JACK KEMP: Abraham Lincoln believed, you serve your party best by serving your country first. Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow Americans, I can't think of a better way of serving our country than by electing Bob Dole president of the United States here on the eve of the 21st Century.
By the way, this time let's reelect a Republican Congress to help Bob Dole restore the American dream.
Tonight, here in San Diego, Bob Dole and I begin this campaign to take our message of growth, hope, leadership and cultural renewal to all Americans.
As I said in Russell, Kansas, Bob Dole's hometown, we're taking our cause from the boroughs of New York to the barrios of Los Angeles. We will carry the word to every man, woman and child of every color and background that today, on the eve of the new American century, it is time to renew the American promise, to recapture the American Dream and to give our nation a new birth of freedom... with liberty, equality and justice for all.
I am putting our opponents on notice. We are asking for the support of every single American. Our appeal of boundless opportunity crosses every barrier of geography, race and belief. We may not get every vote, but we will speak to every heart. In word and action, we will represent our entire American family.
And so, in the spirit of Mr. Lincoln, who believed that the purpose of a great party is not to defeat the other party but to provide superior ideas, principled leadership and a compelling cause, I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States.
Our convention is not just the meeting of a party, but a celebration of ideas. Our goal is not just to win, but to be worthy of winning.
This is a great nation with a great mission, and last night we nominated a leader whose stature is equal to that calling. A man whose words convey a quiet strength, who knows what it means to sacrifice for others, to sacrifice for his country, to demonstrate courage under fire. And who brings together women and men of all parties and backgrounds in common cause.
In recent years, it has been presidential practice, when delivering a State of the Union address, to introduce heroes in the balcony. Next year, when Bob Dole delivers the State of the Union address, there will be a hero at the podium.
There is another hero with us tonight - in our hearts and in our minds. He brought America back and restored America's spirit. He gave us a decade of prosperity and expanding horizons. Communism came down, not because it fell. He pushed it.
Our campaign is dedicated to completing that revolution that he began. I am sure he is watching us tonight. So let me just say to him, on behalf of all of us who love him. Thanks, Gipper.
And so tonight, as the party of Lincoln, Reagan and Dole, we begin our campaign to restore the adventure of the American Dream. With the end of the Cold War, all the "isms" of the 20th.
century - Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Socialism, and the evil of Apartheidism - have failed. Except one. Only democracy has shown itself true to the hopes of humanity.
Democratic capitalism is not just the hope of wealth, but the hope of justice. When we look into the face of poverty, we see pain, despair and need. But, above all, in every face, we must see the image of God. The Creator of All has planted the seed of creativity in us all, the desire within every child of God to work and build and improve our lot in life, and that of our families and those we love.
And in our work, in the act of creating that is part of all labor, we discover that part within ourselves that is divine. I believe the ultimate imperative for growth and opportunity is to advance human dignity.
Dr. Martin Luther King believed that we must see a sleeping hero in every soul. America must establish policies that summon those heroes and call forth the boundless potential of the human spirit. But our full potential will never be achieved by following leaders who call us to timid tasks and diminished dreams.
Every generation faces a choice: hope or despair - to plan for scarcity or to embrace possibilities. Societies throughout history believed they had reached the frontiers of human accomplishment. But in every age, those who trusted the divine spark of imagination discovered that vastly greater horizons lay ahead.
Americans do not accept limits; we transcend them. We do not settle; we succeed. I learned this lesson as a child growing up in Los Angeles. My dad was a truck driver. He and my uncle bought the truck, started a trucking company, and he put four kids through college. From him and my mother, a teacher, I learned to never give up. To me, faith, family and freedom are the greatest gifts of God to humanity.
I believe that today America is on the threshold of the greatest period of economic opportunity, technological development and entrepreneurial adventure in our history. We have before us tomorrows that are even more thrilling than our most glorious yesterdays.
And yet the genius of the American people is being stifled. Our economy is growing at the slowest pace of any recovery in this century. The income of working men and women is actually dropping. And there is a gnawing feeling throughout our nation that - in some way, for some reason - there is something wrong.
Our friends in the other party say the economy is moving forward, and it is. But it is moving like a ship dragging an anchor, the anchor of high taxes, excessive regulation and big government.
They say that is the best we can hope for. But that is because they have put their entire trust in government rather than people - a government that runs our lives, our businesses, our schools. You see, they don't believe in the unlimited possibilities that freedom brings.
