Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session via Satellite to Republican Campaign Events
October 18, 1982
The President. Good evening to all you Republicans out there.
Since I couldn't personally get to each district during the campaign this year, the RNC [Republican National Committee] came up with this marvelous means of beaming me out to gatherings all over the country. An engineer explained to me how my signal is bounced from here to a satellite and then back to all of you. I admit, I found it a little confusing. It was like listening to Walter Mondale trying to explain Teddy Kennedy.
Anyway, with this technology, I feel like a genie that's been let out of the bottle. And it's good to be out campaigning among my fellow Republicans this evening.
Even though we've made tremendous electronic advances, engineers still haven't been able to design a satellite that can knock on doors, lick envelopes, and turn out the troops. Politics still depends on people -- people at the grassroots like all of you out there tonight. You make the difference in every election. And you're going to make the difference in this one as well.
I'm upbeat about November 2d, because our candidates are good, like the ones we're supporting tonight. And, in spite of what you sometimes hear on the news, I believe the issues are on our side -- for example, the economy. Rather than running away from the economic issue, I think the real economic record is in our favor if we can just get the truth out. The economy is a banner we can wave, not something to hide behind. We Republicans are doing a good job cleaning up a mess that built up for decades. And I'm genuinely convinced the American people understand that and will show it on election day.
As I said in a broadcast like this to Republicans in other States last week, the economic issue that the opposition is trying to bully us is like the bully himself -- once you stand up to him, he slinks away. Five economic problems were beating this country over the head when we came to Washington 20 months ago: runaway spending; double-digit inflation -- 2 years of it, back to back, for the first time in 60 years; the highest, worst interest rates in a hundred years; the highest peacetime tax burden in our history as a nation; and high unemployment. Well, we made dramatic gains on four of those five problems.
The good news Republicans can run on is that an inflation rate that reached a peak of 18 percent in January of 1980 has been cut to 5.1 percent for the first 8 months of this year. The prime interest rate that reached 21\1/2\ percent before we came to office has now been knocked down to 12 percent. And we're not finished with it yet.
More good news -- Republicans can run on this -- the cut in growth of government spending by nearly two-thirds, 17 percent a year, down to 6 percent. And we will have cut income tax rates a total of 25 percent by next July. And last month, auto sales went up by 8\1/2\ percent. If you want more good news, look at what the stock and bond markets are doing as confidence returns to Wall Street and Main Street investors from coast to coast.
Just today, I had a meeting with some venture capital investors. These people invest in the future. They told me that we set a record last year -- $1.4 billion for venture capital investments in small business. In 1977 there was less than 50 million for such purposes. That 1.4 billion means jobs -- jobs in new industries that will provide long-term employment. And the data, so far, indicates that we're going to top last year's figures this year.
The momentum for recovery is building. For too long, the economy was a locomotive that had been rolling backward down the hill. Well, we've stopped that slide, and we're once again heading upward toward better times. You can feel America's economic engines begin to rev up again. The economy is on the move. And, if I may say so, politically we're on the move, too.
Yes, there are still tough economic problems, especially that tragic unemployment rate. Unfortunately, unemployment is always just about the last to feel a recovery. But we're going to beat unemployment, just as we're beating the rest of our economic problems. And when we get it licked this time, it's going to stay licked, because the recovery will be a real one, not an artificial quick fix trumped up by Washington's big spenders.
We're turning things around, and we'll turn them around even faster with the new Republicans we'll elect this fall, which is what we're all gathering for tonight.
So, before I turn this over to questions, I just want to say thank you for all you're doing at the local level and the precinct level. And thanks again for working for these fine Republican candidates. They're the kind of conscientious and principled public leaders America needs. And I look forward to working with them in the next Congress.
Here with me this evening is another good Republican helping to elect other Republicans, my political adviser, Ed Rollins.
Mr. Rollins. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. It's true; it's a privilege for me to be here and to be with all of our dear friends and supporters out there -- and their grassroots supporters.
