August 15, 1996
Remarks by Senator Bob Dole
Dole Accepts Nomination
San Diego, California
The folks in Hollywood would be happy to know that I finally found a
movie I liked -- the one I just saw.
This is a big night for me, and I'm ready. We're ready to go.
Thank you, California. And thank you, San Diego for hosting the greatest
Republican convention of them all. The greatest of them all.
Thank you, President Ford and President Bush. And God bless you, Nancy
Reagan for your moving tribute to President Reagan.
By the way, I spoke to President Reagan this afternoon, and I made him a
promise that we would win one more for the Gipper. Are you ready?
Thank you. And he appreciated it very much.
Ladies and gentlemen, delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens,
I cannot say it more clearly than in plain speaking. I accept your
nomination to lead our party once again to the Presidency of the United
And I am profoundly moved by your confidence and trust, and I look
forward to leading America into the next century. But this is not my
moment, it is yours. It is yours, Elizabeth. It is yours, Robin. It is
yours, Jack and Joanne Kemp.
And do not think I have forgotten whose moment this is above all. It is
for the people of America that I stand here tonight, and by their
generous leave. And as my voice echoes across darkness and desert, as it
is heard over car radios on coastal roads, and as it travels above
farmland and suburb, deep into the heart of cities that, from space,
look tonight like strings of sparkling diamonds, I can tell you that I
know whose moment this is: It is yours. It is yours entirely.
And who am I that stands before you tonight?
I was born in Russell, Kansas, a small town in the middle of the prairie
surrounded by wheat and oil wells. As my neighbors and friends from
Russell, who tonight sit in front of this hall, know well, Russell,
though not the West, looks out upon the West.
And like most small towns on the plains, it is a place where no one
grows up without an intimate knowledge of distance.
And the first thing you learn on the prairie is the relative size of a
man compared to the lay of the land. And under the immense sky where I
was born and raised, a man is very small, and if he thinks otherwise, he
I come from good people, very good people, and I'm proud of it. My
father's name was Doran and my mother's name was Bina. I loved them and
there's no moment when my memory of them and my love for them does not
overshadow anything I do -- even this, even here -- and there is no
height to which I have risen that is high enough to allow me to allow me
to forget them -- to allow me to forget where I came from, and where I
stand and how I stand -- with my feet on the ground, just a man at the
mercy of God.
And this perspective has been strengthened and solidified by a certain
wisdom that I owe not to any achievement of my own, but to the gracious
compensations of age.
Now I know that in some quarters I may not -- may be expected to run
from this, the truth of this, but I was born in 1923, and facts are
better than dreams and good presidents and good candidates don't run
from the truth.
I do not need the presidency to make or refresh my soul. That false hope
I will gladly leave to others. For greatness lies not in what office you
hold, but on how honest you are in how you face adversity and in your
willingness to stand fast in hard places.
Age has its advantages.
Let me be the bridge to an America than only the unknowing call myth.
Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in
And to those who say it was never so, that America's not been better, I
say you're wrong. And I know because I was there. And I have seen it.
And I remember.
And our nation, though wounded and scathed, has outlasted revolutions,
civil war, world war, racial oppression and economic catastrophe. We
have fought and prevailed on almost every continent. And in almost every
We have even lost. But we have lasted, and we have always come through.
And what enabled us to accomplish this has little to do with the values
of the present. After decades of assault upon what made America great,
upon supposedly obsolete values, what have we reaped? What have we
created? What do we have?
What we have in the opinions of millions of Americans is crime and
drugs, illegitimacy, abortion, the abdication of duty, and the
abandonment of children.
And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon
which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village,
that is collective, and thus the state, to raise a child.
The state is now more involved than it ever has been in the raising of
children. And children are now more neglected, more abused and more
mistreated than they have been in our time.
This is not a coincidence. This is not a coincidence. And with all due
respect, I am here to tell you it does not take a village to raise a
child. It takes a family to raise a child.
If I could by magic restore to every child who lacks a father or a
mother that father or that mother, I would. And though I cannot, I would
never turn my back on them. And I shall as President vote measures that
keep families whole.
And I'm here to tell you that permissive and destructive behavior must
be opposed. That honor and liberty must be restored and that individual
accountability must replace collective excuse.
And I'm here to say I am here to say to America, do not abandon the
great traditions that stretch to the dawn of our history. Do not topple
the pillars of those beliefs -- God, family, honor, duty, country --
that have brought us through time, and time, and time, and time again.
