Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in San Diego, California

October 22, 1984

The President. Thank you, Senator Pete Wilson, Governor Deukmejian, and it feels good to be back in California and with you here in San Diego.

I've come to San Diego asking for your support in every campaign that I've ever been in. And I'm here today to ask this last one time. [Applause] Well, I was going to ask if I could count on you, and you've already answered that. And thank you very much.

I see something here I've been noticing all over the country -- the large number of young people. I know you're putting yourselves squarely on the side of a strong and a growing America. People of every age, race, and background are flocking to a banner of opportunity. And nowhere is that more clear than in California. Disadvantaged Americans are waking up to the failure of bureaucratic programs to bring them the economic opportunity they need to make real progress.

I'm especially pleased that Hispanic-Americans, who are so important to our California heritage, are joining us in increasing numbers. And here in California, we also see our coalition bolstered by Asian-Americans, many of them recent immigrants who have come here like our own forefathers and mothers for freedom and to improve their well-being.

Earlier this year, there was a candidate who claimed to be building a rainbow coalition. Well, we're building an American coalition, and that says it all.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for sending to the Congress three Representatives who've been in the forefront of the battle for responsible government and a strong America -- Congressmen Bill Lowery, Duncan Hunter, and Ron Packard. I've got a favor to ask: On election day make sure that you send them back to Washington; because if you're going to send me back there, I don't know what I'd do without them. You and all these fine candidates are part of a new spirit that's spreading across America.

You know -- I assume that maybe some of you saw the debate last night. Well, the format for the debate is sometimes frustrating. When the other fellow's making a lot of misstatements, you don't have time always to challenge them. So, last night I told the people, for example, that Mr. Mondale had voted to kill the F - 14 fighterplane. And he said he only voted to delay production. Well, that was one I didn't get to respond to. I'll do it here.

On September 29, 1971, he voted on an amendment by Senator Proxmire to kill the F - 14. That was no vote to delay; that was a vote to delete. And fortunately, he failed. The planes that did that job that the Senator was referring to, they were F - 14's.

You know, as election day nears, the American people are getting the full flavor of the very clear choice facing them.

Is there an echo out here?\1\ (FOOTNOTE)

(FOOTNOTE) \1\The President was referring to a small crowd demonstrating nearby.

It's a choice between two fundamentally different ways of governing and two distinct ways of looking at America. My opponent, Mr. Mondale, offers a government of pessimism, fear, and limits compared to ours of hope, confidence, and growth. He sees government as an end in itself. And we see government as something belonging to the people and only a junior partner in our lives. They see people merely as members of groups, special interests to be coddled and catered to. We look at them as individuals to be fulfilled through their own freedom and creativity.

My opponent and his allies live in the past, celebrating the old and failed policies of an era that has passed them by, as if history had skipped over those Carter-Mondale years. On the other hand, millions of Americans join us in boldly charting a new course for the future.

From the beginning, their campaign has lived on promises. Indeed, Mr. Mondale has boasted that America is nothing if it isn't promises. Well, the American people don't want promises, and they don't want to pay for his promises. They want promise. They want opportunity and workable answers. And that's why we're here -- to talk about the record, the record of the administration in which Mr. Mondale carried a full partnership.

Mr. Carter himself said, ``There wasn't a single decision I made during 4 years in the White House that Fritz Mondale wasn't involved in.'' In those years, they took the strongest economy in the world and pushed it to the brink of collapse. They created a calamity of such proportions that we're still suffering the consequences of those economic time bombs. What they left on our doorstep in January 1981 was a snarling economic wolf with sharp teeth.

The suffering of America, the deep and painful recession, and the outrageous and frightening inflation -- these things didn't start by spontaneous combustion. They came about through the concerted mismanagement of which Mr. Mondale was a part, and his liberal friends who controlled the Congress.

They gave us five -- count them -- five different anti-inflation plans and managed to give us the worst 4-year record of inflation in nearly 40 years. While it took them five economic plans to nearly triple inflation, it's taken us only one to cut it by about two-thirds.

Senior citizens were driven into panic by higher rents, exhorbitant fuel costs, dramatically increasing food prices, and Federal health care costs, which went up a massive 87 percent. And they called that fairness.

