Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senatorial Candidate Alan Keyes in Baltimore, Maryland

October 26, 1988

It's great to be here in Baltimore. You know, as we were coming here, I turned to one of my fellows that was with me and said, "I really love this city. I remember the first time I came here. I said to my host, Francis Scott Key— [laughter] —I said, 'Francis, I just love Baltimore.'" Francis, you know, was the guy who served me my very first crabcake. [Laughter]

But I'd like to thank Jack Moseley for the outstanding job he's done in putting this event together, and a tip of the hat to party chairman Dan Fleming and Glenn Beall and, of course, old number 19 himself, Johnny Unitas. And a special hello to Helen Bentley. She's the kind of person who makes Washington a tolerable place and keeps the folks down at the other end of the BW Parkway from inflicting too much harm on the rest of the country. [Laughter] I'm also happy to see a great and proud American, a true American hero, Judge Robert Bork. And I'd like to add a special thank you to Alan for that marvelous introduction. Thank you.

You know, an introduction like that reminds me of a story. Actually, when you're my age, everything reminds you— [laughter] . It seems that there was a fellow they were giving a great honor to at St. Johns Hopkins—a scientist, a humanitarian, the kind of man who's done it all. And the fellow presenting the award said, "Today we honor a man who's brilliant, a man who's courageous, a man who's expanded the frontiers of human knowledge—in short, a man to whom the entire world owes an enormous debt of permanent historic gratitude." Well, the honoree got up, went to the podium. There was deafening applause, and then he turned back to the fellow who'd introduced him and said, "Hey, how come you didn't tell 'em about how modest and humble I am?" [Laughter]

Well, unlike him, the greeting and the introduction you've given me really does make me feel modest and humble. And it even seems a little strange. After all, Alan, I should be the one thanking you, because you did such an extraordinary job in the first 7 years of our administration: working with Jeane Kirkpatrick at the United Nations, serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, defending our country against the forces of anti-Americanism.

I think particularly of your work at a conference in Nairobi where you and my daughter Maureen worked to eliminate the disgusting "Zionism is racism" resolution from that conference's final report and earned the gratitude of all Americans. And there was your performance as my Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, where you pursued successful reforms of the United Nations and opposed with every ounce of strength in your body all those who have served to foster and legitimize state-sponsored terrorism.

Alan, I should be thanking you—and I am—because every time I asked you to do your best, you did that and better. Every time I asked you to stand for America, you stood tall, and you deserve not only my thanks but the thanks of every citizen of this great country.

And now you're running for Senate against an incumbent you don't hear a lot about while the Senate's in session. [Laughter] Now, some say he stays out of the limelight because he doesn't like publicity. I think it's because if the good people of Maryland knew more about him they'd figure out the kind of Senator he really is and he'd have to leave town faster than that guy who packed up the Colts and whisked them off to Indiana in the middle of the night. [Laughter]

But that's not surprising. After all, the incumbent and the Stealth candidate at the top of the liberal ticket are so alike they could be twins. [Laughter] The two Stealth candidates went to law school together. They're still very good friends. And what they have most in common these days is a healthy fear and understandable terror of America's least favorite word. You know the word. It's the "L" word. [Laughter]

Now, some people think I shouldn't be using the "L" word. They say I'm labeling them. Well, I gave the matter some thought. What should we call those people who oppose the death penalty, who support policies that hand out weekend furloughs to convicted murderers, who support laws that make it easier for a criminal to own a gun than law-abiding citizens who want to protect their homes and children? As I say, I thought about it. And then I decided that if the label fits they ought to wear it, because we all know that what these men believe is not what you believe, not what I believe, not what the people of Maryland believe, and not what the American people believe.

Maryland deserves a Senator who reflects the values and bedrock principles of this great State and this great nation: the principles of family and home and community and church. Our gravest treasure as a nation—our greatest treasure, I should say-maybe the other word fits, too—is our precious moral heritage, the basic values of faith and family that make ours, as Alan said, a great nation. It's the power of the family that holds the Nation together, that gives America her conscience, that serves as the cradle of our country's soul.

Yes, Maryland deserves a Senator who understands what America stands for and what America has to offer because he's a living, breathing example of how this nation can change, adapt, and grow—how in one short generation it can make itself a better and freer land. And, ladies and gentlemen, that man is Alan Keyes.

