2000-10/10-President of the United States REMARKS AT WISE RECEPTION
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release               September 10, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                             Private Residence
                             Washington, D.C.

7:05 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, let me say, I'm delighted to be here
for a number of reasons.  One is, I'm kind of tied down, you know, working
and trying to get the Congress out of town, and I don't have much time to
travel, and I meant to go see Versailles this month, so "Chez Rockefeller"
is almost as good.  (Laughter.)  And I always love coming back here.

     Secondly, Jay and Sharon have been great friends to Hillary and me for
many, many years.  We served as governors together.  We sat together, we
cogitated together, we voted together, we did a lot of good things
together.  And our states were remarkably similar in the years when we
served as governors.  And maybe the similarity in part explains the fact
that the people of West Virginia had been so very good to me in 1992 and
1996, something for which I am profoundly grateful.  And so I wanted to be
here for all those reasons.

     I also wanted to be here because Bob Wise has also been good to me in
the Congress.  He has been an excellent congressman for West Virginia and
for the United States, he's been a great ally of the good things that we
have done.  He has also been a ferocious advocate for West Virginia.

     And finally, I wanted to be here because I believe, as Jay said, that
it really matters to the governor.  I was governor for a dozen years; I
don't think I ever would have gotten tired of doing it.  And if I had
thought that the country was being aggressively moved in 1991, I think I'd
probably still be doing it.

     But what I'd like to say tonight is to try to tie together the
decision the people of West Virginia have to make in national politics with
the decision you have to make in state politics, and explain why they are
so important.

     When I was a governor in Arkansas, we didn't have an unemployment rate
below the national average in the last 10 years I served as governor,
except one.  The year I ran for President, we were first or second -- I
never saw the final figures -- in job growth, and we finally got going.
But it took 10 years to turn -- to take our state through the kind of
economic transition that a lot of the rural states with agricultural-based
economies and industries that were fading away needed to go through.  And
they've done very well in the last eight years, and I'm grateful for that.

     But the first thing I want to say is, it's hard for governors to see
if the nation has a bad economic problem.  Therefore, the country has a big
decision to make about whether you want to continue to change in the
direction that we're in, which means that people like Jay, as he said, have
to take a tax cut that's much less than the one you'll get from the other
side, but we'll have a tax cut that will deal with the things people need
most in terms of education and child care and long-term care and retirement
savings, and we'll have enough money left to invest in education and to
keep paying this debt down.

     If you have their tax cut plus the Social Security privatization, plus
all their spending promises, we're back in deficits, which means higher
interest rates, lower job growth, and you all know that states like West
Virginia and Arkansas get hurt the worst when the economy turns down, job
growth slows down, interest rates are higher, it costs more to borrow money
to start new businesses and expand them, it means fewer jobs, less wage
increases, and a lower stock market.  So I think our deal works pretty well
for everybody up and down the income scale, and I think we should continue

     Now, having said that, I can tell you that if you have a good economic
policy, how well a state does depends, in no small measure, on how
aggressive and creative and consistent the governor is.  And Bob Wise is
aggressive, creative, and consistent.  I would put those adjectives in
different order, depending on what day it is.  But he is always there.
This guy will work; he'll show up every morning, he'll be there at night,
and he'll be thinking about something new he can do; and he'll push, and
that's important.

     The second thing I would like to say is, there's a great interest in
this country today on education, and the voters have to decide.  Both the
candidates for President favor accountability; I personally think that the
Vice President's accountability system is better than Governor Bush's, but
I don't want to get into that, because it takes -- that's an hour
discussion.  But we favor accountability plus; that is, we believe we
should help have smaller classes, more well-trained teachers in the early
grades, modernize schools.  I did an event on all this at a West Virginia
school -- (inaudible) -- Senator Byrd, you may remember -- preschool,
after-school and summer school programs for all the kids, and tax
deductions to send your kids to college.  That's what we believe.

     The federal government only provides seven percent of the total
education budget of the nation.  It was nine percent under President
Johnson; it slipped with -- it was heading to five when I took office; and
we've reversed it.  But I think it's a mistake to do this voucher proposal,
in part because we only have seven percent of the money, and it costs a lot
of money to do a little good.

     Even if you assume it's a good thing, it costs a lot of money to do a
little good.  And we now know something that we did not have the research
on when Jay Rockefeller and I served as governor.  We now know, from
research, how to turn around failing schools.  We have the research.  There
is no excuse, therefore, for us not to be doing it.  But I can tell you, if
you make the right decision in the presidential race, and we get a good
result in the congressional races, it still won't amount to a hill of beans
if the governor has no consuming, passionate, consistent interest in

     Now, I'll just give you one other example.  In 1992 -- in '91 and '92,
when I ran for President, I used to talk to Jay Rockefeller all the time
about health care, because I knew how much he cared about it.  I knew he
knew more about it than I did, and he had a big influence on me on this
issue.  When Governor Bush tells you that we had eight years and didn't do
anything, that's just not true.

