From the archives: Vice President speaks on campus

Original Date of Publication: Oct. 16, 1984

Vice President George Bush, speaking Monday from the steps of Doheny Library, characterized Democrats as belonging to a party that wants to limit opportunity and that “says no to hope.”

Bush also attacked Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, calling him “wedded to the failures of the past,” and declaring that “in overwhelming numbers, young people are saying goodbye… to Mondale and his ship of failure.”

The speech – which lasted only nine minutes – was the second at the university by a major candidate in the presidential race in the last month, and was far more well received by students than Mondale’s speech a month earlier.

Anti-Reagan demonstrators did not heckle Bush, and the only interruptions were supportive cheers from flag-waving students at the front of the crowd, or boos when Bush mentioned Mondale or his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro.

Bush avoided specifics, instead reiterating the themes of the Reagan campaign, and appealed to the interests of increasingly conservative college students by emphasizing technology, jobs, personal income and the space program.

“We have regained our technological edge, we’ve regained it in world competition and America is voting yes to the future, to your future of opportunity,” Bush said.

He called the Republican Party the party of new ideas, declaring “tax cuts, investment opportunity and economic expansion . . . are the new ideas that offer a future to everybody here today.”

Responding to Democratic charges that Reagan’s economic policies lack compassion for the poor and minorities, Bush charged, “They are the party that offered the highest misery index in the history of the United States of America.”

And reacting to charges by Mondale that Reagan has failed to achieve an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union, Bush said Reagan “doesn’t believe in limitations that don’t limit” but in “verifiable arms reductions.”

“Give him four more years, and you watch those Soviets come to the table,” Bush said, to which students replied with chants of “peace through strength.”

He later charged that Mondale and the Democratic Party want to negotiate with the Soviet Union “from a position of relative weakness” and “lock our European allies into an inferior position.”

Bush also supported Reagan’s “Star Wars” program of space-based laser-beam and satellite-defense systems to protect the United States against nuclear attack.

Critics of the program contend it is unfeasible because the required technology does not yet exist, and the system could not stop all incoming missiles. Bush advocated research into such a system.

“Let’s use America’s future, let’s use our technology to pursue peace and spare people the agony of war,” he said.

Bush attacked Mondale and Ferraro, repeating the theme Reagan has used in his campaign, that Democrats see only bad news: “They see a silk lining out there and they try to find a great black cloud to go around it.”

He further characterized Democrats as belonging to a party of pessimism, taxes and restricted economic growth, charges Reagan has leveled against the Democratic Party as well.

“We’re too great to wrap ourselves up in malaise and bad news,” Bush said. “We’re too great to retreat back into the past.”

Bush’s biggest cheer from the crowd came when he asked students to vote for Republican candidates for the House of Representatives and “lift up Tip O’Neill,” Democratic Speaker of the House and outspoken critic of Reagan.