Remarks at a Campaign
Rally for Senator Mark N. Andrews in Grand Forks, North Dakota
October 17, 1986
The President. Thank you very much.
And since the Constitution has something to say about what you've just been
chanting, I'll assume that you're suggesting that I live 4 more years.
[Laughter] Well, I thank all of you. And thank you, Senator Andrews, for that
kind introduction, and special thanks to the University of North Dakota Marching
Band and the other bands that are here today. You
make beautiful music.
I -- incidentally, of course, all the signs, and some
of them of welcome to me -- I was told when I was a pledge at EurekaCollege that Tau Kappa Epsilon was a fraternity for life, and I'm glad
my fraters are here. But before I start my prepared remarks, I want to make one
brief announcement. The danger of toxic wastes is perhaps the most pressing
environmental problem confronting our country. And on my way here today, on Air
Force One, I signed the Superfund legislation to accelerate the cleanup of the
Nation's hazardous waste sites. The bill's financing has real concerns, but the
health and safety of Americans is among the highest priorities of government,
so we will not allow an interruption in the cleanup process.
great to be here with our congressional candidate, SyverVinje, Public Service Commissioner Leo Reinbold, Labor Commissioner Ike Hagen -- this is what I
call North Dakota's Republican A-Team.
And now, I want to say hi to the students of ThompsonHigh School. Sorry I couldn't
accept your invitation, but I hope that this makes up for it. And also to the
young astronauts who are here today. I just said goodbye yesterday to 10 of
their number who are now on their way to the Soviet Union in an exchange with
their young astronauts who will be coming here visiting our country.
can't help but see all the young people who are here in the audience, and I
have a special message to you from my roommate. [Laughter] It's the same
message that Carl Eller [Former Minnesota Vikings football player] told you
earlier: When it comes to drugs, please -- for yourselves, your families, for
your future, and your country -- just say no. I want to tell you, Nancy and
Carl have impressed me so much with that that the other day, even though it
didn't have to do with drugs, why, I said no. [Laughter]
it's wonderful to be here in North Dakota. You know, as I said to
my staff when we were taking off in Air Force One, it's great to be out of Washington and back to where the
real people are. I wish I could stay longer, but as you know, Congress is in
session, and with Mark Andrews here with me, well, I don't think we should be
leaving the rest of them alone too long. Now, I'm not reflecting on the
Congress as an institution, but most of us must be aware that there are some
elements there that need watching. I think I can describe them best by a story
about three fellows that came out of a building, found they'd locked themselves
out of their car. And one of them said, ``Get me a wire coathanger.
I can straighten it out and I can get ---- '' And the second one says, ``You
can't do that, somebody will see us out here doing that and think we're
stealing the car.'' And third one said, ``Well, we better do something pretty
quick because it's starting to rain and the top's down.'' [Laughter]
really is great to be back on the campaign trail. It almost feels like 1980 all
over again. You know, President Clifford of the University of North Dakota has
a favorite joke about North Dakota: ``In
this State,'' he says, ``everything is backward. The rivers run north, and the
Irish vote Republican.'' [Laughter] Well, this is one Irishman who's voting
Republican in 1986. And I have to feel that the people of this State are going
to do the same. They're going to send Mark Andrews back to Washington as United States
Senator from the great State of North Dakota.
know, believe me, we need Mark Andrews in the U.S. Senate to keep America on the track of growth,
prosperity, and freedom. It's no secret that there are still some folks in
Washington who want to put America full speed in reverse -- back to the days
when big government, taxes, and inflation were destroying our economy, and
military weakness made America a punching bag for nickel-and-dime dictators
around the world. America used to wear a ``Kick
Me'' sign around its neck. Well, we threw that sign away, and now it reads,
``Don't Tread on Me.'' You know, it's important to remember those days 5\1/2\
years ago, because the tax-and-spend crew is still lurking in the shadows, just
waiting for a second chance. The liberal leadership of the Democratic Party
hasn't changed, they're just itching to raise your taxes and rev up that
inflationary money machine. The Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, spoke for
them all last year when he said, and I quote, ``Should the American people pay
through the nose by taxation? The answer is yes.'' Well, come
November the American people will be going to the polls and saying loud and
clear: ``Sorry, Tip, the answer is no.''
know, the truth is, the liberal Democrat leaders never met a tax they didn't
like. And when it comes to spending your hard-earned money, those liberals act
like they've got your credit card in their pocket. And believe me, they never leave home without it. Well, you're the
people who pay the taxes, and you know that we don't have a deficit because
we're taxed too little, we have a deficit because
Congress spends too much. It's about time that Congress took care of the
Federal budget and left the family budget alone.