And to those who believe that I am too combative, I say if I am
combative, it is for love of country. It is to uphold a standard that I
was I was born and bread to defend. And to those who believe that I live
and breathe compromise, I say that in politics honorable compromise is
no sin. It is what protects us from absolutism and intolerance.
But one must never compromise in regard to God and family and honor and
duty and country. And I'm here to set a marker, that all may know that
it is possible to rise in politics, with these things firmly in mind,
not compromised and never abandoned, never abandoned.
For the old values endure and though they may sleep and though they may
falter, they endure. I know this is true. And to anyone who believes
that restraint honor and trust in the people cannot be returned to
government, I say follow me, follow me.
Only right conduct, only right conduct distinguishes a great nation from
one that cannot rise above itself. It has never been otherwise.
Right conduct every day, at every level, in all facets of life. The
decision of a child not to use drugs; of a student not to cheat; of a
young woman or a young man to serve when called; of a screenwriter to
refuse to add to mountains of trash; of a businessman not to bribe; of a
politician to cast a vote or take action that will put his office or his
chances of victory at risk, but which is right.
And why have so many of us -- and I do not exclude myself, for I am not
the model of perfection -- why have so many of us been failing these
tests for so long? The answer is not a mystery. It is to the contrary
quite simple and can be given quite simply.
It is because for too long we have had a leadership that has been
unwilling to risk the truth, to speak without calculation, to sacrifice
An administration, in its very existence, communicates this day by day
until it flows down like rain and the rain becomes a river and the river
becomes a flood.
Which is more important, wealth or honor?
It is not as was said by the victors four years ago, the economy stupid.
It's a kind of nation we are. It's whether we still possess the wit and
determination to deal with many questions including economic questions,
but certainly not limited to them. All things do not flow from wealth or
poverty. I know this firsthand and so do you.
All things flow from doing what is right.
The cry of this nation lies not in its material wealth but in courage,
and sacrifice and honor. We tend to forget when leaders forget. And we
tend to remember it when they remember it.
The high office of the presidency requires not a continuous four year
campaign for re-election, but rather broad oversight and attention to
three essential areas: the material, the moral and the nation's survival
in that ascending order of importance.
In the last presidential election, you the people were gravely insulted.
You were told that the material was not only the most important of these
three, but in fact, really the only one that mattered.
I don't hold to that for a moment. No one can deny the importance of
material well-being. And in this regard, it is time to recognize we have
surrendered too much of our economic liberty. I do not appreciate the
value of economic liberty nearly as much for what it has done in keeping
us fed, as to what it's done in keeping us free.
The freedom of the marketplace is not merely the best guarantor of our
prosperity. It is the chief guarantor of our rights, and a government
that seizes control of the economy for the good of the people ends up
seizing control of the people for the good of the economy.
And our opponents portray the right to enjoy the fruits of one's own
time and labor as a kind selfishness against which they must fight for
the good of the nation. But they are deeply mistaken, for when they
gather to themselves the authority to take the earnings and direct the
activities of the people, they are fighting not for our sake but for the
power to tell us what to do.
And you now work from the first of January to May just to pay your taxes
so that the party of government can satisfy its priorities with the
sweat of your brow because they think that what you would do with your
own money would be morally and practically less admirable than what they
would do with it.
And that simply has got to stop. It's got to stop in America.
It is demeaning to the nation that within the Clinton administration, a
core of the elite who never grew up, never did anything real, never
sacrificed, never suffered and never learned, should have the power to
fund with your earnings their dubious and self-serving schemes.
Somewhere, a grandmother couldn't afford to call her granddaughter, or a
child went without a book, or a family couldn't afford that first home
because there was just not enough money to make the call, or to buy the
book, or to pay the mortgage. Or, for that matter, to do many other
things that one has the right and often the obligation to do.
Why? Because some genius in the Clinton administration took the money to
fund yet another theory, yet another program and yet another
bureaucracy. Are they taking care of you, or are they taking care of
I have asked myself that question. And I say, let the people be free.
Free to keep. Let the people be free to keep as much of what they earn
as the government can strain with all its might not to take, not the
other way around.
I trust the American people to work in the best interest of the people.
And I believe that every family, wage earner and small business in
America can do better -- if only we have the right policies in
And make no mistake about it, my economic program is the right policy
for America and for the future, and for the next century.
