Sen. Orrin Hatch
Press Conference
Washington, DC
January 26, 2000

[Applause].  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Thanks.  You know when I started this campaign I said I wanted to run this campaign like a fiscal conservative.  I told my campaign manager to act like we were spending our own money.  Well last week Kevin said, "Orrin, I don't know how to tell you this, but we are spending our own money." [laughs; laughter].

Well if anything happened on the way to the White House.

Last July I announced that I was a candidate for President of the United States.  I entered the race because I believe our nation is at a miracle moment.  We are prosperous; we're at peace.

The seeds for these fortuitous days were sown by Ronald Reagan in my opinion.  They were nurtured under a responsible Republican Congress that gave us an unprecedented budget surplus.  They have now blossomed, giving us a unique moment in our history.

Today because of these accomplishments we have the opportunity to finally stop talking about, to just stop talking about the serious problems challenging our nation--problems with health care and education, with taxes, with the national defense and crime, with the dangers of terrorism and the failures of counterintelligence.  We can just stop talking about it; we can now start solving those problems, and we have to do it.

To seize this moment, the next president of the United States must bring to the White House integrity beyond reproach and the principles, ideals and values that we so cherish in my own home state of Utah.

To seize this moment, the next president must bring to the presidency a commonsense conservative agenda, an agenda that can be accomplished and not abandoned after the election.

To seize this moment, the next president must have a proven record of success, of bringing people with diverse beliefs and attitudes together to get things done.  The next president must be a person who's been tested by the rigors and realities of public service and who knows what it means to stand on principle and not to be swayed by the clamor of Washington.

To seize this moment, the next president must understand the judicial selection process.  The next president may very well appoint up to half of the federal judiciary, or judges in this country and up to five members of the Supreme Court, thereby determining whether our federal judiciary is governed by the rule of law or becomes a non-elected legislature, immune from recall or censure by the public.  This in my opinion will be, and will prove to be, the most important single issue of this next election.

And, to seize this moment, the next president must understand that we will not realize the promise of our future unless we have the courage to repudiate the dangerous political legacy of our immediate past--the destructive, cynical philosophy of the Clinton-Gore administration that you can do no wrong if you can talk your way out of it.  This is why I entered the race.

I also believe the American people want honesty in and about their president.  I believe they are tired of campaigns dominated by vague promises and slogans.  They want to hear how we intend to accomplish what we are promising to do.  I believe Americans want their candidates who speak their own ideas, who avoid trafficking in slogans, sound bites and endless repetition of canned statements.  They want to have a chance to vote for a person because of what he believes.   They are tired of these permanent campaigns.

And I believe that Americans want a candidate who will address the unspoken sense of unease that is abroad in our land, a questioning, after the Clinton administration, whether those in politics have the same regard for truth and for the trust that unites us, for the simple, hearty virtues that brought us to where we are today.

America's economic success is not the real measure of its greatness as you know; it is instead the principles, the values, the aspirations that we share.  These are the reasons that I decided to run.  These are the issues that I've tried to raise over the course of this campaign.

I've campaigned hard, and the results were immediate.  Within a month of my announcement I moved to number nine; a few weeks later I was number eight; then I inched up to number seven; and then within a month I was number six.  Now some nitpickers may say that this was because Lamar, Dan, Liddy and Pat dropped out [laughter], but I kind of liked the trend.  Unfortunately, the other candidates are not doing their part to keep this trend going [laughter].

The remaining Republican candidates are all good people, each one of them.  I'm really proud that I stood with them, and the ones who went before were really good, are really good people as well.  I was disappointed when they had to drop out.  I think each of them would be a dramatic improvement over the current occupant of the White House, as well as those running in the other party.  They should be commended for their courage, their conviction and their self-sacrifice.  And I hope they will continue to campaign with the objective of not diminishing one another, but closing the book on the Clinton-Gore presidency.

It is now clear that there will not be time to build sufficient support for my candidacy, therefore I am announcing today that I will no longer seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

Now I leave this race with no regrets for having tried.  I knew that by getting in late, by raising money from small donors, by refusing public funds, that I was defying conventional wisdom, and the odds were extremely long.  I knew that I would be criticized.  I knew it would be far more comfortable not to run.  But the goal of public life is service.  In a democracy, each of us has an obligation to step forward if we believe we can make a difference for the better.  This is an obligation that I take seriously.

