THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Indianapolis, Indiana) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 21, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT NEW YORK SENATE 2000 RECEPTION Private Residence Indianapolis, Indiana
9:00 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Well, when Bren was up here talking, I thought to myself, that pretty well covers it, why should I speak? (Laughter.) Thank you for your incredible generosity and support and friendship to me and Hillary. And thank you, Mel. I want to thank Cindy and Paul for hosting this in their beautiful home in this beautiful yard. And I think I should say that today is Mel's 74th birthday, and we ought to be among the first to wish him a happy birthday. (Applause.)
You know, we're going to have to redefine our definition of aging, by the way. Anybody -- today, Americans who live to be 65, on average have a life expectancy of 82. Americans who live to be 74 have a life expectancy of over 85. And the fastest growing group of people by percentage in the whole country are Americans over 80. Pretty soon, because of the Human Genome Project, young women will come home with babies from the hospital that will be born with a life expectancy of 90 years, which means that in the context of the 21st century, Mel is just entering middle age. (Laughter.) And we wish you a long and happy life. (Laughter and applause.)
I want to thank my friend and supporter and Representative Julia Carson. I'm glad to be able to come back here and also do some events for her this morning. She is unbelievable in Congress. Everybody up there loves her. And she's -- I told somebody that she may be an African American woman, but she has the political skills of an Arkansas Ozark sheriff when she's working the Congress. (Laughter.) She sort of sidles into a room; when she leaves she's got what she wants and nobody knows what they gave away until it's too late. (Laughter.) It's great. Thank you, Julia Carson, for doing a great job. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Bart Peterson. I was so thrilled when he got elected, and I'm glad he and Amy are here today. And I want to say a personal word of appreciation to Frank and Judy O'Bannon. I have enjoyed my friendship with them. They have visited with Hillary and me at the White House. I want you to make sure that this election goes very well for the Governor, because he has done very well by Indiana. You can be really proud of him. And I'm delighted to be here with him today. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to thank Joe Andrews, who has been a great Chair of the DNC. Joe, I have to tell you, when I woke up this morning and I looked outside on this beautiful piece of land, and the trees are all turning, and I realized how close we are to a golf course -- (laughter) -- I questioned your judgment in leaving Indiana and moving to Washington to deal with the sharks to be head of the DNC. But I'm real glad you did. You've done a great job, and I thank you and the Indiana people should be very proud of Joe Andrews. Thank you. (Applause.)
Now, I will be brief. I enjoyed visiting with all of you inside. I just wanted to say a couple of things. This election is very important -- the election -- Hillary's election for the Senate, in which you have helped immensely today, because she's doing well up there, I think she's going to win, but I don't want her to be out-spent three to one in the last two and a half weeks. And obviously, the people who opposed us all along are trying to give it one last shot before they give up and Hillary wins the Senate and I'm not in the White House. So we've had a pretty brisk fundraising opposition to deal with, too. So I'm very, very grateful to you for that.
But I also wanted to say that I think that as we come into the home stretch of this election, the only thing that concerns me about it is the repeated number of articles I keep reading which say that the undecided voters and the people who might decide not to vote are not quite sure whether this election makes a difference and what the differences between the candidates are for the various races they're considering.
And all I can tell you is that I think the election makes a huge difference and I can hardly remember a time when the differences between the candidates on the issues that will affect our families, our communities, and our children's futures were any more sharp. It is absolutely clear to me that if the American people -- the people in Indiana, just starting in your governor's race here -- if you understand the differences between the candidates and the consequences to families, communities, and the future, we win. If people are uncertain about the differences and the significance, then we're in trouble.
I met with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate and the House at the early part of this week, and I said, you know, you ought to look at yourselves as sort of a weather patrol -- clear, we win; cloudy, they do well. We've got to try to make the skies clear for people, they have to understand the choices.
And I would just say just two or three things this morning. Number one, Bren talked about the condition of the economy. And people ask me all the time, why is the economy doing so well and what did you do when you got in -- what new idea did you bring to Washington? And the truth is we did have some new ideas about how to make the most of technology and speed up the retraining of the American work force. We had some new ideas, but the main thing we brought to Washington was an old idea -- arithmetic.
