The Arizona Biltmore
September 27, 1999
[applause] Well thank you all for coming this morning.
First, let me begin by thanking my incredible family. My wife, Marilyn, who's been my best friend, my political strategist, the person that's been closest to me ever since we've been married, which will be 27 years this November. My three children--Tucker, Benjamin and Corrine, who have made sacrifices that many would never know about, and I thank them and I love them dearly and deeply.
I want to thank my incredible staff--loyal, dedicated, hard-working, committed. Kyle McSlarrow who has been the campaign manager. Two people who have been with me since my vice presidential days--John McConnell and Craig Whitney.
I also want to thank the supporters and people around the country that have supported me and my campaign, supported the ideas that I have been fighting for, supporting the cause of freedom, liberty and justice.
Today our campaign is really in a rather unique position. Because the most recent national poll, the CNN-Time poll, shows us in second place, finally beginning to emerge as the clear alternative to the frontrunner. So the polls are encouraging today.
I just spent four or five days last week in New Hampshire; we've got an incredible organization in New Hampshire. Those of you that have been with me know exactly what I'm talking about. Former governor John Sununu--probably the best politician in a generation to come out of that state. Ovide Lamontagne, who was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1996. Gordon McDonald. A great team, a great organization, and they told me my last visit that we have, that we had an excellent chance of winning the New Hampshire primary.
We would have had the resources financially to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire, but you need more than that, and this Republican primary is, for presidency, for the presidency, is unprecedented. Never before have we had a Republican primary like we are having today. The frontrunner apparently will have up to $100 million to spend in the Republican primary.
And after New Hampshire--and this is a very important point and was very critical in my decision--there will be 18 primaries within 30 days of the New Hampshire primary. If I would win the New Hampshire primary, which I think I had a reasonable chance of doing, looking at the amount of money I would have to raise and the calendar of these primaries, it became a very difficult proposition. There would be little time for reflection on what we had just achieved; there would not be sufficient time to raise the resources to be competitive in states like California, New York, Ohio, Michigan--major, expensive states. And so reality set in.
Thus I was facing a campaign where the frontrunner would have up to $100 million to spend, and an unprecedented frontloading of the primary system made the task for me of winning the nomination of my party virtually impossible.
There's a time to stay, and there's a time to fold. There's a time to know when to leave the stage. Thus today I am announcing that I will no longer be a candidate for president of the United States.
A friend of mine that I spoke to last night gave me a quote from Winston Churchill that is rather appropriate for today, and it is this: "Failure is not fatal; success is not final. It is courage that counts."
And even though I won't be a candidate, I still have the courage, the energy and the dedication to fight for the ideas that I believe in. I have just finished writing my third book Worth Fighting For. It is a composite of ideas that I believe in and I believe will unite the Republican Party. It would be a good platform for the Republican Party.
So what I will do now is to continue to fight for those ideas that I believe in. Fight for the philosophy of a smaller, more effective government, lowering taxes, strengthening the American family, and reinvesting in our national defenses. Those are the ideas of the Republican Party as well. I am going to work to unite this party. I will support the nominee of the Republican Party. I want to see the Republicans recapture the White House. It is time that we restore honor, dignity and decency to the Oval Office. [applause].
So I will work with you and my fellow Americans to make this country even greater than it is today. I'm an optimist. Always have been; always will be. As Marilyn and I journey on to a different life at a different pace, we do it with our heads held high. I am proud of what I have accomplished; I'm proud of my family; I'm thankful for the opportunities that I have had to get my ideas out there, and I'm going to continue to fight for those ideas.
And let me just say again thank you to my incredible family, my wonderful staff, all my friends and supporters around America--thank you for what you have done for me and for my family and what we've all done for our country. And I seriously doubt if this will be my last press conference. Thank you very much. [applause].
QUAYLE: Well as I said, this Republican primary is unprecedented, and the fact that the frontrunner apparently is going to have up to $100 million to spend and the frontloading of the primaries. Campaign finance reform, as you well know does not address the frontloading of the primaries; that's a party responsibility. The Democratic Party actually does it a lit bit differently than the Republican Party, but it's a party responsibility.
