George Bush photo

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Manchester, New Hampshire

October 23, 1990

Thank you, Mary Jo. With that enthusiasm, I'd say about 73 percent for Bob Smith, next Senator from the State of New Hampshire. And thank all of you for that greeting. A little trouble parking out here -- we were trying to get the 18-wheeler parked on the side. [Laughter]

I am delighted to be back here. I came to salute this outstanding ticket -- Judd Gregg, of course, having served this State so well. I feel confident that he will be reelected Governor of the State. He deserves it, and we need him. And Chuck Douglas isn't with us, but I want to pay my respects to him -- looking solid and strong in that congressional district. Of course, Warren Rudman is not here, but I've seen a great deal of him lately. [Laughter] He is marvelous, and you're well-represented. And of course, Gordon Humphrey, also not with us, but having elected on his own to keep his pledge to not stay too long; and he's coming on back to the State. And I just want to pay my respects to him and say we have an outstanding congressional delegation from New Hampshire in Washington, DC.

And that brings me to the First District, where Bob, having left it to move -- hopefully and, I'd say, confidently -- to the Senate. I want to pay my respects to an old friend, a man that helped me early on. Steadfast -- snow, rain, whatever it was, didn't deter him. And I am enthusiastically and strongly for Bill Zelliff for the United States Congress. He's an outstanding individual.

And I'm very sorry that Barbara's not here. If I might be permitted a word of husbandly pride, she is doing an outstanding job for education in this country, and I am very proud of what she's doing in helping as one of the brightest Thousand Points of Light in the United States. And I bring you her greetings.

We're having a little trouble with our best-selling author, Millie, our dog. [Laughter] Give her the Alpo, and she asks to see the wine list these days. [Laughter]

But in any event, we've spent a lot of time up here, as Mary Jo said, going way back to the '78 - '79, during my first campaign. And 1978, I think, was a turning point in New Hampshire politics because that was the year that you sent a clear story to Washington, DC. The messenger was Gordon Humphrey; and the message, which still is a sound message, was limited government and trying to hold the line on the growth of Federal Government.

And 1978 really marked the first wave of what became known as the Reagan Revolution, a set of new ideas that are really as old as the Republic itself: that people, not government, know what's best for themselves and their families; that a strong -- and I would reemphasize -- a strong, diverse economy, not a strong, centralized government, is the true source of prosperity; that a firm defense does not threaten peace but promotes it. And the bottom line is this: We seek to protect family, empower the poor, and reward the creative and the risktakers. These are what I would say are the values of New Hampshire, the values of America, and certainly the values of our next Senator, my friend Bob Smith.

For 6 years, Bob has been New Hampshire's trusted friend in Congress. The people here know him, not just in this room but across this State. They know him as a man of principle, and he isn't running for office to satisfy his ego. And so, I'm convinced that New Hampshire is going to send a new Senator to Washington this year. And today, more than ever, the Senate needs leaders in the New Hampshire conservative tradition, leaders like Bob Smith.

Let me just say a word about the mess in Washington. Congress wouldn't, in my view -- and I really mean this -- would not be in the mess that it is in today if we had more Republicans in the United States Congress. The Democrats control both Houses, and that means if a President is going to make something happen -- and I'm determined to do it -- you've got to reach out.

And I want to get the best possible budget because I do not want to see us continue to mortgage the future of the young people in this country, year after year, with triple-digit deficits. And so, we are hanging tough for a good agreement. Right now it's in turmoil down there.

And I want to see it be an agreement that is serious about driving the deficit down. The fundamental reason is, real deficit reduction is going to bring the interest rates down. Make no mistake about it. And if we do nothing, they will not come down. It's that clear. So, more important to the economy than any program, some new program, or any single provision in a bill is the need to get the interest rates down and get America back to work again, get jobs for the American people. And the way to do that is to bring the interest rates down. And the way to do that is to get the Federal deficit down.