Here's what it will mean to you. Here's what it will mean to you. It
means you will have a president who will urge Congress to pass and send
to the states for ratification a balanced budget amendment to the
It means you will have a president and a Congress who have the will to
balance the budget by the year 2002. It means you will have a president
who will reduce taxes 15 percent across-the-board for every taxpayer in
And it will include a $500 per child tax credit for lower and middle
income families in America. Taxes for a family of four making $35,000 a
year would be reduced by more than half -- 56 percent to be exact. And
that's a big, big reduction.
It means you will have a president who will help small businesses, the
businesses that create most new jobs, by reducing the capital gains tax
rate by 50 percent. Cut it in half. It means you will have a president
who will end the IRS as we know it.
It means you will have a president who will expand individual retirement
accounts, repeal President Clinton's Social Security tax increase,
provide estate tax relief, reduce government regulations, reform our
civil justice system, provide educational opportunity scholarships and a
host of other proposals that will create more opportunity for all
Americans and all across America.
And I will not stop there. Working with Jack Kemp and a Republican
Congress I will not be satisfied until we have reformed our entire tax
code and made it fairer and flatter and simpler for the American people.
The principle involved here is time-honored and true, and that is, it's
your money. You shouldn't have to apologize for wanting to keep what you
earn. To the contrary, the government should apologize for taking too
much of it.
The Clinton administration -- the Clinton administration just doesn't
get it. And that's why they have got to go.
The president -- the president's content with the way things are. I am
not. We must commit ourselves to a far more ambitious path that puts
growth, expanding opportunities, rising incomes and soaring prosperity
at the heart of national policy.
We must also commit ourselves to a trade policy that does not suppress
pay and threaten American jobs. And by any measure, the trade policies
of the Clinton administration has been a disaster. Trade deficits are
skyrocketing and middle income families are paying the price.
My administration will fully enforce our trade laws and not let our
national sovereignty be infringed by the World Trade Organization or any
other international body.
Jack Kemp and I will restore the promise of America and get the economy
moving again, and we'll do so without leaving anybody behind.
And I have learned in my own life, from my own experience that not every
man, woman or child can make it on their own. And that in time of need,
the bridge between failure and success can be the government itself. And
given all that I have experienced, I shall always remember those in
need. That is why I helped to save Social Security in 1983 and that is
why I will be, I will be the president who preserves and strengthens and
protects Medicare for America's senior citizens.
For I will never forget the man who rode on a train from Kansas to
Michigan to see his son who was thought to be dying in an Army hospital.
When he arrived, his feet were swollen and he could hardly walk because
he had to make the trip from Kansas to Michigan standing up most of the
Who was that man? He was my father. My father was poor and I love my
father. Do you imagine for one minute that as I sign the bills that will
set the economy free, I will not be faithful to Americans in need? You
can be certain that I will.
For to do otherwise would be to betray those whom I love and honor most.
And I will betray nothing.
Let me speak about immigration. Yes. Let me speak about immigration. The
right and obligation of a sovereign nation to control its borders is
beyond debate. We should not have here a single illegal immigrant.
But the question of immigration is broader than that, and let me
specific. A family from Mexico arrives this morning legally has as much
right to the American Dream as the direct descents of the Founding
The Republican Party is broad and inclusive. It represents -- The
Republican Party is broad and inclusive. It represents many streams of
opinion and many points of view.
But if there's anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our
party in the belief that we are not open to citizens of every race and
religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the Party
of Lincoln. And the exits which are clearly marked are for you to walk
out of as I stand this ground without compromise.
And though, I can only look up -- and though I can look up, and at a
very steep angle, to Washington and Lincoln, let me remind you of their
concern for the sometimes delicate unity of the people.
The notion that we are and should be one people rather than "peoples" of
the United States seems so self-evident and obvious that it's hard for
me to imagine that I must defend it. When I was growing up in Russell,
Kansas, it was clear to me that my pride and my home were in America,
not in any faction, and not in any division.
In this I was heeding, even as I do unto this day, Washington's eloquent
rejection of factionalism. I was honoring, even as I do unto this day,
Lincoln's word, his life and his sacrifice. The principle of unity has
been with us in all our successes.
The 10th Mountain Division, in which I served in Italy, and the Black
troops of the 92ndm Division who fought nearby were the proof for me
once again of the truth I'm here trying to convey.
