George Bush photo

Remarks at a Republican Campaign Rally in Waco, Texas

November 05, 1990

The President. Hugh, thank you for that wonderful introduction, and all of you for that welcome back. And Barbara and I are very, very pleased to be here on this, the last campaigning day before we go to the polls tomorrow. And I say "we" because I have voted in every even-year election since 1948. And I don't believe we have ever had a finer young man running for the United States Congress from this district than we do in Hugh Shine. And we've never had a better statewide ticket than we've got. We have a first-class team running to win, and we need your support tomorrow -- need you to get your neighbors and your friends to the polls.

I'm a little sorry we're late. Claytie and I both set off the metal detectors with our silver feet. [Laughter] No, I'll never forget that Democratic Convention two -- --

Audience members. Where's Ann? [Laughter]

The President. Well, I remember [Senator] Teddy Kennedy, that bastion of democracy, you know -- [laughter] -- saying, "Where's George?"

Right here, right here in Waco, supporting the best ticket we have ever had: Clayton Williams, my dear friend; my dear friend, our Congressman Hugh Shine. And of course, we've got the best United States Senator in Washington in Phil Gramm. Now, get out and get this job done.

Hey, listen, it's nice to be back here, I'll tell you. First, I want to thank the Midway High School Band. Where are they? Right over there.

A word about Phil. Who had that Phil Gramm sign right over here? I want to see that thing now. It says it best. Take a look at it: Common sense, uncommon courage. This man is a man of courage. Took his case to the people, and everybody was saying: Oh, don't do that. There's a safer way to win. Went in, regained his seat as a Republican in the House. Ran with a spectacular successful race for the Senate. And now stands to be the largest vote-getter we've ever had. Tomorrow, please remember to get out that vote.

And he's got the respect in the Senate, and he did it the old-fashioned way: He earned it, because he does his homework, and he knows a lot more about it than most Members of the United States Senate. And when I say "it," I mean how you solve the economy of this country the way we Texans want: fewer taxes and less spending. And he has been a champion of that his whole career.

And that brings me to one of our newest and brightest stars across this country, Hugh Shine -- a strong, proven conservative. And he is born and bred in Texas. He's a veteran, a successful businessman -- and what a wonderful family he has; Deb, we're so proud of that great family of yours -- a man of conviction, a public servant with integrity, and a leader with enormous potential. You deserve this kind of man in the United States Congress. Please send Hugh up to Washington to help us on our agenda.

And as to the other star of the occasion, my friend of long standing, Clayton Williams. I am here not to oppose somebody; I am here because I am for him. I know what he can do as Governor. As we look at the plans for the future and how we fulfill our education goals, for example, I want somebody in the statehouse with whom I can continue to work -- work compatibly, work on the same philosophical approach and solve the problems of Texas without a lot of further mandates from Washington, DC. And Clayton Williams is that kind of a man.

You see, there's a common theme here. Take, for example, the economy. Unlike the party that only wants to regulate and control, we're the party that wants to innovate. We want a growth agenda, and that means expanding economic opportunities for working men and women. As successful businessmen like you and Clayton Williams know how it's done, because they've done it themselves.

We've got some other good ones, businesspeople like Rob Mosbacher running for Lieutenant Governor. And I'm very proud that his dad is with us today -- coming out of business himself, doing a great job as our Secretary of Commerce for the entire country.

But American men and women deserve -- the working ones -- deserve an economy where they can create and prosper. And that's why these three with us here want to encourage enterprise of every kind, for every Texan, from Houston to El Paso and from the Panhandle to Brownsville. And that's why in the budget negotiations, we worked so hard to create incentives to make America less dependent on foreign oil. That means jobs, and it means jobs in Texas. And I'm glad we got that done.

And we have another common theme here. We Republicans do not waver in our support of a strong national defense. For 10 years, we've fought firmly against liberal attempts to slash defense. In this recent agreement, defense took some cuts; but I can certify to the American people that, because of people like Phil Gramm in the Congress, we were able to hold the line on reasonable levels of defense spending so that I can guarantee that nobody is going to kick the United States of America around. We have a strong defense, the best in the world, and we're going to keep it that way.

You know, it is a fascinating time to be privileged to be President of the United States. Democracy has finally dawned in Eastern Europe, after a cold, dark night of 45 years. And now we bear wondrous witness to a tidal change in the currents of history. And we see America and the Soviet Union working together now to stand against aggression. And there's a reason that we're able to stand strong against aggression in the Persian Gulf: It's because we are determined that our nation's defense be nothing less than the very best. We are credible in the eyes of the entire world.

