THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Anaheim, California) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release November 4, 1994
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT CITY HALL RALLY City Hall Los Angeles, California
6:01 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, Kathleen Brown, distinguished members of Congress and candidates on our state Democratic ticket; to all of you who are here, thank you for making me feel, as always, so very welcome in Los Angeles and California. (Applause.)
I want to say a special word of thanks to the gospel group, Charity, that entertained us so well. They were great, thank you. (Applause.) I want to thank Marlee Matlin for her fine comments before; thank you for being here with us. (Applause.)
Again let me say, there are very few states who could boast a slate of candidates for state office and for the Congress as outstanding as those who have already been introduced here tonight. But I just want you to know, I am proud to be here with all these nominees of my party and your party that you will elect on Tuesday. I thank them, and I thank you. (Applause.)
I want to talk tonight just for a minute about what's really at stake in this election. And I want you to think about why -- I was looking at Dianne Feinstein tonight and I was thinking, I have been following public life in America for a long time now. I never lived in Washington as an elected official until 21 months ago, but I've kind of kept up, like most of you. In my lifetime, there has never been, ever, not one time, a United States senator who, in his or her first two years in office, sponsored three major legislative initiatives that will change the life of America for the better: the assault weapons ban -- (applause); the zero tolerance for guns in schools -- (applause); and the largest wilderness bill in the history of the United States, the California desert bill. (Applause.)
Now, how could we not give her a six-year renewal? We have to do it. What is the argument of her opponent? It is the argument they're all making, really. It is that government is inherently bad, it's inherently irrelevant, it doesn't make any difference -- who cares what I say or do, it doesn't make any difference. You look at these children behind me and the children in this crows; it does make a difference to their future, and Dianne Feinstein will make a difference. (Applause.)
He said, what difference does it make if we pass any laws in Washington, they've been up there passing laws for 200 years. He's the first person ever to seek the United States Senate to run not only against Washington, he's now running against George Washington. (Laughter.) Folks, I don't know about you, but I think what Abraham Lincoln did in the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments made a pretty big difference in the life of this country. (Applause.) I don't know about you, but I think when we had one in four Americans out of work and President Roosevelt came in and lifted us up out of the dumps and got us going forward, it made a difference in this country. (Applause.)
It's not a partisan thing. When President Eisenhower signed the bill for the interstate highway system, or President Nixon signed the bill for the Environmental Protection Agency, it made a difference in this country. This guy is the only person who thinks that none of this matters. You have to say no to people who say it doesn't matter; yes to Dianne Feinstein. It does matter, California matters, she matters. Reelect her on Tuesday. (Applause.)
Look at -- consider the candidacy of Kathleen Brown. (Applause.) I don't want to be presumptuous, but I know something about being a governor; I used to be one. (Laughter.) And on the tough days in Washington, I think it's the best job I ever had. (Laughter.) It is a joy. But it is only a joy if every day you get up and you try to build. The governor's office is not a place for blamers, it's a place for builders. It's a place for people who take responsibility and bring out the best in us and bring us together and move forward. (Applause.)
When I think of what you have been through in this state, with the recession, with the defense cutbacks -- the unemployment rate in California when I took office was 9.4 percent. I have done everything I could do to bring it down to 7.7 percent; to get those 400,000 jobs; to get this state going again. But I need a partner here -- someone who wants to work for California, not point the finger of blame. (Applause.)
You know, I want to say two things about your slogan here. The one is, I want to talk about 187. But the first thing I want to do -- I've got plenty to say about that, but the first thing I want to do is to ask you this: You're going to vote on 187, and I hope to goodness you're going to beat 187. (Applause.) But after the election somebody is going to be governor with four years of hard work to do. Will you have a job? Will your schools get better? Will your streets get safer? Will your air get cleaner? Will your state move forward? That is the question.
We don't know what the incumbent wants to do, but we know Kathleen Brown has a plan, a good plan, that will make California a better place. (Applause.) A building place. How did California become the symbol of America's future? By building, not by blaming. By bringing together, not by tearing apart. Why does California have a chance to lead our country into the 21st century? Because of our diversity, not in spite of it -- because our diversity opens the world to us. (Applause.)
Now, let me say this to people who disagree with us on 187. Let me say this: It is true that the state of California has borne an unfair burden in the cost of illegal immigration. That is true. And it is true that in tough times, that burden is hard to bear. But what I want to tell you is, from the day I became President, because I had served with governors in California, in Florida, in Texas and other states, I started to do something about it.
I worked with Senator Feinstein; I worked with Senator Boxer; I worked with your congressional delegation. I tried to work with your governor. I didn't think it was a partisan issue. We have almost doubled the border guards in San Diego. We have provided funds for the first time for the cost of incarceration. When I have been reducing the government deficit, we have increased by one-third the amount of money coming to California to deal with the cost of illegal immigration. We haven't been laying down, folks, we've been answering the call to do something about it. (Applause.)
Do we need to do more? Yes, we do. But this is not the answer. Look at 187, what does it say? It says that the adults of this country and the authorities are not able to keep illegal immigrants out of California, so we will punish their children. That's what it says. It says, close the health clinics to them, even if it creates a public health problem for everybody else. It says, turn the teachers into police officers and kick the kids out on the street. Let me ask the children here, don't you think we've got enough kids on the street already? We need more kids in school, making this state a better place. (Applause.)
