2000-10/22 President of the United States remarks at NY Senate 2000 brunch in Johnson City , NY
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Binghamton, New York)

                                                                  For
Immediate Release                          October 22, 2000


                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                    TO THE NEW YORK SENATE 2000 BRUNCH

                              Grand Ballroom
                            Fountains Pavilion
                          Johnson City, New York


12:25 P.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I'm sorry to keep you waiting,
but I'm sure glad you waited.  I'm delighted to see you, thank you.
(Applause.)

     Thank you, Margaret.  Thank you, Barbara.  I want to thank all the
people who are here -- do you want to sit down?  I want to thank the people
of Broome County for voting for me in 1996, the first time a Democrat has
carried this county in over 30 years.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

     I also want to tell you how very much I admire your Representative in
Congress, Maurice Hinchey, what a great friend he's been to me and to you
and to the people of the state of New York.  He's done a wonderful job for
you.  (Applause.)

     More than anything else, I want to say, thank you.  The people of this
state have been wonderful for eight years to me and to Al Gore.  Last year
-- I mean, in 1996, we carried 52 of New York's 62 counties, and I was so
gratified by the support that you gave us, so thank you; thank you very,
very much.  (Applause.)

     I came here today in my capacity as presidential spouse -- (laughter
and applause.) -- to ask for your help for Hillary in this race for the
United States Senate.  (Applause.)  And to ask you, in the closing days of
this election season, to go out across this community, out across this
country, out across this state and talk to all of your friends and
neighbors about the race for Senate, about the race for President, about
what is at stake in this election.

     I try to say this now at every event I can, but I'm so gratified to
see you here.  But most of you have tons of friends and relatives and
coworkers who will vote on election day, but have never come to an event
like this.  Isn't that right?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And, therefore, all they may know about the election
is either what they see on television or what someone says to them or what
kind of discussions they enter into.  So while this is a rally and we'd all
like to spend all our time just shouting, on this Sunday I think it's fair
to say that -- in my tradition we often say, I realize that I am here
preaching to the saved.  (Laughter.)

     And so what I would like to ask you to do is to think about, just for
a moment, the points I'd like to make, and then make a little pledge to
yourself that every day between now and election you will share these
thoughts with your friends, your neighbors, your family members, your
coworkers who have never come to an event like this.  Because you can make
the difference.

     First of all, I want to say a few things about my wife.  In the 30
years, almost, that we have known each other, I have seen her passion, her
energy and her activism, devoted to the causes of children and family,
health care and education, economic opportunity for people who have been
left out or left behind.  In the eight years we have been in the White
House, she has been a leading force for all those causes.

     For the Family and Medical Leave law, the very first bill I signed.
Now, 22 million Americans have taken some time off without losing their
jobs when a baby is born or a family member is sick -- (applause) -- a
profoundly important thing; for expanding our support of child care for
working families, so that people can succeed at home and at work; for
expanding our efforts to have more pre-school and after-school
opportunities and mentoring programs for our children -- (applause) -- for
doing more for early childhood development.

     From the time we served before I became President, Hillary has always
been passionately interested in what could be done to bring job
opportunities to people who want to work and don't have them; what can be
done to put businesses in areas where businesses have left.

     And one of the things that I'm proudest of, to celebrate the
millennium, she created a project, America's Millennium Project, to "Honor
the Past and Imagine the Future."  It is now the largest single historic
preservation effort in the history of America, and a lot of the places that
were preserved are here in New York State -- (applause) -- from George
Washington's revolutionary headquarters to Harriet Tubman's home, places
that will increase tourism, as well as community pride.

     Of all the people I've ever known in public life, I've never known
anyone who had quite the combination of brains and heart and ability to get
things done and consistent caring that she does.  She will be a magnificent
United States Senator for the people of New York.  (Applause.)

     Now, what I want to ask you -- it's also important to recognize,
however, that this Senate race inevitably is playing out against the
background of the national election.  And the great questions all Americans
must decide, for they, too, will effect the people of New York.  And I
believe there are three great questions in this election, and I just want
to tell you what they are.  They affect the Senate race, but they also
clearly affect the race for President and Vice President, and for all the
races for Congress, and all the races for Senate throughout the United
States.

     First of all, let me say just looking at the debates, let me tell you
a couple of the things that aren't at issue, that aren't questions in this
election.  Number one, this election is not about change versus the status
quo.  If someone said, vote for me, I'll do everything President Clinton
did, I would not vote for that person.  Why?  Because America is changing.
The world is changing.  You will live in a time of very rapid change for at
least another 10, maybe 20 years.  The issue is not whether we're going to
change, it is how we're going to change.

     Are we going to build on the progress of the last eight years or go
back to a failed policy we already tried in the past?  That is the issue in
this election.  (Applause.)  The issue is not whether the Democrats should
be rejected because of the partisanship in Washington.  Let me just say
this -- I've heard a lot of that talk.  It wasn't we who decided that no
Republicans would vote to bring down the deficit they created.  (Laughter.)