another issue that Mark Andrews and I feel strongly about, and I'll bet you do,
too: that's keeping America strong and proud and
peaceful and free. As you know, I just recently returned from my meeting with
Mr. Gorbachev in Iceland. That meeting was a
breakthrough in our discussions with the Soviets. We're no longer talking about
arms control; we're talking about arms reductions, possibly, even the complete
elimination of ballistic missiles from the face of the Earth. That's an
historic turnaround for the Soviets, and it wouldn't have been possible without
the firm support of the American people, whose hard work and support have
enabled us to rebuild our military might. The American people know that the
only way to negotiate for peace is from a position of strength. We're closer to
real arms reductions than ever before, and it's because America today is once again
strong and united. But one major obstacle remained in Iceland: Unfortunately, Mr.
Gorbachev decided to make all of our progress hostage
to his demand that we kill our Strategic Defense Initiative. Now, I had to
remind him of my pledge to the American people on SDI: that in America when you give your
word, you give your word -- and that stands up no matter what the time or
place. SDI is our insurance policy to protect us from accidents or some madmen
that might come along or some other country that develops ballistic missiles or
in case the Soviets don't keep their side of the bargain.
know, before World War II, the British were developing a new defense system; it
was called radar. And without radar, it's possible that the Royal Air Force
wouldn't have been able to beat back the Nazi air assault on England. If you'll recall --
you won't recall, you weren't here at the time, but those of us who do -- but
you've perhaps read that when Winston Churchill acknowledged what that little
band of fighter pilots had done from England, and to save England, and with the
help of that radar, when he said, ``Never in the course of human events have so
many owed so much to so few.'' Well, I couldn't help but think that giving up
SDI would have been like Chamberlain giving up radar, as well as Czechoslovakia, at Munich -- a tragic blunder
that might have spelled the end to freedom in Europe.
is a purely defensive and purely peaceful technology. If the Soviets honestly
want progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons, they have nothing to fear
from SDI. The Soviets are hard bargainers. America must be even more
patient and determined and united. And America must speak with one
voice, saying loud and clear: We'll walk the extra mile for peace, but we'll
never gamble with America's safety. And I hope
you all realize that when he was saying no to this SDI, this was after I had
told him we would sign a binding treaty right now, that if and when we had
developed that system and it was practical, we would share it with them so that
neither one of us ever had to be afraid of the other country. And still, they
said no. So, I want to ask you a question: Can I count on your support to keep America strong and united and
on the road to peace?
Audience. Yes! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. I kind of thought you'd
say that. You know, if I could interject something
here: There's nothing that I'm prouder of than the 2 million young men and
women who make up the Armed Forces of the United States. They're some of the
most splendid young people this nation has ever produced. And let me say this:
If we must ever ask them to put their lives on the line for the United States of
America, then they deserve at the same time the finest
weapons and equipment money can buy. And I'm going to see that they get them.
And it's because of the quality of the men and women in our Armed Forces, and
the quality of the weapons that they carry in defense of this country that
every nickel-and-dime dictator the world over knows that if it tangles with the
United States of America, he will pay a price.
America is once again united in
hope and strong in purpose. We've squashed inflation, cut the prime interest
rate by more than two-thirds, and we're keeping the doors of the opportunity
society wide open by cutting tax rates further and spurring on the economic
expansion that has already created 11\1/2\ million new jobs in the last 46
months. This year more Americans are working than ever
before, and we've reached the highest employment rate in the history of the United
States. Now, I know you keep
reading unemployment rates that are given, but let me just tell you a little
something about how Washington, the bureaucracy works. The potential employment
pool of the United States is considered to be
everyone, male and female, in the United States from age 16 all the way
up. And today 61.3 percent of that pool is employed here in the United States.
America is moving forward, but
that doesn't mean that we don't recognize that some sectors of our country are
not sharing fully in this expansion. I understand the problems facing the
American energy industry in States like North Dakota. And I recognize that
in the midst of bountiful harvests, American agriculture is going through a
difficult transition. In Illinois and South Dakota, and today here in Grand Forks, whenever I get a
chance, I've been meeting with farm leaders to talk about the problems facing
American agriculture. As I've said to them, and as I say to you now: Government
will stand by you during these hard times. And that's why this administration
is providing more financial help to our America's farmers than the last
five administrations all put together. And falling interest rates and inflation
have been cutting production costs for farmers. The last thing farmers need is
to return to the party that gave them grain embargoes, outrageous inflation,
and 21\1/2\ percent interest rates.
I know there are things in the farm bill that Mark doesn't like. And there are
some things in it I don't like. But we both agree that government programs
ought to be better targeted to the family farmers who need it most. Right now
some subsidies operate to make rich farmers richer, and we're opposed to that.
