1988 Republican Convention - History

1988 Republican Convention - History

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In His Own Words—Billy Graham at the 1988 Republican National Convention

In 1988, Rev. Billy Graham gave the benediction at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. Read his DNC message HERE.

Today, as the Republican National Convention opens in Charlotte, North Carolina, we are sharing the words from Rev. Graham, 32 years ago at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana:

Our Father and our God, at the end of this exciting and historic evening we pause to acknowledge our dependence on you and to ask for Your wisdom and direction in all the decisions of this convention.

We affirm the ancient words of Solomon that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10]

We thank You for the moral and spiritual heritage we have : as a nation. We thank You for all the ideals that have made America great. We thank You for the great freedoms we enjoy: the freedom to speak, to write, to worship, and to participate in the election of our leaders.

We thank You for the leadership that President Reagan has given us for the past seven and a half years. Especially do we thank You for his emphasis on spiritual matters. We thank You for the example that President and Mrs. Reagan have given in their personal lives. We also thank You for the leadership that Mrs. Reagan has given in the fight against drugs. We pray that when they leave the White House next January they will enjoy good health and Your blessings for many years, and may they continue to exert moral and spiritual influence.

While many problems have been solved during the past few years, yet there is still great need — drug related crime is a major problem, even in this city. We see pockets of poverty, injustice, and greed. We pray for all those who are suffering need and pain and despair tonight, whether they are in a tenement apartment in New York, or living in affluence in San Francisco, or in a hospital room. We know that without Your strength and Your help we cannot be the kind of people that we need to be in our troubled world. We remember in similar circumstances that David, the great king of Israel, wrote that we are not to be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. [Psalm 91:5-6] But we cannot claim this promise until we have repented of having turned from You so often to go our selfish ways. We have so often left You to serve the false gods of money, pleasure and power. We recall President Eisenhower’s words from his first inaugural address, “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world, must first come to pass in the heart of America.”

Oh, God, we are America, and we know how much our hearts need to be right with You. We pray for a moral and spiritual renewal that could begin in each of us tonight and spread throughout the land.

We pray for Vice president Bush and his family as he is about to be nominated this week for president. We thank You for this closely knit family who all recognize You as their Heavenly Father.

We pray for the people of the United States during the campaign and election that Your will be done in the choice of leaders. May the people seek Your guidance in whom they should vote for. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have decided that all my words and acts may be according to His will.”

Help us to recognize that we not only elect the President of the United States, but the President of the free world. Help us to keep in mind that several billion people will be affected by this choice. Help us to recognize the tremendous responsibility we have to cast our vote, and that even one vote counts.

In the days to come, in a deep and wonderful way, Oh Lord, we pray that You would truly bless America.

“The Lord bless you and keep you the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” [Numbers 6:24-26, NIV]

All this we pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

1988 Republican National Convention : Gaddi Vasquez’s Role: an ‘American Dream’ on GOP Prime Time

In the opening of the movie “La Bamba,” a young Latino man is riding a motorcycle to a migrant farm worker camp in Northern California when he passes a rusted signpost that says Pacheco Pass--a quick scene, probably lost on most of the film’s audience.

But Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez saw it. He knew that sign.

“I held my breath, and I choked,” he said. “That was me, that was my life. I remembered it just like it was yesterday.”

Vasquez spent much of his early childhood traveling the farmlands of the western United States, playing with his younger brother in the fields while his parents picked beans, apples, cotton or strawberries.

But that was a long time ago.

Today Vasquez, the county’s first Latino supervisor, is in New Orleans, preparing to give a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention on the night Vice President George Bush is to be nominated for the presidency.

Gaddi Holquin Vasquez, now 33, has impressed a lot of people in his short life.

Bee Molina, national president of the Mexican-American Political Assn., a largely Democratic organization, says, “If anybody would be running as a minority for higher office (in California), it would be Gaddi Vasquez.”

And Gov. George Deukmejian, who hired Vasquez as an aide in 1985 and appointed him to his seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors last year, reportedly views him as one of the leading contenders for the vacant state treasurer’s job.

Vasquez, who won his first election only two months ago, is an “American Dream” Republican. He preaches about the opportunities he has had in his life--opportunities that do not come, he says, from the dependency created by the government handouts of the Democratic Party platform.

People should be free to work and achieve their own opportunities, he says. The role of government is to ensure that the opportunities are available.

Vasquez is certain of one thing happening at the convention: that he will be asked hundreds of times to explain why he is a Republican. Recently, when he was profiled by a national news network, the announcer introduced him as “a Republican who looks more like a Democrat.”

But Vasquez says that the stereotype that all Latinos are Democrats and Catholics is changing. The traditional beliefs of the Latino community--"in family, in God and country"--are actually more consistent with the Republican Party, Vasquez maintains.

The supervisor’s parents are both longtime Democrats. And although Vasquez lives by their teachings of discipline and compassion, he has translated that message into a Republican context.

“My dad lived by the Scripture, ‘If you sow, ye shall reap,’ ” Vasquez said. “And there’s only one way that you sow--you get out there and you work. If you work, you will reap the benefits. If you loaf, you are not going to get anything in return--and you don’t deserve it.”

Even during the difficult times of his childhood, Vasquez said, there was no resentment in his family against landowners or the government. Guadalupe Vasquez, who was trained as an Apostolic minister in Mexico City, taught his children to be thankful.

“I was raised that this is a good country,” the supervisor said. “You honor your country, you pray for your leaders and you are grateful for what you have. Here’s my little house, sitting on the dirt in Watsonville. But you know what--you’ve got a roof over your head. So you give thanks to God for that roof.”

Those messages are still the foundation of Vasquez’s character. He does not drink. He is the only Orange County supervisor who does not accept gifts or meals--or allow his staff to accept gifts or meals--from business contacts. He is known as a fair and conscientious listener and a very hard worker.

In high school, much of his extracurricular time was spent studying and training for speech competitions, of which he eventually won more than 30 throughout the West. When he was 14, he became an active Explorer Scout with the Orange Police Department, where he would become an officer in 1975.

His church has also consumed much of Vasquez’s time over the years. He was elected to the maximum of two terms, each lasting two years, as international president of the Apostolic Church’s youth program, and he traveled worldwide to address young audiences about leadership skills and the development of their ideals.

