THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 11, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO RECEPTION FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC COORDINATED CAMPAIGN Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5:20 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, thank you for the welcome. Thank you, Mayor Street. I was honored to help you win because I wanted Philadelphia to win, and I'm glad you won and you're doing great. (Applause.)
Thank you, Senator Tartaglione, for being the chair of our party and for doing such a good job. (Applause.) Thank you, Bill George. I got here in time to hear Bill George's speech. (Laughter and applause.) You know, Bill is so restrained and laid back. (Laughter.) I loved it. He said everything that needed to be said, and said it well. And he's been a great friend to me for more than eight years now, and I thank him for that.
And I can't tell you how grateful I am to Ed Rendell for being willing to take over the leadership of our party, and you should be so proud of him, he's done a great, great job. (Applause.)
I came here to campaign for the Democrats, and this is a pretty nostalgic trip for me. As John said, it may be the last time I come to Philadelphia to give a speech as President -- maybe not, though. (Applause.) If I get a chance, I'll come back. I love it here. (Applause.)
One of the young men who has been with me for more than eight years now, Kirk Hanlin, is out there smiling. He said, do you remember how many times we've been to this hotel since 1992? (Laughter.) What a wonderful time, and then we talked about every hotel we've been in, in Philadelphia. And we started talking about, you know, going all the way back to early 1992, and our wonderful trips here.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude to the state of Pennsylvania. You've been good to me and to my family and my administration family. You've given us your electoral votes twice. And both times the great magnet was this breathtaking vote out of Philadelphia, which reverberated into the region here and all over this part of eastern Pennsylvania, we did better than Democrats normally do. And I just cannot thank you enough. So coming here to be for the Democratic ticket, for my long-time friend, Catherine Baker Knoll and Jim Eisenhower and Bob Casey, Jr., but especially for Ron Klink, it's not only easy, it's an honor.
I just want to say a couple of things very candidly. John said them before. I know Ron Klink pretty well. We have worked together for a long time now. He represents a district from western Pennsylvania where the biggest city has 27,000 people. And so, as you might imagine, they have a lot of concerns that are somewhat different than the ones Lucien used to represent here in Philadelphia. You know, it's different.
And it's hard for a member of the House of Representatives from an, essentially, rural and small-town district way across this vast state, to be well enough known on the eastern side of the state for people to know who he is, what he stands for, what the differences are between him and his opponent.
I want to tell you something, folks. I think I know Pennsylvania by now. You know, my wife's family is from here, from Scranton. My father-in-law's family is there, he's buried up there. I've spent lots and lots of time here over many years. I have absolutely no doubt that if a hundred percent of the registered vote who will vote on election day knew Ron Klink's record, knew his opponent's record and knew what the differences between them on the issues facing the United States Senate and the United States of America over the next six years are, Ron Klink would win and win handily. (Applause.)
Number two, he's working as hard as he can. He's working hard. Therefore, if he doesn't win, it's our fault, all the rest of us that are for him. Now, I don't know how else to say it. It's hard to beat an incumbent, particularly the incumbent of the other party, because everybody with lots of money they spend overtime trying to make sure they stay happy. And they work at it, steadily. And then when they run, they are able to run.
But we don't have to have as much money as they do. All we have to have is enough. And enough means enough for everybody to know who you are, what you stand for, what the differences are. And if they give you a little incoming fire, you can give a little answer. That's all you need. And you need a lot of word of mouth.
And I'm just telling you, if people really understood the true story of the last six years, Ron Klink would get as good a vote out of Philadelphia as I did in 1996. (Applause.) And I want you to understand this -- 18 million people every year in this country, 18 million, have care delayed or denied because we don't have a patients' bill of rights. We lost it by one vote in the United States Senate. If he had been your senator, I would have signed the patients' bill of rights into law already. (Applause.)
We passed hate crimes legislation in the House and the Senate, and then the Republican leadership turned around and took it out of the bill. If he were in the Senate, it would be one more vote to stop that kind of nonsense from happening. If you voted for something, you would send it to the President so he could sign it and make it the law of the land. (Applause.)
