2000-10/23 President of the United States remarks at NY Senate 2000 reception, New York
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                          October 23, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                     AT NEW YORK SENATE 2000 RECEPTION

                                Union Hall
                      Electrical Industry Auditorium
                            Flushing, New York

7:15 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, my long-time friend, Tom Manton.
You know, the story he told you was true -- I was in Manhattan, they said,
we're going to the Queens Democratic Party, Congressman Manton is the
Chairman of the County Party.  If you do really well, they might endorse
you.  I said, well, what happens if they don't?  He said, you'll lose
Queens in the primary.  (Laughter.)  And we're going on the subway, and a
television camera is going to follow you on the subway because they don't
think anyone from Arkansas knows what a subway is.  (Laughter.)

     So properly intimidated, I haul myself onto the subway.  And it was
fascinating, because no one in New York knew who I was and, yet, here is
this camera with this bright light filming my every move.  And all these
people are dead-tired, and they're being elbowed around by this energetic
camera person.  They probably thought I was some -- you know, in the
precursor to "Survivor" or something -- (laughter) -- just some anonymous
guy trying to make it out of Queens, on the subway, with a funny accent.
It was funny.

     So I was really apprehensive.  We got to the meeting site and I walked
up the stairs and the County Committee clapped, and I walked down the
middle of the aisle -- not having a clue about what was going to happen --
and this African American guy who was taller than me leaned over and put
his arm around me and said, Bill, don't worry, I was born in Hope,
Arkansas, too, everything is going to be fine here.  (Laughter.)  And I
thought, only in New York; this is great.  (Laughter.)

     So thank you, Tom Manton, for being my friend, for helping me get off
to a good start as President.  I wish your successor, Joe Crowley could be
here tonight, but he and Kasey had a baby girl today and we're really happy
for them -- and that's why they're not here.  (Applause.)  I always say,
the Democratic Party has to be pro-work and pro-family, so tonight is Joe's
pro-family night.  I think we can give him an excused absence.

     I want to thank the other representatives who are here:  Gary
Ackerman, who was with me last night; and Greg Meeks; Anthony Weiner.  I
thank them for their leadership in the Congress.  I thank them for their
support of Hillary.  I thank them for what they do for New York every day.

     You know, when things go well, the President gets a lot of credit.
But the truth is that over and above the American people, who deserve the
lion's share of credit for every good thing that happens in this country,
so much of what I have done would not have been possible if it hadn't been
for the support of the Democrats in Congress -- and that became even more
true after we were in the minority.  So I want you to know that these men
have my undying loyalty and gratitude, because they have been wonderful to
me, along with Senator Schumer and the other Democrats in the delegation.

     I want to thank Alan Hevesi for being here; and your borough
President, Claire Shulman, my long-time friend.  Michael Reich, thank you
for the work you do for the Democratic Party.  And Alicia, you are great,
you're going a long way, that was a great National Anthem.  (Applause.)
And I want to thank Brian McLaughlin for making me feel welcome and being
so kind to Hillary over these years, and this last year of hard

     I was thinking about how I was introduced to Queens, by having this
guy who was born in the same state I was, welcome me.  And then I was
thinking about all the times I've spent in Queens since then.  I went to a
Greek diner not very far from here a couple of times; I had a wonderful
time in -- I bet a lot of you have eaten there.  Today, I spent an hour and
a half in the Jackson Hole Diner, near LaGuardia.  (Applause.)  I broke all
my caloric rules.  (Laughter.)

     While I was there, the guy that owns it -- who grew up a block from
the diner -- but his manager is Vietnamese and his mother still lives in
Saigon.  While I was there I met this African American guy and his
wonderful young son, named Miles -- who asked me more questions about the
White House than I could answer, so finally I just gave him a book about
it.  (Laughter.)  And the man said something to me that meant more to me
than just about anything anybody could say.  When I was walking out of the
diner he said, Mr. President, I just want you to know that the whole time
you were there, I felt like it was my house, too.  (Applause.)

     I want to say to all of you, as America grows more diverse, that will
be more important.  Claire Shulman and I were at a school in Queens the
other day that was built for 400 and has about 800 children; predominantly
Asian American and Latino, the new children coming there, Chinese American,
Indian American.  And then tonight I showed up and I looked out at all of
you.  Welcome to 21st century America.  (Applause.)

     On the way out of the Jackson Hole Diner today there were two guys
sitting outside drinking a beer, and I stopped and shook hands with them
and they said "hello" to me.  And I said, where are you from in Ireland?
(Laughter.)  And they said they were both from the same little village in
County Clare.  And I said, did you know each other as children?  They said,
yes, but we didn't like each other until we came to America.  (Laughter.)
And I thought, oh, if I could just hold that thought.