And now it is time -- it's past time -- that Congress proves to the American people that it can learn to live within its means and that it can pass a budget that puts this nation on the path to long-term economic growth.

I went to the bargaining table, assisted by a very tough, a very principled negotiator, New Hampshire's John Sununu. But let's face it, no Democratic Congress is going to send me a Republican dream package. That's simply not the way it works when you're outnumbered in both Houses of Congress. So, to come up with any budget at all this year, I had to work with the Democrats who controlled Congress.

And President Reagan found the same thing -- 1982. Go back and look at the record. The rhetoric was about the same -- that in spite of his aversion to taxes, the only way to govern was to accept a compromise. You know my feelings on taxes. I like taxes about as much as I like broccoli -- and that ain't much. [Laughter] But Reagan swallowed hard, and the economy moved, and interest rates came down -- from 15 percent to 11 percent -- when he did what he had to do, not as a Congressman but as President of the United States. And the longtime health of the economy has to come before any political self-interest.

Only Congress has the power to tax, and only Congress has the power to spend. But Congress may have forgotten one thing: The people have the power to choose who sits in the United States Congress. And that's the message I'm going to take all over this country. We need more Republicans like Bob Smith and Bill Zelliff.

And if America wants economic growth and if America wants to hold the line on taxes and cut spending and if America wants to get serious about reducing the deficit, then we must send Republicans like Bob Smith to the United States Senate. We only lack a handful of votes. If we can get control of the Senate, you'd see an entirely different agenda for the American people.

Deficit reduction is not the only challenge that requires tough Republican leadership in Congress. Another priority for this new decade has to be the environment. Bob Smith really cares about protecting the environment and the marvelous scenic beauty of this State. And as the yellows and reds and golds tinge the leaves of the White Mountains, I only wish I had time to drive across the highway and see the beauty. But I don't expect the tourists would like to see yet another Presidential motorcade driving across the State.

But nevertheless, as chairman of the House Republican task force on acid rain, Bob and I worked closely to put together the first improvement in the Clean Air Act in a dozen years. Launched last year with bipartisan support, the Clean Air Act has been bogged down until very, very recently on Capitol Hill. We can balance -- and this point is essential -- we can balance the need for economic growth with the need to preserve and enhance the Earth that we live on. We can clean up the air, and we can rid our lakes of acid rain. But we can't do it unless we get final action today or tomorrow from the Congress on the clean air bill that I sent up there months ago. It is time for them to act, and I think they will now do it.

I might say that Judd Gregg feels the same way that Bob and I do on this question of the environment and of New Hampshire's precious national heritage.

You know, one of New Hampshire's most famous nature-lovers, I'm proud to say, is also America's newest member of the Supreme Court. And I'm talking, of course, about Weare's own Justice -- Mr. Justice to me -- Mr. Justice David Souter. What a fantastic choice that he is for the Court. There's something marvelously understated about David. They said to him a while back -- ask him, "How do you feel about leaving for Washington?" And he said, "Well, I don't know anyone that would want to leave New Hampshire." And that made a profound impression on a lot of us, I'll tell you.

Anyway, Congress could use some of that famous New Hampshire common sense. It's always a sacrifice, I know, leaving this State; but when Mr. Smith goes to Washington, the whole country is going to benefit from his brand of hard work, intelligence, common sense, and integrity. You've got to win this race, Mary Jo. I'm sure you will.

Bob served in the Naval Reserve, and today a whole new generation of this State's finest young men and women are continuing the New Hampshire tradition of patriotism and courage. From New Hampshire's own National Guard, the Air Guard, the men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Group have flown over 200 missions in support of Operation Desert Shield -- airmen like Lieutenant Colonel Everett Bramhall, of Manchester, who flew 14 missions in 30 days, refueling other planes en route to the Persian Gulf; or Sgt. Mark Joyce, of Portsmouth, who, on top of his regular work as a civilian helicopter mechanic, has been volunteering for the evening shift with his Guard unit. This uncommon sacrifice by service men and women and their families has been a common virtue in New Hampshire and all across this magnificent country of ours.

