remarks of the President to Democratic Caucus
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                 October 19, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                         TO THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

                               The Cannon Office Building
                             Washington. D.C.

2:46 P.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much for the wonderful welcome.  I
want to begin by saying that it has been a profound honor for me to work
with this caucus over the last eight years.  I want to thank Tom Daschle,
who has been wonderful; and Dick Gephardt, who I knew well before I became
President, but we have, I think, built a great friendship, a deeper one, in
these last eight years.  And I'm so proud of him.

          I want to say to all of you that I believe that in these last two
weeks and six days before the election, the best politics is for us to get
as much done as we can for America here in the Congress of the United
States.  (Applause.)  And in the process of doing that, I think what we
ought to seek to do is to bring clarity to this debate.

          It looks to me like our friends on the other side in Congress
have adopted their presidential strategy.  Their presidential strategy, now
their congressional strategy, is cloud the issues; if things are doing
well, they will get by.  Our strategy should be clarify the issues and
we'll win big.  That is clearly the difference.  (Applause.)

          I was very proud of the performance of the Vice President in that
last debate.  I thought he was great.  (Applause.)  Trying to bring
clarity.  But you've got to give it to the other side -- as hard as we try
to bring clarity, they're real good at clouding up.  I almost gagged when I
heard that answer on the patients' bill of rights in Texas.  Could you
believe that?  Here's a guy who takes credit for a bill that he vetoed.
And then, finally, the guys that are helping him say, if you want to be
President you can't veto a patients' bill of rights or people will look
dimly on it, so you'd better let it pass.  And then he was bragging about
how you have a right to sue in Texas.  Did you hear that?  Do you know how
that got in?  Without his signature.  He sort of -- so they're real good,
they cloud.

          And I've been reading in the press, apparently no one thinks that
was an exaggeration or something that was troubling, but it sort of
bothered me.  (Applause.)

          And then there is their great argument that you've done nothing
about health care in eight years.  Look, when we came in, Medicare was
going broke last year.  Now, we put 27 years on it.  I think the longest
it's been alive in 35 years.  (Applause.)  Not to mention the
Kennedy-Kassebaum bill, the Children's Health Insurance Program, which is
what has given us a decline in the number of people without health
insurance for the first time in 12 years.

          Then there was the education recession argument.  You know, one
of the things I admire about our Republican friends is that evidence has no
impact on them.  (Laughter.)  And you've kind of got to respect that.  They
know what they believe and they know what they're going to say, and don't
bother me with the facts.

          What are the facts?  The dropout rate's down, the high school
graduation rate's up, the college-going rate's at an all-time high, reading
and math scores are up.  There's been about a 50-percent increase in the
number of kids taking advance placement courses, but a 300-percent increase
in Latino children taking advance placement courses, and a 500-percent
increase in African American kids taking advance placement courses.

          Then, there was that argument that -- the one that tickled me the
most was, well, the wealthiest Americans have to get tax relief because
we're given tax relief, and what do you expect us to do?  I mean, I'd just
be the President, I can't make decisions about this.  (Laughter.)  That was
their argument, wasn't it?  I mean, who are we to make decisions?  We can't
make judgments and choices.  I mean, if you're for tax relief, you just
sort of put it out there and people just kind of come along and get
whatever they get.  But we didn't decide to give it to them, we were for
tax relief and it just happened.  I mean, how could we possibly make a
decision here?  I mean, whoever heard of a president and a Congress making
a decision?  I never heard of such a thing.  (Applause.)

          What's the point of all this?  What's the point of all this?
They are really good at clouding this.  And we have to be good at a clear
weather forecast.  And we have to be true to what we said we showed up here
to do.  We've got to get everything done we can before the Congress goes
home, and then what's left, we need to take to the American people with

          But if you just keep this in mind -- you know, you've got to have
a lot of sympathy with them, because the country is so much better off than
it was eight years ago; and our economic policy, our education policy, our
environmental policy, our health care policy, our welfare policy, our crime
policy -- there are big differences between ours and theirs.  And we tried
it our way and it got better; we tried it their way and it didn't.  So they
have no choice but to be cloudy.  We have no choice but to be clear.

