Read my lips: no new taxes

political catch phrase

"Read my lips: no new taxes" is a phrase spoken by then-American presidential candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination on August 18. It was written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, and was in the statement

And I'm the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he'll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that's one resort he'll be checking into. My opponent won't rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say, to them, "Read my lips: no new taxes."

The statement was a promise not to tax the American people further. The impact of the election promise was considerable, and many supporters of Bush believe it helped him win the 1988 presidential election. Though during his presidency, Bush raised taxes and many believed this phrase helped Bill Clinton defeat Bush in the 1992 presidential election.[1]


  1. "Major Enacted Tax Legislation, 1990-1999 - Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990". Tax Policy Center.