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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 11, 1996
                      REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                           The Oval Office

7:52 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: I want to say hello to all of you in Ohio, and especially -- (applause) -- can you hear me? (Applause.) That's great.

I want to thank your Party Chair, David Leland and Senator John Glenn, and your former Party Chair, Jim Ruvolo, for all of your hard work in organizing tonight's caucuses. And I want to thank all of you for signing on to help us tonight.

We've got people there, I know, from all across Ohio --in Cleveland and Greenville; in Columbus and New Philadelphia; Cincinnati and Waverly; in Dayton, where the Bosnian peace agreement was made; in Marion; Toledo and Milan; in Youngstown and Springfield; in Canton and Mentor; and Akron and Lorain. (Applause.) To all of you, thank you very much.

You all know that Ohio is very special to me. The Ohio primaries put me over the top on the road to the Democratic nomination. And Ohio's delegates put me over the top for the nomination at the convention in New York City in 1992. And, of course, on November the 4th, 1992, it was the electoral votes of the state of Ohio that put me over the top in the electoral college. (Applause.)

So I know how much I owe to the state of Ohio and to all of you in particular. And I thank you for everything you have done and for your commitment to help us in the months ahead.

Every American knows that we are living in a time of great change. We're moving toward a new century. We're moving from the industrial to the information and technology age. We're moving from the Cold War to the global village. This is a time of immense possibility and great challenge for our country.

I think all of you know that when I ran for President it was to address these challenges and to take advantage of these possibilities -- to restore the American Dream, to make the American people a stronger community, and to preserve our leadership as a great force for peace and freedom around the world. And we've done that with a simple strategy: grow the economy; give the American people a smaller, better government; and restore mainstream values in our national light.

If you look at the Ohio economy, if you look at the national economy, we've cut the deficit in half. We've expanded trade to record levels. We've invested in the education of the American people and their technological future. And look what we've got -- almost 8 million jobs, a 15 year-high in homeownership, a 27-year low in the combined rates of unemployment and inflation. Unemployment is down in Ohio from 7 percent to under 5 percent. In Ohio, you've got almost 300,000 new private sector jobs. And the debt has been cut over $15,000 for every family of four in Ohio.

We changed the way this government works. Do you know there are more than 200,000 fewer people working for the federal government than there were when I became President, thanks to the work the Democrats did to make government more effective and fairer.

And most important of all, we're being more true to our values. We passed a tough crime bill. And that helped people all across America to bring the crime rate down. We've given states all over America the freedom to move people from welfare to work. And the welfare rolls are down. The food stamp rolls are down. The poverty rolls are down. The teen pregnancy rolls are down. These are things the American people did, but our policies -- the crime bill, the welfare reform, they have helped.

You know we have challenges ahead, but the only way we can meet them is to keep moving in the direction that we're going. And I know that everyone in Ohio must be so proud that Ohio was the place with the eyes of the world watching where the peace in Bosnia was made, to go with the progress that our country has made in the Middle East, in Northern Ireland, and reducing the nuclear threat. That's a record we can all be proud of, a record we can all be proud to run on, and run with, and embrace and bring people to the Democratic Party with.

Now, if you look at this budget fight we're having in Congress today, it's another example of what I've been working for since 1993 when I became your President. I want to balance the budget. If it weren't for the debt run up in the 12 years before I became President, the interest payments on that, we'd have a balanced budget today. I have worked hard, in good faith to reach an agreement with the Congress. But, you know, this is not about numbers. We have already identified more than enough cuts to balance the budget and give a modest tax cut. This is about whether we're going to protect Medicare, Medicaid, our investments in education, our environment, whether we're going to protect working families from having their taxes increased while others get a tax cut. That's what I'm fighting for -- for an America in the future that you can be proud of, that will be worthy of the support that I received from the people of Ohio.

I want every child in the state of Ohio and in the United States to be able to look forward to a brighter future. That's what I'm working for. I think you can go out in the state and say, look at where we were in 1992; look at where we are today; look at where we have to go.

If you'll do that, we'll work together, we'll win a victory -- but more importantly, the people of our country will win a victory.

Thank you, and God bless you all. (Applause.)

END 7:56 P.M. EST