I think it's most fitting that we begin the evening by going out to see our good friend, Congressman George O'Brien, in the heartland of America -- your old home base, Joliet, Illinois, which isn't too far from Eureka. As you know, George was first elected to Congress in 1972 after a very distinguished career in the State legislature out there. He graduated with a law degree from Yale University. And, most important to us in this coming year, he sits on that very key House Appropriations Committee for us.
Now, I know the format, Mr. President, they're supposed to ask us questions. But George has got over 300 people wearing Indian headbands tonight. And, as one Irishman to another, I mean, I wonder why he's doing that instead of shamrocks. [Laughter]
The first question here for George is Tom Feehand, who is a good supporter of yours. He is a former president of the Chamber of Commerce there, the Boys Club, the Will County Bar Association, who's there with his lovely wife, Beverly, who's a former Miss Illinois.
Sanctions Against the Soviet Union
Mr. Feehand. Mr. President?
The President. Yes, Tom?
Mr. Feehand. Good evening. My question, sir, for you is a tough one. Illinois' biggest employer is the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Caterpillar has been badly hurt by your trade sanctions against Russia. And thousands of workers in Joliet have been laid off. Yet, the sanctions haven't helped Poland a bit and haven't hurt the Soviet Union. Isn't it time to lift those sanctions?
The President. Tom, our sanctions have hurt the Soviet Union, and will hurt them even more. Actually -- and I know, of course, that they have hurt some of our companies here at home. They've hurt in that that gas pipeline, when completed, is going to earn billions of dollars in hard, cold cash every year for the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union, right now, is very hard pressed economically. This is going to make it possible for them to continue their great military buildup.
Now, I know Caterpillar very well -- I went to school 20 miles away from Caterpillar -- and I'm sorry about what has happened. But I do want to point out that these sanctions are not the sole reason for Caterpillar's trouble. A lot of their trouble -- and probably more than resulting from the sanctions -- is some unfair competition coming from some of our friends and allies and other countries abroad. And our Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Commerce, our foreign trade representative, Bill Brock, and others here are planning to meet with Caterpillar's executives about what we can do to equal things out, because I believe in free trade, but I believe in fair trade. And I don't think that Caterpillar or any other American company should be penalized by unfairness in the rules that are laid down and the obstacles to international trade. So, we can help in that way.
Now, let me just say one thing, also, about the sanctions. We didn't set out to have that as our principle thing that we could do to the Soviet Union to show our anger about what they're promoting in Poland. We sent representatives to Europe to talk to our allies about some other things that we believe could be more punishing to the Soviet Union than these sanctions. And we couldn't get agreement on those.
We're trying again. If we can get a better set of restrictions other than the sanctions, we will be willing to lift those sanctions.
Mr. Rollins. Well, Mr. President, I know, as difficult as it is there, the real, key issue in this campaign, I think, is jobs. And I think it's very important for our candidates and good incumbents like George to go out and debate with the Democrats, and just ask them what they've offered as alternatives. There really aren't any alternatives. And I think someone like George O'Brien out leading the charge will do a very effective job for us.
The President. Yes.
Mr. Rollins. As difficult as it is to leave Illinois, our next stop is Honolulu, Hawaii, where the friends and supporters of State Senator Andy Anderson, who's our Republican nominee for Governor out there, are having a little hoedown or whatever they call it out there in the Big Island.
Andy, as you know, is a State senator who forged a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to take control of the State senate. And he has an old friend of yours, Stu Spencer, running his campaign, who tells me it's one of the best shots we have in the country of picking up a seat.
The President. Well, that'll be great.
Mr. Rollins. Andy, himself, would like to ask you a question.
Sugar Price Supports
Mr. Anderson. Mr. President, in this small State, we have 8,000 people and 17,000 directly and indirectly involved in sugar, with over 200,000 acres in sugar. Can Hawaii continue to count on the administration's aggressive support for the farm bill as it relates to sugar?
