Iowa Straw Poll
August 14, 1999
Well thank you so much. That's great. On behalf of my wife of 42 years, Elaine, and myself and the rest of my family--what with 18 grandchildren, it's about the size of a small Iowa town these days--I want to thank the people of this great state for taking us into your homes and into your hearts for these few weeks. I've only been in it a couple of weeks.
Of course I'm so proud to be running for president with these talented and dedicated candidates who share this stage with me tonight.
Each of us up here has their own ideas about where we want to take this country and our nation and how we're going to do it. But I believe we all agree on one thing. In the year 2000 the American people will elect a Republican to be the next president of the United States of America. [cheers].
The road to the White House begins right now, right here in the heart of the heartland, in the great state of Iowa. I think we can all agree on that, can't we?
Like many of you the thought of President Gore really concerns me. But the thought of candidate Gore and his liberal elitism inspires me to tell our message in bold, bright colors that our conservative ideas and principles are what we need in America today.
Gore will not be able to run away from his very liberal, elitist record. Did you see the recent story about the vice president in the newspapers. He climbed 14,000-foot Mt. Ranier right to the top. He carried 65 pounds of gear on his back. If he thought that was heavy, wait until he campaigns next year carrying 235-pound president on his back. [cheers].
In all seriousness when I first announced my intention to run for the Republican nomination for the president many in the media and even some of you asked me why. It boils down to this.
It is time, after eight years of kowtowing to Bill Clinton, for Republicans to stop apologizing for the beliefs and values we know to be right.
It is time to stop apologizing for our principled defense of the Second Amendment.
It is time to stop apologizing for cutting down the size of the bloated federal bureaucracy and government.
It's time to stop apologizing for giving the taxpayers back some of their own money.
It is time to stop apologizing for wanting choice, accountability and most of all discipline in our schools. [cheers].
And yes it is time to stop apologizing for our just, noble and humane defense of the right to life. [cheers].
Early on I learned about the opportunities that this great country gives us. I was born in poverty. I worked hard in the building and construction trades union as an apprentice to become a journeyman, a journeyman metal lather, and in college I worked as a janitor for 65 cents an hour and I was proud to do it. When Elaine and I first married we lived in my parents' converted chicken coop. But we succeeded. We have have succeeded because of the opportunities this country offers to all of us. We have to keep those opportunities alive for every American.
We open opportunities by empowering American families. We have to empower them by reducing their tax burden, ensuring quality health care at a reasonable cost, making our schools safe, getting rid of drugs, and doing more about especially juvenile crime, violent juvenile crime.
We open opportunities by bringing the needed reforms to education, like charter schools and economic opportunity scholarships.
We open opportunities by dealing with race in our society and the gaps between rich and poor, black and white.
I will be the president with the guts and the courage to take on fixing Social Security and Medicare so that those programs will be fiscally healthy for those who depend on them, instead of the Clinton-Gore method of just trying to scare our senior citizens. [cheers].
We'll open opportunities by appointing judges who will follow the Constitution and not their own liberal leanings. Here's something that ought to really scare you; this ought to worry you. The next president of the United States will probably appoint three Supreme Court justices--three of them--and 50 percent of the federal judiciary. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I know how to pick judges who will protect the constitutional principles that we hold dear. No one else running for president even comes close to my experience in the selection of the right judges, and I will do that and we'll have that third branch work for you. [cheers].
Today we have a projected $3 trillion surplus and wartime tax rates. The government takes 40 percent of the average family income, and the leadership of the other party doesn't want to give it back, any of it. Well I do, and I will. [cheers]
The elitist liberals jeered and laughed when Ronald Reagan spoke of the cause of freedom and the end of communism, but those words were heard and believed in the hills of Nicaragua, in the mountain passes of Afghanistan, in Czechoslovakia and the shipyards of Gdansk, Poland. To the people around the world, like our Cuban neighbors who are still yearning for freedom, the message goes out from the heartland of America: you are not forgotten, we are with you, and your cause is our cause. [cheers]
At this very special moment in time at the edge of a new millennium, we have the opportunity to write this next chapter in the glorious American legend. But the Clinton-Gore administration and their loyal supporters in Congress still haven't gotten the message. It's time to leave behind the old liberal, elitist answers to every problem. Bureaucratization, taxation, litigation, and regulation. Four words Bill and Hillary and Al can't live without. Well I think they're about to find out that America can live without them. [cheers]. That it's time for the three of them to go home, and maybe they will if they can just figure out where their home is. [cheers].
It's critical now, as our nation reaches to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity, that we act boldly to create an America where every one of us has the opportunity to choose what is right for our families and ourselves without the burden of an overtaxing and hyperregulating government.
Just look at where we are now. America is the undisputed moral, military, economic leader of the world. Our economy is the most efficient, productive and dynamic economic engine the world has ever known bar none. But we have much more to do. As President Reagan said, we must keep America as the shining city on a hill. An America where each of us has a fair chance to succeed, where every man, woman and child willing to try has a chance to learn, to earn, to succeed, to fail and to try again. An America of hope, not hate; of unity, not division, with leaders who reject the policies of discord as they take the policies of opportunity.
I remember back in 1976 when I first ran for the Senate. It was late in the campaign. We were close but completely out of money--running on fumes. As I sat in the headquarters one night exhausted and wondering what in the world I was doing, I opened a letter that had come in earlier in the day. It was from a 90-year old woman I really didn't know.
She wrote, "Dear Mr. Hatch, a friend said you were a good and decent man. I don't have very much money. All I've got is the $98 my Social Security pays each month. But I'm sending you $5. I know you will do what's right. I'm sorry I don't have more to send you." Well this is indeed the widow's might. Well I had that $5 bill in my hand and I just sat there with tears in my eyes. It was one of those emotional moments that affect a person; something you can remember for the rest of your life.
I told my campaign manager Carol Nixon that I just couldn't keep that contribution. I told Carol to send it back to her with another $20 from me. She looked at me and she said, "Orrin you will keep that money. You're going to win this race and then you can pay her back by being the Senator she wants you to be." So that's what I did; that's what I did. [cheers]. And I've given it everything I have, let me tell you. I used the $5 and I won that race, and every day since I've tried to earn that precious $5 contribution. And the effort she taught me a very important lesson. It's not the millions that you raise that count; what really matters is what you do to earn the $5 contributions from those who don't have much to give, but give it anyway. [cheers].
I'm just so grateful to the thousands of Americans who have joined me and joined my one in a million club, that have contributed $36 to our campaign. So many of you have been using it to contact my campaign via our website www.orrinhatch.com. My campaign is truly a people's campaign that reminds us that the Republican party stands for the middle class, the small farmer, the small businessman, the people who skimp and save just to make their mortgage payments each month.
This is the moment to make our mark. It is our time to better the lives of those Americans who will be and in our achievement honor those Americans who have sacrificed, toiled, bled and died so that we may accomplish what we will.
I wrote a song called "Heal Our Land" about how greatly we need to restore dignity, honesty and a sense of moral and ethical values to our country. I intend to do that; that's why I'm running for president and why I would be so proud and honored to earn your vote today.
This is the greatest country in the world bar none. I feel so grateful to have this opportunity. I thank you Iowans for the way you've treated me in just the few short weeks I've been in this race. We're going to scare some people before it's all said and done, and we're going to win it, so hang in there. Thanks so much. God bless America. Thank you. [cheers].