Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Rochester, New York

November 1, 1984

The President. Thank you very much. I just want to say, I'm only trying to make it 2 and 0. What did you do for the Mercs last night when they made it 10 and 0?

Well, Senator Alfonse D'Amato, Congressman Horton, my good friend and your fine Republican committeeman, Dick Rosenbaum, all the others up here:

You know, the motto of the State of New York is ``Excelsior'' -- ever upward. And I am pleased to be here with you today, asking for your support. Together we can keep not just the State of New York, but America headed ever upward.

Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

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

We've already made some progress in these last 4 years. And I want to thank New York for sending Senator D'Amato to Washington to help us get the job done. He's been an invaluable part of the team. And there's someone else that I think all America should thank -- thank you, as a matter of fact, for lending to Washington -- and that's Congressman Barber Conable. He fought the good fight, and he laid the groundwork for so much of the progress that we've made in the last 4 years. He's been a force for responsible government and a champion of liberty, and he will be sorely missed.

The most important thing that all of you can do is make certain that come election day, you vote for Fred Eckert of this district so he can carry on the fight.

And please make sure that you vote for Anthony Murty of the 32d district to join Frank Horton, who's done a great job for you and for America.

Help spread the word. Get out the vote. And, if you can, just win some for the Gipper. But it's fitting with this election approaching that I'm here with you in Rochester -- a town that is so synonymous with America's industrial might and our scientific and technological leadership in the world. Meeting with you in this building -- a memorial to those many veterans from Rochester who fought for our freedom -- reminds us of how much we have to be grateful for. And what this election is all about is preserving and building an even stronger, freer, and more prosperous America for our future.

Abe Lincoln said we must disentrall ourselves with the past -- and then we will save our country. Four years ago, that's what we did. We made a great turn, we got out from under the thrall of a government which we had hoped would make our lives better, but which wound up trying to live our lives for us.

And 4 years ago, we began to navigate by some fixed principles. Our North Star was freedom; common sense our constellation. 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, and record interest rates were stealing our future. We knew that our national military defense had been weakened, so we decided to rebuild and be strong again to prepare for peace.

It was a second American revolution, and it's only just begun. But America is back, a giant on the scene, powerful in its renewed spirit, powerful in its growing economy, and powerful in its ability to defend itself and secure the peace. And do you know something? That's not debatable.

My opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said our economic program is obviously, murderously inflationary. Now, that was just before we lowered inflation from above 12 percent down around 4. And just after we passed our tax cuts, he said the most he could see was an anemic recovery. And that was right before the United States economy created more than 6 million new jobs in 21 months. My opponent said that decontrol of oil prices would cost American consumers more than $36 billion a year. And we decontrolled oil prices -- one of first things we did -- and the price of gasoline went down 8 cents a gallon.

Now, I figured out that maybe all we have to do to get the economy in absolute perfect shape is if we can persuade my opponent to predict absolute disaster.

He says that 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 just want to be one of his constituents?

Audience. No!

The President. He's no doubt proud of the fact that as a United States Senator he voted 16 times to increase your taxes.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. But this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised, of course, to raise your taxes. But if he's to keep all the promises that he's made to this group and that, he will have to raise taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 for every household in the United States.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. That's more than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage. Well, the American people don't want his tax increases, and he isn't going to get his tax increases.

You know, if my opponent's campaign were a television show, it would be ``Let's Make a Deal.'' You get to trade your prosperity for whatever surprise he's got hidden behind the curtain. Now, if his campaign were a Broadway show, it would be ``Promises, Promises.'' And if his administration were a novel, a book, you would have to read it from the back to the front to get a happy ending.

He sees an America in which every day is tax day, April 15th. And we see an America in which every day is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes, yours and everyone's in this country, so that your families will be stronger, the economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.

And on another subject, I am proud to say that during these last 4 years, not 1 inch of territory has been lost to Communist aggression.

Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.

And the United States is more secure than it was 4 years ago. But my opponent sees a different world. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he said, ``It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have.'' But then, there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]

One year ago we liberated Grenada from Communist thugs who had taken over that country.

Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. Now, my opponent called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, there is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives were in danger.

But let me try to put this in perspective. The 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat myself for a good share of my life. And I feel there must be, in a gathering like this -- as there have been all over the country -- a great many Democrats who find they can no longer in clear conscience follow the leadership of the Democratic Party of today.

Back in those days, and when I was still a Democrat, the leadership of the party, they weren't the first -- or they weren't the ones who joined that ``blame America first'' crowd. Its leaders were men like Harry Truman and, later, like Scoop Jackson and John F. Kennedy -- men who understood the challenges of the times. They didn't reserve all their indignation and anger for America. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood firm for one and they damned the other.

To all the good Democrats who respect that tradition, I say, ``You are not alone.'' We're asking you now, come walk with us on this new path of hope and opportunity and let us -- in the tradition of this nation, which has been bipartisan -- together make sure that we have a safe, a prosperous, and a free America.

You know, just -- --

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

The President. All right. All right. If that's the way you feel about it, you've talked me into it.

You know, last month an American woman walked in space -- Kathryn Sullivan made history. And then, having done that thing, she returned to the space shuttle in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the times will be made. Cures for diabetes and heart disease may be possible up there -- I have seen evidence of that already from experiments already conducted -- advances in technology and communication.