The war was fought just a generation after America's greatest and most
intense period of immigration. And yet when the blood of the sons of
immigrants and the grandsons of slaves fell on foreign fields, it was
American blood. In it you could not read the ethnic particulars of the
soldier who died next to you. He was an American.
And when I think how we learned this lesson I wonder how we could have
unlearned it. Is the principle of unity, so hard-fought and at the cost
of so many lives, having been contested again and again in our history,
and at such a terrible price, to be casually abandoned to the urge to
The answer is no.
Must we give in to the senseless drive to break apart that which is
beautiful and whole and good?
And so tonight I call on every American to rise above all that may
divide us, and to defend the unity of the nation for the honor of
generations past, and the sake of those to come.
The Constitution of the United States mandates equal protection under
the law. This is not code language for racism. It is plain speaking
And the guiding light in my administration will be that in this country,
we have no rank order by birth, no claim to favoritism by race, no
expectation of judgment other than it be even-handed. And we cannot
guarantee the outcome, but we shall guarantee the opportunity in
I will speak plainly -- I will speak plainly on another subject of
importance. We're not educating all of our children. Too many are being
forced to absorb the fads of the moment.
Not for the nothing are we the biggest education spenders and among the
lowest education achievers among the leading industrial nations.
The teachers unions nominated Bill Clinton in 1992. They're funding his
re-election now. And they, his most reliable supporters, know he will
maintain the status quo.
And I say this -- I say this not to the teachers, but to their unions. I
say this, if education were a war, you would be losing it. If it were a
business, you would be driving it into bankruptcy. If it were a patient,
it would be dying.
And to the teachers union, I say, when I am president, I will disregard
your political power for the sake of the parents, the children, the
schools and the nation. I plan to enrich your vocabulary with those
words you fear -- school choice and competition and opportunity
All this for low and middle income families so that you will join the
rest of us in accountability, while others compete with you for the
commendable privilege of giving our children a real education.
There is no reason why those who live on any street in America should
not have the same right as the person who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue -- the right to send your child to the school of your choice.
And if we want to reduce crime -- if we want to reduce crime and drug
use and teen pregnancies, let's start by giving all our children a
And I also want these children to inherit a country that is far safer
than it is at present. I seek for our children and grandchildren a world
more open and with more opportunity than ever before.
But in wanting these young Americans to be able to make the best of
this, I want first and foremost for them to be safe. I want to remove
the shadow that darkens opportunities for every man, woman and child in
We are a nation paralyzed by crime. And it's time to end that in
And to do so, I mean to attack the root cause of crime -- criminals,
criminals, violent criminals.
And as our many and voracious criminals go to bed tonight, at say, 6:00
in the morning, they had better pray that I lose this election because
if I win, the lives of violent criminals are going to be hell.
During the Reagan administration -- during the Reagan administration we
abolished parole at the federal level. In the Dole administration we
will work with the nation's governors to abolish parole for violent
criminals all across America. And with my national instant check
initiative, we will keep all guns out of the hands of criminals.
And I have been asked if I have a litmus tests for judges. I do.
My litmus test for judges is that they be intolerant of outrage; that
their passion is not to amend, but to interpret the Constitution that
they are restrained in regard to those who live within the law, and
strict with those who break it.
And for those who say that I should not make President Clinton's liberal
judicial appointments an issue in this campaign, I have a simple
response. I have heard your argument.
The motion is denied.
I save my respect for the Constitution, not for those who would ignore
it, violate it or replace it with conceptions of their own fancy.
My administration will zealously protect civil and constitutional rights
while never forgetting that our primary duty is protecting law abiding
citizens, everybody in this hall.
I have no intention of ignoring violent -- I said violent criminals,
understanding them or buying them off. A nation that cannot defend
itself from outrage does not deserve to survive. And a president who
cannot lead itself against those who prey upon it does not deserve to be
president of the United States of America.
I am prepared to risk more political capital in defense of domestic
tranquility than any president you have ever known. The time for such
risk is long overdue.
And in defending our nation from external threats, the requirements of
survival cannot merely be finessed. There is no room for margin of
error. On this subject perhaps more than any other, a president must
level with the people and be prepared to take political risks. And I
would rather do what is called for in this regard and be unappreciated,
than fail to do so and win universal acclaim.
And it must be said because of misguided priorities there have been
massive cuts in funding for our national security. I believe President
Clinton has failed to adequately provide for our defense. And for
whatever reason the neglect, it is irresponsible.