     And when we could work with them, we did.  We had a bipartisan welfare
reform bill.  We had a bipartisan Balanced Budget Act of '97.  We had a
bipartisan telecommunications law that has created hundreds of thousands of
good jobs and thousands and thousands of businesses.  We got bipartisan
agreement on 100,000 police, 100,000 teachers and many other things.  When
we could make a bipartisan agreement, we did.

     Last week, we were trying to get a bipartisan agreement to put more
money into Medicare, to help the hospitals in rural areas, to help the
teaching hospitals, to help the in-home providers, to help the nursing
homes to deal with some of their problems.  They walked away from the
bipartisan agreement and have come up with a Republicans' only solution
that gives a disproportionate amount of money to the HMOs.  That's not our
decision.  Now, I'll hang tough and eventually we'll come back and we'll
get a bipartisan agreement again.  This is not about bipartisanship, the
Democrats favor bipartisanship and our record is that.  (Applause.)

     The one last thing they say this election is about that it most
assuredly isn't, is whether you should be for their side because they trust
the people and we're for big government.  You might hear some of that up
here.  (Laughter.)  So let me just give you a little evidence.

     It was this Democratic administration that has reduced the size of the
federal government to its smallest point since 1960, when Dwight Eisenhower
was President and John Kennedy came here looking for your vote.
(Applause.)  It was this administration that eliminated 16,000 pages of
federal regulations; that enabled the Small Business Administration to cut
its applications for small business people from an inch thick to one page,
and give people an answer in 72 hours.  (Applause.)  It was this
administration that got rid of two-thirds of the regulations that the
federal government, under the previous Republican administration, was
imposing on states and local school districts.  If you're for smaller
government, our candidates are your candidates, we're for better government
and smaller government.  (Applause.)  That's not the issue.

     Here are the three great questions the American people will decide in
this election.  Number one:  do you want to keep this prosperity going and
extend it to people and places who aren't yet fully a part of it?
(Applause.)  That's the first question.  Our candidates favor a tax cut we
can afford, that helps more middle class families than theirs does, with
deductibility for college tuition, for long-term care costs, for the
elderly and disabled family member, for retirement savings, for child care,
things that will help -- and for extra incentives for people to invest in
areas that aren't yet growing in the economy.

     It is admittedly only one-third the size of their tax cut.  Why is
that?  Because we know, number one, we've got to have some money to invest
in education, in health care, in the future of the country.  And, number
two, we've got to keep paying this debt down until we make America
debt-free for the first time since Andrew Jackson was President.
(Applause.)

     Now, why is that?  Because their tax cut is three times bigger and
they want to partially privatize Social Security.  That costs another
trillion dollars.  And then they've got several hundred billion dollars
they want to spend.  When you add it all up, we're back in deficits and we
can't pay the debt off.  And what does that mean?  Higher interest rates,
about a percent a year over a decade.  Do you know what that's worth to
you?  If you take the Al Gore/Joe Lieberman/Hillary plan, you get a percent
lower interest rate.

     Do you know what that's worth to the American people?  Three hundred
and ninety billion dollars in lower home mortgages -- (applause) -- $30
billion in lower car payments; $15 billion in lower college loan payments;
lower credit card payments; lower business loan interest rates; more
businesses, more jobs, higher raises, a stronger stock market.  That's a
tax cut for all Americans.  Get this country out of debt and keep those
interest rates down.  (Applause.)

     Now, that's a real question.  Do you want to keep the prosperity going
and extend it to people and places left behind?  We tried it our way for
eight years; we tried it their way for 12 years before.  Our way works
better than their way.  We need to keep changing in the right direction to
keep the prosperity going in America.  (Applause.)

     Here is the second question:  do you want to build on the progress in
our society of the last eight years, or do you want to return to policies
that we know don't work?  And let me just give you a couple of examples.
The welfare rolls have been cut in half, they're the lowest in 30 years.
The crime rate has gone down every year, it's the lowest in 26 years.  We
have the lowest poverty rate in 20 years.  We have, as I said earlier,
government spending as a percent of our economy is the lowest it has been
in 34 years.  We have cleaner air, cleaner water, safer food, 90 percent of
our children immunized.  We have more land set aside in public trust for
all time than under any administration except that of Theodore Roosevelt,
almost a hundred years ago.  (Applause.)

     What is the point of this?  The point of this is we have proved you
can grow the economy and improve the environment.  We have the number of
people without health insurance going down for the first time in 12 years,
thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program.  (Applause.)  We have
supported local school districts with our strategy of higher standards,
accountability and more investment; test scores are up, the drop-out rate
is down, the college-going rate is at an all-time high, there has been a
huge increase in the number of our children taking advanced placement
tests, and more and more failing schools are turning around.

     Now, the question you have to ask yourself is, are we going to build
on this progress or go back and adopt policies that have been proven not to
work?  In every single one of these areas there is a disagreement.

     They have committed to relax our environmental commitment.  They have
committed to end our commitment to 100,000 teachers.  They are not for our
school construction program, to help the schools build or repair facilities
that are either outdated or grievously over-crowded.  They do not approve
of our crime policy and they have committed to abolish our commitment to
100,000 police, and not to go for mandatory child trigger locks and real
background checks and other things that are profoundly important.

