44th Vice President of the United States
Remarks Announcing Candidacy
"The Battle For Our Values Begins Today"
Huntington North High School
Wednesday, April 14, 1999
Quayle's announcement speech was the most elaborately staged of any of the candidates' launches. Four- to five- thousand sign-waving, cheering supporters, including many students, filled the gym. After the crowd had been warmed up by musical entertainment and some minor sports celebrities, Quayle's leadership team lined the stage. Former Senator Dan Coats introduced Quayle. Almost every line of Quayle's speech seemed punctuated by cheers. At the end, fireworks went off and 4,000 red, white and blue balloons dropped from the rafters. Quayle and his wife Marilyn then went out into the crowd shaking hands for a bit before retreating back to the stage for a final wave.
Thank you. I accept your nomination! Thank you for that warm Huntington welcome. Thank you to Sen. 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 & Quayle, and I want to be clear about this. My best friend in life, the love of my life, my political confidant for all these years, my wife Marilyn was the senior partner in 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 didn't have a chance, and I said to the experts, "Watch me," and we won. In 1980 I ran for the United States Senate and again the experts said, "You can't win." They said, "Birch Bayh, he beat Dick Lugar, Bill Ruckelshaus; you can't win." And again I said to the experts, "Watch me," and we won.
Eight years later I came back to Huntington as George Bush's running mate. At that time, some in the media have told me in recent days that they didn't feel that welcome in Huntington. Well today is a new day, a new campaign, and let's turn around and give a rousing welcome to the national media.
And in 1988, in 1988 at one point 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.
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 [inaud].
Today America is the undisputed superpower. We have climbed a high mountain over these last 200 years to attain that responsibility of being the world's 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 is quite there. We have just seen the end of a dishonest...we are coming to the end of a dishonest decade of Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
My friends, my friends it is time that we work to reclaim the values that made America great. Values, values like respect, responsibility, courage, patriotism, integrity. Respect. Parents should respect their children; and the children should respect their parents. Responsibility to 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 I'm 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, "If it feels good just do it." Some of the self-annointed 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, this divide could not be more evident than on the day that Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. 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 America's 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-annointed, they will tell us, "Don't talk about values." Even some in my party say that we shouldn't address the issue of values and virtue 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 its always the right thing to do. I can tell you, when you tell the truth you'll be controversial some times. You may recall the speech that I made in May of 1992 titled "The Poverty of Values." 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 is that raising a child is not just a mother's responsibility, it is a father's 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 shouldn't celebrate the idea of fathers abandoning their children. That it's wrong. That it's wrong for fathers to not pay attention and to help raise their children. When you speak the truth ultimately you will win. Remember Murphy Brown is gone and I'm still here fighting for [inaud].
It's time, it's time to recognize and to appreciate the contribution and the importance of the great middle class of Americans. The middle class is the bedrock of our community. The middle class--you are the ones that work hard and play by the rules. You pay your fair share of taxes, your involved in your communities, trying to make your community better. You are the ones that make America great.
Today there is a middle class tax squeeze. The middle class is working harder than ever before, and many feel that they aren't getting ahead. We have an economy that works seven days a week, 24 hours a day. You work hard. You miss dinners, you miss breakfast, and sometimes you skip your child's play at school. You come home in the evening and your exhausted. Why? Why are you exhausted and stressed? The reason is you are paying too much taxes.
You are being over-taxed, and wouldn't it be nice if the politicians in Washington would just say that we have over-taxed you, and it's time that you keep more of your hard-earned money.
Today it takes two incomes when it used to just take one. Two parents are working today not just because of choice, that's 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 taxes 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 don't even know it. And I'm here to tell you I will fight for our freedom.
Freedom to keep more of your money, freedom to choose your own doctor when you're 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 don't come up to our standards.
It's time that we moved forward to the basics, to three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. I'll throw two more Rs 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. I've tried that; it doesn't work.
We need to begin with a 30-percent tax cut. The ruling class won't like this. They will say that you don't want it. They will say that people don't want a tax cut. They're wrong. They will say that we have to save the surplus for 30 years. Hello. Washington is going to save a surplus for 30 years? They can't save it for 30 seconds.
I will appoint as 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 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 travelled the world as vice president, I was in 47 different countries. Not one time, not one time did I ever hear any criticism because America was too strong. They always said we want America to be involved, we want America to lead. And I can tell you they had the respect not just for who was the president at that time, but they had respect for the office of the American presidency. That's 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 nine.
America must lead. We must reject the idea of isolationism. I am an internationalist and I will assume international responsibilities, but that doesn't mean that we should get involved in every civil war around the world.
In my debate with Al Gore in Atlanta in 1992 I raised this question for the American people to think about. I said at that time, some day, some place there will be an international crisis, and the question was who do you want to manage that crisis. I didn't think of Kosovo at that time, but that's 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.
I've 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 national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--it's a very small group--and you talk about what you're going to do. The question we always asked: What is right or wrong; what is in our best interests.
Most of the discussions are concluded [inaud] and you 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. Communism was assigned to the ash-heap of history; the Cold War was won; Germany was re-united; 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've frittered them away. I will tell you if I'm 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.
