THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT FOR THE TOM JOYNER MORNING SHOW
9:30 A.M. EST
Q Four more years! Four more years! (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: What I want to know is, where did you make that ad where you walk in the White House and the house comes down?
Q This is an ad that runs in Washington for our radio station.
THE PRESIDENT: Do your listeners know that you actually tore the White House down? Do they know that? (Laughter.) Have you concealed that from them? (Laughter.)
Q You watched that, huh?
THE PRESIDENT: I do.
Q We have a commercial that runs in the Washington area where -- anyway. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: He walks into a mock-up of the White House and it comes down. (Laughter.)
Q I'm glad you watched that. I'm glad to know that you listen to the show.
THE PRESIDENT: I keep up with you.
Q Thank you, sir. And we keep up with you, too, and sincerely, it would be nice if we could get four more years from you. It's been a good eight years for us.
THE PRESIDENT: But you can get the next best thing. I'll tell you, we've got to win this election and I feel very strongly that we're going to win it if our folks vote. All these polls that show it close and show Governor Bush a point or two ahead, all those polls are premised on an assumption that African American and Hispanic voters and first generation immigrants will not vote in the same percentages that the Republican base will vote. That's what they're premised on.
I remember in Mississippi last year, where the African American vote equalled the white vote, for the first time ever, a Democratic candidate for governor was elected by 6,300 votes. And he was six points behind in the polls. So that's what -- the power here is with the young people and with the folks that have done well in these last eight years.
One of the things that I want to point out that I'm proudest of is that we fought for policies -- and Al Gore fought for policies -- that would guarantee that when this economy came back, for the first time in 30 years, it wouldn't just be the wealthiest Americans who would do well -- they would do well, but everybody else would do well, too. Average income has gone up by over $5,000 in this country, and African American unemployment is at the lowest point in history. And I think that alone is a good argument to stick with this economic policy. Especially when the alternative is going back to deficits and under-investing in education.
Q And, Mr. President, history has shown that with the votes that have -- or with the election such as 1960 and even '68, how just one vote in maybe a ward or two would have made a difference and turned history around then, too.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, absolutely. John Kennedy won by .4 of 1 percent. Hubert Humphrey lost by a percent. Jimmy Carter won by a percent, one vote out of a hundred. And this race could well be that close. And I can tell you there are at least five states today that are within 1 percent. There are another five states that are within 2 percent. That's how close this election is.
Q And the Republicans are buying spots for Ralph Nader in some of these states.
THE PRESIDENT: They are buying spots for Nader? What does that tell you?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, one of the things that bothers me is that I think young people have the biggest stake in this election and may feel alienated from it because so much of the debate has been about Social Security and Medicare drug programs for seniors. But I'd like to make a couple of points about that for young people.
First of all, I'm the oldest of the baby boomers. I'm 54 years old. And one of the reasons that young people should care about this debate is all the people my age are very worried that when we retire -- that is, people between the ages of 36 and 54, that's the baby boom -- when we retire we don't want to impose a burden on our children and on our grandchildren. So that's a big issue. So when Al Gore says, I'll put 20 years on the life of Social Security, and his opponent says, I'll take a trillion dollars out of the Social Security trust fund, that's a big difference there. And it's important.
But also, our administration has a good environmental record. That's going to be more important for the future. Al Gore knows more about technology, how to maximize the benefits of the Internet, how to close the digital divide, how to create new economic opportunities in underserved areas, areas that still haven't fully felt the prosperity, which is a big issue. He's worked on that for eight years now through our empowerment zones. And we've got a plan to get billions and billions of dollars in investment in new businesses and new jobs in the areas that still have unemployment that is too high or income that's too low. So I think the young people have the biggest stake of all in this election.
Q And also, when you think about the Supreme Court, sir, and what --
THE PRESIDENT: Huge issue.
Q -- you've done with the Supreme Court and the ability to carry on into the next --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I only got two appointments, I regret to say, but they have upheld civil rights and they've upheld a woman's right to choose, and they've upheld the right of the national government to protect the interest of the American people. But there are -- we're one vote away from reversing Roe v. Wade. And we are dangerously close to something that could be even more severe -- we're dangerously close to a permanent majority on this Court that will restrict the ability of the United States government, both the President and the Congress, to protect the American people in fundamental ways.
This Court had five votes to invalidate a provision of the Brady Bill, which is the background check law on handguns, because it required the states to help. They invalidated a section of the Violence Against Women law because it required the states to help. They invalidated a provision of a law against age discrimination. I mean, so I cannot -- the American people have probably no idea how important that is.
And one other thing I'd like to say -- we've got a chance to win the House and the Senate. But if we don't, there needs to be somebody here in the White House to restrain this Republican Congress. Let's not forget all the things they've tried to do that I stopped. They tried to shut down the Department of Education. They had the biggest education cuts in history, the biggest environmental cuts in history. They've tried to pass all kinds of restrictions on our ability to protect the health and safety of people in the workplace. So that's another big point.
Q They turned your hair from black to white.
THE PRESIDENT: They turned my hair from black to white. I earned every one of these grey hairs. (Laughter.)
Q And wouldn't it be nice to have two Democratic senators from the great state of New York?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that would be really nice. You know, I'm really proud of Hillary, and I knew that she was doing well when her opponent made 500,000 phone calls accusing her of being tied to terrorists. That was really sinking to the bottom of the barrel. (Laughter.) And I think she's got that turned around.
She's up there trying to run on the issues. I mean, I think that if people care about education, if they care about child care, if they think about balancing work and family, if they want younger people, as well as older people, to have access to health insurance, people like Hillary and Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, those are the kind of people we need to be promoting, because this country is in great shape, but we need to build on what we've got, not reverse it.
Q That's right, sir. And, sir, I'm going to say it now because I probably won't get a chance to say it before you leave office. We're going to really miss you.
Q Thank you so much, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hope you'll -- you know, call me now and then. We'll still talk on the radio. (Laughter.) You may be the only guy who wants to talk to me when I'm not President anymore. (Laughter.)
Q I know, because now the Republicans don't even want you to practice law. They've tried to hold that up on you, too.
THE PRESIDENT: I know. Well, they tell me that after the -- for three or four months I'll be lost when I leave office because when I walk in a room nobody will play a song anymore. (Laughter.)
Q We'll play a song for you --
Q We'll play some old school -- yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: -- one of your songs for Hail To The Chief -- how's that?
Q There you go.
Q Because we know what you like. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You've got a deal.
Q All right, President Clinton.
THE PRESIDENT: Again, I just want to say I hope everybody listens -- you've got to show up Tuesday. You've got to be there. I mean, this election is every bit as important as the one that elected me in 1992. We've turned the country around. The last thing we need to do is go in reverse.
Q All right. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Bye-bye.
END 9:40 A.M. EST