Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Fullerton, California

November 01, 1988

The President. You are living proof of something that I have said over and over again: Orange County is where the good Republicans go before they die. But, thank you, Dr. Cobb. And thank you for that great music, both here and outdoors.

Let me say a special hello to Governor Deukmejian, Gabe Kaplan, Bob Naylor, Congressmen Bill Dannemeyer and Bob Dornan, and to two future Congressmen who have already given invaluable service to their country in helping to make our administration a success. I could always count on Chris Cox to push our agenda forward and to keep his sights on why we were in Washington. And what can I say about Dana Rohrabacher? Well, for 20 years he was at my side in every campaign. In Washington, every one of my fights was his fight. I've watched him grow from a boy to a man, and I'm proud of him. So, please, please give two great new Congressmen to America: Chris Cox and Dana Rohrabacher.

And let me also say hello to a group I take a kind of personal interest in: the College Republican Club. But there's also some others here I've noticed. You won't mind if I recognize my fraters in Tau Kappa Epsilon, because I'm a TEEK.

Somebody asked why I've come here today. Well, that's easy. I like great teams and I couldn't think of any greater one than the Titans.

Now, before I go any further, I have a special message from my roommate: Please, for your families, for your friends, for your country, and most of all, for yourselves-just say no to drugs.

You know, I watched a certain debate a couple of weeks ago. I don't often feel sorry for liberals, but I came close. Now, he may have been surprised at George Bush's strength, but you know something? I wasn't. I've worked more closely with George Bush these two terms than with any other member of the administration. I have seen him keep a cool head in hot crises. I've seen his leadership and vision.

I've given him some of the most sensitive and difficult tasks that we've had, and he's never let me or the country down. When you ask who led the fight to lift excessive regulations off of the shoulders of America's economy or who reassured our allies about deployment of INF missiles and set the stage for the INF treaty or who ran the initial policy meetings that led to our rescue of Grenada, or when you ask which candidate for President is on your side and America's side: George Bush is that man.

George Bush knows the importance of the values expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance. He cares that the courts won't allow children in public schools to open their day with a simple, silent, voluntary prayer. He believes that we must have judges on our courts who interpret the law and don't try to legislate and who care not just about the rights of criminals but about those of the victims of crime. That's why I want the next President of the United States to be George Bush.

But as I listened to George Bush and his opponent debate, I couldn't help thinking the problem with those fellows on the other side is not camera angles or lighting; it's not whether their candidate is likable or not. No, it's the very thing that they've spent this campaign trying desperately to hide. When our liberal friends refuse, until the last week of the campaign, even to whisper the "L" word and insist that this election is not about ideology, it's about competence, they're just acknowledging that where they want to take America, America doesn't want to go.

The American people always have a way of figuring out the facts. And that reminds me of a story. At my age, everything reminds you of a story. This is a story that happens to be about one of our intelligence agencies in Washington. They had an agent, a spy, who was over in a little town in Ireland, and they had to make contact with him. And they called in another agent and told him he was to go there and contact this man. The man's name would be Murphy. And he said, "Your recognition so that he'll know who you are is that you say, 'It's a beautiful day today, but it'll be a better one tomorrow.'" And then he was on his way. Well, he got to this little town, and he figured the best place to start his search was in the pub. So, he went into the pub and up to the bar and said to the bartender, "Where would I find a man named Murphy?"

And the bartender said, "If it's Murphy the bootmaker you want, he's in the second floor of the building across the street. And if it's Murphy the farmer you want, he's a half a mile down the road—the farm on the left." "And," he said, "my name is Murphy." And the agent said, "Well, it's a beautiful day today, but it'll be better tomorrow." And the bartender said, "Oh, it's Murphy the spy you want." [Laughter]

Well, you know the facts, and so do the American people. Our liberal friends have spent the last 3 months trying to dress up their agenda in our clothes—and now in Harry Truman's clothes or F.D.R.'s clothes—but somehow nothing fits.

Audience members. We want Mike! We want Mike! We want Mike!

The President. You see, his supporters can't even find the right meeting. Well, now, when they say "opportunity," they mean subsidies. When they say "reducing the deficit," they mean raising the taxes.

Audience members. Booo!

The President. And when they say "strong defense," they mean cut defense spending. You know, it's no wonder their favorite machine is the snowblower. They talk about it being time for a change. Well, where have they been the last 8 years? We are the change. We began it 8 years ago. And the choice this year is to go forward with the change or to go back to the stagnant status quo of the past.