So, putting our fiscal house in order is critical not just from the standpoint of the American economy but especially now, in the light of the big picture: this enormous challenge that we face in the Persian Gulf. The Gulf is a reminder of how intricately the interests of our nations are interwoven. What happens in Baghdad does matter in Manchester because our concern, far beyond the price of oil, is the fate of sovereign nations and peoples and a world order free from unlawful aggression, violence, and plunder. The rape and the dismantling of Kuwait that's going on right today defies description. The holding of hostages, the starving out of embassies -- that cries out against the human decency that we ought to be experiencing. There can be no compromise -- there can be none -- with this type of brutal aggression where a bully can move in and take over an entire country.

The United Nations has lived up now, at last, to its promise. And we've got strong support in the United Nations with resolutions that people wouldn't even believe possible 2 or 3 years ago all because of the naked aggression of Saddam Hussein. So, the world is united. And I must tell you that I am more determined than ever to see that this invading dictator gets out of Kuwait with no compromise of any kind whatsoever.

There is a fundamental moral principle involved here, and of course, that principle is: One country won't take over another. But there's also some moral principles involved in the manner in which this dictator is treating Kuwait. I'm not sure that Americans fully understand how deep the rape and the pillage and the plunder has been. Over in Vermont I gave them a few examples.

I am reading this great history of World War II. And I read the other night just about how Hitler, unchallenged -- the U.S. locked in its isolation in those days, the late thirties -- marched into Poland. Behind him -- some of you will remember this -- came the Death's Head regiments of the SS. Their role was to go in and dissemble the country. Just as it happened in the past, the other day in Kuwait, two young kids were passing out leaflets in opposition. They were taken, their families made to watch, and they were shot to death -- 15- and 16-year-old. Older people on dialysis machines taken off the machines, and the machines shipped to Baghdad. Kids in incubators thrown out so that the machinery, the incubators themselves, could be shipped to Baghdad.

And that's what we're dealing with. We're dealing with Hitler revisited, a totalitarianism and a brutality that is naked and unprecedented in modern times. And that must not stand. We cannot talk about compromise when you have that kind of behavior going on this very minute. Embassies being starved, people being shot, women being raped -- it is brutal. And I will continue to remind the rest of the world that this must not stand.

Lastly, let me just say that all these months from the ships in the Red Sea, from air bases and these tank battalions in Saudi Arabia, these absentee ballots will be mailed back to our GI's home States from them. And if they can take the trouble to vote halfway around the world, can't every one of us, from Dover to Dixville Notch, get down to the firehouse or the schoolhouse to vote, taking people with you? It really does make a difference. We should never take this privilege, this right, for granted. I believe that you can make a difference, each and every single one of you, as we have these races unfold for just a couple of weeks from now.

Bob Smith is going to make a difference when he is elected, and Bill Zelliff the same -- make a difference when he is elected. I want to say that I am very pleased to be back here with this message: to send us sound conservatives, help us get control of the United States Senate, and pick up seats in the House of Representatives. And then, I believe, we can fulfill our pledge to the people of New Hampshire to get this country moving again, put it back to work, bring the interest rates down, and get prosperity back to every working man and woman in the State of New Hampshire.

Thank you all, and God bless you for what you're doing. Thank you very much.

Note: President Bush spoke at 12:36 p.m. in the Armory at the Holiday Inn-The Center of New Hampshire. In his remarks, he referred to Representative Bob Smith's wife, Mary Jo; Representative Chuck Douglas; Senators Warren B. Rudman and Gordon J. Humphrey; John H. Sununu, Chief of Staff to the President; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Following his remarks, President Bush attended a reception at the hotel for Republican Party supporters. He then traveled to Waterbury, CT.

George Bush, Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Manchester, New Hampshire Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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