Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993

Author: George Bush  | Date: November 1, 1992

Remarks to the Community in Auburn Hills, Michigan
November 1, 1992

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bill, hey, listen, thank you, Bill Laimbeer. Thank you all very, very much for the welcome to the Palace. And I am very proud to have Bill Laimbeer at my side. I think that’s going to get us in there for victory in Michigan. So, Bill, thank you very much. Let’s slam-drink our opponent, the Governor from Arkansas, on Tuesday.

No, I’m delighted to be here—very proud to have at my side and running our campaign perhaps the most effective leader this State has ever seen, but in any event, the great Governor John Engler. [ salute him. I thank him.

Do me a favor. Help me clean House. Clean it out. And here’s how we’re going to do it. Elect Megan O’Neill; elect Dick Chrysler, John Pappageorge, Joe Knollenberg; elect them and we can help make a big step toward cleaning House. That one institution has not changed for 38 years. And now we can make a big change.

I want to thank Mitch Ryder and the band. I want to thank all these high school bands, just fantastic music. And I want to salute my friend, our emcee, Brooks Patterson; you’ve got a good one there. And also the party leaders, because here’s when we get down to getting out the vote and getting down to the crunch. And Dave Doyle and the rest of them are doing a first-class job. So go the polls, bring your neighbors, and let’s carry the State of Michigan.

I am absolutely confident of victory because the American people are going to decide that there is a vast difference in experience, a vast difference in philosophy, and yes, a vast difference in character. You know, I think finally one of the reasons is we’re getting in perspective exactly what has happened in Arkansas since this man has been Governor. They don’t like it, but it doesn’t hurt to tell the truth. And here it is: Arkansas is the 50th in the quality of environmental initiatives, 50th State.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. How do you environmentalists like that? Fiftieth in the percentageof adults with college degrees.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. It gets worse; hold your fire. Fiftieth in per capita spending on criminal justice; 49th—wait a minute, they’re going up here—49th in per capita spending on police protection; 48th in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. A little more for you guys here.
Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. Forty-eight for spending on corrections; 46th in teachers’ salaries: 45th in the overall well-being of children. And Governor Clinton said, "I want to do for the country what I’ve done for Arkansas." No way!

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. We cannot let that happen to this country. This country’s just beginning to move. Governor Clinton says he’s the candidate of change. We’ll get to Ozone Man in a minute. Let’s look closely at what Governor Clinton offers, and this is one thing the American people should focus on now in the last day before this campaign, $150 billion in new taxes—

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. $220 billion new spending. You talk about trickle-down, that’s trickle-down Government. Take it from the people and have Government spend it. And we’re not going to lot that happen.

And you hear the same old siren’s calk Well, we’ll take it from the rich. There aren’t enough rich people. So all you cab drivers, all you nurses, all you overworked teachers, watch out, watch out for it. Watch your pocketbook and watch your wallets. They’re coming right after you.

You know, they talk about change, change, change. And all you have to do is remember the last time we haft a man like Governor Clinton as President and a Democrat-controlled Congress. You bad change all right. You had inflation at 15 percent; you had interest rates, 21.5 percent; you had a "misery index" at 20. And we cannot let that happen to the United States. Change, change, change.

Audience members. No way, Bill! No way, Bill! No way, Bill!

The President. No way, that’s right. Change, change is all you’ll have left in your pocket if you let this guy become President of the United States of America.

And you know the only way, the only way they can win is by scaring America that we’re in some deep recession. Look, the economy is growing. We are caught up in a fragile international economy. You hear them talk, Governor Clinton says we’re something less than Germany and a little above Sri Lanka. But let me tell you something: Our economy is doing better than Germany, better than Japan, better than Canada. And if we keep going the way we’re moving now and get our programs in, we’ll be leading the entire world.

Yes, people are hurting. Yes, people are hurting in this country. But we don’t need to make it worse for them by going back to tax and spend. We need our program. And let me tell you what it is.

First place, we’re going to open new markets. Exports have saved us. We are going to open new markets for American products all around the world. We are not going to go protection. We think we have the best workers in the world. Now let’s open those markets.

We’re going to continue to have a strong environmental policy. But we are not going to go to the extreme. Governor Clinton and the Ozone Man, here’s what they want to do. They’re backing off a little now because they’re on all sides of every issue. They want to go and put a 40- to 45-mile-per-gallon CAFE standard, fuel efficiency standard, on American autos.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. And that will throw auto workers out of work. And I’m not going to go the extreme. We are not going to go to the extreme on this environment.

Instead of those crazy Government policies, we are going to inspire and invigorate small business. And here’s how we’re going to do it. Two-thirds of the jobs created are in small business, so we’re going to get relief from taxation, relief from regulation, and yes, relief from litigation. We have got to have legal reform.