     There is a lady back there with a sign that says:  Croatian Americans
Support Hillary.  And I thank you for that.  (Applause.)

     And I guess I would like to just start with that.  There are four
things I want you to know about this election; four reasons you ought to be
for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary and our side.  And I'll start
with what I usually leave for last.

     We are committed, all of us, led by our candidate for President -- the
Vice President -- to build one America across all the lines that divide us
and to relate to the whole rest of the world, based on our values of peace
and freedom and opportunity.  We know that the world we're living in, the
country we're living in and whatever communities we're living in are
growing increasingly more interdependent.  And I am very grateful that
we've had the chance, for example, to stand against ethnic cleansing in the
Balkans; to stop the war in Bosnia and stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo;
and stand with our embargo until Mr. Milosevic finally could be dislodged
by the people of Serbia in a Democratic, true uprising of popular feeling.

     And I want you to know that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary
supported everything we ever did there.  I don't know how many times
Hillary went to the Balkans, not just with me, but on her own, to support
our troops, to meet with women who were struggling to get the Croatians and
the Muslims and the Serbs together, across the ethnic and religious lines
that divided them.

     There were a lot of people that came through the line where I just was
shaking hands a few moments ago, had Irish accents.  And these two Irish
guys asked me today, said, well, where is your family from?  And I said,
well, we're from the wrong side of the line, we were from Roslea, County
Fermanagh.  But my oldest known homestead is right on the borderline of the
Irish Republic in Northern Ireland.  And this guy says, so that's why you
got involved?  (Laughter.)  I said, well, it was a reason.

     No administration had ever tried to play a constructive role in
resolving the difficulties in Northern Ireland before, for fear of
interrupting our special relationship with Great Britain.  I finally
concluded that Great Britain would be better off with a minor interruption
where, over the long run, they had a long term settlement in Northern
Ireland that was consistent with the interests of the people of the United
States.  (Applause.)

     And I'm very, very grateful that Tony Blair and, before him, his
predecessor, John Major, came to accept that and welcome our involvement.
And I'm grateful for the work we've done.  We're not out of the woods yet
in the Irish peace process, there is still some work to be done to get the
police force right and to get the decommissioning finished.  But it's a
lot, lot different than it was eight years ago, and for that I'm grateful.
(Applause.)  And, again, as Tom Manton said, Hillary went there a lot on
her own, not just with me, to work with women who were committed to
reaching across the lines of division there and putting their children
first and finding ways to grow a grass-roots economy and to relate to one

     And of course, now, we're most concerned again about the recent tragic
events in the Middle East.  I promised myself when I ran for President that
I would always be a friend of Israel -- (applause) -- that the only way I
could ever see that Israel could be secure in the long run would be to
reach a fair, just and lasting peace with its neighbors.  And I had the
great good fortune in the beginning of my term to work with Prime Minister
Yitzak Rabin, one of the greatest human beings I ever met in my life.  And
we have made so much progress.

     And I end with Israel for a couple of reasons.  First of all, because
here again not only have I spent more time on that, I suppose, than any
other part of the world, but Hillary has gone there a lot on her own,
without me, at the request of Mrs. Barak and others to just try to keep
pushing things forward.  We've done everything we know to do.

     But this is a cautionary reminder to all of us here in America.  Look
around the room at how quickly people who have even worked together for
years can give into their fears and their misunderstandings and what turns
out to be one bad day, turns out to be one bad week, turns out to be two
bad weeks.  And then all these unintended consequences flow.

     The commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is as
strong or stronger than it has ever been.  But we shall also keep trying to
stop the killing and to give them a chance to work their way back to the
peace table.

     And that brings me finally to something my wife said last night that,
I must say, I identified with.  She was talking about the memorial service
we attended for the 14 young American sailors, men and women, who were
killed on the United States ship Cole, by terrorists in Yemen, at the port
of Aden.
     Those are the toughest days I ever spent as President, in eight years,
by far -- much worse than any political setback or anything else; going
into room after room after room, seeing the parents of people, most of whom
are less than half my age, or their wives or their children; people who had
died serving the United States -- the Cole, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia,
our two embassies in Africa, on Ron Brown's plane, and in other cases.  It
is unbelievable.

     But I never went through one of those days without being profoundly
grateful for these kids to get up every day and put the uniform of our
country on and serve and do the best they can to represent us stunningly
well, and have prevented more wars than you, even I, will ever know; and
saved us more headaches just by going out there and putting themselves on
the line every day than we will ever know.

