THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(San Francisco, California)
Immediate Release November 3, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT GET OUT THE VOTE RALLY
San Jose Civic Center
San Jose, California
3:43 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Are you ready to win this
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say, first, to all of you, how very glad I am
to be back in San Jose. (Applause.) I want to thank Mayor Gonzales and
all the people here who have always made me feel so welcome. I've had some
of my happiest days as a candidate and as a President in this part of the
wonderful state of California. (Applause.) Of course, my daughter has
lived near here for the last three years -- (applause.)
I was reminding Governor Davis that in 1992 we had 10,000 people at
San Jose State and it was the most exuberant rally in the entire campaign.
It was an amazing thing, I'll never forget it. (Applause.)
I'm delighted to be on the stage with all these folks today. Our
State Democratic Chair, Art Torres; your wonderful Representative in
Congress, Zoe Lofgren, I am so proud of her, I love being with her.
(Applause.) Secretary Norm Mineta, my great friend, what a credit he has
been to San Jose and all of California. You should be so proud of him.
And it means especially a lot to me that Willie Mays came here with me
today. He's been here with me so many times and I'm very grateful.
(Applause.) You know, one of the great things about -- we just had the
World Series, so I want to say this -- one of the great things about being
President is that if you have a particular interest, you can pretty much
get anybody who is involved in it to come and talk to you. (Laughter.)
I love music and I love sports. And I became a friend of Hank Aaron
who, as all of you know, owns the all-time home run record. So there was a
celebration of the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's
record in Atlanta. And Hank invited me to go down and I did. There were
12 Hall of Fame baseball players there. And so I said to Hank Aaron, who
is the greatest player you ever played with? He said, it's not even close
-- Willie Mays is the greatest baseball player who ever played.
I want to say, are there any students from San Jose State here?
(Applause.) I want all of you to know that when I landed in my helicopter
today, I had the enormous honor to meet your young football player, Neil
Parry, who was injured and lost his foot, and his family. They're in good
spirits. They've got their heads up. He told me he was going to play
football next year and he wanted me to come watch him and I told him, I'd
have some more time and I'd be honored to come back and see him.
I want to thank Gray Davis for being a truly astonishing governor. He
has gotten so much done in so little time. You should be very, very, very
proud of him. (Applause.) He has also been a true friend to me and a
loyal supporter of Vice President Gore, and we're going to celebrate here
Tuesday night, in no small measure because Gray Davis never blinked when
things looked bad, and now they look good all over America. Thank you,
Gray Davis. (Applause.)
And I'll just tell you, I am so proud of Mike Honda. We had a talk
the last -- this is the second time I've been in his district to campaign
for him, and we were talking about what it was like to be young and
Japanese in America when we made the terrible mistake of interning Japanese
Americans during the war.
One of those internment camps was in my home state. And I'll never
forget when I went back to Hawaii to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the
end of World War II, I met a veteran who told me that he was interned in a
camp in Arkansas. And he said, I may be the only person who came out
ahead, because I met my wife across the river in Mississippi -- they were
the only family that I knew who were Japanese Americans where I could get
what I thought was good food. (Laughter.)
So our country has come a long way in the last 50 years, and Mike
Honda is the embodiment of both that past and the bright future ahead of
us, and I thank you for helping him. (Applause.)
Look up here on this stage. Is this America or what? (Applause.)
You have a Latino party chair; an African American baseball legend;, a
Japanese American Secretary of Commerce; the daughter of a truck driver, as
she just said, in Congress -- they probably make more than people in
Congress do now -- Zoe Lofgren; a Japanese American candidate for Congress
-- (applause) -- and two representatives of the gray-haired white guys'
caucus. (Laughter and applause.) Is this America or what? (Applause.)
Look, I want to just take a few minutes -- you know, we're so
exuberant, we're all feeling good, and I could just give you a few applause
lines and we could scream for five minutes. (Applause.) But I want you to
give me a chance to speak with you seriously, just for a couple of minutes,
for the following reasons.
The presidential race is close, even though the Vice President has a
good lead in California. A lot of these Congress races are close. There
are five House seats we could pick up here in California if we won every
close one presently held by a Republican; and one where we have a truly
outstanding Congressman, Cal Dooley, who is in a tough race himself for
reelection -- one of the most outstanding people in the entire United
And what I want to say to all of you is that every one of you has
friends in this congressional district where Mike will be running; a little
south of here, where Lois Capps is running for reelection, one of the most
wonderful people I've ever known; and in other places where we have battles
here in California. Most of you have friends in other states, where the
outcome of the election is not yet clear. There are 12 or 15 states where
this election is still within two to three points.
