THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
RADIO ADDRESS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION The Vice President's Office
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This is Vice President Al Gore. This week, our nation faces a stark and important choice: whether to move forward with the economic strategy that has given America the strongest economy in a generation -- or whether instead to turn away from what we must do to meet the challenge and opportunity of the 21st Century.
Congress will decide whether to give President Clinton the power to open foreign markets that are closed to us today -- to tear down barriers to our products, and create new jobs for our people. This is the same "fast track" authority that every President of either party has been given for more than two decades. And this President knows how to use it. He knows how to strike tough and fair trade deals. He knows how to protect labor rights and the environment.
Expanding trade is a key part of our enormously successful economic strategy -- balancing the budget, investing in the future, and opening new markets for our goods and services. Because of that strategy, we have more than 13 million new jobs now, less than five percent unemployment. And yesterday, we learned that the economy has grown at four percent over the past year, the fastest in nearly a decade -- fueled partly by exports that have grown by $125 billion. To keep on creating high-wage jobs, we must reach the 96 percent of the world's consumers who live outside our borders.
Critics oppose giving the President this power. But this much we know for sure: turning our backs on the world won't create a single new job, won't close down a single sweatshop, won't clean up a single toxic waste site. If we want every American to win in the new global economy, we must lead the world, not hide from it.
America must be the leader in bringing democracy and open markets to other nations. For that means stronger democratic partners, more willing to work with us on challenges like international crime, drug trafficking, and environmental degradation. A vote against presidential trading authority is a vote against American leadership in the world -- and a vote for pessimism and retreat.
For decades, America has been unafraid to lead -- and that spirit has crossed the lines of party and politics.
Now, President Carter, President Bush and President Ford have all written to President Clinton, supporting his call for continued authority to negotiate trade agreements. These distinguished public servants have one thing in common: they know that our national interest demands our world economic leadership. President Clinton and I are grateful for their support. And we are pleased that former secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce, and former U.S. Trade Representatives of both parties have also joined our call.
This week, America faces a crucial choice -- and Congress faces a critical vote. Will we turn our backs on the world economy, in a vain struggle to turn back the clock? Or will we move into the future boldly, and continue the economic strategy that has brought us new jobs, new hope, new leadership around the world?
That is our choice -- and this is our chance, because it's our future. Together, we must seize it. Thank you for listening.