date correction - remarks of the President at reception for Rep. Joe Crowley
                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary

                                                                 For Immediate
Release          October 10, 2000

                            REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                               Private Residence
                                Washington, D.C.

8:35 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Let me say, first of all, I am delighted to be
here for many reasons -- first of all, because I love Rosa, because --
(applause) -- and Rosa does that sort of "born in a log cabin" routine better
than anybody I know.  (Laughter.)

     What she neglected to tell you was that her mother, the seamstress, is the
best politician I have ever met in my life to this day.  (Laughter.)  And
because her husband, the man who shares this house, Stan, had so much to do with
my becoming President in 1992 and is now, tonight, in Florida working with the
Vice President as he prepares for this important debate, and has also helped my
friends, Tony Blair and Prime Minister Barak, and other good people around the
world, and because Rosa's been there for eight years now with me working on many
of the things that have helped turn our country around.

     I'm here because I really like Joe Crowley, because he's been real good to
Hillary, which means a lot to me.  (Laughter.)  And because -- I'll tell you
another Queens story, because I love Queens.  And in early '92, you know, we
were pretty desperate to get press in early '92.  I mean, here I was from
Arkansas -- nobody in New York knew who I was.

     Harold Ickes says, we're going to meet with the Queens Democratic
Committee, and Tom Manton (pho.) is for you, and I think they will endorse you.
I said, they're going to endorse me?  I was like fifth in name recognition in
New Hampshire at the time.  And he said, yes, yes, it's going to happen.  But
we're going to take a subway out there, which I thought was great; I like to
ride the subway.

     So we took a subway there, and there was this typically passive New York
press person with us with a camera, in my face, lights everywhere, and all these
people who had been sort of uprooted on the subway watching the filming of this
thing, thinking, why are they taking that guy's picture?  Who is this strange
person they've got this camera on?

     So then we walked down this beautiful, tree-lined street and we walked up
some stairs.  I remember -- whoever -- the Queens Democratic meeting was on the
second floor of some building, and all of a sudden they introduced me and I was
terrified, right.

     So I'm walking down the aisle and I passed this African American guy, and
he reaches out and puts his arm around me and says, son, don't worry about it.
I was born in Hope, Arkansas too, and we're going to be for you.  (Laughter.)
True story.  (Applause.)

     So the rest is history, as they say.  So I'm deeply indebted.  I am
grateful to all these members of the House of Representatives who are here.
Whatever success I've had as President would have been literally impossible
without them, both in the Majority and maybe especially in the Minority.

     Because virtually, every good thing that's happened in Congress in the last
six years would not have happened if they hadn't known for sure that my veto
would be upheld.  That was the only incentive to work with us to make
constructive progress.  So if it hadn't been for them, it wouldn't have

     Now, I just would like to say a couple of things.  First of all, I do feel
an enormous amount of gratitude for what's happened in the last eight years.
This last week has been an emotional roller coaster for me because we had that
stunning election in Serbia, validating the stand the United States took,
year-in and year-out, when it was very unpopular, sometimes in our country, for
the freedom of the people of Bosnia, the freedom of the people of Kosovo, the
principle of democracy in Serbia.  The idea that Europe ought to be united and
democratic and whole.  And I was so happy.

     And we had about 30 minutes to celebrate before all hell broke loose in the
Middle East, where I have worked as hard as I could to find a just and lasting
peace.  And, Joe, we talked a lot about Ireland tonight.  Let me just say
briefly on Ireland first, I'm very pleased about how far we have come.  We are
not out of the woods yet.  We have still got to get this police issue right,
it's got to be done right, but I hope that people on both sides and particularly
some of the people on the other side, for most of you, who have been talking
about, well, maybe they would bag the Good Friday Agreement -- I hope they have
been watching what is going on in the Middle East, and I hope they understand
how easy it is to let these things get away from you.

     Keep in mind, these people are represented by teams that sat at Camp David,
and they've been working together for seven years.  They know each other's
children.  They know how many grandchildren they have.  And still, think about
how quickly it slipped.

     So I say to all of you interested in peace in Ireland, I'll keep working on
it and you keep working on it, and just remind them that it's a fragile thing.
And sometimes, you're most vulnerable in life when you think you're least
We cannot take our good fortune for granted.

     Now, on the Middle East, I don't want to say too much except we had a
pretty good day today.  And we, our whole American team, we've been working like
crazy for the last several days trying to help do our part.  I just have to
believe they're not going to let this thing spin out of control.

     But there are lots of things going on there, including things that are not
apparent; developments in other countries that are having an impact on this.  So
we're working as hard as we know how to end the violence and get the folks back
to the negotiating table, and I hope you will all say a prayer for that.

     Let me just say a word about this election.  No one in America understands
as clearly as I do how important this election is -- not just for president and
vice president, but every Senate seat, every House seat -- nobody.

     And since we're in the business of being humble here, you know, because you
realize how quickly things can change, it's important to recognize that -- I'm
absolutely convinced the only danger we have in this election is if people will
think the consequences of their vote are not particularly significant, and our
crowd may not go and some may not understand what the consequences are.  But I'm
telling you, we have never had a better chance to literally imagine the future
we want to build for our kids and just go do it.  But if we're careless with it,
it could get away from us.

