Public Papers of George Bush, 1992-1993

Author: George Bush  | Date: October 31, 1992

Remarks on Concluding a Whistlestop Tour in Chippewa Falls,
October 31, 1992

The President. Thank you very much. What a great rally. Thank you very much, Governor. Thank you, thank you very, very much. May I say at the beginning of these brief remarks that I am very, very grateful to your Governor, to my friend Tommy Thompson. You couldn’t have a better guy helping you win this State. I want to salute—you know, everywhere we go we see "Clean House!" What we need to do is have more Congressmen like Steve Gunderson there to get the job done. I support him. And then Wisconsin has a major national objective this year, and that is to reelect your great Senator Bob Kasten for another 6 years, 6 more.

I want to thank all of those who made this spectacular rally at the end of a long day in this State of Wisconsin such a tremendous success. It is great for the morale. It convinces me we’ll win Wisconsin. It convinces me we will win the election. I’ll tell you something. I’ve got a little less voice but a lot more heart after this crowd, I’ll tell you.

Here’s what it boils down to between Governor Clinton and me: the vast difference in experience, a vast difference in philosophy, a vast difference in character. And in all three of those, I ask for your vote.

You know, for years, for years, I mean, make this months— [laughter] —GovernorClinton has been going around the country knocking us and saying everything bad not only about me, but he says that we are a nation somewhere less than Germany and a little bit more than Sri Lanka. He ought to open his eyes. We are the greatest, best nation on the face of the Earth.

But while he’s knocking our record, I think it’s only appropriate to take a quick look at his. Here it is for Arkansas: 50th—I think of Wisconsin as an environmental State—Arkansas, 50th in environmental initiatives; 50th in the percentage of adults with a college degree; and you go on and on and on. Unfortunately, the people of Arkansas deserve better. But here’s the problem. Governor Clinton said, "I want to do for the United States what I’ve done for Arkansas." No way! No way! Happy Halloween. We don’t need that for the United States of America.

By the way, if a couple of yuppies dressed as moderates come to your door, bags in hand, give them some candy, but watch your wallet. They’re coming after you, Governor Taxes and the Ozone Man. Don’t let them in. It’s a trick, not a treat.

No, Governor Clinton goes all around the country talking about change. He says he is the candidate of change. That’s outrageous. I’ll tell you the kind of change we’d get if we’d elected him: the same as we got when we had a Democrat in the White House and the liberal Democrats controlling Congress. We would have inflation—remember how it was in 1980—inflation at 15, interest rates at 21, the "misery index" at 20. And change is all you’d have left in your pocket. We cannot go back. And we’re not going to.

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

The President. Governor Clinton—they say they don’t want a tax, but why is he dressed up as Fred Flintstone? He wants to tax America back to the Stone Age, and we’re not going to let him do it. He has already proposed $150 billion in new taxes and $220 billion in new spending, a lot more Government programs. The answer is not that. It is to hold the line on taxes, hold the line on spending, and give the taxpayer a break for a change.

The only way that Governor Clinton and Ozone can win, the only way they can win it, is if they convince America that everything is wrong with our economy. And yes, a lot of people are hurting. But let me tell you something: All around the world our economy, in spite of its slowness, is the envy of the world. We grew at 2.7 percent in the last quarter. And we’re going to keep on leading until every American that wants a job gets a job. But we are not going to tax and spend to do it.

Our agenda for America’s renewal has a good plan. It’s a great plan on long-term issues. The answer to lead us out of this is to open new markets abroad. We’d have the best workers, the most productivity of any country. We are going to open new markets abroad by free and fair trade, and then goods marked "Made in the United States" will have more opportunities around the world, and workers in this country will have more jobs.

Our agricultural economy, thank heavens, is not doing too bad at all. Incomes are at a record high since I’ve been President. Exports have saved our Nation. One out of every three acres, one way or another, ends up going to foreign markets. We’ve done well with ethanol, and the other day I made a waiver so that we can use ethanol hopefully around the clock. Governor Clinton’s campaign, oh, well, they had great problems with this because Ozone Man didn’t like it. But let me tell you something. If I have to come down on an environmental extreme or the side of the American farmer, put me on the side of the farmer. We have a good record. This is a good, sound environmental State, and we’ve got a good, strong record. But you’ve got to think of the working man and the working woman and the family. We have found the balance between growth and sound environment, and we must not go to the extreme.

You heard Governor Clinton in the debates talking about Government investing. Government doesn’t invest. Small business invests. Individuals invest. Small business creates two-thirds of the jobs in this country. So how about this for a plan: less regulation, less taxes, and fewer lawsuits. Let’s get business going again.

