Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in San Diego, California

October 27, 1988

The President. It's quite a challenge to follow the San Diego Chicken. I'd like to add a special thanks to the brilliant musicians in the Poway High School Band, the Christian High School Patriot Band, and the Castle Park High School Band. You did yourselves proud. And now will you promise me you'll do all America proud and just say no to drugs? [Applause]
I'm glad to see Bob Naylor, Jody Miller, and the guy whose skills as a comedian are matched only by his skills as a poker player, Gabe "Welcome Back Kotter" Kaplan. And of course, I'm delighted to see the guy who brought the America's Cup home to America, Skipper Dennis Conner.

It's great to be back in my home State and see so many good friends. And thank you, Pete, for that wonderful and kind introduction. Of course, I don't need to tell the people of San Diego about you, Pete. They know you. You were the best mayor they ever had. But I will, anyway: You're a great guy, a great public servant, and come November 9th, you'll still be the great Senator from the great State of California.

But as I say, there's no place like home. You know, as my time grows short in Washington, people around the White House are always asking me, "Mr. President, why are you humming that old song all the time?" And I tell them I just can't get the words out of my mind. Yes, when January 20th rolls around, I'm going to be asking every one of you to open up that Golden Gate, 'cause California, here I come. I've been telling a lot of my friends back East: This isn't a place out here; it's a way of life.

I'll feel just fine because nobody knows better than I just how capable and valuable are those two hands I'll be passing the torch to come the 20th of January. And you know, George took quite a shellacking from the liberals when they had their little party in Atlanta a few months ago, and even now they use all sorts of insulting words to describe him. He stood the fire and just cited the record—his and theirs. Now that the game seems to have turned against them, the liberals have started squealing that he's running a negative campaign. Well, I hope the people of Oakland will forgive me, but that would be a little like the A's complaining that the Dodgers ran a negative World Series. They didn't. The Dodgers won fair and square. And come November 8th, the Republicans are going to win fair and square, too, because they know we stand for the future and they know the opposition is liberal, liberal, liberal.

That's why I'm here: 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 Pete Wilson, Duncan Hunter, Bill Lowery, and Ron Packard in Washington. And we need great congressional candidates like Rob Butterfield in Washington. They all know that a thriving economy, a strong national defense, and the preservation of the family are the keys to our revolution. And that revolution's going to continue come November 9th.

As we get closer and closer to election day, we're still hearing some people say it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we are the change. We started the change 8 years ago.

Let's talk a little bit about that change. We've been slashing tax rates and liberating the American economy from the regulations and confiscations of the "malaise" years. When we came into office, families everywhere were reeling from regulations and taxes that were sapping this nation's initiative. 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.

Yes, since our expansion began, we have 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 our potential work force—that means everybody, male and female, from the age of 16 on up, all the way; they are considered that potential work force—and a greater percentage of that potential work force—62.7 percent of everyone in America above the age 16—is employed than ever before in the history of the United States of America.

And then there's the misery index, which you determine by adding the rate of inflation to the rate of unemployment. Jimmy Carter invented that as a stick to beat Jerry Ford with in 1976, when it then stood at 13.4 percent. Well, after 4 years of his "malaise"—he didn't mention it again in the 1980 campaign because it had jumped to 21 percent by the time we took office. Today it's less than 10 percent and has shrunk faster than Walter Hudson, that 1,200-pound man in New York who just lost 700 pounds.

You know, we'd be able to solve the budget deficit, too, if we could get the liberals in Congress to follow Walter's example and cut the fat out of their diet. Pete Wilson and I think we ought to put them on a diet—a diet called the line-item veto and the balanced-budget amendment. You know, I had the line-item veto. Forty-three Governors have it. I had it when I was Governor of California. I used it 932 times. It was never overridden once.

Of course, the liberals still don't understand how we were able to get rid of their economic crisis, their "malaise," their inflation, their gas lines and turn this economy around. Well, it happened because we understood there's only one way to get America going, and that's to turn the American people loose and just watch America go.