But my opponent led the fight against the entire shuttle program and called it a horrible waste.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Well, we support the shuttle program, and we've committed America to meet a great challenge -- to build a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade. What America needs is high tech, not high taxes.

The point is, we were right when we made our great turn in 1980. We were right to take command of the ship and not its aim -- stop its aimless drift and get moving again.

[At this point, there was a popping sound from somewhere in the audience.]

You missed me. [Laughter] And we were right when we stopped sending out S.O.S. and started saying U.S.A.!

Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. Thank you. You know, the United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation. And like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sights on the stars and go for the gold.

If America could bring down inflation from 12.4 percent to 4 percent, then we can bring it down further from 4 to 0.0, and we're going to do that. If lowering your tax rates led to the best expansion in 30 years, then we can lower them again and keep America growing right on into the 21st century. If we could create 6 million new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American -- young and old, black or white -- who wants a job to find a job.

And if local governments can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, as so many communities have, then we can elect people to the Congress who will free our national enterprise zones bill. We can pass that bill and provide hope for millions in the most distressed areas of America. And this, we must do. But it is going to take Congressmen there to help us break that legislation loose from where it has been buried for the last couple of years -- in a committee in the House of Representatives under Tip O'Neill's control.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. We're leading a revolution in technology, pushing back the frontiers of space. And I have always believed, and I believe now, if we give American workers the tools they need, those American workers can outproduce, outcompete, and outsell anybody, anywhere in the entire world.

Our drive to restore excellence in education -- it resulted in the first time in 20 years -- or it overcame, I should say, a 20-year record of decline in the scholastic aptitude test scores, and we've had the first increases in the last couple of years that we've had in 20. Well, we're going to keep raising those scores and restore American academic excellence second to none.

And our crackdown on crime produced the sharpest drop ever in the crime index. And we're going to keep cracking down until your families and friends can walk the streets of their neighborhoods and in these cities of ours without being afraid.

We have reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect for America throughout the world. And we're going to keep this nation strong to protect freedom and peace for us, for our children, and for our children's children. And if we make sure that America remains strong and prepared for peace, then we can begin to reduce nuclear weapons and one day banish them from the face of the Earth entirely.

And to those who have thought that possibly a nuclear freeze could be of help in that, let me tell you: Yes, when we can persuade the Soviets, in joining us, to reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons down to a fair and verifiable level between each other, then a nuclear freeze makes sense, and we'll have a nuclear freeze.

And as we strengthen our economy, as we strengthen our security, and strengthen the values that bind us, America will become a nation ever greater in art and learning, greater in love and worship of the God that made us and who has blessed us as no other people have ever been blessed on this Earth.

You know, I started to say something a couple of weeks ago in the debate and ran out of time. I'm going to say it now. And it is directed to the young people who are here with us today.

Audience. Youth are for Reagan! Youth are for Reagan! Youth are for Reagan!

The President. You young people, you are what this election is all about -- you and your future. And I've seen you not only here but across the country -- in city after city and small town after small town and on campuses, in schools -- and your generation, I'm here to say, really sparkles!

Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. Your idealism and your love of country are unsurpassed. And my generation -- and those several generations between mine and yours -- [laughter] -- we have a sacred trust, and that is, when the time comes to turn over the reins to you -- you young people out there -- we're going to turn over to you an America that is every bit as full of opportunity, hope, and confidence and dreams as we had when we were your age.

Audience. Youth are for Reagan! Youth are for Reagan! Youth are for Reagan! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President. All right. Here is our pledge -- that of all these other generations I mentioned to you -- we're going to turn over to you an America that is free, in a world that is at peace.

All of us together are part of a great revolution, and it's only just begun. America will never give up, never go back -- never. We were born to a special place between these two great oceans with a unique mission to carry freedom's torch. To a tired and disillusioned world, we have always been a light of hope where all things are believed to be possible.

And throughout my life I've seen America do the impossible. In my younger days we survived a Great Depression, so worldwide and severe that it toppled governments in many places in the world. And we came back later from Pearl Harbor to win the greatest military victory in world history. And in a single lifetime -- in a lifetime -- we have gone from the horse and buggy to sending astronauts to the Moon.

But as a people, we Americans have fought harder, paid a higher price, done more to advance the freedom and dignity of man than any other people who ever lived on this Earth.

Ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. America's future will always be great because our nation will be strong. Our nation will be strong because our people will be free. And our people will be free because we will be united, one people under God, with liberty and justice for all.

I am deeply honored that you've allowed me to serve you for these past 4 years. But much remains to be done. We must continue to build upon the new beginning that we started 4 years ago. So, yes, I am here to ask for your support and to ask for your vote. And I can say America's best days are yet to come.

I have a message that I want to deliver right now, in these last few days. The polls are scaring me to death, because I have a feeling that maybe some people are looking at them and saying, ``Oh, we don't have to go and vote. It's all over.'' Well, President Dewey told me to tell you -- [laughter] -- that isn't true. Please, no matter what it takes, go to the polls and vote, and get others out to vote. Tell your neighbors to go and vote.

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

The President. All right. And then, look, I don't want to spend those 4 more years alone. So make sure that these candidates and these Congressmen that I mentioned in my earlier remarks, make sure they're back there with me in Washington. We need them all.

And now, I know to any hecklers present, this will drive them up the wall. But I've got to close saying: You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:02 p.m. at the Rochester War Memorial.

Following his remarks, the President traveled to Detroit, MI.