Former Vice President Dan Quayle
Deerfield Town Hall
Wednesday, June 16, 1999
About one hundred people attended this event on Wednesday evening in the Deerfield Town Hall. Former Gov. John Sununu, a national co-chairman of the Quayle campaign, did a five-minute introduction. Quayle spoke for a bit more than fifteen minutes and then took Q&A.
John Sununu: ...the values and the principles that got this country, got this world now to where it is today. As I joked at the very beginning here I had a wonderful opportunity to serve the state; I have a wonderful opportunity to watch a young family of mine participate in serving the state and this country.
If I wasn't so concerned, I'd sit home and relax. But I am concerned--concerned for the world, concerned for our country; I'm concerned for our state; I'm concerned for our families. Therefore let me make if I can--take full advantage of having this podium--a much longer introduction that I would normally make. Because as I look around here I see people that can make a difference.
The only way we will get this country back on track is to replace an administration that has lost faith with America, that never had touch with America, that was able to fool America but has not been able to lead America, with an administration led by a man who is committed to principle, that understands what caused this nation to succeed and is committed to restoring to this country the integrity and the principles that make a difference.
I am concerned that the only way that is going to happen is if the Republican party understands that these are not times to change formulas that work; these are not times to drift and look for new structure; these are times to rebuild the Reagan coalition that provided for America and the world the leadership to make a difference. [applause].
I listen to people giving us grand visions of a new structure for the Republican party with a new base and a new format and new language. Frankly those new ideas and that new language sounds like new liberalism to instead of real conservatism.
I am committed to a conservative set of principles that has succeeded for New Hampshire and has succeeded for America, and I am absolutely certain that what we need leading the Republican Party to victory in the year 2000 are Republicans committed to those principles, and who understand what those principles are all about.
You are a conservative not because you say you are a conservative; you are a conservative because you act like a conservative when you have the opportunity.
I had the great privilege of serving in the White House with Dan Quayle. I can tell you when the time came to deal with the hard issues--issues such as whether or not taxes should or should not be raised, issues such as whether or not we had to increase our commitment to defense, issues such as dealing with the sanctity of life, issues such as dealing with our responsibilities as citizens for those who are there without creating a welfare state or a socialist state--the individual that understood those principles, who stood for them and helped us go up to the Congress day in and day out and win a slice at a time all those battles that made a difference was Dan Quayle.
I have stepped out of the comfort of hiding for a while to come and tell you that it is important for you as Republicans, important for me as a former leader of this party, to say we must make sure this party goes back to those principles that made a difference. That is why I'm here tonight to ask you to listen to Dan Quayle, to support Dan Quayle, to go out and talk to your neighbors about Dan Quayle, because this country, this state, this party needs the leadership of a Dan Quayle to restore the kind of commitment, principle, and frankly, the victory on issues that this country deserves.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the man who is the most talented, who is the smartest, who is the most effective political figure in America today--contrary to what you are hearing--the man that I believe must be the next president of the United States, my friend and my colleague under the gun on those tough issues that made a difference to you, the former Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle. [applause].
Dan Quayle: Well thank you very much. We miss John Sununu, don't we? We'd like to get him back as governor. Well, John thank you very much for the introduction; more importantly, thank you and Nancy for your friendship over many, many years.
I'm just going to say a few things in general and then what I'd like to do is turn this over to you and you can take the conversation wherever you want to.
We're back in New Hampshire campaigning for president the New Hampshire way. And the New Hampshire way is meetings like this. Early in the morning we started at a person's home in another part of this state. Here we are at 7:30 or 8 o'clock in another small group talking about issues, because I am convinced, having campaigned in this state, that the New Hampshire way is find out what the candidates are all about. Look 'em in the eye, shake their hands. The people in New Hampshire, they're not interested in a lot of glitz, a lot of pomp and ceremony; they want substance, they want ideas, they want to know what you're going to do if you get the opportunity to be president of the United States. Not just themes--ideas, what are the challenges, where is America today, more importantly where is America going to go in the future.
And as you look at America today, we have a reasonably prosperous economy don't we? Jobs doing fairly well, the economy's doing fairly well, and we're told that over and over again, although I think some are being left behind--the poor, the underclass, the hard-working middle class are being left behind--but generally speaking things are reasonably prosperous. But how are we doing when it comes to our culture; how are we doing when we look inside and ask some of the hard questions. What's the character of America today? How are we doing on the values front? And I hope that you would agree with me that the biggest challenge the next president of the United States has is dealing with the issue of values.
Values matter most
Values matter most, and that's why I'm running for president. When I talk about values, I'm speaking of values like responsibility, respect, integrity, courage, faith, life, family, freedom; these are the values that made America great, and it's time that we reclaim those values as ours. And these values have meaning.