The President. We have no intention of asking for any changes in that farm program that we have -- the quota program. This was passed by the Congress and has been implemented, and as far as I know, it's going to continue that way. So, you can reassure our friends there in the canefields.
Mr. Rollins. Andy, I just want to ask you -- I hope Stu Spencer's not just laying on the beach and is really helping you win out there. [Laughter]
As difficult as it is to leave Hawaii, Mr. President, we now move on to Hilton Head, South Carolina, which is the home of our good friend Congressman Tommy Hartnett.
Tommy, as you know, is a former State senator in the State legislature in South Carolina who's president of the freshman class -- the 54 freshmen Republicans who gave you such tremendous support. And I don't know if we could do the job as effectively without Tommy's support. So, I know he's in a tough race, and we want him back here. And like someone else I know, he was a former Democrat who saw the light.
Asking the question down there, Mr. President, is Pete Hall, who's the precinct county chairman of Beaufort, South Carolina.
The President. Pete?
Mr. Hall. Hello, Mr. President? This is my question. Critics of the President and critics of Republicans in the Congress have called our party ``cold-hearted.'' They have accused you of being an unfeeling social program cutter whose economic policies are causing needless sufferings on Americans. Sir, what is the real story?
The President. Well, the real story, Pete, is that that is a dishonest charge, and many of them making it know that. Let me just point something out about this supposed fairness.
When many of these great social reforms and programs were passed, aiming at helping the truly needy, then the bureaucracy begins to expand and wants to grow and empire build. Having taken care of the people that are really in need, there's only one way they can expand the program. They begin to raise the standards for eligibility so that people who don't have that real need are getting benefits. All of the cuts that we have made in such programs are aimed at taking people off those programs that really are not morally justified or materially justified in being there. They don't have real need of the program. We have not cut the programs down at the bottom.
In our budget this year, we will be -- the government will be buying 95 million meals a day. We will be providing medical care for 99 percent of our senior citizens. Around 5 million college students will be getting help from the Federal Government; 18 million people getting food stamps; 10 million families will be getting help in their housing.
But on fairness, let me point something out. In the decade of the seventies, the biggest welfare programs -- the Aid for Dependent Children program, in the decade of the seventies, our opponents were successful in raising the grants a full one-third, supposedly to keep pace with inflation. But in that same decade, they didn't keep pace, and the people on Aid for Dependent Children program, in spite of a one-third raise, actually their purchasing power with those benefit dollars dropped a full one-third.
Now, let me point something out. Today a family that is at the poverty level of income, not on welfare, they are getting almost $600 more in purchasing power because of what we've done to reduce inflation. If the Federal Government had a program to deliver 600 additional dollars to them, the Federal Government would spend about $1,800 to do it. That's how much administrative overhead there is in many of those programs.
So, we think that it was far more fair for us to give them that additional purchasing power to restore additional purchasing power that was going down and make it increase to the people on welfare, because their welfare dollars will now buy several hundred dollars more than they would before. We think that this is fair and that what they were doing might have -- they might have talked a fair game, but the people that were being hurt worst were the people that they claimed to be helping with all of their good intentions.
Mr. Rollins. Mr. President, you're so right, and it's so very, very necessary for Tommy and all of his freshmen colleagues to get reelected and come back here and help us in order so we can continue to carry on this program.
The President. Yes.
Mr. Rollins. We now move on to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we have an outstanding candidate who's running for the Colorado Third District, Mr. Tom Weins. Tom is an owner and operator of a radio station, is an old radio man. You understand some of the problems that he may have. But he also owns a construction company and a chain of ski rentals and just is an outstanding candidate, one of the best we have in the country.
Asking the question at Grand Junction will be former Colorado State Representative Bill Foster.
Mr. Foster. Good evening, Mr. President.
The President. Evening, Bill.
Mr. Foster. We in western Colorado share your views on keeping the Government out of the private sector. But after studying the key role that energy plays in the national financial and defense security, it is apparent that the national interest must be considered on a longer term basis than the private sector can economically, feasibly consider.
