Thank you for that warm Huntington welcome. And thank you to Senator Dan Coats, my very dear friend. I only wish that he were still in the United States Senate. What a special day. What a fantastic welcome. This is the heart of America.
Huntington is where I brought my young bride, Marilyn, back here in 1974. I graduated from Huntington High School. I began my career here. I became a father here. I taught business law at Huntington College. We started the law firm of Quayle and Quayle, and I want to be clear about this. My best friend in life, the love of my life, my political confidante for all these years, my wife Marilyn was the senior partner of that law firm.
I first ran for Congress in 1976. I ran against a man who also was from Huntington, a fine gentleman. The experts at that time, they said I didnít have a chance. And I said to the experts, ďWatch me,Ē and we won.
In 1980 I ran for the United States Senate. And again the experts said, ďYou canít win.Ē They said, ďBirch Bayh, he beat Dick Lugar, Bill Ruckelshaus; you canít win.Ē And again, I said to the experts, ďWatch me,Ē and we won.
Eight years later, I came back to Huntington as George Bushís running mate. At that time, some in the media have told me in recent days that they didnít feel that welcome in Huntington. Well, today is a new day, a new campaign, and letís turn around and give a rousing welcome to the national media.
And in 1988 at one time we were behind 17 points, and we won again.
Every campaign that begins in Huntington results in victory.
Today I announce that I will seek and I will win the presidency of the United States of America.
Here is why I am running.
This last century, we have seen a lot of wars, we have seen financial distress. This next century, with the right leadership, hopefully we can have peace and prosperity. And to have peace and prosperity, not just for Americans, but for all the world. That should be our goal. Today, America is the undisputed superpower. We have climbed a high mountain over these last 200 years to attain that responsibility of being the worldís only superpower.
There is no doubt about it that today America is number one militarily, economically, scientifically, technologically. But you know, even though we are number one, we know that something is missing. Something fundamentally isnít quite there.
We are coming to the end of a dishonest decade of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. My friends, it is time that we work to reclaim the values that made America great in the first place. Values like respect, responsibility, courage, patriotism, integrity.
Respect. Parents should respect their children. And the children should respect their parents.
Responsibility. Shoulder the burden of being good citizens.
Courage. Have the courage of your convictions. Stand up for what you believe in.
Integrity. Always tell the truth.
Patriotism. Love your country. Believe in our God.
In your hearts, you know that prosperity without values is no prosperity at all. We must have the courage to lead, the courage to change, the courage to believe in ourselves. And Iím here to tell you that I will lead the fight for our values and for our families.
America today is divided over what is right and what is wrong. There is a cultural divide.
Some that are leading this country today, unfortunately, still adhere to the culture of the 1960s that said, ďIf it feels good, just do it.Ē Some of the self-anointed are saying that truth can be compromised. They will say that people of faith are fanatics, that people that believe in the sanctity of life are extremists, and that people who are patriotic are just old-fashioned.
This divide could not be more evident than on the day that Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. My friends, on that day that Bill Clinton was impeached, his vice president, Al Gore, said this: That Bill Clinton will go down in history as one of Americaís greatest presidents.
What arrogance. What disdain for the values that parents are trying to teach their children. What contempt for the rule of law. This shall not stand. Starting in this town, in this place, at this hour, we will fight back.
I know and you know that values matter most. Because God has written on our hearts the difference between what is right and what is wrong, between justice and injustice, between good and bad. Yet, the self-anointed, they will tell us, ďDonít talk about values.Ē Even some in my party say we shouldnít address the issue of values and virtues because it might be risky or divisive.
I ask you, what is the greatest challenge facing America today? Is it jobs, or is it values? It is values; of course it is.
Leadership is not just a popularity contest. Leadership is doing what is right for the American people. Telling the truth may not be easy, but itís always the right thing to do.
