remarks at Susan Bass-Levin reception
                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Monmouth Junction, New Jersey)
                 For Immediate Release    August 23, 2000

                            REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                         AT SUSAN BASS-LEVIN RECEPTION

                               Garden State Park
                                         New Jersey

9:40 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, first, this place has wonderful
memories for me.  (Applause.)  I remember when I came here in 1992, it was,
I think, the Sunday evening before the election.  The race was close in New
Jersey and close in the country.  And we had this great rally here.  And
then on election night, the people of New Jersey voted for Bill Clinton and
Al Gore and I'll never forget it.  (Applause.)

     Then in 1996, New Jersey went from giving us a two point margin of
victory to giving us a 16 point margin of victory, one of the largest in
the entire United States and I will never forget that.  (Applause.)  So the
first thing I'd like to say is, thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank
you, thank you, New Jersey.  (Applause.)

     Now, the second thing I would like to say is I thought Alexis Ettinger
was gangbusters -- (applause) -- wasn't she wonderful?  (Applause.)  To
inspire the young is one of the most important responsibilities of any
public leader.  And if Susan can inspire Alexis, that's about as good a
recommendation for her representation to Congress as anything I can think
of and I really think that's wonderful.  (Applause.)

     I want to thank Jon Corzine for being here.  I know he's been out
stirring up the crowd before I got here.  But I like him, I admire him.  I
hope that he gets to be a partner with the new Senator from New York across
the river.  (Laughter and applause.)  We were just up in Princeton together
with Congressman Rush Holt, another good friend of mine, and I told
somebody I love reading the press about John -- you know, people whaling
away about the fact that he invested so much money in the primary.  And I
said, I don't know what they're complaining about; he's the only rich guy
that I knew who would spend that kind of money to avoid giving himself a
big tax cut so he could give the rest of you a better tax cut, a better
education, a better economy and a better future.  (Applause.)
I hope you will support him and get him to the Senate; we need him.
     And let me say, when Susan and I were walking down the steps tonight,
I said -- I looked at her and I said, I am so glad that you gave me a
chance to do this for you tonight, because for more than eight years now,
you have been there for me, every single day, in the good times and the
bad, in every single way.  (Applause.)  I am so grateful to her.

     And that's another mark of a good leader.  If you live long enough and
you stay in public life long enough and you take on enough issues and you
make enough adversaries, you will have your bad days as well as your good
ones.  The Mayor of Cherry Hill was always there, for me and for our
administration, for what we were trying to do for America, and I will never
forget it.

     So that brings me to why I am here tonight.  Now, if you will let me
use a colloquialism from my part of the country, I always wonder whether I
can do any good at events like this because I know that in a way I'm
preaching to the saved.  I mean, if you weren't for her, you wouldn't be
here.  Either that, or you've got a lot of extra money on your hands.

     But I want you to listen to me just for a few minutes tonight, because
what I want to tell you is, number one, I believe she can win, and, number
two, I know she should win; and number three, the only way she can win is
if you do more than give her money.

     Every one of you -- every one of you -- has friends who live in this
district who will vote on Election Day -- people who think of themselves as
good, upstanding citizens and wouldn't dream of not voting.  But they don't
spend nearly as much time as you do going to events like this.  They may
not know her as well as you do.  They may not be living within 50 miles of

     Every one of you has people that you work with, you go out to dinner
with on the weekends, maybe you worship with, maybe you play golf with or
go bowling with or your kids play soccer with, or some other way you come
in contact with people.  They will vote, but they don't know as much about
this as you do.  They don't know her as well as you do.  They don't have as
clear an understanding of what the differences between our parties, our
candidates for president and vice president, Jon Corzine and his opponent,
as you do.  And I am telling you:  You know, I've been doing this a long
time.  (Laughter.)

     The first time I passed out cards at a polling place was in 1954 when
my uncle ran for state representative.  I was eight years old.  He served
one term; his wife made him quit because she thought politics was too tough
-- ha.  (Laughter.)  What does Sue know?

