Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993

Author: George Bush  | Date: September 23, 1992

Remarks at Pennsylvania State University in State College,
September 23, 1992

The President. Thank you very, very much. What a wonderful rally. What a great day at Penn State. Thank you, Coach Paterno—

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

The President. Thank you, Joe; thank you, Coach. It is a great—thank you very, very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, Coach Paterno. It’s one thing to have to play after one of your pep talks, but it’s a little tougher to have to give a speech after one of your pep talks. Thank you for that great introduction. Last time I gave a speech on a college campus, one student came up to me afterwards and said, "That was the best imitation of Dana Carvey I’ve ever seen." [Laughter] I never knew I had such talent.

But let me just say a word about the coach. And I’m talking to the choir here, but a lot of people won’t take a position; a lot of people out in life want to protect themselves and not stand up for what they believe in. So in a tough political year when a man with the standing of Coach Joe Paterno stands at my side as a friend and speaks for me, I am very, very grateful to him not just for the support but for his courage.

Just to get this rally open, I want to do to Governor Clinton this year what Penn State did to Cincinnati last year. I’m glad I’m not running against Joe Paterno and also glad I’m not running against that world-renowned baton twirler, John Mitchell. Where is the man? There he is, right back there. You can’t see him, but I can; real talent. Now before I get started, let me simply acknowledge some up here with me on the dais, two great Members of Congress, Bud Shuster and Bill Clinger. If we had more people like these two in the Congress, the American people wouldn’t have those brooms out, yelling "Clean House!" But as a matter of fact, we ought to clean House.

May I salute Sue Paterno and Tricia Giannini—and thanks, Tricia, the president of the college Republicans; she did a great job on this rally—and so many others working on behalf of the party in Pennsylvania; and Anne Anstine, our chairman; Joyce Haas, Mary Dunkel.

I didn’t come here today, you’d be happy to know, to give a big rally or a grand speech. I came here to talk a bit about where we’ve been and where we are and what I want to do to get us where we’ve got to be. You know, as I was walking through the old "Main" I saw a plaque on the wall. Not too shiny, but then again, it didn’t need to be. It was dedicated to 374 Americans who died in World War II, all from Penn State. I was there, and I survived to see a lot of history between then and now, the heated battles and a long cold war, won by people with the right stuff and the people with the right ideas. We stood fast. We stayed strong, and I am the first President that can say we won the cold war. It is over. And people say, "Are you better off?" Well, I think it’s a good thing that every kid on this campus goes to bedat night without the same fear of nuclear war that the generations precedent had.

But the challenges we face today are different, and so are the demands. The challenge of the nineties is to win the economic competition, to win the peace.

Yesterday I went to six States. For months now my opponent is taking me on and taking this country down. So I figured it was time to introduce candidate Clinton to Governor Clinton, because the rhetoric and the reality are like night and day. You know what we discovered? Whether it’s candidate Clinton or Governor Clinton, it doesn’t matter. Governor Clinton is wrong for the United States of America if you want to move this country forward.

Some in the press will be saying, "Well, talking about the Governor’s policy record is like going after an unarmed man." Well, I say, he should have armed himself. He should have packed more than promises. My opponent and I may argue towards some of the same ends, but we start from radically different premises, premises built on different experience and different philosophies. I will point out the differences in our visions, because I believe it explains the differences in our views.

Two weeks—hey, listen, maybe we can get this guy to shut up. I’ll answer your question. He’s raising—no, seriously, he’s raising a legitimate question. He’s asking about AIDS. It’s a terrible curse. We have spent $4.3 billion on that. I have asked now for $4.9 billion. No researcher in this country is going to rest until we find the cure for AIDS. And so we care about it.

Two weeks ago in Detroit, I presented my views and my Agenda for American Renewal. I didn’t just hammer away at what’s wrong with America. I gave fair due to what’s right. I offered a comprehensive, integrated approach to win the new global economic competition, to create the world’s first $10 trillion economy by the dawn of the century. My opponent will say we can’t do it. I say: When America sets its sights on a goal, we always succeed. We are the United States of America.

Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. This agenda that I have out there, this detailed agenda contains 13 actions, specific actions that I will pursue in the first year of my second term, and I will fight for them harder than the Nittany Lions, fourth quarter, fourth down, goal to go, and that’s tough. That’s tough. So I’m asking the people for nothing more, nothing less, than a mandate to move this country forward. I will work with the hundred and some newly elected Members of Congress who will listen to the people to move this country forward.

And yes, I want a debate. I want a debate over issues and an argument over ideas. I will stand on my record, and I won’t let that Arkansas Governor run away from his record, either. You know, I think the American people have a right to know what they’re buying into. Because remember, if you buy what candidate Clinton is selling, there’s no refund. There’s no rebate. Actually, it’s more like a permanent payment plan. I don’t think we need that for the United States of America.

On one issue, and I think it’s the fundamental issue in this campaign, my opponent and I have just agreed to disagree. It’s a question of how our economy grows and how our country works. It’s kind of like "Jeopardy"; it all comes down to how you ask the question. My opponent asks what makes the economy grow. And his answer, and look at his program, is Government planners and projects and programs. I ask who makes this country go. And my answer is you, the individual working men and women, building and buying in the freedom of a market.

My opponent believes that the Government will, quote, and here are his words, "invest," unquote, your money smarter than you can. I don’t see it that way. I say the smart money is on the smart people, like standing right out here in this beautiful day in Pennsylvania.