These trial lawyers are backing Governor Clinton right up to the hilt. The lead trial lawyer in Arkansas said, "Don’t worry. Bill won’t go against us on tort reform." Look,we’ve got Little League coaches that are afraid to coach; we’ve got doctors that are afraid to bring babies into the world because of a lawsuit; we’ve got people that are afraid to help people along the highway because they’re afraid to be sued. We’ve got to put an end to these crazy lawsuits. And we’re going to do it. Whatever your politics, you should have an interest in that one. And we’ve got to sue each other less and care for each other more in this country.

Big difference on health care. We’ve got the great health care program. And we’re going to get it through because there is going to be a cleaning of the House, and there’s going to be 100 new Members of Congress. And the reason is those guys up there can’t even run a two-bit post office or a two-bit bank. So we’re going to get 100 or maybe 150 new Members of Congress. And we’re going to get this health care program through. We’re going to provide health care, insurance to the poorest of the poor through vouchers. We’re going to help the overburdened next income bracket and the income tax range there by tax credit. We’re going to pool the insurance so the small operator can get the same cost benefits as the larger ones, large companies. And then we’re going to do this: We are going to say no to Governor Clinton’s want to let the Government ration health care through this board he is proposing. Health care for all. Health care for all, but use market forces to get it done.

On education, I’ve got a big difference with Governor Clinton on this one. I cited the sorry record in Arkansas. Now we’ve adopted national education goals for the very first time. And I give Governor Clinton credit for this one, because as a Governor he worked with us on this. The program is this: Renew, literally reinvent American schools and give parents the choice of schools, private, public, or religious. And that competition will make all the public schools better. It works in Wisconsin; it can work right across the country.

On welfare reform, we’ve got to break the cycle of welfare; too many people, generation after generation, dependent. So what we’re going to do is go nationally with the waiver system, give those States the right to put in Workfare. People are going to get the check, let them do a little work and work their way off of the welfare. And Learnfare, help people to learn, these kids. It’s a tragedy, generation after generation. Make part of the welfare reform Learnfare so people on welfare will have the privilege of an education in this country and be able to do better.

We’ve gone after these deadbeat dads; we’re going to keep after them. And yes, I don’t care what the liberal elite says, family is important. Family values are important. And we need to help all families, single parent, whatever it is. But we need to help them by getting crime out of our areas. We’ve got to have better crime legislation. We better get some that supports the police and some that has more compassion for the victims of crime and a little less for the criminals.

And I’ll tell you what I mean. Arkansas, people that are sentenced there spend 20 percent of their sentence in jail. And under the Federal jurisdiction, which is mine, 85 percent. We must support our local police officers. And awhile back I had a visit from eight guys from Arkansas, and they came up to endorse me for President of the United States. They were the Fraternal Order of Police in Arkansas, in Little Rock. And I was proud to have their endorsement.

We’ve got to get the deficit down, but Bill Clinton talks about let Government invest. Government never created a job. It is small business and private sector that creates jobs. So if you want to get the deficit down, here’s the way to do it: Control the growth of these mandatory spending programs. Give us a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to discipline the Congress. Give every taxpayer the right to check 10 percent of his tax return, and if you want it to go the deficit, make the Congress put it on the deficit. Give the President what 43 Governors have, a line-item veto, and let the President draw a line through this excessive spending. And I’ll throw in a fourth measure: I think it’s time to give the Congress back to the people. I want term limits for the Members of the United States Congress.

And here’s the last point: I mentionedcharacter and trust. Well-Audience member. We love you. The?resident. Well, I hope so.

There’s been a little panic in Little Rock, because I think they see that the goal that Bill Clinton has been eagerly awaiting ever since he was studying in Oxford might be slipping away for him. He’s begun attacking my character. And I love to fight this one out in the last couple of days on character and trust. Yes, he is a character. But being attacked on character by Governor Clinton is like being called ugly by a frog. We don’t need to worry about it. We didn’t invite that term "Slick Willie." We didn’t invite it. It’s come in from Arkansas. It was all through the Democratic primary. We are not going after his character. We’re doing what Harry Truman is: We tell the truth, and they think it’s hell. So be it. We’re simply telling the truth.

It’s difficult for him to level with the American people, and here I’m very serious. You can’t have it both ways as President of the United States. You can’t tell one story and then another. In April, for example, on the draft, he said he would release all his draft records. And he never has done that to this day. He is waffling and ducking—

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. and bobbing and weaving. And you cannot do that as President.

Listen, a lot of people opposed the war, and I understand that. That’s not the point here. The point is there is a pattern of deception: on one side of the issue one day, and another side the next. And you cannot do that in the Oval Office.

I think, I know a lot of the media don’t like this. I know a lot of our friends in the media don’t like this. In fact, I like these hats, "Annoy the Media. Reelect Bush." Let me divert for a minute. Have you ever seen a year where they have their own seminars, "Have we been fair?" They know very well they haven’t, but we’re going to win without them.

