Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Republican Fundraising Reception in Whippany, New Jersey

October 15, 1981

Thank you very much. And thank all of you and Ray Donovan for all that you did to get rid of that word "next." [Laughter] And the gentleman who said, "Give them hell," that was—someone said that to Harry Truman. He said, "I'll just tell the truth and they'll think it's hell." [Laughter] And to Mrs. Kean and to—if the people of New Jersey do what they should—Governor Kean [applause] .

Let me clear the air on a misunderstanding that evidently exists with Tom Kean's opponent. It's not true that I'm running for Governor of New Jersey. [Laughter] He doesn't seem to know that. And it's not true that I was going to take the social security away from that little old lady on television. [Laughter] I'm just trying to keep the program from going bankrupt so she would get her check. But there's one thing about doing a political commercial, she won't get residuals. [Laughter]

New Jersey is known as the Garden State, and I'm happy to see the New Jersey Republican Party is about to blossom. Historians will note that in 1980, that was the year that America's working people finally realized that it is the Republican Party that advocates the things they believe in. Nowhere is this political realignment more apparent than right here in New Jersey. A man from New Jersey who was just up here is now my Secretary of Labor, and you can be proud of the job that he's doing. He's a major asset for our administration, and we're proud to have him with us.

During the campaign, you know, we were in here New Jersey, and Ray decided to offer me a chance to get direct feedback from some working people. So one night he took me over to Barrett's Tavern. And I'll have to admit it was one of the more memorable moments of the campaign. [Laughter] We not only couldn't get in on the floor of the barroom, they were standing on the bar. [Laughter] Finally, it was so jammed there that we had to go out on the steps and speak to the people outside. But it was a wonderful evening.

Tonight we're here to help the Republican Party, but we're also here to get behind another citizen of New Jersey that you can be proud of, and you know that, too—Tom Kean. Tom exemplifies the common sense that's making the Republican Party the majority party.

One of Tom's heros happens to be Teddy Roosevelt. Well, Teddy is one of my favorites, too. And there's a room named after him in the White House. It's just across the hall from the Oval Office, and on the wall is a plaque with a quote from Teddy. It says, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords."

Well, I think Tom Kean is a regular in that noble sport. Tom is aggressively campaigning on a concrete and specific program. We couldn't ask for a better spokesman for our cause.

I met Tom last year at the Ukranian Festival, during the campaign, and he proved he was resourceful. Because I was a candidate, and Nancy and I were there together, and naturally we couldn't be on the platform at a non-partisan function like that. But Tom just happened to recognize us out there in the audience and thought the people would be happy to see us if we'd stand and take a bow, which we did. [Laughter]

He's willing to tell you what he stands for. He wants to cut taxes. He wants to trim excessive spending, create real jobs, and encourage growth. Now, you may think that sounds a little familiar, that you've heard it before. Well, it is. And it's not some complicated formula; it's common sense.

This year, New Jersey is being offered a clear-cut choice between those who think government spending and taxes are the solution to our problems and those, like Tom, who understand that government spending and over taxation are the problems.

At the national level, we're trying to do our part. Tom's courageous support of our economic recovery program is certainly appreciated.

Our tax cut will put $2 billion, or I should say leave $2 billion in the pockets of the people of New Jersey. But in the Congress, Tom's opponent voted no on the tax cut bill. And he voted no on the $35 billion of spending cuts, budget spending cuts. Voting for him would be voting for more of the same thing that got us in this mess that we've been in in the first place.

Now, no one knows better than those of us here in this Republican gathering that the people of New Jersey may be overwhelmingly registered in the other party. But I think they want to vote for candidates who offer positive programs and have faith that we can lick any problem.

The other party gave us inflation, unemployment, sky-high interest rates, and pessimism. We offer monetary and fiscal integrity, lower taxes, more jobs, and hope for a better future. The other party exploits the natural division between business and labor. Republicans are trying to bring all our citizens together in a campaign for economic progress.

We're working closely with a small group of courageous Democrats in the Congress who want to put America back on the right track. With their help, we've accomplished more than any of us thought possible only a year ago. But there's much more to do.

Our economic problems have been building for years, and it'll take time and hard work to set things straight. It'll also require us to enlist others to help us in the struggle at the national and the State levels. And that isn't impossible. Don't be afraid to reach out. You can't get elected in New Jersey without some Democrat help, and they're ready to help.

The day before—well, yesterday—I was going to say the day before yesterday, but yesterday, I had the supreme thrill and pleasure of escorting a gentleman out into the Rose Garden and there, with the press assembled, I presented the 193d Republican Congressman. He was the 193d without a single election. He was Democratic Congressman Atkinson from Pennsylvania, who came with me into the Rose Garden to announce publicly that he had just become a Republican.

And very frankly, I think we're going to see more of that in the days ahead. Having been a Democrat for most of my adult life, I can vouch for the pain that is involved in changing registrations. [Laughter] But they're going to do it. Some of them are very resentful for the fact that after they supported us for the budget cuts and the tax cuts, they were then taken into the leadership of their party and castigated and told, "Don't do it again. Maybe we'll forgive you this time, but we'll watch how you behave yourselves." That isn't the way we run things in the United States, and there are a number of them that are ready to say so, and that will soon happen.

I firmly believe there are a host of Democrats out there ready to jump on board if we stand firm in our principles and offer them a chance to join us in putting America's house back in order. You've got a tremendous potential here in New Jersey to build this new coalition, and the whole country is watching. You know, you're one of only three States that has a gubernatorial election this year. And I know, of course, you have other elections, too, and your candidates are here for the assembly, those other candidates, and if you're going to send Tom Kean up there, don't send him alone. Send him with that help that he's going to need.

And why is this so important? Well, part of one thing I haven't mentioned here, in connection with our program of economic recovery—I believe that part of our troubles are because back over the years, the leadership of the opposing party has step-by-step taken us away from the constitutional principle that we are a federation of sovereign States, and they have tried to reduce the States to administrative districts of an all-powerful Federal Government. And the Federal Government has tried to do things that the Federal Government is not able to do. We're going to give this country back the way the Constitution intended, that as many things as possible are going to be in the authority and the autonomy of the State and local governments, not in the power of the Federal Government.

And to do that, you're going to need a Governor that isn't a stooge for the Federal Government taking over more power. And he's going to need those other candidates to help him bring this about, and then to responsibly manage those programs that we're going to turn back—and to the greatest extent possible, along with the sources of revenue, as we progress, to help pay for those programs.

Now, I believe our program will work, but I also believe it will work better if Tom Kean is the Governor of New Jersey and these people are here to help him.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:57 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Birchwood Manor. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan and Tom Kean, Republican candidate for Governor of New Jersey.

In introducing the President, Secretary Donovan referred to the many times in the past when he had introduced Mr. Reagan as the "next" President of the United States.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Republican Fundraising Reception in Whippany, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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