"First-in-the-Nation Primary Kick Off Dinner"
May 2, 1999
[Keyes and Forbes allowed Quayle to speak ahead of them so he could get to an event in Nevada].
Thank you very much and a special thank you to Alan Keyes and Steve Forbes. [applause]. Let's get down to the business at hand. There are three major challenges confronting America today. First, the assault on middle class values. Second, the middle class tax squeeze and the government taking more and more of our freedoms away from us. Third, leadership and foreign policy.
And I ask you, who has been fighting for your values and your families for over twenty years? Who has the experience when it comes to foreign policy? And who has been tested and has the courage to lead this great country of ours. Those are the questions, now the challenges.
First, the assault on middle class values. Littleton, Colorado reminds us once again that values matter most. [applause]. Do you ever feel that perhaps we are slipping away from being a God-fearing nation to a nation that fears the next killing in our local school. My friends this country needs a spiritual renewal. [applause].
We need to reclaim the values that made America great. Values like responsibility, respect, integrity, courage and faith. And you know as well as I do that the teaching of values begins where, right at home. Parents teaching their children values. If you have a child who loves God, honors his parents, respects his neighbors, that child would never kill anyone. [applause].
And as a parent, believe me, when our children were teenagers we knew where they were. We had curfews. Marilyn and I, almost without exception, never missed a parent-teacher conference at school. I coached their basketball teams. We were involved with them. It was quantity time as well as quality time. [applause].
We also need to have values reinforce in our schools, and that means character education--teaching our children what is right and what is wrong. And if anyone has any doubts about what is right and what is wrong, I would suggest that they start with the Ten Commandments. [applause]. Those are commandments and not suggestions.
My friends we need help from all sectors of our society. We need help from the parents, from the schools and from [inaudible] institutions like the media, Hollywood, the entertainment community. We need your support, and I encourage you to look hard at your professions and ask if you can't give us a helping hand.
With all this prosperity that we have, we do know this, that prosperity without values is no prosperity at all. [applause].
Our second challenge is the middle-class tax squeeze. Many people have been left behind in this time of prosperity, and let us remind ourselves who is the author of this prosperity. It is not Bill Clinton; it started with Ronald Reagan in 1981. [applause].
The middle class is working harder than ever before and paying more taxes. We have to have the courage to do what is right. And the courage to do what is right when it comes to taxes means having a big tax cut, not a little tax cut. That's why I'm proposing a 30 percent across the board tax cut for all taxpayers in America. [applause]. And I'm going to go further than that; if I'm your president I'm going to work with the Congress to eliminate the death taxes in America. [applause].
We have to have the courage to challenge the education bureaucracy and put our children first; to challenge the trial lawyers and say that when there is a frivolous lawsuit the loser of that lawsuit pays the winner's legal fees. [applause]. Have the courage to challenge managed care, and say every patient and consumer have the right to choose their own doctor. [applause].
Honest leadership. Strong leadership. And let us make a pledge that we will work our hardest to make sure that we return integrity to the Oval Office. [applause].
Third, leadership in foreign policy. George Bush and I, we had many successes. The Berlin Wall came down and Germany was united, the Soviet Union--past tense, the system of apartheid was eliminated in South Africa, Saddam Hussein kicked out of Kuwait, Noriega apprehended. We handed this administration the most favorable foreign policy cards of any administration and one by one by one they frittered them away.
And now we are involved in a civil war. I am thankful that the POWs, those three brave servicemen are coming home [applause] but a superpower does not get involved in civil wars, a superpower works to bring parties together.
We have seen the depletion of our armed forces and we must once again invest in national defense because we get peace, we have peace through strength. [applause].
In the final 15 seconds, I want to make a direct appeal to the people of New Hampshire. You've heard the self-anointed down there in Washington, they've already had their primary and they've told you that this nomination is over. It's not over. They're saying to you in New Hampshire that your primary doesn't count. It does count. And I appeal to you to take a look at us. Size us up and then ask the tough questions. Who is ready to be president? Who has the best ideas? Go with your hearts, not with the polls. Thank you very much. [applause]. This campaign is for you. I will fight for you, for your values, for your families. Give me a chance. I want your vote. Thank you very much. [applause continues].