Our campaign, I think, has made a difference.  We have forced the debate to address issues and concerns that would otherwise not have been discussed or would not be discussed in the future.  I've also run my campaign as I would govern, in a frugal, open and candid way.  And I believe that we've succeeded in injecting more substantial issues into the national dialogue.

But like an army, a campaign travels on its stomach; it has to be fed.  I could have kept going by taking a million dollars in federal matching funds which we qualified for--relying on taxpayer subsdies--but I didn't think that would be the right thing to do under these circumstances.

Some say that in politics if you want a friend get a dog.  Well they are wrong.  I can never thank enough the thousands and thousands of friends and supporters I have in Utah and around this nation who have had the courage to stand with me, who have helped me in so many countless ways.  They come from every walk of life, from every conceivable background, from every political perspective.  Yet we have one thing in common--we share a belief in the promise of this nation and a fervent conviction that the best days lie ahead.  To these wonderful people let me just simply say this: God Bless You.  I pray our friendship has brought you as much joy and pride as it has brought to me.

And finally let me thank my family--my six children, my nineteen grandchildren.  I have four of them behind me here today and--two children and my son's wife.  But above all let me thank the one person who has made this possible, who has sacrificed so much, endured more than should ever have been expected and yet has expected so little in return and I want to thank you Elaine.  You're great. [applause]. [hug].

Let me end by making one point clear.  I will do all that I can over the remainder of this campaign to make sure that the Republican nominee, whoever he may be, speaks to the issues I've raised, that he articulates not just a vision, but a plan of action.  I promise to do everything within my power to make sure that the next president embodies our faith, that the key to America's future lies in its adherence to commonsense and to commonsense conservative principles that are the foundation of our greatness, and that the next president believes with all his heart that our real problem, our real problems, will be solved and that our real promise has yet to be seen.  [applause].

Now I'm prepared to take your questions, but in anticipation of your first question let me answer it this way. [laughs].

I'm going to endorse, in fact I am endorsing this day, a man that I think shows the greatest promise of all.  And it's tough to do because all of my colleagues who have run have been good.  We had the first legitimate women's candidate in history in my opinion, and I was sorry to see her drop out.  And the remaining five in the race are all good people.  I feel deeply towards each and every one of them.    I was proud of Alan Keyes doing as well as he did in this last Iowa race.  It was good.

But let me just say this to you.  I really believe that we have to have the best person we possibly can have to run for president of the United States.  Someone who basically has what it takes to do it.  And so at this particular time I'm going to endorse Governor George Bush for president of the United States.  I think it's the right thing to do.  Having watched everybody, having learned to love each of these people, respecting each of them.  Look, I believe Governor Bush is the one who can unite the party and bring back the White House to us.  I think he has the ability to do that.  And now that I am out I think Governor Bush is the only person who can get things done--cut marginal tax rates so that w can keep this economy going, improve our schools.

And more importantly I think he can reach across partisan lines.  Every day that I've been in this race I've watched him carefully.  And I have to say that the one quip I made I'm going to have to answer for.  But the fact of the matter is that I've seen a really fine man over these subsequent weeks.  I thought he was fine before, and I thought he'd make a good president.  But I think with all of us helping he can make a historic president.  I like the fact that he can reach across partisan lines.  I think we've got to have that in this party, in this country and certainly in our party.  We can't just take a narrow agenda and just narrowly be for just a few people in this country; we've got to be for everybody and we've got to look for the good in everybody.

Now I've worked with George Bush in the trenches for the past, really the past seven months, and I believe that he'd make a great president, and I believe that it's a wonderful thing to have your confidence in somebody grow each and every day that you're on the road with them.  And it has grown.  And I have to say that you know I would like to endorse all of them, but I do believe that George Bush is the one who will win; he's the only one I think who will bring both parties together in doing what's right for this country,  and of course changing the attitude in Washington that sometimes we've seen over the last seven years so far.

So with that I'll be glad to take any questions you have.

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