Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Berea, Ohio

November 02, 1988

The President. Thank you, George. And I'd like to add a special thank you to the Ringling Brothers, to Bruce Drennan, the Baldwin-Wallace Jazz Ensemble, and the great kids of the Parma High School Band, the Mid-Park High School Band, and the Berea High School Band. You've all done yourselves proud. And now will you promise me you'll do all of America proud and just say no to drugs? [Applause] And I'd like to say hello to a bunch of guys who have made Baldwin-Wallace proud with their amazing 30-year streak: the Yellow Jackets.

Let me tell you, it's great to be here in a community that's a symbol of all we've accomplished in the past 8 years. They tell me that the three automobile plants near here are running close to capacity, and they're all staffed up now at the steel mill in Cleveland. You have all proven what happens when Americans put their nose to the grindstone, and which is probably why Berea is the grindstone capital of the world. You know, some people in Washington were counting America out in 1980, the way they were counting out the Cleveland area. They decided to play doctor and said the American people were suffering from some kind of malaise.

Well, in November 1980 you gave them a message. You said, "Physician, heal thyself." And every one of you here proved them wrong and showed them there's no greater engine for change and economic growth and prosperity than the hard-working men and women of the United States of America, and there is nobody more hard-working in this country than the people of Cuyahoga County.

And one of the people who's been responsible for the change around here is with us today. He's the man who saved the city of Cleveland, a guy who knows what it means to do what's right and to do it right. He's a true miracle worker. And now he's got the toughest fight of his life. But when the dust clears on November 8th, I know he's going to be the next Senator from the State of Ohio: George Voinovich.

Now, you know, my time is drawing to a close in Washington, and come January 1'll be going home.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Well, thank you, but you know—yes, that's very kind of you, but you know there's a 22d amendment that makes that impossible.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. But I'll give you a little secret. When I'm out of here, so they can't accuse me of doing it for myself, I'm going to see if I can't talk the people of America into canceling that amendment because it is not an infringement on the man in office, it's an infringement on the democratic rights of the people of America.
But now, as I said, come January 1'll be going home, but I'm going to feel just fine about that because nobody knows better than I do just how capable are those two hands I'll be passing the torch to come the 20th of January.
Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. They're the best. Yes, they're the best set of hands this side of Bob Feller, and they belong to a man named George Bush.
Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. I'm here today to talk to you about the great Republican ticket, from the White House to the statehouse to the county seat, and make sure that everybody who shares our hopes for the future turns out to vote on November 8th.

You know, the liberals are going around saying they're on your side. You know better than that. Let's talk about crime. Our side believes people who want to protect their home and family from an armed intruder have a constitutional right to own a gun; the liberals are against it.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. Now, I want to ask you a question, and would you shout out yes or no loud and clear so that our friends in the press know just where you stand. Do you believe the liberals are on your side? Audience members. No!

The President. Now, do you believe we're the ones that are on your side?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. I thought you might say that. Okay, now let's talk about school prayer. We're for it; they're against it. I want to ask you again: Who's on your side? Are the liberals? Or is it the Republican ticket?
Audience members. Republicans!

The President. Let's take that liberal philosophy of tax-and-tax and spend-and-spend. They're for it; we're against it. Now, tell me again, and tell me so they can hear it all the way to Washington: Who's on your side? Is it the liberals, or is it the great Republican ticket of George Voinovich and George Bush?

Audience members. George Bush! George Bush! George Bush!

The President. All right. You know, the truth is, those others—they only come around on your side when they want to get their hands on your wallet. I remember the last time the American people heard that kind of talk in 1980. The American people let them know they weren't on your side; they were on your back. Yes, the liberals were off-sides in 1980; they're even further off-sides now; and on November 8th, the people are going to throw the penalty flag and let the liberals know they're so far offside that they're way out of bounds.

One of the guys who's the furthest out of bounds is the guy running against George Voinovich. He's been called the liberal master of destruction by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly. And now, after all of these months and all of this time, the fellow at the top of the other ticket has admitted what Ohioans have known about George Voinovich's opponent all along: that he's liberal, liberal, liberal!
Audience members. Booo!

The President. And come next week, the American public will say no to liberals who preach higher taxes, big spending, and a weak defense. When we came into office, families like yours were reeling from tax rates that were draining this nation's initiative. Since our expansion began, we've created more than 18 million new jobs. We've reduced the unemployment rate to nearly the lowest it's been in 14 years.

We've had 71 months of economic recovery; that's the longest peacetime recovery in the history of this great nation. And today a greater proportion of our potential work force—that means everybody, male and female, from 16 years of age and up, in this country, students and retirees included—a greater percentage of that work force is employed today than ever before in the history of the United States of America: 62.7 percent have jobs.

We also went to work on our nation's defenses. We're once again respected in the world. Our Armed Forces are strong, and America is at peace. We and our NATO allies stood firm in the face of Soviet missiles pointing at the heart and blood of Europe and Asia. And Mr. Gorbachev got the message. He did business because he knew we meant business. And, my friends, we still mean business.
You know, some people think that maybe I've changed, that I don't believe the things that I believed when I came into office. Well, I'm here today to tell you that's not true. I'm a believer in a philosophy of world affairs summed up in a phrase I quoted to Mr. Gorbachev: Trust everybody, but cut the cards.

