THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release November 4, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT GET OUT THE VOTE RALLY
Long Island University
Brooklyn, New York
7:53 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Are you ready to win this election?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming out, thank you for your warm
welcome. I want to thank the President and Mrs. Steinberg and Provost Gale
Stevens for welcoming me here to LIU, along with your student body
president, who is also there. (Applause.) I want to thank my good friend,
Carl McCall, for making these stops with me today and for all the support
he has given to Hillary and the superb job he has done for the people of
New York. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Judith Hope for taking over the Democratic Party
when we were not in very good shape and working her heart out and for
showing such leadership. (Applause.) And my Brooklyn buddies over here.
In early 1992, when only my mother thought I could be elected
President -- (laughter) -- Clarence, Norman and Major Owens were there for
me and I will never, ever, ever forget it. (Applause.) Thank you and God
You know, this has been a great day for me to go around and campaign
for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and for Hillary, to go to the Bronx, which
has also been very good to me, to go down to Harlem with Charlie Rangel,
who will be the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee if we
win this election. (Applause.)
But I am honored to finish in Brooklyn because, as you heard Major and
Clarence say, New York City has been wonderful to me and to Al Gore these
last eight years. Shoot, we've even gotten a pretty good vote out on
Staten Island. (Applause.) Queens has been great, the Bronx has been
great, Manhattan has been fabulous, but Brooklyn always came in first and
gave us the biggest -- (applause) -- and I thank you for that. (Applause.)
But I also am glad to be here at LIU and to have so many -- (applause)
-- soccer, softball, volleyball -- (applause) -- I'm glad to be here
because, fundamentally, this is a race about the future, it's a race about
21st century America, and the young people in this audience have more at
stake than anyone else.
So I know you're all committed or you wouldn't be here. And it's easy
for me to just sort of give you one applause line after another. But I
want to ask you as a personal favor to just let me talk to you for a few
minutes in a conversation. Why? Because the election is still a few days
away and because there are thousands upon thousands of people in New York
and many of you have friends in other states who haven't even decided
whether to vote yet, much less for whom to vote. All that talk about the
base, that's a fancy way of saying if the people that are for our side
actually show up and vote, we will win. If a higher percentage of the
people that are for their side show up and vote, then we could lose, even
if most people are really for us.
And so what I want to ask you to do when you leave here tonight is to
take some time tomorrow, and the next day, and the all way through election
day to tell people why they ought to vote -- especially the young people --
what the stakes are, what the choice is and what the consequences are. I
don't have any doubt in the world that if people really understand what
this election is about, and what the honest differences are, that we will
So here's what I'd like for you to say. First of all, remember what
it was like eight years ago. It's hard for a lot of younger voters to
remember this. (Applause.) The economy was in the dumps, the society was
divided, the political system was completely unresponsive. Al Gore and I
came to the American people and we asked you to give us a chance to put the
American people first, to provide opportunity for every responsible citizen
in a community of all the American people -- and I mean all, never mind
your race, your ethnic background, whether you're an immigrant or
native-born, never mind whether you're old or young, rich or poor, straight
or gay, disabled or physically unchallenged. If you work hard and you obey
the law, you're part of our America and part of our American family, and we
want you to go forward with us. (Applause.)
Congressman Greg Meeks, give him a big hand there, come on up, from
Queens. (Applause.) You were just with Hillary? Good for you. (Laughter
Now, look, so eight years ago we did that. We came in, you gave us a
chance. And it's a different country now. It's a totally different
country. (Applause.) We have the longest economic expansion in history,
22 million new jobs. So here's the first question: do you want to keep
building on this prosperity and extend it to the people who haven't felt it
yet? Do you want to keep it going?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's the first question you ought to ask every
voter. If somebody tells you, oh, it doesn't make any difference whether I
vote or not. Think about where we were eight years ago and look at where
we are now economically. And if you want to build on it and extend this
prosperity to the people that have been left behind, then you've got a
choice: Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary, Major and Greg. You know
what our position is? How do you keep it going? First, keep paying the
debt down to keep interest rates down. Why is that important to you?