You heard what Ed Rendell said to you about school construction. Every school building in this city is 65 years old. I've been to schools that have 12 trailers out behind it. I've been to other schools where you couldn't wire all the classrooms for the Internet or the circuits would go out. I've been to schools where whole floors had to be closed down because they couldn't be properly insulated or rendered safe because they couldn't afford to fix the roof.
We've got the biggest group of school kids in history. We say they're the most important things in the world to us. We now know how to turn failing schools around, something we didn't know a few years ago. And I could give you lots of examples. All we propose to do is to share the cost of financing school bonds with local school districts. So if you want to undertake a school building program, we'll cut the cost to the taxpayers some to make it easier for you to do it.
Now, while we've got more school kids than ever before, a smaller percentage of the property owners have children in the schools than they did 50 years ago when this happened before. So we need to do this. There's a limit to how much the property tax will bear. We can afford to do it. It's not even that expensive. But we cannot pass it through the leadership of the other party. If Ron Klink were in the Senate, he'd be out there fighting for, not dragging against, school construction legislation that will help our children have the school buildings they need. (Applause.)
Now, those are just three things. Now, let me back up and put it in some larger context. I'll say much more briefly what I tried to say in Los Angeles. And you heard a little of it today. When you gave -- when Pennsylvania voted for Bill Clinton and Al Gore you gave us a chance to try out some new ideas. And people ask me all the time, now that we've got the best, longest expansion in history, and the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years, and 22 million new jobs, they say, what great new idea did you bring to Washington. And I say, arithmetic. (Laughter and applause.) We brought arithmetic to Washington. And that's what caused the Republicans -- they always talked about balancing the budget -- remember that? They always told you how they wanted a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. They wanted everything to help keep them from having to make a decision to balance the budget. Why? Because if you're spending more than you're taking in, there is no way to balance the budget except to spend less, take in more, or do a little of both. It's arithmetic.
And for 12 years they quadrupled our national debt, and they ran the interest rates up and ran the economy into a ditch. And so I brought arithmetic back. And, frankly, we lost the House of Representatives and the Senate, in part because we had members with enough guts to stand up to the kind of attacks that were rained down on people like Ron Klink in 1993 and 1994, for saying, hey, you want to balance the budget, get growth back, get interest rates down -- arithmetic.
And oh, they said it was going to be the end of the world. We'd have a recession, the whole thing. It would be terrible. People would quit working because we asked the top one percent to pay a little more in taxes. They would quit working and nobody would do anything. The whole thing would go haywire. (Laughter.) Well, time has not been kind to their predictions. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, look, we're all laughing, I want you to have a good time, but I am dead serious. Look, we changed the economic policy. We changed the crime policy. We changed the education policy. We changed the health care policy. We changed the environmental policy. We changed the foreign policy of the country. And we certainly changed our policy on building one America and bridging all the divides that exist in our very complicated society, trying to pull people together instead of drive a wedge between us. Now, we changed all that. And it's a better country. We've come together, we're moving forward, we're doing it together.
You have to decide by your votes whether you're going to ratify that direction and keep changing in that direction, or say, well, who knows, we're doing so well, it probably doesn't make any difference, let's take a u-turn and try it the other way. Now, make no mistake about it, that's what's going on. The differences in this election between the two candidates for President, their counterparts for Vice President, the two candidates for Senate in the state of Pennsylvania, on the economy, on education, on health care -- just to take three -- are huge.
Now, you can have a tax cut so you can send your kids to college, pay for long-term care, pay for child care, pay for retirement, and still be small enough to invest in education and health care, the environment, and keep getting us out of debt so interest rates will stay down. Or you can take their tax cut, which is three times bigger, and then partially privatize Social Security, which costs another trillion dollars, and then take their spending promises, and you're right back in the ditch. You're back in deficits, you're back in high interest rates.