     Now, it's not like we had a test here.  We've tried it our way and we
tried it their way.  Our way works better.  You have to decide if you're
going to build on the progress of the last eight years.  (Applause.)

     So, question one, are we going to keep the prosperity going and extend
it to people and places left behind?  Question two, are we going to build
on the progress of the last eight years?  Question three, are we going to
keep trying to bring this country together, across all the lines that
divide us to build one America, fair for every responsible citizen with
opportunity for every responsible citizen?  (Applause.)

     Now, what are those questions?  We're for hate crimes legislation.  I
mean real hate crimes legislation that protects all people who are singled
out because of who they are for abuse and criminal conduct.  (Applause.)
We are for legislation to strengthen the equal pay law, so that women who
are doing the same kind of work get equal pay for it.  (Applause.)  We
believe the immigrants that are in this country legally ought to be treated
fairly and not discriminated against.  If they're working, if they're
paying taxes, they ought to be eligible to be treated in a fair way.
(Applause.)
     We're for an increase in the minimum wage.  (Applause.)  And we don't
believe -- we do not demonize any interest groups, but we think no interest
group should keep us from pursuing the public interest.  They say they're
for a patients' bill of rights, but theirs is weaker than ours because the
HMOs don't want it to be stronger.  They say they want to help older people
get drugs, but they're not for a Medicare drug program that gives all
seniors who need it access to affordable medicine because the drug
companies aren't for it.

     They say they're against hate crimes, but they won't support hate
crimes legislation that covers everybody because their extreme right
doesn't believe gays should get protection in hate crimes legislation --
but we believe all people should be protected.  (Applause.)

     Now, you have to decide.  You have to decide what you believe.  But
make no mistake about it, there are big differences here -- in our economic
approach to keep the prosperity going; in our social approaches, whether
it's on education or health care or the environment or crime; and on what
we think it takes to build one America.  And there are so many more issues
I could mention:  campaign finance reform, they say they're for it, but
they're not really for it because they don't want to be for it because they
raise more money than we do.  (Laughter.)  You've got to decide whether you
care about that.

     But we've got 100 percent of the Democratic Caucus and enough
Republicans to pass it, for the Shays-Meehan bill in the House or the
McCain-Feingold, that's called after Senator McCain and Senator Feingold in
the Senate, and it hasn't passed because their leadership is not for it.  I
think that's a part of one America.  Why?  Because the more we can balance
out the financing in the country, the more everybody's vote counts the
same.

     So this is a big deal here.  You have to decide.  And your friends and
neighbors, with their votes, will decide -- the people who will never come
to a meeting like this, but will vote because it is the patriotic, good
thing to do; or people who may not vote because they think, well, there is
no real difference here.  There are differences.

     Now, one of the reasons the people have had a hard time finding out
differences is the other side has been quite adroit at trying to blur them
-- and you can't blame them, because if people figure out the differences,
our crowd will win.  (Laughter and applause.)  I told Maurice and his
colleagues a couple of days ago that we Democrats should see ourselves as
America's weather corps for two weeks, and if can make it clear, we'll win.
(Laughter.)  They want cloudy, we want clear.  (Applause.)

     So I'll say it one more time:  I'm grateful for your support for
Hillary.  And I want you to go out and tell people that she has given a
lifetime to this.  One of the things that has kind of hurt my feelings is
sometimes the people that aren't for us say, well, she wouldn't even be
doing this if she weren't the First Lady.  Let me tell you something, for
30 years all she has done is help other people.  She never asked anybody
ever -- ever -- to do anything for her until she started running for the
United States Senate, when members of the New York House delegation -- as
Maurice will tell you -- came to her and asked her to consider this race.

     If she hadn't been married to me, if she hadn't spent all of her years
joining honest, honorable causes all over this country and all over the
world, she could have been running for office years ago on her own.  Now
she is and I want you to help her.  (Applause.)

     But the main thing you need to tell -- you've got to go out there and
ask the people of New York to think about this.  You have a candidate for
the Senate who cares about and knows about and has a proven record of
achievement in the things you care most about.  But, secondly, these three
big questions should inform the peoples' votes on every one of these races.
If you want to keep the prosperity going and extend it to people left
behind, you've got to have a budget that keeps paying this debt down and
that invests in the things that we know work.  Their numbers don't add up.
You simply cannot have a tax cut that big and partially privatize Social
Security and spend the money you promise to spend and put us back into
deficits and expect anything other than what will happen -- higher interest
rates and an economic slow-down.  We brought arithmetic back to Washington
and we ought to keep arithmetic in the classroom of Congress and the White
House.  (Applause.)
     When it comes to health care, education, the environment and crime,
we've got to keep building on the progress of the last eight years, not
walk away from it.  And maybe most important of all, we've got to keep
doing those things that bring us together across the lines that divide us.
If we are one America, if we are working together, if there is opportunity
for every responsible citizen, if no one is singled out for discrimination,
if we act like we're one community, there is nothing America can't do.  The
best is still out there.  It's up to you to convince your fellow citizens
of that.

     Thank you and God bless you.  (Applause.)

                           END                  12:47 P.M. EDT


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