Therefore, I am asking that with regard to the development of oil from shale and the temporary market dislocations in uranium, which threaten to destroy the domestic uranium mining industry, if the Government should not be interested in helping to close the gap for the initial development of technology in the shale and some measures, such as quotas, to prevent the complete destruction of the domestic uranium mining industry.
The President. Bill, we have helped, do mean to help, but we want it to be practical and necessary. We helped in three major synfuel projects, one of them there in Colorado. One of the three failed in spite of our help. But now we know that in that regard and with regard to shale, that there are companies proceeding on their own and able to do that. In fact, one is evidently having some great breakthroughs and great success, maybe others -- but this one I happen to know of, won't name it right now.
With regard to uranium, I believe in nuclear power. And I think it's been unnecessarily obstructed by a few antinuclear power activists. We think that by changing some cumbersome and useless regulations -- and I don't mean making it more dangerous or cutting down on safety factors, but some of the things that have enabled these activists to interfere with the development of more nuclear power -- in removing those obstacles that we can encourage continued development and more development of nuclear power. And that will take care of the uranium situation there.
Mr. Rollins. Well, good luck, Tom, and we now need to move on, Mr. President, to another outstanding candidate, going to Provo, Utah.
Utah, as you know very well, is the home of our two outstanding Senators, Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, who I know the citizens there are going to send back. And they have two Congressmen, we presently have, Jim Hansen and Dan Marriott, who have been good strong supporters of ours -- and because of that, I think that they were rewarded with a new district this time. And our outstanding candidate in that new district and reapportionment is Howard Nielson.
Howard is the kind of guy we really need back here. He's a professor of business at Brigham Young University, former speaker of the Utah Legislature, and most important, he was chairman of the budget audit committee. And we need somebody back here who understands how to keep budgets balanced.
Asking the question will be a local businessman from Provo, Utah -- Mr. Earl Cook.
The President. Earl?
Mr. Cook. Mr. President.
The President. Yes.
Mr. Cook. Less than a year ago, there were less than 4,700 oil drilling rigs operating in the United States. Today there are less than 2,400 and declining weekly. Does it not appear that it is in the best interests of some of the larger major oil companies, such as the Aramco group, to try and increase their domestic reserves while their foreign production continues to decline? We all know that their foreign oil production and sales gives them greater profitability and return on investment.
Do you have any plans in the immediate future to limit foreign imports or require special foreign oil import licenses on imported oil to encourage continued domestic exploration and production to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil?
The President. Earl, I don't believe that that is the answer to this problem. As a matter of fact, there are more rigs, still, with the great reduction this year, working than there were in any year before 1980. And our decontrol, getting government out of interfering with the energy industry, is what led to that great upsurge in domestic production. In 1980 we were importing 37 percent of our oil. We're now only importing 28 percent. It was 47 percent import as close as 1977.
What we think has happened and -- well, in fact, we know -- and has closed down a number of those rigs, happens to be the same thing that's causing all of our problems with regard to unemployment in the economy: high interest rates. This has made it uneconomic for a number of these newer drillings and rigs to continue producing. So, we're looking for ways to increase this by bringing down inflation and, thus, bringing down those interest rates. And we think that this will result in more.
But I just want to remind you that by getting the Government out of the business, that is what led to the development. And I remember when all of our critics over on the other side of the aisle told us that gasoline prices will go up to $2 a gallon if we decontrolled oil. Well, it didn't happen. We decontrolled oil, and prices went down for gasoline.
So, I think that we're on the right track by keeping government out of the energy field. And we're going to try to do more of that.
Mr. Rollins. When we get Howard back here next January, Mr. President, we'll certainly be able to move forward on that agenda.
We now move on to Atlanta, Georgia, where we have an outstanding candidate, Dick Winder. Dick is president of an independent insurance company, a former Marine Corps officer, president of the American Cancer Society in the State of Georgia. But, unfortunately, Mr. President, we'll have to wait a little longer than November 2d. In Georgia, because of reapportionment in the courts, we have to wait till November 30th to get Dick elected to the Congress. But we're willing to wait.
