RESEND 10/13 President of the United States remarks Ross dinner, pg 1-2, MARION BERRY is the correct spelling
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                          October 13, 2000


                             Private Residence
                           Little Rock, Arkansas

9:12 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, thank John and Penny for
hosting this.  And I want to thank Marion Berry and Vic Snyder for being
there for you.  They can speak more eloquently than I can about how
important it is for Arkansas that you be elected; and how wonderful it
would be if they had a genuine partner that was always working for
Arkansas, and not just at election time.

     I have to tell you, Mike, I noticed the other day that the Republicans
put in a little money for a bridge down in southeast Arkansas, and I think
the voters -- they ought to give you credit for it.  (Laughter.)  I was
trying to get them to give me the money for the bridge, and until you got
to where you could beat Jay Dickey, they never thought about springing for
it.  So I think that ought to be called the Ross Bridge, if we ever get it
built.  (Laughter.)

     Let me say just one thing very seriously.  This is a very different
country than it was eight years ago.  And Arkansas is in a lot better shape
than it was eight years ago.  The economy is better, the crime rate is
down, the welfare rolls are lower, more children have health insurance.
We're giving more constructive aid to our schools.

     And every single policy that was implemented -- most importantly going
from a $290 billion deficit to a $230 billion surplus, and turning this
economy around -- was implemented because I had the support of Democrats in
the Congress.  And the Republicans basically fought our economic policy,
they fought our welfare policy, they fought our crime policy, they fought
our education policy, they fought our environmental policy.  They fought
all of our economic policies.

     They did give us a farm bill that Marion Berry and I told them
wouldn't work back in '95 -- and, sure enough, we were right, it wouldn't
work.  And now, basically, the people of south Arkansas have to decide
whether they're going to keep this country moving in a good direction or
vote for someone who comes home every weekend, but then goes back to
Washington and votes against them.  And I'll just use one example.

     These ads that the so-called Citizens for Better Medicare are running
against Mike Ross, because he's a pharmacist who believes that all of our
seniors ought to be able buy prescription drugs are scandalous.  And
they're typical of what the Republicans all over America are trying to do:
they come home every weekend and tell the folks they love them, then they
go back to Washington and they vote for the vested interest.  Then they got
those interest groups to give them money to run bogus ads to confuse the
voters back home.  That's basically what is going on here.

     And I just know that if Mike Ross gets enough financial support to be
able to compete with this avalanche of special interest money that's being
spent against him, the voters in south Arkansas will vote for him.  Because
he'll work just as hard as Mr. Dickey at coming home on the weekends and
keeping up with his constituents, then he'll go back to Washington and
actually vote for them.  For a Medicare prescription drug program, for a
patients' bill of rights, for paying off the debt instead of having a tax
cut so big we'll be in debt from now on.  These are really, really
important issues.  And for helping our schools.

     You know, I really believe that Mike can win this race, and I believe
he will win this race, as long as the people who are rewarding his opponent
for voting with them instead of the people of south Arkansas can't run
enough ads to turn this election into a smoke screen.  So I am profoundly
grateful to all of you for helping him.  He's a fine man.  I have known him
for nearly 20 years.  He was a teenager when he started working for me.
(Laughter.)  And when I'm gone from Washington, he'll be a congressman,
thanks to you.  Thank you very, very much.  (Applause.)

     Mike, let me just say one other thing.  I just wanted to say, on a
very serious note, and kind of a non-political note, as you know, I badly
wanted to be there tonight.  I have been working for the last eight days
trying to restore calm in the Middle East.  And I've been on the phone all
day today and have some more work to do late tonight, and I'm terribly
sorry I could not be there.  But after the loss of our sailors in Yemen
yesterday, and the continued violence in the Middle East, I just thought I
had to stay here and work.  We may get a break-through sometime in the next
several hours.  We're working hard trying to turn this thing around.  I
hope you'll all say a prayer for us tonight and I hope you'll forgive me
for not being there.  But just know that it has nothing to do with my
profound desire to see you elected.

     STATE SENATOR ROSS:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you, very much.
We're going to win this thing.  We're going to win it for you, we're going
to win it for the Democratic Party.  (Applause.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  And thank you, Vic; thank you, Marion; and
thanks, John and Penny.  Goodbye, folks.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                       END                      9:17 P.M. EDT

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E