Because if you keep interest rates down it means that you pay lower home
mortgage payments, lower car payments, lower college loan payments, lower
credit card payments, lower business loan payments. (Applause.) It means
more jobs, higher income, a bigger stock market, a growing economy.
(Applause.) They quadrupled the debt and we're paying it down.
Then we say, let's take the money that's left and invest it in the
education and health care of our people and our environment, in building
our community and in a tax cut we can afford -- for child care, long-term
care, college tuition costs, retirement. (Applause.)
They say that we're not giving you a big enough tax cut, and they're
promising you the moon right up front. They offer a tax cut three times as
big as ours -- although, most of you would actually get more money under
ours -- and then they say, in addition to that, for all you young people
we're going to privatize Social Security, we're going to let you take 2
percent of your payroll tax and invest in the stock market and you'll make
more money. And then they say to people my age and older, but don't worry,
we're going to give you all your benefits. They're going to take the money
out and we're still going to pay you your benefit. And then they say
here's some money we'd like to spend.
Now, look, here's the first big difference -- this is a huge deal for
you, especially you young people. Difference number one: people ask me
all the time, what great new idea did you bring to economic policymaking in
Washington, to help turn this economy around? And I always have a one-word
answer: arithmetic. (Laughter and applause.) Not algebra, not
trigonometry, not calculus -- arithmetic. Anybody in elementary school can
do this math. Follow this.
They project, the government does, the Republicans do, a surplus of
abut $2 trillion over the next decade. And that's a lot of money, but
forget the zeros, just say two. Now, they acknowledge that their tax cut
plus the interest cost associated with it is three-quarters of that -- one
point six. And then they want to privatize Social Security. And as the
Vice President keeps pointing out, you can't give the same trillion dollars
So if you young folks take your trillion out, it's not going to be
there to pay my Social Security check, right? So that money has got to
come from somewhere. That costs a trillion dollars, one. And then they
want to spend a little money, too, half a trillion dollars. That's point
five. Now, there's a $2 trillion surplus. They propose to spend one point
six, plus one, plus point five, or three point one. Three point one is
bigger than two. (Laughter and applause.)
That's it. This is not rocket science. That's it. If you do that,
you're back in debt, you've got higher interest rates. You pay more for
college loans, home mortgages, car payments, credit card payments.
Businesses pay more to borrow money, therefore they hire fewer people and
the stock market doesn't grow as much and nobody makes as much money and
the economy doesn't grow like it would. This is a huge difference.
So we say our leaders, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary, Greg and
Major, they say, look, we'd like to give you more but it's not fair; you
can't do it all at once. You just can't take the money and run. We've got
to keep this economy going. So question number one, if you want to keep
the prosperity going, you just have one choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman,
Hillary, Major and Greg. (Applause.)
Okay. Second question. This is not just a country that's better off,
this is a better country. Crime at a 26-year low; the number of people
without health insurance going down for the first time in 12 years; 2.5
million more kids with health insurance; the environment getting cleaner,
we've tripled the number of toxic waste sites we've cleaned up over what
they did in 12 years. We have cleaner air, cleaner water, safer drinking
water, and we set aside more land for internal protection than any
administration since Theodore Roosevelt almost a hundred years ago.
The schools are getting better. On the national test scores, the math
scores are up, the reading scores are up, the science scores are up, the
dropout rate is down. African American high school graduation rate was
almost exactly equal to white high school graduation rate last year for the
first time in history. (Applause.) The college-going rate is at an
all-time high, thanks in part to the biggest increase in college aid in 50
years under this administration. (Applause.)
Now, second question: do you want to build on this progress and not
reverse it? Don't you want to do better? (Applause.) Wouldn't you like
it if our streets were safer, our environment was cleaner, we had more
people with health insurance and we had even more educational opportunities
and more of our schools worked well? If you do, you've got a choice. Al
Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and our Democrats in the House, do you know
what they want? They want, number one, on crime, to keep putting more
police on the street, keep taking steps to get guns out of the hands of
criminals and kids.
Number two, they want a clean energy future, so that you don't have to
worry sick in New York every winter about whether you'll have enough home
heating oil or whether if you've got it, you can afford it. (Applause.)
