THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Santa Monica, California)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT REPRESENTATIVE CAL DOOLEY FOR CONGRESS RECEPTION Private Residence Beverly Hills, California
8:35 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to be here tonight. What Cal Dooley told you is true -- he represents a totally different district, lots of big farms. Some of the farms in Cal's district are almost as large as Haim's and Cheryl's back yard. (Laughter.) Yes, Cal said he he'll bring a tractor next time he comes to see you here. (Laughter.)
I want to thank all of you for being here, and thank Governor Davis and Sharon -- they've been with me all day today. We had a meeting with people who are working on the Coordinated Campaign and then we went to an event for Gerrie Shipske. Before that, we went to a great rally in Watts today and we had a really good time, trying to stir the voters up. And I'm honored to be here tonight with Cal and Lou Dooley. And I thank the other members of Congress who are here: Representatives Waxman, Berman and Becerra, my friends and partners; Hilda Solis, who will soon be with us in Congress; and Jim Costa (phonetic), whom I've known for many years.
I was supposed to do this before, and I had to go to the Middle East, we had to put this off. And I wanted to come back to answer Governor Davis' call, trying to make sure that we did as much as we could, not only to make sure that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman would get California's 54 electoral votes and not have to come back in the 11th hour, but also to help the members of Congress who are running here.
We have a bona fide chance in five districts now held by Republicans. And we have a real contest in Cal Dooley's district, because it's a rural agricultural district and a lot of American voting is cultural. And a lot of the folks in Cal's district like him, but they're sort of not acculturated to voting for Democrats yet. (Laughter.) You know, they still give Republicans the rhetorical credit, even though they quadrupled the debt and we got rid of the deficit, you know, there is a disconnect there. But it's a real challenge for him. And he has a formidable opponent who's got a lot of money.
You know, this is the first time in 26 years I've not been on the ballot. I'm not running for anything, for the first time since 1974. And it gives me a certain amount of freedom to say what I think, although I'm trying not to be so free that I imperil either my wife or the Vice President in the election -- (laughter) -- about saying what I think.
But I want you to know, I really wanted to be here tonight. I'm crazy about Cal Dooley and about his wife. And I feel so grateful that we have people like him who can represent the Democratic Party to rural America, to people who are culturally far more conservative than most of the people in Los Angeles, but who have the same real long-term values and interests that the rest of us do.
And I have always believed that to succeed over the long run, the Democratic Party would have to prove that we could be fiscally responsible and compassionate, that we could be pro business and pro labor, that we could be pro economic growth and pro environmental preservation.
We have to be a unifying force in the country. And Cal Dooley is all that. We've worked together for years on the Democratic Leadership Council. There is a reason the farm workers endorsed him, because he cares about every poor kid in his district and believes every single one of them -- every boy and girl -- ought to have a chance to live their dreams. And there is a reason that the chairman of Commerce endorsed him, because he's been an integral part of the new economy that we've worked so hard to build.
People ask me all the time what we did to turn the economy around. We had just three simple ideas. One, get rid of the deficit, it's killing us on interest rates and it's hurting the private economy. Two, sell more American products and services around the world. And, three, invest more in the capacity of the American people.
And the one area -- it's no secret to anybody that I have not yet succeeded in convincing a vast majority of my party in Congress I was right in was on the second area, the trade area. But Cal Dooley was with me because he could see the farmers that he represented needing those markets, and he could see the positive side of that. I will always be grateful to him for that, because I am convinced that we've done a lot in the last eight years to build a modern economy.
But I just want to make -- I want to close with three quick points, because I know it's late, and a lot of you don't live in this district, but you may live in districts where some of these other people are running, where we've got a chance to win. It's amazing how close all these races are. And in the presidential race there are probably a dozen states that are within two points.
Now, if you look at where we were eight years ago and where we are today, with the economy, with the declining crime rate and improving environment, improving schools, improving health care, it is not rational that -- are you going to take him off? That's okay. I gave a speech once and my father-in-law had a heart attack during it. (Laughter.) He was rushed to the hospital and had a quadruple heart bypass, and when he woke up, I told him it wasn't that good a speech. (Laughter.)
But let me just say this. If you live in any of these places, I can't tell you how close these races are. And I just want you to go out and tell people that there are differences between the parties, they have grave consequences for our future. And if you want to keep the prosperity going and the social progress going, you'd better vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Cal Dooley or whoever else is your representative in Congress and Dianne Feinstein.
Because, believe me, the great achievement of the last eight years is that we have shown again we can all go forward together. We have more millionaires and more billionaires than we ever had before, but we also had, the first time in history, average income has topped $40,000 with 15 percent increase in earnings.
So we can do this. Thank you for your money. If you can give Cal Dooley any more money, you ought to give him some more money. (Laughter.) But I'm telling you, this man is very, very important to the national Democratic Party. He helps us reach out to people who normally aren't for us, he forces all of our members to think, he brings people together in unique and powerful ways, and he needs to be here. He is a very, very special person, and I'm grateful.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 8:43 P.M. PST