THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release November 4, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT GET OUT THE VOTE RALLY
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
Harlem, New York
5:38 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Are you ready to win this election?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready to make Charles Rangel the first
African-American Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the most
power committee in the United States Congress?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I want to say a thank you to everyone here. I thank
you, Carl McCall, for your great leadership of New York and for your
friendship to me and your support of Hillary. Your future is limitless and
you have done a great job for the people of this state. Thank you.
I want to thank Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney.
They and Charlie have been with me all the way. (Applause.) I want to
thank your borough president, Virginia Fields, for being here. (Applause.)
Assemblyman Vinny Farrell, thank you. All the others behind me, Dennis
Rivera, Randy Weingardner (phonetic), Guillermo Ramirez (phonetic), Adam
Clayton Powell, Lee Saunders, thank you all for being here. And give a big
hand to Luther Vandross for showing up and being with us. (Applause.)
You know, when Charlie was saying that I was your President, I leaned
over to Luther and I said, you know, Luther, in another life, if I'd have
been a little better musician, I'd have been playing jazz at the Cotton
Club instead of running for President. (Laughter and applause.)
More than anything else today, I wanted to come by to have this chance
to thank you, to thank the people of Harlem and New York City for being so
good to me and to Al Gore these last eight years. (Applause). And thank
you, thank you for your support for my wife. It means more to me than you
will ever know. Thanks for hanging in there. (Applause.)
Now, look, the temptation is for us to just shout here for four or
five minutes because we're all on the same side and I'm preaching to the
saved. But the truth is that everybody in this great crowd tonight has
friends who have never come to hear a President speak or come to any
political rally. Is that right?
THE PRESIDENT: But all those people could vote if they understand
what's at stake and if they understand what it means for themselves, their
families, this great city and our nation. So I want you to just give me a
couple of minutes to tell you what I hope you will tell everybody you can
find between now and when the polls close.
Because this race would not be close for President, it wouldn't be
close for senator, it wouldn't be close anywhere in America, I believe, if
people could remember where we were eight years ago and compare it to where
we are today. (Applause.) And then if people understood where we're going
and what the differences are.
There are three big questions in this election. Question number one:
do you want to keep this prosperity going and give it to people who haven't
been part of it yet?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if you do, there is a big choice. Al Gore and
Joe Lieberman and Hillary and Charlie Rangel -- (applause). Here's what
they say. They say we've got to keep paying down the debt to keep interest
rates low because that means lower home mortgages, lower car loans, lower
credit card loans, lower college loans, lower business loans. It means
more jobs, higher income, more jobs for working people and more in the
stock market. Everybody wins that way. That's how we made this economy
Then they say, let's take what's left and invest it in our kids in
health care and education and the environment and a tax cut we can afford
for child care for long-term care, for college education, for retirement.
That's what they say.
Now, on the other side, our Republican friends say, hey, this is your
money and we're going to give it to you. We're going to give it all to you
right now. And here's what they say. They say we're going to give you a
huge tax cut, even though almost everybody in this crowd would be better
off under ours. And then, we're going to privatize Social Security and let
the young people have their payroll tax back, and then we're going to spend
Now, look, here's the problem. You all clapped for me when I said the
economy was better. But people ask me all the time, what great new idea
did you bring to Washington to turn the economy around? You know what I
answer? Arithmetic. We brought arithmetic back to Washington. (Laughter
Now, we made the numbers add up. You all can remember this.
Everybody remembers this. Vice President Gore's opponent says we're in an
education recession. He's wrong about that, our schools are getting
better. I'll say more about that. I can tell you, everybody can
The surplus is supposed to be $2 trillion. Forget about all the
zeroes. That's a lot of money. Two. Okay? They want to give
three-quarters of it in a tax cut, $1.6 trillion, one point six. Then they
want to give you, if you're young, your payroll tax back, 2 percent of it.