And I can tell you, when you tell the truth, youíll be controversial sometimes. You may recall the speech that I made in May of 1992 titled ďThe Poverty of Values.Ē I made a speech in California on the poverty of values, and I lamented the fact that too many of our children are born into homes without fathers. And the point I made was that raising a child is not just a motherís responsibility; it is a fatherís responsibility too. And I did make a reference to a particular TV sitcom. And I made that reference because I want to work with popular culture to get them to help us. We shouldnít celebrate the idea of fathers abandoning their children. That is wrong. It is wrong for fathers to not pay attention and to help raise their children.
And when you speak the truth, ultimately you will win. Remember, Murphy Brown is gone and Iím still here fighting for the American family.
Itís time to recognize and to appreciate the contribution and the importance of the great middle class of America. The middle class is the bedrock of our community. The middle class, you are the ones that work hard. You play by the rules. You pay your fair share of taxes. Youíre involved in your communities, trying to make your community better. You are the ones that make America great.
But today, there is a middle-class tax squeeze. The middle class is working harder than ever before. And many feel that they arenít getting ahead. We have an economy that works seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day. You work hard. You miss dinners. You miss breakfasts. Sometimes you skip your childís play at school. You come home in the evening and youíre exhausted.
Why? Why are you exhausted and stressed? The reason is you are paying too much taxes. You are being overtaxed. And wouldnít it be nice if the politicians in Washington would just say that we have overtaxed you, and itís time that you keep more of your hard-earned money.
Today it takes two incomes what it used to just take one. Two parents are working today, not just because of choice, thatís fine; but because of economic survival.
Look at the taxes you pay today, direct taxes and indirect taxes. You pay taxes throughout your whole life. You pay local taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, car taxes, utility taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, excise taxes, phone taxes, water taxes. I could go on and on and on, and then, after you pay all these taxes when you are alive, you have the audacity to die, and you pay another 55 percent in death taxes.
My friends, it is time for a real tax cut. It is time to cut the tax rates 30 percent across the board. And let me be clear about this. It is time to get rid of the death taxes in America and the grim reapers of the IRS.
Every tax hike takes away your freedom. Every regulation takes away your freedom. When government gets bigger, it takes away your freedom. We are losing our freedoms and we donít even know it. And Iím here to tell you I will fight for our freedom.
Freedom to keep more of your money. Freedom to choose your own doctor when youíre sick. Freedom from government discrimination. Freedom to study and respect your heritage. Freedom to start your own business. Freedom to send your child to a good school.
Excellence in education is absolutely critical to our future. We need to have the courage to challenge the education bureaucrats. We need to have the courage to put our children first. We need to have the courage to say that we should pay the good teachers more and weed out those teachers that donít come up to our standards.
Itís time that we move forward to the basics ó the three Rís, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Iíll throw two more Rís in there, respect and responsibility, too. No more fuzzy math, where four plus three feels like seven; it is seven. No more creative spelling, either. Iíve tried that; it doesnít work.
Freedom begins with a 30 percent tax cut. The ruling class wonít like this. They will say that you donít want it. They will say the people donít want a tax cut. Theyíre wrong.
They will say that we have to save the surplus for 30 years. Hello ó Washington is going to save a surplus for 30 years? They canít save it for 30 seconds.
I will appoint a secretary of treasury, someone who comes from the growth wing of the Republican Party. Someone who understands that tax cuts will create more jobs, that when you give people incentives there will be more productivity. Because we can grow this economy more.
Why not harness the prosperity we have today and grow it even more? Because some people are being left behind. Many in the middle class are being left behind. The poor are being left behind. The underclass is being left behind. And if we have the courage to cut taxes we will grow this economy more and no one will be left behind.
When I left the White House, the United States was clearly the undisputed superpower. But we were more than that. The American president and the office of the American presidency had the moral authority to lead, to make decisions. Nobody ever questioned our credibility to lead. Nobody ever questioned our commitment to do what is right for America. No one ever suggested that we would sacrifice national security for campaign cash donations.
Today, the White House looks a lot different.
