Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Cleveland, Ohio

November 02, 1984

The President. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Governor Rhodes, Senator Lausche, Mayor Voinovich, Mayor Perk, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all very much.

It's great to be in Ohio again and wonderful to be in Cleveland. When we were making our plans for this final campaign swing, there were so many places we wanted to visit, I said, "Just make sure that we get to the banks of Lake Erie, alongside the Cuyahoga. I love the Buckeye State, and I love Cleveland.

And, as you saw, a couple of people up here that I want to give special greetings to: Matt Hatchadorian of Ohio's 19th District and Robert Woodall of the 20th [21st]. They're determined Republicans, outstanding candidates, and they'll do a great job defending your interests. And I can tell you that the incumbents they seek to oust are not representing your interests, as far as I've been able to see. We need these two candidates in Washington to keep the pressure on Tip O'Neill. So, help spread the word, and get out the vote, and win 'em for the Gipper. And if you do, we can keep on building opportunities for America.

Your enthusiasm shows just how wrong our opponents are when they talk down America. I think it's about time they should give America a pat on the back.

You know, 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 ended up trying to live our lives for us. Four years ago, we began to navigate by some fixed principles. Freedom was our North Star; common sense our constellations.

We knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American family's earnings to the government, and so we cut personal income tax rates by 25 percent. And that was across the board; no special group of any kind got any special break. 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 do 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 that our economic program was obviously, murderously inflationary. So, right after he said that, we lowered inflation from above 12 percent down to around 4. And then just after we got our tax cuts, he said the most he could see was an anemic recovery. And that was right before the United States economy created more than 6 million new jobs in 21 months. He said that if we decontrolled oil prices it would cost you $36 billion. So, we decontrolled oil prices, and the price of gasoline dropped 8 cents a gallon.

I have it all figured out that the way we can get an absolutely perfect economy is if we persuade him to predict absolute disaster.

He says he cares about the middle class, but 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, before he became Vice President, he voted 16 times to increase your taxes.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. But this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised he's going to raise your taxes. But if he's to keep all the promises that he's made in this campaign-we've worked it out on the computer—it would raise your taxes about $1,890 for every household in the United States.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. That's more than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage.

His economic plan has two parts. First, raise your taxes. The second part is, raise them again. [Laughter] But I've got news for him: The American people don't want his taxes, and they're not going to get them.

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

The President. Okay. All right. That's what I came here to talk to you about.

You know, if my opponent's economic program were a television show, it would be "Let's Make a Deal." [Laughter] You trade your prosperity for whatever surprise he's got hidden behind the curtain. [Laughter] And if it was a Broadway show, it would be "Promises, Promises." [Laughter] And if it were a book, you'd have to start at the back and read it to the front in order to get a happy ending. [Laughter]

He sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15th. We see an America in which everyday is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes and those of everyone in the United States, so that our economy will be stronger and America will be stronger.

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

But 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." Well, there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]

One year ago we liberated Grenada from Communist thugs who had taken over that country. And my opponent called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets.
Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. There is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives were in danger.

Now, let me try to put this in perspective. The 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat once, for a good share of my life. And I'm sure there must be Democrats here in this crowd. I hope so, because all over America, there are fine, patriotic Democrats who have found they can no longer follow the present leadership of that party.

The leaders, once, of the Democratic Party weren't the kind that were in the "blame America first" crowd. Its leaders were men like Harry Truman and Senator Scoop Jackson, John F. Kennedy. They understood the challenges of our times. They didn't reserve all their indignation for America. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood for one and damned the other.

To all the good Democrats who respect that tradition, I say, "You are not alone." We're asking you to come walk with us down the path of hope and opportunity. We have a tradition of doing things in a bipartisan fashion in this country. And let's respect that tradition, and together we'll make an America that's strong and an America, prosperous and free.
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. All right. All right. While we're talking about that country of ours, last month, an American woman walked in space. Kathryn Sullivan made history. And 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 may be possible up there. I've seen the evidence already of experiments that have taken place already in the shuttles—advances in technology and communication.

But my opponent led the fight in the Senate against the whole shuttle program. He called it a horrible waste. Well, we support the space shuttle, and we've committed America to a great challenge, and that is to build a permanently manned space station and to do it in the next decade. What America needs is not high—it needs high tech, not high taxes.

But I think we were right in 1980 to make a turn. We were right to take command of the ship, to stop its aimless 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.

The United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation. Like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sights on the stars and go for the gold.

And if America could bring down inflation from 12.4 percent to 4, then we can bring it down from 4 percent to 0.0, and we're going to do that. If lowering your tax rates led to the best expansion in 30 years, then we can lower them again and keep America growing right into the 21st century. If we could create 6 million new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American—young and old, black or white—to find a job, everyone that wants to find a job.

