George Bush photo

Remarks at a Victory '92 Dinner in Houston, Texas

October 08, 1992

The President. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you, President Reagan. Thank you, my friend, and thank you for all that you taught me in those 8 years when I was privileged to serve at your side.

Let me also give my thanks to Barbara, working so hard up in New York tonight, but all across this country; to President Gerald Ford, for whom I have unlimited respect; for my running mate and my partner, Vice President Dan Quayle, out there in St. Louis, and Marilyn; and to Bob Dole and Bob Michel. I couldn't ask for two finer, more principled leaders in the two Houses of Congress, and I just wish we had control of both Houses to move this country forward even faster.

I was touched by what my friend Arnold Schwarzenegger said. He is a friend, and I value that friendship. And to all of you and the good friends watching in over 100 cities and in 30 States, you have touched my heart this evening.

Let me also add my special thanks to Ted Welch, who ran this whole effort, to Bob Mosbacher, to Rob Mosbacher, next to me here, to all our finance chairs, and of course, a great party chairman, Rich Bond, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

This evening is for our entire ticket, from top to bottom, the proud Republican team. As you can imagine, I'm not in the habit much lately of quoting polls. [Laughter] But Rob reminded me of something; I couldn't help but notice that new poll that came out just last night. It wasn't CNN or ABC or Gallup or the Wall Street Journal; it was that little kids' magazine, Weekly Reader. They polled over 600,000 kids across America: 39 percent wanted Bill Clinton for President and 56 percent wanted George Bush.

Before you think that the pressure of the past few months has gone to my head and that I'm seeking solace in fourth graders -- [laughter] -- let me point out something. Weekly Reader is not a bad thermometer of what happens in elections. That particular poll hasn't been wrong since 1956. But this is admittedly a weird year, the strangest year I can ever remember in politics, and I don't want to leave anything to chance. So when the Democrats leave Washington next week, or in the next few days, I'm asking Bob Dole, Bob Michel, and all the other Republicans to sneak up to Capitol Hill and pass the 28th amendment, lowering the voting age to 5-year-olds. Let Governor Clinton take his saxophone and go after the MTV vote -- [laughter] -- we'll tear him apart on "Sesame Street."

But seriously, forget the polls. Forget the pundits. We are going to win this election. And we're going to lead this Nation for 4 more years. And let me tell you three reasons why I remain so confident.

The first is our record. We've heard a lot of talk this year about what's wrong with America. But let's not lose sight of the grand victory that we have helped win for all humanity.

As I study for the debate this Sunday, my thoughts went back to another debate 12 years ago. I believe it was in Cleveland with President Reagan, between Jimmy Carter and then-challenger Ronald Reagan. In his closing statement, President Carter, speaking from the heart, talked about how he'd had a conversation with his daughter, Amy, in which she said that the control of nuclear weapons was the greatest problem facing mankind. Some laughed. I didn't, and nor did President Reagan.

Well, President Carter and many well-meaning people advocated at that point a nuclear freeze. Remember the freeze movement? But President Reagan and I fought for a policy of peace through strength. And 12 years later, over a billion people in every corner of the globe have taken their first breath of freedom. Tonight, as millions of American kids pull back the covers and shut off their talking Barbie dolls, they think not of nuclear weapons, but of the sweet and satisfying dreams of peace. Does that matter? You bet it does.

The second reason we'll win is because our ideas make sense to middle class Americans.

Governor Clinton likes to quote statistic after statistic, all kind of tearing down America, pointing out how bad everything is. But our problems are never put in the context of a global slowdown. Only now, only in the past few days, have people really started to compare our solutions.

Governor Clinton likes to say that he's, quote, "a different kind of Democrat," unquote. Well, to me there's nothing different about $150 billion in new taxes, more than Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale combined. There's nothing different about making pie-in-the-sky promises with one hand while pulling dollars out of working people's wallets with the other. In June, Governor Clinton proposed $220 billion in new Government spending. And he called it "investment." And he used that same tone that doctors use when they say, this shot won't hurt you one bit. [Laughter]

I thought that would satisfy Governor Clinton's appetite, but it turned out to be just an hors d'oeuvre. We did a little calculating. Since that day in June, Governor Clinton has promised at least another $200 billion, quote, "in investments." Those are just the ones we've been able to put a price tag on, a billion dollars in new promises every single day. And so Governor Clinton has earned a new nickname, Billion Dollar Bill. [Laughter] But who is going to pay Bill's bills? The same people who always pay, the middle class. They're going to do it.

A couple of weeks ago, the National Association of Business Economists compared Governor Clinton's billion-dollar-a-day spending plan with my progrowth policies of smaller Government and lower taxes. And the vast majority said that under our plan, under my plan, inflation would be lower, interest rates would be lower, and the budget deficit would be smaller.

Governor Clinton said this week that his side is, quote, "on the right side of history." But I fear his inexperience is showing. From Managua to Moscow, history is moving away from taxes and regulation and central control. History is casting aside the Government planner, who spends the wealth of nations, and lifting up the men and women who create it. No, Governor Clinton, history is on our side, and that's why we will make history in 25 days.

I believe the third reason -- I really believe this one -- one reason we will win, in a word, is trust. We've spent most of the time in this campaign talking about economic and domestic policy, as well as we should, because those are the most important problems facing us today. We should remember, however, that when we elect a President of the United States, we're electing someone who at any time may have to deal with the awesome decision of sending someone else's young son or daughter, America's men and women, into battle.

I had to make that decision in 1989, and then again in Desert Storm. The President we entrust with these decisions must have character, honesty, and integrity. Last night on the Larry King show, I was asked about some issues in my opponent's background. Let me repeat the point I made, because I feel so strongly about it: My opponent has written that he once mobilized demonstrations in London against the Vietnam war. I simply for the life of me cannot understand how someone can go to London, another country, and mobilize demonstrations against the United States of America when our kids are dying halfway around the world.

The issue here isn't patriotism. You can demonstrate all you want here at home. Barbara and I look out, as Ron and Nancy did, out of the White House, and there's somebody out there every single day, properly protesting or raising objections, exercising their rights. That's part of America. But I can't understand someone mobilizing demonstrations in a foreign county when poor kids, drafted out of the ghettos, are dying in a faraway land. You can call me old-fashioned, but that just does not make sense to me.

I think the American people respect experience and character and proven ability to make a tough decision. I hope that means that they will vote for me on November 3d.

It has been said that a friend is someone who knows everything there is to know about you and likes you anyway. [Laughter] And, tonight, I would add that the definition of a friend is someone who stands by your side while you're behind, so that you can pull ahead. Barbara and I are blessed with thousands of friends, and you have touched our hearts tonight. As we say a hearty thanks to all of you, I remind you that our struggle is to more than win an election; our struggle is to renew America so that we can match the peace we have achieved in the world with that peace of mind here at home.

Tonight, you have given me the strength and the passion and the inner confidence to take our ideas to the American people for 25 more days. You're sending me into St. Louis for that debate with a full head of steam.

Thank you for your support. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:08 p.m. in the J.W. Marriott Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; Robert Mosbacher, Sr., general chairman for finance, Republican National Committee; and Robert Mosbacher, Jr., chairman, Texas Victory '92.

George Bush, Remarks at a Victory '92 Dinner in Houston, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives