1992 Presidential Election

Published: 1992
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Hillary Rodham Cinton applauds for her husband, Bill Clinton, as he gives a strong delivery while on the presidential campaign trail on June 2, 1992, in Los Angeles, California. (UPI Photo/Files)

George W. Bush: “I want to be President for four more years.”

Howard Dicus: It was the year, US voters retired a sitting President. It didn't seem likely in January. The economy was poor, but Fed Chairman Allan Greenspan thought it would get better.

Allan Greenspan: “There are reasons to believe that business activity should pick up.”

Howard Dicus: But the main business activity seemed to be firing people. Corporate mouthpieces like Pete Murphy of United Technologies used a euphemism, restructuring.

Pete Murphy: “Total number of jobs was through the restructuring will be 13,856.”

Howard Dicus: Unemployment was high. Even though the figures left out millions who worked part time, others gave up becoming street people.

Unknown Speaker: “I sleep in my coat and I have got everything and I have got all of my blankets about 15, 20 of them and we keep warm.”

Howard Dicus: Not everyone kept warm. A cold spell killed dozens of homeless people in Chicago. They had resisted going to shelters.

Unknown Speaker: “This is our home and I’d rather -- if I'm going to die, I am going to die in my house.”

Howard Dicus: The home that man spoke about was an open space beneath the bridge.

Female Speaker: “We could try to do like build some new buildings and that would put people in the work and after you’d built the buildings the people could go in the building to work.”

Howard Dicus: Even kids knew the economy was in bad shape.

Child Speaker: “There is something about it because people were loosing their job fast.”

Howard Dicus: David Frost asked President Bush the quadrennial question, are you better off now than four years ago.

George W. Bush: “If I had to ask that -- answer that question now economically, I don't think so.”

Howard Dicus: Big business wasn't exactly sympathetic.

Unknown Speaker: “This is not a business for sissies; this is a tough business.”

Howard Dicus: As GM Chairman Robert Stemple was to find out when he was fired later in the year, one more victim of tough international competition that made some consumers declare they would only buy American.

Unknown Speaker: “It can carry on. I'm born American and I wouldn't buy nothing that was not made in America.”

Howard Dicus: President Bush flew to Tokyo to pressure for trade concessions and perhaps improve his popularity, but something came up.

Barbera Bush: “They were badly beaten and we Bushes aren’t used to that.”

Howard Dicus: Barbara Bush cracking a joke about a tennis match to lighten the mood after her husband got sick and spit up on the Japanese Prime Minister.

Barbara Bush: “They said to the Prime Minister, why don’t you just roll me over under the table and I’ll sleep it off while you finish the dinner.”

Howard Dicus: Despite that episode, polls still showed no democrat could beat Bush. Here’s what George upholster Claybourne Darton said earlier in the year about one democratic candidate.

Claybourne Darton: “Bill Clinton is a dead duck. You know, he is like a confederate soldier leaning up against the tree that had been gunshot. He’s just waiting to die.”

Howard Dicus: This is the year in review from UPI. 1992 was the year of the best known democrats sat out the presidential race. Ted Kennedy decided not to run and Mario Cuomo and Dick Gephardt and Al Gore; just as well according to one who did run.

Unknown Speaker: “Traditions in the presidential are very simple. We lost, we lost; we won, we lost, we lost, we lost; if you listen carefully there is a pattern you can detect.”

Howard Dicus: I'm no Santa Clause, Paul Tsongas kept saying as he argued for business tax incentives and federal spending cuts. This was a new kind of democrat and voters found it refreshing.

Female Speaker: “I'm voted for Tsongas because I really believe in his honesty. I think he says it like it is and I think he's very realistic.”

Howard Dicus: Tsongas has won New Hampshire, but he would falter later with several others like Bob Kerry who won the Bronze in New Hampshire and the Gold back home in South Dakota.

Bob Kerry: “But after Tuesday I feel a little like the Jamaican Bobsled team.”

Howard Dicus: After Super Tuesday, the democratic nomination belonged to the man who had been counted out earlier in the year.

Unknown Speaker: “It’s time for someone smart enough to know, strong enough to do, sure enough to lead the comeback kid, I’ll indeed the comeback kid tonight and God bless you all, thank you.”

Howard Dicus: Bill Clinton came back from allegations of infidelity to win the democratic presidential nomination. Al Gore came back too, the man who chose not to run for president in 92, accepted Clinton’s invitation to aim for the Vice Presidency.

Al Gore: “And be then warm up act for Elvis... I proudly accept your nomination for President.”

Howard Dicus: George Bush must have thought he had the elections sown up that July night. He was a war hero. His opponent was arguably a draft dodger, but Bill Clinton had an issue.

Unknown Speaker: “The numbers are very, very weak, surprisingly weak, almost shockingly weak.”

Howard Dicus: The economy just wasn't getting better; by summer economist like Hugh Johnson of First Albany Corporation, who normally talk in evasive language were describing economic figures in plain English.