     So you've got these huge economic differences.  Rosa mentioned that.  You
know, I just got back from Jay Rockefeller's house; at least one of you was
there with me tonight.  And Jay Rockefeller, you know, he pays those taxes
George Bush wants to cut.  (Laughter.)  I told old Jay tonight, I said, you
know, I said, I just came over here because I'm busy in Washington and I felt
the need to go on vacation and I really wanted to see Versailles and I couldn't,
so I thought I would come to your house instead -- next best thing.  (Laughter.)

     But I want you to think about it.  I mean, they want a tax cut that's way
bigger than the one our side wants, we want to have as much as we think we can
afford to pay for college education, long-term care if somebody in your family
is sick, child care, retirement savings.  But we want to save something to
invest in education and health care, and we want to keep paying down the debt.

     Now, this is an interesting juxtaposition.  The Democratic Party is now the
fiscally conservative party in America, and has been for some time.  (Applause.)
Why?  I must say, the first person I ever heard argue this case was former
Congressman Joe Kennedy from Boston.  But it's true.  If you pay down the debt
and you keep interest rates lower, that does more to help lower-income working
people and middle-class people than anything else, because it grows the economy
quicker, it gets labor markets tighter, it raises wages at the low end, creates
more jobs there, and it spreads the benefits broadly.

     Now, if they get their way, you cannot cut taxes as much as they say
they're going to, partially privatize Social Security, which costs another $1
trillion -- something they never talk about -- although I was proud to see the
Governor acknowledge that in the last debate -- said -- well, where are you
going to get the money?  He said, out of the surplus.

     So if you have a $1.6-trillion to $9-trillion tax cut and a $1-trillion
Social Security privatization program and then you've got all these other
spending programs they promise, you're back in deficit again.

     I believe that the Gore-Lieberman economic plan, which the Democrats
broadly support, would keep interest rates about a percent lower over a decade,
and I believe that's about $390 billion in lower home mortgages, $30 billion in
lower car payments, $15 billion in lower college loan payments -- not to mention
lower credit card payments, lower business loan costs and higher growth.  So
we've got a big choice here.

     You know, there are still neighborhoods in New York, in New York City and
in Upstate New York, in Buffalo, in Rochester, in other places that have not
fully participated in this economic recovery yet.  One of the good bipartisan
things we're trying to do is to pass this New Markets Initiative that all the
New York delegations have been so helpful on that Speaker Hastert and I have
worked on.  But in order for it to work, the overall economy has to be working.
In order for it to be attractive for us to give extra incentives to people with
money to invest in the areas that aren't growing, the overall economy's got to
be working.

     This is a huge deal.  It may be the biggest difference.  And you've got to
make sure people know that between now and the election.  David Bonior, he's
actually -- he's got a race out there in Michigan, he lives in a competitive
district.  There's no way in the world he wouldn't win with the biggest
percentage of the vote he has ever had if the people of his district clearly
understood the difference in what their economic plan would do and what ours
would do for their long-term welfare.

     I could go through the education issue, the health care issue -- you know,
we're for the patients' bill of rights and they aren't.   And if you want to
know why, look at the Medicare budget they voted out today.

     We're trying to put some money back in the Medicare program.  We actually
cut it too much in the Balanced Budget Act of '97.  We want to see it fairly
distributed, we want to take care of the hospitals, the urban hospitals, the
rural hospitals, the teaching hospitals.  We want to take care of the nursing
homes and the community providers.

     Fifty-five percent in their budget goes to the HMOs -- the same people they
killed the patients' bill of rights for.  Big difference here.  The American
people need to know that.

     The prescription drug plan -- Joe's been active in this.  Look -- and Rosa
talked about it -- I'm so glad about this -- this business of being able to go
to Canada and buy the drugs.  They tried to water that down.  They have fooled
with it a little bit -- considerably.

     But do you ever wonder what this prescription drug deal is all about?  Do
you really know why we're fighting with them?  Here's the deal.  Here's the real
deal on prescription.  the drug companies aren't for a Medicare prescription
drug program that all seniors can voluntarily buy into.

     Now, that doesn't make any sense, does it?  Did you ever see anybody that's
in business that didn't want more customers?  Did you ever meet a politician
that didn't want more votes?  Right?  Did you ever meet a car salesman that
didn't want to sell more cars?  Did you ever see anybody running a media empire
that didn't want their audience share to go up?

     Here's why.  Here's the deal. You need to know.  Why are drugs cheaper in
Canada than they are in America, even though they're made in America?  Why are
they cheaper in Europe even though they're made in America?  Because it costs a
lot of money to develop these drugs, then they spend a lot of money advertising
them, but America is the only country in the world that doesn't have price

     So if they develop some great new drug, they've got to get us to pay, all
of us, all the money they put in, in development and advertising.  Once they do
that, it doesn't cost anything to make another pill.  Once you get your embedded
cost back, another pill is cheap, then they can afford to sell them under price
controls throughout Europe, Canada and elsewhere.

