Remarks Following a Visit to the Reynolds Metals Company in Richmond, Virginia

 

March 28, 1988

 

The President. Bill, thank you very much. Your good Senator John Warner is here with me. I'm going to take him back to Washington and put him back to work. [Laughter] You know, I've been told that you all heard what I was saying in there to the others. Is that right?

 

Audience members. Yes!

 

The President. Well, then, you know that I finished by telling a story that I said I haven't told to Gorbachev. I think I'll tell you a story that I have told to him. [Laughter] It seems that they were having some trouble with speeders in the Soviet Union, even though they don't have many automobiles. So, an order was issued that everybody, no matter who it was, caught speeding get a ticket. And one day General Secretary Gorbachev was coming out of his country home. He's late getting to the Kremlin. So, he told his driver to get in the backseat and he'd drive. And down the road he went, past two motorcycle policemen. One of them took out after him. In just a few minutes, he was back with his buddy. And the buddy said, ``Well, did you give him a ticket?'' And he said, ``No.'' He said, ``You didn't? Why not? We're supposed to give everyone a ticket.'' He said, ``No, he was too important.'' But he said, ``Who was it?'' ``Well,'' he said, ``I couldn't recognize him. But his driver was Gorbachev.'' [Laughter]

 

Well, I've got to tell one more, and then I've got to go back to Washington and get to work, too. Another story that's a favorite of the people over there is they like to tell stories about us and their people in arguments about the two countries. And this was an argument in which the American, trying to prove how great this country is, said, ``Look, I can walk into the President's Oval Office. I can pound the desk and say, `Mr. President, I don't like the way you're running our country.''' And the Russian said, ``I can do that.'' He said, ``You can?'' He said, ``Yes. I can walk into the Kremlin to the General Secretary's office. I can pound on his desk and say, `Mr. General Secretary, I don't like the way President Reagan's running his country.''' [Laughter]

 

Well, that's enough, here. You've stood here long enough. And I just want to thank you all for not only a great welcome, but, as I told you in those remarks in there, you're performing miracles, and you make me so proud of what you're all doing and what America means and why we can hold our own with anyone in the world and better them.

 

Thank you very much. God bless you all.

 

Note: The President spoke at 3:55 p.m. outside of the headquarters building. In his opening remarks, he referred to Bill Bourke, president and chief executive officer of the company. Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.