Remarks at a Senate Campaign Rally for Representative Ken Kramer in Colorado Springs, Colorado
October 30, 1986
The President. Thank you all. And Ken Kramer, thank you very much for that most gracious and generous introduction. And you know, the way all of you have been cheering, I thought maybe the Broncos had come in. But it is a pleasure to come here to Colorado Springs, home of one of our nation's finest and proudest institutions, the Air Force Academy. You know, I did a little research and discovered that the Academy was founded in 1954. Now, how do you like that? An august institution of higher learning that's younger than I am. In fact, flying in yesterday we had kind of an exciting moment. Our pilot, Air Force Colonel Ruddick wanted to do a loop-to-loop to show off to everybody down below. [Laughter] But there's a name for the pride and courage that the Academy instills, and the way I see it, it applies to all of Colorado Springs. It's called the right stuff.
Now, since I used to be a drum major of a boys band myself, I'd like to give some credit and my thanks to some groups that have been making beautiful music: the Cheyenne Mountain High School Band and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale.
It's an honor to share this platform today with so many of Colorado's finest. I'm sorry that Bill Armstrong, at the last minute, couldn't be with us. He's one of the strongest voices in the United States Senate. And then your fine Representatives: Mike Strang, Hank Brown, and Dan Schaefer, and the State GOP Chairman Bo Callaway. And then, there's your superb candidate for Governor, Ted Strickland, and his running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Arnold. And you have three great candidates for Congress: Mike Norton, Joe Wood, and Joel Hefley. Now, these are men in the finest tradition of the GOP. And in their case, GOP stands for growth, opportunity, and patriotism. You and I both need them in Denver and Washington. Can I count on you to help them get reelected and elected? [Applause] Now, this, of course, brings me to my friend, Ken Kramer. Now, I could refer to Ken as the outstanding Congressman from Colorado Springs, but doesn't it seem even better to talk about Ken Kramer, the next United States Senator from the great State of Colorado? [Applause]
And now, I can't help but see the young people here in the audience. And I have a special message for all of you. It's from my roommate. [Laughter] She says to tell you that when it comes to drugs, please -- for yourselves, for your families, for your future and your country -- just say no.
Audience. We love you, Ron!
The President. I've got to make a kind of personal greeting here, also, when I'm recognizing everyone. Because right down here in front with a sign, I've got some fraternity brothers -- TKE. I've discovered it really was what they told me: a fraternity for life.
Well, it's wonderful to be here in Colorado. And you know, as I often say to my staff when we're taking off in Air Force One, it's great to get out of Washington and get out back to where the real people are. You know, I probably couldn't do this much traveling when Congress was in session, as Ken will tell you. That's because some of those folks need watching. [Laughter] Now, I'm not assailing the institution of the Congress; I respect it highly. But there are some individuals there that their approach to governing is about like the three fellows that came out of a building and discovered that they had locked themselves out of their car. And one of them said, ``Well, get me a wire coathanger. I can straighten it out, and I can trip the latch and get us in.'' The second one said, ``You can't do that. Somebody will see us and think you're stealing the car.'' And the third one said, ``Well, we'd better think of something fast, because it's starting to rain and the top's down.'' [Laughter]
But that story says so much about how the tax-and-tax and spend-and-spend policies left our country just a few short years ago -- left it with negative growth, double-digit inflation, the highest interest rates since -- and get ready for this -- the highest interest rates since the Civil War. Ken was part of our cleanup crew for the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. We cut government growth. We slashed regulations, cut income taxes almost 25 percent. And today we're enjoying one of the longest economic expansions in our history. The prime interest rate has fallen by two-thirds. Mortgage and auto loan rates are down. Inflation has plummeted from more than the double-digit figure that Ken told you about to, now, 1.8 percent. And we've created over 11\1/2\ million new jobs in a little less than 4 years. Now, that's more new jobs than Japan and all of our friends in Western Europe combined have created in the last 10 years. You know, when we started this economic recovery program of ours, there were a lot of people against it and some making fun and some bitterly criticizing it; but I really realized it was working when those people stopped calling it Reaganomics.