Folks, the whole immigration system was a mess when I took office 21 months ago. I am trying to fix it. It is better than it was; it will get better still. Now, a lot of the people who are pointing the finger of blame at this election, who are trying to make you mad, you angry, you lash out, you vote for this -- they helped to create the problem. (Applause.) When the governor was a senator, he voted for a bill to make it easier for illegal immigrants to be in California, because powerful interests wanted them to work for low wages. You know it as well as I do.
And then, when he became the governor and a president of his party was in Washington -- his friend, his ally -- he never raised a peep about this to put any heat on him, and they did nothing. Then, when Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer and President Clinton showed up, we did not say this about the governor. We said nothing bad. We opened our hands. We said, let's roll up our sleeves; let's take responsibility; let's face this problem in a way that brings California together, not drives California apart. And that is what I have tried to do. Get me a partner in the Governor's Office who will do the same thing. (Applause.)
Let me say again -- let me say again, folks. Why are they doing well? Because they say if we can just make the American people -- this is nationally and in California -- if we can make people mad enough, they will vote without thinking. If we can make them cynical enough, the Democrats will stay home. And if we can make them believe that government is bad, that it always makes things worse, then we win all the way around because when the economy gets better, we can say, well, that happened in spite of the President and the Congress. If things get better, we'll say, government had nothing to do with it. If it gets worse, we'll blame government and we can say any kind of outrageous thing we want to appeal to extremists and mean elements in our country, and we can still get elected. That is their strategy.
Well, let me ask you something. I don't know about you, but I think it mattered when you had that earthquake and we produced $11.5 billion in record time. (Applause.) I think it mattered when we fixed I-5 and all the other roads in record time -- something never before done in the United States of America. (Applause.) Do you know, today we reopened the last earthquakedamaged freeway, the Route 14 connector on I-5. I think that matters, and I think you think it matters. (Applause.)
I think it matters that 4.9 million families in California are protected by the family leave bill, so they can take a little time off when a child is born or a parent sick without losing a job. I think it matters. (Applause.) I think it matters when 2.1 million families in this state get an income tax cut so they can raise their children and work and not be in poverty. I think that matters. (Applause.)
After all you've been through with the cost of higher education going through the roof, I think it matters that our student loan reform makes 1.6 million Californians eligible for lower-cost college loans. (Applause.) And when we put hundreds of millions of dollars into defense conversion and give a third of it to people out here struggling to get off of the terrible recession you've been through, that matters. When we invest in scientific research at your laboratories and create jobs, it matters. When we revitalize the shipbuilding industry in San Diego, it matters. When we do these things, it matters.
When we do things that build the future, it counts. That's why today we had this wonderful news that unemployment is at a four-year low, that over 5 million new jobs have now been created. That matters. That makes a difference. (Applause.)
Folks, you have to decide what sort of future you want. I want a strong America. And what makes us strong? What makes us strong is strength abroad and strength at home. We cannot be strong abroad even though we have the strongest military unless we have strong families and strong education system and safe streets and good jobs. That is the strength we are bringing to America, and we need to keep right on doing it. We don't need to turn back now. (Applause.)
And this whole thing comes down to the state of mind of the people of California on Election Day. Because if people are cynical and angry, they either won't vote or they will vote against their own interests. You know, as a parent, one of the first things I tried to do, like most parents, as soon as my child was old enough to understand it, was to say, never, never make an important decision when you are mad. When you are mad, count ten before you say something. And every time I only got to two, I wound up in a lot of trouble. (Laughter.)
Now, that is exactly what the Republicans are trying to get you to do in this election. You look at the Wilson ads, you look at the Huffington ads, you listen to them. What they want you to do is not to take time to count to ten, not to remember that this state is the hope of America, not to remember what we can do when we're at our best. They want you to lash out or they want you to give up. They want you to stay home or come out and vote for not the future, but the past. That is what is going on in this election.
If you say, no, thank you, we are going forward in jobs, forward in bringing our deficit down, forward in investing in our future, forward in education, forward in building strong families, we will win. We will win because you will win. You will win. (Applause.) We'll win.
Now, I just want you to think about this. I know you think I'm beating a dead horse, but I've been all over this country and I know what I'm talking about. We will win if people think and feel their best and look at the record and look at the positions. And if that happens, Dianne Feinstein will be reelected. It is unbelievable that anybody with her record should even have a close race. You need to send her back there with an enormous, enormous ovation of support. (Applause.)
And Kathleen Brown will be elected because she represents the future, not the past, for California. (Applause.)
Folks, I have done everything I know to do to be a good partner to the people of California. I have done everything I know to do. I have tried to take this immigration issue on. I've tried to bring this economy back. I've tried to help you with defense conversion. I've tried to help you build your hightech base. I've tried to help you sell your products all over the world. I have tried to do things that no president has ever done.
The farmers in the valley are selling California rice to Japan for the first time under this administration. (Applause.) But -- and we did not do any of that by going to work in a cynical, negative frame of mind, saying that we're never going to make anything good happen.
My fellow Americans, your government is neither good, nor bad, inherently. It is our tool. It is a reflection of us. Whether it is good or bad, what it does, how much it costs, how well we do it is a function of what we believe and where we are going. Let's go into the future. Let's don't go back. (Applause.) Let's don't go back. (Applause.) Let's don't go back.
Every one of you, promise yourselves, you're going to ask somebody to vote for Dianne Feinstein, vote for Kathleen Brown, vote no on 187. Go see your neighbors and turn it around. Go forward. Yes to the future. (Applause.)
Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)
END6:20 P.M. PST