     And one of the things that is so moving is, if you look at our Armed
Forces today, they all look like this room.  They're from every different
racial and religious and ethnic group, and they work together.  And just
sending them somewhere around the world is a profound statement about what
we Americans believe about how people should celebrate their diversity, but
affirm the primary importance of our common humanity.

     And that means to me two things.  Number one, as Hillary said last
night, we've all got to vote.  The least we can do for those kids is vote.
If they can put their uniform on and risk their lives, and sometimes give
their lives, the least we can do is show up and be good citizens.
(Applause.)  Number two, we have to remember the lesson of who they are and
how they worked together, as we stand for peace around the world and we
work for one America here at home.

     So I'll get back to the main point here.  This is an increasingly
interdependent world.  The more we believe that everybody counts, everybody
deserves a chance and we all do better when we help each other, the better
we're going to do.  The more we celebrate and find excitement in the
differences among us, but constantly reaffirm our common humanity, the
better we're going to do.

     For the Democrats, that means significant differences in approach,
very often, from our friends in the other party.  We're for strong hate
crimes legislation that protects people without regard to race, age,
gender, disability or sexual orientation.  We're for it and they're not.
We're for that.  (Applause.)  We are for stronger enforcement of the equal
pay laws, because we don't think it's right for women to do the same work
as men and not get equal pay for it.  We believe that.  (Applause.)

     We believe that we've got to go forward together.  That's the first
thing I want to say.  And it's a big issue for the 21st century.  The
second point I want to make is, you ought to be for Al Gore, Joe Lieberman
and Hillary if you want to keep this prosperity going.  Just remember what
it was like eight years ago.  You know, it may be hard to remember what it
was like, but I do -- that's how I got elected.  The people of New York
were very, very good to me in 1992, after making me run a gauntlet or two.
(Laughter.)  That's just what you do -- and I liked it, actually, once I
realized what the deal was.  (Laughter.)

     But we've come a long way.  Now, our party has a plan:  give a tax cut
that we can afford, concentrated on the main needs of middle class people
to send their children to college; have long term care for their elderly
and disabled family members; have help for child care, help for retirement
savings; give extra incentives to invest in poor urban neighborhoods and
rural areas that have been left behind; but have a tax cut we can afford so
we've got some money left over to invest in education, health care, the
environment; and pay down the debt.

     Now, you heard Tom talking about how we've turned the deficit to
surplus.  Why should the Democratic Party be for paying down the debt?
Here's why.  Because every day a trillion dollars cross national borders --
every single day.  Interest rates are set based on how responsible you are
and how much money you need.  The less money the government takes, the more
money is there for you, the American people, at lower prices.

     So if we keep paying down the debt, we'll keep interest rates low.
Our plan, on the whole, would make interest rates about a percent lower
every year for a decade.  Do you know what that's worth to you?  Just
listen:  $390 billion in lower home mortgages; $30 billion in lower car
payments; $15 billion in lower college loan payments; lower credit card
payments; lower business loans, which means more new businesses, more new
jobs and a higher stock market.  That's what that means.  (Applause.)

     So number one, we're the party of one America.  Number two, we're the
party that will keep this prosperity going.  Number three, we're the party
that will build on the progress of the last eight years in every other
area.  The crime rate is at a 26-year low, the welfare rolls are at a
30-year low, the environment is cleaner, we've got the number of people
without health insurance going down for the first time in a dozen years.
So you have to ask people, look, all this stuff is going in the right
direction -- do you want to build on it, or do you want to reverse policy?

     And, finally, you ought to ask people, what about the future?  Which
candidates are more likely to figure out how to close the digital divide so
that every kid has access to the Internet?  Which party and which
candidates are more likely to understand the implications of this
biological revolution with the human genome?  The young women in this
audience today, within just a few years, when they enter their
child-bearing years, the young girls here, they'll be bringing home babies
with a life expectancy of 90 years.  That's the good news.

     But all of your medical and all your financial information is going to
be on somebody's computer.  Who is most likely to understand how to protect
your privacy and make the most of the Internet and the biological
revolution?  These are big questions.  This is a serious time we're moving

     Now, look, I've done everything I could do to turn this country
around, pull it together and move it forward.  In America, our public life
is always about tomorrow -- always.  And I can tell you, you need to go out
and ask people which party and which candidates will stick up for one
America and give us all a chance?  Which party, which candidates will keep
the prosperity going?  Which party, which candidates will keep the progress
going in crime, in the environment, in welfare, in health care and in
education?  And which party and which candidates most nearly understand the

     If you can just remember to make those four points, it's going to be
fine.  And I just want to tell you, don't forget that Vice President Gore
has been at the center of every major positive decision made in the last
eight years by this administration.  He broke the tie on the economic plan,
when nobody in the other party would vote for it; it turned this country
around and got the economy booming.  He led our efforts to reduce the size
of government, but increase its effectiveness.  We've got the smallest
government since 1960, doing more good for more people.  (Applause.)  Thank

     He led our efforts to get the so-called e-rate passed about four years
ago, which guarantees a discount to poor schools, so that every school in
this country can get hooked up to the Internet.  When we started this
project, 14 percent of our schools were connected to the Internet in 1994;
today, 95 percent are, thanks in large measure to the efforts of Al Gore.
So I'll just tell you that.  (Applause.)

