Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Senatorial Candidate George Voinovich in Cincinnati, Ohio

October 19, 1988

Thank you all very much. And, George, thank you for that marvelous introduction. Thanks to Bill Tillinghast for your role in making tonight's event such a success. I'd also like to thank Bob Bennett for his help in making my day here in Ohio almost as much fun as watching Boomer hit Tim McGee right on the numbers with one of those sweet touchdown passes. [Laughter]

I'm happy to wind up my day in Ohio here in Cincinnati with Commerce Secretary Verity, Bill Gradison, Bob McEwen. I understand we're celebrating a birthday here—200 years. And you had a big weekend with the "tall stacks" in town. Now, most of you know I've been around for quite a while, but the Queen City still has a few years on me. [Laughter]

George and I have spent most of the day together, and I guess his lovely wife, Janet, is probably a little anxious that he was getting home. You know, some people say that politics makes strange bedfellows. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Sometimes politics doesn't make bedfellows at all. [Laughter] And sometimes it separates people that have been bedfellows for a while. [Laughter] I'd love to stay in Cincinnati a little longer—everybody knows this is one of my favorite States—but frankly, I have to say I'm a little anxious to get back to Nancy myself. [Laughter]

You know, the Government's got quite an employee there—the First Lady—for no salary. But I thought it might—I can tell you, I'm very proud of her and the cause that she is speaking—or addressing herself to throughout the country. I know that there's a lot of talk now, and you've heard about "Just say no." I thought maybe you might be interested in hearing where that came from. Nancy was speaking to a little school group, or classroom, in Oakland, California. And a little girl stood up and said, "What do we do when someone offers us drugs?" And Nancy said, "Just say no." And today there are over 12,000 Just Say No clubs in the schools across the United States.

So, George and Janet may be a little lonely, but they know and you know and I know that if they're seeing a little less of each other these days, it's for a very good cause. And I'm here because I want to help.

Now, you all know the man I'm rooting for in the Presidential election: that silver-tongued devil, George Bush. [Laughter] I could have told the other guy not to get into a fight with George. After all, look what happened when George fought for America in World War II—58 combat missions completed. And I guess you could say that last week George Bush completed his 59th, and it sure was a bull's-eye.

But as you all know, there are two Georges running this year in Ohio, and they share much more than just a name. The two Georges have the same values: the bedrock principles of family and home and community and country. The two Georges have the same goals: keeping government off the backs of the American people, keeping taxes down, and keeping this nation strong and at peace. They stand opposed to the forces of weakness, accommodation, gloom and doom. The two Georges stand as proud defenders and promoters of a vibrant economy, limited central government, strong national defense, and the American system and the American people.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I say it again: There are two Georges this year. And I don't know of a better, more able, and more principled public servant than the man who's going to be the next Senator from the State of Ohio: George Voinovich. When he became mayor of Cleveland in 1979, George found the city treasury mired in debt to the tune of $111 million. On June 25, 1987, he paid off the last of that debt. A lot of people said it couldn't be done, but they didn't understand that George Voinovich is the "Charlie Hustle" of Ohio politics. That kind of accomplishment is what we need from our politicians in Washington, the guys who spend and spend and spend the taxpayers' hard-earned money and then have the nerve to go on television on those Sunday morning shows and complain that there's a budget deficit.

Now, there's something I've been going around the country saying, and I'm going to say it again tonight: The President doesn't spend a dime of the Nation's money. It's Congress that appropriates, Congress that authorizes, and Congress that spends. George Voinovich knows what you know and what I know: there's a simple way to reduce a deficit. And you know how you do it? You spend less money. It's so simple only a liberal could miss it. [Laughter]

The only way the President can get Congress to spend less money is to veto those pork-barrel bills that have so much packed into them they end up thicker than the New York City phone book. Ladies and gentlemen, that ain't legislation: It's extortion of the taxpayers' money. And to prevent it, the President must have the same prerogative that 43 Governors have. It's called the line-item veto. And this country needs a constitutional amendment that will require the Congress to pass a balanced budget.

But, surprise! Surprise! The liberals have consistently voted against the line-item veto and the balanced budget amendment. The liberals oppose these measures because, despite what they tell Dave Brinkley [host of ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley"], they don't want a balanced budget, and they don't want to stop their big spending. They want pork, pork, pork. And you know what that means? It means taxes, taxes, and taxes.

Well, one of the liberal tax-and-spend ringleaders in Washington is the fellow who's running against George Voinovich this year. The nonpartisan Washington publication Congressional Quarterly called him the "liberal master of obstruction." Needless to say, he voted for those boondoggie bills. He's voted for so many of them, he's been given the dubious distinction of winning a "big spender" award from the National Taxpayers' Union.

But the clash between liberals like George's opponent and mainstream America-it's about much more than spending. It's a clash of vision, of philosophies. George Voinovich's opponent has a great deal in common with George Bush's opponent. That's why a liberal lobby that counts these things gave him a perfect 100-percent liberal rating. Well, when the liberals give a politician that kind of unqualified thumbs up and the voters of Ohio find out about it, I think they're going to give him a thumbs down.

