Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in San Bernardino, California

November 01, 1988

The President. Thank you very much, George. You've been a great Governor, and this fall you've been a terrific quarterback for the Republican team. And I'd like to add a special thank you to seven of the best darn high school bands in America. You did yourselves proud. Now, will you promise me you'll do all of America proud and just say no to drugs? [Applause] Well, now you just did me proud.

I have a special hello to Frank Visco, David Dreier, Jerry Lewis, John Paul Stark, Tom Hallock, and a big American hello to a great patriot and a very funny guy, Yakov Smirnoff. I see I've even got some fraternity brothers in the crowd. [Applause] T-K-E, yes!

It's great to be here in California, because you know, there's no place like home. As my time draws to a close in Washington, people in the White House are always asking me, "Mr. President, why are you humming that old song?" Well, I tell them, I just can't get the words out of my mind. Yes, when January the 20th rolls around, I'm going to be asking every one of you to open up that Golden Gate, 'cause, California, here I come!

Audience members. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. Thank you. But you know, I'll feel just fine about leaving Washington because nobody knows better than I do just how capable are those two hands I expect will be taking the wheel come the 20th of January. I can't think of a man alive today who's more prepared to take a hold of America's gearshift, rev up America's engine, and then downshift into America's future than my good friend and valued colleague, George Bush.
Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. All right. I'm here today, though, to talk to you about the great Republican ticket from the White House to the statehouse and make sure everybody who shares our hopes for the future turns out to vote on November 8th. We need people in the Senate who will work for a thriving economy, a strong national defense, and the preservation of our family values. And that means reelecting one of America's very best Senators, California's own, Pete Wilson. We need people in the House who will work for a strong national defense. The Democratic Congressman from this area is a man who has bragged openly about opposing more military funding than any Congressman in history. And he's been in Washington for 24 long, liberal years.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. Now, I want to ask you all a question: Is that the kind of thing the good people of San Bernardino believe?
Audience members. No!

The President. I didn't think so. No, San Bernardino needs a Congressman who'll do his constituents credit, a man who understands that his country needs to stand tall and fight for freedom. Well, there's only one guy in this race who'll do that, and if you will agree with me, he's going to be the next Congressman from the 36th District: John Paul Stark.

Now, the liberals are saying they're on our side. Well, I remember the last time they were—said on our time, in 1980. And when that happened, all of America told them loud and clear: Get off our back!

We've been slashing tax rates and liberating the American economy from the confiscation of the "malaise" years. When we came into office, families everywhere were reeling from tax rates that were draining this nation's initiative. Well, we took that money out of the grasping hands of the Washington bureaucrats and put it back in the wallets of the people from whom they'd confiscated it in the first place—the working men and women of America.

Since our expansion began, we've created more than 18 million new jobs. We reduced the unemployment rate to nearly the lowest it's been in 14 years. And today a greater proportion of what is called our potential work force—that means everybody, male and female, from the age of 16 and up, including all students and retirees—yes, a greater proportion of that work force, 62.7 percent, is employed today. That's more than ever before in the history of the United States.

Now, we didn't do all that. No, my friends, you did it—you and every hardworking man and woman in this country. What George and Pete and John, Paul and every Republican understands is that there's no greater force for change, no greater engine for progress, than the American people. We just turned you loose and got out of your way. We cleared away the wrecks the liberals left behind, waved the green flag, fired the starter pistol, and watched you go to the races. 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.
Audience members. We love you, Reagan!
The President. We and our NATO allies stood firm in the face of Soviet missiles pointing at the heart's 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!

None of our triumphs—no, not one-would have happened if our opponents 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 and eliminate two supercarrier task forces from the Navy.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. In fact, what they've planned for the Navy is so bad that by the time they get through, well, Michael may have to row the boat ashore. Yes, if they did half of what they threaten to do to our defenses, we'd all be in the tank. [The President referred to a campaign event in which Michael Dukakis rode in a tank.] [Laughter]

Just listen to what they said no to. They opposed the liberation of Grenada. They opposed the blow we struck against terrorist Libya.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. They oppose our policy of helping freedom fighters advance the cause of liberty around the world.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. Well, George Bush and I 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 their country's uniform. And because of them, over these past 8 years, not I inch on this good Earth has fallen to the Communists.

Now, another area where we differ is our understanding of the Constitution. We've appointed serious-minded judges who respect the Constitution and know the meaning of the word "punishment." Their judicial nominees—in the State of Massachusetts and in the State of California—have been, you might say, for the birds. Are those the kinds of judges we want on the United States Supreme Court?

Audience members. No!

The President. Well, this is very important because, unlike the State of California, the Constitution does not give American citizens the opportunity to vote Supreme Court Justices out of office. And I don't think America wants our highest court to look the way the California court did before the people of this great State rose up and said, "No more, no way, no how."

California learned 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. My friends, we believe there are no citizens more precious than the men and women who guard us: our State and local police. And George Bush and I stand united behind them. We must protect them from those vicious killers. Now, the other fellow opposes the death penalty.
Audience members. Booo!

The President. But as for us, 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 receive the death sentence.

Now, our opponents have just said they're in the tradition of F.D.R., Franklin Delano Roosevelt; J.F.K.; and Harry Truman. But the truth is, they're so far out in left field, even Kirk Gibson couldn't hit a ball that deep. Folks, George's opponent is no Harry Truman, and he's no F.D.R.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when our liberal friends run from their own agenda, they're just acknowledging that where they want to take America, America doesn't want to go. 'Cause as Huckleberry Finn might have said, We been there already. [Laughter] Now, I promise you: We won't take you back there. And I warn you: They will.

All that we've achieved, everything, can be undone faster than you can say Pledge of Allegiance if our liberal friends are successful. Remember how my successor here in California undid so many of our accomplishments before George Deukmejian rode him out on a rail? We don't want that to happen again this year. And remember what happened after the 1980 census, when a Democratic Congressman redesigned California and thwarted the will of the people by gerrymandering the State into a map that looked like a piece of shattered glass? Audience members. Booo!

The President. We actually had more votes for Republican Congressmen than they had, but they elected more Democratic Congressmen because of the way they have divided up this State in their gerrymandering. We don't want that to happen again this year, and that means voting for a great slate of Republican candidates at the State and local levels, like Paul Woodruff and Bill Leonard, David Masters and Brian Carroll.

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." 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]

Well, now let me take a little 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 our next President the Senate he needs by voting for Pete Wilson on November 8th?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you give the next President the Congress he needs and the Congressman you deserve by casting your ballot for John Paul Stark on November 8th?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you vote to reelect David Dreier and Jerry Lewis on November 8th?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. And will you give California a bright future of economic opportunity and family values by voting for Bill Leonard, Paul Woodruff, David Masters, and Brian Carroll?
Audience members. Yes!
The President. You just made my day. Ladies and gentlemen, America needs the strength, the vision, and the true grit of George Bush and Pete Wilson. And with your help and God's grace, we'll all have cause to cheer just one week from today. As we head into the final lap, it's time to push the pedal to the metal and shift into overdrive. 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.

Audience members. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. You made my day again. So, now, my fellow Californians, 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 all very much, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:14 p.m. at the National Orange Show Stadium. He was introduced by Gov. George Deukmejian. In his remarks, the President referred to Frank Visco, vice chairman of the State Republican Party; entertainer Thomas Hallock; comedian Yakov Smirnoff; and Kirk Gibson, a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives