THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(San Francisco, California)
For Immediate Release November 3, 2000
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT BY
STEVE HARVEY OF KKBT-FM'S "THE STEVE HARVEY MORNING SHOW"
(9:40 a.m. PST)
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Steve?
Q President Clinton.
THE PRESIDENT: How are you? We got cut off. I'm glad to hear your
Q How are you doing? It's okay. How are you doing, brother?
THE PRESIDENT: Great.
Q Great. Glad you could call, man. Sorry we missed each other.
You were in Los Angeles. I was supposed to meet you at an event. Sorry we
missed each other.
THE PRESIDENT: Are you in New York?
Q No, I'm in Los Angeles right now. Hello?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I can hear you fine.
Q Oh, yes. No, I'm in L.A. right now. We were supposed to meet at
an event a few weeks ago, and we got -- we missed our signal, so we didn't
hook up. But --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm sorry you missed you.
Q That's okay. We got in today. My publicist told me that you're
a big fan of mine. I just want to hear you say that out loud. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I am a big fan of yours, and I hear all the clapping
in the background, so I want to please everybody for you. (Applause.)
Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. That's all I needed to hear.
(Laughter and applause.) You just pretty much made my whole career.
President Clinton, we are fans of yours here, on The Beat. I cannot
speak for the entire radio station, but I know I am. I have always been a
fan of yours and your work and your community development towards the
African-American community. I have one question for you. I want to ask
you point blank, what can African-Americans and the Latino community expect
from the Democratic Party in regards to education and affirmative action?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think first of all, you can expect them to
build on the progress of the last eight years. Remember -- let's start
with affirmative action -- remember, there was a lot of pressure to
eliminate affirmative action, both from the Republican Party and from some
court decisions, which required us to change it. And we took the position
that we should mend it, not end it, and that's the position that Vice
President Gore has steadily defended. I noticed in his third debate that
he was the only candidate who would say that he was for affirmative action.
And I can tell you, we had long, long discussions about this. He
believes strongly in it. And I believe virtually every one of our
candidates for the Senate and the House does. I know that my wife, who is
running for the Senate in New York, strongly feels that way, and I believe
all the others do as well. So I think you can feel very good about that.
Q Now, also in terms of education for the same communities.
THE PRESIDENT: On the education issue, I think the choices are quite
clear here. The Vice President and all the Democratic candidates, first of
all, think that America ought to know our schools are getting better and
our students are doing better. Reading scores, math scores, science scores
are all up. In the last seven years, there has been a 500 percent increase
in African-American students taking advanced placement courses, a 300
percent increase in Latino students taking advanced placement courses. The
college-going rate is at an all-time high because we have pushed through
the Congress the biggest increase in student aid, from Pell Grants, to
work/study grants, to the Hope Scholarship tax credit in 50 years.
So what does Al Gore want to do? What do the rest of our Democrats
want to do? They want to finish the job of putting 100,000 qualified
teachers in our schools. They want to provide funds to poor school
districts especially, and growing school districts, to build new school
buildings and to overhaul others. They want to finish the work of
connecting all the schools in the country to the Internet and all the
classrooms. When Al Gore took on this project for our Administration in
1994, only 3 percent of the classrooms were connected. Today, 65 percent
of the classrooms are, and 90 percent of the poorest schools have at least
one Internet connection. So we want to do that.
He wants to provide universal preschool and more after-school programs
for the kids who need it, and he wants tax deductibility for college
tuition. Plus which, we have a Hispanic Education Action Plan that is
designed to deal with the fact that the dropout rate among Latino students
is still too high, and he has promised to build on that.
