2000-7/10 President of the United States remarks at reception for Ron Klink
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Immediate Release                       July 10, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                               Warwick Hotel
                        Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

6:45 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you for the wonderful
welcome.  I want to thank you, Mayor Rendell, for agreeing to take this
little part-time job I offered you as head of the party -- (laughter) --
and for doing it so well.  And thank you, Mayor Street, for proving beyond
doubt that I was right when I came up here and campaigned for you.  I told
them you were going to be a great mayor, and you have been.  Thank you.

     I thank Chaka Fattah for being here for Ron and for always being there
for me and for the people of Philadelphia, and for his truly exemplary
leadership in the Congress.  One of the things that Chaka Fattah will
always be known for is getting us to adopt a problem to put mentors into
schools with poor kids, to tell them early that if they learn their lessons
and took the right courses, they would be able to go to college and we
would be able to have the money for them.  And we owe him a lot for that,
and I thank him for that.  (Applause.)

     I want to thank Ron Klink for running.  (Laughter.)  You know, he
started running and everybody said, well, nobody can win the Senate race,
they don't have enough money, they're going to have a primary, blah, blah,
blah.  It reminded me -- when I ran for President in 1991, only my mother
and my wife thought I had a chance to win.  (Laughter.)  And on the bad
days they weren't sure.  (Laughter.)

     So I want to thank him for running; and I would like to thank his
wife, Linda, for being here and for supporting him and for being great,
thank you.  (Applause.)

     These races are tough for everybody.  I'll tell you, now that I'm
struggling to become a member of the Senate Spouses' Club -- (laughter) --
I'm a lot more nervous about Hillary's campaign than I ever was about mine
-- (laughter) -- I mean, you're running, you just sort of suit up and go
out and play the game.  But otherwise you just sit home and claw the walls
and hope it's working out all right.  (Laughter.)

     So I want to thank them for undertaking this.  He has been a superb
Congressman.  We've worked together for almost eight years now.  Every time
the interest of working families, the long-term interests of the ordinary
citizen of this country were at stake he was always there with me and I'm
grateful.  And he could have stayed in the House and never been touched.
You know, they told him, well, you represent this sort of heartland,
old-fashioned district, you won't play in Philadelphia.

     Well, one of the reasons I came here tonight is there is nobody in the
whole wide world Philadelphia has ever been better to than Bill Clinton --
(applause) -- and I came to ask you to help Ron Klink play in Philadelphia,
because we've got to have you to win this race.  (Applause.)

     I must tell you, this is somewhat awkward for me tonight to be here
because, you know, tomorrow morning I'm going up to Camp David to start the
Middle East peace talks.  And we're going to try to agree on a resolution
of these big, thorny issues that the parties agreed on the White House lawn
in September of 1993 they would come to terms with a good while before now.
And it isn't easy.

     I just got back from Penn State, I went over to Penn State to speak to
the Governors Conference -- they're meeting over there -- and to go to the
Creamery and get my ice cream cone.  (Applause.)  Anyway, I just got back
from there.  And all these people were saying that I've known forever,
saying, gosh, you look tired.  I said, I am tired, I've been up studying.
Give me a test on some piece of land anywhere in Jerusalem or Israel, I
know the answer.  (Laughter.)  Ask me to draw a map of the West Bank in my
sleep, I can do it.

     But I say that to make this point.  What really matters in our common
life, when you strip it all away, are things like what Ron said -- quoting
Hubert Humphrey.  I'm glad these children are here tonight.  What will this
election mean for those who have most of their lives in front of them?  Did
you ever think of that?  A lot of people who have the most influence in
elections are those who have lived most of their lives, but the people that
will be the most impacted by the decisions are those that have most of
their lives in front of them.

     What will this election mean for the people who couldn't afford to
come to this fundraiser tonight, but get up every day and work their hearts
out, with dignity, and do their very best to raise their children and do
everything else they're supposed to do?  People like the folks that served
all of you your drinks and helped you come in tonight -- what about them,
what about them?  (Applause.)

