THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Providence, Rhode Island) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release November 2, 1994
INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT BY WFSB CBS HARTFORD, CT
Rhode Island Convention Center Providence, Rhode Island
5:13 P.M. EST
Q Mr. President, good evening. Thanks for joining us tonight.
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, Janet.
Q The first thing I want to ask you is, how can you feel so secure about your security right now? Does this have you shaken up at all?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. In fact, when the incident occurred, within a matter of seconds the Secret Service agent was upstairs at the White House there with me. They have worked very hard to increase their ability to protect the President every year. And they get better at it every year. I have a high level of confidence in them.
This incident could have happened at any time, I suppose. I regret it, but I don't think the American people should worry about it. We live in a democracy; people can move around freely. The one thing I do hope people will draw from this incident is that the congressional members who were brave enough to vote for the crime bill, to stand up to the brutal pressure the NRA put on them and the threats they leveled against them to try to get these assault weapons off the street were right. That man had a modified assault weapon with a magazine with at least 20 bullets. And I think it's a good thing that we're trying to move against that.
But in a free society where people have free movement, and where there are lots of guns, this kind of thing can occur. I can't stop being President. This is a democracy. We have to get out here and -- all of us -- and be with one another and talk to one another. So I'm just going about my job, and doing it with a very high level of confidence in the people whose job it is to protect the President.
Q President Clinton, hearing that from you makes us feel a lot better. Thanks for telling us that.
We asked our viewers to call into us, to write into us, to e-mail us with their questions for you tonight. So I'd like to take some time and talk about some of their questions. Linda Parker from Hartford wants to know how you feel about colleagues who have distanced themselves from you lately. We have an example right here in Connecticut; Congressman Sam Gedjenson and Jim Maloney, who is running for Gary Franks' seat, did not show up when you appeared here a couple of weeks ago. How do you feel when your colleagues do this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I can say for Sam Gedjenson that's just not an accurate characterization. I went to his district at his invitation and campaigned for him at a time when nationally I wasn't in nearly as good of shape in the polls as I am now. So I just think that's a bum rap. And Mr. Maloney -- my wife has been to Connecticut, campaigning for him. I took no offense at that.
I think that it was a very successful trip to Connecticut. Afterward a surveys show that the support rose for Mr. Curry, our candidate for governor up there. And I feel very good about the state of Connecticut and the relationship I've had with the Democrats.
I also think, however, that every member of Congress and every senator should seek to run, to some extent, a campaign that is tied not to the president, but to their constituents. What I like to hear a member say is, when I voted with the president I didn't do it for him, I did it for you. That's the proper message.
Q Okay. Quickly, Mr. President, what about this very controversial Social Security issue? John Francis from Stratford wants to know your thinking on that.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, here's what happened -- and I think it's very important for the voters to listen to this. The Republicans put out this contract, and they said if you'll give us control of the Congress we will take you back to what we did in the 1980s -- trickle-down economics. We'll give massive tax cuts, mostly to upper-income people. That must be appealing in Connecticut -- you have a lot of upper-income people. We'll give massive tax cuts; we'll increase defense; we'll increase Star Wars; and we'll balance the budget in five years.
That costs a trillion dollars. The only way to do that is to cut everything, including Social Security, across the board 20 percent. That's $2,000 a Social Security recipient. You say, we don't want to do that. Then you have to cut everything else in the government across the board 30 percent. That bankrupts Medicare. If you don't do that, you're right back to where they were before -- massive deficits, shipping jobs overseas.
Connecticut lost 150,000 jobs in the last four years because of that kind of economic policy. We need to invest and grow with discipline. We don't need a lot of easy promises. We need to embrace the challenges of the global economy, invest and grow. That's my approach.
This Social Security threat is very real. If they carry through on their promises they cannot keep their promise to cut the taxes and increase the spending and balance the budget without going after it.
Q President Clinton, thanks for answering our viewer questions and thanks so much for taking the time to be with us.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
END 5:17 P.M. EST