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Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senator Dan Coats in Indianapolis, Indiana

April 03, 1990

First, let me, once again, say how much I enjoyed reveling in the magic of Sandi Patti and her great music, and to see my friend Fred Travalena, again, here. Could have helped him with some of his gestures, the way it is -- [laughter] -- but he's coming along. And it's great, really, to be back in Indianapolis, with good friends like Dick Lugar and, of course, Don Cox and Margie Hill of our national committee, two great representatives there. And then, we're flying up here with our new State chairman -- he's here -- Keith Luce, a hard worker doing a great job to rebuild the party. And most of all, I'm pleased to be here on behalf of a man who brings your Hoosier ideas to Washington every day with great integrity and honor, and I'm talking about Dan Coats, the man of the moment. It is essential he be reelected.

I want to thank Dick Freeland and Bob Irsay and others for this tremendously successful event. I'm sorry I couldn't get over here to have lunch with you today; I wasn't allowed to. On the way over I was notified that the Secret Service had found my food taster face down in the salad. [Laughter] Somebody had washed my lettuce with Perrier. [Laughter] It could have been worse -- broccoli -- could have been worse. [Laughter]

Throughout the eighties -- the decade which saw the greatest economic expansion in U.S. peacetime history and fires of freedom begin to burn all over the world -- throughout this turbulent decade, the people of Indiana had two great men representing them in the United States Senate -- Dick Lugar and then, of course, Dan Quayle -- a foreign policy duo that have been instrumental to the progress we've seen internationally. Dick's tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been -- I was telling this to Dick Freeland here -- absolutely nothing less than superb. And I continue to depend on his wise counsel as we wrestle with a world in change.

I don't have to tell you, you know this already, how important Dan Quayle's outstanding leadership has been in crucial areas like Central and Latin America. And he's served our administration well and our nation well. So, Indiana already had a lot to be proud of in these two fine men. And now we have Dan Coats, stepping into that legacy of leadership in the United States Senate.

For the last 10 years, Dick Lugar and Dan Quayle have built this dynasty of Republican leadership in Indiana with a command of the issues that's kept America number one. In 1986 Dan Quayle was reelected by the biggest landslide of any Senate candidate in Indiana history. And yet 2 years later, Dick Lugar came along, broke the record with an even bigger winning margin. And come November my common sense tells me that the voters of Indiana will continue the tradition and give Dan Coats an even greater victory margin. It's going to happen.

So, I'm here, "back home again in Indiana," in what natives call the Crossroads of America, to talk to you today about common sense, something Hoosiers know a lot about. Indiana is the heart of the heartland, and the Hoosiers are right in the middle of an American mainstream with the kind of values that have made this nation great. And I'm talking about values like hard work and opportunity and decency and loyalty, faith and family. Everyone here believes that the family is the cornerstone of American society. Our administration has placed the family at the center of our agenda for the 1990's: to build an America where every man, woman, and child is drug-free; where schools challenge and support our kids and our teachers; and where our families can live in a clean, safe environment. Dan has been one of the biggest supporters -- as Dick Lugar referred to this -- Dan Coats has been one of the biggest supporters of our pro-family agenda, reaching out to families like yours with hopes and dreams for the children's futures. He is really your voice for your values.

And it's a strong voice. His work in Congress sponsoring important pro-family legislation was crucial to the progress that we've already made in strengthening the family in this country. And he's helped people in areas like education reform and family support and help for "at risk" children and families in need. In fact the Republican Party felt so strongly about his legislation that we made it a part of our national platform -- mainstream values that all Americans care about. And that's why I believe we need Dan Coats in the Senate, and I know that everybody here today agrees with me on that important point.

Nothing ravages the American family more than drug abuse. Our National Drug Strategy, articulated by Bill Bennett -- we call it National Drug Strategy II -- which I announced last September, deals with all sides of the issue, from education and prevention to expanded treatment to stronger penalties and stepped-up enforcement. It's a tough approach, but it is a sensible approach.

No part of America is safe from the scourge of drugs. This is not simply an inner-city problem or a border problem for bureaucrats in Washington to handle. We've got to get PCP and crack off every street and out of every school in America. And it's time we got more Federal resources into the hands of those in the thick of the fight, those on the front lines. And if we are to build a better future for this country, America first must be drug-free.