I ask that you consider these crystal-clear differences. He believes
that it is acceptable to ask our military forces to more with less. I do
He defends giving a green light to a terrorist state, Iran, to expand
its influence in Europe. And he relies on the United Nations to punish
Libyan terrorists who murdered American citizens. I will not. He
believes that defending our people and our territory from missile attack
is unnecessary. I do not.
And on my first day in office, I will put America on a course that will
end our vulnerability to missile attack and rebuild our armed forces.
It is a course President Clinton has refused to take. And on my first
day in office, I will put terrorists on notice. If you harm one
American, you harm all Americans. And America will pursue you to the
ends of the earth.
In short, don't mess with us if you're not prepared to suffer the
And furthermore, the lesson has always been clear, if we are prepared to
defend, if we are prepared to fight many wars and greater wars than any
wars that come, we will have to fight fewer wars and lesser wars and
perhaps no wars at all.
It has always been so and will ever be so. And I'm not the first to say
that the long gray line has never failed us, and it never has.
For those who might be sharply taken aback and thinking of Vietnam,
think again. For in Vietnam the long gray line did not fail us, we
failed it in Vietnam.
The American soldier -- the American soldier was not made for the casual
and arrogant treatment that he suffered there, where he was committed
without clear purpose or resolve, bound by rules that prevented victory,
and kept waiting in the valley of the shadow of death for 10 years while
the nation invaded the undebatable question of his honor.
No, the American soldier was not to be thrown into battle without a
clear purpose or resolve, not made to be abandoned in the field of
battle, not made to give his life for indifference or lack of respect.
And I will never commit the American soldier to an ordeal without the
prospect of victory.
And when I am president, and when I am president every man, and every
women in our armed forces will know the president is Commander-in-Chief,
not Boutros Boutros-Ghali or any other UN Secretary General.
This I owe not only to the living, but to the dead, to every patriot, to
every patriot grave, to the ghosts of Valley Forge, of Flanders Field,
of Bataan, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, and the Gulf.
This I owe to the men who died on the streets of Mogadishu not three
year ago, to the shadows on the bluffs of Normandy, to the foot soldiers
who never came home, to the airmen who fell to earth, and the sailors
who rest perpetually at sea.
This is not an issue of politics, but far graver than that. Like the
bond of trust between parent and child, it is the lifeblood of the
nation. It commands not only sacrifice but a grace in leadership
embodying both caution and daring at the same time. And this we owe not
only to ourselves. Our Allies demand consistency and resolve, which they
deserve from us as we deserve it from them. But even if they falter, we
cannot, for history has made us the leader, and we are obliged by
history to keep the highest standard possible.
And in this regard may I remind you of the nation's debt to Presidents
Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. President Nixon engaged China and the
Soviet Union with diplomatic genius. President Ford, who gave me my
start in 1976, stood fast in a time of great difficulty, and with the
greatest of dignity. Were it not for President Reagan, the Soviet Union
would still be standing today.
He brought the Cold War to an end, not, as some demanded, through
compromise and surrender -- but by winning it. That's how he brought the
Cold War to an end.
And President Bush, with a mastery that words fail to convey, guided the
Gulf War coalition and its military forces to victory. A war that might
have lasted years and taken the lives of tens of thousands of Americans
passed so swiftly and passed so smoothly that history has yet to catch
its breath and give him the credit he is due.
History is like that. History is like that. Whenever we forget its
singular presence, it gives us a lesson in grace and awe.
And when I look back on my life, I see less and less of myself and more
and more a history of this civilization that we have made that is called
And I am content and always will be content to see my own story subsumed
in great events, the greatest of which is the simple onward procession
of the American people. What a high privilege it is to be at the center
in these times -- and this I owe to you, the American people.
I owe everything to you. And to make things right, and to close the
circle, I will return to you as much as I possibly can. It is incumbent
upon me to do so. It is my duty and my deepest desire. And so tonight, I
respectfully -- I respectfully ask for your blessing and your support.
The election will not be decided -- the election will not be decided by
the polls or by the opinion-makers or by the pundits.
It will be decided by you. It will be decided by you.
And I ask for your vote so that I may bring you an administration that
is able, honest, and trusts in you.
For the fundamental issue is not of policy, but of trust -- not merely
whether the people trust the president, but whether the president and
his party trust the people, trust in their goodness and their genius for
That's what the election is all about.