The value of responsibility: doing what is right over what is wrong. We tell our children to be responsible, don't we? And if we're going to tell our children to be responsible, we ought act responsibly. And you have to be accountable for your behavior. Don't blame it on someone else; you have to accept responsibility.
Integrity. Look at the virtue of integrity. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have trashed the virtue of integrity. Literally trashed it. The day that Bill Clinton was impeached for lying before a federal grand jury--committing perjury--Al Gore has the audacity to get before the nation and say Bill Clinton is going to go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents ever. I can't wait to debate Al Gore again. [laughter].
They've taken that virtue of integrity and as a result 80% of the American people don't trust this president. I teach out in Arizona at a business school--Thunderbird, American Graduate School of International Management. These are business students; they've been out of college for a couple years. Generation X. And I can tell you, having taught there for a couple of years, there is a lot of cynicism and distrust among younger people in America today.
Why? Because they no longer believe the president, they are questioning the political system, they are more cynical than ever, and that is not the American attitude. The American attitude is to be hopeful, to be optimistic, to say that we can get things done--not to be cynical, not to be apathetic, but to be upbeat, to be positive; that's why we have got to turn this around. And that means reclaiming those values.
Now you get in a little trouble when you start talking about values. [laughter]. I know from experience that it can be a little bit risky to one's political future. But you know what, I made a speech back in May of 1992 about family values. I lamented the fact that too many of our children were born into homes without a father, I talked about reforming welfare, I talked about community..., but the address was on the poverty of values. I admit that I did make particular reference to one insignificant TV sitcom [laughter] that happened to be airing at that time. But I want you to know as I stand here tonight, Murphy Brown is gone and I'm still here fighting... [applause].
And when it comes to fighting for the family, we aren't going to back down. And I'll tell you we have made progress, we have made progress on this issue. Believe it or not children born into homes without fathers is beginning to decline. And to show you how much progress we have made, today when Al Gore announced for president, he said the crisis facing America is the family. Hello! [laughter]. That's fine; I'll be glad to have that ...discussion, because that is a very important challenge that we all have.
The Importance of Foreign Policy
I'll tell you another challenge that's facing America. When you elect a president of the United States, don't we have to have someone that has serious understanding and appreciation for the importance of foreign policy in our country. [applause].
Look at this situation in Yugoslavia. And I'm going to tell you right here and right now, I think that this is the wrong war, in the wrong place. I do not believe that a superpower should be getting involved in a civil war. I believe that if the Rambouillet peace conference broke down, there were some things that they were demanding. One, that they wanted NATO to have free rein not only in Kosovo but Yugoslavia. Two, they wanted some sort of autonomy for Kosovo. Now that we have the bombing stopped, now that we have a peace agreement, did we get that? We didn't get that. We said we weren't going to have an international force there; we're having an international force there. We said we had to have autonomy in Kosovo; we didn't get autonomy in Kosovo. We said that you had to have NATO be able to go into Kosovo by itself--not with Russia--by itself and have free access throughout Serbia. Didn't get that either.
What did we achieve? What did we achieve? A lot of people were killed; a lot of damage was done; there are one million Albanian Kosovars that are without a home. That's what we've achieved. And now we've got to put it back together. We have got to put it back together. Guess who unfortunately is going to be paying the bill to put it back together.
Yugoslavia--we got involved in a civil war in the Balkans, and yet the big challenge is not the Balkans, it's not Milosevic, it's not in Kosovo, you know where it is? It's China. China is the big challenge that we have. You know some think that China may be...[four or five sentences missing here due to poor audio quality]...
You have the Chinese over here stealing our secrets, making illegal contributions, you have agents of the military of the Chinese--have agents in the Oval Office lobbying the president of the United States for policy changes the president of the United States goes along with. You now learn that their ballistic missiles have more range capability and the warheads are more accurate. Why? Because they've been able to get our technology.
And I'll tell you what. They are a growing country; they are a great power and a great power will always challenge a superpower...[missing three or four sentences]...
Even though we won the Cold War, this world is still a very dangerous place. And look what they've done to the military. In this last decade they've cut it in half: 600 ships chopped to 300, 18 divisions in the Army down to 9, 36 wings in Air Force down to 18. Cut it in half. Asking our men and women to do more with less. Go talk to some of the folks in the military... They'll tell you; don't take it from me. Ask 'em how the morale is in the tank; ask what the retention rate is in the tank. Being deployed away from home base up to 300 days a year, that's great for family life, isn't it?
They've basically cut defense to the bone. I believe, as Ronald Reagan said over and over again, that we have peace through strength. [applause]. We can ill afford to have another president who doesn't have experience in foreign policy. Bill Clinton has fallen so low and our respect and our credibility have been challenged like never before.
