George Bush photo

Remarks at a Bush-Quayle Fundraising Luncheon in Milwaukee

March 16, 1992

Thank you, Governor Thompson, and thank all of you for that warm welcome. Sue Ann, it is such a treat to see you again. May I second the motion on Bob Kasten; it is absolutely essential that he be reelected. And I'm glad to be here with him today.

And earlier this morning, we were out at a very dynamic steel company. And I want to thank Fred Luber for his sponsorship and leadership in seeing this minority business out there have a real shot at the American dream. But with us out there was Lieutenant Governor Scott McCallum and his wife, Laurie, both with us here today. I salute them. And may I single out former Secretary of Commerce Bob Mosbacher, who is now a cochairman of our campaign, sitting down here. And Bobby Holt's with us somewhere, our national finance chairman. And I am very, very grateful to both of them. And Bob did a superb job for commerce in this country. Thank you, Mr. Mosbacher.

And I could not possibly come back to Wisconsin without saluting my longtime friend -- picked me up, dusted me off in the dark ages when we were really down and been at my side ever since, same for Tommy -- and I'm talking about John MacIver, our Bush-Quayle chairman over here. And again, our thanks to Fred Luber for cochairing this and his wife, Ann; and also for Wisconsin's chairman, David Opitz; and Mike Grebe over here, a longtime friend and now our national committeeman. You have a wonderful team.

Someone asked me what I think of the challenger who has no leadership experience whatsoever but thinks he's qualified to assume high office. Frankly, I think Phil Garner will do a fine job with the Brewers, outstanding. [Laughter] And it is good to get out of Washington. And I'll tell you, what's going on on Capitol Hill right now gives new meaning to the phrase, "The check's in the mail." [Laughter]

You know, too many people in Washington are fixated on the next election, and too few are focused on the next generation. And we are in a battle for our future. And we want America to lead the world in good jobs with productive work. And we want to and we will remain a force for world peace and freedom. And we're for fighting to protect our most basic institution, the family.

That's why this year of decision is so vital for America. And that's why April's primary election and November's general election are vital to our future. I'm asking you to get out to vote and create a resounding mandate to 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. And so I am asking you today for 4 more years as President of the United States of America.

America was built on faith, family, and freedom. And these form the foundation of our great country. And we must now renew those sources of our strength. We must allow common sense to prevail, for example, in our welfare system, forge a new connection between welfare and work. And as I've said, I am encouraging States to seek waivers to reform the Nation's welfare programs. And today, standing right here, Governor Thompson is submitting such a waiver request, and I look forward to receiving it.

You're on the right track right here in Wisconsin with learnfare, Bob referred to this, with workfare, and the proposed Parental Responsibility Act. Those are just a few of the reasons why more and more people are beginning to say, "Watch Wisconsin because Wisconsin works."

The people of the country, like the people of the State, are not stingy. Americans are a caring people. If somebody else is hurting, we feel it. And we support welfare for families in need. But Americans want to see government at every level, for example, work together to track down the deadbeat dads, the ones who can't be bothered to pay child support. And they want to see us break this cycle, this ugly and deplorable cycle of dependency that destroys dignity and then passes down poverty from one generation to the next. It's wrong. It's cruel. And we're working to change it. And we're encouraging States to follow Governor Thompson's lead, to follow Wisconsin's lead, with plans that help people break welfare dependency and begin learning work skills.

And we will continue to fight for the parents' right to choose their children's schools. School choice is at the heart of our wonderfully exciting America 2000, our strategy to revolutionize, literally revolutionize, American education.

And Wisconsin knows what I mean. Think of the groundbreaking efforts of Polly Williams, whom I talked to from Air Force One this morning. This State pioneered the frontier of school choice, because, as Tommy said, the Governor said, "It was the right thing to do." And I'm grateful to say it looks like your State supreme court would agree. And there are those who find change difficult. And some say, "Slow down." And we say to them, "Get out of the way." Choice works in Wisconsin, and we're going to take this crusade to every State in the Union.

Incidentally and perhaps parenthetically, here's another choice I deeply support. I really believe, because I talk about family and faith, I really believe our children have the right to choose voluntary prayer in school. And I'd like to see something done about it.

Parents, not some bureaucrat in Washington, know what is best for the kids. And that's why I worked to win this child care bill, with Bob Kasten's support, a bill that gives parents the right to choose who provides the care. And we know America is first as long as we put the family first.

And for 3 years I've had to struggle fighting the liberal leadership of the Congress on these issues. And I'm going to continue to stand and fight for principle even when Congress stands in the way. And thank God again for Bob Kasten and his cohorts on our side in the Senate.

