THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Indianapolis, Indiana) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 21, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT RALLY FOR REPRESENTATIVE JULIA CARSON Indianapolis State Fairgrounds Indianapolis, Indiana
10:48 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Wow! (Applause.) I'll tell you why I came here, because Julia Carson asked me, and I always do whatever she asks me to do. (Laughter and applause.) Because I learned very early I could do it right away or I could just wait and let her grind on me until I finally broke down and said yes. So I just say yes right away to Julia now -- (laughter) -- and it solves a lot of my problems. (Applause.)
Mr. Mayor, I'm glad to be back here in your city, and I'm very proud that you are now the Mayor of this great city. (Applause.) And I want to thank my longtime friend, Jeff Smillion (phonetic) for helping Julia Carson. We were friends before I ran for President, before I knew I was going to run for President I met him. He was just -- I was just what President Bush used to refer to as the governor of a small southern state -- (laughter) -- when we became friends. And I thank you for helping Julia. (Applause.)
Joe Andrew, I am so proud of you. He's got that riff down, doesn't he, old Joe does. (Applause.) I kind of wanted to run down here along the side and pass the plate when he was up there preaching. (Laughter.) We knew he was preaching to the saved, and so I thought we ought to take up an offering here. (Laughter.)
Let me say, I'm really proud of what the Democrats have done in Indiana. I'm proud of your great Governor -- (applause) -- and I want you to make sure he gets reelected. He deserves to be reelected. (Applause.) And I am very, very proud of your former Governor, Senator Evan Bayh, and what a great job he has done. (Applause.) We have also been friends for many, many years.
So this is a great day for me, to come here to thank the people from Indiana who have sent such fine people into public office --
AUDIENCE: We love you, Mr. President! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: -- and who have given us Julia Carson, who is truly one of a kind. Have you ever met anybody like Julia before in your whole life?
THE PRESIDENT: I tell this joke -- she's talking about what a unifying force the Democratic Party is -- Julia has got it all inside her. I told somebody, she may be an African American woman, but she reminds me of a redneck county judge when she works the room -- (laughter) -- she kind of sidles into these rooms in Washington, and all these self-important people are there in their expensive suits, using these big words. And then Julia sort of sidles out and she's got whatever it is she came in for, and they still don't know what happened. (Laughter.) I mean, it's amazing, you know. She's like a stealth bomber for Indiana in Washington. (Applause.)
She's got more moves than Larry Bird and Isaiah Thomas put together. She's got moves, man, people don't see that stuff. So, yes, I wanted to come here. I'm sorry I couldn't come before. You know what I was doing -- I was working on the peace process. (Applause.) But now -- wait a minute -- I want to say a couple of things seriously. We're all having a good time, but we all agree with each other, or you wouldn't be here. And here's what I want to say to you.
First, thank you. Thank you for helping me have a chance to serve the country for the last eight years. I'm grateful to you. (Applause.) Second, I have been reading as much as I could, while I've been running around the world and trying to get the Congress out of town, too -- I've been reading what I could about what the experts are saying about this election. And they say it's tight as ticks, and they say that there are a lot of undecided voters, and they say that there are a lot of voters who aren't sure what the differences are and what the consequences are to them, so maybe it doesn't matter for whom they vote or whether they vote.
Now, let me tell you something. I've done everything I could do for eight years to turn this country around, pull this country together, and move the country forward. (Applause.) Everything I could do. But in America, our public life is always about tomorrow. Always about -- that's why we're still around here, after 224 years, because we're always thinking about tomorrow. Now, look at where we were eight years ago and where we are now, and ask yourselves where we're going to go. I'm telling you, this is a huge election. You cannot afford for anybody to think that there aren't any differences and it doesn't matter whether they vote or for whom they vote.
And the interesting thing about this election to me is, from the elections for President and Vice President to the United States Senate -- and you know I've got a passing interest in that Senate race up in New York, I know something about that -- (laughter) -- to the races for governor and for Congress, all over the country you see the same things -- there are big differences; the differences will have real consequences; and only the Democrats want you to know what the differences are. What does that tell you about who you ought to vote for? (Applause.)