“What I would do typically is catch a plane on a Friday evening, go to Houston, New York, Miami or Denver and be back on Sunday night for work on Monday,” Vasquez said. His church duties also took him to Europe, South America and Central America.

Vasquez, who has lived in Orange County since his father founded a church in Orange when he was 5, married a childhood friend, and they now have a 9-year-old son, Jason.

A short time after their marriage, Vasquez went to work for Orange County Supervisor Bruce Nestande. He was recruited from there by Southern California Edison Co., which wanted him for a high-paying executive position. But he held that job only four months before he was lured to Sacramento by Deukmejian for a job as the governor’s liaison with the Latino community.

He soon became an appointments secretary and worked closely with the governor in that job, screening hundreds of candidates for gubernatorial appointments to various boards and committees.

In April, 1987, while still a governor’s aide, Vasquez was appointed to the supervisor’s seat left open by Nestande’s mid-term resignation. The timing of the appointment meant that he would have to face the voters barely a year later, and there was open skepticism--even among Republican ranks--as to whether he would survive the June, 1988, election.

But he raised more than $400,000 in campaign contributions and, when the day of truth came, he faced only one minor opponent. He won so easily that the achievement did not attract a lot of attention.

1988 Republican National Convention

The 1988 Republican National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana from August 15 to August 18, 1988. It was the second time that a major party held its convention in one of the five states known as the Deep South, coming on the heels of the 1988 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of the impetus for holding the convention in the Superdome came from the Louisiana Republican National Committeewoman Virginia Martinez of New Orleans, who lobbied on behalf of her adopted home city as the convention site as a member of the RNC Executive Committee. [1]

The convention nominated Vice President George H. W. Bush for president, as expected. The second spot on the ticket was not publicly known before the convention James Danforth "Dan" Quayle, U.S. Senator of Indiana, was selected as Bush's vice presidential running mate. The revelation of Quayle's selection as running mate did not come until the second day of the convention, when NBC News broke the story. As of 2020, it was the last time a major party's presidential candidate announced his vice presidential choice during his party's convention.

The convention featured speeches by Joe Paterno, Pat Robertson, a keynote address by New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, and the music of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra. Actress Helen Hayes attended the conference at age 88.

1888 Republican Convention | Lurker's Alternate Elections

George Franklin Edmunds: George F. Edmunds is a Senator from Vermont who is known as a masterful debater who can embarrass Democrats. He is also known for his strong stance against monopolies (which some have said is a Socialist policy). In 1882, Edmunds authored an act which made polygamy a felony in federal territories. He had a strong showing in the Convention of 1884, and might've won, had the other candidates not thrown their votes behind Sherman.

James Gillespie Blaine: James G. Blaine has been a Senator and Speaker of the House, but he is most known for managing to negotiate peace in the War of the Pacific. He is in favor of the gold standard, expanding the navy, and stopping public funds from going to religious institutions. Blaine is in favor of high tariffs, and is opposed to British influence. There is evidence that Blaine either lied to the public, or he is actually corrupt. He is accused of hating Catholics and recent questions have surfaced concerning his health.

Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of former president William Henry Harrison, served as a Brigadier General in the Civil War. He was elected to the House of Representatives and was one of the few Republican congressmen to stick around, as the Socialists won seats in Indiana. After that, he became a Senator from Indiana. He supports high tariffs and opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1884, Harrison supported James G. Blaine.

Russel Alexander Alger: Russel A. Alger's parents died when he was 13, leaving him an orphan. Since then, he has made his way from a farm to the post of General for the Union in the Civil War, to the position of Governor of Michigan. This Rags to Riches story has made the 52 year old former governor a very appealing candidate. During his tenure as Governor, a state board of pardons was created, a soldier’s home was founded, two new counties were formed, and the Michigan College of Mines was established.

Joseph Roswell Hawley: Joseph R. Hawley was Benjamin Bristow's Vice President. Before that, he served as the Governor of Connecticut and, he bought the Hartford Courant newspaper, which, under his leadership, became one of the leading Republican newspapers in the country. Of the Presidential candidates, he has been the most vocal on his disgust for corruption.

William Boyd Allison: Representative from Iowa William B. Allison is famous for having authored the act, known as the Bland-Allison Act, that would put a certain number of dollars backed in silver back into the economy, however, this act failed in Congress. He is also a prominent advocate for higher tariffs.

For the Vice Presidency, multiple candidates from the state of New York were considered, as that is the state with the most electoral votes overall, which if won, could make the difference between a loss and a victory.

Levi Parsons Morton: Levi P. Morton is the former Minister to France under Benjamin Bristow, where he was very popular. Before that, Morton was a Representative from New York.

Chauncey Depew: Chauncey Depew is another candidate from New York. There, he was the Secretary of State, and now is the president of the New York Central Railroad System. Depew is also a minor presidential candidate, but with no chance of winning.

William Oɼonnell Bradley: William Bradley was a Representative from Kentucky, with very impressive oratory skills. A rising star, Bradley was nominated to the Senate in 1875, even though he was too young to legally qualify. While the other candidates would help the Republicans wins New York, Bradley would help the Republicans win in some southern states.

1988 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION : Bush Text: ‘Stakes Are High and Choice Is Crucial’

I have many friends to thank tonight. I thank the voters who supported me. I thank the gallant men who entered the contest for the presidency this year and who have honored me with their support. And, for their kind and stirring words, I thank Gov. Tom Kean of New Jersey, Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, President Gerald Ford--and my friend, President Ronald Reagan.

I accept your nomination for President. I mean to run hard, to fight hard, to stand on the issues--and I mean to win.

There are a lot of great stories in politics about the underdog winning--and this is going to be one of them.

And we’re going to win with the help of Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana--a young leader who has become a forceful voice in preparing America’s workers for the labor force of the future. Born in the middle of the century, in the middle of America, and holding the promise of the future--I’m proud to have Dan Quayle at my side.

Many of you have asked: “When will this campaign really begin?” I have come to this hall to tell you, and to tell America: Tonight is the night.

For 7 1/2 years I have helped a President conduct the most difficult job on Earth. Ronald Reagan asked for, and received, my candor. He never asked for, but he did receive, my loyalty. Those of you who saw the President’s speech this week and listened to the simple truth of his words will understand my loyalty all these years.

But now you must see me for what I am: the Republican candidate for President of the United States. And now I turn to the American people to share my hopes and intentions, and why--and where--I wish to lead.