As the Republican leader of the Senate subcommittee that deals with drugs, Dan knows the road ahead won't be easy, but that's another strong reason why I need him back in the Senate. I need his experience and his intelligence as we fight to take back our streets.

You know, I noticed a bunch of police officers here today and outside greeting us when we arrived at the airport, and I'd just like to say, parenthetically, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the men and women in police uniform -- sheriff, whatever it is -- that are protecting our kids. I think to myself -- I went over the other day to the funeral home where a recognized, dedicated police officer, and this in the Maryland State Police, had been gunned down on the highway, on a major highway artery -- and I thought to myself how lucky we are to have dedicated men like, in that instance, Sergeant Wolf or like some that are here today, who are dedicating themselves to protect the lives of our families and our children. It is inspirational to me.

We're talking about values, and bringing Hoosier values and Hoosier vision to Washington is important to me not just in stopping crime and drugs but also in stopping those who measure progress made solely by dollars spent. You know as I do that congressional spending is spiraling out of control -- $1.2 trillion right now. And common sense tells us the American people aren't undertaxed. We need a budget process that can deal rationally with wasteful government spending. We need a line-item veto or some strong rescission legislation. And so, again I appeal to Congress: Give me what 43 Governors have -- the power to cut unnecessary spending.

One of the first things that Dan Coats did when he arrived in the United States Senate was to introduce important line-item veto legislation. In fact, I haven't seen anybody move that adeptly since Chuck Person slam-dunked an opponent at Market Square Arena. Together, we're fighting to keep your taxes low and Federal spending down, and that's what I call just plain common sense.

Americans want to keep the longest peacetime expansion ever moving forward -- 89 months and counting. And Americans want a clean environment -- we want that also. And it is my view we can do both. We can't do it if we move to the extreme. And I am not going to move to the extreme in environmental legislation, but we are going to pass and sign sound environmental legislation.

This morning, here in Indianapolis, I went over a few blocks away and planted a tree to help kick off a great community effort to protect and preserve the beauty of this wonderful city. Today, in Washington, there's also a lot at stake -- Dick and Dan both know this -- clean air, a safe environment, economic growth, and the jobs of thousands of Americans. The Senate today will cast -- what is it, 8 p.m. tonight, I believe -- an historic vote on our amendments, the first meaningful amendments to the Clean Air Act, a vote which will affect generations to come as we work to build a cleaner, safer America. It's going to take a lot of work to protect this great planet without throwing hard-working Americans out of work.

I again reject the extremists in the environmental movement who would burden our economy by mindless regulation, and I reject those who do not recognize their obligations to clean up our environment. We've got to find the middle path. Common sense tells us to find this needed balance, and we will find it.

Tonight Dan Coats will be back in the Senate to cast one of the most important votes of his life, and I know I can count on him. But I need to count on his experience, his judgment, and his concern for people not just tonight or tomorrow but in the months and the years to come. And that's why I'm counting on each and every one of you in this room to give your all for Dan Coats.

I've talked today just briefly about some of the issues that are important to me as we face the new decade. But one thing to remember: As the world changes, issues will change, but principles remain to the end. And Dan Coats is a principled man who will be a voice for your values. I know Hoosier values, and I admire them. I chose my running mate from Indiana because of them. And on November 6, when the voters of Indiana think of Dan Coats, I know they'll think of the song by another Hoosier, the great Cole Porter, called "You're the Top."

Senator Dan Coats gives voice to the values of the heartland. Nothing could be more important as we head into a new century of challenge and change. So, do what you can. Let's keep Indiana great and keep the dynasty of Republican leadership going strong. Let's continue the tradition and give this good and decent man a huge victory.

Thank you for your support. God bless the State of Indiana. God bless you all. Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:11 p.m. in Hall C of the Indianapolis Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to singer Sandi Patti; impressionist Fred Travalena; Don Cox and Margaret Hill, Indiana Republican national committeeman and committeewoman; Dick Freeland, owner of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Inc.; Bob Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team; and William J. Bennett, Director of National Drug Control Policy.

George Bush, Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senator Dan Coats in Indianapolis, Indiana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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