For the government cannot direct the people, the people must direct the
This is not the outlook of my opponent -- and he is my opponent, not my
And though he has tried of late to be a good Republican ... and I expect
him here tonight ... there are certain distinctions that even he cannot
blur. There are distinctions between the two great parties that will be
debated and must be debated in the next 82 days.
He and his party brought us the biggest tax increase in the history of
America. And we are the party of lower taxes -- we are the party of
lower taxes and greater opportunity.
We are the party whose resolve did not flag as the Cold War dragged on.
We did not tremble before a Soviet giant that was just about to fall,
and we did not have to be begged to take up arms against Saddam Hussein.
We are not the party, as drug use has soared and doubled among the
young, hears no evil, sees no evil, and just cannot say, "Just say no."
We are the party that trusts in the people. I trust in the people. That
is the heart of all I have tried to say tonight.
My friends, a presidential campaign is more than a contest of
candidates, more than a clash of opposing philosophies.
It is a mirror held up to America. It is a measurement of who we are,
where we come from, and where we are going. For as much inspiration as
we may draw from a glorious past, we recognize American preeminently as
a country of tomorrow. For we were placed here for a purpose, by a
higher power. There's no doubt about it.
Every soldier in uniform, every school child who recites the Pledge of
Allegiance, every citizen who places her hand on her heart when the flag
goes by, recognizes and responds to our American destiny.
Optimism is in our blood. I know this as few others can. There once was
a time when I doubted the future. But I have learned as many of you have
learned that obstacles can be overcome.
And I have unlimited confidence in the wisdom of our people and the
future of our country.
Tonight, I stand before you tested by adversity, made sensitive by
hardship, a fighter by principle, and the most optimistic man in
My life is proof that America is a land without limits. And with my feet
on the ground and my heart filled with hope, I put my faith in you and
in the God who loves us all. For I am convinced that America's best days
are yet to come.
May God bless you. And may God bless America. Thank you very much.
August 15, 1996
Remarks by Jack Kemp
Kemp Accepts Nomination
San Diego, California
Abraham Lincoln believed you serve your party best by serving our
country first. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot think of a better way of
serving our nation than by electing Bob Dole President of the United
States of America.
And by the way, this time let's reelect a Republican Congress to help
Bob Dole restore the
American dream. That's what is important in 1996. It's just that we need
to re-elect our Republican Congress.
Tonight, here in San Diego, Bob Dole and I begin this campaign to take
our message of growth, hope, leadership and cultural renewal to all
As I said in Russell, Kansas, Bob Dole's hometown, last Saturday, we're
going to take our cause from the boroughs of New York to the barrios of
California. We're not going to leave anyone out of this cause and this
We're going to carry the word to every man, woman and child of every
color and background that today, on the eve of the new American century,
it's time to renew the American promise and to recapture the American
dream, and to give our nation a new birth of freedom with liberty,
equality and justice for all. That's what it means to be a Republican.
Tonight, I'm putting our opponents on notice. We're going to ask for the
support of every single American. Our appeal of boundless opportunity
crosses every barrier of geography, race and belief in America. We're
not going to leave anybody out of this opportunity
We may not get every vote. Now, listen to me for a moment. We may not
get every vote, but we'll speak to every heart. In word and action, we
will represent the entire American family. That's what we must be all
And so, in the spirit of Mr. Lincoln, who believed that the purpose of a
great party was not to defeat the other party. The purpose of a truly
great party is to provide superior ideas, principled leadership and a
compelling cause, and in that spirit, I accept your nomination for the
Vice Presidency of the United States of America.
Thank you. OK, I accept, I accept, I accept. I had to say it.
Our convention is not just the meeting of a political party; our
convention is a celebration of ideas. Our goal is not just to win, but
to be worthy of winning.
This is a great nation with a great mission, and last night we nominated
a leader whose stature is equal to that calling, a man whose words
convey a quiet strength, who knows what it means to sacrifice for
others, to sacrifice for his country, and to demonstrate courage under
fire; who brings together all parties and backgrounds in a common cause.
In recent years it has been a presidential practice when delivering the
State of the Union address to introduce heroes in the balcony. Next
year, when Bob Dole delivers the State of the Union address there'll be
a hero at the podium.
There is another hero with us tonight. He's here in our hearts, he's
here in our spirit. He's here in our minds. He brought America back and
restored America's spirit. He gave us a decade of prosperity and
expanding horizons. Make no mistake about it, communism came down, not
because it fell, but because he pushed it.
Thank you, Ronald Reagan. The Gipper.
