Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Chicago, Illinois

November 04, 1984

The President. Ladies and gentlemen-ladies and gentlemen—

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. That's what we came here to talk to you about. Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, there's no one in this hall that agrees more with what Governor Jim Thompson said about this Vice President than I do. And he's been working tirelessly in this campaign all over the country. But now, now, I have to explain so you'll understand that he and Barbara—I'm going to let them go now, because they've got a rally waiting for them down in Texas before this afternoon and evening is out. So, George and Barbara, God bless you and be on your way.

And now, while I'm also saying "thank you's," and it's a heartfelt thank you to Frankie—Frankie Avalon for what you've done—this change of schedule here. Bless you.

Governor Jim Thompson, Senator Charles Percy, Mayor Don Stevens, all our fine Republican Representatives—John Porter, Henry Hyde, and Lynn Martin—and outstanding candidates, thank you all very much.

It's wonderful to be back in my home State, Nancy's home State, back in the Land of Lincoln. And it's great to be in Rosemont and to be here in the house that Bay Meyer made famous., the home of the DePaul Blue Demons.

You know, there is a new winning spirit in Chicago led by hick Sutcliff, Ryne Sandburg, and those wonderful Chicago Cubs. And Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears—it's good to see that the Bears are back and roaring.

But Nancy and I want to thank all of you for your heartwarming reception, and I want to thank you for your support—or help in—or support in helping us put America and our future back in the hands of the people. And, believe me, we couldn't have accomplished all we have without strong Republican leaders like Chuck Percy.

Chuck has defended the interests of your State with the same determination that he has protected the interests of our nation. And if we're going to build on the gains that we've made, we'll need Chuck Percy back there to help us do it. So, now, if by some chance you intend to vote for me, please don't vote against me by voting for Chuck's opponent. A vote for the Mondale-Simon ticket is a vote to go back to failed policies which gave us higher taxes, higher prices, and a weaker
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. And a vote for Chuck Percy, for our ticket, is a vote for America's future. So, please help, spread the word, get out the vote. And if you don't mind, win this one for the Gipper.

Abe Lincoln said we must disenthrall ourselves with the past—and then we will save our country. And 4 years ago, that's what we did. We made a great turn. We got out from under the thrall of a government which we had hoped would make our lives better, but which turned out to try to live our lives for us.

Four years ago, we began to navigate by certain fixed principles. Our North Star was freedom, common sense our constellations.

We knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American families' earnings to the Government, and so we cut personal income taxes 25 percent across the board. And in spite of some of the loose talk on the other side in this campaign, that tax cut was "even-Steven" for everybody, and not for one particular group or the other.

We knew that inflation, the quiet thief, and record interest rates were stealing our future.

We knew that our national military defense had been weakened. So, we decided to rebuild and be strong again to be prepared for peace. It was a second American revolution, and it's only just begun.

But America is back—a giant on the scene, powerful in its renewed spirit, powerful in its growing economy, and powerful in its ability to defend itself and secure the peace. And you know something? That's not debatable.

Yet 4 years after our efforts began, small voices in the night are sounding the call to go back—back to the days of drift, the days of torpor, timidity, and taxes.

My opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said our economic program is obviously, murderously inflationary. That was just before we lowered inflation from around 12 percent down to 4.

And just after we passed our tax cuts, he said the most he could see was an anemic recovery. Well, that was just before the United States economy created 6 million new jobs in 21 months.

My opponent said that decontrol of oil prices would cost you more than $36 billion a year. Well, one of the first things we did was decontrol oil prices, and the price of gasoline went down 8 cents a gallon.

Now, you know, I figured something out—if we can persuade—well, if we want an absolutely perfect economy, all we have to do is persuade him to predict absolute disaster. [Laughter]
He says he cares about the middle class.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Yes. But then, then he boasts, "I have consistently supported legislation, time after time, which increases taxes on my own constituents." Doesn't that make you want to be one of his constituents?
Audience. No!