And what I would like to ask you to do is to leave here not only
energized and determined to vote, but to leave here committed to talking to
as many people as you can between now and Tuesday -- in this congressional
district, throughout the state of California, and if you have friends or
family in other states. Because if you look at how many thousand people
there are here, you could easily touch 100,000 voters between now and
election day. And those 100,000 voters might make the difference.
In 1960, when President Kennedy, who inspired my generation -- I was
barely alive then -- (laughter) -- when President Kennedy inspired my
generation, he was elected by four-tenths of 1 percent of the vote --
100,000 votes in the entire country. Now, all of you, with no effort,
could touch 100,000 voters -- with no effort. That's less than 10 a day
for every person here. You could do it, easily.
And here's what I think you ought to say to them. Number one:
remember what it was like eight years ago, when the economy was in trouble,
the society was divided, there were riots in Los Angeles, the crime rate
was going up, the welfare rolls were going up, the number of people without
health insurance were going up, people were giving up on the schools. The
society was divided, and the political system in Washington seemed
absolutely tone deaf to it.
And you gave Al Gore and me a chance to go to Washington to put the
American people first, to create opportunity for every responsible citizen
in a community of all Americans. And it worked.
So what I want to say to you is, what's the problem? Why are the
races even close? Because things have been good for a long time. And
sometimes when they're good for a long time, people forget what they were
like before and they think there are no consequences to the decision before
them. Well, first one candidate sounds pretty good, then the other one
sounds pretty good. This sounds like a good idea but, on the other hand,
that sounds like a good idea.
Look, there are just three big questions in this race and I want to
tell you what they are and what the choice is. Everybody knows we've had
the longest economic expansion in history, but what not everybody knows is
it's the first one in 30 years where we all got to go along for the ride.
(Applause.) Now, what do I mean by that?
In the last eight years, Hispanic unemployment has been cut by more
than half, African-American unemployment in half, the lowest
African-American and Hispanic unemployment in history; poverty is at a
20-year low, child poverty is down 30 percent, poverty among seniors below
10 percent for the first time in our history; average income up 15 percent
-- over $5,000 -- over the last eight years after inflation. We're all
going along for the ride.
So the first question is: do you want to keep this prosperity going?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if you do, there's a choice. Now, if someone
asks you to explain it, how would you say it? This is the answer: with Al
Gore and Joe Lieberman and Mike Honda, you will get to keep the prosperity
going. Why? Because, number one, they'll keep paying the debt down, which
means interest rates will stay down and the economy will stay strong.
That's very important. Paying the debt down gives you lower interest
rates. What does that mean to all of you? Lower home mortgages, lower car
payments, lower college loan payments, lower credit card payments --
(applause) -- lower business loan payments, means more businesses, more
jobs, a higher stock market, the rich get richer, but so do the rest of
you. This is very important.
Then, with the money that's left, we will invest in education, health
care and the environment and give the American people a tax cut we can
afford for child care, for long-term care, for college tuition tax
deductions and for retirement. That's the Democratic plan. (Applause.)
So what's the choice? Look at the Republican plan. They have a tax
cut that's three times as big. It costs $1.6 trillion. And keep in mind
now the surplus is estimated to be $2 trillion. I'll be surprised if it's
that much, but that's the estimate today -- $2 trillion. So you can forget
about the zeroes and just remember 2. So they've got this big tax cut,
$1.6 trillion. Most of you would be better off under the Gore-Lieberman
plan. And some of the rest of us -- you know, if I get out and get lucky,
I would be better off under their plan in the short run. But it's not
right and here's why.
It's so big -- $1.6 trillion. Then, they want to partially privatize
Social Security. Now, that costs another trillion dollars. Why? Because
if all of you who are young take your payroll tax out and put it in the
stock market, they've still got to pay all of us that are 55 or over 100
percent of the benefits they promised. You can't spend the money twice, so
you have to put another trillion in. So that's 1.6 plus 1 trillion.
Then, they want to spend about a half a trillion dollars, .5. But the
surplus is only two.
Now, one point six, plus one, plus point five is three point one.
Three point one is bigger than two. It's all you have to remember.
What does that mean? That means that even though they spend less
money than Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Mike Honda will, they'll be -- on
education, on health care and on the environment, we'll still be back in
deficits. It means higher interest rates. It means you will pay more for
home mortgages, more for college loans, more for car payments, more for
credit cards, more for business loans. It means higher interest rates,
more inflation and a slower economy. This is not complicated.
But you need to be able to explain to people. I get the feeling
people think, well, this one sounds good, that one sounds good. This is a
huge choice. We tried it our way for eight years. Then we tried it the
deficit way before for 12 years. Our way works better. Go tell the
American people if you want to keep the prosperity going, you've got to do
Now, here's the second point. It's not just about prosperity. We're
not just better off; this country is better than it was eight years ago.
What do I mean by that? Listen. The crime rate has gone down every year,
to a 26-year low. The welfare rolls have been cut in half, to a 32-year
low. Teen pregnancy is down, teen drug abuse is down. The number of
people without health insurance is down for the first time in 12 years,
thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program.
The environment is up. The air is cleaner, the water is cleaner.
We've cleaned up three times as many toxic waste dumps in eight years as
they did in 12, and set aside more land permanently than any administration
since Theodore Roosevelt a hundred years ago. (Applause.)
Now, finally, the schools are getting better, education is getting
batter. On all the -- the national test scores show reading scores are up,
math scores are up, science scores are up. The dropout rate is down, the
college-going rate is at an all-time high thanks, in part, to the biggest
expansion of college aid under our administration in 50 years. (Applause.)
So we're moving in the right direction.
So here's the second question. Do you want to keep the progress of
the last eight years going? (Applause.) Now, just like on the economy,
you have a choice. If you vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Mike
Honda, in health care, you get a patients' bill of rights, you get a
Medicare drug benefit for all the seniors who need it, you get more health
care coverage for children and lower income working families that can't
afford it. You get a commitment to a clean environment, including a clean
energy conservation future. You get more police on the street. You get
100,000 more teachers in the classroom and funds to build or modernize
schools all across America where they're in trouble. (Applause.) And you
get a tax deduction for the cost of college tuition. (Applause.)
Now, the other party, from top to bottom, has committed to do the
following: to abolish the 100,000 police program and oppose our common
sense gun safety measures, to abolish the 100,000 teacher program before we
finish that. They're against the real patients' bill of rights and against
the Medicare drug program that all our seniors can buy into. And they
don't agree with our clean energy conservation future. They think we can
drill our way out of the hole we're in.
Now, it's not like there's not a choice. But if you want to build on
the prosperity and the progress of the last eight years, you only have one
choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Mike Honda. (Applause.)
Now, here's question number three. Now, here is the third big
question. And in some ways, it's the most important of all, although it's
not as high on the political radar screen. It is whether we're going to
continue to build one America, where every law-abiding citizen feels a
part, an equal part, and feels that the government in Washington --
especially in the White House, but also in the Congress -- is on their side
and even when I don't agree with you, I have a listening ear.
I have tried to make you feel that the White House was your house
these last eight years. (Applause.) Without regard to your race, your
religion, your gender, whether you were straight or gay, whether you were
Native American or European-American or whatever, I tried to make the
American people feel that they had someone in the White House who was
looking out for them.
Now, what did we do? The family leave law; mending but not ending
affirmative action; fighting for fairness for immigrants and for civil
rights, fighting for AmeriCorps, which is active here in San Jose and all
across America. (Applause.)
Now, there's a choice here. If you vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman
and Mike Honda, in the area of one America you get people who want to pass
hate crimes legislation, employment nondiscrimination legislation, equal
pay for women legislation -- (applause) -- and a Supreme Court that will
defend civil rights, human rights and a woman's right to choose.
In every area -- in every area, our friends in the other party are
against the strong hate crimes bill, against the employment
nondiscrimination bill, against the bill to strengthen equal pay for women,
and they have made it clear that the Supreme Court they want is a very
So it's not like there is no choice. But, you see, that's what's so
frustrating. Because if everyone knew what the choice was and understood
the consequences, we'd win. That's why I asked you when I started to
listen and not just cheer, and to spend every moment you can in the next
four days talking to your friends who would never come to a rally like
this, but will vote or would vote if they knew what was at stake -- not
only here, but throughout the state and throughout the nation; it is worth
So now you know, you can call people and say, look, there are three
big questions here. Do you want to keep the prosperity going, do you want
to keep the progress going, do you want to keep building one America?
If you look at California, you see a picture of tomorrow's America.
(Applause.) And believe me, if you think about the scientific and
technological changes and the demographic changes here, these kids that are
here in this audience today are going to live in the most exciting,
prosperous, interesting time in the history of the world. (Applause.)
More than anything else, this election is for them. And I'm glad
there are so many young people here today, because this is your election
and your future and your century. (Applause.)
So will you do this for the next four days? Will you go out and call
your friends and talk to your friends? (Applause.) And just tell them, if
you want to keep the prosperity going, if you want to keep the progress
going, if you want to keep building one America, there is only one choice:
Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Mike Honda.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
END 4:05 P.M. PST