THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Manchester, New Hampshire) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 7, 1996
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE PEOPLE OF MANCHESTER
Gill Stadium Manchester, New Hampshire
5:18 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, five years ago today, on October the 7th, 1991, I came to New Hampshire. (Applause.) I am told that I am the only sitting President since your own Franklin Pierce to actually come to New Hampshire every single year of my presidency. (Applause.)
I can tell you that, on this gorgeous fall day, looking out at all of you and seeing so many of you who have been my friends now through good times and bad, there may be someone in America right now who's happier than I am, but I have no idea who it would be. I am glad to be here. Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)
It's great to be back in Manchester. I want to thank the Mayor and all those who came out to the airport to greet me. I want to thank the two football teams who changed their schedule so we could all be here -- the Central High JV and the Concord High JV. Let's give them a hand. (Applause.) Where are they? There they are back here and back there. (Applause.)
I want to thank the bands -- the Central High School and the Spalding High School Marching Bands over here. Give them a hand; they did a great job. (Applause.)
I want to tell you how very proud I am to be up here with these fine candidates. I was listening to Arnie Arnesen speak and I thought, she could double the energy in the House of Representatives all by herself. We need that kind of vigor in this country. (Applause.)
And I heard Joe Keefe and I remember how I employed him in the dark days to stay on as the Chairman of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire, and he said he would and what a difference a year and a half makes. Thank you, Joe Keefe, for fighting for New Hampshire, for America and for the future of this country. (Applause.)
I looked at Dick Swett and I thought of the times when we talked in quiet places without big crowds about this country and its future. I remembered when he was for a law to require Congress to live under the same laws it imposes on the rest of us before it was popular, before anybody knew anything about it. And it's the law of the land today. And I campaigned on it in 1992 in the state of New Hampshire because of the work that Dick Swett did. And he can do better work if you'll send him to the United States Senate where we can move forward and stop the negative forces and build the positive forces of America. (Applause.)
And I was thinking of the first time I ever met Jeanne Shaheen and what a terrific governor she would be for any state and especially for New Hampshire. (Applause.)
Jean, I thank you. And I thank you, Dick, for what you said about the debate last night. I enjoyed that debate and I thank Senator Dole for joining me and I believe that the American people got a pretty good feel for the differences between us, the differences in our views. And we just proved you can still do it and be civilized and decent and humane. And that's the way we ought to conduct our public affairs in this country. (Applause.)
Four years ago when I came here, the issue was how we could get our economy going again, how we could pierce the rising tide of cynicism in our electorate, how we could pull this country back together again. Today, the issue is what path will we take to the 21st century? Are we on the right path, or should we turn back to another path?
If you look at where we are now compared to where we were four years ago, just think back to then and what it was like in New Hampshire -- a time of high unemployment, bankruptcies, rising frustration and anger. I said then and I repeat to you today: I want this country to go into the 21st century with the American Dream alive for every single child in America -- (applause) -- with our American community coming together instead of coming apart.
Think how many places in the world today are crippled and face destruction because people who come from different religions or races or ethnic groups simply cannot get along. In America, we can all get along if we share the same values and we honor our system and we show up for work. (Applause.)
And I was determined to see this country continue to lead the world for peace and freedom. But four years ago you took me on faith. You don't have to do that anymore. Now, there's a record: 10.5 million jobs, record numbers of new businesses, record exports of American products, 4.5 million new homeowners, 10 million homeowners who refinanced their homes at lower interest rates, four years of declining crime rates, child support up 50 percent, welfare rolls down 2 million, out-of- wedlock births dropping for the first time in 20 years. This country is on the right track to the 21st century. (Applause.)
Four years ago we doubted whether ordinary Americans would ever benefit even from an improving economy. But now we know we can turn that around. Since the passage of our economic plan, the average income for families, the typical family in America, has gone up more than $1,600 after inflation. Last year we had the biggest drop in poverty in 27 years, the lowest poverty rate among senior citizens ever recorded. And all people, all working people, were finally beginning to benefit from our endeavors. We had the biggest drop in inequality of working people's incomes in 27 years. We are on the right track to the 21st century. (Applause.)
And so I say to you, I hope that you in one month and one day, and all the American people like you all over this country, will make a decision to stay on that track, to plow new ground, to think new thoughts, to come up with new ideas, to leave behind the old debates, the old policies and the things that got us in so much trouble because they were long out of date.
Just think how far we have come and where we can go. We have cut the deficit by 60 percent. It's gone down in all four years for the first time since the Second World War. The truth is, it's gone down in four years for the first time since before the Civil War. But we had a surplus in some of those other years. (Applause.)
But now we have to finish the job. People tell me -- people tell me in Washington, now, don't go anywhere and talk about balancing the budget because it bores people now and it requires tough decisions. But it's important. Why? Because these declining deficits have meant as the government borrows less money, it's easier for you to borrow money. That's why interest rates are lower -- for home mortgages, credit card rates, car payments, student loan payments and business loans. That's why they're lower -- because we're bringing the deficit down.
And so I say to you -- (applause) -- now, we have to finish the job of balancing the budget in a way that enables us to continue to invest in education and research and protect the environment and the health care of our seniors and our families in need. Will you help me build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.)
We cut taxes for 15 million working families and made every small business in America eligible for a substantial tax cut when they invest more in their business. Now, we have to cut taxes to help families raise their children and educate them, to pay for buying a home, not to pay taxes when you sell a home, to deal with a medical emergency. Will you help me build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.)
We passed the Family and Medical Leave Act. We just passed a bill to stop what I call drive-by deliveries, requiring -- letting insurance companies force mothers and their newborn babies out of the hospital within a day. That's over now. We ended that. (Applause.)
We finally gave some recognition to the needs of mental health and health insurance policies. And finally, after a long time, we made the children of Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, who contracted spina bifida as a result, finally we made those families eligible for health care and disability payments that we should have done long ago. We're moving in the right direction. (Applause.)
Now, we ought to expand family leave to say you can take a little time off from work without losing your job to take your parents or your children to regular doctor's appointments, or to go to that conference with a teacher at your child's school. (Applause.) We ought to give our families the opportunity if they earn overtime at work to decide whether to spend that overtime -- to get that overtime in more money or more time if their children or their sick parents need it. We ought to do that as well. (Applause.)
We made 25 million Americans more likely to keep their health insurance with the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill by saying no one can take your insurance away from you now just because you change jobs or because someone in your family has been sick. Now we need to finish the job and cover people when they're between jobs. That is also in my balanced budget plan. Will you help me build that bridge for families to the 21st century? (Applause.)
We passed the toughest crime bill in history and are bringing the crime rate down four years in a row. We need now to take on the tough problem of juvenile gangs, and we need to finish the job until we get all those 100,000 police out there like the ones I saw here in Manchester helping you to recover your neighborhoods. Will you help me build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.)
We worked with states all over this country to move nearly 2 million people from welfare to work. And then I signed a historic welfare reform bill that says, we will continue to provide to poor families health care and nutrition, and when the parent goes to work there will be more for child care than ever before. But now every state and community in the country has to take what used to be the welfare check, and if the adult, the parent, is able-bodied, that welfare check has to become a paycheck within two years. Will you help me create the jobs to put people to work and end the cycle of dependency in America and build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.)
We've worked hard to improve our environment, to take chemicals out of the air, to make our drinking water safe, to improve the standards of health for our food. We've cleaned up more toxic waste dumps in three years than the previous administrations did in 12. We fought their attempts and we beat back their attempts to cut environmental protection, toxic waste cleanups by a third, to take over some of the national parks and let them be privatized. We've protected our national parks, but we have to continue to enhance America's environment and to clean up the worst toxic waste dumps in this country so our children are growing up next to parks, not poison. Will you help me build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.)
And above all, will you help me make education our number one priority so that all of our people can create, compete and win? (Applause.)
My fellow Americans, the young people in this audience, within just few years -- let's hear it for them -- (applause) -- the young people in this audience, many of you will be doing jobs that have not even been created yet. Many of you, in fact, will be doing work that has not been imagined yet.
We are pushing back the frontiers of knowledge, creating new activities, and coming together across national boundaries all across the world as never before. In just four years, medical research has more than doubled the life expectancy of people with HIV infections -- in just four years. (Applause.)
We are -- within a few years, every time a young mother comes home from the hospital, the mother and father will be able to get a genetic map which tells you what your child's health care profile will be like for a lifetime. People will know how to raise their children, what kind of exercise they most need, what kind of diet they most need, what kind of medical care they most need. We will extend life and make it more abundant because of what we are doing in research. But we have to have people educated to do it.
We are doing a joint project now -- research with IBM to build in a matter of a couple of years a supercomputer that will do more calculations in one second than you can do on your hand-held calculator in 30,000 years. We have got to invest in education and make America the education capital of the entire world. Will you help me build that bridge to the 21st century? (Applause.) Will you help me mobilize an army of volunteer literacy tutors, AmeriCorps volunteers and others so that we can make sure that by the year 2000 every single 8-year-old in America can read independently. (Applause.)
Will you help me prove that we were right and those who opposed us were wrong that the Goals 2000 program allows local schools to set their own grass-roots reforms to achieve excellence. It's not a national standard of uniformity on the schools of New Hampshire, it's an empowerment tool to challenge every state to set national standards and international standards of excellence and cut the schools lose to achieve them. Will you help me to achieve that? (Applause.)
Will you help us hook up every classroom in America to the Information Superhighway so that all of our students -- no matter whether they are poor, rich or middle class -- can have access to the same learning, at the same level of quality, in the same time for the very first time in the entire history of the United States of America. Will you help me do that? (Applause.)
And finally, will you help me open the doors of college education to every single person in America of any age who needs to go? (Applause.) Will you help me pass a tax credit so that people can deduct dollar for dollar the cost of tuition at the typical community college or vocational training school so that everybody can get two years of education after high school? (Applause.) Will you help me pass that deduction of up to $10,000 a year for the cost of any college tuition so that every family can afford to go. (Applause.)
My fellow Americans, it feels a lot different in New Hampshire than it did four years ago. But the faces are the same, the spirit is the same. You embody the character and hope and promise of America. I can never thank you all for what you have done for me and for Hillary, for our family, our campaign and our administration. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be here tonight, and you know it. (Applause.)
New Hampshire, you gave me the chance to serve you for four years. You know now that what you took on faith has been justified by the record. The American people saw last night the stark choices before us. Our best days are still ahead. Will you help me build a bridge to the 21st century?
Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 5:37 P.M. EDT