Just days ago we learned that the figure that represents the country's economic growth, the gross national product, GNP, and some other indicators show our economy gathering momentum for even more growth, higher take-home pay, and more new jobs. And just this morning we learned from the Commerce Department that the trade deficit in September declined for the second month in a row and is now 30 percent lower than its peak. Now, this is particularly good news for our manufacturing industries. We also learned that September sales of single-family homes were up over 10 percent -- just two more indications we're headed for more prosperity. And I'm determined to see that those who still are not sharing fully in our nation's prosperity do so. And I give you my pledge: Neither Ken nor I will be satisfied until this expansion reaches every sector of our economy and every home in America and until every American who wants a job has a job.
Now, to broaden our expansion, I signed into law last week the most sweeping reform of the tax code in our nation's history. For more than 80 percent of Americans, it means a top tax rate of 15 percent or less, and that's why I'm calling it Tax Cut II. But wouldn't you know it, even before this fair share tax plan reached my desk, the Democratic leadership in Congress was saying that they wanted to break faith with the American people and turn tax reform into a tax increase. You know, the truth is, those folks never met a tax they didn't like. And when it comes to spending your hard-earned money, they act like they've got your credit card in their pockets. And believe me, they never leave home without it. [Laughter] But you, the American people, know the truth: We don't have a deficit because we're taxed too little; we have a deficit because the Congress is spending too much. Isn't it about time they started protecting the family budget instead of fattening the Federal budget? [Applause]
Now, the contrast between us and the leaders of the other party is just as apparent when it comes to judicial appointments. Since I began appointing Federal judges, which is one of my jobs -- they then have to be approved by the Senate, and in this case, the Republican Senate -- the Federal judiciary has become tougher, much tougher, on criminals. Criminals are going to jail more often and receiving longer sentences. But over and over the Democratic leadership has tried in the Senate to torpedo our choices for judges, and that's where Ken can make all the difference. Without him and the Republican majority in the Senate, we'll find liberals, like a certain fellow from Massachusetts, deciding who our judges are. And why do I think that you'll agree when I say that I'd rather have a Judiciary Committee headed, as it is, by Strom Thurmond than one headed by Teddy Kennedy any day?
You know -- in these partisan politics -- you know, there was a Democratic fundraising event at a downtown hotel. And as the people were coming out from the event, there was a boy, a kid out there with a bunch of puppies. And he was holding them up for sale, and he was saying, ``Buy a Democrat puppy. Buy a Democrat puppy.'' But 2 weeks later the Republicans held a fundraiser there. And they were coming out, and there was the same kid, same pups, and he's saying, ``Buy a Republican pup. Buy a Republican puppy.'' And a newspaperman who had seen him there 2 weeks before said, ``Hey, wait a minute. You were here 2 weeks ago selling those as Democrat puppies.'' He said, ``Now you're selling them as Republican puppies. How come?'' Kid said, ``Now they've got their eyes open.'' [Laughter]
But, ladies and gentlemen, we've come now to an issue that transcends in importance even all the other crucial matters I've mentioned: my most solemn duty as President, the safety of the American people and the security of these United States. And here, too, because of the support of men like Ken, we've been able to restore America's strength. There's nothing I'm prouder of than the 2 million young men and women who make up the Armed Forces of the United States. And let me tell you: If we ever must ever ask them to put their lives on the line for the United States of America, then they deserve to have the finest weapons and equipment that we can produce. Ken's opponent and those like him would do their best to continue hacking away at the defense budget to where that wouldn't be true. Well, we're going to see that those young men and women in uniform get the tools they need. You know, because of those young men and women in uniform, things really have changed around the world. You know, America used to wear a ``Kick Me'' sign around its neck. Well, we've thrown that one away, and now the sign reads ``Don't Tread on Me.'' Today every nickel-and-dime dictator around the world knows that if he tangles with the United States of America he will have a price to pay. And one other thing I'm especially proud of: After 6 years of this administration, not 1 square inch of territory in the world has been lost to communism, and one small country, Grenada, has been freed.
