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Remarks on Departure for a Campaign Trip to Wisconsin, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida

October 23, 1986

Mr. Fahrenkopf. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Frank Fahrenkopf, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and want to welcome you here this morning. [Applause] Thank you.

Twelve days, including today, is all that's left in the 1986 election cycle, a critical election cycle and critical decision for the people of this nation. They have a decision to make on November 4th: whether or not to support candidates for the Senate and for Congress and for the governorships and State legislatures of this country—candidates who will support the greatest President that I think we've seen in this nation in this century.

It is a decision as to whether or not the great advances and changes and positiveness of the last 6 years will be fought in the last 2. We don't want that. And I'm so very, very pleased to introduce to you the greatest asset of the Republican Party, who in the next 12 days will be traveling across this country on behalf of our candidates and the Reagan revolution, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

The President. Well, I thank Frank for that very kind introduction, those generous words, and I thank each and every one of you for coming out for this send-off. You know, this beats getting an Oscar. [Laughter] Today the 1986 campaign begins in earnest. I'm headed out for several days of campaigning. We're going to bring to the American people a message of hope about their future, but also a message of concern about the threat to all that we've accomplished together and all that we hope to do together.

We've got a great story to tell. Due to our efforts and the support of the American people, we've put our country back on the path to jobs, opportunity, growth, and security. And inflation has reached its lowest level in 20 years. Interest rates are less than half of what they were. And since the recovery began, almost 11.7 million jobs have been created—these are new jobs. Now, that's what I call a Republican jobs program, and it didn't happen by accident.

There's never been a race where the choices are so clear and the differences so distinct. Just yesterday I signed into law an historic piece of legislation that overhauls the tax code, makes it fairer, and brings down the tax rates. The liberals have already announced that they plan to undermine the spirit of that legislation and risk throwing our country back into recession by raising taxes. By election day, we've got to make certain the voter knows that this is a race between the tax, tax, spend, spend crowd and responsible Republicans who would rather protect the family budget than protect the Federal budget. It's a make-or-break election that will determine not only whether America is prosperous but whether our people will be safe and our nation secure. Again, the differences between the parties are glaring. A vote for Republicans is a vote for tough law and tough judges. We pledge that if the American people continue to put their faith in us, we'll continue to put on the bench judges who will do everything they can to protect the citizenry and put the criminals where they belong—behind bars.

Another area of disagreement: We believe there's no greater asset for world peace than an America that is strong, confident, and united. We appreciate that the real purpose of our military is not to fight a war but to protect the peace. And in protecting human freedom and preserving the peace, I think our country has a record second to none. The relationship between peace and strength was nowhere more apparent than during my recent meetings in Iceland. By rebuilding our defenses, we were able to negotiate with confidence, and today we're closer than ever before to an agreement that would dramatically reduce the number of ballistic missiles that threaten mankind, and someday, perhaps, even eliminate them totally. If we hadn't begun to rebuild our defenses, there would have been no negotiations. It's only through strength that we can protect the peace and rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Well, this will be our message in the coming days. And I'll be asking the American people: Do you want to extend and complete economic recovery or see it stifled through tax increases by the same people who nearly ruined our economy the last time they had the chance? Do you want to move toward a peaceful world of ensured defense against nuclear missiles or remain stuck in a world of permanent nuclear terror? I have every confidence our fellow citizens will reject the advocates of the failed policies of the past and keep our country moving forward. Young people deserve an America as secure, free, and filled with opportunity as the one that we were given. That's what this election is all about. So, let the campaign begin! We Republicans have standard bearers out there that we can all be very proud of.

I'm going to start out in Wisconsin and be in Missouri in the middle and Oklahoma by nightfall and Florida tomorrow before we come home. And I'm very proud of the people I'm going to be representing there-or talking to about there—to their constituents. So, let's all do our best. And the most important thing, when you're talking to your friends and neighbors, and particularly those younger voters—they're very much with us, except they also have a rather high percentage of not getting to the polls on election day—so, tell everyone the most important thing is vote. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks on Departure for a Campaign Trip to Wisconsin, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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