President of the United States Remarks at NY Senate 2000 Brunch, Philadelphia, Pa (9/17/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                        September 17, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                      TO NEW YORK SENATE 2000 BRUNCH

                                City Tavern
                        Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11:40 A.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I was telling Ed that I left the
Black Caucus dinner last night about 12:15 a.m. -- the Congressional Black
Caucus -- I was hoping that I would be compos mentis by the time I was
introduced to speak, and you gave me such a warm welcome, I'm about to wake
up.  (Laughter.)
     Let me say, first of all, how grateful I am to all of you for being
here and so many of you have already helped Hillary.  I appreciate you
being here and I'll explain in a minute why we're doing this.

     I want to thank Congressmen Borski and Congressman Brady for being not
only friends of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, but true friends of mine in
the Congress.  I'm very proud of what we've done together.

     I can't say enough about Ed.  It's been wonderful for me to close out
my presidency with a Chairman of the Democratic Party who has as much
energy as I do.  (Laughter.)  Because we knew we would have to work, and
work we did.  That first seven months of this year I don't think either one
of us slept very much, but we worked very hard.  And everybody was saying,
oh, the Democrats didn't have a chance, we were all going to get wiped
doubt, we couldn't hold the White House.

     And people thought Rendell and I needed a dose of reality serum
because we'd go around and say, what do you mean?  We're going to win this
thing it's -- (laughter) -- didn't we?  And we would go around and these
people in far-flung places, a long way from Philadelphia and Washington
would look at us like, what have these guys been drinking tonight.

     You know, now, all those people who were doubters think we're
geniuses.  And we just need about 50 more days of effort so that they'll be
right.  But I'm very grateful to you, Mr. Mayor, because after you did such
a good job here, you could have taken a well-deserved rest and, instead,
you went on the road and we've had a good run.  I'm very grateful.

     Let me say to -- I don't even have the words to express the gratitude
I feel to the people of Pennsylvania and especially the people of
Philadelphia in this area who have given me and Al Gore such an
overwhelming endorsement in 1992; and in 1996, the margin was truly
breathtaking.  I will never forget it.  It does an amazing thing for a
Democratic campaign for President not to have to worry about whether you're
going to win in Pennsylvania.

     What happens -- I can just tell you, after the conventions are over,
the candidates and their folks, they sit down and look at a map.  And they
look at where they're going to get to 270 electoral votes, what they have
to carry that's up in the air, what they have to go take away, what they
have to defend.  And after the convention there are only a relatively small
number of days left.  And the candidates accept their public funding, so
they have a limited amount of resources to travel, to organize, to

     And so it's like this elaborate chess game -- quite apart from what we
all see when we pick up the papers every day and they're talking about
issues, debating issues -- and, this year, debating the debates of all
things -- and what's in the debates.  Underneath it all there is the sure
knowledge that we still have -- since we're dedicating the Constitution
Center today, we still have the same system we started with:  we elect
presidents by states and by the electoral votes of states, which is all the
House members plus two senators.  That's how many electoral votes every
state has.  And even after reenforcement, when they get shifted around, it
all still adds up to 528 and you have to have 270 to win.

     And Pennsylvania has 23 votes.  And it's also in the heartland of
America, with Ohio and Michigan and Illinois and Wisconsin and Minnesota,
and you go over to new Jersey and up to New York.  If you have
Pennsylvania, it drastically increases your changes of carrying New Jersey
and of carrying Ohio.  No Republican has been elected since the Civil War
without carrying Ohio.  And it is very hard for a Democrat to be elected
without carrying Pennsylvania.

     So I am profoundly grateful, because for two presidential elections we
got to go play on their field.  If you're playing on the other field you
have a chance to score.  And the people of Pennsylvania trusted me and Al
Gore to deliver for America, and I hope you're not disappointed.  It's been
wonderful.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

     There's something else I would like to say -- and I won't give my
standard speech because it's Sunday and a lot of you want to go do
something else, and because you've heard it before -- but I will say this.
I promised myself between the first of the year and election day I would
never, ever give a public speech without reminding people that it is
sometimes more difficult to make the right decision when times are good
than when times are bad.  And I know the American people took a chance on
me in '92, but maybe it wasn't such a big chance because the country was in
trouble, right?