Dick's going to ask the question.
Mr. Winder. Good evening, Mr. President.
The President. Good evening, Dick.
Mr. Winder. It's a pleasure to talk to you tonight, and we are most anxious to know how you feel about the November 2d election. We hear a lot about what George Gallup says and also Dick Wirthlin, and we're very interested in how you feel that we will do on November 2d, with just 15 days left to go.
The President. Well, of those pollsters you named, I listen to Dick Wirthlin most of all. But I am optimistic.
We all know that tradition has it that the party that gets the White House, 2 years later then in this bielection, is supposed to lose a great many seats. I think we're going to do better than tradition calls for. We've got good candidates all over the country, and we've got the funding. And I think the issues are with us, the issues on the economy. Just as I said earlier, because four out of five, we're scoring. And the one that we are still waiting on, unemployment, has always been the last to come back.
Incidentally, with all of those people that are jumping on us about the unemployment and wanting to lay it on our backs, you might be interested to know that the rate of increase in this recession of unemployment was just about the same as the rate of increase in unemployment in all the seven recessions that have taken place since World War II, previous to this one. So, we know that now that interest rates are coming down -- and inflation is bringing them down, the cut in inflation -- we know that we can look forward to an improvement in that particular thing.
So, I don't think the American people are fooled by some of the demogoguery that's coming at us from the other side. I think we're going to do pretty good.
Mr. Rollins. Good luck, Dick, both on November 2d and on November 30th.
Mr. President, we now move on to Suffolk County, New York. We have an outstanding candidate, Paul Costello. And Paul has a very unique background, and we certainly can use him here to help us. Paul is the inspector general of the Suffolk County Welfare Association, former vice president of the State Welfare Fraud Investigators Association, and Paul himself will ask you the question.
Mr. Costello. Mr. President.
The President. Yes, Paul.
Mr. Costello. Good evening from Reagan Territory, U.S.A.
The President. Thank you.
Mr. Costello. I'm here -- [applause] -- you just got a whole hand. I'm here with my mother, Margaret, who is a widow on a fixed income living in rental housing. The cost of housing has increased year after year with future generations being confronted with a lack of decent, affordable housing. My question, Mr. President: Do you have a program dealing with affordable housing? And, if so, what aspects of this program deal specifically with senior citizens?
The President. All right. First of all, of course, is the obvious one, the interest rates, and as they come down, housing gets more affordable. But we're gone beyond that.
As a matter of fact, Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Pierce has been working with builders and with local and State officials having to do with regulations and so forth on the building of housing. And they have been working at some experiments that, so far, have shown they can reduce the cost of the kind of housing we're talking about by about 20 percent. And that is quite a considerable accomplishment.
Also, now, they are working and working through the title 8 program with regard to building of rental properties, particularly for senior citizens, that will be smaller than something that has been built in the past. And for many senior citizens, that is desirable. They don't want needless space, and they do want an easy-to-care-for and affordable rental space. And so, that will further reduce the cost of producing housing of the kind that you're talking about.
Mr. Rollins. Mr. President, we now move on to Texas, the 14th Congressional District there, and we have Joe Wyatt. And Joe, as you know, is a former Congressman from Texas who was elected as a Democrat in 1978, chose not to run again as a Democrat in 1980, and retired voluntarily, and is now coming back to run as a Republican. And we think it's one of our best shots in the country. And we really want to not only welcome to the party but welcome back as a Republican Congressman.
Asking the question at Joe's fundraiser will be Pat Jarvis, who's a strong supporter of yours.
Ms. Jarvis. Good evening, Mr. President, from Reagan country in Sequin, Texas.
The President. Well, good evening, Pat.