I see it everywhere. So you've got the other side trying to cloud the differences and blur them, and we have to clarify them. And I just want to say, look, eight years ago the country was in the ditch economically. Eight years later, we've got the longest economic expansion in history, the lowest unemployment in 30 years, 22 million new jobs, the lowest African American and Hispanic unemployment ever measured -- (applause) -- the lowest poverty rate in 20 years, the biggest drop in child poverty in 34 years. (Applause.)
Now, I got tickled -- you know, when our Republican friends were in, they took credit for everything that happened in America. They took credit when the sun came up. (Laughter.) One of their campaigns was, "it's morning in America." The sun came up in the morning, give it to us, we did it. (Laughter.) Now, everything that happens happens by accident. Did you listen to these debates? I thought Al Gore's best moment in the first debate was when his opponent said, I think Clinton-Gore got more out of the economy than the economy got out of Clinton-Gore. The American people did this, you know, we just sort of were there. And Al Gore said, well, you know, the American people did do this, but they were working hard eight years ago, too, and they weren't doing nearly as well. (Applause.)
So the first big question is, do you want to continue the prosperity, build on it, expand on it, to people and places that have been left behind, and lift up this whole country? (Applause.) Now, you've got to talk to people, because how could anybody not see this? Look, they're offering a tax cut that's three times the size of the one that we're offering. But most people making under $100,000 are better off under our proposal than theirs -- tax cuts to pay for college education, long-term care, child care, retirement savings, to get people to invest in the communities that have been left behind.
Now, theirs is three times bigger. And then they want to partially privatize Social Security, which means -- forget about whether you think it's a good idea or not, let's just talk about the arithmetic. There are a lot of problems with the idea, but forget about that, talk about the arithmetic. Everybody here under 40 -- let's say, under 45 -- can take 2 percent of your Social Security payroll tax, keep it and put it in an investment account. Everybody like me, starting next year, who will be 65 or over, gets a guarantee we're going to get it, just like they always promised it. Now, where's the money going to come from if you take away the money that they're going to pay my guarantee with? They've got to take that out of the surplus, too.
So they've got a tax cut three times bigger than ours, a trillion-dollar promise in Social Security to pay for the privatization, hundreds of billions of dollars in other promises. Look, folks, you need to tell people -- they want to know why we did well in America, because we brought arithmetic back to Washington. We made the numbers add up. These numbers don't add up. (Applause.)
And, look, this is a big deal. If you vote for a tax cut that big, and you privatize Social Security at a trillion dollars, you spend several hundred billion dollars of it, you're back in deficit. And do you know what that means? High interest rates. If you vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, Julia Carson, and our whole crowd, do you know what it means? You'll have interest rates about one percent lower a year for a decade.
Let me tell you what that amounts to in a tax cut. Listen to this -- one percent lower interest rates: $390 billion in lower home mortgages; $30 billion in lower car payments; $15 billion in lower college loan payments; lower credit card payments; lower business loans; means higher profits, more folks getting hired, more pay raises, and a higher stock market. Our tax cut for all is low interest rates that keep this economy going, and pay the debt off. (Applause.)
Now, this is very important. Did you watch the debate where their guy says, our guy is for big government, we're for big government? There's a real problem with that argument, besides the fact that it's not true -- it's manifestly not true. What do I mean by that? The size of the federal government today is the smallest it's been since 1960, when Dwight Eisenhower was President and John Kennedy was running for President. The federal government spending as a percentage of our economy is the smallest it's been since 1966. Why is that? We're paying down the debt.
The third biggest item in the budget for your tax money is the debt -- after Social Security and defense, the debt is the third highest sum in the budget. So we get rid of that, we can spend more on education, more on health care, pay for a tax cut, and still shrink the size of government. Vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Julia Carson, get the country out of debt, keep interest rates down, keep the economy going, keep moving forward. That's the issue. (Applause.)
Now, that's clear. But don't all of you know a lot of people who never will come to a rally like this? You do, don't you? You know, every one of you, you know a lot of people who love their country and they're going to vote on election day, but they'll never come to a rally like this. You need to tell them just what I told you.
The first thing is, if you like the prosperity and you want to keep it going, and you don't want us to go back into deficit, you've got to vote with us. We tried it their way for 12 years, we tried it our way for eight years -- our way works better than their way. We've got to keep going. (Applause.)
