Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Medford, Oregon

October 22, 1984

The President. Thank you, Governor Atiyeh, ladies and gentlemen here on the dais, and all of you out there, thank you for a most heartwarming reception. It's great to be back in the beautiful State of Oregon, and it's great to be back in the proud town of Medford.

You know, there's something healthy about this part of the country where so many live so close to the land, growing fruit and farming, mining, lumbering. It's a life that produces qualities like character and self-reliance. Indeed, I can think of a few liberal Democrats that I wish, could come here to see it, and then stay. No, no -- now wait a minute, you're right -- that wouldn't be fair to the people of this good town.

But a special greeting to your outstanding Governor, Vic Atiyeh, your fine Senators, Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood, and to your skilled and dedicated Members of the Congress, Bob Smith and Denny Smith. Believe me, we couldn't have accomplished all we have without the help of determined Republicans like Denny and Bob in the House, and a Republican majority -- including Mark and Bob -- in the Senate.

Recently, these fine Members of the Congress played a central role in passing a vital piece of legislation -- the timber relief bill. The timber industry here in the Pacific Northwest has seen more than its share of hard times. And this legislation will enable the industry to gain the full benefits of our economic expansion. For thousands, this bill will mean more jobs, more opportunity, and renewed hope. And I'm happy to tell you that just a few days ago, last week, I signed that timber bill into law.

You know, Abe Lincoln said that we must disenthrall ourselves with the past, and then we'll save our country. Well, 4 years ago that's what we did. We made a great turn. We got out from under the thrall of a government which we'd hoped would make our lives better, but which wound up living our lives for us. The power of the Federal Government had, over the decades, created great chaos -- economic chaos, social chaos, international chaos. Our leaders were adrift, rudderless, without a compass.

Four years ago we began to navigate by certain fixed principles. Our North Star was freedom, and common sense were our constellations. We knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American family's earnings to the Government, and so we cut personal income tax rates by 25 percent. We knew that inflation, the quiet thief, was stealing our savings. And the highest interest rates since the Civil War were making it impossible for people to own a home or start an enterprise. We knew that our national military defense had been weakened, so we decided to rebuild and be strong again. And this, we knew, would enhance the prospects for peace in the world. It was a second American revolution -- and it's only just begun.

But what already has come of our efforts? A great renewal. America is back -- a giant, reemergent on the scene -- powerful in its renewed spirits, powerful in its economy, powerful in the world economy, and powerful in its ability to defend itself and secure the peace.

But now, 4 years after our efforts began, small voices in the night are sounding the call to go back, go backward to the days of confusion and drift -- --

Audience. No!

The President. All right. And they would have us go back to the days of torpor, timidity, and taxes.

Audience. No!

The President. Now, my opponent this year is known to you -- --

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. -- -- but perhaps we can gain great insight into his leadership abilities and his philosophy if we take a look at his record.

To begin with, his grasp of economics is well demonstrated by his economic predictions. Just before we took office, my opponent said that our economic program is, obviously, murderously inflationary. Now, that was just before we lowered inflation from above 12 percent to 4.

And just after our tax cuts, he said the most he could see was an anemic recovery. That was before our economy created more than 6 million new jobs in 21 months, and just before nearly 900,000 businesses were incorporated in less than a year and a half.

My opponent said that our policies would deliver a misery index the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time. And there was some truth in that. You know, you get the misery index by adding the rate of unemployment to the rate of inflation, and they invented that for the 1976 campaign. And they said that Jerry Ford had no right to seek reelection because his misery index was all of 12.6. Now, they didn't mention the misery index in the 1980 election because it had gone up to more than 20. And they aren't talking too much about it in this campaign, because it's down to 11.

My opponent said that decontrol of oil prices, which is one of the first things we did, would cost American consumers more than $36 billion a year. Well, we decontrolled oil prices, and the price of gas went down 8 cents a gallon. And they're still headed down.

Now, you know, it's just occurred to me that maybe all we have to do to get the economy in absolutely perfect shape is to get my opponent to predict absolute disaster. [Laughter]

He says he cares about the middle class, but he boasts, ``I have consistently supported legislation, time after time, which increases taxes on my own constituents.'' Doesn't that make you want to be a constituent of his? [Laughter]

No, he's no doubt proud of the fact that he voted 16 times as a United States Senator to raise your taxes. And this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised, of course, to raise your taxes. But if he is to keep all the promises he's made to this group and that, we will have to raise taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 for every household. That's more than $150 a month. It's like having a second mortgage. And after the Mondale mortgage, we'd be sure to see more than a few foreclosures.

His economic plan has two basic parts: raise your taxes, and then raise them again. [Laughter] But I've got news for him: The American people don't want his tax increases, and he isn't going to get his tax increases.

His tax plan would bring recovery to a roaring halt. But I'll give it this: His plan did give me an idea for Halloween. If I could find a way to dress up as his tax program, I could scare the devil out of all my neighbors. [Laughter]

The difference between us is simply this: He sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15th. We see an America in which every day is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. What we want is to lower your and everybody else's taxes, so that your families will be stronger, our economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.

But I'm not finished here. I'm proud to say that during these last 4 years, not one square inch of territory has been lost to Communist aggression. And the United States is more secure than we were 4 years ago. I know they were complaining because they thought maybe I was speaking too harshly to the Russians, but on the other hand, maybe we got their attention.

