Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Senator James T. Broyhill in Raleigh, North Carolina

October 08, 1986

The President. Thank you all very much. I really feel a warm welcome all the way, and I look up at that banner there and find I've got some fraternity brothers in the crowd. [Applause] All right. Well, it's wonderful to see you again. And it's a pleasure to be with all of you and to be back in the Tar Heel State. Some of you may have heard that I'm leaving on a—

Audience. Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Some of you may have heard that I'm leaving on a journey tomorrow that'll take me to Iceland to meet General Secretary Gorbachev. It's a challenge any time two leaders from major powers get together. In this case, we'll be laying the foundation for a full-fledged summit which, if things go right in these preparatory sessions, will be held here in the United States. It's times like these, when diplomacy is being conducted at the highest level, that I'm particularly grateful for the way that we, as a free people, pull together. I think the best policy is America's time-tested tradition of leaving politics at the water's edge. It's great to know when I look over my shoulder that the folks back home are with me. I won't be seeing Republicans or Democrats, I'll be seeing Americans. So, I'm just going to count on your support and prayers in the days ahead. That's a source of strength which makes all the difference for free countries like ours.

And again, it's good to be with you. As the Governor hinted, I have a soft spot in my heart for the people of North Carolina. Over my political career, I've come here on so many occasions to ask for your support. And whether I was running for the Presidency or trying to rally the public behind our economic recovery program or trying to keep tax reform alive, you've never let me down. And without you, nothing we've done would've been possible. And if we stick together, nobody, but nobody, is going to turn us back. It's fitting that I come to you now in this last election in which I will have a personal stake to ask for your help. It's a make-or-break election, and we've got a standard bearer here in North Carolina to be proud of. I'm asking you a personal favor: For North Carolina, for your country, please cast your ballot for Jim Broyhill for the United States Senate.

Jim Broyhill has been a stalwart of our cause his entire adult life. You know, there's a story about a pig and a chicken that went to town. They were going to go look for jobs in the city. And they came to a place-it was a restaurant—and a sign in the window: Ham and eggs, $1.50. And the chicken suggested they go in and apply. And the pig says: "Well, that's all right for you. For you it only requires a contribution. For me it's a total commitment." [Laughter] Well, Jim Broyhill has been in Congress since 1963, and it would be difficult to find an elected official who has been more totally committed to the interests of his constituents and the interests of his country.

In those dark days before the 1980 election, when our government was dominated by liberal politicians, Jim fought courageously for sane and responsible policies. But the liberals were in the driver's seat, and they drove America right to the edge of an economic disaster. They gave us unbearable inflation, 21-percent interest rates, business decline, swelling unemployment, and a lot of talk about how we, the American people, were to blame. Do you remember those words out of Washington, that we had to lower our expectations, that we suffered from a malaise? Well, the American people knew who was to blame. And this November the tax, tax, spend, spend crowd is going to find out that lighter-than-air liberalism is no longer fashionable.

It took an enormous effort—Jim was a star player on the team—but, together, we turned America away from decline and uncertainty and put her back on the road to more jobs and opportunity. America has now had 46 months of economic growth. And this year more people have been working and a higher percentage of our population has been employed than ever before in our history. In view of some of the young people that are here, I think they ought to know, when they start talking about employment figures, how it's based. It is believed that the unemployment potential pool in our country consists of everybody, male and female, 16 years and up all the way. And today 61.3 percent of that potential pool is employed, and that is the highest percentage we've ever had. And you're doing better than a lot of the rest of the country because here, in North Carolina, unemployment is down to 5.4 percent. And just one thought: We accomplished this and, at the same time, kept inflation lower than it's been for over 20 years.

And America owes you thanks for the progress we've made; this because you sent to Washington individuals who turned out to be real heroes in some of the most crucial economic battles of our time. Congressmen Howard Coble, Bill Hendon, and Alex McMillan have been terrific. Representative Bill Cobey is a real champion. You can be proud of the respect and influence he's developed in such a short time. And, of course, there's an individual whose very name causes liberals to break out in a nervous rash— [laughter] —a friend of mine and a champion of our cause, Senator Jesse Helms. And one who is not with us today perhaps deserves the highest accolades of all. He was a gentleman, a scholar, a man of deep conviction and high principle. When the battle was hot and the outcome of the vote uncertain, he could not stand yet we all looked up to him. He will be missed. And today let us pledge we will carry on the work of Senator John East. John, when he was with us, and these others reflect a noble tradition here in North Carolina.

