George Bush photo

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Pete Wilson in Los Angeles, California

October 26, 1990

Let me say to our next Governor, thank you very much for that warm introduction and those generous comments. I might say, Gayle, Pete can't be here, but I'm delighted to be at your side. Gayle Wilson continues to amaze. She finds all the time in the world to be compassionate and work with these drug babies, engaged in the battle against narcotics; and yet she's Pete's secret weapon out on the campaign trail every single day. He's lucky, and it's going to make a tremendous difference.

I, too, want to pay my respects to my old friend George Deukmejian, to Gloria, too. I'll tell you, the State has been well served by his decency, his honor, his sense of commitment. George, thank you for what you've done for this State and for the country. I, too, want to thank our State chairman, Frank Visco, and our statewide slate. Marion Bergeson is here with us, the candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Thomas Hayes for treasurer; and Matt Fong for comptroller -- all with us here today. And I want to thank the marvelous talent, the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme. Nobody can do "The Star-Spangled Banner" any better than that. If you give lessons, you might try Roseanne Barr on for size. [Laughter]

I want to say thanks to my friends Andy Williams and Buddy Ebsen, Donald O'Connor and, of course, Scott Baio, the youngest of us all. It's great to be with you all, and I'm so appreciative. And then, my special and profound thanks to two old friends that have been really sweet to Barbara and me over the years; and I mean Barbara and Frank Sinatra. Thank you all for being with us, too.

I bring you all greetings from Barbara Bush. If I might say so -- as I said about Gayle -- I think Barbara is doing an outstanding job on behalf of literacy across this country. That first pitch she threw out at the Reds' catcher there probably screwed up the Oakland team, but nevertheless -- [laughter] -- she sends her very best regards.

I want to just get back out here -- this morning in Orange County, and now here, and then Monday in San Francisco -- to just say a few words of support for our next Governor, Pete Wilson.

You know, Pete understands California. He knows that Californians want a government that is responsible and, in short, a government worthy of respect. That's why he endorsed this Proposition 140 to reform our government by limiting the terms for the lawmakers.

You know, some don't know this, but our 1988 Republican national platform called for limiting terms for Members of Congress. Now momentum is building all across this country. But the Democrats, including Pete's opponent, don't understand the mood of the country. They truly believe that they deserve to be reelected from now until kingdom come. I believe in citizen legislators returning to live under the laws they've made. I believe term limitation is an idea whose time has come.

This system, gerrymandered to perpetuate incumbency, reminds me of the Michael Keaton character in "Pacific Heights": Once they move into your basement, they never move out. [Laughter] But Pete Wilson has said enough is enough, and so do I. And we don't need perpetual legislators. We need more Republicans like Pete Wilson, and we need a Congress in Washington that works. We need a Congress that works for the national interest, not the special interest.

In education -- Pete touched on it -- we want reform to empower parents, give the parents the right to choose their children's schools. In child care, we want reform to empower parents to choose who will watch over their children. We don't want the Government telling them that that's the way it's got to be in child care.

And in the most desolate, the most poverty-stricken inner cities, we want reform. And so, we strive to create job zones of opportunity, to remove barriers to mobility and success, to empower people with the spirit of enterprise.

In civil rights, we want expanded guarantees of equal opportunities for all. We want to eliminate prejudice in the workplace, but we do not want quotas. And that is why I vetoed that civil rights bill. And the very day I did that, I sent a -- I've been for civil rights all my life, and I sent a civil rights bill up to the Hill that will guarantee against discrimination in the workplace, but it will not establish quotas. And I ask the Congress -- they're sitting around up there now -- they could pass it in 20 minutes if there was a genuine interest in civil rights and less interest in trying to embarrass the President of the United States.

And in housing, we want to empower public-housing tenants to take charge of their own lives, to be able to control the places in which they live.

But this is a Congress that I have to live with. I'm now much more empathetic with the Duke -- what he's put up with over these last couple of terms. This is a Congress that would rather proclaim National Home Care Week than give me a housing bill. This is a Congress that would rather issue feel-good proclamations than address the fundamental problems of this country. And this is a Congress that is just now delivering a budget almost a full month into the new fiscal year and after 8 months of negotiations.

You know, almost 40 times in the last 10 years -- just in the last 10 years -- Congress has had to pass emergency measures just to keep the Government operating. They did it again just last Wednesday for the third time this month. I believe that the American people have had enough. And there is an alternative. And I met yesterday at the White House with the Republican leadership from the House and the Senate, and I made clear to the leadership and to our negotiators from the White House how much we owe to their untiring efforts these past 8 months -- efforts to fight the Democrats' determination to tax and spend.

It is my deeply held conviction that I must do all I can to get a $500-billion deficit reduction that can't be turned over next year or the year after -- get that 5-year deficit reduction and get it in place. And that has meant that I've had to do some compromising. I don't control the Senate, and I don't control the House. But I will not do one that reverts back to raising the income tax rates on everybody in the name of "soaking the rich." What they're really doing is trying to get into the pocket of the working man and woman of this country by that indexing that the Democrats ran through the House with.

