Iowa Straw Poll
August 14, 1999
Well thank you very much. Just another summer day in Iowa.
We are delighted to be here, and let's just get right to the issue at hand. The American people have always been optimistic. That is part of our spirit; that's part of our character. We have the attitude that we can do it, that we can make a difference. We believe in our families, we believe in our God, we believe in our communities, we believe in our neighborhoods. And the thing that I resent the most, what this administration has done to America, is to create an atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust.
We must work to reclaim that sense of optimism, that spirit of hope, the spirit of opportunity. The Clinton-Gore administration started off as the Woodstock of 1969--great hopes, great expectations, a lot of talk about harmony and unity--and it ended up in the Woodstock of 1999--trashing our values, trashing our ideals and trashing our White House which is not theirs to trash. [cheers].
My friends, January 20th, 2001 America's long national soap opera will be over. [cheers].
I'm running for president because I want to strengthen the American family. And my vision is not raising money. My vision is raising our nation, raising our families, raising our children, raising our standards here at home and raising our standards abroad.
Our philosophy should be this: The government should not do for our people what the people can do for themselves. [cheers].
The first order of business in strengthening the American family is to give the hard-working American family a tax cut, and I mean a big tax cut. [cheers]. The middle class is on a treadmill. The middle class deserves a break. The middle class is working harder than ever before.
Do you ever feel that you're just not getting ahead? Twenty-four hour day or twenty four hour days-seven days a week economy Do you ever feel that they say they care, but they never do anything about it, do they?
They talk about a budget surplus in Washington, DC. I'll tell you what it is. It is a tax surplus. And since it is a tax surplus you deserve a tax break; you created that surplus. [cheers].
And tax cuts mean more freedom; tax cuts mean more choices. Because every time taxes go up, what does it do? It robs you of freedom. Every time taxes go up it takes away your choice. Yes we will and we must take care of the poor and the disadvantaged and those that can't help themselves, and we will save Social Security and we will save Medicare, but the first order of business to strengthen the American family is to have a major tax cut and that's why I am proposing a 30 percent rate reduction across the board for all taxpayers in America. [cheers].
And when it comes to death taxes, I saw the perfect bumpersticker the other day: No taxation without respiration.
Do you ever stop and wonder why it is that nothing seems to change in Washington. Do you ever stop and wonder why the tax code's so complicated. Do you ever stop and wonder why government keeps getting bigger and the welfare state expands.
That's because the political culture out there is just to not rock the boat, not to challenge the establishment--that the status quo is simply okay.
We've got to change the political culture, and the only way that we're going to change the political culture is to say that Congress like the president and the vice president need to have term limits applied to them. After a period of time they need to come home and live under the laws they've been passing all these years and see how they like it. [cheers].
Raising standards here at home means having excellence in education. Let us move forward with the three R's--reading, writing and arithmetic--and two more R's: respect and responsibility. [cheers].
Let us raise the standard where we celebrate the birth of our children and celebrate life. [cheers].
Let us have the standard where we say that we would like to have a drug-free America.
Let us have a standard where the health care system is once again run by our physicians and not some bureaucrats from managed care and the health insurance corporations.
And let us once again raise the standard and have a priority for the American farmer. You know and I know that the farmer is hurting, and if I am your president, coming from Indiana, the farmer will have a dear friend in the Oval Office once again.
And you think of raising our standards, isn't it time that we return honor, decency, respect, and integrity to the Oval Office? [cheers].
We need to raise our standards abroad. Once again the United States of America is faced with challenges all over the world. If I am the president of the United States I will assure you the only time that I will commit our men and women into harm's way is when it is in America's vital national security interests. [cheers].
As a superpower we should not get bogged down in civil wars. We should reject the idea that we're the world policeman. We are not the global 911 operator. [cheers]. And when it comes to foreign policy, we need experience. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have taken the foreign policy bar so low that we can ill afford to have another president that needs on the job training when it comes to foreign policy and national security.
We need to invest in our military. I think it's absolutely disgraceful that about 10,000 of our men and women are eligible for food stamps. That won't happen in my admistration.
And I'll tell you one other thing, on day one--on day one--our military, the men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for us, will know that they will never, ever report to the Secretary General of the United Nation; they will always report to the commander in chief of the United States of America. [cheers].
Now folks, let's just talk about this election. The Washington establishment, they want to control this election. They want to tell you who to vote for.
They say that money will determine who our nominee is going to be. I say let's send them a message.
They tell you and me that issues don't matter. Let's send them a message.
They say that there is prosperity everywhere. Yet you and I know that there's no prosperity on the farm; as a matter of fact we have a depression on the farm, and we're going to do something about it.
They say that experience in foreign policy doesn't really matter and look what that's gotten us.
And they say well it doesn't really matter what you did before you were 40 years old. Well I'm proud of what I did before I was 40. I got elected to the Congress twice, I got elected to the United States Senate twice, was raising three wonderful children, and I was on the verge of being vice president of the United States. [cheers].
They say this election is over. I say let's send them a message. [cheers].
They want to tell us who to vote for. The Washington establishment, the special interests, the lobbyists and the media, they want to tell you who to vote for. They don't think that you're smart enough to make the decision on your own. I do. I believe in you. I trust you. I trust your judgement.
So I urge you to get out and find out who has the right stuff to be president of the United States. I believe that we need a president who has the courage of his convictions. Somebody who has been tested, who has experience. I have casted the votes, I've taken the hits, I've made the tough calls and I'm still here fighting for you. [cheers].
My friends, I stand before you today unbowed and unapologetic for standing up and fighting for the American family. [cheers]. And I am not going to back down. I never have and I never will.
The last president that took on the establishment and won was none other than Ronald Reagan. [cheers] He took 'em on and he won. He comes from the midwest--Illinois; great state of Iowa; I come from Huntington, Indiana. I believe it's time to put midwestern commonsense back into the American presidency. [cheers].
So I hope that you will join with me and Marilyn and our family as we work with you to raise this nation, to raise our families, to raise our children, to raise our standards here at home, to raise our standards abroad.
I hope that you will give me your vote, and if you do I guarantee you one thing, I've had one debate with Al Gore--rather enjoyed that evening--and I'm looking forward to a couple of other debates with him. But the bottom line folks is let's do raise this great nation of ours and let's send them a message.