We've put judges on the bench, on the Federal bench, who know their role is to interpret the law, not legislate from the Federal bench. And I will use the veto when I have to -- another point -- to stand for principle, to stand up for family values. And if I had the kind of line-item power that your Governor has, I would prove once and for all, that the pen is mightier than the sword. As it is, even my friends have said that at times I was courting defeat by casting a veto out there instead of compromising. But we've never lost a veto fight. And I'll never hesitate to use it when principle is at stake.

You remember, I asked Congress to pass tax cuts and incentives to get the economy moving, to get real estate up and running, to reward the risktakers who create good jobs. And one reason Wisconsin has weathered the recession better than most of the other States is that Wisconsin kept the cut on capital gains and Wisconsin business taxes are among the lowest in the Nation. And Wisconsin works, and it's time Washington woke up to why. And I am again calling on the Congress to cut the tax on capital gains. It is a job creator, not a break for the rich.

But instead of passing my plan, the big spenders that control the Congress had other ideas. And here they are: In the House of Representatives, a temporary cut for more people, tax cut; in the Senate, a permanent cut for less people. How much? Twenty-five cents a day, a quarter a day for each man, woman, and child in America. Fine, but what's the catch? Ninety billion dollars in new permanent taxes. And the Democrats call that, as Bob knows, new revenue. And I call it your money.

And remember, we set a deadline, March 20th, and that's just 4 days away. And I said to Congress, "Pass our plan. Help get our economy moving. Do something good and right now for the American people." And we'll fight, and we'll win. We may have to veto -- I will veto the tax bills if they come out of the House and Senate anything like they are today. Make no mistake about it.

And we're going to keep to our leadership course in the world economy. Because if we want to succeed economically at home, and Tommy touched on this one, we've got to lead economically abroad. Trade with our neighbors, trade with the world is important here in Wisconsin. And this State exports $15.4 billion in manufactured goods in a single year, that's billion dollars. And almost 200,000, I believe the figure is, Wisconsin jobs -- somewhere in there -- depend on exports, direct and indirect.

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

I put my faith in the American worker. I mentioned this out there at the steel plant: Level the playing field and our worker, the American worker, will outthink, outproduce, and outperform anyone, anywhere, anytime. So we've got to let the world know this: Whatever the challenge, America will meet it. We are in it to win.

Think back. Think back to just about a year ago, to the calm after Desert Storm. And ask any one of the proud sons and daughters of Wisconsin who became liberators of Kuwait, and they'll tell you that military strength doesn't mean a thing without moral support right here at home.

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

And there are those who act as if America's work in the world is over -- "Come back; come home." And to them I say: We will never neglect America's vital national interests. And as far as our national defense goes, I am going to continue to keep this country strong so that our worldwide credibility, now at an all-time high, will help us strengthen democracy, freedom, and peace around the entire world. Look around the world. It is only our country, it is only the United States of America that can lead the world. And as long as I am President, I am going to stay engaged and do just exactly that.

Let my opponents, both sides, sound the retreat, run from the new realities, seek refuge in a world of protectionism or high taxes or big Government. And let the analysts on the tube tick off everything that's wrong in America. We know what's right. And let me say, too, I am counting on the good people of Wisconsin to reject the ugly politics of hate that is rearing its head. Racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry have no place in the United States of America. And we must continue to stand for that principle.

Let me close by saying that, in the first place, I'm very proud of our First Lady. She's not here, but I can say it with great pride in what Barbara Bush has done, raising the standards for literacy in this country and just being a wonderfully decent family person. And I know this sounds maybe a little too prideful, but I think she's been a superb First Lady. And we are very blessed, if you will, blessed to serve this great Nation of ours at a moment when so many of the old fears have been driven away and when so many new opportunities stand within our reach. Since the day I took the oath of office I made it my responsibility, my duty to try to do what is right for this wonderful country that's been so good to us. I've given it my level-best, and I'm not done yet. I am not finished.

You and I have much more work before we've finished our mission. It's a battle for our future: It's about jobs; its about family; it's about something big, world peace, the kind of legacy we're going to leave our kids. Together, we've made a great beginning. I take great pride that the young people in this country go to sleep today without quite the fear of nuclear war that perhaps their parents had not so many years ago. We want to renew the miracle of American enterprise. We want to strengthen the underpinnings of our society, the values of family and faith and freedom.

And now we're approaching an hour of decision -- and next month, right here in this State. Don't wait until November. I'm asking you to vote on April 7th in the Republican primary. Give me your vote in this important election next month. Help me win 4 more years to lead the fight for these fundamental values we share.

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

Note: The President spoke at 12:18 p.m. at the Pfister Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Sue Ann Thompson, wife of Gov. Tommy Thompson; John K. MacIver, chairman, and Fred G. Luber, finance cochairman, Wisconsin Bush-Quayle campaign; David W. Opitz, Wisconsin Republican Party chairman; Phil Garner, manager of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team; and State legislator Polly Williams.

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

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