The President. He's no doubt proud of the fact that as a United States Senator he voted 16 times to raise your taxes.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. But this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised, of course, to raise your taxes. But if he's to keep all the promises that he has made in this campaign, he will have to raise taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 per household, every household in the United States.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Now, you know that's more than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage. [Laughter]

Now, his economic plan has two parts: the first, raise taxes; the second, do it again. [Laughter] But I've got news for him. The American people don't want his tax increases, and they're not going to get his tax increases.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Well, I hadn't thought about it, but you've talked me into it. [Laughter]

You know, if my opponent's campaign were a television show it would be, "Let's Make a Deal." [Laughter] You get to trade your prosperity for that surprise he's got hidden behind the curtain. Now, if his campaign were a Broadway show, it would be "Promises, Promises." And if that administration of which he was a part had been a book, you would have had to read it from the back to the front to get a happy ending.

He sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15th. Well, we see an America in which every day is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes and lower those for all the people in this country so that your families will be stronger, America will be stronger, this economy will be stronger.

I'm proud to say—on another subject-that during these last 4 years, not 1 square inch of territory in the world has been lost to Communist aggression. And the United States is more secure than we were 4 years ago.

Yet my opponent sees a different world. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he said, "It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have." But then, there's so much that baffles him.

One year ago we liberated Grenada from the Communists who had taken over that country. My opponent called what we did a violation of international law that—
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President.—that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets. Well, there is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives were in danger.

But, you know, this 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat for a large part of my life, more than half of it. But in those days, the Democratic Party leaders weren't members of the "blame America first" crowd. Its leaders were men like Harry Truman, Senator Scoop Jackson, John F. Kennedy—men who understood the challenges of our times. They didn't reserve all their indignation for the United States. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood up for one and damned the other.

Now, to all the good Democrats who respect that tradition—and I hope there are many present, as there have been in meetings all over the country like this. I hope you are present, because I would like to tell you, you're not alone. We ask you to come and walk with us down the path of hope and opportunity. And in the bipartisan tradition of this country, between us and together, we can keep this nation prosperous, secure, and at peace. [Applause]

All right. Last month an American woman, Kathryn Sullivan, walked in space and made history. And then she returned to a space shuttle in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the future will be made. Cures for diabetes and heart disease—and I have seen the evidence of some of the experiments already-to know that there is hope for that—that developments of cures up there that we cannot develop here on Earth. There will be, also, advances that we will make in technology and communication. But my opponent, as a United States Senator, led the fight personally against having a shuttle program. He said it was a horrible waste.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, we're for the shuttle program, and we're going to meet a great challenge. We're going to build a manned space station and do it within the decade. What America needs is high-tech, not high taxes.

Now, I've probably been going on too long here—
Audience. No!

The President. Well, all right. But the point is, we were right when we made our turn in 1980. We were right to take command of the ship, stop the drift, and get moving again. And we were right when we stopped sending out S.O.S. and started saying U.S.A.!
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. All right. You know, the United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation. Like our Olympic athletes, this nation sets its sight on the stars, and we go for the gold.

If America could bring down inflation from 12.4 percent to 4 percent, then we can bring it down from 4 to 0.0, and we're going to do that.

If lowering your tax rates could create those 6 million jobs, new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American—or America to keep growing, right into the 21st century. We'll reduce them again.

You know, creating 6 million new jobs, as I said in the 21 months, can make it possible for every American—young and old, black and white—everyone who wants a job to find a job in this land of ours. And that is a goal that we will meet.

And if local and State governments can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, then we can elect people to the Congress, those people I was talking about a little while ago, who will free our enterprise zone bill. We have a national bill to use tax incentives all over the country in distressed areas, to make it possible to have hope and jobs for millions of our people. And that bill has been buried for more than 2 years in a committee of the House of Representatives under the direction of Tip O'Neill.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. We're leading a revolution in technology, pushing back the frontiers of space. And if we give our workers the tools they need—I've always believed this, and I believe it now more than ever—if you give American workers the tools they need, they will outproduce, outcompete, and outsell anyone, anywhere in the world, anytime.