But they've got to promise people that are older, like me, that we can
still get our Social Security. And as the Vice President keeps pointing
out, you can't spend the same dollar on two different people. So that
costs another trillion dollars, one.
Then they want to spend a little money, too. They want to spend a
half a trillion dollars. That's point five. Now, you add it up. One
point six, plus one, plus point five is three point one. Three point one
is bigger than two. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, look, if you like this economy and you want to keep growing jobs
and you want to keep your incomes going up and you want to keep the
interest rates down so you can afford to make a car payment, afford to make
a college loan payment, afford credit cards, afford home mortgages, you
can't have three point one being bigger than two. This is not rocket
And therefore there is only one choice, and the choice is Al Gore, Joe
Lieberman, Hillary and Charlie Rangel. (Applause.)
Now, the second big question. This country is not just better off,
it's better. Crime is at a 26-year low. The environment is cleaner,
cleaner air, cleaner water, three times as many toxic waste dumps cleaned
up on our watch as the previous 12 years. And we set aside more land
forever than anybody since Teddy Roosevelt a hundred years ago.
Now, in addition to that, we've got the number of people without
health insurance going down for the first time in a dozen years. And I was
talking about the schools. Here are the facts. The reading scores, the
math scores, the science scores are up. For the first time in the history
of the country, the African-American high school graduation rate is almost
equal to the white graduation rate, virtually the same. (Applause.)
We've got record numbers of people going on to college. We've had a
300 percent increase in the number of Latino and African-American kids
taking advanced placement tests just in the last three years alone. And
all these schools that everybody said couldn't be turned around, turns out
they can be.
I was in a school in Harlem just about a month ago that two years ago
had 80 percent of the kids doing reading and math below grade level. Two
years later, in just two years, 74 percent of the kids are doing reading
and math at or above grade level. Don't tell me that our kids can't learn
or we can't turn our schools around. (Applause.)
So here is the second question. In addition to building on the
prosperity, do you want to build on the progress of the last eight years
and do even better?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: If you do, you have a choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman,
Hillary and Charlie Rangel.
What's our program? Put more police on the street and do more to take
guns away from criminals and kids in law abiding ways. Cleaner air, safer
energy, do more to develop other kinds of energy so people of New York
don't have to worry sick every winter about whether they'll have enough
home heating oil or whether they can afford to pay for it. Insure all of
our kids, pass the patients' bill of rights, pass Medicare drug benefits
for all of our seniors.
Put a hundred thousand teachers in the schools, give New York and the
other cities of our country funds to build or repair and modernize schools
so these kids have a decent place to go to school. (Applause.) And give
every family a tax deduction for the cost of college tuition. (Applause.)
Have pre-school and after-school programs for all the kids who need it.
Now, that's our program.
Now, look at what the Republican program is. Here's what they say on
every issue. They want to get rid of the commitment to 100,000 police,
they want to get rid of the commitment to 100,000 teachers. They don't
support what we're trying to do to give you school construction funds.
They want to relax the clean air standards and reverse a lot of the
environmental protections I have put in. They're against the patients'
bill of rights, they're against Medicare drugs for all the seniors who need
them, and they're not for a type of tax deduction for the cost of college
So if you want to build on the progress of the last eight years, you
just have one choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and Charlie Rangel.
Now, there's one other big choice, and to me it's the most important
of all. Charlie Rangel talked about the affinity that I've had with New
York City and the people who live in Harlem. You couldn't have guessed it,
I guess, when I started. I remember when my predecessor used to defer to
me in a kind of a sneering tone as just the governor of a small southern
state. (Laughter.) And you know, I was so naive, I thought it was a
compliment. (Laughter.) And I still do. I still do. (Applause.)
But I'll tell you what I thought. I thought to myself: this country
works pretty well when everybody counts, everybody has a chance, and we all
work together. And we get in a lot of trouble when we start trying to
divide ourselves one against the other. Old or young, black, white or
Hispanic, straight or gay, people with disabilities and people without,
rich or poor. You know, when we start dividing up the country, we don't do
nearly as well as when we work together.