Finally, we look at the challenge here at home on some of these domestic matters: taxes, education, the size of government, the drug problem. Take the tax situation. I tell you, I am getting sick and tired of the politicians in Washington telling you that you don't want a tax cut. [laughter]. You hear it all the time. They go, "Oh my gosh, it's number six on the polls and you can't do this." They're Dick Morris Republicans is who they are.
Give every taxpayer in America a tax cut
I mean what do you mean you have to go by the polls? Why don't you do what is right. And I'll tell you what is right is to give every taxpayer in America a tax cut--a 30 percent rate reduction across the board for every taxpayer in America. That's what we need.
And I'll tell you something else we need, and I'll take this on if I become president of the United States. And that is we need to get rid of the death taxes in America. Get rid of 'em altogether. Get 'm down to zero. [applause]. You know what this is, these death taxes? This is a tax on human nature. Because instinctively you save, don't you, to give away. It's a tax on what you do instinctively. You save to give it away to somebody.
You pay taxes--federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes,...property taxes, sales--you can go on down the list. You know what the rate is now? Fifty-five percent flat tax, the death tax. Fifty-five percent, after you've paid all those other taxes. Great bumpersticker I saw the other day, it states my position very succinctly: "No taxation without respiration." [laughter]. We'll have 'em print it up; it'll be available. [laughter].
...greater challenge than we have of education today, believe me. I'm a strong proponent of public education. I graduated from public schools; Marilyn graduated from public schools; I presume most in this room went to public schools. But competition is good for public schools. It's good. Competition is good for everything else; why not education. Let 'em have the choice: public schools, private schools, home schools, whatever education they need--choice, competition--make public schools more competitive.
And we need to get away from this mediocrity..and have excellence in education as the goal. And we've got to take this idea: It is time that we pay our good teachers more, and to pay our good teachers more we have to have teacher tenure reform to get rid of those teachers that don't meet...[applause]
Those are some of the problems that we have today. The drug problem is clearly one of them. This administration is totally ignoring that problem and that challenge. Nancy Reagan had it about right, didn't she? She said, "Just say no." Remember how she was ridiculed... Well during the Reagan administration drug usage started to drop because of the campaign "Just say no."
And wouldn't it be nice if we had as a national goal a drug free America. Just take that as a national goal. Now you know what the elite and the self-annointed, they'll say, "Well you can't achieve the national goal of a drug-free America. What's he talking about?" Well maybe we can't achieve it, but its not a bad goal is it? And if we had that as a national goal, wouldn't it be easier to say no drugs when it comes to our schools, no drugs when it comes to our workplace, no drugs when it comes to our homes, if we had that as a national goal, a drug-free America.
Folks, we've got a lot of work to do. We've got to turn this ship of state around; it's going to take time because the American people have been let down. They have been lied to. The president of the United States has had trouble telling the truth. If you recall in my debate with Al Gore I used those words that night eight different times. I said Bill Clinton will have trouble telling the truth. And now we know that I was right; he does have trouble telling the truth.
We've got a vigorous campaign here. I'm convinced that given the right team that we're putting together here, we've got the issues, we've got the agenda... If I'm the nominee I guarantee you we will win the White House.
To win the White House you must have a conservative agenda and you run a conservative campaign. And the choice is going to be between who the establishment wants and who the conservative candidate is. I'll be the conservative candidate and the establishment will pick theirs. And I can tell you that if you run an establishment campaign as we did in 1976, as you did in 1992, as we did in 1996, we lose. I want to win. When the establishment picks the candidate, when the establishment runs the campaign we lose. And when it's the conservative, we win. It's time that we win the White House again. [applause].
I've won a few elections in my lifetime. I've been the underdog; I've been the prohibitive favorite. And I can tell you coming from behind, victory's a lot sweeter. I ran against a pro-life Democrat in 1976 when is was 29 years old and I beat him by about 10 points against great odds. Four years later I ran against a guy by the name of Birch Bayh who'd been there for 18 years. He had beaten Dick Lugar, had beaten Bill Ruckelhaus, and all the experts said, "What makes you think you can beat him?" And I said, "Well just watch me." And I'll tell you if I got elected to the Congress when I was 29, got myself elected to the Senate when I was 33, got elected vice president when I was 41, I'm telling you I can get elected president of the United States when I'm 53 and I'm going to do it. [applause].
I'm going to take a couple of questions.
Question 1: I don't mean to presume, obviously it'd be done politely, but don't be afraid to fight.
Quayle: How about with a smile.
Question 1 Continues: Don't be afraid to fight back or you'll be devoured.
Quayle: I got 'ya.
Question 2: [inaudible, but the gist of the question was whether it is possible to do both a tax cut and beef up the military]
Quayle: First of all every tax cut we've had creates more growth in the economy and you get more revenue... It happened when Reagan cut taxes; it happened when Kennedy cut taxes, and if I get the opportunity to cut taxes, we'll have more revenues going to the government.