They punished the poor and the young, who struggled as prices of necessities shot up faster than others. Millions of Americans led a life of daily economic terror, fueled by these unrelenting costs. And they called that compassion.

Well, let's look at interest rates. My opponent has referred to something he calls real interest rates. Well, people don't pay interest rates based on some academic smokescreen or foggy economic theory. What they know is that when Jerry Ford left office, the prime interest rate was 6\1/4\ percent. When Mr. Mondale left office, it was 21\1/2\ percent, the highest in 120 years.

Average monthly mortgage payments more than doubled. Young people couldn't buy homes. Car loans were hard to get and expensive. The automobile and homebuilding industries were brought to their knees. It's little wonder that the American people yearned for leadership in 1980. And after all this economic punishment, our opponents blamed you, because you lived too well. And they told you you had to sacrifice more and that we were now in an age of limits.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, I found out that it's not so much that Mr. Mondale has a poor memory of his ruinous past; he's just got a darn good ``forgetory.'' And now he says, ``I'm ready to be President.'' Well, forgive me, but -- --

I thought he was campaigning in someplace else.\2\ (FOOTNOTE) [Laughter]

(FOOTNOTE) \2\The President was referring to an airplane flying overhead.

Forgive me, but I believe he's more ready to be our problem than our President.

Now, as Senator Wilson was telling you, on defense, too, he has a record of weakness, confusion, and failure. Before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, he announced that the days of Soviet suppression by force were over. And after the invasion of Afghanistan, he said just what you were told -- that he was baffled. There's so much that seems to baffle him.

He was confused about the rightness of freeing our students on the island of Grenada. Senator John Glenn said that my opponent would ``cut our Defense Establishment beyond all reality'' -- cut the B - 1, the Nimitz carrier, the Trident, the cruise missile, the foreign troops; would cut the M - 1 tank, funds for the volunteer army; kill the shuttle; oppose procurement of the F - 14, the Harrier, and the AWACS. Now, I don't know if he'd outlaw slingshots -- [laughter] -- but he certainly would jeopardize our national security. And we're not going to let him do it.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Okay. All right. And, you know, if the Capital were in California, I'd agree to 40.

But, you know, something else that our opponents would like to forget is a gimmick from the 1976 campaign, where they added the unemployment and the inflation rates together, and the total -- they called it the misery index. And at the end of 1976 it was 12.6, and they declared that the incumbent had no right to seek reelection with that kind of a misery index. Well, 4 years later we were in the 1980 campaign, and they never mentioned the misery index. And I don't think Mr. Mondale will mention it in this campaign, because by 1980 and when he left the Vice Presidency it was over 20. And it's now down around 11.

My opponent has done a very good job of trying to slip, slide, and duck away from this record. But we know now that those disastrous consequences didn't come about by accident; they came through the implementation of the very policies of out-of-control spending, unfair taxation, and worship of big government that my opponent still supports.

His philosophy can be summed up in four sentences: If it's income, tax it. If it's revenue, spend it. If it's a budget, break it. And if it's promise, make it.

All this year Mr. Mondale has lavished his campaign with promises that staggered even his Democratic opponents. Senator John Glenn was heard to say in frustration that Mr. Mondale, and I quote, ``has just promised everything to everybody, with no thought of how it's going to be paid for.'' And Gary Hart said, ``Fritz, you cannot lead this country if you've promised everybody everything.''

But, of course, there is a predictable answer by one who makes so many promises. The answer is higher taxes. And massive new tax increases are precisely what he proposes.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. A few weeks back, he called his new plan pay-as-you-go. But what it is, of course, is nothing but the old plan. You pay, and he goes. [Laughter]

Those tax increases to pay for his promises add up to the equivalent of $1,890 per household; that's more than $150 per month. I call it the Mondale mortgage. If Harry Truman had to apply a motto to this radical taxing scheme -- and for the young people here who might not remember Harry Truman, he was the fellow that said about the desk that he sat at in the Oval Office, ``The buck stops here'' -- I have a hunch that if he had to have a motto right now for this particular candidate that I've been talking about, he'd say, ``Your buck never stops.''