There's an old saying about defense: that when there's trouble you don't have time to go shopping. Technology doesn't happen overnight, and most defense systems take a decade or more to move from the drawing board to development and then deployment. America's strong defense is made possible by decisions made years earlier, decisions made by Republican leadership. Ask Hugh. He's a veteran, still serving with the Reserves. And with leaders and dedicated people like that in the Congress, America will always stand strong. That is the first responsibility of a President. And I'll be delighted to be working with Hugh towards that end.

There are many, many other issues where we are on the offense. We've got a new clean air bill now. We've done something, finally, for the disabled in a progressive piece of legislation that I think is long overdue: the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some good things are happening up in Washington, but I've come to the hometown of the Texas Rangers -- one of the oldest law enforcement organizations in America -- to say this: We want change; Republicans want change.

And I sent tough anticrime legislation up to Capitol Hill 1 year and a half ago, and new laws to let the police and the prosecutors take violent criminals off the streets and put them away. But in the final hours of this liberal, Democrat-controlled Congress, they gutted out legislation in a back room, late at night. Well, I am not going to stop fighting for strong anticrime legislation. The liberals hate it, but America's people want it. And I need more people like Phil Gramm, and I need Hugh Shine to help me get the job done for every family in America. We believe it's high time to have a little more sympathy for the victims of crime and a little less for the criminals themselves.

And so, we need compatible government, government in Austin that's going to work with us for these national anticrime objectives, government in Austin that's going to help us on our National Drug Strategy to combat narcotics coming into every school in the United States.

And incidentally, we're making some progress on that, thank heavens. The country's finally come together behind our national drug strategy. And I can report to you, we've turned the corner. We are going to whip the battle of narcotics. We're going to win it, and we're going to then turn to the future and see what we can do to help those who have been wasted by this terrible peril of drugs.

You know, I want to just end this way. I won't talk to you at length about Iraq, but I know everybody's interested in it. And I have a rare opportunity to talk to a lot of people in the last few days. So, I've tried to make very clear that we have a difference here in many of these domestic issues, clear differences in all of them -- but when it comes to the situation in Iraq, the country is united. We're getting strong support from Democrats and Republicans alike in the Congress. The leadership on the Democratic side has been supportive. And so, I ask you now to shift to a nonpartisan basis as I mention just a couple of points.

In the first place, we are in the Gulf not alone but along with 23 countries. Some of them are Arab countries. Some of them are large countries. Some of them are small countries. But we are united in one thing: Saddam Hussein's aggression against Kuwait will not stand. And to the cynics outside who might say we have no business there, I say that unchecked and uncontrolled aggression could be world war tomorrow. And therefore, we will check this aggression. I want the solution to be peaceful. I will give the sanctions all the time that's required to see if they work. But we will not compromise on the principle that one nation cannot bully its neighbor and take it over in contravention of international law.

I think of this part of Texas as extraordinarily patriotic. I think of this part of Texas as committed to those who are serving our country. And let me tell you, every single member of the Joint Chiefs has told me that we have never had finer, more courageous young men and women serving in our Armed Forces than we do today -- best trained, best motivated, best committed to the cause that is our cause.

And so, in a few weeks, Barbara and I will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner over there. And I wouldn't dare to speak for everybody in this room; but I expect we're unanimous when I say I will take them the thanks of the very grateful people of Waco, Texas, and the surrounding areas because we owe them everything.

So, now get to the polls. We Bushes have enjoyed this. This is my first trip here for Hugh. Our son George has been here. The Silver Fox over here has been here a time or two. She's right -- 250 million other parents and one husband all feel the same way about it.

Listen, tomorrow is a big day. I get so tired of people saying they can't make a difference. There's a great kind of malaise in terms of the feeling about the political process. You wouldn't be here if you didn't know different. You know you can make a difference. Don't listen to those mournful pundits that come on before every election telling us how bad everything is in this, the greatest country on the face of the Earth. You can make a difference. You can do something positive. You can go out and reelect Phil Gramm by the biggest vote ever. You can send us a Governor I can work with: Claytie Williams. And you can send a bright new star to Washington in Hugh Shine. Now go get the job done.

Thank you.

Note: President Bush spoke at 2:53 p.m. in McLennan Hall at the Waco Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Audience members referred to Ann Richards, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

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

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