common sense to prevail in our welfare system. We've got to forge a new connection between welfare and work. When Chicago, the "City That Works," finds that 17 percent of its population dependent on welfare, something's wrong.

Americans aren't cold-hearted. We're a caring people. Americans support welfare for families in need. But Americans want to see government at every level work together to track down the deadbeat dads, the ones who can't be bothered to pay child support. They want to see us break this cycle of dependency that destroys dignity and passes down poverty from one generation to the next. That's wrong. That's cruel. And I'll tell you this: We are working hard to change it. My administration will continue to encourage the States to innovate with plans that help people break welfare dependency and begin learning work skills.

Here's another way that we can fight for the family: We can give parents the right to choose their children's schools. Our students learn and grow by competing in school, and our schools will improve by competing for students. School choice is one of the things at the heart of America 2000; that's our new education strategy to literally revolutionize American education.

You hear a lot of people on the other side in these campaigns complaining and talking about what they're going to do. We have an outstanding program right now to revolutionize education in this country. And it's based on this: We believe that parents, not some bureaucrat in Washington, know what is best for their children. That's why we also worked in the same vein to win a child care bill that gives parents the right to choose who provides the care. We know America is first as long as we put the family first.

For 3 years I've had to fight -- Bob Michel knows this, and Henry and the others here, John Porter -- we've had to fight the liberal leadership of Congress on these issues. And I will continue to stand and fight for principle even when Congress stands in the way. And I will use the veto when I have to, to stand for principle, to stand up for these family values. As it is, some say, some of my friends have said that at times I was courting defeat by casting a veto instead of cutting a deal. But we've never lost a veto fight. And I will never hesitate to use the power of the pen when principle is at stake.

One more thing, and it's important: I am going to continue to put judges on the bench who know that their role is to interpret, to interpret the law, not legislate from the Federal bench. And we are making dramatic moves in that direction.

You remember I've asked Congress to pass tax cuts and incentives to get the economy moving, back in the State of the Union Message, to get real estate up and running, to reward the risk-takers who create jobs. It's about time Congress does what it should have done long ago, get more American jobs by cutting the tax on capital gains.

But instead of passing my plan, the big spenders that control the Congress have other ideas. In the House, a temporary tax cut for more people. In the Senate, a permanent cut for less people. How much? Twenty-five cents, a quarter a day for each man, woman, and child. And you say, "What's the catch?" A permanent tax increase of $90 billion. Temporary cut, 25 cents a day, and a permanent increase of $90 billion. The Democrats call that new revenue. I call it your money. If the liberal leadership sends me their scheme, I am going to veto it the minute it hits my desk. And there's going to be no fooling around, compromising with that.

Remember, I set a deadline, March 20th. That's just 4 days away. This deadline was set back in January, moons ago. Four days away, and I said to Congress, "Pass our plan. Do something that will really move this economy. Get it moving. Do something now for the American people."

Well, we'll fight, and we will win. And we'll keep to our course of leadership in the world economy because if we want to succeed economically at home, we have got to lead economically abroad. I spoke about this in December when I visited the Merc over here, the Mercantile Exchange. And those folks are out there on the front line, on the frontier of the global marketplace, and they know what I mean. So do your exporters in this great State. Illinois exports about $35 billion a year in manufactured goods. Over 400,000 Illinois jobs depend on exports. Think of it: This is the city that gave the world Sears and Wrigley and Motorola and McDonald's hamburgers. That's free markets. That's free trade. That's my idea of how America competes and how America succeeds.

But what are we hearing now, because economic times are hard? We hear the opponents peddling protectionism, a retreat from economic reality. You cut through all the patriotic posturing, all the tough talk about fighting back by closing shop, and look closely. That is not the American flag they're waving. It's the white flag of surrender. And that is not the America that you and I know. We do not cut and run; we compete. Never in this Nation's long history have we turned our backs on a challenge, and we simply are not going to start doing that now.

I put my faith in the American worker. And I'm not about to sell our workers short. So what we're trying to do is open more markets, level the playing field. And you watch, the American worker will outthink, outproduce, outperform anyone, anywhere, anytime. The answer is not protection. It is more competition.

We must let the world know this: Whatever the challenge, America will meet it because we are in it to win. Think back, if you will, to a year ago, to the calm after Desert Storm. Ask any one of the proud sons and daughters of Illinois who became liberators of Kuwait, and they'll tell you military strength doesn't mean a thing without moral support right here at home.

Yes, I understand it, there were some who didn't support us then. There are those who second-guess us now. But not here, not in this State. When I drew that line in the sand, you stood with me. Never would this country tuck tail and let aggression stand. And we did what was good, and we did what was just, and we did what was right.

There are those who act as if America's work in the world is over now. To them I say this: We will never neglect America's vital national interests. We are never going to pull back. And as far as our national defense goes, I will continue to keep this country strong. Our worldwide credibility -- ask anyone here that's traveled abroad -- our worldwide credibility is now at an all-time high. And it will help us strengthen democracy, freedom, and peace around the world. And only the United States of America can lead the world. And as long as I am President I will stay involved and do just exactly that. We are not going to pull back.

So, let these opponents sound the retreat and run away from the new realities and seek refuge in a world of protectionism or gut our defense so we couldn't guarantee anybody security. Let them talk about the high taxes and provide us with more big Government. Let those analysts on TV tick off everything that's wrong in America. And I think it's time that somebody stood up and said what is right about this great country. And that's what I plan to do right now, on into the end of the year.

And one more thing: I'm counting on the good people of Illinois to reject the ugly politics of hate that is rearing its head lately. Remember, America is great because America is good. And racism and anti-Semitism and bigotry have no place in the United States of America at all, a campaign or in life, any other way. And we ought to denounce it for what it is.

Now let me just close by just saying that Barbara and I are blessed. We talk about it. I don't know that she will be pleasant to live with after that warm ovation you gave here -- [laughter] -- but I do think it's deserved. I think she's doing a first-class job out there for the -- [applause]. But we talk about this, just as other families talk about things. And we are very, very blessed, blessed to serve this wonderful country of ours at a time when so many of the old fears have been driven away, when so many new opportunities stand within our reach.

And since the day I took the oath of office, I made it my duty always to try to do what's right for the country. I've given it my level-best, and I'm not done yet. I'm not finished. You and I have much more work ahead before we've finished our mission. I think we've done a lot. I think it's a wonderful thing that little Andrea there or our "Home Alone" guy might go to sleep at night with not having the fear about nuclear weapons that the generation before them had. I think that's a wonderful thing. And I'm proud to have had a little part in that.

But there's so much more to do. And what it is, is a battle for our future, and it is about jobs and family and peace and the kind of legacy we're going to leave our kids or our grandkids. And I am absolutely convinced of this, believing in the goodness of our country, believing that this economy that's been so troublesome is fixin' to turn and move, I am convinced that together we can renew the miracle of American enterprise. We can strengthen our values, the underlying values of our family, faith, and freedom.

And now we're approaching an hour of decision tomorrow. And please don't wait until November. I'm asking you to vote on March 17th in the Republican primary. And give me your vote in this important election tomorrow. And help me win the greatest opportunity an American can have, 4 more years to fight, to lead the fight for the value we share.

And thank you, and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very, very much. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 8:10 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Brenda Edgar, wife of Gov. Jim Edgar; Patrick G. Ryan, dinner chairman; James Kenny, Illinois Bush-Quayle campaign cochairman; and Representative John Porter.

George Bush, Remarks at a Bush-Quayle Fundraising Dinner in Chicago Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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