remarks of the President at VIP Club, New Rochelle, NY
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release                 October 23, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                                 VIP Club
                          New Rochelle, New York

9:48 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thanks.  (Laughter.)  Thank you for the
wonderful welcome.  Thank you for being here in such large numbers.  Thank
you for making David Alpert look good tonight, at the Westchester County
Democratic Dinner.  (Laughter.)  Thank you, Dennis Mehiel, for your
friendship and your support.  I want to thank my great friend, John
Catsimatidis, for helping you at this dinner, and Anthony Pagano and
everyone else who had anything to do with the dinner.

     I want to thank the County Executive, Andy Spano, for being such a
good friend to Hillary and to me, and making me feel welcome here in
Westchester County.  (Applause.)  Our great Comptroller, Carl McCall, we
welcome him tonight.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank the two people here
who, next to Hillary, are most responsible for making me look good over the
last eight years, Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey.  Thank you
very much for all you have done, wherever they are.  (Applause.)

     Now, let me say to all of you, I want you to have most of the time to
listen to Hillary and to think about this Senate race, but I want to say
just a few things about how the race for the Senate in New York relates to
the larger national campaign, which will also unfold two weeks from
tomorrow.  I want to begin by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart
for the phenomenal support that the people of New York have given to me and
Al Gore in 1992 and then in 1996.  I am very grateful.  (Applause.)

     I would just say, to me there are basically three or four questions
that are really important.  I think they matter in the Senate race.  I
think they matter in the race for President and Vice President.  And I hope
you will share them with friends of yours who not only live in New York,
but live in other states, because every one of you has tons of friends or
family members, co-workers, some of whom live in New York, some of whom
don't even live in this state, who will never come to a dinner like this.
Isn't that right?

     When you come to a dinner like this, don't you have some people say,
why do you spend your time and money doing that?  (Laughter.)  You do,
don't you?  Everyone one of you do, right?  But all these people that
sometimes make fun of you, sometimes want to know why you're doing this,
virtually all of them are going to vote two weeks from tomorrow, or they
would if they knew exactly what was at stake.

     So, while we're all having a good time tonight, the temptation is just
for me to hit you with a bunch of one-liners that make you want to scream
with joy.  (Laughter.)  The truth is, what we should be focused on is, how
do we get people who don't come to dinners like this, who aren't as
political as we are, but who love our country very much and will definitely
show up at election time, to understand this election in the way that we
understand it?

     I told the Democratic Congress and the Senate the other day that we
ought to think of ourselves as America's weather corps, that if we can make
the choices clear, our side wins.  If the choices can be blurred and remain
cloudy, we have a lot more cloudy.  So over the next two weeks, this is
what I could say, if I could personally speak to all your family and
friends:  here's why you ought to be for Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and

     Number one, we've had the longest economic expansion in history, the
lowest unemployment in 30 years, the highest home ownership in history --
(applause) -- the lowest minority unemployment ever recorded, and it's
really important to keep this prosperity going, especially if you want to
extend it to the inner-city neighborhoods in New York and the rural
counties in New York that still haven't fully participated.  You will never
be able to do that unless you keep the economy going, keep unemployment
down and keep it going.  (Applause.)

     Now, you have a choice.  And what our side says is, look, we're going
to have a tax cut, not near as big as theirs, not nearly as big.  And we're
going to focus it on paying for college tuition, paying for long-term care
for elderly or disabled relatives, financing retirement, paying for child
care, the basic things that families need today, and inducing people to
invest in areas that are still under development.

     But it's a smaller tax cut than theirs.  We admit it.  Why?  Because
we want money to invest in education and health care and the environment,
what we have to invest in technology and national defense, and we've got to
keep paying down the debt.  The single most important economic difference
in the election today is that our budget pays down the debt and gets
America out of debt for the first time since 1835.  (Applause.)

     Now, why is that important?  Why is that important, and why should
people, even people who do quite well and would get more money in the short
run under their tax cut, support our program?  Because if you pay the debt
down, you keep interest rates lower.  If you keep interest rates lower,
it's like a whole other tax cut.  If we keep interest rates a percent lower
a year for a decade, and that's about what the difference in the two plans
will do, do you know what that's worth to you, as an American?  Listen to
this:  $390 billion in lower home mortgages, $30 billion in lower car
payments, $15 billion in lower college loan payments, plus lower credit
card payments, plus lower business loans, which means more businesses, more
jobs, higher incomes and a better stock market.  It's a tax cut for
everyone, to get America out of debt.  It is the progressive, right thing
to do.