Our campaign -- for just a moment, let me talk about this campaign, this
cause -- is dedicated to completing that revolution. I'm sure he's
watching us. So let me just say to him, on behalf of all of us who love
him, thanks to the Gipper.
And tonight is the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan and Bob
Dole, and all the great Republicans who precede us and upon whose
shoulders we stand, we begin our campaign to restore the adventure of
the American dream.
With the end of the Cold War, all the "isms" of the 20th century --
Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Socialism, and the evil of Apartheidism --
have failed, except one. Only democracy has shown itself true to the
hopes of all mankind. We must be that party
You see, democratic capitalism is not just the hope of wealth, but it's
the hope of justice. When we look into the face of poverty, we see the
pain, the despair and need of human beings. But above all, in every face
of every child, we must see the image of God.
You see, the Creator of All has planted the seed of creativity in every
single one of us, the desire within every child of God to work and build
and improve our lot in life, and that of our families and those we love.
And in our work, and in the act of creating that is part of all labor,
we discover that part within ourselves that is divine. I believe the
ultimate imperative for growth and opportunity is to advance human
Dr. Martin Luther King believed that we must see a sleeping hero in
every soul. I belive America must establish policies that summon those
heroes and call forth their boundless potential and that of the human
spirit. But our fullest potential will never be achieved by following
leaders who call us to timid tasks, diminished dreams and some era of
You see, every generation faces a choice: hope or despair -- to plan for
scarcity or to embrace the possibilities. Societies throughout history
believed they had reached the frontiers of human accomplishment. But in
every age, those who trusted that divine spark of imagination discovered
that vastly greater horizons still lay ahead.
You see, Americans do not accept limits. We transcended those limits. We
do not settle for things as they are. We are intent on succeeding.
I learned this as a lesson as a young boy growing up in the street in
Los Angeles, California. My dad was a truck driver.
My daddy was a truck driver. He and my uncle bought the truck, started a
trucking company, put four boys through college. From them and my mom, a
teacher, I learned to never give up. Now I want you to know tonight,
from the bottom of my heart, to me, faith, freedom and family, as well
as life, are the greatest gifts of God to all humanity. It is precious
and we need to be that party.
Today America is on the threshold of the greatest period of economic
activity, technological development and entrepreneurial adventure in the
history of the world. We have before us tomorrows that are even more
thrilling than our more glorious of yesterdays.
And yet the genius of the American people is being stifled. Our economy
is growing at the slowest pace in any recovery in this century. The
income of working men and woman in America is dropping or stagnant. And
there's kind of a gnawing feeling throughout our nation that -- in some
way, for some reason -- just something wrong.
Our friends in the other party say the economy is great. It's moving
forward. It's moving, like a ship dragging an anchor, the anchor of
taxes, and excessive regulations and big government and bureaucracy.
They say it's the best we do and the best we can hope for. But that's
because they have put their entire trust in government rather than
people. They want a government that runs our lives, runs our businesses,
runs our schools. You see, they just don't believe in the unlimited
possibilities that freedom can bring.
Today, the Democratic Party is not democratic. They are elitist. They
don't have faith in people. They have in government. They trust
government more than markets. And that's why they raised taxes on middle
income families. That's why they tried to nationalize health care.
That's why that today they say they are "unalterably opposed" to cutting
taxes on the American family.
That's the problem with elitists -- they think they know better than the
people. But the truth is, there's a wisdom, there's an intelligence in
ordinary women and men far superior to the greatest so-called experts
that have every lived. That's what our party must be all about.
The Democratic Party is the party of the status quo. And as of tonight,
with Bob Dole as our leader, we are the party of change.
Our first step will be to balance the budget with a strategy that
combines economy in government with the type of tax cuts designed to
liberate the productive genius of the American people.
Now, of course, the naysayers in the Clinton White House say it can't be
done. They've got to say that. They don't know Bob Dole and they don't
know Jack Kemp.
As Bob and I have said before and will continue to say throughout this
campaign, with a pro-growth Republican Congress, balancing the budget
while cutting taxes is just a matter of presidential will. If you have
it, you can do it. Bob Dole has it. And Bob Dole will do it.
You can count on it.
And guess what? And guess what? And guess what?
All the critics aside, I'm going to be with him, at his side, every step
of the way. And so will you, so will you.
But this is just the beginning. But this is just the beginning. This is
the first step.