So we've got a very, very good education program. It's been our top
domestic priority, and I think you can really depend on the Vice President
to deliver. That's why both the major teachers' organizations have
endorsed him, and a lot of other educators around the country, because they
believe that we have a program based on the research and what the educators
And one final thing. He has got a good accountability program that we
ought to identify failing schools, turn them around, or open them under new
management. And all over America, you see these schools that were in
trouble just a couple of years ago that are turning around. I was in a
school in Harlem the other day where two years ago 80 percent of the
children were doing math and reading below grade level, and today
three-quarters of the kids are doing math and reading above or at grade
level. That's after only two years. So we've got a program that's working
out there at the grassroots. We need to bring it to all of America, and
you can trust Al Gore to do that. He cares a lot about it, and you can
trust the Democratic Party. It's our issue. We care about it.
Q Absolutely. Now, President, you were at the Baldwin Hills
Crenshaw Plaza on yesterday. Three thousand supporters came out. We thank
you for stopping by, lending your support to the campaign. We thank you
for all of the work you have done over the past eight years. And we do
applaud you in both of these directions, especially in terms of education
and affirmative action. We appreciate you so much. We know you're busy,
we know you're on a tight schedule. And hey, man, we just want to say
thank you for calling.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Steve. Let me say, I wanted to go
back to Watts, a place I've been visiting for many years now, to thank the
people of Watts, of L.A., and of California for being so good to me and
Hillary and Al and Tipper Gore these last eight years, and for proving that
we could turn America around economically, educationally, environmentally,
that we could provide more health insurance. And you know there's a lot of
laboratories of success there.
But I also wanted to emphasize that in California and throughout this
country, there are races for the Congress, for the Senate and the House,
which are also terribly important. They are just as close as the
presidential race. And if we can win a majority in the House and in the
Senate, we'll be in a position to really pull this country together and
move forward to build on the progress of the last eight years, to keep the
That's really why the young people of this country ought to get out
and vote, because we have come so far in the last eight years, but all the
best things are still out there. When Al Gore says, "You ain't seen
nothing yet," that's not just politics. We can turn the country around and
now we can make big, big strides in the economy, in education, in health
care, the environment, and pulling this country together. But we've got to
have the right leadership. And these House and Senate races are also very,
very, very important.
Q Yes. Quickly, Mr. President, after it's all over, when the
election is done and Gore is President and you finally, after eight very
successful years, step down, what do you see yourself doing, man? What do
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I've got to be an ordinary citizen
again and I've got to go out and make a living, so I'll do that. But what
I want to do is find a way to be a useful citizen, in a way that does not
in any manner interfere with the next President. Jimmy Carter has been a
very great ex-President; he's done a lot of good. I think that I'm young
enough that I could still do a lot of good, and I feel that I owe that to
the American people and the people I've worked with all around the world --
in Africa and Latin America and other places.
But I want to take a couple months off to rest, consider what my
options are, and then try to spend the rest of my life giving back in the
public interest, because I have been very blessed. I've gotten to live my
dreams, I've had a great life, and I just want to be helpful in any way
that I can, and I'll try to find some good things to do.
Q Well, I'll tell you, President, after it's all over, my T.V. show
ends on December 21st, and I've been working pretty much hard like a
president myself. (Laughter). I say me and you, man, get a fishing boat
and go on out there in the middle of the lake and do some bass fishing. I
know you're from Arkansas; I'm from West Virginia. You know something
about some fishing, I'm sure.
THE PRESIDENT: I do. I can still do that. (Laughter.)
Q We ought to hook up and go fishing.
THE PRESIDENT: It sounds like a good idea to me.
Q Steve and Bill on the boat. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's right.
Q Hey, thanks for calling, President. Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you just tell everybody to go vote so we'll feel
good when we go fishing instead of worrying about things. (Laughter.)
Q Well, you better believe that's what it's all about. We are
pushing hard to get out and vote on this coming election, and we're going
to do our very best to put Vice President Gore in office, because we can't
take the other side. We just can't take it. We just can't take it. I
will see to that.
Thank you for calling, President Clinton.
THE PRESIDENT: Bless you, Steve. Thank you.
Q Thank you. Absolutely. You all, one more time, the President of
the United States, Bill Clinton.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Bye-bye.