THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Seattle, Washington) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 14, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO RECEPTION FOR U.S. CANDIDATE MARIA CANTWELL AND SEATTLE AREA COMMUNITY LEADERS Westin Hotel Seattle, Washington
5:33 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. First, I want to thank you for coming in to be with me, and to be with Maria. I want to thank you for helping her. And I want to ask you to do everything you possibly can to get every person you can possibly drag to the polls on November 7th. If our people vote, and they understand the issues, we'll win. It's not very complicated.
I wanted to be here for several reasons. First of all, I'm profoundly grateful to the state of Washington. You've been very good to me and Al Gore; you gave me your electoral votes twice. And I hope you think you made a good decision, because the state's in better shape than it was eight years ago. (Applause.)
But the second reason I wanted to come here is because I feel a special debt of gratitude, and a special bond, to Maria Cantwell. She was one of the people that was willing to put her whole political career on the line to turn this country around. And her opponent's now out there running ads against her for voting to save the American economy, and mischaracterizing - again - our budget in 1993.
Let me just remind you, when I took office, we had a $290 billion deficit. It was supposed to be $455 billion this year. Instead, we have a $230 billion surplus. Why? Because by one vote, Maria Cantwell's vote, we turned America around. She ought to go to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
And let me just - I remember when they said, you know, my economic plan would be a disaster for America. All the Republicans did, they all voted against it - it was terrible, it was going to have a recession; you know, the world would come to an end. Time has not been kind to their predictions.
And so you've got a clear choice here. You've got a clear choice in the Senate race; you've got a clear choice in the President's race; you have a clear choice in all these congressional races.
Now, we made the painful decisions before. All we have to do now is be prudent and visionary. Are we going to keep investing in education and health care, and pay down this debt, and give the people a tax cut we can afford - targeted to middle-class people and lower-income working people who need it? Or are we going to go back and do what they did before - have a huge tax cut?
And I can tell you - I will say this. In spite of how murky the Republicans have tried to be in the way they've messed up these issues, in the first Presidential debate - something that I kept waiting to see in blaring headlines in the press I haven't seen yet - the Republican nominee actually admitted that it was going to cost $1 trillion to partially privatize Social Security. So if you spend $1.5 trillion on the tax cut, and $1 trillion partially privatizing Social Security, and several hundred billion dollars on their spending promises, we're right back in deficit.
Our program is, spend more than they will on education, invest more than they will in health care, but keep paying down this debt to keep interest rates down. That keeps the economy going, plus which, it's a huge tax cut. With lower interest rates, there's lower home mortgage rates, lower car payments, lower college loan payments, lower credit card payments, as well as lower business loans. Our deal works better. (Applause.)
Now, you need to go out - you need to go out and tell people this. Ask them to remember what it was like eight years ago, and if they really want to ratify that decision, or they want to reward somebody who had the courage to take America in a different direction. And I'm telling you, it was all on her shoulders. We carried that thing by one vote.
And now he wants you to vote against her for getting Washington out of the dumps, and bringing America back? So they can get in power and do to us what they did before? That's the argument they're making. You need to go tell people that. And don't fool around with it; it's clear.
So the first big deal is the economy. The second thing is education. We believe we ought to help build more schools and repairs schools. We believe we ought to put another 100,000 teachers in these schools, so the kids can have smaller classes. And they're not for that.
We believe we ought to pass a patients' bill of rights, and have a Medicare drug benefit that benefits all seniors. And they're not for that, because their interest groups won't let them be.
And there's a clear choice here. Whether it's the minimum wage, the hate crimes bill, the employment non-discrimination bill, the extraordinary efforts I'm proud to say our administration has made to try to support the Native American communities. In every single instance, their leadership has been in one place, we've been somewhere else.
So you've just got to decide here. And you need to talk to people who tell you, well, it may not make a difference. It does make a difference. It makes a huge difference.
Somebody tells you one Senate seat doesn't make a difference, you tell them America would still be in the budget hole and still be in the economic hole if it hadn't been for every single House seat and every single Senate seat where we had the people voting for you. And Maria Cantwell was one of them, and she would be a brilliant United States Senator. (Applause.)
And so I'm just telling you, I have done everything I could do to turn our country around, to pull our people together, to move our nation forward. But now we have to decide, what are we going to do with the prosperity? You know, people took a chance on me in 1992. I don't know how many people in Washington State walked into the polling place and said, I wonder if I ought to vote for that guy. (Laughter.) You know, he's pretty young, and the President, the then-President, said he's just the governor of a small southern state. I was so na?ve, I thought that was a compliment. (Laughter.) And I still do.
But you know, it wasn't that big a chance, because, I mean, the country was in a ditch. We had to do something different, right?
So now we're in good shape, but we have to figure out, how are we going to include the people who still aren't part of this prosperity? How are we going to give all of our kids an excellent education? How are we going to provide access to health care for people who don't have it? What are we going to do with the aging of America, when there's only two people working for every one person on Social Security? We have big challenges here. And we get to decide.
But make no mistake about it. The differences are just as stark and just as clear as they were eight years ago. And the stakes, if anything, are higher. Maybe once every 50 years a country gets to do what we can do now, where you don't have an external threat, an internal crisis, things are going in the right direction, and you get to paint the future of your dreams for you children and grandchildren. Once in a blue moon this happens.
And you need visionary people who understand how to be fair to everybody, how to make the economy work, but make it work for everybody. And you know, there aren't many people with the unique background and achievements that Maria has presenting themselves for public office. And there aren't many people who can stand here and tell you - and I'm telling you - that they were the deciding vote that turned this country around.
And if you like where Washington is today better than you liked it eight years ago, there is no choice. You've got to make sure she wins this election. Send her to the Senate. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 5:41 P.M. PDT