     Everybody in New England and the northeast is worried about home
heating oil, the energy source this summer.  Let me just tell you, it was a
piece of good news three or four days ago, General Motors announced that
they had developed a car that gets 80 miles to the gallon.  Did you see it?
That's what they announced.  And they gave credit to a project most of you
probably never heard of, called the Partnership for the Next Generation

     They said, we were able to do this because we were involved in this
partnership.  We started that partnership with Detroit and the United Auto
Workers in 1993, and who ran it for seven and a half years?  Al Gore.
(Applause.)  Listen, we need somebody like that in the White House, who
will make good decisions, who understands the future, who can do what needs
to be done. (Applause.)

     Now, let me say a few words about Hillary.  (Laughter.)  I mean, I am
a completely unbiased source.  (Laughter.)  You can bank this.  I may be
biased, but I know more about this than anybody else.

     I met Hillary almost 30 years ago.  When I met her she had already
been involved for some time in her lifetime obsession with children and
families, with education, with health care, with child care, with all
aspects of early childhood development.  She spent an extra year when we
were in law school just so she could study child development at the Yale
Child Study Center and the Yale University Hospital.  She stayed an extra
year, so she wanted to know for sure when she got out of law school she
would understand the impact of every legal and public policy decision on
the children of this country.

     And for 30 years, until she started running for this office, she has
worked tirelessly as a citizen advocate -- starting organizations, heading
up others, working for other candidates.  She never asked anybody to do
anything for her in 30 years, except to join her in common cause, until she
started running for the United States Senate from New York.  And I thought
it would be the hardest thing in the world for her to go out, ask you to
vote for her, ask you to contribute to her campaign.  And it turned out, in
the beginning, it was kind of hard.  She said, I never did this for myself
before.  But she has worked for 30 years on things that you need someone to
work on for New York in Washington.  (Applause.)

     For the last eight years as First Lady, she has worked on a lot of
things that had a direct, positive impact on the people of New York.  She
spoke out as soon as we took office for the Family and Medical Leave law;
it was the first bill I signed, over 20 million Americans have taken
advantage of Family and Medical Leave when a baby was born or a parent was
sick, to take some time off without losing their jobs.  It's one of the
best things we ever did in these whole eight years.  (Applause.)

     She brought people to the White House from all over the country to
help us make policy on children's health, on early childhood development,
and what happens to kids' brains, what kind of things we should do more of.
We got 90 percent of our kids immunized against serious childhood illnesses
for the first time in history.  She worked on that.

     She worked on the bill that allows people to keep their health
insurance when they change jobs, or when somebody in their family gets
sick.  She was an advocate for our Children's Health Insurance Program,
which is now in the last couple of years brought health insurance to 2.5
million children in lower income working families.  And finally -- finally
-- after a dozen years, go the number of uninsured kids going down in
America, going in the right direction.

     And when we decided to celebrate the millennium, she came up with this
idea that we ought to find a way to celebrate the turning of the century
and the turning of the millennium by thinking about the future, but
honoring the past.  And her Millennium Treasures Project is the largest
single historic preservation movement in the history of the country.  It
has put $100 million, in public and private money, in it now.  And a lot of
the places preserved are right here in New York state, in places that need
it economically, for tourism, for community pride:  George Washington's
revolutionary headquarters, Harriet Tubman's home, parts of the underground
railroad -- had a direct positive impact.  It's the biggest thing of its
kind in the history of the country.  It came right out of her head.  She
thought about it.

     What's the point of all this?  In 30 years, I have known hundreds,
thousands of people in public life.  And I want to tell you, most people
who do this work are better than they get credit for most days --
Republicans as well as Democrats.  I'll even say that two weeks from
election.  Most people I've known in public life are honest, worked hard
and did what they thought was right.  But I have never known anybody in 30
years that had the strong combination Hillary does of brains and heart and
determination and imagination and ability to get things done and work with
all different kinds of people.  She will be a worthy successor to the great
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, to Robert Kennedy, and a great partner for Chuck
Schumer, if you will just make sure she wins on November 7th.  (Applause.)

     Ladies and gentlemen, the next Senator from New York.  (Applause.)

                           END                 7:35 P.M. EDT

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