And so tonight is for big things. But I’ll try to be fair to the other side. I’ll try to hold my charisma in check. I reject the temptation to engage in personal references. My approach this evening is, as Sgt. Joe Friday used to say: “Just the facts, ma’am.”

After all, the facts are on our side.

I seek the presidency for a single purpose, a purpose that has motivated millions of Americans across the years and the ocean voyages. I seek the presidency to build a better America. It is that simple--and that big.

I am a man who sees life in terms of missions--missions defined and missions completed. When I was a torpedo bomber pilot, they defined the mission for us. Before we took off, we all understood that, no matter what, you try to reach the target. There have been other missions for me--Congress, China, the CIA. But I am here tonight--and I am your candidate--because the most important work of my life is to complete the mission we started in 1980. How do we complete it? We build on it.

Differences in Contenders Held Deep, Wide

The stakes are high this year and the choice is crucial, for the differences between the two candidates are as deep and wide as they have ever been in our long history.

Not only two very different men, but two very different ideas of the future will be voted on this Election Day.

What it all comes down to is this:

My opponent’s view of the world sees a long, slow decline for our country, an inevitable fall mandated by impersonal historical forces.

But America is not in decline. America is a rising nation.

He sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe. I see America as the leader--a unique nation with a special role in the world.

This has been called the American Century, because in it we were the dominant force for good in the world. We saved Europe, cured polio we went to the moon, and lit the world with our culture. Now we are on the verge of a new century, and what country’s name will it bear? I say it will be another American Century.

Our work is not done--our force is not spent.

There are those who say there isn’t much of a difference this year. But America, don’t let ‘em fool ya.

Two parties this year ask for your support. Both will speak of growth and peace. But only one has proved it can deliver. Two parties this year ask for your trust, but only one has earned it.

Eight years ago I stood here with Ronald Reagan and we promised, together, to break with the past and return America to her greatness. Eight years later, look at what the American people have produced: the highest level of economic growth in our entire history--and the lowest level of world tensions in more than 50 years.

Some say this isn’t an election about ideology, it’s an election about competence. Well, it’s nice of them to want to play on our field. But this election isn’t only about competence, for competence is a narrow ideal.

Competence makes the trains run on time but doesn’t know where they’re going. Competence is the creed of the technocrat who makes sure the gears mesh but doesn’t for a second understand the magic of the machine.

The truth is, this election is about the beliefs we share, the values we honor, the principles we hold dear.

But since someone brought up competence. . . .

Consider the size of our triumph: a record high percentage of Americans with jobs, a record high rate of new businesses, a record high rate of real personal income.

These are facts. And one way you know our opponents know the facts is that to attack the record they have to misrepresent it. They call it a Swiss-cheese economy. Well, that’s the way it may look to the three blind mice. But when they were in charge it was all holes and no cheese.

Inflation was 12% when we came in. We got it down to 4. Interest rates were more than 21. We cut them in half. Unemployment was up and climbing now it’s the lowest in 14 years.

My friends, eight years ago this economy was flat on its back--intensive care. We came in and gave it emergency treatment: got the temperature down by lowering regulation, got the blood pressure down when we lowered taxes. Pretty soon the patient was up, back on his feet, and stronger than ever.

And now who do we hear knocking on the door but the doctors who made him sick. And they’re telling us to put them in charge of the case again. My friends, they’re lucky we don’t hit them with a malpractice suit.

We’ve created 17 million new jobs in the past five years--more than twice as many as Europe and Japan combined. And they’re good jobs. The majority of them created in the past six years paid an average of more than $22,000 a year. Someone better take a message to Michael: Tell him we’ve been creating good jobs at good wages. The fact is, they talk--we deliver. They promise--we perform.

There are millions of young Americans in their 20s who barely remember the days of gas lines and unemployment lines. Now they’re marrying and starting careers. To those young people I say: “You have the opportunity you deserve, and I’m not going to let them take it away from you.”

The leaders of the expansion have been the women of America who helped create the new jobs and filled two out of every three of them. To the women of America I say: “You know better than anyone that equality begins with economic empowerment. You’re gaining economic power--and I’m not going to let them take it away from you.”

There are millions of older Americans who were brutalized by inflation. We arrested it--and we’re not going to let it out on furlough. We’re going to keep the Social Security trust fund sound and out of reach of the big spenders. To America’s elderly I say: “Once again you have the security that is your right--and I’m not going to let them take it away from you.”

I know the liberal Democrats are worried about the economy. They’re worried it’s going to remain strong. And they’re right, it is--with the right leadership.

But let’s be frank. Things aren’t perfect in this country. There are people who haven’t tasted the fruits of the expansion. I’ve talked to farmers about the bills they can’t pay. I’ve been to the factories that feel the strain of change. I’ve seen the urban children who play amidst the shattered glass and shattered lives. And there are the homeless. And you know, it doesn’t do any good to debate endlessly which policy mistake of the ‘70s is responsible. They’re there. We have to help them.

But what we must remember if we are to be responsible--and compassionate--is that economic growth is the key to our endeavors.

I want growth that stays, that broadens and that touches, finally, all Americans, from the hollows of Kentucky to the sunlit streets of Denver, from the suburbs of Chicago to the broad avenues of New York, from the oil fields of Oklahoma to the farms of the Great Plains.

Can we do it? Of course we can. We know how. We’ve done it. If we continue to grow at our current rate, we will be able to produce 30 million jobs in the next eight years.

We will do it--by maintaining our commitment to free and fair trade, by keeping government spending down and by keeping taxes down.

Our economic life is not the only test of our success. One issue overwhelms all the others, and that is the issue of peace.

Look at the world on this bright August night. The spirit of democracy is sweeping the Pacific rim. China feels the winds of change. New democracies assert themselves in South America. One by one the unfree places fall, not to the force of arms but to the force of an idea: Freedom works.

Soviet Changes in Afghanistan, Angola

We have a new relationship with the Soviet Union. The INF treaty, the beginning of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the beginning of the end of the Soviet proxy war in Angola and with it the independence of Namibia. Iran and Iraq move toward peace.

It is a watershed. It is no accident.

It happened when we acted on the ancient knowledge that strength and clarity lead to peace--weakness and ambivalence lead to war. Weakness tempts aggressors. Strength stops them. I will not allow this country to be made weak again.

Prudent Skepticism in Order, as Is Hope

The tremors in the Soviet world continue. The hard earth there has not yet settled. Perhaps what is happening will change our world forever. Perhaps not. A prudent skepticism is in order. And so is hope.