Ms. Jarvis. My question to you is -- the people here in this part of Texas are hard-working, commonsense conservatives, who, polls show, overwhelmingly support your economic program. But last year, Congressman Patman ranked with Congressman Mickey Leland and Henry B. Gonzalez in fighting against your economic program. How does it affect people here who support you when they have a Congressman fighting your program?
The President. Oh, Pat, as a former Democrat myself, let me really answer this one.
To have them fighting against that program, when they have no alternative except to go back to the programs which they themselves put into effect for the last two or three decades, and which caused the problems and the trillion-dollar debt and so forth -- here's what happened.
Let's take our economic program. We called for three 10-percent installments in cuts in the income tax to be retroactive to January 1st of 1981. We got on the first one, 5 percent, but not going into effect until October 1st, all those -- about 8 months later.
Then we had some further setbacks in not getting all of the spending cuts we wanted. And this was because in the House the majority is Democrat and under Democrat leadership, and they name all the chairmen of the committees and the majority to the committees.
We see such things as the balanced budget amendment and Tip O'Neill's leadership, they had that amendment bottled up in a committee in the House for over a year. The Senate passed it by a two-thirds majority, and finally on the last day of this session, before they recessed for the campaign, it was brought to the floor by 218 signatures on a recall petition. They never would have let it out. But then, having it brought to the floor that way, they brought up a phony amendment that would never work so that their Members could go home and say that they had voted for a balanced budget amendment, even though it failed. And then when that one was roundly defeated and the regular amendment came up on the floor, before we had time to marshal people like yourselves to let their Congressmen know what they wanted, it failed. It got a majority. But it takes a two-thirds majority for an amendment. So, it didn't pass.
We're going to get it again. And to get it again, we need Joe Wyatt. We need candidates, we need Congressmen there who will provide the votes that we need to give the people what 80 percent of you have said you wanted in the polls. And that is a constitutional amendment that requires the Congress to balance the budget.
Mr. Rollins. It'll be nice, Mr. President, having Joe Wyatt here, having had a little experience in the Congress. When we bring 30 or 40 new freshmen Republican Congressmen here in January, Joe will be able to show them around a little bit.
The President. Yup.
Mr. Rollins. For our last visit, Mr. President, tonight, we're going to go to St. Louis, Missouri, and we're going to be there with Mayor Harold Dielmann, who's our candidate in the Missouri Second District. Harold is the mayor of Creve Coeur, and while there he's cut taxes three times, while he was the mayor there. He's a former president of the St. Louis County Municipal League, and that's the kind of local official we need to have here in Washington. Harold's going to ask you the question himself.
The President. All right.
Mayor Dielmann. Good evening. [Applause]
The President. That sounds good, Harold. [Laughter]
Balanced Budget Amendment
Mayor Dielmann. Well, we're going to tell you all about the new home of the future St. Louis Cardinals here, the world champions, we hope, coming up in a couple of days here.
I'm holding in my hand here, Mr. President, a letter that was sent to all our constituents in our district by my opponent, stating how much he likes the balanced budget and how he actually sponsored the House bill number 350. And this letter is dated September 27th. And 4 days later, October 1st, he voted against the balanced budget. So, those kind of people we really don't need in Washington.
I guess what I'm wondering is: Do you think we can get the balanced budget passed next year? And what can we do to help you?
The President. We're going to try when they come back. I don't know whether we can get it in the special session that we're calling after the election. There's going to be a pretty full plate right then, but we're going to try. And I know that Barber Conable is ready with such a bill. But if not then, when they come back, in the regular session in January we'll go at it again. Only this time, what you can do to help is -- and you all know that out there -- and that is, when you tell the Congress that you want something -- by mail, by wire, by phone call, by meeting them on the street if they're home for a weekend or something, but turn the pressure on. I have sometimes said it isn't necessary to make them see the light; it's only necessary to make them feel the heat.
Now, that's what we did to get our economic reform program. We never would have gotten it if you, the people, had not stormed Congress and let them know that you were watching and counting the vote. And this is what we need to get the congressional amendment.