People ask me all the time, what's your new idea -- arithmetic. Washington didn't practice arithmetic. They quadrupled the debt of America in the 12 years before I took office. Because they pretended that you could take two and two, make it add up to six. And it never has, and it never will.
Now, in some ways this may be the most significant difference to all of you in this race. It's a difference in the race for the Senate in New York; it is certainly a difference in the race for the presidency and the vice presidency. If you look at the leadership of Frank O'Bannon here, and Evan Bayh before him, one of the reasons I think the Democratic Party came back in Indiana is that they proved that you could be fiscally responsible, live within your means, run a good government, grow the economy, and also invest in education and in helping people. That's basically what we do, that's what we Democrats do.
And when I became President, the deficit was $295 billion. Do you know what it was supposed to be this year -- $455 billion. Instead we've got a $230 billion surplus. When I leave office, we will have paid down over $300 billion of the national debt. When I became President we were spending over 13 cents of every dollar you pay in taxes just paying interest on the debt. When I leave, we'll be down at or below 12 cents; we were going to be at 15 cents. And if you vote for Vice President Gore, we pay the debt off, you get rid of the third biggest item in the federal budget.
And that's why we can pay for more health care, more education, a more modest tax cut and still get rid of that debt. Arithmetic.
Now, the biggest difference here -- and it affects every one of you, from the wealthiest person here to the people who have served this wonderful meal this morning -- the biggest difference is their tax plan is three times bigger than ours. Actually, people who make under $100,000 a year almost all do better under ours. But theirs is three times bigger. So what difference does that make? If you spend -- if you have -- these numbers boggle the imagination, but if you think you're going to have about $2 trillion to spend, if you spend $1.5 trillion on a tax cut, and then you promise people you're going to give young people some of their Social Security payroll tax back to put in the stock market, but you're going to protect old people who are already drawing their Social Security and they won't lose anything, that costs another trillion dollars. And then you promise people several hundred billion dollars worth of spending, you know if you just take out all the zeroes you can add it up -- if you've got two to spend and you spend three -- that's the Republican proposal -- you're back in deficit. And that means higher interest rates and lower growth.
The Democratic plan will keep interest rates about a percent lower over a decade, every year. And let me just tell you what that means. You hear people talking about tax cuts these last two weeks -- one percent lower interest rates every year for a decade saves the American people $390 billion in home mortgage payments, $30 billion in car payments, $15 billion in college loan payments. That doesn't even count how much lower your credit cards will be, or the fact that will have lower-cost business loans, which will mean more expansion, a stronger economy, and a better stock market.
So we have a tax cut, all right; it's concentrated on helping people get tax relief to pay for college education, long-term care, child care, retirement savings, and to give people incentives to invest in the poor areas that aren't part of our prosperity yet. It isn't as big as theirs. We freely admit it. But the reason is we want to get rid of the debt. We think it's important. And we think low interest rates and a strong economy is the best tax cut we can give all Americans.
Now, that is a clear choice. People need to understand that. And it is a huge deal. I've worked as hard as I know how to turn this country around, pull this country together, and move this nation forward. And that is the single most important difference. Don't let anybody tell you there is no significant difference between these two economic plans.
And I know here in Indiana, where there are a lot of conservative people, they say, well, but Gore wants to spend more money than Bush. He does. But if you get rid of interest on the debt, you get rid of the third biggest item in the budget, and you quit paying interest payments on the debt, you can spend more money on education and health care and the environment and scientific research, and still have a tax cut because you're not -- you get rid of the third biggest item in the federal budget.
This is real important. People have got to understand this. All the work we have done in the last eight years can be reversed if you go back to big deficits. And I think if people understood that, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman would win -- don't you? So you need to talk to people about it. It's a big deal. It's one of the biggest issues in the New York Senate race and all over the country. Because we have proven that fiscal conservatism and social progress go hand in hand.