Either way, we’re in an unprecedented position to change the nature of our relationship. Not by preemptive concession, but by keeping our strength. Not by yielding up defense systems with nothing won in return, but by hard, cool engagement in the tug and pull of diplomacy.

My life has been lived in the shadow of war--I almost lost my life in one.

And I am not going to let anyone take it away from us.

Our economy is strong but not invulnerable, and the peace is broad but can be broken. And now we must decide. We will surely have change this year, but will it be change that moves us forward? Or change that risks retreat?

In 1940, when I was barely more than a boy, Franklin Roosevelt said we shouldn’t change horses in midstream.

My friends, these days the world moves even more quickly, and now, after two great terms, a switch will be made. But when you have to change horses in midstream, doesn’t it make sense to switch to the one who’s going the same way?

An election that is about ideas and values is also about philosophy. And I have one.

At the bright center is the individual. And radiating out from him or her is the family, the essential unit of closeness and of love. For it is the family that communicates to our children--to the 21st Century--our culture, our religious faith, our traditions and history.

From the individual to the family to the community, and on out to the town, to the church and school, and, still echoing out, to the county, the state, the nation--each doing only what it does well, and no more. And I believe that power must always be kept close to the individual, close to the hands that raise the family and run the home.

I am guided by certain traditions. One is that there is a God and he is good, and his love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.

I believe in another tradition that is, by now, embedded in the national soul. It is that learning is good in and of itself. The mothers of the Jewish ghettoes of the east would pour honey on a book so the children would know that learning is sweet. And the parents who settled hungry Kansas would take their children in from the fields when a teacher came. That is our history.

Community Has a Big Meaning, He Says

And there is another tradition. And that is the idea of community--a beautiful word with a big meaning. Though liberal Democrats have an odd view of it. They see “community” as a limited cluster of interest groups, locked in odd conformity. In this view, the country waits passive while Washington sets the rules.

But that’s not what community means--not to me.

For we are a nation of communities, of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations--all of them varied, voluntary and unique.

This is America: the Knights of Columbus, the Grange, Hadassah, the Disabled American Veterans, the Order of AHEPA, the Business and Professional Women of America, the union hall, the Bible study group, LULAC, “Holy Name"--a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.

Does government have a place? Yes. Government is part of the nation of communities--not the whole, just a part.

I do not hate government. A government that remembers that the people are its master is a good and needed thing.

I respect old-fashioned common sense and have no great love for the imaginings of social planners. I like what’s been tested and found to be true.

Should public school teachers be required to lead our children in the pledge of allegiance? My opponent says no--but I say yes.

Should society be allowed to impose the death penalty on those who commit crimes of extraordinary cruelty and violence? My opponent says no--but I say yes.

Should our children have the right to say a voluntary prayer, or even observe a moment of silence in the schools? My opponent says no--but I say yes.

Should free men and women have the right to own a gun to protect their home? My opponent says no--but I say yes.

Is it right to believe in the sanctity of life and protect the lives of innocent children? My opponent says no--but I say yes. We must change from abortion to adoption. I have an adopted granddaughter. The day of her christening we wept with joy. I thank God her parents chose life.

I’m the one who believes it is a scandal to give a weekend furlough to a hardened first-degree killer who hasn’t even served enough time to be eligible for parole.

I’m the one who says a drug dealer who is responsible for the death of a policeman should be subject to capital punishment.

I’m the one who won’t raise taxes. My opponent now says he’ll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. When a politician talks like that, you know that’s one resort he’ll be checking into. My opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will.

The Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again. And all I can say to them is no new taxes, period.

Let me tell you more about the mission.

On jobs, my mission is: 30 in 8. Thirty million jobs in the next eight years.

Promise to Increase Power of Parents

Every one of our children deserves a first-rate school. The liberal Democrats want power in the hands of the federal government. I want power in the hands of the parents. I will increase the power of parents. I will encourage merit schools. I will give more kids a Head Start. And I’ll make it easier to save for college.

I want a drug-free America--and this will not be easy to achieve. But I want to enlist the help of some people who are rarely included. Tonight I challenge the young people of our country to shut down the drug dealers around the world. Unite with us work with us. “Zero tolerance” isn’t just a policy, it’s an attitude. Tell them what you think of people who underwrite the dealers who put poison in our society. And while you’re doing that, my Administration will be telling the dealers: Whatever we have to do, we’ll do, but your day is over, you’re history.

I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure the disabled are included in the mainstream. For too long they’ve been left out. But they’re not going to be left out anymore.

I am going to stop ocean dumping. Our beaches should not be garbage dumps and our harbors should not be cesspools. I am going to have the FBI trace the medical wastes and we are going to punish the people who dump those infected needles into our oceans, lakes and rivers. And we must clean the air. We must reduce the harm done by acid rain.

I will put incentives back into the domestic energy industry, for I know from personal experience there is no security for the United States in further dependence on foreign oil.

In foreign affairs I will continue our policy of peace through strength. I will move toward further cuts in the strategic and conventional arsenals of both the United States and the Soviet Union. I will modernize and preserve our technological edge. I will ban chemical and biological weapons from the face of the Earth. And I intend to speak for freedom, stand for freedom, and be a patient friend to anyone, east or west, who will fight for freedom.

It seems to me the presidency provides an incomparable opportunity for “gentle persuasion.”

I hope to stand for a new harmony, a greater tolerance. We’ve come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country. We’re on a journey to a new century, and we’ve got to leave the tired old baggage of bigotry behind.

Some people who are enjoying our prosperity have forgotten what it’s for. But they diminish our triumph when they act as if wealth is an end in itself.

There are those who have dropped their standards along the way, as if ethics were too heavy and slowed their rise to the top. There’s graft in City Hall, the greed on Wall Street there’s influence-peddling in Washington and the small corruptions of everyday ambition.

But you see, I believe public service is honorable. And every time I hear that someone has breached the public trust it breaks my heart.

I wonder sometimes if we have forgotten who we are. But we’re the people who sundered a nation rather than allow a sin called slavery--we’re the people who rose from the ghettoes and the deserts.

We weren’t saints, but we lived by standards. We celebrated the individual, but we weren’t self-centered. We were practical, but we didn’t live only for material things. We believed in getting ahead, but blind ambition wasn’t our way.