Our drive to restore excellence in education reversed a 20-year decline in the scholastic aptitude test scores. Well, we're going to keep raising those scores and restore American academic excellence, second to none.

Our crackdown on crime has produced the sharpest drop ever in the crime index. And we're going to keep cracking down until your families and friends can walk the streets again without being afraid.

We've reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect all over the world for America. And we're going to keep this nation strong to protect freedom and peace for us, for our children, and for our children's children. And if we make sure that America remains strong and prepared for peace, then we can begin to reduce nuclear weapons and one day banish them entirely from the face of the Earth.

My opponent talks of a nuclear freeze. Every once in a while, I see banners thrust at me—"Nuclear Freeze." All right, yes-when we can reduce the nuclear weapons in the world on both sides down to an equal, verifiable limit, yes, we'll have a nuclear freeze.

And as we strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, strengthen the values that bind us, America will become a nation with a higher standard of living, even greater in art and learning, greater in the love and worship of the God who. made us and who has blessed us as no other people on Earth have ever been blessed.

Now, 2 weeks ago, I didn't get to finish something I was saying on the debate. I'm going to finish it here.

To the young people of our country who are here with us today—you, you are what this election is all about, you and your future. Your generation—I've seen you all across this country, in schools, on campuses, in gatherings like this. And your generation really sparkles. [Applause]

All right. Your idealism and your love of country are unsurpassed.

And, you know, my generation—and there's a few between mine and yours—we grew up in an America where, for so long a time, we simply took it for granted, and it was true, that you could dream and make your dreams come true. It was up to you. Fly as high and as far as your own ability and talent and strength and determination would take you. But then we came into a time for a while there where there were people telling us that there was an era of limits and that things couldn't ever be again as they once were. Well, don't you believe it.

My generation and those other generations I mentioned, we have a sacred trust. And it is to turn over to you, when the time comes, an America that is free in a world that is at peace.

All of us together are part of a great revolution, and it's only just begun. America will never give up—will never go back. We were born to be a special place between these two great oceans with a unique mission to carry freedom's torch. To a tired and disillusioned world we've always been a light of hope where all things are possible.

And throughout my life I have seen America do the impossible. When I was a young man we survived a great worldwide depression that made anything we've seen since look like a picnic. We survived that, although governments in many parts of the world were toppled simply by the force of that recession. We came back from Pearl Harbor and won the greatest military victory in world history.

And we as a people have fought harder, paid a higher price, done more to advance the freedom and dignity of man than any other people who ever lived on this Earth. Ours is the land of the free, because it is the home of the brave. America's future will always be great, because our nation will be strong. And our nation will be strong, because our people will be free. And our people will be free, because we're united-one people under God with liberty and justice for all.

I am deeply honored that you've allowed me to serve you for these past 4 years. But—

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. All right. I will. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. We must continue to build upon the new beginning we started 4 years ago. So, I have come here to ask for your vote and to ask for your support in doing that. And just as you were told earlier, I'll repeat: Don't read those polls anymore. Just don't get complacent. The last time I looked up at Mount Rushmore, President Dewey's face wasn't there.

Please get out and vote, and get your neighbors out to vote. And don't anyone decide your vote isn't needed and stay home. Every vote is needed.

And if you're going to vote for me, don't send me there alone. You send these other candidates and officeholders that I have already spoken of here today. And now—
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. All right. America's best days are yet to come. And I'm going to say something—I know it drives my opponent up the wall, but I enjoy saying it—you ain't seen nothin' yet.

God bless you, and thank you all very much. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 5:12 p.m. at the Rosemont Horizon Arena.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Sacramento, CA, and the Red Lion Motor Inn, where he remained overnight.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Chicago, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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