Remarks at a Senate Campaign Fundraiser for Representative Ken Kramer in Denver, Colorado
September 8, 1986
Thank you all very much, and, Ken, thank you for those very generous words. It's great to be here in Mile High City. You make me feel a mile high with that applause. You know, when I say it's great to be here, sometimes the scheduling has been such that for events of this kind I have not been able to attend except by telephone. Missed me [referring to a loud background noise]. [Laughter] As I say, there was a time when something of this kind -- I could only participate by telephone. And I owe it to Tim Wirth. He fixed that. [Laughter]
Before I begin my formal remarks today, let me first speak to a subject of great importance: The continuing Soviet detention of an innocent American is an outrage. Whatever the Soviet motive, whether it's to intimidate enterprising journalists or to trade him for one of their spies that we have caught redhanded, this action violates the standards of civilized international behavior. There will be no trade. Through several channels, we've made our position clear. The Soviet Union is aware of how serious the consequences will be for our relations if Nick Daniloff is not set free. I call upon the Soviet authorities to act responsibly and quickly so that our two countries can make progress on the many other issues on our agenda, solving existing problems instead of creating new ones. Otherwise, there will be no way to prevent this incident from becoming a major obstacle in our relations.
Now, flying in here and looking out the window at the mountains below, I knew what Dizzy Gillespie meant when he said of Colorado: ``If this ain't paradise, then heaven can wait.'' It's so beautiful here that Nancy and I wish we could stay longer. But as you know, Congress is coming back in session, and somebody's got to be there to keep an eye on them. [Laughter] It's great to be here and wonderful to see so many old friends and supporters: Bill Armstrong, one of the strongest voices in the United States Senate; Colorado's excellent team of Representatives, Mike Strang, Hank Brown, and Dan Schaefer. You've really struck gold with those guys. State Chairman Bo Callaway and the Colorado Republican leadership are doing a great job for the party in this State. And then there are congressional candidates Mike Norton, Joe Wood, and Joel Hefley. They're in the finest tradition of the GOP -- now in my book these letters stand for growth, opportunity, and patriotism. With candidates like these, I can't help but think the party of growth, opportunity, and patriotism is going to be making real gains in the House in '86. And we're going to go for it.
It's a real pleasure to be here in the Robert F. Six Operations Center. Bob Six and his wife, Audrey Meadows, have been good friends of Nancy's and mine for many years. And it's good to see dear old friends, Joe and Holly Coors, whose generosity and dedication to the cause have helped turn faith in the individual and freedom from a little pure mountain spring to the mainstream of political thought in this country. Joe and Holly, America is grateful.
You know, having been a Governor myself for some time, I think I recognize good material when I see it, and Ted Strickland is the best. He'll be a proud and independent chief executive for a proud and independent State. I would give him one little word here, if I might, in my own experience. When I became Governor of California, I inherited a situation that was just about as bad as the Nation was in 1980, and as the weeks went on and the language rose and rose and every day there seemed to be a new problem. One day I was on my way into the capitol, and I was listening to the car radio. A disc jockey came on, and he said something that won my heart. 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 as I mentioned at the rally just a few minutes ago outside, this is a watershed year in Colorado. With Ted and Kathy Arnold, we offer the kind of strong leadership this State wants in the coming years, the kind of leadership that Colorado deserves.
And you know, the sweeping vistas of Colorado, I have been told, were the inspiration for the song "America, the Beautiful.'' With leaders like these and the hard work and generosity of so many others of you here today, I know that Colorado will help inspire a great and beautiful future for America. But we're, all of us, here today because we know that we can't take that future for granted, because there are some who still want to put America full speed in reverse -- back to when big government, taxes, and inflation were destroying our economy and weakness abroad made America a punching bag for every penny-ante dictator. 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 still addicted to big government, high taxes, and inflation. Remember when they kept telling us a little inflation was good for us, that it kept us prosperous? Well, they're just itching to repeal our tax cuts, to replace our opportunity society with a welfare state. And their foreign policy is still the same: If you need money, slash defense, and always, always blame America first. The Democratic leadership would chart the most dangerous course for a nation since the Egyptians tried to take a shortcut through the Red Sea. [Laughter] This election in 1986 will be a crucial moment of decision for our country: Will liberal policies return us to the days of malaise, or will America continue down the road of progress?