Making Idealism Concrete With Good Acts

The fact is, prosperity has a purpose. It is to allow us to pursue “the better angels,” to give us time to think and grow. Prosperity with a purpose means taking your idealism and making it concrete by certain acts of goodness.

It means helping a child from an unhappy home learn how to read--and I thank my wife, Barbara, for all her work in literacy. It means teaching troubled children through your presence that there’s such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it’s soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved?

Well, I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation.

Two men this year ask for your support. And you must know us.

As for me, I have held high office and done the work of democracy day by day. My parents were prosperous their children were lucky. But there were lessons we had to learn about life. John Kennedy discovered poverty when he campaigned in West Virginia there were children there who had no milk. Young Teddy Roosevelt met the new America when he roamed the immigrant streets of New York. And I learned a few things about life in a place called Texas.

We moved to West Texas 40 years ago. The war was over, and we wanted to get out and make it on our own. Those were exciting days. Lived in a little shotgun house, one room for the three of us. Worked in the oil business, started my own.

In time we had six children. Moved from the shotgun to a duplex apartment to a house. Lived the dream--high school football on Friday night, Little League, neighborhood barbecue.

People don’t see their experience as symbolic of an era--but of course we were. So was everyone else who was taking a chance and pushing into unknown territory with kids and a dog and a car. But the big thing I learned is the satisfaction of creating jobs, which meant creating opportunity, which meant happy families, who in turn could do more to help others and enhance their own lives. I learned that the good done by a single good job can be felt in ways you can’t imagine.

I may not be the most eloquent, but I learned early that eloquence won’t draw oil from the ground. I may sometimes be a little awkward, but there’s nothing self-conscious in my love of country. I am a quiet man--but I hear the quiet people others don’t. The ones who raise the family, pay the taxes, meet the mortgage. I hear them and I am moved, and their concerns are mine.

A President must be many things.

He must be a shrewd protector of America’s interests, and he must be an idealist who leads those who move for a freer and more democratic planet.

He must see to it that government intrudes as little as possible in the lives of the people, and yet remember that it is right and proper that a nation’s leader take an interest in the nation’s character.

And he must be able to define--and lead--a mission.

Modest Decisions and Crucial Decisions

For 7 1/2 years I have worked with a President--and I have seen what crosses that big desk. I have seen the unexpected crises that arrive in a cable in a young aide’s hand. And I have seen problems that simmer on for decades and suddenly demand resolution. I have seen modest decisions made with anguish and crucial decisions made with dispatch.

And so I know that what it all comes down to, this election--what it all comes down to, after all the shouting and the cheers--is the man at the desk. And who should sit at that desk.

I say it without boast or bravado I’ve fought for my country, I’ve served, I’ve built--and I will go from the hills to the hollows, from the cities to the suburbs to the loneliest town on the quietest street to take our message of hope and growth for every American to every American.

I will keep America moving forward, always forward, for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light.

[1988 Republican National Convention]

7:52 Copy video clip URL This segment reports on Dan Quayle winning the vice presidential nomination. His Indiana boosters had said that his “good looks and appeal to women are part of the reason he would help the ticket”. Indiana delegates were extremely enthusiastic after his nomination was announced.

11:32 Copy video clip URL The excited Indiana delegation answers questions from the media following Dan Quayle’s nomination. However, some delegates in other states were not as sure about the choice, and would have preferred a more “tried, true, and tested” choice. Some Indiana delegates were stunned by the tough press coverage, especially the stories about Quayle’s alleged involvement with Paula Parkinson, a former lobbyist and current Playboy model.

18:04 Copy video clip URL This news report covers the tough media attention following Dan Quayle’s nomination, focusing on whether or not Quayle had used influence to get into the National Guard 19 years before. The controversy grew, and the media began speculating that former governor Edgar Whitcomb may have used his influence to Quayle’s benefit. According to Governor Orr, Whitcomb did not know Quayle at the time that he joined the National Guard. The Indiana delegation was confused and alarmed by the media’s attacks on Quayle.

23:57 Copy video clip URL Dan Quayle gave a speech at the convention, even as media continued focus on the National Guard allegations, but his supporters think that Quayle will recover from the negative press. Bush gave his speech, which some Indiana delegates believed to be the greatest speech of his life. Brackett speaks to Indiana delegate Ilze Koch, a Latvian refugee and first-time delegate, about why she has been so emotional throughout the convention.

Onus on Trump

The burden is now on Trump to change the trajectory of the race, probably by demonizing Biden, who is well known after decades in politics and widely regarded as a decent and empathetic man. The president must pray he can once again squeeze out an Electoral College victory while losing the popular vote by a larger margin than in 2016.

It’s difficult to imagine Trump improving his own image after alienating so many voters with his overall style and agenda during his first four years in office.

He has shown little interest in redefining himself or in talking with swing voters. Where does he go to talk to the American people? To a rally in Tulsa. To a Students for Trump event in Phoenix. And to a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, with only enthusiastic supporters in attendance.

Moreover, Trump repeats the same arguments ad nauseam, numbing viewers who have heard the language and reasoning before. That’s one problem with him tweeting and appearing so often in the news. He relies on slogans, rarely introducing a new idea. If he hasn’t convinced a voter of his correctness on an issue after 1,000 tweets, tweet No. 1,001 isn’t likely to be more effective.

In addition, while Trump supporters call Biden a “gaffe machine,” the president has the same problem. He isn’t very agile with language and doesn’t show knowledge or intelligence. Disinfecting lungs? “Good people on both sides?” So it’s hard to believe he will suddenly become articulate in the campaign’s final four months.

Imagine the amount of video footage and the number of tweets the Biden campaign has available to keep Trump on the defensive and paint his presidency as a failure. His incumbency makes him a much weaker candidate now than he was in 2016. He was on the offense then but will be on the defense this year.

What Trump Said at The 1988 GOP Convention May SURPRISE You [WATCH]

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s opponents like to disparage him by pointing to his past as a liberal, but if they were to dig just a little deeper, they would discover that he in fact was a Republican before he even became a Democrat.

For instance, did you know that Trump attended the 1988 Republican National Convention? Moreover, when Trump appeared for an interview with CNN while at the convention, he got introduced to the audience as “young, conservative, and rich.”

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It appears that Trump started as a Republican, later converted to liberalism and then pivoted back to conservatism.