And if local governments can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, then we can elect people to Congress who will free our national enterprise zones program, which has been buried in committee in the Congress for more than 2 years by Tip O'Neill. We can get it out there. We can provide hope for millions in the most distressed areas of America. And this we must do. And that means sending these two gentlemen on the platform with me up there to the Congress to help us do it.

We're leading a revolution in technology, pushing back the frontiers of space. And if we give our workers the tools they need, in industries old and new, well, I've always believed and I believe now—you give American workers the proper tools, and they will outproduce, outcompete, and outsell anybody, anytime, anywhere in the world.

Our drive to restore excellence in education reversed a 20-year decline in the scholastic aptitude test scores. We're going to keep raising those scores to restore American academic excellence to a place that it is second to none.

And while education scores are going up, we can be happy that one thing is going down. And that's crime. America was swept by an epidemic of crime in the years before we took office, with over 13 million reported crimes every year. With the help of the American people, we've begun to make real progress. Our national crackdown on crime has produced the sharpest decrease ever in the history of crime statistics and the first time that the serious crime index has shown a decline for 2 years in a row.

But this hasn't been very easy, especially with the strong obstacles that we faced in the House of Representatives. This is just one more illustration of how clear the choice is in this campaign. For 3 years, we had sitting in the House our comprehensive crime control act, including bail reform, tougher sentencing, and major reforms affecting drug trafficking. The bill had passed the U.S. Senate, where we have a majority, by a vote of 91 to 1. But a tiny handful of liberal Democrats decided they knew more than the people knew and smothered it for those 3 years. One on them even boasted that when the bill came to his committee, "It was dead on arrival."

Well, with a lot of effort we finally got this important legislation through the Congress, and now—in just a matter of weeks-it's law. It's this kind of thumbing their noses at our citizens that makes me believe that this year we'll find exactly what we found out in 1980: In the United States of America, the people are in charge, not the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives. And next Tuesday, we hope the people will exercise their vote to make that message clear once again.

And one more thing. Our opponents don't seem to like the kind of judges we appoint. I'll tell you what I believe, and that is that we ought to appoint judges who restore respect for the laws and make criminals think twice before they commit a crime. And I'd be very pleased—if anybody wants an example of the judges I think we should appoint—I'd be very pleased to stand on the record of Sandra Day O'Connor in the Supreme Court.

We've reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect 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. Well, I'll talk of a nuclear freeze once we have reduced the number of weapons on both sides to an equal, verifiable limit. Then we can have a nuclear freeze.

And as we strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, and strengthen the values that bind us, America will become a nation even greater in its standard of living and in art and in learning, and greater in the love and worship of the God who made us and who has blessed us more than any people have ever been blessed here on this Earth.

Now, if you don't mind for a moment, I ran out of time a couple of weeks ago on the debate, and I would like to finish here what I didn't get to finish there. To the young people of our country who are here with us today, you young people are what this election is all about—you and your future.
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. Yes, I've seen you all over this State and all over this nation as we've crisscrossed the country. Your generation really sparkles. Your idealism, your love of country—unsurpassed. And you know, my generation—and then there's several generations between mine and yours—well, those generations, when the time comes to turn over the reins to you young people out there, all of us are pledged to turn over to you an America that is every bit as full of opportunity, hope, confidence, and dreams as we had when we were your age.

And the last line I was going to say on the debate was: We are going to turn over to you an America that is free in a world that is at peace.

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. All right. I know it'll drive a few people back there in the corner out of their minds, but I'm game.

You know, all of us in this country—this country is a special place, born here between the two great oceans with a unique mission to carry freedom's torch. To a tired and a disillusioned world out there, we've always been a light of hope where all things are possible. And throughout my life, I've seen America do the impossible.

We survived a Great Depression when I was a young man that toppled foreign governments, many of them. We came back from Pearl Harbor to win the greatest military victory in all history. In a single lifetime , my lifetime, we have gone from the horse and buggy to putting astronauts on the Moon.

We Americans have fought harder, we paid a higher price, we have done more to advance the dignity and freedom of man than any other people that ever lived on this Earth.

Ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. Our future will 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 are united—one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

I'm deeply honored that you've allowed me to serve you for these past 4 years. But much remains to be done. We have to continue to build on the new beginning we began 4 years ago. So, I came here to ask for your support and your vote. America's best days are yet to come. And—but if you're going to—and I thank you for that-don't send me back there alone. Send these gentlemen that I had up here beside me back there with me, so that we can get the job done.

And now, for that little group I mentioned back there—I know this will drive them up the wall, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.

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

Note: The President spoke at 12:46 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Springfield, IL.

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

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