     So when -- I'm saying this so you don't have to demonize the drug companies
so you'll understand.  So they've got a real problem.  What is their problem?
They think if Medicare can buy drugs for millions and millions of seniors who
need them, Medicare will acquire so much market power -- they know this is not
price fixing -- this ain't close to price fixing -- but we'll have a big buyer.
And they know Medicare will acquire so much market power that maybe they will be
able to get American seniors drugs made in America almost as cheap as they can
get them in Canada.

     And they're afraid that their profit margins will go down so much that then
they won't have the money they would like to have either for profits or research
or advertising.

     Now, that is a real problem for them.  But can the answer to their problem
be to keep seniors who need it from getting the medicine they need?  That's my
problem.  The Republican plan only covers half of the seniors who need the
coverage.  And this idea that you can have a private health insurance policy
that people can afford to buy that's worth a flip is just not true.  The
insurance companies -- I just jumped on the health insurance companies, let me
bag on them.  They have been perfectly honest.  They say there is not an
insurance market out there for prescription drugs that people can afford.
That's what they said.

     So I'm just telling you this because this is the kind of thing -- I get
frustrated because I don't think most people really understand what the nature
of the fight is.  You don't have to demonize the drug companies -- Lord knows,
I'm glad they're here.  They do wonderful work, they employ tens of thousands of
people.  I'm proud they're American.  And I would help them solve their problem.

     But the answer to their problem cannot be to keep seniors away from the
medicine they need.  Now, that's what this is about.  And he's out there, trying
to do the right thing.  (Laughter.)  Now -- oh, come on, you're time and a half
size -- don't whine.  (Laughter.)

     Now, wait a minute, this is a big deal.  You all have got friends all over
America.  You've got people living in these battleground states.  I'm telling
you, if people know what the differences are, Senator Lieberman and Vice
President Gore win.  We win the House.  We pick up at least four, maybe six,
Senate seats if they know.

     We are for hate crimes legislation; they're not.  They gave us a vote in
the Senate, it turned out it wasn't real.  Some of their guys got well on the
vote; it's 57-42 for the hate crimes legislation.  But when it comes time to
leave it in the bill, poof, it vanishes.  Now, we've got to find some bill to
put it on, and their leadership doesn't want it on any bill.  People need to
know that.

     You know, there are lots of differences here in terms of our ideas of one
America, in terms of our ideas of health care policy, in terms of our education
policy.  I'm just telling you the differences are clear.  Those are just three.

     You mentioned gun safety.  Did you see that ABC -- did anybody see that ABC
special Peter Jennings did on the NRA?  Did you see it?  Did you see -- all
those people there, good Americans, going to these NRA conventions.  They're
good citizens.  And Peter Jennings going around interviewing them saying, do you
really believe that Al Gore will take your gun away?  Absolutely I do.

     Bill Clinton and Al Gore -- they're a threat to our Second Amendment
rights.  There's not one living, breathing American that missed a day in the
deer woods because of me.  But 500,000 felons, fugitives and stalkers could not
get handguns because of the Brady Bill.  And we did -- (applause) -- so -- the
program says that when Mr. LaPierre said that I wanted those people to die in
some of those horrible shootings so then I would have some political basis to
take people's guns away, their membership went up 200,000 according to the ABC

     Now, let me tell you something:  The American people are smart and solid,
and they nearly always get it right if they've got enough information and enough
time.  But you know, that's just not true.  And it's not true that Al Gore
proposed to take their guns away.  What he said was, if you're going to buy a
handgun, you ought to have a license like you have to drive a car, that proves
that you don't have a criminal background, you've got enough sense to use a gun
safely.  That's the radical idea he proposed.

     Will any one of those NRA people lose their guns?  Not unless they're
crooks.  And shouldn't have it and present a danger to society.  So I'm just
imploring you -- you came here tonight, every one of you are politically active,
you all show up -- every one of you know scores of people that will never come
to a deal like this -- not a time in their lives.  But they will vote.  They
want to believe they are good citizens.  They are good citizens.  They're
patriotic, they love their country, they'll vote.  But if they don't hear from
you, they might just be getting this stuff over the air waves.

     So I would just say to you, this is a profoundly important election.  Just
remember the Middle East; one day we're about to make peace, the next day we're
trying to keep people from killing each other.  You cannot predict the future.
Life is a funny thing.

     We may not have a time like this again in our lifetime.  And as a nation,
we will not forgive ourselves if we squander this opportunity.  The public needs
to clearly understand the differences, the choices, the consequences.  I am
completely comfortable with whatever decision they make if they do.

     So that's the only thing I would like to ask you to do.  Think of everybody
you know, anywhere in this great country between now and the election.  And
every single day, for the next however many weeks we've got -- five weeks and
some odd days -- take some time to make sure that they understand the
differences, the choices, the consequences.  And we'll have some more people
like Joe Crowley in the Congress, and a great celebration in the presidential
race on Election eve.

     Thank you and God bless you.  (Applause.)

                      END      9:00 P.M. EDT

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