October 4, 1985

Thank you very much, and thank you very much, Governor Tom Kean. My friends, Frank Holman, Members of the Congress, it's great to see you all. You know, I have a spot in my heart for Governors -- [laughter] -- due to about 8 years of that experience. And just recently, I was -- well, as a matter of fact, yesterday I was telling a story I hadn't told for a long time about my own days as Governor. I'd come into a situation in California as a newcomer, and the situation was just about as bad as it was at the Federal level in 1980. And I was on my way to work one morning with the car radio on, and I heard a disc jockey. And out of the clear blue sky he spoke a line that endeared him to me forever. He said, ``Every man should take unto himself a wife, because sooner or later something is bound to happen that you can't blame on the Governor.'' [Laughter]

But I've come here just to let you know that I have officially appropriated the saying of the State across the river there, and I just want to say, I love New Jersey! It's wonderful to be here. I saw Tom Kean a few months ago when I was visiting Bloomfield, and I told him I wanted to come back soon, and he very conveniently arranged this fundraiser just to accommodate me. Wasn't that sweet of him? [Laughter] Incidentally, I should apologize to -- and I should have done this when I first started talking here -- about keeping you waiting for so long. But, you know, the whole hitch was that the plan called for an airplane from Washington to here and then a helicopter closer to here and then an automobile for the last few minutes, and the helicopter had to be canceled. But if it will encourage you, this gray stuff is all the way to Washington -- [laughter]. And I can tell you from having been up there, if you just want to go 2,000 feet straight up, you're in the clear sunshine. [Laughter] It's that low.

Well, it used to be that, centuries ago, that New Jersey was said to be a valley of humility between two mountains of pride. Well, if that is still true, and humility is a virtue, then I think, Jersey, you'd better be aware of the important place that you hold in our White House. I want you to know -- and I'm serious about this -- I've been watching New Jersey these past few years and seeing it as a bellwether for the national recovery. There are reasons for this. In many ways New Jersey is a perfect reflection of our country as a whole. You're both industrial and agrarian; you're a big manufacturing State, and you're the ninth largest State in population, and you have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. And as your Governor just told you, you just passed yourselves a tax cut bill, a State tax cut bill. So, New Jersey is in good shape; it's in great shape. You've got the Giants and the Jets, Springsteen and Sinatra, and the single most popular Governor in the history of the State of New Jersey.

I'm here to tell you that I am keen on Kean. [Laughter] But I know that he's one of the most decent and able administrators, leaders, and political figures and Governors in America. Now, that's just my humble opinion. [Laughter] Let me ask -- you're an impartial nonpartisan group -- [laughter] -- does New Jersey like Tom Kean, too? [Applause] Well, I'm with you. And there's another great race in this great State. It's been mentioned already, the race for ``Assembly Majority '85.'' The Republican Party of New Jersey is within five seats of control of the State assembly, and you're going to win it this year, and you're going to make Chuck Hardwick majority leader, and you're going to return the GOP to the dominance that it deserves.

This, too, is an experience that I shared, because as Governor of California for 8 years, 7 of those had a majority of the other party. If the people of the State believe enough in the things that Tom Kean is doing, then they ought to give him the help that he needs and the capital to get those things done, instead of making an uphill fight for him. And then next year, I'd like to talk to you about another body. [Laughter] But the race for the State assembly and the race for the Governor's mansion won't be easy. They'll require all your commitment, your time, your efforts, and, as well, some of your cash. [Laughter] But it's going to be a good cause. Ultimately, it's going to help the party that stands for economic growth and economic justice; the party that cares that the poor get a piece of the pie; the party that has finally put an end to the tax enslavement of the middle class in America. It's our party that has worked for years now to get government spending down.

And I want you to know that I have just come from Washington where this morning we announced an historic agreement to put our nation on the road to a balanced budget. We are uniting with the leaders of the Senate to support the balanced budget and emergency deficit control act of 1985. This is a measure that will lock us into spending reductions and lead us to a balanced budget by 1990.

Let me just tell you something unusual about this. Over in the west wing of the White House, we have been huddling over the idea of a plan -- that it isn't good enough just each year to see if we can haggle the budget down and get a little more money out of it. We needed a plan leading toward a balanced budget, and so we were talking about looking for 5 years of a declining pattern of deficits. There's no way this deficit can be eliminated in 1 year, we know, but 5 years -- and then at the end of the 5 years, let's get that balanced budget amendment that the Federal Government will have to stop spending more than it takes in after we get it. But while we were doing that in the White House, all of a sudden, a few days ago, we discovered that up on the Hill, two of our Senators were working on exactly the same kind of plan -- 5 years and then our balanced budget. And so, this morning was to announce that -- I don't know whether the extrasensory perception was going that way, from the White House or from the Hill down to us, but we were all on the same track, and we are working together now with the Congress to bring this about and pass as quickly as we can this 5-year plan so that from now on, when somebody wants to bust the budget for some particular spending program, they will be breaking into a well-organized plan that is aimed at, as I say, the balanced budget.

But the GOP is, in my view, the party of the American family; the party whose tax reform proposals, to touch on another subject, would expand the personal exemption, increase the standard deduction, and make IRA's -- you know, those are those individual retirement accounts -- equally available to those who work both inside and outside the home. The GOP is the party that adheres to the old Jeffersonian philosophy that that government governs best that governs least. Incidentally, Thomas Jefferson made a little-known statement about the Constitution just about the time it was being ratified. He said it only had one flaw: It did not contain a provision preventing the Federal Government from borrowing money. [Laughter] Well, we're going to make Tom Jefferson, wherever he is, happy. [Laughter]

Well, it's the GOP that would keep political power near the true roots of that power -- in the neighborhood, the town, the county, and then the State. Such an approach to governmental justice demands creativity on the part of the local elements who would lead and govern. Happily, it's the Republican Party that strives for creativity on the local level, that encourages and develops it. The Republican Party sees the challenges of the world with clear eyes and recognizes the difference between the totalitarians and the freedom fighters and rejects the former and hails the latter.

And finally, it's the Republican Party that has stood up, with the help of many Democrats, for SDI, our strategic space shield. They call it Star Wars; there's nothing in that, descriptive of what we're talking about. We're talking about a defensive shield that won't hurt people, but will knock down nuclear weapons before they can hurt people. We will go forward with seeing if it cannot be made into a great protector of our people and the people of the world. It could be the device, if the research pans out -- we can perfect this -- it could be the thing that would eliminate nuclear weapons because they wouldn't have any use any more. Demands to abandon a program with real potential for strengthening deterrence and enhancing Western security do not deal with the real issue of peace. What we need are good-faith discussions, and we're seeking to discuss even now with the Soviets in Geneva the vital relationship between strategic offense and defense. I see where he made a statement in a recent interview, where he said that he did not believe that the God above could have done something -- would prevent the people of the world from doing something for themselves. And I have to believe if he's talking to God we ought to be able to get along, because so am I.

But much is at stake when we talk about the principles of our party. And much is at stake when we ask New Jersey to get out there and elect a Republican assembly. It'll be another step toward the political realignment that's been going on for a few years now and that needs an extra push from your wonderful State. And remember the whole country will be watching. What you do in a few weeks will make a difference. And I just want to thank all of you for caring and sharing your time. You're the troops of a mighty movement, you are the movement, and God bless you all.

And I thank you kindly for your reception here today. I was here, as I say, just a few months ago, and I'll be back again soon. I love New Jersey!

Note: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel. He was introduced by Gov. Thomas H. Kean. Following his remarks, the President attended a reception at the hotel for major donors to the State Republican Party. He then returned to Washington, DC.