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 is inexperienced when it comes to foreign policy. You can only get so much from the briefing books and crash courses. You need experience. Today, today I can look you in the eye and assure on day one I will be prepared to lead this great nation.
As we stand and are seated in this gymnasium, let us be mindful of the movie "Hoosiers," 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 day they would have said, "Milan High School you can't win." 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 I'll win.
In life it's not a question of whether you're 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.
The presidency is not to be inherited; the presidency will not be bought; it must be earned and I intend to earn it.
You've now heard what I've had 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. You've heard so many candidates come and say, "Believe in the candidate." I'm 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 [inaud]. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America.
[music "Hot, hot, hot"]
44th Vice President of the United States
Huntington North High School
Wednesday, April 14, 1999
It is wonderful to be back home again in Indiana. This community holds a lot of memories for my family and me. Here is where I went to school, began my career, and became a father. Here I found all the opportunities that America has to offer.
Twenty-three years ago, Marilyn and I began the journey that has taken us to this moment. In 1976 I ran for Congress against a popular, 16-year incumbent. The experts said I wouldn’t win. I said, “Watch me,” and I won. Four years after that, I ran against Senator Birch Bayh, and the experts said I didn’t have a chance. Once again, I said, “Watch me,” and won again. Eight years later, I returned to Huntington, this time nominated for Vice President.
We won that race in 1988. And, in fact, every campaign that has begun in Huntington has resulted in victory. So today, I have come back home to announce that I will seek and I will win the presidency of the United States.
Here’s why I am running. We are coming to the end of the dishonest decade of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and America needs a fresh start. Yes, we are a wealthy and prosperous nation. But the true source of our greatness isn’t a booming stock market, or our status as a superpower. Our greatness comes from the spirit of our people, and the values we choose to honor in our lives: Faith. Respect. Responsibility. Integrity. Courage. Patriotism. These values, which are so important to building strong families and a great nation, are under assault today.
I am an optimist. I am proud of our country and proud to be an American. But I know we can do better. We still have a lot to do, and I have high hopes and high expectations for America.
The time has come to reset the moral compass because prosperity without values is no prosperity at all.
I am running because we need someone who understands what is at stake. America today is divided. Divided over the basic question of what is right and what is wrong. Divided, in fact, over the very existence of right and wrong.
Starting in the 1960's, the self-anointed made it fashionable to believe that there are no standards; there is no right and wrong; there is no such thing as truth. They look at people of faith and call them fanatics. They look at people who believe in the sanctity of human life and call them extremists. They look at displays of patriotism and consider it small-town foolishness.
We saw just how serious the division was this past year when Congress faced the question of impeachment. Everyone knew the facts. Everyone knew that crimes were committed. Everyone knew that the system of justice had been mocked by people who took an oath to uphold it. Al Gore called this greatness.
Well, it is great. Great in its arrogance. Great in its contempt for the values parents try to teach their children. Great in the damage it does to the land we love.
My friends, we must not stand by and let our values be trashed. I say, starting in this town, in this place, at this hour, we fight back.
Yes, values do matter. In fact, values matter most, because they make it possible to live in freedom. Responsibility allows us to control our lives, instead of having government control us. Respect enables us live at peace with one another. Integrity creates bonds of trust between friends and neighbors, citizens and leaders. We honor the sanctity of life because everyone has a purpose on this earth. God has written on our very hearts the ability to know good from bad, justice from injustice, and right from wrong.
There are those in the Washington establishment who say we shouldn’t talk about values. Even some in my own party have told me that the subject is too “risky” and “divisive.” They are wrong.
I will lead America with courage and common sense. That means I will stand for environmental protection, not environmental extremism. I will work to ensure a Social Security system that is there for our seniors, and even stronger and better for future generations. I will not ignore the historical legacy of racism: I will work for a color-blind society, and against government-sponsored discrimination. I will ensure that we don’t condemn another generation of children to failing and unsafe schools.
But there’s something even more critical when it comes to leading a great country. Leadership doesn’t mean always saying what is popular or clever. It’s about speaking the truth. And the truth can be controversial. I’ve been there.
Several years ago, I first called attention to the poverty of values and the tragedy of too many children being born into homes without fathers. And I’ll admit that I did mention a certain television sitcom.
Naturally, the elites were outraged, and they tried to drown out the message with noise and attacks. They tried to get me to back down. But when it comes to defending the American family, I will never put up the surrender flag. I will always fly the battle flag.
And look where we are today. Most people, including my harshest critics, now admit that we needed that debate. And our society has actually made progress reducing the rate of children in homes without fathers, though the number is still too high. Murphy Brown is gone, and I’m still here fighting for the American family.
Most Americans consider themselves middle class. And the middle class today is working harder than ever before. We live in a seven-day-a-week, twenty-four-hour-a-day economy. It’s become routine to miss dinner and leave home before breakfast. The juggling act is leaving people exhausted.