Mr. Rollins. Well, unfortunately, Mr. President, we don't -- --
The President. Well, listen, let me say -- I know what you're going to say. You're going to say that -- let's take one more, huh?
Mr. Rollins. Okay. Well, Mr. President, then we'll go to Tallahassee, Florida, where we have an outstanding candidate, Ron McNeil, from the Florida Second Congressional District. He's president and founder of the American Sports Company. And we hope to have him here in January with us. And he's going to ask the question himself.
[At this point, technical difficulties prevented the transmission of Mr. McNeil's question. When the problem was resolved, Mr. McNeil continued.]
Mr. McNeil. Mr. President?
The President. Yes.
Mr. McNeil. I want to compliment you on your efforts to regain control of our Federal Government. We'll be there to help you shortly.
We'd appreciate it if you would clear up something for us once and for all. Mr. Fuqua, the incumbent Congressman in north Florida, tries to talk like a conservative when he's campaigning and like he's supporting your programs for economic recovery. Yet his voting record just doesn't support those claims. It must be frustrating, Mr. President, to have Congressmen who work against your programs and then come back to their districts and mislead the voters, saying they support you. What advice can you give us to help overcome these deceptive practices?
The President. You know, Ron, this is something that, down through the years, has bothered me very much, and that is the cynical individuals in government who recognize that people out there -- all of you there who are listening, you're busy with your own occupations and activities and you don't have the time to follow up. So, they come home and they make a speech to the local Chamber or something or in a campaign they do as this Congressman Fuqua is doing. They state what they believe and so forth, and people go out and say, ``Well, I agree with that,'' and vote for them. And they don't -- they know cynically that they can get away with that when it doesn't match their voting record.
The only answer is, all of us have got to pay more attention. We've got to look up, as you have done, obviously, what that voting record is and make sure that they are the same in Washington as they are when they're back home in the district. And if we'll all do that, we can pin 'em down and make 'em a little more honest on that.
But it's been -- well, maybe, that's one of the reasons why I'm an ex-Democrat. I just didn't like that that was going on. But it has been going on. And the thing is, most of all in this election that we must pin on them is this: What is their alternative to the things that we're doing? What would they do?
You know, there wasn't a question that let me answer this tonight, but let me just point something out. The closest they've come to saying something they'd do is talking about the expensive social programs, job programs, make-work programs that they always have passed in previous recessions as a quick fix to get us out of the recession. Only, when the recession was over, unemployment ended up higher than it was before the recession, and it's kept on going uphill all that way. Over just a few-year period on that kind of program, they spent in one of those efforts $66 billion, and unemployment went up. Now, we're trying to get unemployment to go up [down] (White House correction) and I think we're going to succeed by getting inflation and interest rates and government spending to come down.
So, I hope that does it. And pin his ears back.
Mr. Rollins. Mr. President -- --
The President. Now, wait a minute. Now, there is only one more.
Mr. Rollins. I know there's only one more, and as an old athlete, I know you'll never let me cut off a guy who was a former athletic director. That's our great candidate Bill Cobey in North Carolina, the North Carolina Fourth Congressional District. Bill, as you knew, used to be the athletic director at the University of North Carolina. He's now a consultant there for intercollegiate athletics. He's going to be a Congressman next January. And I know I'm not supposed to say this, but we may even come visit him the next couple of weeks in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Asking the question there is K. D. Kennedy, who is president of the Electric Supply Company, who is a Democrat for the first time supporting and working for a Republican congressional candidate, because he thinks you're doing such a great job.
The President. Oh.
Mr. Kennedy. Mr. President, thank you so much for being such a strong leader, and thank you for letting us be on tonight, too. We thought we were going to get bumped there for a minute.
The President. Well, Mr. Kennedy, I, too, was where you are now once, as I've said before here. I know your feelings, and I'm grateful to you, and thank you for the kind words.
Economic Recovery Program
Mr. Kennedy. Thank you so much, sir.
