George Bush photo

Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senatorial Candidate Hal Daub in Omaha, Nebraska

June 08, 1990

Thank you all. Hal, thank you so very much for that warm and most generous welcome, and to all of you for that warm welcome back to Nebraska. To Governor Orr, let me say how important I think your reelection is. You've done a good job, and I want to see you back for another term here. I'm sorry that Virginia's not here, but I see Congressman Bereuter. We've got a good delegation, a strong Nebraska delegation in Washington. We need more. And so, when I salute Doug Bereuter, I wouldn't speak for him, but I know that he would welcome more Republican support in the House. And thus, I want to single out Ally Milder, who's running as a candidate in the Second District and urge strong support for her. We got a good candidate.

I'm delighted I heard P.J. Morgan's remarks out there and his enthusiastic support for Hal. And I might say one of the things I take pride in is just before his election, he found time to come back to the Oval Office so we could publicly give the abrazo, and I was right. He's doing a superb job, I'll tell you, for this city. And the voters were certainly right on that one.

And I want to salute our chairman, Chairman Riffel. I want to say how pleased I am to see Bob Kasten, an outstanding Senator from Wisconsin, who was one of the leaders in the Senate. And he's out here to join me in showing our unified and strong support for our candidate here. To Father Val Peter, who's so well-known, so well respected by both Barbara and me and so many around the country. My greetings to you, sir. And to Rabbi Nadoff, as I understand the situation here, he's one of the great leaders of the Jewish community all across this State.

And I'll just mention, sir, in a minute, how pleased I was at the recent summit to have a very frank discussion with President Gorbachev about the need to keep this high level of Soviet Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union going forward. I am convinced we're on the right track. And we're going to not let up until we get even more of those people able to go home and able to join their families.

And I want to salute Cindy Daub, a member of my team in a sense and long-time friend. If Hal has about half as much energy as Cindy, I expect he's got it made already. [Laughter] But, anyway, ladies and gentlemen and friends, it's a pleasure to be back in one of America's greatest and most Republican States -- two things that go together as naturally as the Cornhuskers and winning football.

And today, I am here to support a candidate who, like those Cornhuskers, has made a difference in Nebraska. And he's been one of you. And he's never failed to speak for you. My friend, your next United States Senator, Hal Daub. He has my enthusiastic endorsement.

We've known each other since the early seventies. And I wanted to come here and personally endorse him. And one reason is his great family. Another, we heard some of it today, his Main Street values and his career of dedication. And Hal isn't going to get to the Senate on PAC money, incidentally. He'll get there on shoe leather and hard work. And then, there's the reason you may not know. As a kid, Hal wanted to be a musical conductor.

Peony Park, of course, is where Lawrence Welk made his debut. And Cindy tells me that Hal still wakes up chanting, "A one and a two," and you know how it is out there. [Laughter] But Lawrence Welk, he played champagne music. And this November, Republicans will be playing a victory march because the people of Nebraska know Hal Daub has made a difference -- as a lawyer, businessman, four-term Congressman. And starting in January, he'll mean even more to a State whose compass, as one writer said, is the Sun, the distant hilltops, and its own resolution.

Now people say it doesn't matter anymore. There is a frustration, I'm afraid. Some say it doesn't matter who's elected to the Senate or which party controls it. And that's like saying it doesn't matter if Nebraska beats OU [Oklahoma University]. [Laughter] But, so in a moment, I'd like to talk about the Hal Daub difference and how it can benefit Nebraskans from the bluffs of the Missouri to the Wyoming line. And first, though, Hal referred to it -- let me just speak about the summit that President Gorbachev and I held last week in Washington which can make a difference by benefiting Nebraska and the world.

Every summit between America and the Soviet Union is shaped by history. And I believe that last week's summit will alter history. In 4 days of talks, we discussed the power of freedom to dismantle walls between nations. And because the greatest peace dividend is a safer, more democratic world, we signed agreements concerning areas of interest to both our countries and recorded bilateral understandings in several joint statements.

First, we signed a bilateral agreement that will, for the first time, eliminate the great majority of chemical weapons that have been stockpiled over the years. And our common goal is nothing less than a global ban on these devastating chemical weapons. And second, I joined President Gorbachev in signing protocols on limiting nuclear testing. And they will create unprecedented improvements for on-site verification on the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and PNET, the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty. And the third agreement updates and expands our 1973 pact on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, increasing our cooperation in atomic energy research and civilian nuclear safety. You know, that tragic Chernobyl accident shows that the fate of our planet eclipses ideology and nation. And the agreements we signed can help create a better future for the community of nations.

You know, there is an old Russian story that reflects the spirit of last week's summit -- a spirit of friendship growing as knowledge grows. It concerns a traveler walking to another village. And who, coming upon a woodsman, asked how much further he had to go. The woodsman said he didn't know. Whereupon the traveler, angered, continued down the road. And at that point the woodsman called out to him, "Stop. It will take you 15 minutes." And the traveler then asked why he didn't tell him that in the first place. "Because," the woodsman said, "I didn't know your stride."

Last week President Gorbachev and I learned more about each other's stride. And so, in addition to our agreements, we also signed understandings. We released a joint statement on strategic arms limitations, recording our agreement on major outstanding issues governing a START treaty. We pledged to continue future negotiations on nuclear and space arms. And we also issued a statement on conventional armed forces in Europe, the CFE area. A CFE agreement is crucial to a Europe that is whole and free.