     In a larger sense I'm here not just because I like Ron Klink and I'm
grateful for the support he's given to everything we've done for the last
eight years, but because I think that this election is just as important as
the two in which I was elected and reelected President, and to which the
Vice President was elected and reelected Vice President.  I think it's just
as important.  And I'd just like to tell you three things.  You only have
to remember three things about this election, and a few odd details.

     Number one, it really is a big election -- for President, for senator,
for congressman.  Why?  Because how a nation deals with its prosperity is
just as stern a test of its judgment, its values and its character as how a
nation deals with adversity.

     I mean, when I ran for President in '92, the economy was in the dumps,
the deficit was exploding, crime was going up, welfare was going up, social
divisions and political paralysis were getting worse.  You didn't have to
be a rocket scientist to figure out we ought to change something.

     But now everything is going in the right direction.  We've got over 22
million new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in more than three decades,
the lowest crime rate in three decades, the lowest welfare rolls in 32
years -- half the size they were when I took office; the longest economic
expansion in history, the lowest minority unemployment rate ever recorded,
highest home ownerships ever.  So what are we going to do with this?

     Here's the point.  Think about these kids.  There's not a person in
this room tonight, not one over 30, who cannot remember one time in your
life when you made a mistake, not because things were going so poorly, but
because things were going so well you thought there was no penalty for your
failure to concentrate.  That is what this election is all about.  This is
a huge deal.  We may never in our lifetime, ever, get the chance we have
today to build the future of our dreams for our children.  That's the first

     The second point I want you to know is there are real and honest
differences.  And I hope and pray for my country's sake that we can have an
old-fashioned election.  I wish it could be like the old Lincoln-Douglas
debates.  I wish Governor Bush and Vice President Gore could get in a
caravan and just go around the country and have debates -- have 8 or 10 or
20 or 30.  I wish that we could have it in the Senate races.  And this is
an election where we don't have to have the kind of things coming out of
the candidates, and unfortunately, out of other quarters in our society
we've had too much the last 20 years where people are afraid the only way
they can win is to convince the voters that their opponent is just one
notch above a car thief.

     We'd just talk about where the differences are, and let the folks
decide.  And we don't have to assume there's something wrong with our
opponents, we say, they're good people, they really do believe this, and I
really do believe that, and you decide.

     So there are real differences.  Important election, real differences.
Here's the third thing you need to know -- only the Democrats want you to
know what the differences are.  What does that tell you about who you ought
to vote for?  (Applause.)

     Now, I see it all over the country, in campaign after campaign after
campaign, where our guys just want to talk about here's where I stand,
here's where my opponent stands; here's how he voted, here's how I would
have voted; here's what the position is on the issues current, here's what
their position is on the issues.  And the other guys, they complain about a
negative campaign.  And then they go out and say bad things about our side,
personally, something wrong with our people, personally.  But if you just
tell the voters, if you give them information about how they voted, is that
a negative campaign?  Beats anything I ever saw.

     But I'm just telling you that's why it's so important for you to be
here.  You are giving Ron Klink the ammunition he needs to get the evidence
out there.

     And, look, we don't disagree on everything.  I'm working with the
Speaker of the House and I hope we can pass it in the Senate, pass this New
Markets legislation that I think will have overwhelming bipartisan support
to bring more economic opportunity to poor areas.  We voted virtually
unanimously to lift the earnings limit on Social Security.  So there are
lots of things that we still can do, that we don't disagree.

     But let me just tell you that the areas of disagreement that are real
and honest are profoundly important.  I'll just give you a couple of
examples -- and Ron alluded to them.  Let's talk about people in the
twilight of life, first.  We believe, now that we've got this big surplus,
that one thing we ought to do is to give a Medicare prescription drug
benefit -- voluntary -- for all seniors who need it, make it affordable.
That's what we believe.  (Applause.)

