Remarks on the Economy and an Informal Exchange With Reporters

 

November 4, 1988

 

The President. I, as you know, have a little announcement here for you. I know it's early, but I don't think it's ever too early for good news. I have some very, very good news for all Americans, and bringing good news like this to the American people is one of the great joys of the Presidency. We've just received the October employment numbers. And I'm delighted to report they're the best we've seen since June, and they're the best they've been in more than 14 years: 5.2 percent, down from 5.3 in September. It's a moment of pride, I think, for us all.

 

We're setting off for Chicago now for a last push in our effort to help George Bush become the next President of the United States. And this is the message we're going to be taking to every home in America: The future is bright, and it's getting brighter because we've been bringing good jobs and hope and opportunity to all the citizens in this country.

 

In October, we Americans created 323,000 new jobs. That brings the total number of jobs we've created in this country since the recovery began nearly 6 years ago to 18.4 million. So, America is hard at work and growing. I believe George Bush is going to be the next President because as every day passes it becomes ever clearer that our policies have worked, and they're working, and they'll continue to work and nothing's going to stop us now. And I'm going to have to run for that bird out there.

 

1988 Presidential Campaign

 

Q. Mr. President, some people think that your party has conducted a nasty, mean-spirited campaign.

 

The President. It's a little bit like what Harry Truman once said: We've just been telling the truth, and they think it's negative.

 

Q. Well, a lot of people don't think you're Harry Truman.

 

The President. Well, I've never tried to be Harry Truman.

 

Q. You are wrapping yourself in the aura, though.

 

The President. What's that?

 

Q. You are wrapping yourself in the aura of Harry Truman and F.D.R.

 

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], I'm just saying one thing, and I know I have to run and I can't go on taking questions here. But let me just say one thing: When I voted my first time in 1932, for what became the New Deal -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt and all of them -- the platform of the Democratic Party in that day and in that election called for a 25-percent cut in Federal spending, the elimination of useless Boards and Commissions, and the restoring to local communities, the people, and the States authority and autonomy that had been unjustly seized by the Federal Government.

 

Now, there's only one party today that is running on that platform, and that's the Republican Party. There has been a very definite switch as to where the two parties stand. In those days, the Republican Party was the party of protectionism and high tariffs, and today it's the other way around.

 

Q. Well, Roosevelt did pull us out of a depression, didn't he?

 

The President. He what?

 

Q. Roosevelt pulled us out of a depression.

 

The President. I think if you look closely you'll find that World War II pulled us out of a recession.

 

Note: The President spoke at 8:59 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House, prior to his departure for Illinois.