     Every election is different.  This election will turn, in my opinion,
on what the American people, what the people of New Jersey and what the
people of this congressional district think it's about.  I was so proud of
Vice President Gore and his speech last Thursday because he gave sort of a
mini State of the Union speech.  He said, okay, here's who I am, here's
what I believe, but let's get to the meat of the coconut here.  If the
President is somebody who works for the American people, if you vote for
me, here's what I'll do.

     Now, you've got to be able to tell people why they ought to vote for
them.  And, yet, the election for Congress and the New Jersey Senate
election in the context of what's going on in this country today.  You
clapped for all of Susan's issues, but I want to try to give some clarity
to the ones she mentioned, and then talk about ones she didn't -- the one
that may affect you most of all, that I'm afraid is least understood.

     If we started eight years ago, I had this idea that if we could create
an economic policy, a social policy, an environmental policy and a foreign
policy that would reward opportunity for responsibility, would create an
American community that stopped dividing us by race, by religion, by gender
by secular orientation, by whatever, and pulled us together -- even by
party, Lord knows, I tried to work with our friends in the Republican Party
under somewhat ugly circumstances -- that we could really go into the 21st
century with America as the leading force for prosperity and peace, for
human rights and freedom all around the world.  And we are today.  And I'm

     But what I want you to understand is all the best things are still out
there.  The good things that have happened in this country in the last
eight years are nothing compared to what all of us together could achieve
in the next eight or ten years if, but only if, we make the right choices
about our future.

     Everybody in this room at least who is over 30 years old -- you can
see a lot of nodding heads -- everybody in this room over 30 years old can
remember at least one time in your life when you made an error, a mistake,
not because things were going so badly, but because things were going so
well you did not believe you had to concentrate, think or dream, you could
just sort of wander through the day.

     Now, our country has never been in a position like this before.  And
it may not be like this again in our lifetime, where we have so much
prosperity and social progress, the absence federal crisis at home and
threat abroad, a projected surplus -- we can build the future of our dreams
for our children.  So I will say again, how this race for Congress, how
this race for Senate, how the presidential race comes out, how Hillary does
over in New York, it all depends on what people believe the election is

     Are we going to build the future of our dreams for our children?  If
so, what do we have to do to give them all a world-class education?  What
do we have to do to deal with the aging of America, to preserve Social
Security and Medicare in a way that when the baby boomers retire and
there's only two people working for every one person on Social Security,
people like me don't bankrupt our kids and their ability to raise our
grandkids?  How are we going to deal with the challenge of global warming
and still grow the economy?  How are we going to take advantage of these
marvelous changes in medical science, the Human Genome Project, and all the
other biomedical revolutions that may allow people who are living with
severed spines to stand up and walk, that may allow people who have
Parkinson's disease to get over it, that may people who are certainly going
to have Alzheimer's not to get it -- that I believe will allow young
mothers, girls in this audience today, by the time they have their babies,
will go home fr
om the hospital with a little gene card that will tell them how to maximize
their children's health and minimize the problems -- and within 20 years
young women will be giving birth to babies with a life expectancy of 90
years, you can book it.  It will happen.  (Applause.)

     Now, so how are we going to do all that and still make sure when you
carry your gene card around, nobody can deny you a job or health insurance
because of something that's on that card?  How are we going to bridge the
digital divide and hook up all of our schools and make sure everybody has
got access to computers, but nobody has access to your health and financial
records on those computers unless you say yes?

     These are big challenges.  And there are clear differences.  And Susan
mentioned some, but I'll be more explicit.  Let's go back to the one she
mentioned -- education.  Test scores are going up, the college going rate
is at an all-time high, the African American high school graduation equals
that of the white majority for the first time in history in the last few
years.  The schools are turning around.  We have a very specific strategy
to work with the schools -- invest more money, but demand more results.
Identify failing schools, have more pre-school, summer school,
after-school, mentoring programs, smaller classes in the early grades, hook
all the school including the poor ones up to the Internet.