The trial lawyers do not want to put capson these liability claims, and it is a crime. It is absolutely wrong when an American passes another by on the highway for fear he’s going to get sued if you reach out a helping hand, or when a Little League coach doesn’t dare coach, or when a doctor doesn’t deliver a baby because of a malpractice suit. We’ve got to sue each other less and care for each other more.

We have the best plan for health care. A new Congress is coming in. The old one has screwed up a tiny little hank and a tiny little post office, so a lot of those bozos are going to be gone. Excuse the expression. No, no, I shouldn’t say that. I apologize. A lot of these old fogies are going to be out of there, put it that way. We’ve got the best health care plan. What it says is provide vouchers to the poorest of the poor so they’ll have health insurance; give the next bracket in income a little break on the taxes; go after the malpractice suit; pool insurance so you bring the cost down. But do not do what Governor Clinton wants and get the Government further involved, because that means less quality of health care.

In education, Governor Clinton wants to think the same old way, same old bureaucratic way. We’ve got a good program, America 2000. It literally revolutionizes American education. It puts the power not in the head of the teachers union but in the head of the teachers and the families and the parents, and that’s where it belongs. One thing we’re going to do is provide-like it’s working in Milwaukee—provide school choice so the parent can decide private, public, or religious schools. We’ve done well. One out of every two college students has financial aid; Pell grants are up. And we are going to keep fighting until every student has a share of the American dream by a good education.

Another thing we’ve got to do, and Governor Thompson is in the lead on this one, we’ve got to have national welfare reform. Your State has led the way, thanks to Tommy Thompson. We’ve got to break this cycle of welfare. We need more jobfare, more learningfare, and less dependency. We need to get those deadbeat dads to pay up. We need to let kids save a little more money so their parents aren’t thrown off of welfare. But we’ve got to put incentive into the system. And I am proud that we have led with Wisconsin on doing that for the Nation.

Let me be clear on another difference. Make no doubt about it, I support the men and women of the law enforcement community who are risking their lives for us every single day. And I want to back them up with strong anticrime legislation. Let’s have a little more legislation that’s concerned about the victims of crime with a little less concern for the criminal. And I might say I am very proud that I was endorsed for President by the Fraternal Order of Police in Little Rock, Arkansas. How do you like that?

I see these wonderful kids here, and I’m going to redouble my efforts to do something about this deficit. And here’s what we’re going to fight for with a new Congress: no more gridlock. There’ll be 100 to 150 new Members of Congress, and here’s what we’re going to get them to do: a balanced budget amendment. A taxpayer cheek-off so every one of you can have some say in it. You cheek 10 percent of your income taxes if you want to and have them applied to one thing, bringing down the Federal deficit. And Congress all have to cut accordingly. And then I will ask the new Congress to give me what 43 Governors have. They send all this pork-laden legislation. Give me that line-item veto. If they can’t do it, give me a shot at it.

A President’s term is limited. Why not limit the term for Members of Congress and give the Congress back to the people?

Slight cold. Well, now’ let’s talk about what’s going to decide this election. We’ve got the best policies. We’ve got the best programs. But there’s a couple of other ingredients, and they are called character and trust. And I believe we have to lead there. Governor Clinton about a week ago called me a liar, but that’s all right. Being attacked by Governor Clinton on character is like being called ugly by a frog. I don’t worry about it. I don’t worry about it one single bit.

I’ll tell you, though, in all seriousness, what bothers me. I found out something about being President. You make a mistake, you look the American people in the eyeand say, look, I messed that one up. I blew it. Now, let’s get on with the people’s business. But I also found out this: You cannot be all things to all people. You can’t be on every side of every issue. You’ve got to stand for something. And you cannot lead the American people by misleading the people.

Now, let me give you a few examples of flip-flops. One day he’s for the free trade agreement. Then he goes to the labor union leaders in Washington, he’s got a few reservations. In the debate the other night, everybody had to say what they were for. He said, "Well, I am for it, but"—then he started to hedge. You cannot have "buts" in the Oval Office. You’ve got to say yes or no. In one part of the country he’s for the right-to-work laws. In another he goes up to Michigan, and he says he’s opposed to them. One part of the country he says, well, maybe term limits are okay. Then again he says, well, on the other hand, maybe they’re not. Flip-flop, flip-flop. You cannot do that if you want to be President of the United States.