     When we took office, Medicare was supposed to go broke last year.
It's now alive until 2026 -- we put 27 years on the life of Medicare.
That's the longest life it's had since it was created in 1965.  And you can
now keep your health insurance if you change jobs in a period of sickness.
We have a lot more preventive care for -- under Medicare -- for breast
cancer screenings, for prostate screenings; we've dramatically diabetes
care; we've insured two and half million kids on the Children's Health
Insurance program; and the number of uninsured people in American went down
last year for the first time since 1987.

     So we've done a lot, but there's still a lot to do.  And we're in a
big debate. Jay and I were just talking about the debate we're having with
the Republicans now.  We actually cut too much money out of the Medicare
program in the Balanced Budget Act.  We have to put some back in.  We
believe that we ought to help the hospitals, the nursing homes, and the
community and home providers, and make sure that we can maintain the fabric
of health care.  Fifty-five percent of the money in the Republicans' budget
goes to the HMOs.  This is a huge issue that will affect the ability of the
next governor of West Virginia to protect the health care of the country.

     So there's big partisan issues here -- whether you're for the
patients' bill of rights, whether you believe everybody -- all the old
people in the country, the retired people -- I hope to be one of them one
of these days -- should have access to affordable medicine -- 65 is not old
anymore; if you live to be 65 in America today, your life expectancy is 82.
And the Human Genome Project will mean young women within a decade -- I'll
predict it; you want and see if I'm right -- I believe within a decade
young women will come home from the hospital with babies that will have a
life expectancy of 90 years.  That's what I believe will happen because of
the Human Genome Project.

     But I think this is all-important, and this is a matter of national
policy.  Now, having said that, let me tell you that when we made the
agreement with the Republicans in 1997, on the Balanced Budget, we agreed
to give the money to all the states to design a children's health insurance
program.  And you've got states that are just doing fabulously with it.

     In states, you can never predict -- Alaska -- with a lot of
desperately poor people living, all strewed out from here to yonder has an
enormously high enrollment.  Why?  Because the governor wanted the kids
enrolled.  Arizona has a very low enrollment.  Why?  Because the
legislature asked to be passed a bill prohibiting the children from being
enrolled in the schools where they are.  Because the legislative majority
there -- I need to say, of the other party -- saw this as some great scheme
to socialize medicine.  All they're doing is paying for medicine -- for
medical coverage -- for kids in low-income working families.  And everybody
else is somewhere in between.
     But you get the point.  If you want children in West Virginia to have
good health care, it doesn't matter what we do in Washington, even if we
have good policy, unless the governor cares enough to make sure that
maximum efforts are made in an intelligent way to take care of the
families.  And West Virginia is just like Arkansas -- you've got a whole
lot of people who work like crazy, work 40 or 50 hours a week for low
incomes who cannot afford health insurance.  This is a big deal to you.

     So what I want to say is, obviously, you know, I'm interested in the
races for Congress, especially one Senate race, and I'm passionately
committed to the campaign of the Vice President and Senator Lieberman.  But
I'm telling you, I spent a dozen years as a governor, and I worked with
some of the ablest people I ever met in that period, and I think I know
something about West Virginia.  It really matters.  You need somebody that
is creative, aggressive and consistent; somebody that understands the
economy, education and health care.  He does; he should win; and I hope you
won't quit helping him tonight.

     I know this is a close race.  Listen, it's hard to beat any incumbent
governor when the economy is doing well.  I used to tell everybody, if the
economy was better, I could have a lobotomy and get reelected -- (laughter)
-- when I was running.  It's hard.  But he is doing very well, and he's
doing very well because people sense these things about him.  So we still
-- we've got more than a month left in this campaign, folks.  And if you
can give him any more money, you ought to.  And if you can't give him any
more money, you ought to go home and start talking to people about why this

     But I'm just -- we have got a chance here to see stakes that have been
left out and left behind for a long time, and if we could just keep this
economy going -- really balloon, and do well.  But it will matter
profoundly who the governor is.  And I think, again, you need somebody that
understands how Washington works and how it affects West Virginia; somebody
that's committed to jobs, schools and health care; and somebody that's
intelligent, creative, aggressive and consistent.  He is.

     Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

                     END              7:16 P.M. EDT

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