So we've worked hard on bringing people together. When they said I
had to end affirmative action, I said, I don't think so -- let's don't end
it, let's just fix it and go on. (Applause.) When the other party wanted
to be really harsh with illegal immigrants -- or with legal immigrants, I
said, I don't think so. This is a country of immigrants. Heck, we're all
immigrants from somewhere, except the Native Americans. We all came from
And the most important thing I didn't tell you before about this
economic recovery is, it's the first one in 30 years that included
everybody. We have the lowest African American and Latino unemployment
rate ever recorded, a 20-year low in poverty, the welfare rolls cut in
half, child poverty down by 30 percent, average income up by $5,000 after
inflation. We take everybody along for the ride, that's why we're
So here's the third big question: do you want to keep building one
American community so we all go forward together?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: There's a choice. Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and
Charlie Rangel, here's what they want.
Listen to this. They're for hate crimes legislation, employment
nondiscrimination legislation, equal pay for women legislation --
(applause) -- fairness for immigrants, an increase in the minimum wage, and
a United States Supreme Court that protects civil rights, human rights and
a woman's right to choose. (Applause.)
Now, on every one of these issues, our friends in the other party
disagree with us. It is a choice. So I want you to take every opportunity
between now and Tuesday to go out across this great country and say, if you
want to keep the prosperity going, if you want to build on the progress of
the last eight years, if you want to keep building one America, you just
have one choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and Charlie Rangel.
Now, welcome, Senator Schumer, we're glad to see you. Let's give
Chuck Schumer a big hand. (Applause.) Now, listen, I want to close on a
very personal note. I probably know Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary
better than just about any other voter in America. The President has to
make decisions for all America. You need to feel that the President is
pulling for you, is working for you. And even when he may do something you
disagree with, you need to feel that at least he was thinking about you,
And John Kennedy -- listen -- John Kennedy once said that the
presidency was a place of decision-making. You're hiring somebody Tuesday
to make decisions. And here's what I want you to know about Al Gore. He's
done more good for the American people as Vice President than anybody that
ever held that position -- (applause) -- including the empowerment zone in
Harlem that he and Charlie Rangel have worked on. He works harder than
anybody else I know. He keeps learning. He never gets too old or too
proud to learn. He's curious about the world. He understands the future.
So what I'm trying to tell you is, he's a good man. He'll make good
decisions. He'll be a great President of the United States. (Applause.)
What I want you to know about Joe Lieberman is, he's been a friend of
mine for 30 years. He understands the ideas behind what we've done in the
last eight years as well as anybody in the United States Congress. And he
will be a superb Vice President.
And what I want you to know about Hillary is -- (applause) -- I love
her. What I want you to know about Hillary is that I've known her for 30
years. When it comes to children and families, health care and education,
bringing economic opportunity to people and places left behind -- she's
worked on all those issues at least 20 years, and most of them for 30
years. She never once, in all those years, ever asked anybody to do
anything for her. She just worked to be a good citizen and a good public
After we came to the White House, she worked on children's health and
women's health and education. She worked on all the things I tried to do
to make peace in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Northern Ireland, in the Middle
East. She went to Africa, to Latin America, to South Asia, to East Asia,
to build bridges to people around the world who have kin folks in this
country, but the United States never paid them much attention before. And
she put them on our map.
You couldn't have anybody who is better qualified to represent New
York State at the dawn of the new millennium. And you will never have
anybody who will work harder, care more or get more done. So I'll say this
-- I know I'm biased, but I believe what I said to you. There's no
question who would be the better President. There's no question who would
be the better Senator. And I want you to go out here for four days and
just do it one more time and tell people, here's what this election is
about. If you want to keep the prosperity going, if you want to keep the
progress going, if you want to keep building one America, you just have one
choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary and Charlie Rangel.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
END 5:56 P.M. EST