The answer to that question depends more than anything else on one thing: electing Senators who are progrowth, prodefense, and pro-America. It means sending Ken Kramer to Washington as United States Senator from the great State of Colorado. Ken Kramer has a proven record in Congress. He's been one of our frontline Congressmen in the battle to bring America back. And I've said it a few times before, but I think it's worth repeating: America is back! And with Ken's help in the United States Senate, we're going to keep her standing tall and proud and free.
During his years in Congress, Ken helped build the opportunity society, and he's been an untiring advocate of a strong America. Today America is once again united in hope and strong in purpose. We've squashed inflation, and we're keeping it squashed. For the last 12 months it's been running at about 1.6 percent, which is almost a tenth of what it was -- or a little more than a tenth of what it was 51/2 years ago. And we're keeping the doors of that opportunity society open with tax reform. We're cutting tax rates further, making the tax system fairer and, as a result, spurring on the economic expansion that has already created over 11\1/2\ million new jobs.
Today employment, the percentage of Americans working, is at a record high. I don't know how many people are aware -- I had to learn it myself after I got to Washington -- that the entire employment pool in America is considered to be everyone, male and female, 16 years of age and up all the way. And today 61.2 percent of all those Americans I've just named are employed, and that is the highest percentage of that pool employed in the history of the United States. Just last Friday we were able to announce that there were 111,852 million Americans with jobs, and we're not going to stop there. We're going to keep this country growing until every American who wants a job has a job. We still have problems to solve in such areas as our natural resources industries, but with people like Ken, we have a proven team to solve them.
We're rebuilding our defenses, speaking out loudly and clearly for human liberty, and working around the world to restore freedom and democracy. Once again America has regained its rightful role as leader of the free world. You know, of all the things that go with this job -- many to be proud of -- I'm more proud of the young men and women in uniform in our country than anything else. They're all volunteers -- they weren't drafted -- and they have the highest level of education ever in the history of the military. There are more high school graduates and more of them in the top percentage bracket of intelligence in the Armed Forces than we have ever known, even back in the days of stress when we used the draft. They're one fine group of young men and women. And let me say this: If we must ever ask our military personnel to put their lives on the line for us, we're not going to give them anything less than the top-quality equipment they need to get the job done.
Yes, we've come a long way from the days of malaise, but the next couple of years will decide whether all our progress since 1980 will be set in concrete or only written in the sand. Because if we don't keep control of the U.S. Senate, we're going to wake up one morning and find it all gone with the wind. The stakes couldn't be higher in this election, and Ken Kramer's race in Colorado is the key to our hopes. Because if we win here, we can be pretty positive of keeping control of the Senate, as he told you. And that means we can carry on America's second revolution of hope and opportunity, the revolution that couldn't have taken place in these last 5 1/2 years without the slight majority that we have in that one House -- the Senate. Whether we keep control of the Senate will mean the difference between 2 more years of moving forward or 2 years of stalemate and retrogression. I didn't go to Washington to be a 6-year President. I didn't seek reelection just to protect the gains of the first term. There are too many exciting challenges still before America and too much business that still must be completed in these next 2 years, and I don't want my hands tied by a totally hostile Congress. Together, we can and will win the Senate and keep our cause and our country moving ahead.
Colorado has a choice between two candidates. As you've just been told, one represents the party of the past, of wornout ideas and failed policies. The other, Ken Kramer's party, is the party of the future, the party of new ideas, hope, and progress. I ask the people of Colorado when they go to the polls: Remember your vote will have enormous impact way beyond the Rockies and the plains of eastern Colorado. Your vote can keep America from sinking back into those days of malaise, as they were called by my predecessor. Your vote can keep us on track, moving forward into a better future. And that's why we must keep the Senate Republican. That's why we must elect Senators who will vote for America's future. And that's why we have to send Ken Kramer to the United States Senate.