     But now things are going well.  And there must be clarity.  People
have got to stop and think about what is it they want for their future.
Because I can tell you, in my lifetime we've never had such a good chance
to build the future of our dreams for the children that are in this room
today, and all the other kids in this country.  We could actually do things
that were unthinkable when I ran for President.  We could actually get the
country out of debt for the first time since Andrew Jackson was President.
We now know, without any question, what it takes to turn around a failing
public school.  And we could put in place a system if we had the will and
were willing to commit the resources to do it, that would guarantee a
world-class education to all the kids in this country.

     We know how to do it now.  When I started on this back in 1983, we had
some ideas, but we didn't know.  We now have mountains of evidence.  I was
in a school in Harlem the other day, a grade school.  Two years ago, 86
percent of the kids -- 80 percent of the kids, excuse me, were reading
below grade level, doing math below grade level, two years ago.  This year,
74 percent of the kids are doing readying and math at or above grade level,
in two years.  We know how to do this.

     Then the question is, are we going to do it for all these kids?  We've
got more kids in schools than ever before, it's the most diverse student
body.  We could do this.  We could actually get rid of child poverty.  We
could provide health insurance to all the working families in the country,
something we've never done.  We could turn around the environmental
problems of the country, in the world, including global warming, in a way
that would generate hundreds of thousands -- maybe even over a million --
jobs for the American economy alone.

     And all the best stuff is still out there.  The human genome project,
I believe, will have young mothers bringing babies home from the hospital
within 10 years, with a life expectancy of 90 years.  So all the best stuff
is still out there.  We've got to make the right decisions.  And we need
people who understand the future and understand the bedrock values and
institutions that build the future of America, and who are curious and
thinking about what all these dizzying changes mean.

     I know you can never made an ad out of it, but I really think one of
the best reasons to vote for Al Gore is his relentless curiosity and
passion about the future and the issues that are central to the future.
And one of the best reasons to vote for Hillary is that she has always
understood the importance of taking everybody along into the future.

     So that's really important.  But let me tell you why we're here.  She
has been very blessed.  I thought she did great in that debate the other
night, even though it was two on one half the time.  (Laughter and
applause.)  Thank you.  I was really, really proud of her.  I thought she
did best when they got meanest, and that's good.  It's a contact sport.
(Laughter.)  But it also matters whether you're big or little, and she's
nothing if not big, and I'm proud of her.

     She's doing well in the campaign.  She's been very successful with
fundraising, both in New York, where an astonishing number of people who
have never been really involved before have helped her, and around the
country.  But in order to maximize her impact between now and the election
day, she has to raise more money for her campaign -- in $1,000 and $2,000
contributions, if nobody has given to her at all before, they can give
$2,000 -- and for the Democratic Committee, more money in so-called hard

     I think all of you know that there's a limit under our federal laws
how much soft money can be spent, unless there's a matching amount of hard
money.  And we need a lot of contributions at a more modest, but generous,
level.  So I told Ed I was coming here today and he said that he would try
to get us some more help in Philadelphia.

     Philadelphia is one of the states, outside New York, that can be most
beneficially impacted by having a good senator from New York.  Because you
can't be a responsible New York Senator unless you have a great urban
policy.  You can't serve there.  But it's like Pennsylvania, you also can't
be good unless you know something about agriculture.  Most people don't
know that both New York and Pennsylvania are huge agricultural states.