Maryland deserves a Senator who understands the concerns we all have about protecting ourselves from the scourge of drugs and the menace of drug-related crime. You know, until this election year, the incumbent opposed the death penalty. Is that what the good people of Maryland believe? I don't think so. Alan Keyes and I believed yesterday, believe today, and will continue to believe that a crack dealer who murders a police officer in the line of duty should receive the death penalty. We must protect those who protect us. And we believe that there are no citizens more precious than those noble men and women who are laying their lives on the line so that we can be safe—our State and local police.

Yes, my friends, Maryland deserves a Senator who will stand up for his State, defend the values we hold dear, and defend the interests of his constituents and the Nation. Maryland's been a leader in this country since colonial times, and it needs leaders in Washington.

Maryland deserves a Senator who wants to keep America strong and at peace. Maryland deserves a Senator who believes in a strong America and believes in expanding the free world. And I've never known a more stout-hearted defender of a strong America than Alan Keyes. He truly knows that freedom works.

Now, I'm sure that everyone in this room is going to do all they can to get out the vote on November 8th for my very good friend and valued colleague, that silver-tongued devil, George Bush. [Laughter] You know George. George took quite a shellacking when the liberals had their party in Atlanta this summer. But he stood the fire, and then all he did was cite the record—his and theirs. And now they're squealing he's running a negative campaign. Well, I think they're squirming because George has shown America how far outside the mainstream they really are. They may not like it, but George has thrown a clear light on their views. And, yes, their ideas on the Pledge of Allegiance do matter. Their ideas about our national defense do matter. Their ideas about taxes and spending do matter. Republicans are talking about the issues, and the American people are listening.

I believe, as do we all here, that America needs the wisdom and courage and strength of George Bush. But, my friends, that's not enough. The liberals will still be in Washington come November. And we've seen how in recent years when they lose a national election they fight a political guerrilla war for the next 4 years in Congress to block the policies the American people have chosen at the ballot box. To keep Congress in check, the President needs the same power 43 Governors have, the power of the line-item veto. And I'll keep saying it until I'm too hoarse to speak: We need to pass the balanced budget amendment. Well, there's only one guy in this race who supports these things—in this race here that we're talking about. There's only one guy in this race who will work with George Bush and not against him. And his name is Alan Keyes.

George also needs Members of Congress who will work with him. And there's one here today, and I hope you'll do all you can to send him to Washington—Wayne Gilchrest.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I know Maryland. I love Maryland. And despite all this talk about how Maryland is a Democratic State, Maryland came through for us in 1984. The values of Dundalk, the values of Salisbury, the values of Frederick—they're our values. And they're the values of Alan Keyes.

I know everyone in this room is going to do everything possible to see to it that Maryland comes through for George Bush and Alan Keyes in 1988. These last 2 weeks are critical. If we can get the message out, the people of Maryland will get the message as well. And that's what I leave up to all of you. Your financial support is important, but it's your blood and sweat and tears that will make the difference come November 8th. There are few tasks more important than ensuring our future.
Make no mistake: Here in Maryland every single vote will count. You know I vote in California, but let me say on this occasion that today I wish I lived in Maryland so that on November 8th I could go into that voting booth and pull the lever for Alan Keyes and the Republican future. It makes no sense for people to believe in the things the President has claimed, and elect him to office, and then return to office a Congress pledged to not let him do the things the people voted for him to do. So, Godspeed to Alan, Jocelyn, his wife.
Thank you all, and may God bless you all.

[At this point, Mr. Keyes gave the President a giant key.]

Thank you. I may just make this the key to the Presidential library that's going to be built. [Laughter] Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 11:53 a.m. in the Constellation Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. He was introduced by Alan Keyes. In his remarks, the President referred to Jack Moseley, finance chairman for the Alan Keyes for Senate Campaign Committee; J. Glenn Beall, Jr., former Maryland Senator and chairman of the committee; Johnny Unitas, former quarterback for the Baltimore Colts; Representative Helen Delich Bentley; former U.S. Circuit Judge Robert H. Bork; and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senatorial Candidate Alan Keyes in Baltimore, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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