The Democratic Party today is not democratic. They're elitists - they don't have faith in the people. They have faith in government. That is why they raised taxes on the middle class. That is why they tried to nationalize our health-care system. That is why today they say they are `unalterably opposed' to cutting taxes on American families. That is the problem with all elitists, they think they know better than the people - but the truth is, there is a wisdom and intelligence in ordinary women and men far superior to the greatest so-called experts.
That is why they are the party of the status quo. And as of tonight, with Bob Dole as our leader, we are the party of change.
Our first step will be to balance the budget with a strategy that combines economy in government with tax cuts designed to liberate the productive genius of the American people.
Now, of course, naysayers in Mr. Clinton's White House say it can't be done. They don't know Bob Dole. They don't know Jack Kemp.
As he and I have said before and we will continue to say throughout this campaign: with a pro-growth Republican Congress, balancing the budget while cutting taxes is just a matter of presidential will. If you have it, you can do it. Bob Dole has it. Bob Dole will do it. And I'll be with him - at his side - every step of the way.
But this is just the beginning - the first step. We are going to scrap the whole, fatally flawed internal revenue code and replace it with a fairer, simpler, flatter system. We will end the IRS as we know it.
We will start with a 15 percent across-the-board tax cut, a $500 per child tax credit and cutting the capital gains tax by half. We're going to take the side of the worker, the saver, the family and the entrepreneur. The American people can use their money more wisely than can government. It's time they had more of a chance, and we will give them that chance.
On the eve of the 21st century, in the middle of a technological revolution that is transforming the world in which we live - how can it be that so many families find themselves struggling just to keep even, just to get by? As long as it takes two earners to do what one earner used to do, how can we say this economy is good enough?
Our tax cut means that parents will have more time to spend with their children - and with each other. It means that a working parent can afford to take a job that lets them be home when the kids get back from school. It means that the struggling, single mother in the inner city will find it easier to work her way off welfare.
And we cannot forget that single mother and her children. American society as a whole can never achieve the outer-reaches of potential, so long as it tolerates the inner-cities of despair.
Recently I read the account by a reporter of his conversation with a ten-year-old child at Henry Homer public housing in Chicago. As the reporter told it in his book "I asked (the boy) what he wanted to be. `If I grow up, I'd like to be a bus driver,' he told me. If, not when. At the age of ten, (he) wasn't sure he'd even make it to adulthood."
Think how much poorer our nation is, deprived of that child's future and those like him. Think how much richer our nation will be when every child is able to grow up to reach his or her God-given potential.
Including those who come to America from other countries. My friends, we are a nation of immigrants. The former president of Notre Dame University, Father Ted Hesburgh, said the reason we must close the backdoor of illegal immigration is so that we can keep open the front door of legal immigration -and keep the light of opportunity lifted beside the golden door.
Our goal is not just a more prosperous America but a better America. An America that recognizes the infinite worth of every individual and, like the Good Shepherd, leaves the ninety-nine to find the one lost lamb.
An America that honors - in all its institutions - the values that mothers and fathers want to pass on to her children. An America that makes the ideal of equality a daily reality - equality of opportunity, equality in human dignity, equality before the laws of man as well as in the eyes of God.
An America that transcends the boundaries between races with the revolutionary power of a simple, yet profound idea - love thy neighbor as thyself.
We must remember all that is at stake in America's cultural renewal - not just the wealth of our nation but its meaning.
Today, more than ever before, American ideals and ideas grip the imaginations of women and men in every corner of the globe. Isn't it exciting to think, it's 1776 all over the world.
President Reagan spoke of America as a shining city on a hill, a light unto the nations. In decades past, so many of those who looked for our light did so from behind the walls and barbed wire of tyrannical regimes. Now, because the American people stood strong, those people are free.
But freedom is never guaranteed - and our nation and its president must be strong enough to stand up for freedom against all who would challenge it. A world of peace. A world of hope. This is what America's economic and cultural renewal means at home and around the globe.
This is what our cause is all about. This is why we will elect Bob Dole the next president of the United States. I was so honored to be part of the tribute Monday night to President Reagan. Afterwards, Nancy Reagan told me how touched she was when I noted that, although Winston Churchill had been called the last lion of the 20th century, I said, No. I said history will record that Ronald Reagan was the true, last lion of the 20th century.
America is fortunate that last night you nominated a leader worthy of succeeding Ronald Reagan... a man with the strength, determination and vision to do the job that lies ahead... and the man I believe will be the first lion of the 21st century, Bob Dole.
Thank you and God bless America.