When George Bush and I took office, America was in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. High taxes and runaway regulations were driving America's families to their knees, pounding them with a 1-2-3 combination of inflation, economic stagnation, and unemployment. We turned that around.

Since our expansion began, we have created over 18 million new jobs. That is more new jobs than Europe and Japan combined. And overall, job for job, those jobs pay better than the jobs that existed before our expansion began. Today we're in the longest peacetime economic expansion ever recorded. We're exporting more than ever before in our history. And a greater proportion of our potential work force and a greater number of Americans are at work today than ever before in the history of the United States of America.

Let me explain that term "potential work force" to you. That is considered by the statisticians to be everyone in the United States, male and female, 16 years of age and up, all the way, including the retirees and all. Today 62.7 percent of that pool of Americans are employed.

Think of what this means to you when you leave school. There'll be jobs and opportunities waiting for you. It's a good time to begin a career and maybe get married to that special someone and start a family. Perhaps now or in a few years, you'll want to start your own business. Well, it's a great time for that, too. Think of how lucky you are not to have graduated in the late seventies when things looked so different. Think of how lucky you are to be graduating in our country and not some other country.

What you heard in a recent debate I've heard echoed in my talks with the leaders of many other nations: Today the United States of America is the envy of the world. Yes, we've come a long way in the last 8 years, but, my friends, everything that you and I and George Bush have worked for in these last 8 years, everything, could be lost faster than you can say furlough. Now, our opponents say they're in the tradition of F.D.R., Harry Truman, and John Kennedy; but from the economy to national defense, they've taken positions only a McGovern could love. They're so far out in left field that not even Kirk Gibson could hit a ball that deep. And don't be fooled, folks, George Bush's opponent is no Harry Truman—

Audience members. We want Mike! We want Mike! We want Mike!

The President.—and he's no F.D.R. When the leadership of today's Democratic Party took that party over, I was a Democrat, and a lot of you probably were. Well, we took the other party over, and it's now the party of Harry Truman and F.D.R.

Not long ago, former Defense and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger, who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, wrote that their ticket this year seems to be, in Secretary Schlesinger's words, "viscerally antimilitary." They'd cut the B-1 bomber, the mobile MX, our strategic defense against ballistic missiles, and they would eliminate two carrier battle groups from the Navy. In fact, what they plan for the Navy is so bad that when they get through Michael may have to row the boat ashore.

Yes, it's the same Carter-Mondale liberal agenda they're pushing: less defense, more big government. For example, as part of their—

Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

The President. You know—

Audience members. We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

The President. And you're going to have him. You know, if they'd shut up and listen, they'd learn where George was. You know, every time this happens, I wonder if some of the people who are doing that realize that maybe if they had their way about the government people wouldn't be able to do what they're doing.

Audience members. Ronnie! Ronnie! Ronnie!

The President. All right. Okay. Well, now, for that other party, and for an example of their so-called profamily agenda, they propose Federal child-care assistance. A little while ago, I told an audience that under this proposal if parents want assistance and they also want to leave their child with his or her grandmother the grandmother will have to be licensed by the Federal Government.

Audience members. Booo!

The President. Now, after I first said that, a reporter called one of the congressional staffers behind that bill and asked if it was true—that grandmothers would have to get Federal licenses to take care of their own grandchildren. And the reply came, yes, of course, it's true. After all—and here's the quote—"How else can you design a program that receives Federal funds?"

Audience members. Booo!

The President. Licensing grandmothers-can you believe it? But doesn't that tell all the difference between our two philosophies? When they say "family," they mean Big Brother in Washington. When we say "family," we mean honor thy father and mother.

Hearing all this, maybe it won't surprise you that this year we have an opposition candidate for President whose appointees to his State's supreme court have been described, in the words of legal authorities who've studied their record, as "fervent proponents of the liberal social agenda committed to imposing it through judicial decree." They have opposed the death penalty and opposed mandatory sentences for drug dealers. They believe that directing teachers to lead classes in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional and have voted to strike down a ban on child pornography.

Audience members. Booo!

The President. Well, I've appointed very different Justices to the United States Supreme Court, and so will George Bush. It's just this simple: We Californians know that the U.S. Supreme Court must never come to resemble the California Supreme Court before the voters rose up and said, "Enough!" And in that, as in so many other battles, George Bush is on our side. That's where George is.