God, it's nice to be out of Washington, I'll tell you. [Laughter] Getting warmed up here. But we are united by a certain bunch of principles, group of principles. And we stand against the age-old failed tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats who control both Houses of the Congress. We're working to turn things around in Washington. Right here in California, back here, reform starts now with Pete Wilson.

In our war on crime and drugs, Pete, as George Deukmejian said, has been absolutely outstanding. As your next Governor, here's what he says: "I will not have California under siege to rapists and thugs and drug dealers." And is it, therefore, any surprise that he, and not his opponent, is endorsed by the women prosecutors of California? They know that Pete wants to govern a California where women no longer fear the night, because drug dealers and criminals will fear the law. They know he would make your streets safer by extending capital punishment in California to those major drug traffickers -- the same as my proposal, exactly the same as my proposal before the Congress.

The first time I called on Congress to pass a tough, comprehensive crime bill, I was surrounded there by hundreds of law enforcement officers at the foot of the Capitol on a rain-soaked morning in May of 1989. Now, after a year and a half, the Democrat Congress still has not passed our crime bill. The only crime bill the Democrats have ever talked about passing is one that would leave our courts, our cops, and ultimately, our citizens weaker than the criminals who plague our cities. And I will not accept that kind of legislation. When the Democrats tried to push through an exclusionary rule that would have handcuffed law enforcement officers, it was Republicans -- in the minority -- but it was Republicans that held the line. And when they tried to assure criminals a process of endless appeals, Republicans held the line. And when they tried to cut the death penalty, Republicans held the line.

The hour is late. And if Congress sends me a bill now -- even now at this last minute -- that is tougher on criminals than it is on the cops, then I'll sign it the instant it lands on my desk. It troubles me, it troubles me that our Democratic Congress doesn't bother to listen to the most vulnerable of our society: those families living in fear in West L.A. or in Watts, in neighborhoods where just going to school or the corner store requires an act of courage.

If the Democrats in Congress want real justice, if they want peace in our neighborhoods, they would have protected Americans -- all Americans -- with the tough laws that we proposed so very long ago. If we had had more people like Pete Wilson in the United States Senate and more like him in the House, we would have done much better sooner to protect the average man and woman of this country.

Well, now California can do something about the arrogance of the liberal State legislature. You can do something because you, the voters, are the true incumbents. You can elect more Republicans, and you can elect a Governor who will never waver in fighting crime, standing firm for fiscal sanity, protecting the environment. You can elect Pete Wilson.

November 6th is just 11 days away, and already the absentee ballots are coming in from the Gulf, thousands of votes from our men and women in uniform. If they can find the time to do their civic duty under demanding circumstances, I know that Californians at home will turn out as well. So we need you to get out the vote. That's what a lot of this luncheon is about today -- helping Frank Visco and the State party get out the vote for our outstanding statewide ticket.

Let me just close with a word relating to what's happening in the Gulf. I was very moved when I landed at El Toro and met the wives and kids of many of those who are serving us right now halfway around the world in Saudi Arabia. It's a very moving thing to see those fantastic young people whose husbands and wives are serving halfway around the world.

You know, Arthur Vandenberg talked about partisanship ending at the water's edge. That was a good concept. We got away from it in Vietnam and the post-Vietnam era. But I'm very pleased -- and I want to say it right here in front of what I suspect is a bit of a partisan audience when it comes to George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson -- but we've had good support across the aisle from the Democratic leadership and from the Democratic Members of Congress and the Democratic Members of the Senate for what I'm trying to do halfway around the world.

But I come to these meetings, and you see some signs out there, and it says: "No war for oil." Let me tell you that that's not what the question is. The question is: Will the United States, the only country in the world that has the power to effect this unprecedented coalition and put it together, will the United States insist -- and I think the answer is yes -- will we insist that Saddam Hussein get out of Kuwait, that the Government of Kuwait be restored, that the rape and the pillage and the plunder of Kuwait stop, and that aggression not be rewarded? It isn't oil, it is aggression -- naked, brutal aggression.

So, I can assure you that when this is over the world will say, thank God that the United States made it clear that no country can bully and take over its neighbor. That's what's at stake. And I want to say to the American people and to those in California, regardless of party: I am grateful for the steadfast support -- for your steadfast support. And I will not let you down. The United States of America will prevail.

Thank you all, and God bless each and every one of you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:45 p.m. in the ballroom at the Century Plaza Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Pete Wilson's wife, Gayle; Gov. George Deukmejian and his wife, Gloria; entertainers Andy Williams, Buddy Ebsen, Donald O'Connor, Scott Baio, and Frank Sinatra; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. President Bush also referred to comedienne Roseanne Barr's performance of the national anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game and Barbara Bush's appearance at the second game of the 1990 World Series in Cincinnati, OH.

George Bush, Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Gubernatorial Candidate Pete Wilson in Los Angeles, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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