Our candidate, Bill Cobey, is a strong supporter of a balanced Federal budget. What do we have to do to get a balanced budget amendment passed in the House of Representatives, and how will that affect your plan for economic recovery, which is already underway?
The President. Well, it definitely will help that program, because I can tell you the leadership in the House has made it very plain that if they can muster enough of a majority, they're going to try to cancel out the third installment of the tax cut, which is a very real and definite part. Next July 1st we're supposed to have another 10-percent cut in the income tax. And they want to cancel that.
There are other things that they want to change also. And just as of today the Speaker of the House finally has suggested as an alternative to what we're doing, actually has come out with a demand that they pass bills to spend money on make-work programs and so forth -- the same thing they've done in all these past seven recessions, none of which ever had any permanent effect.
So, the thing we need is, you send Bill Cobey up here to Washington. And all over, all you other groups there, make sure that we get more Republican Congressmen in the House. We could not have had the economic recovery program and the cuts that we've now had in spending and taxes and the cuts in taxes and the reduction of inflation and all if we did not have a Republican majority in the Senate.
Now, I don't know whether we can get a majority all at once in the House, but we can work toward it. And we can get more votes and more people there who will continue to support these programs that are working. So, all of you, be missionaries. Get out there, tell the fellow next door, tell the people in the locker room, tell everyone you can, what is needed if we're to bring this country back.
Mr. Rollins. Mr. President, unfortunately we don't have any more time. But there are 10 additional campaigns out there, and I'd like to just quickly run through them for you, that have been tuned in all night.
Congressman Skip Bafalis, who's been an outstanding supporter of ours, who's running for Governor in Florida; Congressman Bill Thomas, House Member out in California; Shirley Gissendanner, who is an outstanding candidate in San Diego running for the House. Joan Houchen, who's a House candidate in the State of Washington; John Mahoney, who's a House candidate in the State of New Jersey; Pete Collumb, who's one of our Texas congressional candidates; Keith Pillich, who's a candidate in New York; Ray Redington, who's a House candidate in New Jersey; Tom Trimarco, who's a House candidate in Massachusetts. And our good friend, former Congressman Bill Royer, who we hope to get reelected and come back here and serve in the House from California.
The President. Those are all good candidates, and I'm sorry that we haven't been able to personally visit with all of those other meetings, where they are present. But it's been an enjoyable evening for me certainly. And never let it be said that we Republicans aren't generous to our opposition. If they want to hold one of these high-tech events, we'll even give them the two Dixie cups and 10 miles of string. [Laughter]
But, in closing, I just want to say how essential all of you are to our cause. It's an old truth, but every vote does count. And the results of this election will hinge perhaps more than anything else on voter turnout. The basic job of identifying supporters and getting them to the polls is still one of the most important in politics. Technology like we're enjoying tonight can't replace the hard work of getting out the vote.
As I've said, I believe we're going to do well. We've got fine candidates, a wide base of contributors, and efficient party organization. And we've got good issues -- issues the people of this nation truly care about. It's up to you Republicans at the grassroots to make sure that the voters understand how important the choice is this year. The choice is between going back to old policies that didn't work or going ahead in the new direction that we've set.
We're on a new road now, a road that is leading America to better times. Unless we have the courage to stay on course and defeat our economic problems now, we'll never have lasting recovery, and our problems will grow worse than before.
Well, I intend to stay the course, and we're going to succeed. But we need your support. So, please promise me that you will mobilize and get out the vote for a great Republican victory on November 2d.
As I said last week on television, it isn't an easy job, this challenge to rebuild America and renew the American dream. But we can do it. Throughout our history we Americans have proven again and again that no challenge is too big for a free, united people. Together we can do it again, and we can start making those dreams come true by electing Republican candidates to office. We couldn't have done what we have, as I said, without out majority in the Senate. Think what we can do with more Republicans in the House.
Thank you again, and God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 7:37 p.m. from the Washington, D.C., studios of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His remarks and the question-and-answer session were carried live to the campaign events.