     And when we say that we're for it and they're not, they have now all
been conditioned -- there was a survey the other day that said they had
hired a pollster to give them words and phrases to convince you that
they're for something they're against.  In fact, they actually owned up,
they didn't even deny it, it was in the press the other day.  And they act
very wounded; they said, oh, how could they say that about me.  (Laughter.)
I am for a Medicare prescription drug benefit -- or, I'm for a prescription
drug benefit for seniors, that's what they say.

     Well, they are.  But their plan is a private insurance plan that even
the health insurance companies say nobody will buy because it won't be
affordable.  A couple of days ago the press reported that Nevada had
actually adopted a plan exactly like the one the Republicans are advocating
and now it's been several months and there is not a single insurance
company offering this drug insurance, because they know they can't offer it
to the people who need it at a price they can afford to pay.

     Now, look, we've never had a surplus like this before.  And if we were
starting Medicare today, instead of 35 years ago, we'd never think about
having a program for seniors if it didn't cover drugs in it.  The average
person who lives to be 65 has got a life expectancy of 82 years.  The
prescription drugs keep people out of the hospital, they lengthen their
lives, they make them richer -- this is a big deal.  You have people every
single week choosing between food and medicine.

     So I say to you, this is a profound difference.  And I believe we're
right.  And they say it's not worth it, we're worried about the cost --
I'll come to this later -- they say, we're worried about the cost of this,
we don't want to spend all this money here; so that's why we just want to
help a few people, we want to help people up to 150 percent of the poverty
line.  That sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  You know what that is?  That's
an income of $12,600 for a senior citizen, and $16,600 for a couple.  There
are lots of seniors in this country who spend that much every year on

     This is a big deal.  This is not rhetoric or hot air.  They have
differences of opinion.  The truth is, that's not one of their big
priorities; they'd rather spend the money on something else.  And they
ought to just say that and let you decide.

     Or, take the patients' bill of rights.  We're for a patients' bill of
rights and we do have some Republicans who are for it and we appreciate
that.  The bill that passed the House of Representatives says everybody in
an HMO anywhere in the country has got a right to see a specialist when
they need to see the specialist; that you cannot be forced to give up your
doctor in the middle of a treatment even if you change employers -- for
example, if you have cancer and you're taking chemo, or if you're a young,
pregnant woman and you're about to have a baby -- just because you change
employers you can't be forced to give up your doctor.

     And if you get in an accident in Philadelphia, you don't have to go
all the way across town -- you can stop at the nearest hospital emergency
room without a financial penalty.  And if you get hurt by a bad decision,
you have a right to redress; in other words, to enforce the patients' bill
of rights.  That's our position.

     Now, this is a big deal.  I don't know how many people I've talked to
in the last two years in the health care system who told me horror story
after horror story after horror story.  I was with a man just the other
day, in the state of Missouri, who introduced me, a male, emergency room
nurse.  This guy was amazing; he was about 6' tall, weighed about 230,
looks like he could bench-press me on a cold day.  (Laughter.)  I could
just imagine him just yanking the doors off cars to rescue people and

     And he told a story about losing a patient, that he had to go by two
hospital emergency rooms to get to the one that was covered by the plan.
This is a big deal.  Now, in the Senate, the patients' bill of rights
failed by one vote; 51-49.  If it had been 50-50, the Vice President could
have voted and, as he says, whenever he votes, we always win.  (Laughter
and applause.)  Thank you.

     Now, this is a big deal, folks.  Think about how you'd feel if it was
somebody that you loved.  How would you feel if you walked out of this
hotel and, God forbid, got hit by a car?  Would you want the ambulance
chasing around looking for the approved hospital, or would you want them to
go to the quickest one?  How would you like to know that you could be
docked because you didn't call for permission?  How are these people
supposed to call when they get hit?  What if they get knocked unconscious?
Did you ever make a phone call with three broken ribs?  I know you're
laughing, but I'm very serious.  This happens every day.