And no one personifies that better than the man who we're here to support—Jim Broyhill. Jim's legislative know-how and insight into the way things get done makes him one of the most effective legislators I know. And on top of that, he works hard. And the evidence of that, as you've already been told, is here: all of this and all of you gathered here to support him. And he knew his duty in these closing days of the Congress was to be there on the floor if a vote was needed. And so, he's there. Yet, just as important as skill and diligence, Jim Broyhill shares with all of us a vision of a strong, opportunity-filled America. He's a man of high character who'll nurture those family and religious values at the heart of our society; a man who has his priorities straight.

Instead of seeking more government and controls, Jim has been one of the most dedicated warriors in our battle to invigorate America's economy and to unleash the enterprise and creativity of the market. As the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he was on the frontline of putting our economy back on track. He stood firm, and since the recovery began, over 11 1/2 million new jobs have been created in America. Now, that's what I call a Republican jobs program. When Jim is in Washington, you're never far from his mind. For example, he's impressed on our administration the importance of tough enactment of our international trade agreements. And let me assure you that Jim's message is loud and clear. American industry deserves open markets and a level playing held. And that's why we've turned up the heat on our trading partners.

Just within the last week, we took two major actions against Japan. First, we informed them that, in response to illegal trade practices, we will cut back Japanese imports of lightweight polyester fabrics by almost 50 percent. On Monday, our unprecedented fair trade action against Japan's tobacco monopoly ended in a great success. Japan announced that it is dropping its tariff on American tobacco products. And that's the way it's going to be: Free trade means fair trade, or it's no deal. James T. Broyhill, the "T" must stand for textiles or tobacco. [Laughter] I don't know which one, but for one thing sure—if you're not doing right by America, it means trouble.

Jim also firmly believes, as I do, that it's better for working people to keep more of what they earn than to have government tax it away and channel it into the bureaucracy. In 1982 our across-the-board tax cut reduction—or tax rate reduction and indexing brought to a screeching halt the automatic tax hikes that had been pushing working people into higher and higher brackets. And in that battle, Jim fought tooth and nail against fierce liberal opposition in the House. As a Member of the Senate, he fought just as hard and helped win the day for tax reform. The pundits said it couldn't be done. Jim Broyhill said it had to be done. Together with the support of you, the people, we've brought down the tax rates, overhauled the system, and made the tax code more fair for every American.

The big spenders in Congress, however, have already announced plans to raise taxes the first chance they get. Jim's opponent [Terry Sanford], if he gets the chance, will be their willing accomplice because, when it comes to raising taxes, he's a pro. He was raising taxes back when I was still making movies. [Laughter] Believe me, when it comes to reruns, "Bedtime For Bonzo" is better than "Tax Time With Terry." [Laughter] Well, Jim knows that it's more important to protect the family budget than to fill the Federal budget. Jim wants to keep our taxes low and fair. He has pledged to stand with me in opposition to any attempt to raise your tax rates and undermine the progress we've made. If for no other reason than that, I think you should stand by him. I can count on you, can't I? [Applause]

But what America needs is the kind of solid, conservative leadership that Jim offers. And on the drug issue, Jim is working to mobilize our people against this evil. And again, he's not offering easy answers, but real solutions. My wife, Nancy, has the best one I've heard yet when it comes to drugs—it requires a commitment from all of us to help our friends, our neighbors, our classmates and colleagues to "just say no." You know, she gave that as an answer to a question from a student in a school out in Oakland, California. She was speaking to them on this subject. And one student asked, "Well, what can we do when we're offered drugs?" And she said, "Just say no." Today there are more than 10,000 Just Say No clubs in schools across the United States.