Hugh Johnson: “They are disturbing, distressing, troubling.”

Howard Dicus: As if Bush wasn't beledgered enough by Clinton talking about the economy on his left. He had a challenge on the right from Pat Buchanan, but by convention time Buchanan was backing Bush and attacking Clinton.

Pat Buchanan: “Bill Clinton’s foreign policy experience is pretty much confined to having had breakfast once at the International House of Pancakes.”

Howard Dicus: The GOP also so heard from its Grand Old man.

Ronald Reagan: “They told us they are not the party they were that they are for family values, they are for a strong America and they call me an actor.”

Howard Dicus: When the convention was over.

George Bush: “And I am honored to accept your nomination for President of the United States.”

Howard Dicus: Pollsters found less convention bounce for the President, than for Clinton and both were left wondering how their fortunes would be affected by a computer software magnet from Fort Worth, Texas.

Unknown Speaker: “Not since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 and the Bull Moose party.”

Howard Dicus: Time magazine senior writer Walter Shapiro.

Walter Shapiro: “Have we had an independent candidate getting this kind of support.”

Howard Dicus: Ross Perot used plain talk and his own money to get the other candidates to concentrate on the economy, the deficit and any other masses he thought needed attention.

Ross Perot: “I'm here as a clean up man. I'm just a guy showing up after the party with a shovel and a broom to try to clean it up.”

Howard Dicus: Perot was so popular pollsters predicted he would draw enough faults to throw the election into the House of Representatives. Parole said, “he didn't want to cause that.”

Ross Perot: “So therefore I will not become a candidate.”

Howard Dicus: Perot withdrew during the democratic convention; his supporters did not expect it.

Female Speaker: “Yeah I was stunned.”

Howard Dicus: Perot did not endorse either Bush or Clinton, but Clinton saw it to be as much a populist as Perot. The Clintons and Gores went on a campaign swing by bus. There was visible camaraderie among them.

Unknown Speaker: “Al Gore is younger, better looking and thinner than I am and I resent it.”

Howard Dicus: Clinton began to pick up some unusual endorsements 400 CEOs came out for him, including Western Digital Corporations Roger Johnson.

Roger Johnson: “As republican who has voted for every republican since Dwight Eisenhower it’s been an eye-opening experience.”

Howard Dicus: While George Bush, the self proclaimed environmental President, took heat for his coolness about global warming. The head of the Sierra Club got down right nasty about Bush’s earth policies.

Unknown Speaker: “Mr. President we would like to give you this symbol of your presidency, a chain saw.”

Howard Dicus: The president got nasty too. He began calling Al Gore, another self proclaimed environmental politician, Ozone man.

George W. Bush: “This guy is so far off in the environmental extreme, we’ll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American, this guy is crazy.”

Howard Dicus: It was now debate season; while the two campaigns negotiated when and where and how many, the third campaign came back to life.

Ross Perot: “Volunteers in all another 50 states have asked me to run.”

Howard Dicus: Ross Perot returned to the race.

Ross Perot: “…Honored to accept their request.”

Howard Dicus: The debates got high ratings.

George W. Bush: “You have got to decide who is going to be President and there is this pattern.”

Howard Dicus: The President portrayed Bill Clinton as a man with a pattern of saying one thing and then another.

Bill Clinton: “I can’t believer he is accusing me of getting on both sides. He said, trickled-down economics whose do-do economics. Now, he is its biggest practitioner.”

Howard Dicus: The President said, he had the experience, but Ross Perot was ready for that one.

Ross Perot: “I don't have any experience in running up the $4 trillion dollar debt.”

Howard Dicus: There was a Vice Presidential debate.

Ross Perot: “That is part of your plan; $150 billion in new Texas, well you are going to value plan.”

George W. Bush: “You know what should have done. You are pulling a Clinton.”

Howard Dicus: Dan Quayle and Al Gore faced off.

Al Gore: “We ought to limit terms; it is ridiculous that a member of Congress can serve for 30, 40, or 50 years and you limit the terms of the President, but that’s a matter of subject.”

Dan Quayle: We are fixing the limit line.

Howard Dicus: Perot running mate was former POW, James Stockdale, who seemed ill suited to the public arena, but who sometimes displayed a uncanny ability to say exactly what the voter was thinking.

James Stockdale: “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Howard Dicus: Perot peaked, he undermined his own credibility when he said the real reason he quit the race before was fear of dirty tricks. White House charges that he was overly fond of investigating people stuck, but Perot’s criticisms of Bush stuck too. The President was trailing. He stopped sounding presidential.

George W. Bush: “My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.”

Howard Dicus: Bill Clinton was elected.

Bill Clinton: “The American people have voted to make a new beginning."

George W. Bush: "I want the country to know that our entire administration will work closely with his team to ensure the smooth transition of power.”

Unknown Speaker: “The only way we have got to make it work, if we all team up together, so let’s give Governor Clinton a big round of applause.”

Howard Dicus: The year end review from UPI.