Mark and I have fought together against that aspect of the system, and in
future years we'll renew that fight. Coming from rural America, I understand --
I'm not talking about Hollywood now, I was raised in Dixon, Illinois -- I
understand farmers don't want to live on subsidies; they want free access to foreign
markets and the chance to make a fair profit. And we're making sure that they
get that chance. Imperfect as it is, this farm bill moves us in that direction.
we say to our friends in the energy industry: We know your problems. But no
problems, however great, are going to be solved by turning the United States
Senate over to the kind of people who thought the way to solve the energy
crisis was to ration gasoline, control the price of oil, and win votes by demagoging about ``obscene profits.'' The liberals who
imposed that vindictive windfall profits tax in the heyday of Democratic power
are not the friends of energy States like North Dakota.
it's time to get the facts straight about Mark Andrews' opponent. North Dakota doesn't need a Senator
who criticizes but doesn't offer any solutions. North Dakota doesn't need a Senator
whose campaign is funded by ultraliberal, antimilitary crowd all over the
nation who would give us a weaker America. The big spenders know
that Mark's opponent will be their ally. And believe me, the last thing we need
is another tax collector in the United States Senate. In Mark Andrews, North Dakota has a Senator who knows
what it's like to meet a payroll. He is not a lifetime bureaucrat who doesn't
know the difference between a cow and a combine. [Laughter] America and North Dakota need a Senator with
experience and clout, a man of independence, strength, and proven leadership
who fights and wins for North Dakota. We need Mark Andrews
in the United States Senate.
Mark's election could very well decide whether we keep control of the Senate or
lose it to the liberal leadership of the Democratic Party. And that's the
difference between 2 more years of progress or 2 years of paralysis. I didn't
seek reelection to be a 6-year President. There are too many exciting
challenges still before us and too much business that still must be completed.
I cannot, and I will not, have my hands tied by a Congress that is totally
hostile to all that we're trying to do. You know, my name will never be on the
ballot again, but don't think you can't vote for me. If you want to vote for
me, vote for Mark Andrews, so that we can have a Republican Senate that will
work with me instead of against me and be around after I'm gone.
maybe you've noticed that I've been careful to refer to the liberal leadership
of the Democratic Party. And that's because I believe in going all across the
country. There couldn't be a meeting like this without there being throughout
this crowd a number of Democrats. Throughout the United States I know there are
millions of patriotic Democrats who are totally out of step with the liberal
leadership of their party today. And believe me, those of you who are here and
are, or who once were and changed, as I did -- believe me, you're welcome. Come
on over. I know how tough it is to break with tradition. I was acting like a
Republican for 2 or 3 years before I got around to reregistering. I don't know.
You just had a reluctance to do that. So, I can remember. And I remember, too,
what Winston Churchill, as a member of the British Parliament, once said when
he changed parties there. He said, ``Some men change
principle for party and others change party for principle.''
I'm asking the people of North Dakota is to remember that the
Senator you elect will help determine your future, America's future. So, before I
go let, me just conduct an informal poll. [Laughter] I
won't mind if you speak up loudly so that all of America can hear. Do you want
to go back to the days of big spending, high taxes, and runaway inflation?
The President. Do you want a weak and
The President. That's good to hear.
[Laughter] Would you rather have low taxes, low inflation, and low interest
The President. Would you rather have
an America that is strong and
proud and free?
The President. Do you want Mark
Andrews as your Senator from the great State of North Dakota?
The President. You just made my day.
And do you know something? You didn't hurt Mark's feelings either.
I'm so pleased to see and be able to talk to so many of you young people who
are here today. Let me just finish by saying: You're what it's all about.
People my age have in mind that our responsibility is to see that when it comes
your turn to take over from us, we turn over to you the same freedom and the
same great opportunity that the preceding generations turned over to us. And
that's what we've sworn to do and are going to do for
you. I have to tell you something else. Don't think I'm just trying to make
friends with you. I've done that already. [Laughter] You know, back before in
the beginning of World War II, General George Marshall was asked -- Commander
of all our forces -- was asked what he thought was our secret weapon. And he
said, ``Just the best blankety-blank kids in the
world.'' Well, I've been seeing your generation all over this country -- on
campuses like this and sometimes just in rallies and wherever and, as I told
you before, in the military. And I think once again if General Marshall were
here he'd say, ``The best blankety-blank
kids in the world.''
bless you all. Thank you.
The President spoke at in the HyslopSportsCenter at the University of North Dakota. Earlier, he attended a reception for major
donors to Senator Andrews' reelection campaign. He also met with farm community
leaders at the center. Following his remarks at the rally, the President went
MD, for the weekend.