Number three, they want to continue to insure more kids, until all kids are
insured, then they're working parents are insured. We pass a patients'
bill of rights and a Medicare prescription drug program for all the seniors
in this country who need that. (Applause.)
Number four, they want to keep working on the schools. You heard
Major talking about that. If we win a majority in the House, he'll be the
head of the Education Subcommittee and I won't have to worry about
education anymore. (Applause.) What do we want to do with schools?
Universal pre-school and after-school for all the kids who need it; smaller
classes in the early grades, with 100,000 new teachers; school construction
funds to build schools and repair schools, so kids are not going to
sub-standard schools and they have the facilities they need to get a good
education; funds to help turn around failing schools and a tax deduction
for the cost of college tuition. That's our program. (Applause.)
Now, you've got a choice. You have a choice. What does the other
side want? Here's what they promise to do. On crime, they promise to
repeal our program to put 100,000 police on the street. It works -- never
mind that, they're still going to repeal it. They say the federal
government shouldn't be doing it, even if our streets are safer.
In education, they promise to repeal our commitment to putting 100,000
teaches in the classroom. They don't support what we want to do on school
construction or universal pre-school or after-school or tax deductibility
for college tuition. On the environment they think the only answer is to
drill more oil, they don't believe in what we're trying to do with
alternative energy and energy conservation. And in health care they do not
support the patients' bill of rights or the Medicare drug program for all
of our seniors, or the plans we have to expand coverage to children and
their parents. You couldn't have a bigger choice.
Now, you can either build on the progress of the last eight years or
reverse a lot of it. But if you want to build on it, you've only got one
choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary, Major and Greg. (Applause.)
Here's the third question. We're going to do this at the end one more
time, because I want you to do this to people. You look at this crowd.
The people in this room could reach another hundred thousand voters between
now and election day with no sweat. Most of the people you know have never
come to a rally like this, isn't that right? Most of you have friends who
have never come to a rally like this.
This is Saturday night. Most of the kids here probably have friends
who wonder what you're doing at a rally like this on Saturday night. Is
that right? (Laughter and applause.) Okay, so this is your job. When you
leave here, you've got to be able to do this.
The third point is, maybe the most important of all, is that in the
last eight years, we have not only made economic and social progress, we
have grown together as one America. The thing that's most important about
this economic expansion is that it helped everybody. We have the lowest
Latino and African-American unemployment ever recorded; average incomes are
up over $5,000 after inflation; senior poverty is down below 10 percent for
the first time ever; child poverty down 30 percent; overall poverty at a
20-year low; welfare rolls at a 32-year low, cut in half.
We're going forward together. It wasn't just that rich people made
more money, middle class people and lower income working people did, too.
And we need to keep going forward together. And it wasn't just about
When the Republicans urged us to end affirmative action, we said,
don't end it, mend it, and we kept it. (Applause.) We continue to enforce
the civil rights laws and involve people in the work of the government, all
kinds of people. And to try to break down barriers of discrimination.
Now, if you want to keep building one America, you've got a huge
choice here. And I'll just give you a few of the issues. You've got a
huge choice here. And I'll just give you a few of the issues.
Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and our crowd, here's what they're for
-- just listen to this: hate crimes legislation, employment
nondiscrimination legislation. (Applause.) Legislation to guarantee equal
pay for women in the work force. (Applause.) Legislation to guarantee
fair treatment for legal immigrants, no matter where they're from.
(Applause.) And Supreme Court and federal court appointments that will
protect civil rights, human rights and a woman's right to choose.
Now, in every one of these issues, in every single one of these
issues, the leaders of the other party have a different position -- every
one of them. No on hate crimes, no unemployment nondiscrimination, no on
the equal pay law for women, no on the court appointments to protect a
woman's right to choose -- every one of them a different position.
So if somebody tells you that, why should they vote, there's no real
difference, you have to say, oh, no. If you want to keep the prosperity
going and build on it, if you want to keep the social progress going and
build on it, if you want to keep building one America, you only have one
choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary, Major and Greg. (Applause.)
Now, let me ask you this: don't you believe if you told everybody you
knew of voting age just what I told you and what the three big issues were
in the election, that the overwhelming majority of them would vote for Al
Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary? Don't you believe that? (Applause.)
So I want you to think about this.
