remarks of the President at reception for Rep. Greg Meeks -- NY
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                October 25, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                        Embassy Suites Battery Park
                                    New York, New York

1:37 P.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Let me say,
first of all, I am delighted to be here with Greg and Simone Marie, and
their beautiful daughter.  Chelsea and I were glad to come by, remembering
when Chelsea was that age.  Didn't she do a good job of sitting through her
daddy's speech?  I thought it was fabulous.  (Laughter and applause.)
Right in the middle of the speech she was looking at him -- she said,
"Daddy."  So your name recognition is high where it needs to be.

          I am honored today by the presence of the Manhattan Borough
President, Virginia Fields, and Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, and Senator
Malcolm Smith and our members of the Council, Archie Spigner, Tom White,
and Juanita -- (Applause.)  Let's give them all a big hand.  Thank you for
being here.  (Applause.)

          I feel a great deal of gratitude today, and every day these days
-- I'm very grateful to the people of New York for being so good to me and
Hillary and Al and Tipper Gore, for your support in 1992 and 1996.  I'm
very grateful for Greg Meeks.  He is an outstanding congressman.
(Applause.)  He has supported our economic initiatives, our education
initiatives.  He's been a real champion for building one America, and I
think he has a brilliant and limitless future in the House of

          Let me say to all of you, I know whenever I do an event like
this, in the parlance of my faith, I'm always preaching to the saved, or
you wouldn't be here.  But I think that it's important in the last two
weeks of this election that we reach out to other people, to tell them how
important it is to vote and what is at stake here.

          I have, as you know, more than a passing interest in the
elections in New York this year -- (laughter) -- because Hillary is running
for the Senate and because we now have a home here and I wanted to be the
leader of the country.  New York kind of led the way for us over the last
eight years and I hope it will continue to do so.

          And I just would like to tell you that not only as President, but
as a soon to be citizen who has spent a lifetime looking at this country,
studying it, hoping for the best, I think it's important that every
American understand that there are really three great questions in this
election.  There may be a thousand questions, but there are three that
override all others for me.

          And if I were sitting alone with any of you in a room and we were
just having a conversation and there was no press coverage and no
particular political impact, and you asked me what the election was about,
I would tell you exactly the same thing.  I think the first question is,
how do we keep the prosperity going and extend it to people and places that
have been left behind?  We have the longest economic expansion in our
history; the highest home ownership in history; 22 million jobs; the lowest
African American and Latino unemployment ever recorded; the lowest female
unemployment in 40 years -- (applause) -- welfare rolls cut in half.

          We have done a lot of important things.  The Vice President has
run our empowerment zone program, and thanks to Charlie Rangel, one of them
is here in New York.  And we've worked hard to increase lending to people
who have been traditionally shut out of access to capital.

          And I'm grateful for all that.  But there's a lot more we can do.
We can keep the economy going and we can extend it to people and places
left behind.  But in order to do it, we have to, first of all, build on the
strategy that got us to this point.  Fiscal responsibility, investing in
our people and our future and selling more of our products and services
around the world.  That's how we got here, and if we want to keep making
progress we have to do that.

          Now, only Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and Greg Meeks, that
team -- (applause) -- will make America debt-free, will keep paying down
the debt until we're debt-free in 2012, will keep investing more in
education and science and technology, in solving the energy problem, in the
environment and all the things that we need to be investing for our future
and have a tax cut we can afford as opposed to one that be more attractive
at election time.

          And this is very important, because on everything else rests our
ability to continue to build our prosperity.  I always say one of the
things that I wish the American people knew is that if you pay down the
debt, and we keep doing it, we'll keep interest rates lower.  One of the
big reasons that the American economy turned around is from the moment we
announced our economic plan, after the election in 1992, interest rates
started to drop, the stock market was building, investment began to flow
into America at record levels.

          If you pay down the debt as opposed to spend so much on a tax cut
and privatization of Social Security and other spending that will be back
in deficit, interest rates will be about a point lower a year for a decade.
Do you know what that's worth to ordinary people, and to people who are in
high-end groups, and to people who serve this lunch today -- $390 billion
in home mortgages savings over a decade, $30 billion in lower car payments,
$15 billion in lower college loan payments, lower credit card payments,
lower business loans, which means more businesses, more jobs, and a better
stock market.

          I think it is quite interesting that in the financial capital of
America, New York City, it's one of the strongest places in the country for
the Gore-Lieberman ticket, because people understand here that keeping
interest rates low is more important to prosperity and to wealth creation
and to keeping the expansion going than having a large tax cut in the short

          And so I hope you'll tell people that.  We've got to keep the
prosperity going.  And if you want to do it, you've got to keep paying the
debt down, and then use what's left for investment in education and the
future and for an affordable tax cut.  And the people who are on that
program are Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and Greg Meeks.  That's the
first thing.  (Applause.)

          The second thing I want to say is this country is not just
progressing economically, it's progressing in other ways as well.  Just for
example, the crime rate is at a 26-year low.  We have a cleaner
environment, cleaner air, cleaner water, safer drinking water, three times
as many toxic waste dumps cleaned up in our eight years than in the
previous 12 years, under two administrations of the other party.  We have,
for the first time in a dozen years, the number of people without health
insurance is going down, thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program,
and New York has been one of the best states in the country in enrolling

          And the schools are getting better.  The dropout rate is down,
the reading and math scores are up, the college going rate is at an
all-time high.  We have had, in the last five years, a 50-percent increase
in children taking advance placement classes, but a 300-percent increase in
Latino kids, and a 500-percent increase in African American kids taking
advance placement classes in high school, so they can go on to college.
This is a big deal.  (Applause.)