     So their side has a bill which leaves out 100 million Americans and
doesn't give you a right to redress, and actually weakens some states'
patients' bill of rights.  And we have the one that a couple of hundred
medical professionals have endorsed, all of these groups, health care
groups.  So when we say we're for the patients' bill of rights and our
opponents aren't, they look very wounded and they say, but we're for a
patients' bill of rights.  The operative word is "a" and there is a lot of
difference between "a" and "the," more than two letters, let me tell you.

     So what you have to do to help Ron Klink -- and all you have to do --
is to say, we don't have anything bad to say about the person of his
opponent.  They honestly differ.  He's for the patients' bill of rights and
his opponent isn't, and if he changed his vote, we'd have it today.  Today.
That one vote, 100 million Americans, their livelihood and maybe their very
lives riding on a vote just cast in the United States Senate.  One vote.
If he had been there, we'd have the patients' bill of rights.  (Applause.)

     Like I said, I'll give you just one more example, because I know I'm
preaching to the saved here, but you've got to think of things you're going
to say to other people.

     I'll give you one more example.  It seems to me that one of the most
important things the next administration and the next Congress have to deal
with is how to keep what is already the longest economic expansion in the
history of the country going, and how to extend it to people in places that
still aren't fully participating in this prosperity.  How are we going to
keep this thing going?

     Well, I believe that what we ought to do is invest in what we know
works -- in education, in science and technology, and the energy future of
the country.  You ought to take care of the baby boom generation -- that
is, we ought to make sure that when all of us retire, Social Security and
Medicare are safe so we don't bankrupt our kids and our grandkids.
(Applause.)  We ought to have a tax cut, but it ought to be one we can
afford; it ought to be targeted toward long-term care, child care,
retirement savings, savings for a college education, giving people
incentives to invest in these poor areas of our country.  That's what I
think.  But we've got to save back enough money to keep paying the debt

     Now, why should the progressive party, the Democratic Party, be for
getting the country out of debt?  Under our plan, you get out of debt in 12
years.  The first time since 1835.  Why should we be for that?  Well, why
are we all standing here?  How could you afford a ticket tonight?  Because
we've got the longest economic expansion in history.  And when you drive
interest rates down and people can borrow money, they buy more cars, they
buy more homes, they finance more college educations, they start more
businesses, they expand more businesses, they create more jobs and they
raise more wages -- that's why.  The most progressive thing we can do for
ordinary people is to keep this economy going, and that's why we are for
doing this whole thing in a way that enables us to keep paying down the

     Let me just give you one little statistic.  If we pay down the debt
and we keep interest rates just 1 percent lower than they otherwise would
have been, just 1 percent, that amounts to $250 billion in lower mortgage
payments for the American people over the next 10 years.  It's the same
thing as a $250 billion tax cut.

     Now, that's what I think.  That's where we are.  That's one reason why
I want Ron Klink to be there -- because the progressive party has become
the fiscally conservative party.  And I don't think that's bad, I think
that's progressive.  In a global economy where people put there money
anywhere they want -- we've got to get the money here, at prices people can

     Now, what is their policy?  Their policy is to say, we've got this
huge surplus, it's your money, we're going to give it back to you.  Now,
that sounds better than what I just said.  And I could say it in three
seconds, right?  It's got to be a political winner.  (Laughter.)

     Here's the problem.  By the time you take their proposed tax cut,
which includes 100 percent doing away with the estate tax -- and I think it
ought to be changed, by the way, I think it's too onerous on people -- but
they want to get rid of 100 percent of it, and that's $100 billion over 10
years, and $50 billion goes to one-tenth of 1 percent of the population.

     A friend of mine who is now a billionaire called me last week and
said, what are you guys doing in Washington, I don't need -- why are you
doing this?  He said, raise the minimum wage, give people a child care tax
credit -- why are you cutting my taxes?  (Applause.)  It was very

     But, look, that's just part of it.  It does need to be changed for
small businesses and farms; we ought to change it some.  But it doesn't
have to be done away with.