Listen, before you get too angry about this, share my frustration about it, please grant amnesty to the good guys: the photographers, the guys carrying the boom mikes. Somebody stuck them with the American flag the other day. These are our friends. They are good people. Don’t harass them. Save your rile for those that aren’t here, those Sunday talk show people, those guys that are telling us how we’re going to vote.

But you know, I mentioned the draft. Even today we have new evidence, an affidavit that when Governor Clinton first ran for office his friends used special connections to seize his ROTC file and destroy all others. He’s got to level with the American people on this kind of thing.

But it’s not just the draft. You know my differences with him on organizing demonstrations. Look, people objected to the war. But I make a distinction: When your brothers or your peers are in a jail in Hanoi, or kids are being drafted out of the ghetto to go into that war that was not a popular war, I simply think it is wrong to go to a foreign country and organize demonstrations against the United States of America. And that’s what he did. And all his apologists out there, all these talking heads say, oh yes, but it was 23 years ago. Okay, if it was wrong to do that, just say so. If you make a mistake, admit it. I have done it, and that’s what you have to do as President of the United States.

But the pattern continues. One time he’s for the North American free trade agreement; another he started to be against it, then in the debate say, "Well, I’m for it, but I will make some changes." You cannot have a lot of "buts" in the Oval Office. You’ve got to call them as you see them.

Term limits, CAFE standards, whatever it is, he’s got a position for whatever audience he’s talking to. And I really mean this, you lose all credibility as President if you try to do that on every issue. And let me finish this little start, this little beginning here by saying, here’s what he said on the war. It was a tough decision, tough time for our country. People were divided. And here’s what Governor Clinton courageously said about the time I had to make this decision. He said, ’I agree with the arguments the minority made, but I guess I would have voted with the majority." What kind of waffle iron is that?

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. You can’t do it. You cannotbe here and there. The bottom line is we simply cannot take the risk on Governor Clinton. Character, inexperience, his experience and character do not meet the criterion of the Oval Office. And the world is still a dangerous place. We’ve made great progress. And frankly, I take great pride in the fact that, with a very able team, I was President when we greatly reduced the threat of nuclear war to every family here and around the world. Great that we had ancient enemies talking to each other in the Middle East; that the Soviet Union is no longer international communism but democracy on the move. A lot of progress toward world peace.

And I was thrilled the other day, .yesterday, as a matter of fact, when an announcement came out of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein’s government plan a big party the next day after the election, because they think Governor Clinton is going to win. Hold the phone, Saddam. They are not going to have a demonstration in Baghdad, because they’re going to have to contend with me for 4 more years.

Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! The?resident. Well, actually the other night in Michigan, Governor Clinton told a voter that he’s already thought about what he’s going to do as President. He said he’s going to play his saxophone in the White House. And he’s already planning the inauguration parade, you know. Hold the phone, Bill. Hold the phone. We are going to show that you’re not going to he in the White House and you’re not going to have the parade. And the press are going to be wrong about you. The day before that he said he was an underdog, and then yesterday he was a saxophone player in the White House. He’s waffling even on that.

I’ve got a lesson for him. I know he studied at Oxford, and I know when. But he might not understand how democracy works. It’s not the pundits, it’s the people that decide these elections. And that’s why we’re going to do it. You know, I believe it’s going to boil down to character and trust. I think we’ve already kind of won the debate on taxing and spending. People do not want to tax and spend more. They want a little relief from taxation and a little less Government spending.

But the bottom line is you cannot have this pattern of deception and deceiving. I will tell you this: The toughest decision I had to make did relate to the war. I remember being up there at Camp David with Barbara a day or so before the battle actually began. And it is tough when you have to send somebody else’s son or somebody else’s daughter into harm’s way, into combat. But you can’t waffle. You’ve got to get your judgment made up and then you’ve got to say, here’s what we’re going to do. And I did it, and I have no regrets. And as a result of doing it, we lifted the entire world. We smashed aggression, and we restored hope in the United States of America.

And now, you go to the polls. And so I’m going to ask—in the first place, you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to go there and get the vote out. One of the reasons we’re going to win, we’ve got the most committed supporters. We’ve got people like you all who are going to go to those polls.

Then I’m going to look into the lens the evening of the election, and I say to America: Give me your support based on trust, based on character, based on confidence in the United States of America. I want to lead this country, finish the job, restore hope and opportunity to every young person here. And with your help, we’re going to get the job done.

Thank you all. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank ,you so very much for a great rally.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. at the Palace of Auburn Hills. In his remarks he referred to Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Pistons basketball player; entertainer Mitch Ryder,’ Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive; and David Doyle, State chairman, Michigan Republican State Committee.


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Chicago: George Bush, "Remarks to the Community in Auburn Hills, Michigan," Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George Bush, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2275 2125–2128. Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019,

MLA: Bush, George. "Remarks to the Community in Auburn Hills, Michigan." Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George Bush, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2275, pp. 2125–2128. Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019.

Harvard: Bush, G, 'Remarks to the Community in Auburn Hills, Michigan' in Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George Bush, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2275, pp.2125–2128. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from