          Now, what should we do about this?  I think we have to continue
to invest in what works.  And in every one of these areas -- I won't go
through it, but in every one of these areas, if you want to build on this
progress, you've got to be for Gore, Lieberman Hillary and Greg, because
there are differences between the two parties, and they would reverse the
policies that we've had in education and health care, the environment and

          So that's the second big question.  I think it's a good thing
that America's a safer country.  I think we ought to have more police on
the street, not fewer.  I think we ought to have more teachers in the
classroom.  I think we ought to modernize our schools.  I think we ought to
have universal access to pre-school, after-school and summer school
programs, for the kids who need it.  And I think now we know we can turn
around failing schools, we ought to give out this federal money in a way
that every state has to identify its failing schools and turn them around,
or shut them down and reopen them under new management.  That's what I
think ought to be done. (Applause.)

          You could find lots of exhibits here in New York.  I was in
Harlem the other day, in a grade school that two years ago -- listen to
this -- two years ago, 80 percent of the kids were doing reading and math
below grade level.  Enter new management, new policies, high expectations,
accountability.  Two years later now, same school, same neighborhood, same
kids, 74 percent of the kids are doing reading and math at or above grade
level.  We can do this.  We can make all of our educational system work.

          That's the second big question.  The third big question, maybe
most important of all, is whether we're going to continue to build one
America and be heavily involved in a positive way in the rest of the world.
What does that mean?  To me, it means passing strong hate crimes
legislation, being against racial profiling; passing employment
non-discrimination legislation; passing the immigrant fairness legislation
that is so important that we're fighting for now in the Congress;
continuing to support AmeriCorps, our national service program; preserving
a woman's right to choose and having a Supreme Court that will protect the
rights of the American             people, not restrict the right of
Congress, to advance our public interests.

          Now, these are big, big issues.  And if you believe that it's
important to keep building one America -- and there are differences between
the parties from top to bottom on these issues -- if you agree with us,
your only choice is Gore, Lieberman, Hillary and Greg.  (Applause.)

          So that's my pitch to you.  There are three big issues in the
election:  Do you want to keep the prosperity going and build on it, give
it to people in places left behind?  Do you want to keep the progress going
in the environment, in crime, in education and health care and build on it?
Do you want America to continue to be a model for harmony, because we're
living with each other in an increasingly diverse society?  And, I might
say one other thing -- do you want us to continue to be involved in the
rest of the world?

          I've been working for the last three weeks to try to end the
violence in the Middle East -- (applause) -- stop the killing and get the
peace process going.  We have worked successfully to end ethnic cleansing
in the Balkans.  And I think it's a good thing that we went there and I
think it's a good thing that we're there now.  Even though we only have 15
percent of the troops in Kosovo and Bosnia, we're important to the
preservation of liberty there.

          I don't know how many ethnic groups there are in New York City
that have known in the past people who tried to wipe them off the face of
the Earth, just because of their religion or their ethnic background.  And
we have to be a force for this around the world.

          Why is the United States, for example, historically so committed
to the preservation of Israel?  Because we learned in World War II and we
learned from the Holocaust survivors and their children and people who have
come here the terrible price we pay, we've learned from our own racial
history, we've learned from our own history with the Native American tribes
what happens when people can be denigrated, dehumanized, killed and walked
away from, ignored, just because of who they are.

          So this is a big deal to me.  I think building one America and
standing for these values around the world is the most important thing.
Even more important than keeping our prosperity going -- because Americans
are smart and they're innovative; if they get in a tight, they'll always
figure out how to solve their problems as long as we have the right value
system, and as long as we believe everyone counts, everyone deserves a
chance and we all do better when we help each other.

          So if you want that kind of America, working for that kind of
world, your choice is Gore, Lieberman, Hillary and Greg.  That's my pitch.
And I hope you agree.  (Applause.)

          Let me just say one other thing.  I know when the Vice President
sometimes says, you ain't seen nothing yet, people say, well, he's running
for office, what do you expect.  But I'm not running for anything -- for
the first time in 26 years I'm not on the ballot.  And I can tell you, I
believe that.  It takes a long time to turn a country around.  It takes a
long time, after a certain order in the world goes away -- in this case,
the order imposed by the Cold War -- to kind of figure out how to make the
most of the new set of arrangements.  And I've done everything I could to
turn our country around, to move us forward and to pull us together, and
have the right approach toward the rest of the world -- toward Africa and
Latin America, as well as Europe and Asia; to really reach out and be
involved as a force for peace and prosperity.  And I believe the best stuff
is still out there.

          In my lifetime, our nation has never before enjoyed at once so
much economic prosperity, social progress, with the absence of domestic
crisis or foreign threat.  This is the chance of a lifetime to build the
future of our dreams for our children.  But in order to do it -- none of us
can imagine what the end result of all these scientific discoveries are
going to be; none of us can see with absolute clarity what the big new
problems of the next 10 years or 20 years will be.  But we know one thing:
If we keep the prosperity going, if we build on the social progress, if we
keep building one America, if we keep reaching out to the rest of the
world, America is going to do very well, indeed.

          The best chance you may ever have in your lifetime to build the
future of our dreams for our children.  And the answer is, I want you to
tell everybody you know, Gore, Lieberman, Hillary and Greg.

          Thank you and God bless you.  (Applause.)

                           END        1:54 P.M. EDT

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