Now, let me just tell you this. Tell this to your friends. Our plan will keep interest rates -- what Klink will vote for -- will keep interest rates 1 percent lower a year for a decade. Do you know what that's worth -- $390 billion in lower home mortgages, $30 billion in lower car payments, $15 billion in lower student loan payments. And those alone are a $435 billion effective tax cut for working-class Americans, and everybody else with those expenses. That's the right thing to do. (Applause.)
Now, the same thing; we're for a patients' bill of rights and they're not. We're for a Medicare drug benefit that every senior who needs it can buy into. They're for a Medicare drug benefit that leaves out half the seniors who need it. They tell them to buy insurance, with the insurance companies screaming there's no such thing as an insurance policy for medicine that people can afford to buy that's worth having.
Do you ever wonder why they did that? Did you ever hear of anybody in any business that didn't want more customers? (Laughter.) Don't you think it's funny? Don't you think it's weird, this drug debate?
Where the Democrats and Vice President Gore and Congressman Klink, they want a Medicare drug benefit that all seniors who need it can buy into on a voluntary basis. And Governor Bush and the Republicans and the drug companies say that we're trying to have the government take over. Give me a break. The government take over the drug business and set prices. And they don't want that many customers. They only want half the people that need it.
Well, originally, they didn't want us to do it all. And then the Republicans went to the drug companies and they said, look, guys, we can't carry your water anymore, they're going to beat our brains out here. You can't be against everybody having medicine who needs it.
And so the drug companies said, okay, take this bill and give it to half the people who need it. Does that make any sense? Did you ever meet a politician that didn't want more votes? (Laughter.) Did you ever meet a car salesman that didn't want to sell cars? Now, this is serious. I want you to understand it. You need to know what's going on. It's a big deal.
If you live to be 65 in America, your life expectancy is 82. The young women in this audience that will still have babies, because of the human genome project they'll be having babies in a few years with a life expectancy of 90. It matters whether seniors can get the medicine they need to lengthen their lives and improve the quality of their lives.
The reason they don't want to do that is if Medicare represents the seniors, they can use market power to squeeze down the price of drugs in America so they're almost as cheap when they're made in America, bought in America, as they are when they're bought in Canada. That's what is going on. Because the drug companies have to recover all their research and all their advertising costs from us.
Now, I say that not to demonize them; I'm glad they're here. They give us great jobs and they save our lives. They've got a problem. All these other countries have price controls.
So this is a big example, though, in the difference in the two parties. Their party says, let's solve their problem, even though we'll leave a lot of old people without the medicine they need. Our party says, let's give the seniors the medicine they need, then we'll figure out how to solve their problem. We're not going to hurt them, but we're not going to let them use their problem as an excuse to keep hurting other Americans. That's the differences in the two parties. (Applause.)
So I ask you, why am I doing this? I know I'm preaching to the saved. (Laughter.) Because every single one of you will come in contact with a lot of people between now and election day who have never come to an event like this and never will -- but they'll vote. And all they may know, unless you talk to them, is what they see in a paid ad.
So I want to ask you to do two things. Number one, if you haven't given him a contribution, give him one, even if it's just $10. Give him more money. If people know the difference between him and his opponent, he wins. And, believe me, he can still win. The other guy is nowhere near over 50 percent. And it's all about eastern Pennsylvania, name recognition and clarity of understanding of their position.
Number two, I want you to promise yourself when you leave here today, every day between now and the election you're going to talk to them about Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Ron Klink, the Democrats, where we were eight years ago, where we are now, what we want to do, what the differences are, how we'll affect people's lives.
Look, this is real stuff. I am grateful you gave me the chance to serve. I hope I've made some contribution to the well-being of Philadelphia, as the Mayor said, and the state of Pennsylvania. (Applause.)
But listen to me. All of our public life is always about the future. And the future now, for me, is getting back to New York in time to celebrate my 25th anniversary. (Applause.) And the future for you is Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Ron Klink and the new Democrats that brought America back. You go tell people that.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
END 5:39 P.M. EDT