And now, the second thing I want to say is this. If you look at every other area of our national life, you'll find the same thing. Welfare; the rolls have been cut in half. Yes, if you're able-bodied and you can work, you've got to go to work. But we don't want you to hurt your kids, so we want more for child care, for education and training, for transportation. And it works, our deal works. Helping people be good parents and good workers makes good sense.
That's why we were for the Family and Medical Leave law. We think it ought to be expanded. Work and family. (Applause.) Our way works. (Applause.)
Crime -- what was our position on crime? Not what they say. They say we're weak on enforcement and all we want to do is take hunters' guns away. What a load of hooey. (Laughter.) You know, that's just a bunch of bull. (Laughter.) It might stir people up and get them some votes, but it has a real burden of being untrue.
What are the facts? What was our approach? Our approach was, put more cops on the street to prevent crime in the first place. Do more to take guns out of the hands of children and criminals. (Applause.) You can do that without interfering with the hunters and the sport shooters. Give kids something to say yes to, give them an after-school program, summer school program, and then punish the people that ought to be punished. Now, that's been our -- do you know what, now, look at the record. We have the lowest crime rate in 26 years, the lowest murder rate in 33 years. That is the record.
So what do they want to do? They want to stop our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children. They want to -- this is an explicit commitment -- they want to repeal our efforts to put over 100,000 police on our streets. And they just want to go back to talking tough again.
Well, look, we tried it their way, we tried it our way; our way works. (Applause.) And not a single Indiana hunter has missed a day in the deer woods, not a sports person has missed a single sporting event, but a half a million felons, fugitives and stalkers couldn't get a handgun because of the Brady Bill. It's a safer country, we're a better country. Our way works. (Applause.) We tried it their way, we tried it our way -- our way works. (Applause.)
You look at education. Compared to eight years ago, test scores are up, the dropout rate is down, the high school graduation rate is up, the college-going rate is at an all-time high. We went from 14 states to 49 states with strong academic standards that would be applied to all students in all schools. All states now have to identify schools that are failing and try to find some way to turn them around. So standards, accountability, and resources to help people meet the standards -- it's working. The teachers and the principals know how to turn around failing schools now.
Now, we know how to do this. We're finally moving this thing. We've had a a two-thirds increase in the number of kids taking advance placement tests, a 300 percent increase in Latino kids, a 500 percent increase for African American kids taking advance placement tests to go to college. Now, we know what we're doing here. (Applause.)
So what is Al Gore's program? What's the Democratic program? High standards and accountability, identify schools that are failing, and within two years turn them around or shut them down and reopen them under new management. But help them -- 100,000 more teachers; funds to build or modernize or repair schools; funds to train the teachers in the subjects that they're supposed to be teaching; and making sure that kids get a tax deduction for the cost of college tuition; and after-school and pre-school programs for all the kids who need it. (Applause.)
Why? Not because we're against accountability and standards, but because if you're going to lay standards on somebody, they've got to have a chance to meet the standards.
Now, what is their program? Their program is, accountability and block grants to states, and if they spend the money, fine; if they don't, fine; if they don't spend it well, we'll take it away from them. So if the schools get in trouble, our answer is spend even less on them. That's their side.
I think accountability-plus is better than accountability-minus. And we've had eight years of experience; we're moving in the right direction; our way works better than theirs. The American people have to choose that. (Applause.)
The same thing is true with every other issue. On the environment, we've got cleaner air, cleaner water, safer food; 90 percent of our kids immunized for the first time in history. We have proved you can grow the economy and clean up the environment. And we set aside more land than any administration since Theodore Roosevelt in permanent trust for the American people. (Applause.)
Al Gore says, vote for me and I'll build on that. His opponent says, vote for me and we'll relax some of their regulations; we'll get rid of the President's order protecting 40 million acres in national forests, we'll reduce some of these other things he's done, because you simply can't do this much and grow the economy.
Now, look, we tried it their way. Didn't we? And then they came in and tried to weaken the economy again; I vetoed it every time they tried it the last five years. (Applause.) And wait a minute. And you know, if I were trying to hurt the economy, I've done a poor job of it. (Laughter.)