As far as the campaign finance reform, let me say that I do not believe that it is a good idea to have the taxpayers finance campaigns. We don't need another entitlement program; we don't more taxpayer subsidies to various things. But I think there should be serious consideration given to perhaps looking at that $1,000 limitation, looking at ways that we can in fact make it more accessible to those that have the ideas and have the message that needs to be able to get the amount of money that's necessary to get that message out. And there are potential of some reforms that we can look at, but I am not for the taxpayer subsidy of campaigns.
QUAYLE: We do have a primary going on, but it is going to be extremely difficult to deny him the nomination. As you could tell from my remarks, I did not make an endorsement; I'm not making an endorsement today, I'm just stating reality and political facts.
QUAYLE: Well I'm going to be working with whoever the Republicans select as our nominee and our party to make sure that those ideas are front and center because you do not defeat either Al Gore or Bill Bradley by trying to be a duplicate of the Democratic Party. I believe that what you need to do is to be bold, courageous, articulate in putting out ideas that are different. And if our party chooses the route that I have suggested, I am convinced that we will be victorious in November. If they resist that route, I think it's going to be far more problematic and more difficult. Because I am one of those that believes that ideas turn elections; ideas make a difference. Why do you think people aren't voting today? Because they don't really see a real difference in the two parties, and they're saying it doesn't make a difference. I say it does make a difference. And that is our task and our job to make sure that the American people understand that there is a clear difference between the Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee. And I will work to make sure that happens.
QUAYLE: Well let me just say that I look forward to working with the nominee of our party. I'm willing to work to unite the party; to bring the party together. I want to reach out to many of those that have left our party; many of the people that have joined the Reform Party and to get 'em to rethink the Republican Party; I think it's imperative that we do get them back into the Republican Party. I have a little history of this; in 1992 Ross Perot did serious damage to our re-election efforts. And so that is my challenge. And I hope that the governor of Texas, should he be the nominee, which it looks like at this stage, would whole-heartedly endorse my ideas. I have no reason to think that he wouldn't; I think that he would be very supportive of the things that I have laid before the American people.
QUAYLE: Good luck. [laughter].
QUAYLE: I've just made one very tough decision this weekend, and I'll just have to wait and see what unfolds. I'm not going to indicate one way or another; I'm just not prepared to do that today.
QUAYLE: Well I think any campaign is going to have to look at the political realities. That's what really brought me to where I am today. You know think of this: 18 primaries within 30 days after the New Hampshire primary. There is very little time for reflection; there is little time to gain the momentum that is necessary to get people convinced that you are the best candidate; and it's almost impossible to have the time available to go out and to raise the money to compete with $100 million because if you look at the calendar and the big, expensive states that are right after the New Hampshire primary, it is virtually an impossible task. And this is a decision that obviously I didn't want to make.
QUESTION: ($1,000 limit, would you like that raised...)
QUAYLE: I'd like to have more money from individual contributors; absolutely.
QUAYLE: I'm just focused on this press conference. Marilyn and I will be leaving later on this afternoon to take a few days off, to reflect, to decompress, to organize and reorganize our lives. So I really haven't given any thought beyond the presidential campaign; I just have been so immersed in trying to win this nomination, working as hard as I possibly can, and I can tell you I've never worked harder for anything in my life.
And obviously it's a disappointment but life goes on. And I do it with a tone of optimism and I'm just very proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I still consider myself reasonably young, although my children would probably disagree with that. Fifty-two is not bad.
QUESTION: (on Buchanan)
QUAYLE: I don't think we ought to write anyone out of the Republican Party. Let me just be very clear. I have always had this viewpoint. People that endorse me, endorse my ideas. And so if he stays in the Republican Party then he's going to endorse the ideas of the Republican Party and endorse the ideas of the Republican nominee. So yes I want to see as many people as possible endorse those ideas. So I don't want him to leave. And it's not vice-versa. To stay in the party and to support the nominee, he supports the Republican Party ideas.
QUESTION: (pro-life and Gov. Bush)
QUAYLE: No, he's pro-life. He has said he's pro-life and I take him at his word on that.
[Marilyn laughs] QUAYLE: Reconsider? [laughs].
MARILYN QUAYLE: It's a done deal.
QUAYLE: Done deal. Thank you very much. Thank you. [applause].
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