     Their strategy is get rid of that stuff and just write a check to the
state and hope they spend it right.  Now, there's a very great difference.
And don't give it all to the state; have some of it off in vouchers.  So
you have to decide whether you agree with our strategy or their strategy.
It's not just this woman you like, it will affect people's lives how she
And you don't have to say anything bad about her opponent or anybody else.
But you've got to know there are consequences.

     Health care, the patients' bill of rights -- their leadership still
won't let us bring it up because the HMOs either don't want us to cover
everybody, or if they guarantee a patients' bill of rights and somebody
gets hurt, they don't want to them to be able to sue and get any help if
they get hurt.  That's like a patients' bill of suggestion, it's not
rights.  (Laughter.)

     And, look, I support managed care because we can't -- I didn't want to
have an explosion and inflation in health care costs, but "care" is even
more important than "managed" in that phrase.  And you can't take these
medical decisions away from the doctors and the people.  (Applause.)

     In prescription drugs, I support, and Susan said she supported, John
supports a Medicare prescription drug program that would allow all the
seniors in this country who need it access to affordable prescription drugs
through the Medicare program.  They support a program that wouldn't cover
half the seniors in the country who need it.

     Now, I support the pharmaceutical excellence of America.  I'm proud
that we've got all these great drug companies in our country -- a lot of
them headquartered right here in New Jersey.  And what they're worried
about is if Medicare can buy all these drugs for the seniors that maybe
they'll buy them at such a low price that they'll be put in a -- there's
got to be a way to resolve that.  The answer is not what the Republicans
want to do, which is to make sure half of the seniors can't get the drugs
they need.  That is not the answer.  There's got to be a good answer to

     So, she says, he says, we say, Al and Joe say, take care of the
seniors and the drug companies.  Now, this is a big choice for you to make.
This is not just another walk in the park here.  We're talking about
millions of people.

     Crime.  What's our position?  Our position has been 100,000 police on
the street, prevent as much crime as you can.  The assault weapons ban, the
Brady Bill.  And our position now is, close the gun show loophole on the
Brady Bill, mandatory child trigger locks, don't let them import all these
big ammunition clips that you can then hook on to a rifle here, and make it
into an assault weapon.  That's our position.  (Applause.)

     Now, what's their position?  Their position is, we were wrong when we
passed the Brady Bill, we were wrong when we passed the 100,000 police,
we're wrong now in putting 50,000 more police on the street, and we're
wrong trying to do all this.  Their nominee said just a couple of days ago
that if he were elected, he would get rid of the 100,000 police program --
that that was not a national responsibility.

     All I know is, crime is at a 25-year low, gun crime's down 35 percent.
We tried it their way, we tried it our way; our way works.  (Applause.)
Now, they say what we should do is have even more vigorous prosecution,
even though we increase prosecution.  We've got a record number of people
in jail.  But when they tried it their way, it didn't work as well.

     And what's their weapons position?  Their weapons position is, more
people should carry concealed weapons, even into houses of worship.  That's
their leadership position.

     Now -- they believe that.  I'm not saying anything bad about them.
That's what they believe.  But it's not like we haven't had a test here.
We tried it their way, we tried it our way.  Our way works better.  And
America is not as safe as it needs to be.  This will have significance.
I'm telling you -- every vote in Congress, every vote in the Senate
matters.  We're talking about the way the children in this room are going
to have to live.

     Now, so what have we done?  We've got education, health care and
crime.  Then, she said -- and you clapped -- she said, I'm for preserving a
woman's right to choose.  What she didn't say is -- (applause) -- what she
didn't say is, every year, there is a wholesale assault on it in one way or
the other through little riders in congressional legislation.  So if you're
in the House of Representatives, you actually have a chance to protect it.

     And I don't know whether John said this or not, but the next President
is going to appoint two to four members of the Supreme Court.  And the
United States Senate has to confirm those members.

     And they have told us -- and, again, I accept that this is their
sincere conviction, this is not a personal criticism; honorable people can
have honest differences.  But we can't claim that we don't know that there
is no consequence here.  Their nominee is against Roe v. Wade.  And you
have to assume, being an honorable person, that he will act on his
convictions.  And you have to assume that their members of the Senate are
more likely than ours to vote to ratify those judges.  Because that's what
is going to happen.