And finally, there's another special issue. We remain committed to our decision to move ahead with our Strategic Defense Initiative against ballistic missiles, the SDI. Today we're dealing with the Soviet Union from a position of strength, and it was SDI that brought the Soviet Union to the bargaining table. And let me pledge to you: Our goal is to keep America strong, to save the West from mutual nuclear terror, to make ballistic missiles obsolete, and ultimately to remove them from the face of the Earth. SDI is America's insurance policy to protect us from accidents or some madman who might come along, as a Hitler did or a Qadhafi, or just in case the Soviets don't keep their side of a bargain. Now, the record on Soviet treaty violations is clear. We can either bet on American technology to keep us safe or on Soviet promises. Each has its own track record. And as for me, I'm going to bet on American technology every time. Now, I knew there were those who had their doubts, but flying back from Iceland, I just knew the American people would support firmness with the Soviet Union. So, I couldn't come here today without thanking each one of you for that support.
There are some people that don't quite understand about SDI and what it really amounts to. And I think I'd just like to say very simply what our -- from the very beginning of our thinking of it. It is a shield that we believe, and our scientists believe, can protect a nation against incoming nuclear missiles. Our present defense policy is the one called the MAD policy, mutual assured destruction, meaning that if we've got a lot of missiles and they've got a lot of missiles, well, we're both so scared of each other that maybe we'll never shoot them. That's a little flimsy. Now, we are researching and studying and have made breakthroughs in this SDI program. But to those people who don't quite understand it -- and I've seen a couple of signs around here that indicate that they don't -- [laughter] -- let me point out what our proposal was to the Soviet Union -- and still is. If and when we have developed that system, that we know we have a defensive shield, we will then appeal to the Soviet Union to join us in eliminating all the strategic and intermediate-range nuclear missiles. And then we will share SDI with them, so that we can both live in comfort, go down through the years without having to be suspicious of each other. I told that to Mr. Gorbachev. I haven't quite been able to convince him I mean it.
But you know, I couldn't come here today or address a crowd like this without feeling that today there are a number of Democrats and Independents here with all of us. And I want to say I hope so, because hard-working, patriotic people, Democrats and Independents, have also supported us and I've relied on them in this last 6 years. But to those Colorado Democrats, let me say I used to be a Democrat myself. And I must tell you from my heart that Ken Kramer represents your views far better than the liberals who run the Democratic Party in Washington -- and, yes, those who run it right here in Colorado. I just have to suggest, I think they should join the Republican Party as I did. I know it isn't easy, but as Winston Churchill, that great British statesman, when he was a Member of Parliament -- he changed parties. He was criticized, and he responded by saying, well, ``Some people change principle for party, and others change party for principle.''
You know, the choice here before you is clear here in Colorado. Ken's opponent [Timothy E. Wirth] may try to sound like a moderate when he's in Colorado. But believe me, I've seen him in action for 6 years now, and when he's in Washington, he votes liberal with a capital ``L.'' As a matter of fact, Ken's opponent reminds me of another story. [Laughter] When you get my age you'll find a lot of things remind you of stories. This was a young fellow that wanted to -- he liked animals. And he thought if he could get a job in the zoo -- so he applied. And they said, yes. But they said, ``There's one thing first. Our ape, our gorilla died.'' And they said, ``We want you to put on the gorilla suit that we have here, get in the cage, and entertain the children when they come through the zoo. Do tricks and things for them.'' Well, he was a little upset. But he said, ``Then you'll have the other job here in the zoo taking care of animals.'' So, there he was in the cage and going through his routine. And he began to take the part a little seriously. And pretty soon he was swinging on a swing, and he swung too high and went clear over the fence and landed in the lion's cage. [Laughter] And the lion came roaring at him. And he started -- in his gorilla suit -- screaming for help, ``Get me out of here! Help! Help!'' The lion jumped on him and said, ``Shut up, or you'll get us both fired.'' [Laughter]
But a liberal in moderate's clothing -- that's Ken's opponent all over. But if you want a Senator who talks down-to-earth common sense in Colorado, then votes that way in Washington, well, then Ken Kramer is your candidate. Again and again, Ken has proven crucial in our efforts to cut your taxes and get big government off your backs. He's been central in our efforts to rebuild the nation's defenses. From the beginning he's been a strong supporter of our Strategic Defense Initiative. And he helped convince the administration to put the major research center that will be the brains of SDI right here in Colorado. As Ken understands, our Strategic Defense Initiative will open the door to a new technological age. Just as America's space program created new jobs and industries, SDI could open whole new fields of technology and industry, providing jobs for thousands, as Ken said, right here in Colorado and improving the quality of life in America and around the world.