So we've cut the welfare rolls in half, partly because we have good welfare reform, but partly because we have a strong economy. And we have the number of people without health insurance going down, for the first time in a dozen years, partly because we have a program that helps insure children that the state runs and we send them the money to do it, but partly because we have a strong economy. We have a lower dropout rate in high school and a higher college-going rate than ever before in history, and test scores are going up, and there's a movement of more and more kids to take advance placement courses -- a huge increase in it -- partly because the education reforms are going in the right direction, but partly because we have a strong economy, which rewards higher levels of skill.
So I just would say to all of you, I think this is profoundly important. And if don't explain anything else to any of your neighbors and friends before they vote, tell them this is still about arithmetic. And the numbers have got to add up. Our numbers will, and theirs won't.
The second thing I want to say is I believe, in addition to economic policy, the central thing that we have done these last eight years that has helped move our country forward is to have an inclusive philosophy that everybody ought to be part of America's community -- that everybody counts, everybody ought to have a chance, we all do better when we help each other, and we can't afford to let anyone be either left behind or abused, and be the kind of country we want.
America is growing more diverse, it's getting more interesting, but as you see all around the world today, most of the troubles in the world come from people who can't get along with other folks who are different from them, because they think their differences are more important than their common humanity. So I have worked very hard on things I thought would even the scales in America and bring us together. And in each of these instances, our party is in one place, and their party is in another. And I'll just give you a couple of examples.
We're for raising the minimum wage, and they're not. We're for strengthening laws guaranteeing equal pay for women for equal work, and they're not. We're for a hate crimes bill that protects people against hate crimes and allows the federal government to come in and help local law enforcement when there have been crimes of hate against people -- like we saw in the case of James Byrd or Matthew Sheperd or these other highly-publicized cases around the country. And it's a big problem, and you see it in your part of the country.
So I just give you these examples. If you can see what I have seen around the world in the last eight years, you would know how important it is for us to learn to live together across the lines that divide us. When I flew to Egypt earlier this week, to try to help put an end to the violence in the Middle East, all the way over there I was just aching for these people, who I know. And I was thinking about the former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed because he was working for peace. And I thought how all these people have worked together for seven years and it can just be thrown away in a day or two because things happen that raise all their old demons again.
Four or five years ago, we had this horrible ethnic slaughter in Rwanda, in Africa, where the two tribal groups who had literally shared the same land that is Rwanda for 500 years, and on and off they'd had trouble, but they'd always managed it. And it wasn't like a lot of African countries where a hundred years ago the lines of the nations were redrawn artificially, and all these people that weren't used to living together were thrown together. These people had been living together on the same land for 500 years. And within a hundred days, over 700,000 people were killed -- without weapons. Basically, they did it all with machetes. Why? Because something set off this spark of fear and loathing among people who were different.
So that's the last point I want to make today. I know this is all kind of heavy for Saturday morning, but you need to think about it. If I were told -- if God came down tonight and said to me, you have to go, your time is up, but I'll give you one wish for America, believe it or not, I would not wish to continue our economic prosperity if I only had one wish. If I had one wish, I would wish for us to all get along together as one America, to be one community, to see our differences as interesting and fascinating, but not nearly as important as our common humanity.
Because the American people are smart and they're innovative, and the fact that we're growing more diverse is a gold mine of potential for us in a global society. But all over the world I see it over and over and over again -- whether it's in Northern Ireland, in the Middle East, or the Balkans, or Africa, you name it, most of the world's troubles stem from the fact that people are determined to see their differences as more important than their common humanity. And then they slip from that into distrust and hatred and dehumanization and violence. And it's a little, easy slope to fall down.
And one of the things that I think is important about being a Democrat in the 21st century is that we do believe everybody counts. We think the people who are serving us here ought to have the same chance to send our kids to college as we do -- their kids to college that we do. We think everybody should have a chance. We think the role of government is to give people the tools to make the most of their own lives. And we really believe that we all do better when we help each other.
We can only secure the independence of people which our Constitution guarantees if we recognize that we live in a world where we are increasingly interdependent, and life is going to be more interesting, but only if we can see our common humanity as more important than all those interesting differences.
So you just go out and tell people that. Tell people, our program adds up, and theirs doesn't; and ours will pull people together, and theirs won't. Those are two good reasons to stick with our side and to show up on election day.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 9:18 A.M. CDT