We're going to scrap the whole fatally flawed tax code of America, and
replace it with a flatter, fairer, simpler, pro-family, pro-growth tax
code for the 21st century. We can do it.
And guess what? Guess what? Guess what? That's rhetorical. You don't
have to answer.
We're going to end the IRS and its intrusiveness as we have known it
these past 83 years.
We're going to start with a 15 percent across-the-board tax rate cut.
There's going to be tax relief and a $500 per child tax credit. We're
going to cut the capital gains tax in half, and not apologize for it.
We're going to take the side of the worker, the side of the saver, the
entrepreneur, the family. The American people can use their money more
wisely than can government. It's time they had more of a chance, and
we're going to give them that opportunity, that chance.
That's what this is all about.
Here we are, on the eve of the 21st century, in the middle of that
technological revolution that is transforming the world in which we
live. But how can it be that so many families find themselves struggling
just to keep even, or just to get by?
And I want to say this from the heart -- that as long as it takes two
earners to do what one earner used to do, how can anybody say this
economy is good enough for the American people?
Our tax cut will mean that parents will have more time to spend with
their children -- and with each other. It means that a working parent
can afford to take a job that lets them maybe be home when the kids come
home from school. It means that the struggling, single mother in the
inner city of America will find it easier to get out of poverty and to
work off the welfare system which is a drag on her hopes and
We cannot forget, my friends, that a single mom and her children in this
country cannot be left out of our great revolution for this country.
The American society as a whole can never achieve the outer- reaches of
its potential so long as it tolerates the inner cities of despair. And I
can tell you that Bob Dole and Jack Kemp will not tolerate that despair
in our nation's cities.
I read the account by a reporter -- I read the report -- when I was at
Housing and Urban Development, I read the account of a reporter of his
conversation with a 10-year-old child at Henry Horner public housing in
Chicago, which I had had the honor of visiting.
The reporter told in his book that he asked the little boy what he
wanted to be when he grew up. The little boy said, "If I grow up, I'd
like to be a bus driver."
He said, "If I grow up." He said "If" -- not when. At the age of 10 he
wasn't sure he'd even make it to adulthood.
Think how much poorer our nation is, and deprived of, not allowing that
child to reach his or her potential. And those like him. Think how much
richer our nation will be when every single child is able to grow up to
reach for his or her God-given potential -- including those who come to
America. Including those who are willing to risk everything to come to
My friends, we are a nation of immigrants. And as the former president
of Notre Dame University, Father Theodore Hesburgh, said, the reason we
have to close the back door of illegal immigration is so that we can
keep open the front door of legal immigration.
That is what it means to be in America.
You see, our goal is not just a more prosperous America, but a better
America. An America that recognizes the infinite worthwhile of every
individual and, like the Good Shepherd, leaves the 99 to find the one
An America that honors all its institutions -- the values that moms and
dads want to pass on to their children.
An America that makes the ideal of equality a daily reality -- equality
of opportunity, equality in human dignity, equality before the laws of
mankind as well as in the eyes of God.
An America that transcends the boundaries between the races with the
revolutionary power of the simple, yet profound idea to love our
neighbors as ourselves.
We must remember all that is at stake in America's cultural renewal --
not just the wealth of our nation but the meaning as well.
Today, more than ever before, America's ideals and ideas grip the
imaginations of women and men in every corner of the globe. And isn't it
exciting -- isn't it exciting to think, that it's 1776 -- only this time
all over the world?
You know, President Reagan spoke of America as a shining city on a hill,
a light unto nations. And in decades past, so many of those who looked
for that light did so from behind a wall and barbed wire, and tyrannical
Now, because the American people stood strong, those people are free.
Freedom is not free. It's never guaranteed. Our nation and its president
must be strong enough to stand up for freedom against all who would
A world of peace. A world of hope. That's what America's economic and
cultural renewal means at home and around the world. This is what our
cause is all about. This is why we'll elect Bob Dole the next president.
This is why we need a Republican Congress.
And I want you to know, the other night I was honored, I was so honored
to be part of that tribute, so meaningfully to President Reagan.
Afterwards. Mrs. Reagan said she was touched by my calling Ronald Reagan
the last lion of the 20th century. Well, I said history will record
I believe America is fortunate that last night you, and you, and you
nominated a leader worthy of succeeding President Reagan -- a man with
the strength, the determination and the vision to do the job that lies
And I want you to know tonight from the bottom of my heart, I believe
Bob Dole will be the first lion of the 21st century.