But hold on; he's got more. A couple of weeks ago, he said he would like to repeal indexing. Now, this tax is even worse, because it would be a dagger at the heart of every low- and middle-income taxpayer in America. It would mean bone-crushing, new levies against those who could least afford them. Indexing was a reform that we passed to protect you from the cruelest of taxes -- the hidden tax that when government uses inflation to force you into higher tax brackets, just because you've gotten a cost-of-living pay raise -- that's when your taxes go up.

And under the Mondale plan, here's what would happen to a family struggling on $10,000 per year. By 1989 they would be paying over 73 percent more in income taxes if indexing, which begins on this January 1st, is canceled.

And then Mr. Mondale reversed himself and said he'd made a mistake. Well, that's something he seems to do quite a lot. [Laughter] But the truth is, that several times between 1982 and now he has expressly proposed the repeal of indexing. In politics they call this a flip-flop. In this case, you'll forgive me if I call it a Fritz-flop.

Yesterday he wanted to give you a $200 tax break to every family dependent. And today he wants to raise taxes the equivalent of almost $2,000 a household. You know, for some time, over the last several weeks at least, he was talking about a new Reagan and an old Reagan. Now, that had nothing to do with my age. The old Reagan was the earlier one, the first one -- the new Reagan is now. And when he said that, well, he inspired me to do a little of that old and new business.

The old Mondale is on record as saying that reducing deficits could worsen a recession. The new Mondale thinks higher taxes lead to a healthy economy. The old Mondale publicly supported Jimmy Carter's wrong-headed grain embargo. And the new Mondale claims that he opposed it -- privately. Very privately. [Laughter]

The old Mondale sponsored National Bible Week. Well, old or new, I'm with him on that one. But this new Mondale says there's too much religion in politics. The old Mondale called the space shuttle a ``horrible waste,'' a ``space extravaganza.'' And he personally led the fight in the United States Senate to kill the shuttle program before it even started.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. The new Mondale praises American technological achievement.

But just when you were beginning to lose faith you find that there is some constancy with him. The old Mondale increased your taxes, and the new Mondale will do it again.

You know, in our debates, I got a little angry all those times that he distorted my record. And on one occasion, I was about to say to him very sternly, ``Mr. Mondale, you're taxing my patience.'' [Laughter] And then I caught myself. Why should I give him another idea? [Laughter]

Well, from now until November 6th, we're going to make sure the American people know about this choice on which their future depends. We have two roads to tomorrow. The road of fear and envy that he proposes -- on his road, you frighten the elderly with false statements. You strive to divide Americans against each other, seeking to promote envy and promote greed. Franklin Roosevelt warned us, ``The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'' Well, sadly and tragically, the only thing that my opponent has to offer is fear itself. And that's the difference between us.

We see America's best days ahead of us. We see ourselves in a springtime of hope, ready to fire up our courage and determination to reach high and achieve all the best. We see a life where our children can enjoy at last prosperity without inflation. We see a life where they can enjoy the highest of creativity and go for the stars and not have their hopes and dreams crushed or taxed away by greedy governmentalists.

In 1980 the American people declared their independence all over again. We realized that when we went from good government to big government, it was time to put our house back in order.

Today we've returned to a proper understanding of who the American people are. We're the people who crossed the plains, scaled the mountains, won the West. We're the people who came up with the inventions that lit the world and filled it with sound and laughter. We're the people who twice in this century have fought in Europe and stood for decency for all mankind.

We're a people, in short, who don't need the supervision of government sophisticates to tell us what is right and good. And now the American people are walking into tomorrow unashamed and unafraid. They're ready for this great, new era of opportunity.

And, once again, I want to refer to these young people who are with us and these young people all over the country. I didn't get to finish last night what I was going to say. We ran out of time.

What I had already said is that all across this country in high schools, in schools on college and university campuses, and among younger people who have finished education and started out into life -- seen them all across this country -- and, believe me, to the rest of you, or of those other generations, these young people today are very special. Yes, you are. And you know what? The responsibility -- and this is what I was going to say last night -- the responsibility of my generation and those generations between mine and yours, our responsibility is to see that you grow up in the same kind of country that we grew up in, a country of hope and opportunity. And our job is to hand you an America that is free in a country -- or a world that is at peace.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. And now I -- --

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. And now -- --

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. And now, I know this may gall our opponents, but I think the people agree with this when I say, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Thank you very much. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 2:39 p.m. at the San Diego County Administration Center.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Medford, OR.