You know, it’s crazy. Some of you all are studying history, and it’s a crazy thing. At the very moment when Russia and Eastern Europe and the whole world is turning our way, why would we want to go back their way? All of a sudden, all around the world, people are turning to free markets and to free trade and to freedom. Now that the world is finally catching on, what are we supposed to say, "just kidding," and starttheir way? No.

The world is sending us a message we should already know: Government planning, social engineering, centralized economies do not work. We know what works: Freedom works.

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

The President. Thank you all very much. That’s what we’re after, 4 more. Look, in this discussion I’m not just talking about political freedom. I’m talking about the freedom to save, to invest, to work, and for you and your families to keep more of what you earn.

A major difference between the candidates is taxes. My opponent has already said he wants to raise taxes, and I want to lower taxes. During the eighties we lightened the tax lead on labor, creating 21 million jobs. I know there are some economies majors out here, but you don’t have to crunch numbers to figure it out: The less you tax of something, the more you get of it. If we cut taxes on investment, we’ll get more investment. More investment means more jobs for the working men and women in the United States of America.

Now, listen to this because this is factual. My opponent disagrees. In Arkansas he’s taxing everything he can get his hands on: groceries, beer, gas—

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. I knew you wouldn’t like that one—mobile homes, cable TV, used cars, airplanes, coal. He was even taxing food stamps until the Federal Government forced him to stop.

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. That’s the truth. I guess that’s why yesterday my subconscious spoke up, and by accident, and it was an accident, down there in the South, I actually called him "Governor Taxes." And I’m sorry, I apologize.

Audience members. Bush! Bush! Bush!

The President. We disagree on taxes. And guess what: We disagree on Government spending. He wants to raise Government spending, and I want to cut it.

The Federal Government today spends almost one quarter out of every dollar of our national income. He apparently thinks that’s cheap. On top of the $1.5 trillion we already spend today, he’s proposed $220 billion in brand-spanking-new spending. Newsweek thinks his true total could be 3 times as high as that. Frankly, I can’t think of why anyone would want the Government to grow one inch bigger. Maybe my opponent thinks there’s just that much more of it to love.

The fourth difference: Opening foreign markets to American goods is a big, key difference. Exports support over 400,000 jobs right here in the State of Pennsylvania. I want lower priced goods for American consumers and new customers for American goods. I believe in free trade because I believe that when trade is free and fair, America beats the competition fair and square, anytime.

You know, there was a time when Governor Clinton said he favored open trade. Other times, usually after meetings with big union guys, he wasn’t so sure. Well, what will it be? Well, when he’s asked for his opinion on the free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada he said, quote, "when I have a definitive opinion, I’ll say so." Well, I’ve got news for the Governor: There’s no call-waiting in the Oval Office. You can’t have it both ways. You’ve got to make up your mind. I am for creating more jobs in the United States by increasing our exports.

Finally, when it comes to legal reform, and this is a tough one, the Governor and I parted company before we even met. I believe that our legal system is out of control and headed for a crash. And it’s running roughshod over all the small businesses, searing the wits out of anyone who wants to take the risk and try out something new. Today, Americans spend up to $200 billion in one year in direct costs to lawyers. Now, that’s got to stop. Americans need to stop suing each other so much and caring for each other more.

You talk about special interests. One trial lawyer from Arkansas solicited funds for my opponent by writing, and here’s his quote, "I can never remember an occasion when he failed to do the right thing where we trial lawyers were concerned." Well, how touching. We do not need someone to do the right thing for the special interests. We need a President who will do things rightfor all the American people. We need to put a lid on these lawsuits, put limits on these crazy lawsuits.

Now, this fall I’m going to continue to talk about what’s right, even if it’s not in fashion. The Governor wishes I wouldn’t talk about foreign policy. It makes him very uncomfortable, and I won’t ask him why. But I will ask him what the heck he’s talking about when he describes a President’s, quote, here’s what he called it, a President’s "powerless moments when countries are invaded, friends are threatened, Americans are held hostage, and our Nation’s interests are on the line." That’s the end of the quote.

Well, let me say, Governor Clinton: If America is powerless when our Nation’s interests are on the line, who else do you suppose is going to take care of us? My America is not powerless. My America takes care of its interests. When we have to fight, we’re willing to do it if the cause is just.

Someone once said that, "You learn more about character on the 2-yard line than anywhere else in life." I don’t know whether Joe agrees with that. But I’ve been there. America has been there. But there’s one thing about America: We never back down. We never give up. We never retreat. We always compete. And we always win. That is the United States of America.

Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! The President. And I have faith in our great country. Clinton talks about our country being somewhere below Germany, but north of Sri Lanka. He ought to open his eyes and look around. We are the most respected country in the entire world. Now, we enhanced the peace, and now let’s take that power and use it to help every working man and woman in this country.

May God bless you all. Joe, again, my thanks. And thanks to all of you for this fantastic rally. Thank you so very much. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:20 p.m. on the Old Main Lawn. In his remarks, he referred to Joe Paterno, head coach, Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions football team, and his wife, Sue; Anne Anstine, chairman, Pennsylvania State Republican committee; Joyce Haas, central Pennsylvania coordinator, Bush-Quayle ’92; and Mary Dunkel, Centre County coordinator, Bush-Quayle ’92.


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Chicago: George Bush, "Remarks at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania," 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 1634–1636. Original Sources, accessed March 20, 2023,

MLA: Bush, George. "Remarks at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania." 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. 1634–1636. Original Sources. 20 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Bush, G, 'Remarks at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania' 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.1634–1636. Original Sources, retrieved 20 March 2023, from