George Voinovich's opponent has carried his stealth candidacy to new heights by refusing to debate George even once, as he told you. And with his record, I can understand why. But no amount of hiding can obscure the fact that if anyone deserves to be tagged with the "L" word, it's him. So, let me do it: Liberal, liberal, liberal!

On issue after issue, liberals like Ohio's premier liberal have made it clear that their values are not the values of the American people and the great Buckeye State. George and George believe we must protect the lives of those who protect us: the noble men and women who serve in State and local police. And what do the liberals-the Massachusetts liberal and the Ohio liberal—believe? They oppose the death penalty, or at least the Ohio liberal did until this election. He had a sudden change of heart and decided to support it for drug kingpins. How's that for political opportunism? Who knows what he would support next year? With George Voinovich and George Bush, there is no question. They believed before, they believe now, and they will continue to believe a crack dealer who murders a police officer in the line of duty should receive death as his punishment. And I agree.

A difference in values—that explains why the liberals sometimes seem to care more about the rights of criminals than the rights of honest and law-abiding Americans. You see, they oppose legislation that would allow reliable evidence obtained reasonably and in good faith by our police to be used in criminal prosecutions. That's the kind of position they take on crime, and they're just plain wrong to invoke the Constitution when they take it. I don't see a word in the Constitution that says crooks should go free because of a technical error; but that's what George Voinovich's opponent was saying when, until this election year, he repeatedly argued against giving police the benefit of a reasonable good-faith exception.

Now, let me give an example, if I could, of what I'm talking about here and what maybe too many people don't understand: This thing of "in good faith"—a policeman, a law officer, does something and then finds that some technicality was not observed, and so the evidence that he has found cannot be used. The example I'll give you happened in my State, California—San Bernardino.

There was a policeman who had enough evidence on a couple living in a home there to get a warrant to search that home for drugs, that these were drug peddlers. He had the warrant. He came in; said, "drug enforcement officer"; and went through the home, as best he could, searching everywhere, and found nothing. And on his way out the door, suddenly, he realized there was their baby in the crib, and he stopped. And he took off the baby's diaper, and there was the heroin, stashed away. In court, they threw it out as evidence and freed the two people because the baby hadn't given its permission to be searched. It's now known in California, and throughout much of the country, as the diaper case.

He changed jobs. I ran into him very closely when I first came into this job. He switched to the Secret Service, and I'm glad to have him. But I thought that you might like to know this is the type of thing—you know, it's almost like—I've explained it sometimes as an automobile going through a red light, and the policeman stops it for going through the red light and sees a murdered body in the back seat. He can't claim that as evidence because he only stopped him for going through a red light.

Well, when you examine their views on foreign policy and defense, the differences between them—between the Georges and the American people—I mean—no, the other two, the Georges' opponents and the American people, become even more clear. They've opposed our efforts to modernize and enhance our national security. How about the deployment of American intermediate-range missiles in Europe, the very missiles that made our INF treaty a reality? Ohio's liberal supported the nuclear freeze that would have locked in Soviet nuclear superiority. How about the MX missile? Nine times his vote was no. How about this administration's efforts to protect America from nuclear attack? Twelve times his vote was no. How about the B-1 bomber, many of whose components were made in Ohio? Six times his vote was no.

Earlier today, I said we're going to do all we can to make sure that people don't cancel their vote for George Bush by reelecting diehard liberals to Congress and sending them to Washington to make more trouble and spend more money and try to raise taxes. One example of a qualified conservative who should replace one of those liberals is, as you well know, right here in this room: the Republican congressional candidate from the First District, a great guy who'd make a great representative, Steve Chabot.

We've got to get this message out. The party leaders up here with me have raised a lot of money and worked hard for our ticket this year. And they need your help in these remaining 3 weeks. I can't think of a better or more able crew to spread the message and fill the polling places on November 8th than the Hamilton County Republican Party.

I'm confident you'll prevail because I know Ohio. I love Ohio. Ohio came through for George Bush and me in 1980, and it came through for George Bush and me in 1984. And on November 8th, it's going to come through again. It's going to come through for the values and principles that we hold dear. On November 8th, it's going to come through for George Bush and George Voinovich, the two best Georges in the business.

Now, I know that I'm keeping you from your dinner, and so that's what I get for being a before-dinner speaker. [Laughter] And I just want to recognize all that you two are doing by being here. And I have every confidence that you're going to go all the way. And on November 8th, we're all going to be aglow with victory. I thank you all, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 6:05 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Clarion Hotel. He was introduced by George Voinovich, mayor of Cleveland. In his opening remarks, the President referred to William Tillinghast, chairman of the Hamilton County Voinovich Finance Committee; Robert T. Bennett, chairman of the Ohio State Republican Party; and Representatives Willis D. Gradison, Jr., and Bob McEwen. The "tall stacks" were 13 historic riverboats that were part of the city's bicentennial celebration.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Senatorial Candidate George Voinovich in Cincinnati, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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