remarks of the President at Democratic Assembly Reception
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

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

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                            Four Seasons Hotel
                                    New York, New York

5:45 P.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

          AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  (Laughter.)

          THE PRESIDENT:  I'm just looking forward to being a good,
law-abiding taxpayer of New York.  (Laughter and applause.)  Let me say,
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for inviting me here tonight, and for your truly
outstanding leadership.  You've had a lonely post in a state with a
Republican governor and a Republican Senate.  And I have watched for years,
long before I could have known we'd be in the positions we're in today,
where I'm out here campaigning for a Senate spouse.  (Laughter.)  And I
admire so much what you have done.  And I was honored to be invited to come
by and be with you tonight.

          I thank our Democratic Chair, Judith Hope, and all the members of
the Assembly who are here.  I feel so grateful to New York for many reasons
-- for the extraordinary support that you have given to me and Al Gore from
1992 on.  Knowing that there would be 33 electoral votes in the can before
we had to worry about the rest has been an enormous sense of psychological
support for us these past eight years.  (Applause.)

          I thank you for the uncommon kindness and generosity that so many
of you have shown to my wife in this very long campaign, about a 16-month
campaign she's waged now.  And I think it will be successful, in no small
measure because people like you have helped her.  And I'm very grateful to
you for that.

          I also -- as a lifelong baseball nut, I thank you for giving us
the best World Series in 50 years.  (Applause.)

          I want to say just two things seriously, if I might.  First of
all, as I think all of you know, I was a governor for a dozen years before
I ran for President, and I think I understand the connection between the
federal and state government about as well as anybody.  I understand that
no matter what we do in Washington and how well we do it, the impact that
our policies have on real people depends in part on how aggressively a
state does its job.

          New York, for example, because you had a program to insure
children previously, has been one of the most successful states in
enrolling children in our Children's Health Insurance Program.  And I know
a lot of you have been very active in that.   I'll give you -- the polar
opposite case is the legislature in Arizona got a bill passed through the
legislature which literally prohibited the schools of Arizona from
enrolling children in the program in school.  So, not surprisingly, they're
not doing very well.

          But that illustrates the point.  The flip side is that no matter
how well you try to do your job, if you have a lousy economy, it will be
harder for you.  There won't be as many taxpayers and there will be a lot
more drain on the state treasury.  And if we make bad decisions in terms of
how these funds are allocated, it will be tough for you.

          And I tried to be very, very sensitive to that for the last eight
years.  And I can give you one example of that now, that our friend,
Congressman Engel, who also previously served in the New York Assembly and
he's here with us tonight, is helping me on.

          In 1997, when we passed the Balanced Budget Act, because the
Democrats had taken all the tough decisions in '93 alone, without any help
from the other party -- when the Vice President cast the tie-breaking vote
and began to turn this country around -- something I believe he'll be
rewarded for two weeks from yesterday -- (applause) -- we knew we had to
slow the rate of growth of health care expenditures.  And we agreed to take
the estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, just like your
legislative budget operation here, about what changes would be necessary to
achieve a certain level of savings.

          Now, we thought at the time that they had over-estimated what had
to be done.  But we all agreed to play by the same rules.  We did it in
good faith and we had a remarkable moment of bipartisan harmony.  Now there
is 100 percent agreement that the changes that we instituted in 1997 were
too draconian and that the Medicare programs are not properly funded.  And
there is a bipartisan agreement to put $28 billion back into Medicare.  But
we're having a huge fight down there about how to allocate it.  And our
friends in the Republican Caucus basically asked the Democrats in Congress
and the representatives of the White House to leave, and they cut the money
up and gave a third of the money to the HMOs, without any guarantees, I
might add.  The argument was that all over America, especially in a lot of
small towns in rural America, HMOs were dropping their Medicare recipients.
That's true.  But they put the money in without any guarantee that they'll
take them back and keep them once they take them back.

          So it has the feeling of a political decision that won't have a
good policy impact.  And it has the consequence of depriving urban
hospitals, teaching hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies,
hospice operations and a few other smaller health care providers of the
funds they need to serve people on Medicare.

          So we're in -- one of the last-minute struggles we're in as we
try to finish this congressional session, already about a month late this
week, is trying to get a fair share for New York of these health care
funds, but not just for New York, for everybody in the country that's in
the same situation you're in.

          But it will have a lot to do with how well you can do your job in
the coming year whether we make the right decision or not in the next 48
hours.  So I come here basically as a governor and as a President who has
eight years of experience understanding that if you do your job well, the
policies I've fought for will be validated.  If you don't, the impact of
the policies will be severely limited.  And I know that if we don't do the
right things in Washington, we're making your loan an awful lot heavier.
So that's why I'm honored to be here.

          Now let me just say three things that I promised myself I would
say to every group I saw between now and the election.  And they're the
same things I would say if I were sitting alone in a room with any of you
and you asked me why we should be supporting Al Gore, Joe Lieberman,
Hillary, Eliot, all the Democrats.  There are three great questions that
the voters will resolve in this election, whether consciously or
unconsciously, whether they vote or stay home, there will be three great
questions resolved.