You know, Pete was very kind in his introduction, and you have all been very kind. But you know, the way I see it, really what we did in these 8 years in Washington was just get out of your way. You and I and George Bush worked much too hard to cut your taxes to let our opponents come into office and raise them all over again. So, on November 8th, go into that polling booth and do some negative campaigning of your own—the right kind of negative campaigning. Say no to new taxes, and yes to the Republican ticket.

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, as Pete told you, in the face of Soviet missiles pointing at the heart of Europe and Asia. And Mr. Gorbachev got the message. He did business because he knew we meant business. And we still mean business.

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 out of our Navy two carrier task forces. Audience members. Booo!

The President. Actually, what they have planned for the Navy is so bad that by the time they get finished, Michael may have to row the boat ashore.

They opposed the liberation of Grenada. They opposed the blow we struck against terrorist Libya. They oppose our policy of helping freedom fighters advance the cause of liberty around the world. 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.

Now, you know, with the Moscow summit and all these meetings with General Secretary Gorbachev, some people think that maybe I've changed, that I don't believe the same things that I believed when I came into office. Well, I'm here to tell you that's not true. I've long subscribed to a philosophy of world affairs summed up in a phrase that I've quoted to Mr. Gorbachev: "Trust everybody, but cut the cards."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when our friends refuse to whisper the "L" word and insist that this election isn't about ideology but about competence, they're just acknowledging that where they want to take America, America doesn't want to go.

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." This is very important because, unlike the State of California, the Constitution does not give citizens an opportunity to vote Supreme Court Justices out of power. And I don't think America wants the highest court to look the way the California court did before the people of California raised up and said, "Enough." If judges don't do their job right, criminals feel like they can run rampant. Violent crime has fallen significantly since 1981 because we put criminals on notice: Make a false move, and the next sound you hear is the clang of a jail cell slamming shut.

We also believe that a crack dealer with a machinegun who murders a police officer in the line of duty should receive the death penalty. We owe this protection of the law to the men and women who protect us-our State and local police. And we stand united behind them. And we don't need to see the job of the police made any tougher by the kind of furloughing of first-degree murderers—even those ineligible for parole—that we've seen in the State of Massachusetts. That State has the most liberal prison program since Billy the Kid sprung the Lincoln County Jail. [Laughter]

My friends, all that we have achieved can be undone quicker than you can say "furlough" if our liberal friends are successful. Remember how my successor here in California undid many of our accomplishments until George Deukmejian rode into town? We don't want that to happen again this year. I want to ask you: Are we going to let that happen again?
Audience members. No!

The President. Yes, we've got to do all we can to get our message out. So, let me take an opinion poll of my own. Will you make sure to turn out and vote Republican on November 8th?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. Now, will you give George Bush the Senate he needs by voting for Pete Wilson on November 8th? [Applause] Will you give California the protection it needs from those who are just for the birds by voting down the line for our choices at the State and local levels? [Applause] And will you give George Bush the Congress he needs by turning out for a great slate of Republican Representatives like Duncan Hunter, Bill Lowery, Ron Packard, and Rob Butterfield? [Applause] 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]

So, that's what's on the line this year. Ladies and gentlemen, America needs the strength, the vision, 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 12 days from now.

You know, I have a special place in my heart for the people of California. It was my great privilege to have served two terms as your Governor. And during our national campaigns, it was a source of comfort to know that we could count on the support of the people of California. You've already given me so much; I hesitate to ask you anything else. But will you do just one more favor for me? Will you go out and win one for the Gipper?
Audience members. Yes!

The President. Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 4:40 p.m. at the San Diego Sports Arena. He was introduced by Senator Pete Wilson. In his remarks, the President referred to Robert Naylor, chairman of the State Republican Party; singer Jody Miller; actor Gabe Kaplan; and Representatives Duncan L. Hunter, William D. Lowery, and Ronald C. Packard. The President also referred to the mascot of the San Diego Padres baseball team. A tape was not available for verification of the contents of the remarks.

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

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives