New Hampshire Primary Kickoff Dinner Speech May 2, 1999

Thank you Chairman Duprey and Chairman Nicholson.
As the senior Senator and Republican leader in this state, on behalf of the people of New Hampshire, I thank each of the Republican candidates for coming here and showing your support for our first in the Nation Primary.

Welcome to the Live Free or Die State.

One of the greatest Governors in our state’s history was Mel Thomson, who has been more than a political mentor, he has been like a father to me. He once told me “You either stand for something, or you stand for nothing.” Governor Thomson was right. Isn’t that what politics should be about.

I don’t have a famous political name, althought there are a lot more Smiths in America then there are Bushes, Doles, and Forbeses.

I don’t have any pollsters. My beliefs don’t come from political consultants or focus groups, they come from my life’s experiences.

As a kid who lost his dad at the age of three, raised on a farm by a widowed mother and loving grandparents, where I learned hard work, responsibility, and patriotism. A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. As a coach, teacher, school board member, and most importantly, as a father and a husband.

I am not a leap year conservative, jumping up out of the weeds every four years saying “It’s Presidential campaign time, here I am, I’m a conservative.”

I have been fighting the fight day after day for 15 years in Congress. Fighting for the right to life, the rights of gun owners, strong national defense, sovereignty, and local control of schools.

Some have talked about Clinton’s bad judicial appointments to the Supreme Court. But, I was one of only three Senators to vote against both of them. While some candidates talk against partial birth abortion, I wrote the bill, and spoke alone on the Senate floor against this horror.

I might be a new face on the Presidential scene, but I am an old warrior on the battlefield for conservative values. I’ve backed up my talk with action.

Some say this election is about electing a Republican President. It is not. It is about electing a President and other candidates who will champion principles outlined in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bible, and the Republican Platform.

You see, my fellow Republicans, many in our Party have failed us. They failed us right here in New Hampshire when a Republican legislature passed a broad based tax for the first time in New Hampshire history.

Those Republicans who voted to acquit Bill Clinton in the impeachment trial failed us.

It was Republican appointments to the US Supreme Court who gave us Roe v. Wade.

Republicans failed us when they voted to give Bill Clinton the authority to conduct a war in the Balkans which was not in the interest of the United States and risk the lives of our men and women in the military.

I wrote the resolution to stop us from going in. I spoke out against this action before we went into Kosovo, and now I feel more strongly than ever that we need to get out and get out quickly before this expands into a Balkan war involving American ground forces.

Republican leaders fail us when they capitulate to Bill Clinton rather than challenging him on principle.

BEING a Republican is not enough. It is about LEADING on the issues we stand for.

We are not getting the job done.

That is why I am travelling all around this nation, every weekend, cramming this six foot six inch frame into coach seats.

I’m a country music Republican, not a country club Republican. No first class, no Lear Jet. It’s grassroots campaigning, and I am doing it because I love my country, not because I love to travel.

The people I meet are deeply concerned about our Party, and more importantly, our country.

That’s why thousands have joined my nationwide crusade.

This is not a campaign for the faint of heart.

Political leadership is NOT about who gives the best speech,

it’s NOT about who has the most money,

It’s NOT about who the media thinks is the front runner.

It’s NOT about political resumes.

It IS about CHARACTER.

It’s about INTEGRITY.

It’s about a commitment to principle.

If we don’t have bold, courageous leadership, we’re going to have more of the same.

Finally, it’s about each one of us joining together to rediscover our compass and our navigational charts. There’s nothing wrong with the charts. It’s our leaders who have gone in the wrong direction.

Our time in History is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to Him.

As President, I would send Congress a bill protecting the unborn from the moment of fertilization. I introduced the Personhood bill this week in the Senate, and I would sign it as President. 35 million babies lost to abortion lost since 1973 is not worthy of a great nation.

The Whig Party was anti-slavery, but they said “let’s put slavery aside and focus on electing more Whigs.”

But a loyal Whig Congressman named Abe Lincoln had enough. He saw slavery as the moral outrage of the day, and when his beloved Whig Party took a walk, he joined a new party based on principle to lead and speak out for its anti-slavery platform.

Many in the Republican Party today say we should “put abortion aside and focus on electing more Republicans.” But, the right to life is the moral issue of OUR day, and in honor of Lincoln, we WILL not waver on it.

As President:

I will abolish the Department of Education.

I WOULD have a litmus test for the Supreme Court. My nominees would be pro-life, pro-Constitution. I might even bring back Bork.

I will rid our government of unconstitutional programs, like the National Endowment for the Arts.

I will get the Federal Government off the backs of innocent law-abiding gun owners.

I will obtain a full accounting of our POWs and MIAs.

I will fully fund our national defense, including a national missile defense.

I will sign no global agreement that sacrifices United States Sovereignty.

I will conduct no military action unless it is in the national security interests of the United States.

No troops will serve under UN command.

And speaking of the UN, let’s face it, it is time, on January 21, 2001, I will get us out of the United Nations.

And let me say this, with Mary Jo and Bob Smith in the White House, you’ll never have to be ashamed of the White House again. Rather than selling the Lincoln bedroom for $50,000, we will give it to the teacher of the year.

How desparate we are for leadership in this country.

Yogi Berra once said “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That’s how our leader make decisions today.

They take polls to find out what they should think.

Can you imagine Patrick Henry, preparing for his “Give Me Liberty, or Give me Death” speech, turning to his pollster, and saying “this sounds a little harsh. Lets do a poll to see whether they want liberty, or do they want death?”

Wake up America, and lets join together to restore our country to the America envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

In the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart plays a good man who goes to Washington believing that America is a good country and deserved good leaders. I agree. And if you elect me, together, we will chart the right course for America.