At the same time, Ken has been tireless in his efforts to preserve the environment. He believes, as I do, that a big part of being conservative is conserving things like clean air and water and the natural beauty of this Rocky Mountain State. To this end, Ken was a leader in seeing that the Superfund for cleaning toxic waste sites was reenacted. And I know you'll also be glad to hear that, with his support and direction, we're making the cleanup job at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal a number one priority.
This, then, is what it comes down to. In Ken's opponent, you have a man who would vote to weaken America and raise your taxes. But in Ken Kramer, you have a man who believes in peace through strength, a man who took part in the fight to cut your taxes and create new jobs, and a man determined to go on working hard for the people of Colorado and the Nation. My friends, in voting for Ken Kramer, you'll be voting for the workhorse, not for the show horse. And let me tell you all: The eyes of America are on you and your great State. Will you choose the Democratic leaders, who in 1980 weakened our nation and nearly brought our economy to its knees, who raised your taxes and have announced their plans to do so again, and who oppose our efforts to pursue a defense to protect us from attack by nuclear ballistic missiles? Or will you choose to give our cleanup crew a chance to finish the job? [Applause]
Well, just to be sure where you stand, I thought I'd conduct a kind of an informal poll. [Laughter] Now, I want you to speak up loudly so all 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 Ted Kennedy controlling the confirmation of Federal court judges?
The President. Do you want to return to policies that gave us a weak and vacillating America?
The President. Well, that's good to hear. [Laughter] Now, would you rather have low taxes, low inflation, and low interest rates?
The President. Would you rather have an America that is strong, proud, and free?
The President. Do you want Ken Kramer as your Senator from the great State of Colorado?
Audience. Kramer! Kramer! Kramer!
The President. Thank you. You just made my day, and you didn't hurt Ken's feelings at all.
You know, my name will never appear on a ballot again, but if you'd -- --
The President. Thank you. If you'd like to vote for me one more time, you can do so by voting for Ken Kramer. But important as this election is to me, it'll be even more important to you, and especially to you young people, for it will shape our nation's history. Every poll shows that the age group between 18 and 24 has the highest percentage of any age group in supporting what we're doing. But, now, there's one other thing, though. The polls also show that in that particular age group, you have the lowest percentage of voters who are turning out on election day to vote.
The President. So, you young people: Exercise your sacred right as an American. Participate in shaping history itself. Go to the polls and cast your vote. But more than that, go out of here as missionaries and buttonhole your friends in that age group and tell them they've got to do the same thing. You know, at the beginning of World War II someone asked the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General George C. Marshall, if the United States was going into the war with a secret weapon and, if so, what was it? And George Marshall said: ``Yes, we have a secret weapon. It's just the best blankety-blank kids in the world.'' Well, I've been all over the country, back and forth. I've been on campuses. I've been in high schools. I've seen the young people in the service. I see all of you. And I have to tell you, if General George Marshall were here today, he'd say you're the best blankety-blank kids in the world.
Well, it's time to go now, but before leaving -- --
The President. I have to go over to Nevada yet today. They've got somebody running over there, too. [Laughter] But before I go, I'd just like to say that people my age deeply believe that it's our duty to turn over to you young Americans the same freedom and opportunity that our parents and grandparents handed over to us. And when we look at you, and when we see your openness, your enthusiasm for America and for life itself, it gives us heart. My generation and all the generations in here between mine and yours -- this is our obligation. There have been times over the years when we've faltered and when America seemed to lose some of those great values that are so precious. But we have them back in action now. We have them, and all of us have pledged we're going to see to it that we do turn that kind of America over to you.
So, when you go to the polls, win one for Ken Kramer, win one for your future and for America's future, and I don't mind -- win one for the Gipper! Thank you all, and God bless you. God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at 10:57 a.m. at the World Arena. He was introduced by Representative Kramer. Following his remarks, the President met with major donors to the Colorado State Republican Party at the Broadmoor Hotel. He then traveled to Reno, NV.