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While it seems somewhat odd that he switched his political views twice, many Americans switch their views at least once during the course of their lives.

Your humble correspondent, for example, spent the bulk of his 20s as a die-hard liberal, until at least around 2013 he began experiencing a change of heart.

Perhaps Trump experienced such a change of heart … but twice?

I get why Trump became a Republican again — because President Barack Obama’s presidency has nearly destroyed America. What I fail to understand is why Trump chose to become a Democrat back in the 1990s.

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What do you supposed inspired him to do that? Better yet, are we safe to assume that he won’t be switching back to liberalism anytime soon?

August 15, 1988: Farewell Address at the Republican National Convention


Madam Chairman, delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens:

Thank you for that warm and generous welcome. Nancy and I have been enjoying the finest of Southern hospitality since we arrived here yesterday. And believe me, after that reception I don't think the "Big Easy" has ever been bigger than it has tonight. And with all due respect to Cajun cuisine cooking and New Orleans jazz, nothing could be hotter than the spirit of the delegates in this hall, except maybe a victory celebration on November 8th. In that spirit, I think we can be forgiven if we give ourselves a little pat on the back for having made "Republican" a proud word once again and America a proud nation again. Nancy and I are so honored to be your guests tonight, to share a little of your special time, and we thank you.

Now I want to invoke executive privilege to talk for a moment about a very special lady who has been selfless not just for our party but for the entire Nation. She is a strong, courageous, compassionate woman and wherever she's gone, here in the United States as well as abroad, whether with young or old, whether comforting the grieving or supporting the youngsters who are fighting the scourge of drugs, she makes us proud. I've been proud of her for a long time, but never more so than in these last 8 years. With your tribute to Nancy today, you warmed my heart as well as hers, and believe me, she deserves your tribute. And I am deeply grateful to you for what you have done.

When people tell me that I became President on January 20th, 1981, I feel I have to correct them. You don't become President of the United States. You are given temporary custody of an institution called the Presidency, which belongs to our people. Having temporary custody of this office has been for me a sacred trust and an honor beyond words or measure. That trust began with many of you in this room many conventions ago. Many's the time that I've said a prayer of thanks to all Americans who placed this trust in my hands. And tonight, please accept again our heartfelt gratitude, Nancy's and mine, for this special time that you've given in our lives.

Just a moment ago, you multiplied the honor with a moving tribute, and being only human, there's a part of me that would like to take credit for what we've achieved. But tonight, before we do anything else, let us remember that tribute really belongs to the 245 million citizens who make up the greatest—and the first—three words in our Constitution: "We the People." It is the American people who endured the great challenge of lifting us from the depths of national calamity, renewing our mighty economic strength, and leading the way to restoring our respect in the world. They are an extraordinary breed we call Americans. So, if there's any salute deserved tonight, it's to the heroes everywhere in this land who make up the doers, the dreamers, and the lifebuilders without which our glorious experiment in democracy would have failed.

This convention brings back so many memories to a fellow like me. I can still remember my first Republican convention: Abraham Lincoln giving a speech that- [laughter] —sent tingles down my spine. No, I have to confess, I wasn't actually there. The truth is, way back then, I belonged to the other party. [Laughter] But surely we can remember another convention. Eight years ago, we gathered in Detroit in a troubled time for our beloved country. And we gathered solemnly to share our dreams. When I look back, I wonder if we dared be ' so bold to take on those burdens. But in that same city of Detroit, when the 20th century was only in its second year, another great Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, told Americans not to hold back from dangers ahead but to rejoice: "Our hearts lifted with the faith that to us and to our children it shall be given to make this Republic the mightiest among the peoples of mankind." Teddy said those, years ago. In 1980 we needed every bit of that kind of faith.

That year, it was our dream that together we could rescue America and make a new beginning, to create anew that shining city on a hill. The dream we shared was to reclaim our government, to transform it from one that was consuming our prosperity into one that would get out of the way of those who created prosperity. It was a dream of again making our nation strong enough to preserve world peace and freedom and to recapture our national destiny. We made a determination that our dream would not be built on a foundation of sand—something called "Trust Me Government"—but we would trust, instead, the American spirit. And, yes, we were unashamed in believing that this dream was driven by a community of shared values of family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom. And on the night of July 17th, 1980, we left with a mutual pledge to conduct a national crusade to make America great again. We had faith because the heroes in our midst had never failed us before. Tom Paine knew what these Americans with character of steel could do when he wrote: "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." And my fellow citizens, while our triumph is not yet complete, the road has been glorious indeed.

Eight years ago, we met at a time when America was in economic chaos, and today we meet in a time of economic promise. We met then in international distress and today with global hope. Now, I think we can be forgiven if we engage in a little review of that history tonight—as the saying goes, just a friendly reminder. I've been doing a little remembering of my own because of all that inflated rhetoric by our friends in Atlanta last month. But then, inflation is their specialty.

Before we came to Washington, Americans had just suffered the two worst back-to-back years of inflation in 60 years. Those are the facts, and as John Adams said, "Facts are stubborn things." Interest rates had jumped to over 21 percent, the highest in 120 years, more than doubling the average monthly mortgage payments for working families—our families. When they sat around the kitchen table, it was not to plan summer vacations, it was to plan economic survival. Facts are stubborn things.

Industrial production was down, and productivity was down for 2 consecutive years. The average weekly—you missed me. [The President referred to a background noise.] [Laughter] The average weekly wage plunged 9 percent. The median family income fell 51/2 percent. Facts are stubborn things.

Our friends on the other side had actually passed the single highest tax bill in the 200-year history of the United States. Auto loans, because of their policies, went up to 17 percent, so our great factories began shutting down. Fuel costs jumped through the atmosphere, more than doubling. Then people waited in gas lines as well as unemployment lines. Facts are stupid things-stubborn things, I should say. [Laughter]

And then there was the misery index. That was an election year gimmick they designed for the 1976 campaign. They added the unemployment and inflation rates. And it came to 13.4 percent in 1976, and they declared that our candidate, Jerry Ford, had no right to seek re-election with that kind of misery index. But 4 years later, in the 1980 campaign, they didn't mention the misery index. Do you suppose it was because it was no longer 13.4 percent? In those 4 years it had become almost 21 percent. And last month, in Atlanta at their convention, there was again no mention of the misery index. Why? Because right now it's less than 9.2 percent. Facts are stubborn things.