Now, George's opponent says this is negative campaigning. We don't do negative campaigning. We tell them the truth, and they think it's negative campaigning. You've heard that George's opponent says he's on your side, but you know better. Massachusetts has lost more than 90,000 manufacturing jobs since 1984, the years that he has been in office—

Audience members. Booo!

The President.—while the number of manufacturing jobs nationally grew—more manufacturing jobs nationally—manufacturing jobs lost in Massachusetts. Would you tell me, and shout it loud and clear, who's on your side: that fellow or George Bush?

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. I can see I'm speaking to a well-educated audience. Let's try one more. The Federal deficit fell by more than $65 billion between 1986 and 1988 while the top tax rate was cut from 50 percent to 28 percent. Meanwhile, a certain New England State's spending has risen 61.7 percent since George Bush's opponent took office in 1983—double the rate of increase in Federal spending. And the Bank of Boston forecasts a deficit for the State as high as $750 million for 1989, despite the enactment of $180 million in additional State taxes and fees. Lower tax rates, lower deficits nationally; higher taxes, bigger deficits in that State—tell me again even louder, the one who's on your side: Is it that other fellow or George Bush?

Audience members. Bush!

The President. Well, all right. Yes, George Bush is the one, and the only one, who's on your side. And that's not negative campaigning: That's the truth.

Now, our friends on the other side have promised that come January the Reagan era is over, and their era will be just beginning. Well, let me ask you something else, and again: Could you give me an answer loud enough so they can hear it all the way to Boston? Come January, do you want Washington run by those whose only pledge of allegiance is to more government and more spending and who have never let the taxpayers' dollars out on furlough?

Audience members. No!

The President. Okay. Do you want our foreign policy in the hands of those who criticized our rescue mission in Grenada and our strike on Libya and who always, always blame America first?

Audience members. No!

The President. You just made my day. This election campaign is not over. And the only poll that means a thing is the one on election day. And that's why it's so important for you to vote. It's disturbing to me that so many of America's young people so far don't show up at the polls to vote. With so many years ahead, you have a big stake in this election.

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of doing something I never thought an American President would be able to do. There, in the Soviet Union, in the Lenin Hills, I spoke to students at Moscow State University; and my speech was about the glories of human individual freedom. Now, think of those students. Only if they're lucky and rise high in the Communist Party will any one of them have influence on the course of history that each American has by just walking into the voting booth.

So, let me ask you one or two more questions. And I'm asking you for a commitment, so if you shout yes, be sure you mean it. This November, will you show up at the polls to vote?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you also—and this goes for even you who are too young to vote—get your friends to show up at the polls to vote?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you vote to elect Don Knabe and Curt Pringle to the State legislature?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you vote to end 34 years of liberal control of the House of Representatives and to elect Chris Cox and Dana Rohrabacher and reelect Bill Dannemeyer and Bob Dornan?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. You know I said 34 years. I was being easy on you—counting this year, 58. For 58 years, the other party has controlled the House of Representatives.

Audience members. Booo!

The President. Except for 2 years during Harry Truman, every Democratic President in more than half a century has had a Democratic Congress. Well, except for 2 years in Ike's term, every Republican President but me has had a Democratic Congress. I was lucky enough to have for 6 years a majority in the Senate. And that majority is what made it possible for us to bring about the recovery that we've brought about. So, vote to return Pete Wilson to the United States Senate. And of course, will you vote for George Bush?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. You just keep on making my day. Almost a quarter century ago, we Californians began a crusade for a stronger, braver, freer land. We've fought side by side ever since. And Nancy and I have been grateful for all the support that we've received. Right now my theme song all over Washington is "California Here I Come." And in January, I hope everyone here at home will open up those Golden Gates and welcome us back. But until then, you and I still have work to do. As Yogi Berra said: "It isn't over 'till it's over." And ours is one crusade that continues in full swing. So, if I could ask you one time: On election day, will you go out there and win one for the Gipper?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Thank you all very much-almost you all. Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. in the gymnasium at California State University. He was introduced by Jewel Plummer Cobb, president of the university. In his remarks, the President referred to actor Gabe Kaplan; Robert Naylor, chairman of the State Republican Party; and Kirk Gibson, a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Following his remarks, the President traveled to San Bernardino.

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

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