A lot of you have friends in neighboring states that are close in the
presidential election. A lot of you have friends here in New York who are
trying to decide whether they should vote. A lot of you have friends who
say, oh, I just saw a couple of TV ads, it's all just a mess to me; I don't
know what the deal is here. You've got to tell them what the deal is.
This is a big thing. And young people have the biggest stake of all in
Even when it comes to preserving Social Security, you've got a big
stake. Why? Because when people my age retire, the baby boomers, there
will only be two people working for every one person drawing Social
Security. The reason we want to preserve Social Security is not just for
us, it's so our retirement does not bankrupt our kids and their ability to
raise our grandkids. Even that is a young person's issue.
Now I just want to say something real personal in closing. I believe
I know Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary better than virtually any
other voter in the country. (Laughter.) As a matter of fact, I'm quite
confident that I'm the person who knows the three of them put together the
best of anybody who will vote. And I've had some passing experience with
the White House in the last eight years. (Laughter.)
So I want to tell you a couple of things that are personal about this.
John Kennedy said the presidency is a place of decision-making. Vice
President Gore has more experience than his opponent. (Applause.) Whether
it was in hooking up our schools to the Internet or trying to develop new
high-mileage vehicles, or reducing the size of the federal government and
putting more service on computer, or helping to bring economic
opportunities to poor areas, or helping us to stand up for freedom around
the world, he has done more good in the position of vice president than
anybody that ever held the job. (Applause.)
Second, he has more knowledge. Third, he works harder than just about
anybody I've ever known. And it matters how hard you work. Fourth, he's a
good student, he keeps on learning. And it's a job that is constantly a
learning experience. Even today, I learned something new about my job --
even today. And, finally, he makes good decisions.
So what I want you to think about in your mind is, you know what the
three big issues are. You also have a candidate who's a good man, who
makes good decisions, who will be a great President. And I want you to
tell that to people you know. (Applause.)
This whole set of ideas I just went over with you grew out of a
political movement I was a part of, that Joe Lieberman was a part of. He
understands the basis, the intellectual basis, of the policies that we
implemented that I just discussed, as well or better than anybody else in
the entire United States Congress. He's a perfect partner for Al Gore.
Let me say one other thing. I think we're going to win the House. I
think we've got a good chance to win the Senate. (Applause.) But you
remember what Major Owens said, too, when you talk to people. If, for some
reason we didn't, there needs to be somebody there to stop the extremism of
the Republican leaders in Congress and Al Gore will do that. (Applause.)
Now, let me tell you something about Hillary. I've known her for 30
years, next spring. (Applause.) We just celebrated our silver wedding
anniversary. (Applause.) I know you want to discount what I say, but I'm
telling you this also as somebody who has known hundreds, maybe even
thousands of people in public life, elected officials. Maybe tens of
thousands, I don't know. I've known a bunch of people in politics.
There is nobody I know who knows more about children and family,
health care and education and bringing economic opportunity to distressed
places -- knows more about all five of those subjects -- than her. She's
worked on some of those issues for 20 years. She's working on some of
those issues for 30 years.
And all those 30 years, she never asked anybody to do anything for
her, never. She was always working on someone else's commission, starting
some new organization, volunteering for some new civic endeavor to create
some new effort, or lobbying for some bill, or campaigning for me or some
other politician. It wasn't until some of the people in the New York House
delegation asked her to start looking at running for the Senate and
traveling around the state. And she had never before asked anybody to do
anything for her. But all this time, she's been working on these things.
And I can tell you something based on my knowledge of all the people
I've known in public life. There is nobody that has a better combination
of brains and heart and determination and knowledge and the ability to get
things done, even with people who don't agree with her. (Applause.) You
will be so proud of her. (Applause.)
So are you going to do what I asked you to do? (Applause.) Are you
going to go tell people what's at stake? (Applause.) Are you going to ask
them if they want to keep the prosperity going? (Applause.) Are you going
to ask them if they want to build on the progress of the last eight years?
(Applause.) Are you going to ask them if they want to keep building one
America? (Applause.) And what's the answer? Al Gore, Joe Lieberman,
Hillary, Major and Greg.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
END 8:17 P.M. EST