     But here's the main point I want you to know.  When you pay for all
their tax cuts and their privatization of Social Security, it costs a lot
of money -- that is, if you let people keep their own payroll taxes and
invest it, and you've still got to pay for all the retirees and you've got
to get the money from somewhere, right.  So when you just pay for all their
tax cuts and the privatization of Social Security, before they keep any of
their other spending promises you've already spent the entire projected

     Now, let me just say that, projected.  All the people that talk about
how big the surplus is -- the only surplus you really know about is this
year's, $211 billion; and when I leave office we'll have had three years in
a row and we'll have paid off $400 billion of the national debt.
(Applause.)  Everything else is projected.  That's the important word,

     Now I want to ask you all a question.  Don't answer it, just think.
Think.  What is your -- the people working here and the people that showed
up for the fundraiser -- everybody think -- what is your projected income
over the next 10 years?  That is, what do you think it will be?  And I want
you to think just for 20 seconds and I want you to arrive at a figure that
you have 80 percent confidence in, I mean, you're just sure over the next
10 years you'll make at least this much.  Now, you think about it.

     Okay, now, if I asked you to come up here right now and sign a
contract spending every last penny of your projected income for the next 10
years, would you do it?  (Laughter.)  Now, if you would, you should vote
for the incumbent senator.  But if you wouldn't, you better vote for Ron
Klink and keep this economy going.  (Applause.)

     I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  The patients' bill of
rights, the Medicare drugs, the paying down the debt, and there are lots
and lots of other issues.  Senators cast a lot of votes, or they decide not
to cast votes.  Just in the last year, the Republican majority on the party
line vote defeated an African American judge from Missouri I nominated for
the federal court.  They said he wasn't qualified, he was too liberal.  He
was the only African American ever to serve on the State Supreme Court of
Missouri.  He had the highest recommendations from the American Bar
Association.  But the way they figured it, he wasn't qualified.  If Ron
Klink had been in the Senate, there would have been one less vote against
that African American judge and one more vote for one America.  (Applause.)

     I appointed a Hispanic man from Texas who grew up in a poor community
in El Paso, a poor neighborhood; went to Harvard, graduated summa cum
laude.  The judges in West Texas said he's one of the best three best
lawyers in West Texas.  He got the highest recommendation from the American
Bar Association.  The Republican senators from Texas, they won't even give
him a hearing.  They say he's not qualified.  And when they say "not
qualified," what they mean is, he's not right wing enough for me, not part
of my America.  And the leader of the Republican Party in Texas -- and you
all know who he is -- (laughter) -- total silence while this man is denied
even the dignity of a hearing.

     Now, why did they not want to give him a hearing?  Because they don't
want him on the court, but they don't want you to know they don't want him
on the court.  And they want it to just go away.  It's a big deal, a vote
in the Senate.  It's a big deal.

     I'll say something else.  You all clapped when I mentioned the people
-- the people that work in this hotel, their kids ought to have a chance to
go out and be federal judges or senators or presidents.  (Applause.)

     So I came here because Philadelphia has been good to me.  You've never
been better to anybody than you've been to me and the Vice President.
We're grateful.  But these Senate seats are real important.  And you've got
a guy that comes out of a part of this state and has ties to people that
give him a chance to win this race.  It's very difficult to beat a
well-funded incumbent.  He's got a chance to win it.  And he's worth
fighting for.

     If you want to keep the prosperity going, if you want to extend it to
people left behind, if you want to take more children out of poverty and
give more children a world-class education, if you want our seniors to have
a Medicare drug program, if you want people in managed care programs to be
protected, if you want to know that everybody will get fair consideration
and everybody can be represented on our courts and other parts of our
national life, we really can build one America.  It's a big deal who you
send to the Senate.  And I hope you'll send Ron Klink.

     Thank you and God bless you.  (Applause.)

                       END                 7:12 P.M. EDT

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