     We have worked so hard to turn a $290 billion deficit into a $230
billion surplus, so hard after quadrupling the national debt for 12 years,
before we came in, to start paying the national debt off.  This is a big
deal.  You need to go out and tell people, if you want to keep the
prosperity going, support Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Hillary -- and get
this country out of debt, and keep interest rates down.  (Applause.)

     Number two.  Second thing you ought to say is, if you want to build on
the progress in areas other than the economy, and keep our society growing
stronger, you should vote for Gore, Lieberman and Hillary.  Look at where
we were eight years ago compared to now.  The crime rate has dropped every
year to a 26-year low.  The murder rate is at a 33-year low, gun violence
down 35 percent.  In the environment, the air is cleaner, the water is
cleaner, the drinking water is safer, the food is safer.  We cleaned up
three times as many toxic waste dumps in eight years as they did in 12.  We
set aside more land in perpetuity than any administration since that of
Theodore Roosevelt 100 years ago.  And the economy got better. (Applause.)

     We added 26 years to the life of Medicare, had the most sweeping
improvements in diabetes since the development of insulin.  Did more to
prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer, provided health insurance for
children of low-income working parents, which has given us the first
decline in uninsured people in 12 years.  In education, we sponsored higher
standards, accountability, smaller classes.  We're in the process of
putting 100,000 teachers in the schools.  We've gone from zero to serving
800,000 children in after school programs.  We're trying to build or
modernize schools.  We've opened the doors to two years of college to
everybody, and our college tax credits are now being taken advantage of by
10 million families.

     What are the results of all this?  A lower dropout rate, a higher
graduation rate, higher test scores, the biggest college going rate in
history.  So the question is, are we going to keep going in the right
direction?  If you want to go in the right direction, since there are
honest differences in this campaign, on crime policy, on environmental
policy, on health care policy, on education policy -- it's not like you
don't have a record here.  And the differences are honest and heart felt.
So Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and Hillary, they'll do what they think is
right, and our opponents, they'll do what they think is right.

     But we have a record here.  So you have to say, if you want to build
on the prosperity of the last eight years, and you want to take on the big
challenges of the future, excellence in education for everybody, closing
the digital divide, opening the four years of college, making the most of
the human genome, protecting the privacy rights of people and their medical
and financial records, all these big new questions, you only have one
choice.  You've got to vote for Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Hillary, if
that's what you want.  (Applause.)

     The third thing, and maybe the most important is, you ought to vote
for them because we are really the party of one America.  We believe that
our diversity of all kinds is interesting, and makes America more exciting,
makes us much better prepared for the global society we'll be living in,
but we think our common humanity is even more important.  And that has very
practical implications.  It means we think all these young people that
served your meal tonight, they ought to have the same chance to go to
college and send their kids to college as people who could afford to come
here and buy a ticket tonight do.  (Applause.)

     It means we're for raising the minimum wage.  It means we're for
stronger enforcement of the equal pay laws, because there's still
discrimination against women in the workplace today, and we think we ought
to get rid of it.  (Applause.)  It means we're for strong hate crimes
legislation and employment non discrimination legislation.  It means that
we are for a Supreme Court that will protect a woman's right to choose and
the other basic fundamental rights.  (Applause.)

     Look, I have spent, as all of you know, and many of you mentioned
tonight when I saw you earlier, I spent a lot of time the last eight years
trying to bring peace to the world.  We've made a lot of progress in
Northern Ireland.  We've made a lot of progress in the Balkans, after
combat in Kosovo and conflict in Bosnia.  We finally had the last dictator
in that part of the world gone from office now.  We've worked for eight
years in Korea to try to bring an end to the conflict on the Korean
Peninsula.  We're closer than ever before, and the Secretary of State of
the United States is in North Korea, and the President of South Korea won
the Nobel Peace Prize because he went with an outstretched hand, and said
let's put an end to the Korean War.  It's been 50 years.

     The world is moving in the right direction.  And until two weeks ago,
you could make the same case about the Middle East.  With all the trouble
that has roiled the Middle East in the last two weeks -- I don't want to
talk too much about it tonight, because I find when I'm heavily involved in
something like this, the more I say about it, the less positive impact I
can have, and the less I say, the more I can get done.  But suffice it to
say that the United States has been a friend to Israel, has believed in
Israel and its right to be in the Middle East, and has thought the only
way, ultimately, for real peace and security to come was through a
reconciliation and a peace process that would end the violence and enable
everybody to live on fair and decent terms.
And I don't think all this is going to change that.