          One is, are we going to keep this prosperity going and extend it
to the people who aren't a part of it yet?  We say, the first thing we've
got to do is keep paying this debt down.  Because the decision we made to
get rid of the deficits in '93 led to an immediate drop in interest rates,
a big increase in the stock market and people saved huge money on business
loans and everything else that requires credit.  And we have to keep doing

          We set aside the money to do that and then say, with the money
that's left we'll have a tax cut we can afford, that will focus on the
needs of working families, to educate their children, send them to college,
for child care, for long-term care for the elderly and the disabled, for
retirement savings; but we'll have one we can afford and still have the
money we need to invest in education, health care, the environment,
national security and our future.

          Now, that's very important, because our friends on the other side
say that we can afford a trillion and a half dollar tax cut, a trillion
dollar Social Security privatization program, and $500 billion worth of
spending.  There is no way you can cram $3 trillion into a $2 trillion
projected surplus -- which won't be that big, ask Eliot, there's no way
it's going to be that big, not after this session of Congress -- without
going into deficit.

          If you go into deficit, it means higher interest rates.  The
Gore-Lieberman plan will keep interest rates about a percent lower for a
decade.  That's worth $390 billion in lower home mortgage payments; $30
billion in lower car payments; $15 billion in lower college loan payments;
lower credit card payments, lower business loans, means more businesses,
more jobs and a higher stock market.  This is not rocket science.  This is
elementary mathematics.  You need to drive this home to everybody you talk
to.  It's an issue in the President's race, it's an issue in the Senate
race, it's an issue in the races for Congress and it will dramatically
affect what you do in the state assembly for the next four years.

          The second issue is, are we going to build on the progress we've
made in bringing our society together, or reverse policy?  Now, look, in
the last eight years, the welfare rolls have been cut in half, there is a
26-year low in crime, the environment is cleaner, the air is cleaner, the
water is cleaner, the drinking water is safer, we've cleaned up three times
as many toxic waste dumps.  And we've proved you can do it and grow the
economy.  We've got a decline in the number of people who don't have health
insurance, for the first time in a dozen years -- again, thanks a lot to
people like you, who have made sure we enroll these children in the
Children's Health Insurance Program.  And the schools are getting better.
The drop-out rate is lower, the college-going rate is at an all-time high,
the reading and math scores are up.  We know now how to turn around these
failing schools.

          So we have to decide, are we going to build on this prosperity,
this progress?  That's what Gore and Lieberman and Hillary and all the
people running for Congress have advocated.  They'll give you more tools to
help the schools better, to help improve the health care system in
providing insurance to people who don't have it, to provide a Medicare drug
program, to pass a patients' bill of rights.  They'll continue to make the
environment cleaner.  They'll continue to drive the crime rate down by
putting more police on the street.

          In every single one of these areas, they're running against
people who, in good conscience I think, want to reverse all these policies.
Now, it's not like you haven't had a test run here.  You need to talk to
people about that.  We tried it our way, we tried it there way; our way
works better.  (Laughter.)  It works.  The evidence is in.  (Applause.)

          And the third great question is whether we're going to continue
to build one America as we grow more diverse.  Shelley   mentioned the work
that we've done in the Middle East, and are doing.  And that takes about
half of every day I have now, and most of the night.  We are, as ever,
committed to the security of the state of Israel, and committed to the
proposition that if it can be done honorably, the long-term security of
Israel is best served by a just peace.  It is very tough over there now and
I'm doing what I can.

          Some of you mentioned the work we've done in Ireland -- I thank
you for that.  New York also has a lot of people from the Balkans who have
commented to me in the last few weeks how grateful they are that Mr.
Milosevic is gone and that we ended ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo.

          But the point I want to make for tonight is that in order for the
United States to continue to do good around the world, we have to be good
at home.  We have to be an example of a genuine, tolerant, open society.
And the Democrats, therefore, are for the hate crimes bill; they're for the
Employment Non-Discrimination bill; they're for immigration fairness
legislation that we're fighting like crazy for in the closing days of this
legislative session.  They're for continuing our national service program.
They're for equal pay for women.  They're for a woman's right to choose and
appointments to the judiciary that will generally reflect the ability of
legislative bodies, including the Congress to protect the rights and the
interests of the American people.  Now, that is a very important --

          And this election will determine, therefore, whether we keep the
prosperity going and extend it to people who aren't part of it yet; whether
we keep the social progress going and build on it; and whether we continue
to build one America.  Those are the three great questions.  And I just
hope that every day you can between now and election you will share those
three points with as many people as you can.

          Because this is a great time.  I've done as -- I've worked as
hard as I could to turn the country around, to move it forward, to pull it
together.  But when Al Gore says to you that the best is yet to come and
you ain't seen nothing yet, when a person running for office says that, it
may sound like a campaign statement.  But I'm not running for anything --
for the first time in 26 years -- (laughter) -- and I believe that.

          It takes a long time to turn a country around.  All the best
things are still out there.  All the best things are still out there.
That's what he and Joe Lieberman have been talking about.  That's what
Hillary has tried to talk about in this election.  And we may never have
another chance in our lifetime to have a moment like this, that we can mold
for our children and our grandchildren.

          So I think you should all be happy, you should be confident, you
should be proud to be members of the Democratic Party.  And you ought to go
out there and bear down, every day between now and election, and turn as
many voters as you can here and in New Jersey and in any other place in
America where you know people that would be more likely to help us if they
knew those simple three things.  And, remember, not voting is almost as bad
as voting against us.

          So turn them out and we'll have a great celebration in two weeks.
Thank you.  (Applause.)

                          END          6:02 P.M. EDT

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