          But you have to understand that it's quite a smart strategy on
their part and they're very good at it.  So what we have to do is be clear.
For example, they say they're coming back Monday night, we're going to work
all day Tuesday and we're going to work Wednesday, and if we don't quit I'm
going to one day, CRs -- one day, every day, you've got to finish --

          Can you imagine a Democrat going home and running for reelection
saying, vote for me so that next year I can finish last year's business?
(Laughter.)  Now, we wouldn't do that.  And we shouldn't let anybody do
that.  We need to stay here until we resolve this.

          We want 100,000 teachers; we want the school construction funds;
we want funds to turn around or shut down failing schools and open them
under new management; we want the funds to double our after-school
programs.  We've now got more information, just last week another study on
how much good they do.  We've got 800,000 kids in those programs.  If our
budget passes there will be enough for 1.6 million kids.

          And we want the minimum wage; and we want the hate crimes
legislation; and we want the immigrant fairness legislation.  We want these
things.  I think they're important.  (Applause.)  And the American people
ought to have no doubt when we leave here, if we don't get the patients'
bill of rights it's not because we didn't break our backs for it -- it's
because their interest groups wouldn't let them pass it.

          And let me just mention one other issue I think has gotten sort
of swept aside in this debate.  In addition to the minimum wage, we have
legislation to strengthen the law to guarantee equal pay for equal work for
women, and I think we ought to be out there talking to the American people
about that.  (Applause.)

          Thank you.  And let me just say one or two other things.  We
worked hard here.  We lost a lot of seats in 1994 because we worked hard to
turn this deficit around.  And we believed that we could get rid of the
deficit, increase investment in education, and strengthen the economy, in
no small measure by keeping interest rates down, which would lead to higher

          Now, look, one of the things I think that all of you ought to do
when you go home is to say -- acknowledge very frankly that their tax cut
is three times bigger than the one we're advocating, at least.  Now,
virtually all people with incomes of under $100,000 a year would be better
off under our proposal, but still, theirs is three times bigger.  But
there's a reason for that.  We do not believe we can possibly afford to go
back to the kind of economic policies we had in the 12 years before we got
here.  We do not believe it is good for America to get back in the deficit
ditch.  And whatever you think this surplus is going to be over the next
decade, I promise you it's going to be less than that $1.6 trillion tax
cut, plus a $1 trillion partial privatization of Social Security, plus the
$300 billion or $400 billion they've promised us to spend.

          Now, I believe a careful analysis of both proposals will show you
that if the Vice President and the Democratic plan passes, you will have
interest rates lower every year, probably about a percent lower every year
for a decade.  Do you know what that's worth? -- $390 billion over 10 years
in lower home mortgages, $30 billion in lower car payments, $15 billion in
lower college loan payments -- never mind the lower credit card payments.
Never mind the lower business loan payments, lower farm loan payments.
More people, therefore, going to work, more businesses doing well, a higher
stock market.

          Our tax cut for all Americans is lower interest rates, because
we're not going to get out of the kind of trouble that they had.
(Applause.)  And I believe -- so I just think you need to go out here and
get everything done you can.  I will stay here with you.  If we don't
finish by Wednesday, we're going to day-by-day continuing resolutions.
We'll do everything we possibly can to pass all this education agenda, to
pass as much of our health care agenda we can, and to do it in a fiscally
responsible way.

          But when you leave here, you just think about this.  Tell people
to remember the way it was eight years ago, to think about the way it is
now; to look at the changes in crime, welfare, the environment, health care
and the economy; and to ask yourself not whether we're going to keep
changing, but what direction will we change in.  The country's changing so
fast and the world is changing so fast, change will be the order of the day
next year, and five years from now, and 10 years from now.  The issue is
not whether we're going to change, it is which direction will we take as we

          And you just think about -- think of yourself as America's
weather corps.  They want cloudy and you want clear.  (Laughter.)  And if
you can bring clarity to this debate, you get more done here, then I'll
stay with you every step of the way, and we'll all have a great celebration
in about three weeks.  Thank you and God bless you all.  (Applause.)

                         END         2:59 P.M. EDT

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