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Bush Holds Campaign Event in Arlington Heights, Illinois

Aired October 24, 2000 - 11:02 a.m. ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live outside of Chicago, northwestern edge there, Arlington Heights, the Texas governor has entered the room. We had anticipated this rally to begin, and indeed it has. This continues the tour of Republican governors, nearly 30 have broken into several groups and are crisscrossing the country.

Let's pick up the Texas governor now live in the state of Illinois.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's an honor to be here with three of my governor friends and one former governor friend.

Well, he's a former governor; he's still a friend.


I know you all appreciated the service that Jim Edgar did for this great state.


He's a good and decent fellow. He really is. And he brought some class and honor to the governor's mansion in Illinois. We are proud to call him friend. And he married, like me, above his head.


I'm proud to be here with three governor colleagues. We kicked off a Barnstorming for Reform campaign in Austin, Texas, last Sunday. All the governors except for one, one fellow who's running hard for re-election, came down.

It was so important for me to be standing with them, because it was a reminder of what is possible in Washington, D.C. You see, these governors, particularly these three here, from Montana and Connecticut and South Dakota, are people first of all who didn't have to go into the political process but chose to do so for the good of their respective states. And they have put aside all the partisan bickering and divisiveness that has seemed to dominate Washington, D.C., for the good of the people who live in their state. And as a result, are constructive reformers, people who have gotten positive results on behalf of the people. I was proud to be standing with other governors who have done the same thing. It is a message America must hear. It doesn't have to be that way in Washington, D.C. It doesn't have to be a place of zero sum politics, where there's one winner and one loser. We can do better in our nation's capital by bringing somebody from outside the system, bringing somebody who'll give this nation a fresh start after a season of cynicism.


And so, I'm so honored that my colleagues will be standing by my side. After all, they know me, which sometimes is kind of dangerous in the political process.


Somebody else who knows me well or -- is Sandy Cress (ph), Jim introduced him. He's a representative of a lot of folks in my state of Texas. When I first ran, there were a lot of people in my state that, you know, said, "Well, we don't think he's going to care about us." And when I ran the second time, a lot of people who weren't with me the first time, came with me the second time because they realized that, as governor, I was the governor of everybody whether they voted for me or not.


Sandy was an active -- Sandy is active in the Democrat Party. But when I got elected, I convinced him I cared about the people. I cared about public education. He also happened to have been the head of the Dallas Independent School District, which in itself is a pretty tough job. I said, "Let's get together. Why don't you and I get together and forget our politics and talk about the children of Texas? Why don't we work to improve education for all in our state?" That's the cooperative spirit that's needed in Washington. I'm so proud to have you here by my side, friend.

I'm also proud to be campaigning with a woman who's going to be a fabulous first lady for America.


I like to tell people you can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.


I'm keeping really good company.


I also want to thank the school principal -- Charles, thank you for having us.

Mr. Superintendent, thank you very much for letting us come.


I want to thank the teachers who teach here. I look forward to going downstairs, by the way, and thanking the teachers and... (APPLAUSE)

I appreciate the students coming by. One of these days, you're going to be voting and it's important to take this business very seriously. It's your country. Participating in the process is so important.

Obviously, I hope those who participate vote for me.


But if they don't, it's important for people to participate, it really is. Our country needs people to vote. So thank you for letting us come to the school.


I know it's -- what I'd like to do is talk about some of our priorities. And then, I'd like to answer some questions, if you have any.

First, I think it's so important -- let me put it to you this way. A lot of people didn't think we had much of a chance in the big state of Illinois, but I wouldn't be standing here with two weeks to go in this campaign if I didn't think differently.


AUDIENCE: Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush.

BUSH: Know what? I wouldn't be standing here if I didn't -- if I didn't be willing to challenge the punditry. I think we got a really good chance, and there's a lot of reasons. One is, people know we can do better in Washington. People in this state know there's a better way. People know that we can lift this nation's spirit and achieve what we want to achieve.

But I'll tell you what else I hear, that people realize there is a philosophical difference between me and my opponent. There's a big difference between what we believe.


The best way to summarize it is this way: I'm running against a man who trusts Washington, D.C., to make decisions on behalf of Illinois folks.

He may try to hide from that philosophy, but that's what he believes if you listen to the policies. After all, he's a person who wants to increase the size and scope of the federal government, the largest we've seen since the '60s. I mean, he wants to increase the size and scope of the federal government more than Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis combined. That's pretty big. (LAUGHTER)

He wants to increase the size of the federal government three times more than President Clinton did. It's a difference of opinion. Perhaps the best way to focus on that difference is to talk about tax relief. The best way to show that I trust the people and he trusts the government is to talk about my tax relief plan.

First, it's important to understand there is a surplus, but the projected surplus will exist after budgets have grown. After, over the next 10 years, the base lines of the budgets are increased and there's still money, which leads me to believe that the people aren't under-taxed, they're overtaxed.


The people of this country pay more in federal, state and local taxes than they do in food, in housing and clothing.

I want you to think about that. We've got a tax burden on the working people of this country that is larger than what it takes for the basic necessities to live. That's not right.

The percentage of GDP of our taxes is the highest it's been since World War II. That should be a sign that we'd better relieve the burden on the people, otherwise it's going to be a drag on our economy.

People ask me all the time, "What's going to affect economic growth?" Over-regulation, overspending at the federal level, unbridled tort lawyers and isolationism, that's what's going to cause this nation's economy to low down.

What'll increase growth is trade, reasonable civil justice laws, less regulation, and tax relief and tax reform.


I've set priorities for the surplus. One of the priorities is Social Security reform, and I'd like to discuss that. One of the priorities is Medicare. Listen, we're a compassionate nation. People should not go without. People who cannot help themselves must be helped. And the idea of folks having to choose between prescription drugs and food is just not right in America. And I'm going to do something about that.


And so my budget reflects a Medicare program that's going to help people. It's a Medicare program that not only will allow seniors to choose different options outside of Medicare if that's what they want, but a program that will include prescription drugs for all seniors within Medicare and an immediate helping hand program to help the poor and those who cannot help themselves.

Now, I know you've heard the debates and all the squabbling and, you know, the numbers and that and the other, but one thing is for certain, and you need to tell our friends out there who are trying to figure out for whom to vote, one thing is for certain: In 1992, during the campaign for the presidency, they said give us a chance, we're going to do something about prescription drugs and Medicare. And then in 1996, they said the same thing. In the year 2000, it's the same thing.

Here's our message: They've had their chance. They have not led and we will.

HEMMER: Texas Governor George W. Bush, a pretty rowdy crowd there in Arlington Heights, Illinois, northwest of the city of Chicago. The Texas governor will continue his campaigning throughout the day in Illinois today and then later in Tennessee.



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