When we met in Detroit in that summer of 1980, it was a summer of discontent for America around the world. Our national defense had been so weakened, the Soviet Union had begun to engage in reckless aggression, including the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The U.S. response to that was to forbid our athletes to participate in the 1980 Olympics and to try to pull the rug out from under our farmers with a grain and soybean embargo. And in those years, on any given day, we had military aircraft that couldn't fly for lack of spare parts and ships that couldn't leave port for the same reason or for lack of a crew. Our Embassy in Pakistan was burned to the ground, and the one in Iran was stormed and occupied with all Americans taken as hostages. The world began to question the constancy and resolve of the United States. Our leaders answered not that there was something wrong with our government but that our people were at fault because of some malaise. Well, facts are stubborn things.

When our friends last month talked of unemployment, despair, hopelessness, economic weakness, I wondered why on Earth they were talking about 1978 instead of 1988.

And now we hear talk that it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, another friendly reminder: We are the change. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work in January of 1981. We focused on hope, not despair. We challenged the failed policies of the past because we believed that a society is great not because of promises made by its government but only because of progress made by its people. And that was our change.

We said something shocking: Taxes ought to be reduced, not raised. We cut the tax rates for the working folks of America. We indexed taxes, and that stopped a bracket creep which kicked average wage earners into higher tax brackets when they had only received a cost-of-living pay raise. And we initiated reform of the unfairness in our tax system. And what do you know, the top 5 percent of earners are paying a higher percentage of the total tax revenue at the lower rates than they ever had before, and millions of earners at the bottom of the scale have been freed from paying any income tax at all. That was our change.

So, together we pulled out of a tailspin and created 171/2 million good jobs. That's more than a quarter of a million new jobs a month—every month—for 68 consecutive months. America is working again. And just since our 1984 convention, we have created over 11 million of those new jobs. Now, just why would our friends on the other side want to change that? Why do they think putting you out of work is better than putting you to work?

New homes are being built. New car sales reached record levels. Exports are starting to climb again. Factory capacity is approaching maximum use. You know, I've noticed they don't call it Reaganomics anymore. [Laughter]

As for inflation, well, that too has changed. We changed it from the time it hit 18 percent in 1980 down to between 3.5 and 4 percent. Interest rates are less than half of what they were. In fact, nearly half of all mortgages taken out on family homes in 1986 and more than a third of those in 1987 were actually old loans being refinanced at the new lower rates. Young families have finally been able to get some relief. These, too, were our changes.

We rebuilt our Armed Forces. We liberated Grenada from the Communists and helped return that island to democracy. We struck a firm blow against Libyan terrorism. We've seen the growth of democracy in 90 percent of Latin America. The Soviets have begun to pull out of Afghanistan. The bloody Iran-Iraq war is coming to an end. And for the first time in 8 years we have the prospects of peace in Southwest Africa and the removal of Cuban and other foreign forces from the region. And in the 2,765 days of our administration, not i inch of ground has fallen to the Communists.

The President. Today we have the first treaty in world history to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles. We're working on the Strategic Defense Initiative to defend ourselves and our allies against nuclear terror. And American and Soviet relations are the best they've ever been since World War II.

And virtually all this change occurred-and continues to occur—in spite of the resistance of those liberal elites who loudly proclaim that it's time for a change. They resisted our defense buildup. They resisted our tax cuts. They resisted cutting the fat out of government. And they resisted our appointments of judges committed to the law and the Constitution.

And it's time for some more straight talk. This time it's about the budget deficit. Yes, it's much too high. But the President doesn't vote for a budget, and the President can't spend a dime. Only the Congress can do that. They blame the defense increases for the deficit, yet defense spending today, in real dollars, is almost exactly what it was 6 years ago. In a 6-year period, Congress cut defense spending authority by over $125 billion. And for every $1 reduction in defense outlays, they added $2 to domestic spending.

Now, if they had passed my first budget, my first spending plan in 1982, the cumulative outlays and deficits would have been $207 billion lower by 1986. Every single year I've been in office, I have supported and called for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and the liberals have said no every year. I called for the line-item veto, which 43 Governors have, to cut fat in the budget, and the liberals have said no. Every year I've attempted to limit their wild spending sprees, and they've said no. They would have us believe that runaway budget deficits began in 1981 when we took office. Well, let me tell you something: The fact is, when they began their war on poverty in the middle sixties, from 1965 through 1980—'m just those 15 years, the budgets increased to five times what they had been, and the deficits went up to 52 times what they had been before their war on poverty. Now, don't we know that if they're elected their answer will be the one they've relied on in the past, and that is higher taxes.

The other party has controlled the House of Representatives for 52 out of the last 56 years.

They've controlled the Senate also for 46 of those years.

Where we really need a change is to elect Republican majorities in both Houses. And then George Bush can have a team that will protect your tax cuts keep America strong hold down inflation and interest rates appoint judges to preserve your rights and, yes, reduce the budget deficit.

Early in the first term, we set out to reduce Federal regulations that had been imposed on the people, on businesses, and on local and State governments. Today I'm proud to say that we have eliminated so many unnecessary regulations that government-required paperwork imposed on citizens, businesses, and other levels of government has been reduced by an estimated 600 million man-hours of paperwork a year. And George was there.

No, you haven't heard it all yet. George Bush headed up that task force that eliminated those regulations.

In 1980 and before, it took 7 weeks to get a Social Security card. Now it takes 10 days. It only takes 10 days to get a passport. It used to take 43 days. It took 75 days to get an export license. Now it's only 17 days, and for some countries, only 5. It took over 100 days to process a claim for a Department of Housing and Urban Development Title I loan—100 days. It now takes less than one-fourth of that—22 days. I think these specifics suggest there is a new level of competent management in the Departments of our government. George played a major role in everything that we have accomplished in these 8 years.

Now early on, we had a foreign policy problem. Our NATO allies were under the threat of Soviet intermediate-range missiles, and NATO had no equivalent deterrent. Our effort to provide a deterrent—Pershing and ground-launched cruise missiles on the NATO line—resulted in political problems for our NATO allies. There was objection on the part of many other people to deployment of our missiles. George represented us in Brussels with the heads of the NATO countries and they agreed, when he finished, to take the missiles. This subsequently persuaded the Soviets to sign the INF treaty and begin removing their SS-20's.