That's not enough; we've got to do two other things. I'm willing on non-defense discretionary spending to freeze it at the current levels--saves about $500 billion over the next five years. And I'll tell you one other thing I'm looking at that will save hundreds of millions of dollars or perhaps billions of dollars over the next five years, and that is to have a massive government reorganization. Remember, the private sector does this all the time, don't they? They acquire, they merge, they downsize, they consolidate. Why doesn't Washington do that? They never do that.
We have 14 Cabinet plus 2, EPA and drugs. We don't need that many. John Sununu can tell you those Cabinet meetings, they had all those people there and...we were rolling our eyes. Sixteen people is not good management. You can get it down to eight or nine. And I'll just give you one example. Take education and labor and put it in with HHS. One stop shopping, massive consolidation, downsizing the government, reforming the programs and you would save billions and billions of dollars.
So you have to have a savings program and I do. More revenues through the tax cut, it's freezing non-defense discretionary spending, and it is a serious reform of the federal government by having a consolidation, merging and the downsizing of the government which has gotten too big.
Question 3: What's your opinion about gun control?
Quayle: Well I'm a proponent of the Second Amendment. I believe that the issue is not just gun control; it is self-control. And I'll tell you one thing that we need to do is how about enforcing those laws that we have now? [applause]. I'll just give you one example.
Within the last two years there have been 6,000--6,000--cases of when students took guns to school. It's a violation of the law. How many times do you think those cases were prosecuted? Thirteen out of 6,000. Now if you're serious about gun violence, don't you think that you ought to prosecute a student when they bring a gun to school and that might send a very good message to someone else that is thinking about taking a gun to school. The tragedy in Littleton, Colorado--there were 17 laws that were violated. You think two more laws would have made any difference?
I'll tell you what's the probllem out there. You had the situation where they could walk down the hallway in the schools in a trenchcoat saying "Heil Hitler" and no one thought anything about it. And yet if you had someone walking down the school in ordinary dress, having a Bible in their hand, quoting Scripture, they'd probably be thrown out of school. [applause]. Something's upsidedown in our culture and that's why I'm telling you values matter most.
Question 4: [This was a rather lengthy two-part statement/question. The man said things started going downhill when they took prayer out of school and said that the GOALS 2000 program is "devaluing education" and should be eliminated.]
Quayle: I'll tell you one of the problems we have in the schools is you've got all these lawsuits that are being filed against teachers, against principals and school districts. It started about four years ago when they filed a lawuit to make sure that one god was not mentioned in the classroom.
And now you've got a lawsuit, think of this, there's a lawsuit that was filed--here's a teacher in his classroom during reading period he silently read the Bible to himself during reading period. The court has now said that is unconstitutional See where a teacher just gets to set an example, that was unconstitutional.
Now how far have we gone? We've taken this separation of church and state--I support--I don't want the government coming in and telling us what our religion should be. The Constitution says that we're supposed to be protected from the government, not that we're to be protected from religion. And you have a situation today where you've got God-control squads in all the schools trying to find out, oh my gosh, something's going on there that they might mention God's name.
Look at these court cases undermining school discipline. Have a dress code in a school today, they get sued. Don't we want schools where the teachers control the classroom and principals control the schools and parents control the home?
And look at all the lawsuits that encourage children to sue their parents. All this children's rights stuff. I'm not talking about an abusive situation; I'm talking about where you're encouraged to sue your parents. There was a classic case out of the state of Washington back in the 1980s. Fifteen-year old girl--she didn't like the rules. It wasn't a child abuse situation. The rules were curfew, no drugs, no alcohol, no sleeping around with the boyfriend. She said, "I don't like it"; she sued her parents. The court said, "Fine, if you win you can leave." Today she's a young mother, and she looks back on that and she says, "You know I wish the courts had been on my parents side, not mine." [applause].
Question 5: [After commenting on what Quayle had said about Clinton's policy toward China, man asked] What would your policy toward China be?
Quayle: Clinton's policy toward China is almost nonexistent. It's basically turn the other cheek.
My policy will be realistic, knowing what the goals of China are. The goals of China are to be the dominant player in the Pacific; the goals of China are basically to get Taiwan back; the goals are to basically have much more of an alliance with...South Korea and the other countries of the Pacific. They want us out of the Pacific.
And I would say to China we're going to say in the Pacific. And I'll tell you a couple of things I would do. One I'd knock off this high-tech export to China. [applause]. Secondly I say no permanent MFN, no admission to the World Trade Organization--you're not ready. And furthermore, I would send a real message to China that we are serious about staying in the Pacific. I would go to the South Koreans, Japanese and the people on Taiwan and tell them that we need to get on--and they can help pay for it--begin to deploy a theater missile defense system that will work against the Chinese ballistic missiles that are aimed at those countries. And I guarantee you that...[applause, end of Q&A].
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