When I traveled the world as vice president, I was in 47 different countries. I met with all the heads of state and the people in those countries. And not one time, not one time did I ever hear any criticism because America was too strong. They always said, ďWe want America to be involved, we want America to lead.Ē
And I can tell you they had respect not just for who was the president at that time, but they had respect for the office of the American presidency. Thatís the way it should be.
And look at the situation today, my friends. Look at the situation today where we have depleted our armed forces. We are asking our armed forces to do more with less. The ships in the Navy over this last decade have been reduced from 600 to 300. Air wings in the Air Force have been reduced from 36 to 18. Divisions in the Army have been reduced from 18 to 9.
America must lead. We must reject the idea of isolationism. I am an internationalist, and I will assume international responsibilities. But that doesnít mean that we should get involved in every civil war around the world.
In my debate with Al Gore in Atlanta 1992, I raised this question for the American people to think about. I said at that time some day, someplace, there will be an international crisis. And the question was, who do you want to manage that crisis? I didnít think of Kosovo at that time, but thatís where the situation is today. Because we do have a crisis in the Balkans. Today there are no good options because of mistake after mistake, miscalculation after miscalculation.
But once the commander in chief makes the decision, we will support our military. We will support the men and women who wear the uniform. And we will pray for them and we will support them and we hope they come home safely.
Iíve been there when these decisions have been made. And the way it works is that you work with a very small group. You have your vice president there, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Itís a very small group. And you talk about what youíre going to do. And the question we always ask: What is right for America, what is in our best interests?
And once the discussions are concluded, it comes down to the decision of one person, the president of the United States. It is an awesome responsibility, it is an awesome challenge. And foreign policy is serious business. You have to pay attention to it. You have to take time to know the world and to know what the issues are.
And let me be very clear about this. When we left the White House, we had a tremendous record of accomplishment in foreign policy. Communism was assigned to the ash heap of history. The Cold War was won. Germany was reunited. The Berlin Wall came down. Apartheid was eliminated in South Africa. Noriega was apprehended in Panama, and we saved democracy in the Philippines.
We handed this administration the most favorable foreign policy cards of any administration since World War II. And unfortunately, one by one by one, they have frittered them away. Today, I will tell you, if Iím your president, never will our armed forces report to the secretary general of the United Nations. Our armed forces will always report to the commander in chief of the United States of America.
I intend to make foreign policy an issue in this presidential campaign. We do not need another president who needs on-the-job training. We can ill afford to have another president who has inexperience when it comes to foreign policy.
You can only get so much from briefing books and crash courses. You need experience.
Today, I can look you in the eye and assure you on day one I will be prepared to lead this great nation of ours.
As we stand and are seated in this gymnasium, let us be mindful of the movie ďHoosiers,Ē a great movie. Remember that movie? Milan High School came from behind and won the state championship. They beat the big shots. They were the underdogs. They beat all the big names. If they had taken a poll in those days, they would have said, ďMilan High School, you canít win.Ē But they did.
Why did they win? Because they worked hard. They worked together. They were determined. They were focused. And they prevailed. And they won, and Iíll win.
In life, itís not a question of whether youíre going to get knocked down or not. You will. The question is are you ready to get back up, and willing to get back up, and fight for what you believe in? And I am.
The presidency is not to be inherited. The presidency will not be bought. It must be earned, and I intend to earn it.
Youíve now heard what I have to say; I want to hear what you have to say. I will fight for your values. Will you stand with me?
I will fight for lower taxes. Will you stand with me?
I will fight for your freedom. Will you stand with me?
I will fight to return honor and respect to the Oval Office. Will you stand with me?
This campaign is for you. Youíve heard so many candidates come and say, ďBelieve in the candidates.Ē Iím here to say I believe in you. I believe in your dreams, in your hopes, and in your future.
The battle for our families and our future begins today. Working together we will prevail. We will make America a better place to live.
you. God bless you, and God bless America.
Paid for by the Quayle 2000 Exploratory Committee, Inc.
Source: Dan Quayle for President Official 2000 Campaign Web Site