Let me remind you about the Persian Gulf. I had to lead. I had to bring along a reluctant Congress. I had to stand up to the media who said, "Oh, George Bush is inarticulate. He can’t defend his policies. He can’t lead." I did it. And I brought along the entire world. We had to make a very difficult decision. And at the time I made the Congress stand up and vote, here’s what Governor Clinton said. He said, "I agree with the arguments made by the minority, but I guess I would have voted with the majority." What kind of leadership is that for the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces?
Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. And did you read the dispatch out of Baghdad today? Has anybody seen it? I’ll paraphrase it. Tonight, Saddam Hussein’s government plans to have a rally for 500,000 people in downtown Baghdad if I lose the election. Well, they can put that party on hold, because I’m not going to lose it.

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

The President. Character and trust. Character and trust. And you know, we’ve done a lot. I am proud to have been a part of this part of history so every kid here tonight can say, we go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war that our parents had. Ancient enemies are talking peace in the Middle East, and democracy is on the move in Eastern Europe and in Russia and south of our border. It’s democracy and freedom are the order of the day. And our foreign policy helped bring this about. And as a result we’ve been able to reduce defense spending. But let me tell you something. The world is still a dangerous place. We must keep our national security up, and we must not cut into the muscle of our defense. But the times call for a leader who has been tested and who has been experienced by the realities of war and peace.

It is a strange year. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a stranger year in politics. How would you like to be a talking head on a Washington TV show the day after the election? They are going to be wrong, every single one of them. Annoy the Media. Reelect Bush. I’ve never seen anything like it. Have you ever seen these talk shows at night going on asking themselves, "Have we been fair to the President?" I’ve never seen that before in my life. They know the answer. They don’t have to have a show about it. And we’re going to show them on November 3d.

But you know, last night, it got a little odd last night, a little strange. A voter in Michigan called in—I think it was a call-in show—and Governor Clinton told him that he planned now to be playing his saxophone in the White House and that he’s already planning his inauguration parade. Not so fast there, Bill. Not so fast. He’s been declared the prohibitive favorite by the talking heads. Yesterday he said he was the underdog. And today he’s got his saxophone warming up to play in the Oval Office. Only Bill Clinton can change his mind that fast.

But let me tell you—let me help him. I know he studied at Oxford, and I know when he studied in Oxford. But let me tell you something. lie doesn’t understand exactly how this system works. You see, it is the people that choose the leaders, not the pollsters and not some kind of campaign rhetoric.

These pundits, I feel like Harry Truman does about these pundits. And let me be clear: I’m not talking about these guys with the cameras here tonight. People take it out on them. These are the good guys. We’ve granted them amnesty until November 4th, and we’re all for them. But I’m talking about these deadly talking heads that come on these Sunday television—some Republicans, I’m embarrassed to say, and a heck of a lot of Democrats and a lot of others that make you think that they’re sent down from heaven. But let me tell you something. I am not giving them hell, I’m doing like Harry Truman says: I tell the truth, and they think it’s hell: [Laughter] But they are not going to decide this election. The decision is going to be made on who’s got the best program to lift this country up, move us out of what has been a global recession, and lead us to new prosperity for the young people here today.

And it’s also going to be this: People realize that though the world is more peaceful, it is not totally free and safe. There’s going to be a crisis. Someday, sure enough, there will be a crisis. I have found out the hard way that you have to make the decision. And I have tried to keep the trust that you have placed in me as President of the United States.

Let me tell you what it was like. Barbara and I sat up there at Camp David, or attended church a day or two before we had to make this decision, before I made this decision on sending your sons and your daughters to Kuwait. And it is not easy. It is not an easy decision. I’ll be very candid with you. We went to church there, a little chapel, and prayed that we do the right thing, that I make the right call, that I make the right decision. And we did that, and we liberated a tiny little land. And in the process we elevated the United States to the most respected leadership role in the entire world.

So I hope I have earned your trust. And so when the American people go into that voting booth on November 3d, I am going to look them in the eye and look at each one of you here in the eye, and I say this: I ask for your support for 4 more years based on trust and character and the ability to lead this, the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.

May God bless the United States. Thank you for a fantastic rally. It is unbelievable. Thank you. Thank you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:50 p.m. on the observation deck of the Spirit of America train.


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Chicago: George Bush, "Remarks on Concluding a Whistlestop Tour in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin," 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 2119–2121. Original Sources, accessed July 20, 2024,

MLA: Bush, George. "Remarks on Concluding a Whistlestop Tour in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin." 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. 2119–2121. Original Sources. 20 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Bush, G, 'Remarks on Concluding a Whistlestop Tour in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin' 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.2119–2121. Original Sources, retrieved 20 July 2024, from