Why is this happening? Because the American family is overtaxed. Government is squeezing too hard. Today it takes two incomes to do what one income did a generation ago. In many families, one parent’s income supports the family, and the other parent’s income goes to the tax collector. We put up with federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, sales taxes, phone taxes, car taxes, cable TV taxes, water taxes, gas taxes. And, then, when you have the audacity to die -- they tax you again. It's time to get rid of the death tax and the grim reapers at the IRS.
I'm tired of politicians making excuses about why we can't have a tax cut. They say the people don’t want it. Wrong. They say the surplus should be kept in Washington. Wrong. They say there isn’t one penny available to give back to the American taxpayer. Wrong. It’s time to fight for my plan to cut every American taxpayers' taxes by 30 percent.
The folks in Washington have been there so long they’ve forgotten who’s in charge. The Constitution begins with the words, “We the People.” We do not exist to serve the federal government. The federal government exists to serve us.
But the servant has become the master. Every time government raises a tax, creates an unnecessary regulation, tries to run the local school, or intrudes in the health care system, we lose more of the freedom that our forefathers left us. We need to change the Washington establishment by limiting their terms and making them live under the laws they enact for the rest of us.
As your president, I will defend your freedom. Freedom to keep more of that paycheck you get at the end of an honest week’s work. Freedom to choose your own doctor. Freedom to send your children to a good school where they can actually learn how to succeed in life. Freedom to be able to care for an elderly parent. Freedom to choose how to best save for your retirement. Freedom to start a business or operate a farm, and keep it in the family.
As your president, I will work for every single American. That means ensuring that no one is left behind. It means ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to climb the ladder of success. It means setting our sights higher, and reducing marginal tax rates to encourage the risk-takers and entrepreneurs who create jobs and growth.
And the first step is my 30 percent tax cut. Now, we’ve all heard politicians promise to cut taxes and somehow it never seems to get done. So we’re reluctant to believe it anymore. Let me tell you how we’re going to do it. I’ll keep Congress in session until they pass the tax cut. And if they don’t believe me, they can try me. If they don’t pass it by the July recess, there won’t be a July recess. They can cancel all those junkets. If they don’t pass it by the August recess, there won’t be an August recess. They can stay right there and work for their salary. And if they don’t pass it by Thanksgiving, they won't be eating turkey, they'll be ordering out for pizza. I will keep Congress at work until they get the job done.
When President George Bush and I left office six years ago, America was more than a superpower, and the presidency was more than an office - it was a position of moral leadership. Nobody questioned our credibility. Nobody questioned our commitment to do what was right for America. And nobody wondered whether we would sacrifice national security for campaign cash.
The picture today is much different. The world sees a president who has squandered the moral authority of his office. They see a president and a vice president who submit to international institutions and compromise our sovereignty. They see an irresponsible administration that has cut America’s armed forces to the bone, insulted men and women in uniform, and used the military as a laboratory for their social experiments.
I believe in American leadership. I reject isolationism. We can make the world a better place by exporting our ideals of freedom and democracy. Our goal should be global peace and prosperity, and we must understand that that can only be accomplished by an America that leads.
But we must also put America’s interests first. International leadership does not mean involving ourselves in civil wars around the world. It means carefully determining when our vital national interests are at stake.
It was my privilege to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House and the Armed Services Committee in the Senate. I served in the White House during one of the most critical periods in history - the end of the Cold War; the restoration of democracy to Panama and the Philippines; and the liberation of Kuwait. I’ve visited more than 50 countries. I know the leaders of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
I know what it’s like to work side by side with a president who takes foreign policy seriously, and who understands the true impact of his decisions. I’ve been in those meetings, during both peace and war, when opinions are offered all around the room - the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the final decision is made by the president alone.
We’ve had enough on-the-job training. The next president must be someone who already knows the job. You don’t learn foreign policy from briefing books or crash courses.
From day one of my administration, I will lead a strong America and rebuild our military.
Standing here in the Huntington North High School basketball gymnasium, I can’t help but think of the great movie, “Hoosiers.” It’s the story of a small town Indiana team that beat the odds and the big names. How’d they do it? They knew what it took to win. And so do I. I don’t worry much about long odds, early-on favorites, or opponents who are considered invincible. I’ve heard it all before.
There will be a spirited debate in the weeks and months ahead, and the race for the nomination will be a fight to the finish line. That’s the way it should be. A presidential nomination is not something that is inherited. It must be earned, and I intend to earn it.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been fighting for our values and standing up for the American family. I’ve taken the hits, but in life it’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up and keep on fighting.
Starting today, we will return this great country to the dreams of our forefathers. I will lead that fight with every ounce of energy I have, every single day of this campaign, and every single day that I serve as president of the United States of America.
Our values are under attack. I will stand firm and fight for our values. Will you stand with me?
We’re losing our freedom to big government. I will stand firm and fight for our freedom. Will you stand with me?
American leadership in the world is questioned. I will stand firm and make America respected once again. Will you stand with me?
Candidates often say we should believe in them. I believe in you. Your dreams, your hopes, your family, and your future are worth fighting for.
The battle for our values begins today. Thank you very much, and God bless America.
# # #