None of our achievements happened by accident, but only because we overcame liberal opposition to put our programs in place. And without George Bush to build on those policies, everything we've achieved will be at risk. All the work, sacrifice, and effort of the American people could end in the very same disaster that we inherited in 1981.

Because I feel so strongly about the work that must continue and the need to protect our gains for the American family and for national security, I want to share with you the qualities we should seek in the next President. We need someone who's big enough and experienced enough to handle tough and demanding negotiations with Mr. Gorbachev because this is no time to gamble with on-the-job training. We need someone who's prepared to be President and who has the commitment to stand up for you against massive new taxes and who will keep alive the hope and promise that keeps our economy strong. It'll take somebody who has seen this office from the inside, who senses the danger points, will be cool under fire, and knows the range of answers when the tough questions come. Well, that's the George Bush that I've seen up close, when the staff and Cabinet members have closed the door and when the two of us are alone—someone who is not afraid to speak his mind and who can cut to the core of an issue, someone who never runs away from a fight, never backs away from his beliefs, and never makes excuses.

This office is not mine to give only you, the people, can do that. But I love America too much and care too much about where we will be in the next few years. I care that we give custody of this office to someone who will build on our changes, not retreat to the past, someone who will continue the change all of us fought for. To preserve what we have and not risk losing it all, America needs George Bush—and Barbara Bush as First Lady.

With George Bush, I'll know as we approach the new millennium our children will have a future secure with a nation at peace and protected against aggression. We'll have a prosperity that spreads the blessings of our abundance and opportunity across all America. We'll have safe and active neighborhoods, drug-free schools that send our children soaring in the atmosphere of great ideas and deep values, and a nation confidently willing to take its leadership into the uncharted reaches of a new age.

So, George, I'm in your corner. I'm ready to volunteer a little advice now and then and offer a pointer or two on strategy, if asked. I'll help keep the facts straight or just stand back and cheer. But, George, just one personal request: Go out there and win one for the Gipper.

As you can imagine, I'm sorely tempted to spend the rest of this evening telling the truth about our friends who met in Atlanta, but, then, why should I have all the fun? [Laughter] So, for the next few moments, let's talk about the future.

This is the last Republican convention I will address as President. Maybe you'll see your way to inviting me back sometime. But like so many of us, as I said earlier, I started out in the other party. But 40 years ago, I cast my last vote as a Democrat. It was a party in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised the return of power to the States. It was a party where Harry Truman committed a strong and resolute America to preserving freedom. F.D.R. had run on a platform of eliminating useless boards and commissions and returning autonomy and authority to local governments and to the States. That party changed, and it will never be the same. They left me I didn't leave them. So, it was our Republican Party that gave me a political home. When I signed up for duty, I didn't have to check my principles at the door. And I soon found out that the desire for victory did not overcome our devotion to ideals.

And what ideals those have been. Our party speaks for human freedom, for the sweep of liberties that are at the core of our existence. We do not shirk from our duties to preserve freedom so it can unfold across the world for yearning millions. We believe that lasting peace comes only through strength and not through the good will of our adversaries. We have a healthy skepticism of government, checking its excesses at the same time we're willing to harness its energy when it helps improve the lives of our citizens. We have pretty strong notions that higher tax receipts are no inherent right of the Federal Government. We don't think that inflation and high interest rates show compassion for the poor, the young, and the elderly. We respect the values that bind us together as families and as a nation. For our children, we don't think it's wrong to have them committed to pledging each day to the "one nation, under God, indivisible , with liberty and justice for all." And we have so many requirements in their classrooms why can't we at least have one thing that is, voluntary, and that is allow our kids to repair quietly to their faith to say a prayer to start the day, as Congress does. For the unborn, quite simply, shouldn't they be able to live to become children in those classrooms?

Those are some of our principles. You in this room, and millions like you watching and listening tonight, are selfless and dedicated to a better world based on these principles. You aren't quitters. You walk not just precincts but for a cause. You stand for something—the finest warriors for free government that I have known. Nancy and I thank you for letting us be a part of your tireless determination to leave a better world for our children. And that's why we're here, isn't it? A better world?

I know I've said this before, but I believe that God put this land between the two great oceans to be found by special people from every corner of the world who had that extra love for freedom that prompted them to leave their homeland and come to this land to make it a brilliant light beam of freedom to the world. It's our gift to have visions, and I want to share that of a young boy who wrote to me shortly after I took office. In his letter he said, "I love America because you can join Cub Scouts if you want to. You have a right to worship as you please. If you have the ability, you can try to be anything you want to be. And I also like America because we have about 200 flavors of ice cream." Well, truth through the eyes of a child: freedom of association, freedom of worship, freedom of hope and opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness-in this case, choosing among 200 flavors of ice cream—that's America, everyone with his or her vision of the American promise. That's why we're a magnet for the world: for those who dodged bullets and gave their lives coming over the Berlin Wall and others, only a few of whom avoided death, coming in tiny boats on turbulent oceans. This land, its people, the dreams that unfold here and the freedom to bring it all together-well, those are what make America soar, up where you can see hope billowing in those freedom winds.

When our children turn the pages of our lives, I hope they'll see that we had a vision to pass forward a nation as nearly perfect as we could, where there's decency, tolerance, generosity, honesty, courage, common sense, fairness, and piety. This is my vision, and I'm grateful to God for blessing me with a good life and a long one. But when I pack up my bags in Washington, don't expect me to be happy to hear all this talk about the twilight of my life.

Twilight? Twilight? Not in America. Here, it's a sunrise every day fresh new opportunities, dreams to build. Twilight? That's not possible, because I confess there are times when I feel like I'm still little Dutch Reagan racing my brother down the hill to the swimming hole under the railroad bridge over the Rock River. You see, there's no sweeter day than each new one, because here in our country it means something wonderful can happen to you. And something wonderful happened to me.

We lit a prairie fire a few years back. Those flames were fed by passionate ideas and convictions, and we were determined to make them run all—burn, I should say, all across America. And what times we've had! Together we've fought for causes we love. But we can never let the fire go out or quit the fight, because the battle is never over. Our freedom must be defended over and over again—and then again.

There's still a lot of brush to clear out at the ranch, fences that need repair, and horses to ride. But I want you to know that if the fires ever dim, I'll leave my phone number and address behind just in case you need a foot soldier. Just let me know, and I'll be there, as long as words don't leave me and as long as this sweet country strives to be special during its shining moment on Earth.

Watch the video: Republican Convention, August 15, 1988