In particular, let me talk about the trade agreement that Hal referred to, and an agreement that we negotiated that will relax barriers between East and West, creating new markets for American products and, in the process, new jobs for American workers. As he reminded me, President Gorbachev used to be the Party Secretary for Agriculture. And he knows that an improved trade relationship between our two countries means a greater demand for American goods and services.

In our talks, we also agreed that selling our grain to the Soviet Union will benefit both our nations. So, the new U.S.-Soviet grain agreement we signed at the summit calls for at least 40 million metric tons of grain to be purchased by the Soviets over the next 5 years. Incidentally, I have not changed my views on using food as a political weapon. I still remember that disastrous grain embargo put into effect by President Carter. And to that I say: Never again! We are not going to use food for that purpose.

Now, look, let me be candid. Serious differences still remain. Of course they still remain between us and the Soviets. We must heed the desire of self-determination in the Baltic republics and elsewhere while protecting the rights of minority populations. I can identify with those Lithuanian-Americans outside this building, proudly holding that flag. And I want to see that they have the self-determination that other nations are achieving all across this world. We must see that German reunification adheres to the wishes of the German people while respecting the views of other nations. And when I leave here, I'm heading back to Washington to have yet another meeting with [West German] Chancellor Kohl at the White House to discuss post-unification Europe and what it means after Germany is unified. And moreover, while I am pleased that the emigration of Soviet Jews is at an all-time high, I want to see unfettered emigration. And I believe Gorbachev is a leader willing, as Lincoln said, "to think anew." And I believe that because look at the changes that have taken place in Eastern Europe with his encouragement as well as his acquiescence. And he is committed inside to reform, and he faces these enormous economic problems. And as I told him, though, I will not send our new agreement on trade to Congress until the Soviet Legislature passes key emigration laws.

I've often said we want perestroika to succeed. And I believe that. I believe it's in the interest of the United States that those internal reforms keep going forward, as they move towards economic reform and more human rights. And I believe that the steps I've outlined can help it triumph. But America can't do it alone, and we need the support of our allies. And our administration needs the support of Senators who will actively support these historic new directions in foreign policy.

At the summit we talked of many issues that will confront your great State, the State of Nebraska, and, indeed, America. But this country also faces a lot of important domestic challenges. So, let me shift now because we need the support of Senators who can make a difference for America at home as well as abroad.

And one of those challenges, of course, is agriculture. As you know, in the late eighties, farm income hit near-record levels. Our job is to make good news even better. Our grain agreement will help, and so will passing our administration's capital gains tax cut proposal. I wish that Senate would get on and do something about it.

What's more, we need a new farm bill that emphasizes market-oriented farm policies, giving producers more flexibility to decide what crops to grow. And our new farm bill -- of course, it's got to be even-handed and level-headed, leading, in turn, to a lower Federal deficit, lower interest rates, and increased choice for farmers and consumers. And so, I need Hal Daub to make these objectives a reality. We agree on this philosophy. And I want to see him in the United States Senate.

Another issue that's absolutely critical to the America of the nineties is education. And last week President Gorbachev and I signed an agreement to expand undergraduate exchanges by 1,000 students on both sides. You see, I believe that as these students interact -- those Soviet students here -- that that further enhances the changes that are taking place. And I think when our students go there, the people in Russia can learn a great deal about the American ethic, the American commitment to family and freedom and democracy, just from the interchange with the students.

On the domestic front, I wish Hal Daub were in the Senate now to help our kids by urging his colleagues, as Bob Kasten is doing, to pass our Educational Excellence Act of 1989 because this legislation would promote excellence and choice and flexibility in our education system. For 1 year, some Members of Congress have stalled for a whole year, stalled on this bill. And again, it is time for action now. In addition, Hal supports something that happened this past Monday that I feel strongly about, the Supreme Court ruling that affirms student religious groups' equal access to public high schools. I'm pleased by this ruling. To Omaha's own Bridget Mayhew, my congratulations -- in the forefront of all of this.

And finally, we must act on another issue that we discussed at the summit, and that Hal alluded to here, and that I've talked to your Governor about many times. And I'm talking about the environment, cleaning up our air. We need to keep America what a child once called, "the nearest thing to Heaven. And lots of sunshine, places to swim, and peanut butter sandwiches." [Laughter] So, I call on the House-Senate conference committee, which will begin work soon, to send me clean air legislation that I can sign.

Issues like world peace, agriculture, the environment, and education are not merely American questions. They affect every part of the world from the Midwest to the Ukraine. And we must do our part, and we will. To questions that confront America, Hal Daub really will help provide answers, answers that make a difference, and mirror what an author said of Nebraska's plains: "Men began to dream." Today, like the pioneers before them, Nebraskans still dream impossible dreams and make them a reality, relying on Nebraska values to build the Main Street of America, an American example to the world.

Hal Daub understands those values. He'll support those values in the United States Senate. I'm delighted to have been here. I wish that Barbara were here on her big birthday, the hero of Wellesley. I'm very, very proud of her. And she asked me to tell you that she, too, supports the Daubs, all out, in this important race. So, let's all go out and help Hal make a difference for Nebraska and the Nation.

Thank you for this wonderful occasion. It's a great pleasure to be back in the State of Nebraska. Thank you all, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:57 p.m. in the ballroom of Peony Park. In his remarks, he referred to Representative Virginia Smith; P.J. Morgan, mayor of Omaha; Norman Riffel, State Republican Party chairman; Val Peter, executive director of Boys Town; and Isaac Nadoff, Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Israel Synagogue.

George Bush, Remarks at a Fundraising Luncheon for Senatorial Candidate Hal Daub in Omaha, Nebraska Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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