So this is a serious deal. You can grow the economy and improve the environment. And believe me, in the future, the challenges will be bigger than the ones I've faced. You can't turn around on this. This is a big deal. This is a big deal. So you've got to go tell people this. You've got to say, look, look at where we were eight years ago, look at where we are today. The economy, crime, welfare, education, the environment, health care -- we've got people without insurance, that number, going down for the first time in a dozen years, because of the Children's Health Insurance Program that we have proposed and gotten out there and implemented. (Applause.)
Now, the country is going in the right direction. Now, here's the last point I want to make. You all were clapping when Joe Andrews did his shtick, you know, we don't care whether you're old or young, whether you walked in or wheeled in, and all that. That's really who we are. And it's the only thing about us that's more important than the economic policy, is that we think everybody counts, everybody ought to have a chance, we all do better when we help each other. That's what we believe. (Applause.)
Now, it's what I call one America. But there are lots of these one America issues out there, where there are real differences. You can go to your friends and neighbors and ask them with whom they agree. Our side, we're for raising the minimum wage; their side isn't. Our side, we're for stronger enforcement of equal pay laws for women, and their side isn't. Our side -- (applause.) Our side, we're for a Medicare prescription drug program so that every senior who needs access to affordable medicine can get it, and their side isn't. (Applause.)
Our side, we're for hate crimes legislation that protects people on the basis of race, gender, disability or sexual orientation from hate crimes. Nobody ought to be beat up, mauled, dragged or killed in this country because of who they are, if they're obeying the law. (Applause.) And their side isn't. (Applause.)
Now, that's it. So here's the deal. You can't let anybody not vote, or sort of stray away, because they think there's no consequence here, they think there are no differences here. We've actually had quite a nice election, free of personal recrimination, where we -- positive, that both these candidates for President and for Vice President are good, honorable, patriotic Americans who love their families and love their country and they're going to do what they say they're going to do.
And I can tell you this -- you know, the press likes to say that these politicians are always breaking their word, but the truth is every study shows that most Presidents pretty well do what they say they're going to do. Once in a while they break their word, and usually we're thankful they did. (Laughter.) Why? Roosevelt said he'd balance the budget, and that was a bad idea with 25 percent unemployment. And we're thankful that he gave us the New Deal instead. Lincoln, to get elected, said he wouldn't free the slaves, and we're awful glad he broke that promise. (Applause.)
So once in a great while a guy gets elected President and has to break a promise, and it makes -- but more often than not, Presidents do what they say they're going to do. You're going to have a very different Supreme Court, depending on which one of them gets elected. And it's not just about the right to choose, although it is about that. That will change, depending on what happens. It is also about the ability of the Congress of the United States to protect working people. There are all these -- and ordinary citizens, for all kinds of things. There's a revolution here, a debate, going on on the Supreme Court, and some of them want to go back to where they were in the 1930s --
THE PRESIDENT: Now, you've got to decide. But don't you let anybody tell you that there are no differences. And I just came out here to say, you know, if Indiana can elect Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon back to back, if Indianapolis can elect Bart Peterson, the first Democratic mayor in a month of Sundays -- (applause) -- if Indiana can send me Julia Carson -- (applause) -- to drive me crazy until I say yes to whatever she's asking -- (applause) -- if Indiana can provide us Joe Andrews, the spark plug of our national revival of the Democratic Party -- (applause) -- all of you, between now and election day, can find some people to talk to.
Look at all the people in this crowd here, this is a big crowd -- this crowd will talk to, collectively, 30,000-50,000-100,000 people between now and election day. Look around here. There are lots of folks here. Most of the people you will talk to will never come to an event like this. But they will vote, if they think it matters. And you need to go tell them -- your friends in Illinois, your friends in Michigan, your friends in Kentucky and all the states around here, all those states are big battleground states --look, if you want to keep the prosperity going, their deal won't pass the arithmetic test. It doesn't add up. You've got to stick with us. Look at where we were eight years ago and where we are now on welfare, crime, the environment, education, health care. We're moving in the right direction. Let's keep moving in the right direction.
Look at where we are on building one America, on hate crimes, on equal pay for women, on all these other issues. Look at this. If you want one America, if you want to move in the right direction, if you want to keep the prosperity going, you've got one choice -- you've got to be for our crowd: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Frank O'Bannon, Julia Carson, the people that helped to bring America back. You can do it, Indiana. Thank you and God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 11:15 A.M. CDT