     But it's very, very important, as we get down here in the stretch when
-- I think she said on her debate the other night there are 32 -- 32 --
third party committees who can spend 100 percent soft money.  If you set up
one of these sort of front committees to attack someone -- unless it's the
Republican Party, if it's some other committee with some funny name that's
misleading, 100 percent of their money can be soft money.  They just throw
the stuff on the air and lob those bombshells at you. And believe me, the
better she does, the more they want to beat her.  I know something about

     So it's very important that she be able to make the most use of the
resources that have already been committed to her and have enough to stand
up to whatever comes in the next, how many, 50-odd days between now and the

     But I think she's going to win if she has the horses to stay in the
race until the end.  And that's what this is about.  And I think when she
does, a huge number of people who don't even vote for her the first time
will wonder what they were thinking about on election day.  And people will
see what I have known for 30 years.  I have never seen anybody with the
same combination of mind and passion and heart and, actually, ability to
get her ideas transformed into reality that she does.

     I get tickled -- they attack her on health care.  You might be
interested to know that even though our health care plan didn't pass in
'94, it got further than Richard Nixon's health care plan, further than
Lyndon Johnson's health care plan -- I mean, Jimmy Carter's health care
plan -- and further than Harry Truman's health care plan.  And the same
people that attacked Harry Truman attacked Hillary and me, with the same
results in the next congressional election.

     But after a while, people decided he was right -- and they'll decide
we're right, too.  It would be a better country if every working family
could afford health insurance.  And we've made a lot of progress.  We're
insuring over 2 million kids now.  We have a law on the books that will
allow five to get health insurance.

     One of the things that went in her health care plan was a strong
patients' bill of rights.  One of the reasons the health insurance
companies campaigned against it was because there was a strong patients'
bill of rights in it.  And, now, 70-something percent of the American
people want a strong patients' bill of rights because they've been, or they
know someone who's been on the receiving end of a medical decision being
made by somebody other than a medical professional.

     So these are big, big issues here.  The country is in great shape.
We're doing right.  If everybody is serious about what the choice is, I
feel wonderful about what's going to happen, in the presidential race, the
Senate races, the House races.

     I want to say one other thing, since I'm in Pennsylvania.  We're
trying to win -- if we just win six or seven House seats, the Democrats
will win back the House.  And we probably will, and then a few.  But what
you should know is, today, if Mr. Corzine wins in New Jersey -- and I
believe he will -- and Hillary wins -- and we will have two Senate seats
that are in some question, one in Nevada, where we're still behind, but we
have a chance; one in Virginia, where Chuck Robb is running against the
former governor, and I believe with all my heart Senator Robb is going to
win because he's one of the bravest people I've ever known in public life
-- he's got more courage than is good for him sometimes, given his state.

     But those are the only two seats we have in play.  We are 11 points
ahead in Florida for a Republican seat.  Almost 10 points ahead in Delaware
for a Republican seat.  We are 25 points ahead in Georgia for a seat
previously held by a Republican.  We are ahead today, only five days after
the Minnesota primary, for a seat held by a Republican.  One of the two
candidates for the Democratic nomination in Florida -- I mean, in
Washington state, is already ahead of the incumbent Republican senator and
the other one is nearly ahead.  We are even, to a little ahead, in
Missouri.  We are within five points in Michigan, where our candidate is
fabulous, but has been badly out-spent and if she can get back up and go
all the way, she'll be fine.  And I believe we can do right well here if
our candidate had enough money.

     So it's something I want you to think about because the future of the
Supreme Court is at stake, the future of all these policies is at stake.
And I can tell you, every single Senate seat really does matter.  As
President, I know.  I mean every single one of them has an enormous impact
on the way Americans live and the framework within which we build our

     So that's it.  If you can help Hillary with some more of these
contributions, if you know anybody that hasn't made one, may be willing to
make a modest contribution to her campaign, it could make a big difference
to her.  Because remember, in New York, it's the Democratic Party against
the Republican Party, Hillary against her Republican opponent, and then
they have 32 other committees, bringing pleasant messages -- (laughter) --
of every conceivable stripe.

     She'll do just fine with it.  She showed last week she could take a
punch.  And she can take a lot of them.  But she needs to have something to
respond, and if you can help, I'll be profoundly grateful.

     Thanks again for everything you've done for Hillary.  (Applause.)

                            END                11:55 A.M. EDT

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E