Now, we all know we're up against an opponent who has a habit of outspending his rivals in a big way, and this campaign is no exception. And as we used to say in the old Death Valley Days: He's piled up enough money to burn a wet mule. [Laughter] And that's why your support is so important. We've got to get our message out to the people of Colorado and let them know the facts about both candidates. Colorado doesn't need a Senator whose record 1 year was rated 95 percent by the ultraliberal ADA, who continually votes to slash defense, but who -- from a high-tech State like this one -- consistently votes to slash funds for Strategic Defense Initiative, a high-tech defense that offers the hope of a future free from the fear of nuclear attack. Now, I don't want anyone to think this is personal. But Ken's opponent has voted against me more times than Ted Kennedy, and that's saying something. [Laughter]
Colorado needs a Senator like Ken, who not only means what he says but is an effective advocate for the State of Colorado. A strong supporter of SDI from the beginning, he helped bring the strong scientific and defense community here, and he was instrumental in convincing the administration to put the major research center that will be the brain of SDI right here in Colorado. And that's real leadership. That's real leadership for Colorado and for America. Congratulations, Ken! Ken has also been a leader in conservation with the ``sodbuster'' bill, and he's been out in front in the effort to keep America energy-independent. So, really the choice is for a man who does what he says and has a voting record in Congress to prove it.
And let me give you just one example of the difference that Ken could make in the Senate. The great majority of Coloradans favor a balanced budget amendment. Thanks to Ken Kramer, Colorado has one. Well, earlier this year the Federal balanced budget amendment lost by one vote in the Senate. One Colorado Senator, Bill Armstrong, voted for it; the other voted against it. If you like what Bill is doing, why send someone to Washington who will just cancel his vote on things like that? Elect Ken Kramer so Colorado's interests can be promoted. Now, 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 the liberals who've taken control of that once great party don't represent the vast majority of hard-working, patriotic Democrats that can be found throughout America.
You know, I had a little personal experience that kind of illustrates what happened to the Democratic Party -- and I was one. I was the drum major of a boys band, and we were leading the Decoration Day parade in a nearby city or town to our hometown. And the fellow on the white horse who was the grand marshal of the parade rode back down the parade to see if everything was coming along right. And we kept on playing, and I kept waving that baton and marching, and all of a sudden the music began to sound rather faint. He'd come back up just in time to turn the band, and I was going down the street all alone, and the band had taken a turn to the right. Well, that's what happened to the Democratic Party. The leadership is still walking down the middle of the street alone. The party, the majority of them, have turned to the right. We must not mistake the rank and file of the Democrat Party for its liberal leadership. I'm grateful for all the help that some Democrats have given us these last few years. And I'm sure there must be some in this room. And some of them may be former Democrats as I am, and some maybe haven't made the change yet. We couldn't have been elected in 1980, we couldn't have brought America back, without your help, those of you who, perhaps, are former Democrats or still, but who have helped us. And you believe in the same values of family and faith and love of country.
I know how tough it can be to change parties. You know, I was working for Republican candidates for some time before I changed my registration. And they kind of took me for granted as a Republican. And I was speaking at a Republican fundraiser one evening, and right in the middle of my speech a woman stood up, right out in the middle of the audience, and she said, ``Have you reregistered yet?'' And I said, ``Well, no, but I'm going to.'' She says, ``I'm a registrar.'' And she walked right down the middle aisle, put the papers on the podium, and I signed up. [Laughter] Then I said, ``Where was I?'' But I remember that Winston Churchill once said when he was asked why he changed parties -- he said, ``Some men change principle for party, and some men change party for principle.''
But all I'm asking of the people of Colorado is to remember that the Governor, the Representatives, and Senators that you elect will determine the future of America -- your future. Here in Colorado you have a choice: to vote for a candidate of the past who wants to turn the clock back or a candidate of the future who wants to complete our revolution, to go forward with hope and faith in your hearts, forward to a future as big as your dreams, forward with Ken Kramer in the U.S. Senate. So, when you go to the polls this November, win one for Ken Kramer, win one for Ted Strickland, win one for Colorado's gold medal team of candidates for the House and the State legislature, win one for the great State of Colorado, and win one for America. And if you don't mind, win one for the Gipper!
Thank you all. Thank you, and God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at 1:44 p.m. at the Continental Airlines hangar at Stapleton International Airport. He was introduced by Mr. Kramer. In his opening remarks, the President referred to the arrest of U.S. News & World Report Moscow correspondent Nicholas Daniloff by the Soviets on August 30. Following his remarks at the fundraiser, the President returned to Washington, DC.