     So if this is important to you, either way -- if it matters to you,
either way, you need to know that you can affect the outcome by the choice
you make for Congress and for the Senate.

     Now, this is the last point I want to make.  And I want to say a
little something about the economy, because I think maybe the differences
in economic policy between the Republicans and Democrats today are the
least understood.  And, yet, they'll have a huge impact on you.

     Now, you all know that we have a large projected surplus.  That's what
we think we're going to get in over the next 10 years.  They have a very
compelling position.  Their position is, hey, we had a deficit for years,
now we've got a surplus; it's your money and we're going to give it all
back to you in a tax cut.  It takes about five seconds to say and it sounds
so good.  (Laughter.)  It's your money and I'm going to give it back to you
in a tax cut, all of it.  Why should the government keep your money.

     Our position is, number one, you should get a tax cut, but it ought to
be something less than half of theirs in total.  Yes, there ought to be
some marriage penalty and estate tax relief in there, but we ought to
really focus on helping families who need it pay for college education,
long-term care, child care and retirement, to help people who need it, do
that.  (Applause.)
     And, by the way, we have to save some money for education and the
environment and health care and science and technology.  And there might be
an emergency and we've got to save some money for that.  And, oh, by the
way, this is projected income.  That means it's not in the bank yet.  And
if you cut the taxes now for all the projected income and the money doesn't
come in, you've still got the tax cut.

     I told somebody their position reminds me of those letters I used to
get back when I was a private citizen from that -- that sort of Publisher's
Clearing House Sweepstakes letters from Ed McMahon -- you've seen them --
you may have won $10 million.  (Laughter.)  You may have.  (Laughter.)  And
when you got those letters, if you went out the next day and you spent the
$10 million, you should seriously consider supporting them in this
election.  (Laughter and applause.)

     But if you didn't do that, you better vote for Susan and Jon and Al
and Joe and Hillary, if you live in New York.  (Laughter and applause.)
Jon Corzine made a lot of money in investments, ask him.  Nobody would do

     Let me tell you something else, this is before they spend their own
money -- their Social Security privatization program, it's about a trillion
bucks over 10 years.  And the other things they want to spend money on,
before they have to deal with emergencies.  I'm telling you, folks, we
don't want to go back to deficits.

     Now, let me tell you one other thing.  We have a study from the
Council of Economic Advisors that says that if their plan were enacted, as
opposed to the one the Vice President and Jon and Susan have endorsed,
interest rates would go up by 1 percent a year for a decade.  Now, if we
keep interest rates 1 percent lower a year for a decade, would you like to
know what that's worth to you?  Two hundred and fifty billion bucks in home
mortgages; $30 billion in car payments; and $15 billion in college loan
payments.  In other words, 1 percent lower interest rates is a $300 billion
tax cut to ordinary Americans who desperately need it, and you get the
benefit of getting the country out of debt, investing in our future, saving
Social Security and Medicare.

     Listen, it may take me longer to explain our economic program, but I'm
sure now that I've done it, you can get the gist here.  You've got to be
able to do that.

     Now, I'm going to close where I started.  It is not good enough for
you to come here for somebody you know and believe in and contribute and go
home and forget about this.  You've got to be like Alexis.  You've got to
be a volunteer, even if you don't go in the headquarters.  Every day
between now and November you need to go up to somebody you know who is not
here tonight and say, listen, here is why I am for Susan; here's why I'm
for Jon Corzine.  Here are the differences on economic policy, education
policy, health care policy, human rights policy, crime policy -- boom,
boom, boom, boom -- here's how it's going to affect your life, your future,
our children's future.

     And you've got to be able to answer those questions and you have to
feel comfortable.  And you can remember the Ed McMahon story.  I'm telling
you, this is a big deal.  I worked real hard to get our country out of debt
and get this economy going.  And I'm telling you, when I hear people say
there is no real difference in economic policy, you know, I want to just
sort of jump in the ocean.  I mean, come on, here.