     The reason I mention it to you is this.  So much of the world's
trouble, in this most modern of ages, where all of our kids are teaching us
more than we know about computers, where the human genome -- this is
literally the truth -- the human genome will lead to the younger women in
this audience who have, let's say, 10 years of child-bearing left, I think
in about 10 years, women will be coming home from the hospital with kids
that will have a life expectancy of about 90 years.  There's going to be an
enormous number of wonderful things happening, and the old world we live in
is bedeviled by the oldest fear of mankind.  We are still paralyzed by our
fear and distrust and our vulnerability to slip into violence and hatred
against people who are different from us.  They're of a different race, a
different ethnic group, a different faith.

     And we can all clap when we look around this room.  I mean, look
around this room.  This is America in the 21st century.  And we can all
clap about it, it's great.  (Applause.)  But what we need to understand is,
you just look what happened to people who have been working together for
seven and a half years in the last two weeks.  And I'm telling you, the
country needs a leader in the White House and a voice in the Senate that
people can believe with the core of their being that what we have in common
is more fundamentally significant than all of our differences.  Our
differences are interesting, our common humanity is fundamental.

     So, if somebody asks you tomorrow -- and I wish you wouldn't wait for
them to ask -- why you showed up here, and why are you doing this, and why
are you for Hillary or Al Gore or Joe Lieberman, I hope you will say, well,
you see, there are three reasons.  One is, I'd kind of like to keep this
prosperity going, and the only way to do it is to keep paying down this
debt, investing in our future, and take a tax cut we can afford instead of
one that looks good.  Number two, I'd like to keep making progress.  I like
the fact that we've got a cleaner environment, a lower crime rate, better
schools, more people with health insurance, and I want to build on that
progress, not turn around.  And number three, the most important thing of
all is, I want to keep building one America, where we grow closer together,
where we believe everybody counts, everybody deserves a chance, and we all
do better when we help each other.  That's what you ought to say.  And you
ought not to wait for somebody to ask you to say that.  (Laughter.)

     I'm telling you, these races are close, and you may have more
influence over the kind of people I'm talking about then I would.  And you
need to know just what three things to say.  That's what I believe.  If I
were talking to any of your friends or family members alone in a room, with
nobody looking, and no media covering it, and they said, why should I vote
for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, why should I vote for your wife for Senate,
those are the three things I would say.  And I hope you'll say them.

     And let me just say one other thing.  Dennis is going to come up here
and introduce Hillary, but I want to say just one or two things about her
candidacy.  First of all, I am grateful to all of you for being so good to
her, and I am immensely proud of her for having the courage to run and for
running as she has for this last year and some odd months.

     We met almost 30 years ago, and even then she was literally obsessed
with the welfare of children and families, with education and health care
and early childhood development.  We worked together for a dozen years when
I was governor of my native state on education and economic development.
One of the reasons the people in upstate New York ought to vote for her is
that she literally devoted an enormous percentage of her time for years and
years and years to just what upstate needs now, which is figuring out how
to get investment and opportunity to places that aren't fully participating
in the national economy.

     When she became First Lady she traveled all over the world, from the
Balkans to Northern Ireland, to the Middle East to Africa to the Indian
subcontinent, trying to promote peace and reconciliation and the interest
of young girls and families that were left behind in poorer societies.  She
sponsored the Millennium Project, to preserve our treasures for the new
millennium, which has done a lot for New York.  It's the biggest historic
preservation movement in history, in America history.  The biggest one --
$100 million in public and private money that among other things preserve
George Washington's revolutionary headquarters in this state, Harriet
Tubman's home, Louis Armstrong's home and archives.  In places that it's
good for tourism, good for community pride, and good for the history of
this great state.

     I can just tell you that in 30 years of working in public life -- you
know, it's probably not even fashionable to say this quote until the
election, but I basically like most of the people I've known in politics.
I find that most of the Republicans and well as most of the Democrats I've
know are honest people who work hard and do what they think is right, to
the best of their ability to do it.  But I have never known anybody that
had the combination of intelligence, compassion -- compassion and
commitment, and ability to get things done and think of new things to do
that Hillary has.  She will be a worthy successor to Senator Moynihan and a
great partner for Chuck Schumer.  (Applause.)

     Thank you, thank you, thank you.

                          END          10:02 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