Excerpts From Bush's Speech

August 21, 1992

Here are excerpts of President Bush's acceptance speech prepared for delivery to the Republican National Convention:

. . . I want to talk tonight about the sharp choice I intend to offer Americans this fall -- a choice between different agendas, different directions and, yes, a choice about the character of the man you want to lead this nation.

I know that Americans have many questions -- about our economy, about our country's future, even questions about me. I will answer them tonight.

First, I feel great and I am heartened by the polls -- the ones that say that I look better in my jogging shorts than the governor of Arkansas.

Four years ago, I spoke about missions -- for my life and for our country. I spoke of one urgent mission -- defending our security and promoting the American ideal abroad.

Just pause for a moment to reflect on what we've done.

Germany has united -- and a slab of the Berlin Wall sits right outside this Astrodome.

Arabs and Israelis now sit face-to-face and talk peace.

Every hostage held in Lebanon is free.

The conflict in El Salvador is over, and free elections brought democracy to Nicaragua.

Black and white South Africans cheered each other at the Olympics.

The Soviet Union can only be found in history books.

The captive nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltics are captive no more.

And today on the rural streets of Poland, merchants sell cans of air labeled: The last breath of communism.

If I had stood before you four years ago and described this as the world we would help to build, you would have said: "George Bush, you must be smoking something, and you must have inhaled." . . .

My opponents say I spend too much time on foreign policy.

As if it didn't matter that schoolchildren once hid under their desks in drills to prepare for nuclear war. I saw the chance to rid our children's dreams of the nuclear nightmare, and I did. Over the past four years, more people have breathed the fresh air of freedom than in all of human history. I saw a chance to help, and I did. These were the two defining opportunities -- not of a year, not of a decade, but of an entire span of human history.

I seized those opportunities for our kids and our grandkids, and I make no apologies for that.

Now, the Soviet bear may be gone, but there are still wolves in the woods.

We saw that when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The Mideast might have become a nuclear powder keg, our emergency supplies held hostage. So we did what was right and what was necessary. We destroyed a threat, freed a people and locked a tyrant in the prison of his own country.

What about the leader of the Arkansas National Guard, the man who hopes to be commander-in-chief? Well, while I bit the bullet, he bit his nails. . . .

There will be more foreign policy challenges like Kuwait in the next four years. Terrorists and aggressors to stand up to; dangerous weapons to be controlled and destroyed. And freedom's fight is not finished. I look forward to being the first president to visit a free, democratic Cuba. . . .

This election is about change. But that's not unusual, because the American revolution is never ending. Today, the pace of change is accelerating. We face new opportunities and new challenges. The question is -- who do you trust to make change work for you? . . .

The world is in transition, and we are feeling that transition in our homes.

The defining challenge of the '90s is to win the economic competition -- to win the peace.

We must be a military superpower, an economic superpower and an export superpower.

In this election, you'll hear two visions of how to do this. Theirs is to look inward, and protect what we already have. Ours is to look forward, to open new markets, prepare our people to compete, to restore our social fabric -- to save and invest -- so we can win. . . .

I've asked Congress to put a lid on mandatory spending except Social Security. And I've proposed doing away with over 200 programs and 4,000 wasteful projects and to freeze all other spending.

The gridlock Democrat Congress has said, "No."

So, beginning tonight, I will enforce the spending freeze on my own. If Congress sends me a bill spending more than I asked for in my budget, I will veto it fast . . .

After all these years, Congress has become pretty creative at finding ways to waste your money. So we need to be just as creative at finding ways to stop them. I have a brand new idea.

Taxpayers should be given the right to check a box on their tax returns, so that up to 10 percent of their payments can go for one purpose alone: To reduce the national debt.

But we also need to make sure that Congress doesn't just turn around and borrow more money, to spend more money. So I will require that, for every tax dollar set aside to cut the debt, the ceilings on spending will be cut by an equal amount. That way, we'll cut both debt and spending, and take a whack out of the budget deficit. . . .

When it comes to taxes, I've learned the hard way. . . .

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