     We've got poverty going down; all income groups have their income
going up.  All the things are going in the right direction.  We cannot
change our economic direction.  We need to do more to bring in people who
still aren't participating in this economic recovery -- but we don't need
to throw away the policy that brought us to this dance we're at, that we're
enjoying so much.  It would be a terrible mistake.  (Applause.)

     So think about this.  When you go out of here, if you don't remember
anything else, you remember -- you've got to be able to say, I am for Susan
Bass-Levin because she's my friend, because she's been a good mayor, but
because she's right for me and you and our kids and our future on education
and health care and choice and the environment and the economy, and crime,
and our future.  Look, I can hardly remember an election where the choices
were any clearer.  The rhetoric is not clear anymore because they
understand now that people don't like all that hateful stuff anymore, so
they chucked it.  And they're talking about inclusion.  And you're
laughing, and we have all made fun of them about it, but actually it's a
good thing.  It's a good thing.

     The words people use matter.  And we should say, thank you very much
for not being so hateful anymore and demonizing your opponents and doing
all -- we should say -- it matters, we should say that.  (Applause.)  But
I'm just telling you, the substantive differences are still there.

     Now, I know this woman, I admire her.  She will be a great, great
member of Congress.  (Applause.)  But when it's all said and done, it's not
those of us who hold office that matters; it's those of you who hire us to
serve, and whether we do what you hired us to do.

     I want to close with a little story.  I'm surprised I'm going to say
this, but I want to tell you something.  I got off the plane today in New
Jersey to do these events.  And the first person I saw was a young
businessman from San Francisco.  I didn't know he was going to be in the
line.  I was amazed to see him.  I hadn't seen him in four years, maybe
more.  His name is Steve Sposato (phonetic).  He was there with his
beautiful daughter, Megan, and her very young little sister and his wife.

     The first time I met Steve Sposato, he was a grieving young widower
with an infant child whose wife was cut down by a crazed person with an
assault weapon in an office building in San Francisco.  You may remember
that awful incident when it happened.  He was a Republican, always had
been.  He was just a businessman.  And he thought -- he couldn't understand
why the political system in Washington didn't want to stop people like this
crazy guy from getting a hold of assault weapons and going into office
buildings and shooting people like his wife.

     He wasn't all that political.  He just wanted to make sure there
wouldn't be any other little girls like his gorgeous little daughter.  And
I met him.  And he came and stood in the Rose Garden at the White House and
talked about this in very moving terms.  And he said, you know, I'm not a
politician, I'm not a speaker.  I just don't want any more kids to be
without their parents.  And he stood and went through that rough fight with
me in 1994.  And, thankfully, he met another lady and they had another
baby, and I saw beautiful little Megan today and her new little sister and
her step-mom and Steve's mother who lives on Long Island.  They all came
out to see me.  It changed his politics forever.

     Why?  Because in the most awful, agonizing way, he had to come to
terms with the fact that what we do as citizens, whether we like it or not,
affects how we live as people.  And that brave, good, fine young man is
standing here.  (Applause.)

     Now, I hope to goodness not a single living soul in this audience has
ever gone through anything like this.  But I promise you, in some way or
another, for every single one of you what you do as citizens affects how
you live as people.  I tell people all the time, politics is not the most
important thing in life -- not even in my life.  Being President is the
second most important job I ever had next to being a father.  When they get
ready to lay you down, you don't think about all the time you should have
spent at the office, you think about who liked you, who loved you, how the
flowers smelled in the springtime, what it was like to be a child.  But
politics is supposed to create the conditions and give people the tools to
shape their dreams, not tear their hearts out.

     When it's all said and done, that's what it's about.  In my lifetime
we have never had this chance before like we have it now.  I'm not running
for anything, for the first time in 26 years.  I tell you this as a citizen
-- make sure Susan wins.  Make sure Jon wins.  Make sure Joe and Al win.
Give this country its best chance.

     Thank you and God bless you.                   (Applause.)

                                             10:10 P.M. EDT

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