None of our triumphs—no, not one-would have happened if the liberals had had their way. There would have been no INF treaty or rollback in Afghanistan or democratic revolutions around the globe. They opposed rebuilding our military defenses, and even today they want to cancel two supercarrier task forces and take them out of the Navy. In fact, what they've planned for the Navy is so bad that by the time they get through Michael may have to row the boat ashore. Yes, I think that if they did half of what they're saying they would do we'd all end up in the tank!

Just listen to what the liberals said no to. They opposed the liberation of Grenada. They opposed the deployment of our missiles in Europe. They oppose our policy of helping freedom fighters advance the cause of liberty around the world. Well, we did all these things, and I tell you proudly right now: We'd both do every single one of them over again.

Of all the changes we've made, the one I may be happiest about is this: Our young men and women are once again proud to wear this country's uniform. And because of them, over these past 8 years, not 1 inch of ground on this good Earth has fallen to Communists.

We're also on your side because we take the threat of crime seriously. We've appointed serious-minded judges who respect the Constitution and know the meaning of the word "punishment," like two of our good candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court here today: Joyce George and Paul Matia. We learned during the "malaise" years that when judges don't do their jobs right criminals feel like they can run rampant. Well, violent crime has fallen significantly in this country since 1981 because we put criminals on notice: Make one false move, and the next sound you hear is the clang of a jail cell door slamming shut.

You know, my friends, we believe there are no citizens more precious than the men and women who guard us: our State and local police, and we must stand united behind them. We must protect them as they protect us. And that's why we believe with all the conviction we have that a crack dealer with a machinegun who murders a police officer in the line of duty should face the death penalty.

You know, all that we've achieved, everything, can be undone faster than you can say "Taxachusetts" if our liberal friends are successful. The fellow at the top of the other ticket says he's in the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Harry Truman. But I'll tell you this one thing: If he's Harry Truman, I'm Roger Rabbit!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when our liberal friends run away from their agenda and falsely invoke the greats to cover for them, they're just acknowledging that where they want to take America, America doesn't want to go. Now, I promise you: We won't take you back there. And I warn you: They will.

They're the people who've stolen the Democratic Party away from its heritage. I know because I was once a Democrat. And the truth is that when the left took over the Democratic Party leadership many like me who were inspired by F.D.R. and Harry Truman took over the Republican Party. So, I want to ask those of you some people call Reagan Democrats to join me and come home with me today. Come home to the Republican Party.

Now, please, don't cancel out your vote for President by picking a tax-and-spend liberal for the Senate. Remember, it takes the President and Congress working together to move America forward. So, if we have to ride two horses at once, shouldn't they both be headed in the same direction? [Applause]

We've got to do all we can to get our message out. We must guard against complacency and overconfidence. This election isn't over yet, not by a long shot. And as Winston Churchill once said: "We must wage war until victory is won."

Now let me take a little public opinion poll of my own. Will you make sure to turn out for the Republican ticket on November 8th?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you give the next President the Senate he needs by voting for George Voinovich on November 8th? [Applause]

And will you give Ohio a bright future of economic opportunity and family values by voting for Grace Drake, Gary Suhadolnik and Virgil Brown? [Applause] You just made my day.

Ladies and gentlemen, America needs the strength, the vision, and the true grit of George Bush and George Voinovich. And with your help and God's grace, we'll all have cause to cheer just 1 week from today.

Now, probably somebody back up there being cynical is going to say, "Well, wait a minute: This is Wednesday, and Tuesday is election day." I know that. But it's the day after election day that we do the cheering. And you know, some people are saying it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we are the change. The change began 8 years ago.

Let me just tell you something that most of us tend to forget. In the 50 years to 1980—that half a century, 1931 until 1980—46 of those 50 years the Democrats have controlled both Houses of the Congress. Now, in this campaign I've heard the deficit called mine—that it is so big. Let me tell you, the President can't spend a dime. Only Congress can spend money. Now, in those 50 years, 46 of them with the Democrats in control of both Houses of the Congress, there have only been 8 scattered years in that half-century in which the budget of the United States Government was balanced. So, who has been in charge while all this went on?

Now, in the 15 years from 1965 to 1980, when the Democratic President then had started his War on Poverty, which poverty won— [laughter] —in those 15 years, the budget of the United States Government increased to five times what it had been, and the deficit increased to 52 times what it had been. And this is what we've inherited.

No, we haven't been able to balance the budget, because the President not only can't spend money, he can't save money. Only the Congress can do that. If a Department or Agency's got some money left over, the Congress says they've got to spend it. That's why we've got an awful lot of warehouses with office furniture in them—because the only way they know, sometimes, to spend up the surplus is to buy new furniture.

But then we came into office in 1981, and for 6 years, we had one House, the Senate, on our side. Between '86 and now, we have cut the Federal deficit by some $70 billion. And we're continuing on a path of cutting. But as I say, those 6 years-they've gone by, and now we're back where we were with them in charge of both Houses. We couldn't have made all the gains we've made if we had not had that one House. So, that's why this man sitting back here—it's so very vital that we get him there, so that once again, a President can have at least one House that will help him curb the spending habits of the liberals.

Now I want to ask you to do me one small favor: Will you go out there and win one for the Gipper? [Applause] Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 3:10 p.m. in the gymnasium at Baldwin-Wallace College. He was introduced by George Voinovich, mayor of Cleveland and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. In his remarks, the President referred to radio personality Bruce Drennan, former Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller, State senators Grace Drake and Gary C. Suhadolnik, and Cuyahoga County Commissioner Virgil Brown. Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Berea, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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