But there's so much more to say about our opponent. His grasp of foreign affairs is demonstrated by the following: Sometime back, he said the old days of a Soviet strategy of suppression by force are over -- and that was just before the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. And after they invaded Afghanistan, he said, ``It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have.'' [Laughter] But then there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]

One year ago we liberated Grenada from Communist thugs who had taken that country over in a coup. And my opponent called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, still, I'll say this: His administration did mete out strong punishment after Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they punished the American farmer, not the Soviet Union.

My opponent supported the grain embargo and spoke out for it often. He even questioned the patriotism of a Senator from his own party when that Senator called that embargo just what it was -- unworkable and unfair. Now he seems to have changed his tune. He says he privately opposed the embargo -- very privately. [Laughter] As a matter of fact, he has, in the last several months, claimed that he opposed a number of the administration's policies when he was Vice President. But as Jody Powell, who was also in that administration, said, ``I guess I was out of the room every time it happened.'' [Laughter]

After the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, Mr. Mondale praised it, saying, ``Winds of democratic progress are stirring where they have long been stifled.'' But we know that the Sandinistas immediately began to persecute the genuine believers in democracy and to export terror. They went on to slaughter the Miskito Indians, abuse and deport church leaders, slander the Pope, and move to kill free speech. So, why isn't my opponent speaking out now about those winds of democracy?

More recently, he failed to repudiate the Reverend Jesse Jackson, when he went to Havana, stood with Fidel Castro, and cried: ``Long live Cuba! Long live President Fidel Castro! Long live Che Guevara!''

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. I could say of his economic program that he will either have to break his promises or break the bank. But I won't say it, because Senator John Glenn, a Democrat, already has said it. I could call his economic program a collection of old and tired ideas held together by paralyzing commitments to special interest groups. But I won't, because Senator Gary Hart, a Democrat, has already said that. I could predict that he will create deficits more than twice what they are now. But I won't, because Senator Fritz Hollings, a Democrat, has already said that.

Now, if on political issues my opponent dares to be wrong, on domestic policy issues he has the courage to be cautious. A line-item veto to help control wild government spending -- no, he says, that's not part of the liberal agenda. Well, as Governor of California I had the line-item veto. Your Governor has a line-item veto. Forty-two other Governors in the United States have a line-item veto. And you know something? It works. And it would work at the Federal level if we can get them off the dime and get it.

He's long opposed enterprise zones to help the most economically troubled neighborhoods in the country. But then a few weeks ago, he said he's for them. Well, if he's for them, why doesn't he ask his friend, Tip O'Neill, to stop blocking the enterprise zone bill which is buried in a committee of the House of which he is the Speaker?

This month an American woman walked in space -- the first to do so. Kathryn Sullivan made history. And she returned to a space shuttle in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the future are being made and will be made. Cures for diabetes and heart disease may be possible up there; advances in technology and communication. And that's why I support the space shuttle. But my opponent personally led the fight against it and called it a horrible waste and tried to keep it from even being put into effect.

The truth is that my opponent's campaign, if it were a television show, it would be ``Let's Make a Deal.'' [Laughter] You get to trade your prosperity for whatever is behind the curtain. If his campaign were a Broadway show, it would be ``Promises, Promises.'' [Laughter] And if his administration were a novel, it would only have a happy ending if you read it from the back toward the front. [Laughter]

Now, I've probably been going on too long here, but -- --

Audience. No!

The President. -- -- but the point is, the point is we made a great turn in the road in 1980. And we were right to take command of the ship, stop its aimless drift, and get moving again. And we were right when we stopped sending out S.O.S. and started saying U.S.A. again.

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. Thank you. Well, you talked me into it.

And let me say here that the 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat once, for a great part of my life. And I always respected that party. But in those days, its leaders weren't in the ``blame America first'' crowd. Its leaders were men like Harry Truman, men who understood the challenges of the times. They didn't reserve all their indignation for America. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood up for the one and they damned the other.

To all the good Democrats who respect that tradition, I say, ``You are not alone; you're not without a home.'' We're putting out our hands, and we're asking you -- and I hope there are many in the crowd -- come walk with us down this new path of hope and opportunity and, in a bipartisan way, we'll save this country.

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

The President. Thank you. All right. Okay. All right.

And now, let me say something -- I got interrupted trying to say this last night, ran out of time -- [laughter] -- to the young people of our country. [Applause] Look at that! Let me say that nothing, nothing has touched our hearts more than your wonderful support, all across this country. And you, you are what this election is all about. It's your future that we care so much about.

I didn't get a chance to say it last night, but my next line was going to be: Your generation is something special. You're truly something new on the scene. Your idealism and your love of country are unsurpassed. And I consider it our highest duty to make certain that you have an America that is every bit as full of opportunity, hope, confidence, and dreams as we had when we were your age.

All of us together are part of a great revolution, and it's only just begun. We'll never stop. America will never stop. We never give up. We'll never give up on our special mission.

There are new worlds on the horizon, and we're not going to stop until we all get there together. America's best days are yet to come. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

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

The President. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the warmth of your greeting. Thank you for your support. And God bless, God bless you. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:45 p.m. in the main terminal at the Medford-Jackson County Airport.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Portland, OR, and the Westin Benson Hotel, where he remained overnight.