The proliferation of drugs has been part of a crime epidemic that can be traced to, among other things, liberal judges who are unwilling to get tough with the criminal element in this society. We don't need a bunch of sociology majors on the bench. What we need are strong judges who will aggressively use their authority to protect our families, communities, and our way of life; judges who understand that punishing wrongdoers is our way of protecting the innocent; and judges who do not hesitate to put criminals where they belong—behind bars. And since coming to Washington, we've been appointing just such people to the bench. And I'm delighted to find out, with a concrete example right here today, that your good Governor, Jim Martin, has been doing the same thing. It's already beginning to have an effect. Average sentences for drug-related and other crimes are up, significantly up.

Today Senator Strom Thurmond and Jim Broyhill are in the majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing judicial appointments. Without Jim Broyhill and a Republican Senate majority, that job will be turned over to Teddy Kennedy and Joe Biden.
Audience. No-o-o!
The President. You can strike a blow against the drugs, thugs, and hoodlums by casting your vote for Jim and keeping him as a force for law and order in the United States Senate. The future of our country, its safety and security, is in our hands.

And about the future, one thing is certain: The people of this State can be proud of the part that North Carolina has played and continues to play in the preservation of our freedom. You're the home of Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. It's consistent, then, that just like North Carolina, Jim has been second to none in his support for a strong national defense. He's currently on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a powerful force for strength and security.

We've made great progress—with liberals kicking, screaming, and fighting us all the way—in rebuilding our military strength. Yet what makes me especially happy is that, in these last 5 1/2 years, we've made certain that every individual who serves his country knows how much we appreciate the job he or she is doing. We've restored pride in those who wear the military uniform of the United States. Missed me. [The President referred to a loud background noise.] [Laughter] But I don't know of anything I'm prouder of than those young people of ours that are in uniform today. God love them, they deserve our pride. We've done our best to see that those defending our country have the weapons and equipment they need. We've revitalized the Western alliance. And I'm happy to report that after 5 1/2 years, not 1 square inch of territory has been lost to communism. In fact, one small country, Grenada, has been brought back into the family of free nations.

This coming election means so much to our country. By helping determine which party controls the United States Senate, you'll determine, to a large degree, what direction our country goes. The big spenders and taxers will weaken our defense, raise taxes on our working people, send our economy back into a tailspin, and open the cage, turning the inflation monster loose on America again. But with your help, and with Jim Broyhill in the Senate, we're not going to let that happen. And now is the time to reach out to the many members of the other party who share our values and enlist them in our cause. I was a member of the other party myself, so I know it takes a little coaxing. What we're doing is too important not to make certain everyone who sympathizes with our cause joins and gets out the vote. Our ranks are being bolstered by those changing registration, and also a flood of young, first-time voters.

One thing I will always enjoy is meeting America's young people. I'm so pleased that so many of them are here today. I've seen them at rallies like this across the country, in schools, in workplaces, and on our military bases. And you know something? General George Marshall once described our secret weapon in World War II as—when he was asked what it was, he said, "Just the best blankety-blank kids in the world." And do you know something? Simply put, this generation is the best darn bunch of kids we've ever had. I know we must have a few from Enloe and Sanderson High Schools and Meredith College with us today. Well, you know, they're what this election is all about—the kind of America that we will leave to them. And I promise all of you, those of my generation pledge to you, you're going to take over in a country that's just as free and full of opportunity as it was when we took over those many years ago.

You've got a great Governor, you've got a great two Senators right now. Keep it that way. And send back all that other A-Team, that I just mentioned a little while ago, to the Congress. Yes, sir, Mr. Cobey, he's among them. And just make sure that we don't let them down. Make sure that they stay right where they are. And all I can say to all of you is—and I know there must be some Democrats in a crowd of this kind, and there must be some who once were Democrats, as I was. But that's because-and why I still urge this change—is because all across this country are millions of patriotic Democrats who are not content to follow the liberal leadership of their party and who find themselves more in tune with our principles today than they do with that leadership. And I just want you to know if you're here: You sure are welcome. We're pleased to have you.

Get out and vote and make sure your neighbors do the same thing. And thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. at the Raleigh Civic and Convention Center. He was introduced by Coy. James G. Martin. Following his remarks, the President attended a reception for major donors to Senator Broyhill's campaign at the center. He then traveled to Atlanta, GA.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Senator James T. Broyhill in Raleigh, North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




North Carolina

Simple Search of Our Archives