Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Welcoming Rally at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas

August 22, 1984

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

The President. Thank you all very much. Well, I have to tell you, I like that sound. Maybe I shouldn't say anything. I should take Billy Joel's advice -- you know that fine young singer from New York. He said, ``Leave a tender moment alone.''

Well, I will say one thing. You may represent 50 States -- --

Audience member. You're right, Ron!

The President. That's Iowa. [Laughter]

You may just be visitors, but did you ever catch the Texas spirit. You sure have.

Now, I wouldn't want to brag -- certainly not in Texas -- but, you see, I've always felt -- I'm a born optimist, and I like to feel I carry some of that Texas spirit with me 365 days a year.

And it's been a lot easier to do that, and it doesn't hurt a bit, having a loyal son of Texas, George Bush, as my partner. His intelligence, his integrity, his experience, and his faithful service do make him -- what has already been said here once -- the best Vice President this country's ever had.

But the people of this Lone Star State have always been very good to me. And I guess I arrive feeling a little like that husband who sent a telegram to his wife on their 25th anniversary. And it read: ``Can't live without you. Request you renew contract indefinitely.'' Well, in our case, we'll settle for just 4 more years.

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.

I've just come from a delightful visit with a man who's given a great deal to our party and much to our country -- President Ford. And I'm pleased to report to you that Jerry is ready to go all out for our ticket -- top to bottom, from here to election day.

But we are honored to be here where the spirit of progress and patriotism is as strong as the heart of Texas is big. Texans play hard, and Texans play to win. There's -- you have an expression down this way that I like. You don't just score victories; you romp 'em.

Your great Dallas Cowboys did much to establish that tradition. Maybe that's why Coach Landry, Roger Staubach, Danny White, all the players gained a reputation -- much to the chagrin of many in Washington, I might add -- of being larger than life.

The Dallas Cowboys have come to be known as America's team. And may I suggest that by the time this convention ends, the Republican Party will be on its way to being America's party.

There are many reasons for this -- many reasons. We'll be America's party because it is the interest of all the people -- that party that we represent.

When we asked for the people's help to bring down inflation, to bring down interest rates, to cut tax rates for every working American, and to index taxes so that never again could government profit from inflation at the people's expense -- when we accomplished each of these important victories, we only did it with the people's help. And all of the people, as a result, have been helped.

Now, our opponents haven't had an easy time with our success. They've come up with an antidote: Bring back the Carter-Mondale administration.

Audience. No!

The President. Well, I was going to ask if you wanted that -- but I just wanted to check. [Laughter]

We Republicans want to keep going forward, and we want to bring America's heritage with us. We say without embarrassment that we seek to honor our traditions, that we believe our fellow citizens are good and decent people. And their values and aspirations deserve to be respected -- not patronized. For us, words like faith, family, work, and neighborhood are not slogans to be dragged out of the closet every 4 years. They are values to respect and to live by every day.

We will be America's party because the American dream begins with opportunity, and our goal is to build an opportunity society for every man, woman, and child. We'll do it because GOP doesn't just stand for Grand Old Party; it also stands for Great Opportunity Party. Now, you'll forgive me, lately it looks like that letter ``D'' in their name is going to stand for defeatism, decline, dependency, doom, and despair. You can take your pick of any one or all of those.

Standing for opportunity means that we're determined, despite the do-nothing Democratic leadership, to push forward for enterprise zones, to push forward for a youth opportunity wage, so that people can get off unemployment, get off welfare, and get the chance for decent jobs that they deserve. And I happen to believe that helping people climb higher and make it on their own is a darned sight more progressive and compassionate than keeping them down and dependent on government for the rest of their lives.

Now, standing for opportunity means that we will push for spousal IRA's; that is, for wives who may not be working and earning, but housewives, that they too will be able to deposit in IRA accounts with the same advantages that those who are working have. We're going to push for tuition tax credits, for the protection that will come from passage of our comprehensive crime package, and for a constitutional amendment mandating the Federal Government spend no more than the Federal Government takes in.

And, yes, we want to enact an historic reform of our tax system. We need a tax reform that makes the system simple enough to understand, fair to all, and that can bring everyone's tax rates further down, and not up.

You know, this thing of making it simpler, an amendment that I think, if I remember correctly, is about 16 words is now 37 feet of wall space taken up by books on the regulations that go to make up the income tax law alone. And the Government has the nerve to tell the people of this country: ``You figure out how much you owe us, and we can't help you, because our people don't understand it, either. And if you make a mistake, we'll make you pay a penalty for making the mistake.'' We think we ought to be able to send you a bill and tell you what you owe, not the other way around.

And that leads me to something else that I believe with all my heart, because we represent all the people, because we represent an agenda of opportunity to benefit all the people -- from excellence in education to developing new frontiers in space and high technology: The Republican Party is America's party of the future.

Now, we know what the other side wants. And for heaven's sakes, don't argue with them. Don't argue for 1 second. Just let them be the party of tax and tax and spend and spend. And the Republican Party will continue to be the party of growth and growth and jobs and jobs. That's our idea of progress and compassion. For if we restrain spending, reduce tax rates further, and keep our economy growing, we can sharply reduce the deficit through that growth.

Now, what I'm suggesting is let's take our cue from our Olympic athletes. Rather than punish success, rather than raise taxes, let's challenge America in the next 76 days to raise her sights and reach for greatness. Let's go for growth, and let's go for the gold.

Audience. We want Reagan! We want Reagan! We want Reagan!

The President. You know -- I thank you -- and I've spoken before about our fine leaders in the House and Senate. But I just take this moment to salute all of you. And there are so many bright stars who are reaching out to all Americans and charting the path to a brighter future. So, let me say to the members of the news media who are present, those new ideas that you're always looking for, the vision for the future, leadership for the Nation, you've finally come to the right place. It's all right here at this convention in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas is a winning town, and we'll leave Dallas united. We'll leave here strong, and we'll take our case to the people. I want to remind you, in 1980 the American people were in a mood to win, and they did win. And in 1984 they're in a mood to win again, and they will.

My friends, it's good to be here, all of us together. I've just never seen anything like this. And I keep wondering, are those sheets? Going to be a lot of sleeping on the mattress tonight. [Laughter]

But our nation is more than 200 years old. But somehow, America has never been newer, never been younger, and never been more full of hope. We've been truly blessed. And for this we must be truly thankful.

May God bless you, and may He continue to bless our beloved country. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:22 p.m. in Atrium I at the Loew's Anatole Hotel. He was introduced by Vice President George Bush. Prior to the rally, the President met at the hotel with former President Gerald R. Ford.

Later in the evening, the President and the Vice President watched the television coverage of the 1984 Republican National Convention, including the convention's tribute to the First Lady and the nominating speeches. They were joined in the hotel suite by Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Bush for the rollcall of the States.

The President remained overnight at the hotel, where he stayed during his visit to Dallas.