remarks of the President at reception for John Kelly
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
_______________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                  October 5, 2000


                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                        AT RECEPTION FOR JOHN KELLY

                       Washington Convention Center
                                  Washington. D.C.



7:32 P.M. EDT


          THE PRESIDENT:  Let me say, first of all, I'm here for several
reasons.  One is, whatever I've been able to accomplish these last eight
years would have been impossible without the support of the Democratic
members of Congress.  And in some ways, their support when we were in the
minority in Congress has been even more vital than when we were in the
majority, because if they stick with me we can still do most of what we
want to do for America.

          As some evidence of how important this race is to them, we have
one of the true leaders of our Democratic Caucus, Representative Nancy
Pelosi, from California, is here.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And
Representative Brad Sherman from California back there.  (Applause.)
Congressman David Minge from Minnesota was here.  He just walked out.  Is
anybody else here, Tom?  (Applause.)  Is anybody else here?  I don't want
to make anybody mad.  (Laughter.)  I'm getting to you.

          I also -- I want to thank Tom Udall, who took me around Santa Fe
a few days ago.  We had a wonderful time, and I actually got to do
something I rarely do -- I got to shop a little.  And I informed him that
he took me to the right places and the women who live in my house are very
happy with the selections he helped me make.  (Laughter.)  And I thank him
for that.

          The second thing is I feel deeply indebted to New Mexico.  New
Mexico voted for Al Gore and me twice, gave us strong support and has
contributed immensely to the success of this administration.  And Bill
Richardson, who was here earlier, has done a fabulous job.  Ann Bingaman
served in the Justice Department with great distinction.  (Applause.)  Of
course, John was an outstanding United States attorney, and Jeff Bingaman
has been a leader on technology and environmental issues, on so many issues
where what we're trying to do in the White House can only be done because
he's been out there for years in the Senate doing the same things, even
better.  And I'm very grateful to you, Jeff Bingaman.  Thank you.
(Applause.)
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          Now, if John hadn't asked all the Georgetown people to raise
their hand, I was going to do it, because the press which is covering this
is always looking for the dark underbelly of these fundraisers --(laughter)
-- there is always some sordid, hidden motive behind everything we're
doing.  And I just wanted to know what it is.  (Laughter.)  For the first
time in 26 years, I am not on the ballot.  And you all were about to have
the DTs --(laughter) -- and so now you've got somebody to help.  And I
appreciate more than I can say all of our classmates for being here.

          John was a year behind me at Georgetown.  I met him 35 years ago.
I liked him then, I admired him then, and I still do.  And over the -- you
heard him talk a little about his career -- I think we need more people in
the United States Congress who spent big chunks of their lives helping
people that most of the rest of us forget about; who know what life is like
for people who will never be able to come to a fundraiser in Washington or
even in Albuquerque.  I think that's really important.  (Applause.)

          I also think he and -- are the kind of people we want to hold up
as representatives of the Democratic Party in the new century.  They
represent everything that I think is the best about America.  And the other
thing I want to tell you is, he can win this race.  (Applause.)  In 1998 --
little known fact -- our nominee for this congressional seat in 1998 won
the election on election day, and was defeated by the advance balloting in
New Mexico, three weeks in advance, because it all moved to us in the last
five days there.  But he won, our guy won on election day.
And we weren't in harness enough with the national mood until the last
week, so that that's one more House seat we would have won had we been
where we were on election day three weeks out.  So he can win.

          Now, in a larger sense, I want to say I know I'm kind of
preaching to the saved here, but there are a lot of people here who have
friends not only in New Mexico, but a lot of John's friends have come here
from other states.  Some of you have come from New York, and if you did I
hope you'll vote for Hillary.  (Applause.)  Get a little plug there.

          But I would imagine most of you watched the debate last night.  I
thought the Vice President did an outstanding job -- (applause.)  But I
want you to know what I believe.  I believe when Al Gore says, you ain't
seen nothing yet, it's more than a campaign slogan.  I believe that the
best stuff for America is still out there.
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          We spent an enormous amount of time in the last eight years kind
of turning around the ship of state, and that can't be done on the dime
like that.  It's like a big ocean liner.  You know, the Titanic hit the
iceberg in spite of the fact that the crew saw it way before they did it,
they just didn't see it in time to avoid the iceberg.  It takes time to
turn around.  And we've done that.  And now, virtually every indicator is
going in the right direction.

          Not just the lowest unemployment in 30 years, but welfare has
been cut in half, we've got the lowest crime rate in 27 years.  We had,
last year, for the first time in a dozen years, we had a decline in the
number of people without health insurance in America.  A huge turnaround.
And things are going in the right direction.  But the question is, what do
we do with all this?

          You heard John tell you what he thinks we ought to do about it.
What I want to say to you is, I've been here eight years and I'm not
running for anything, but in America, our public life is always about
tomorrow.  That's why we're still around here after over 200 years.  And we
may never get a chance in our lifetime like we have now, to seize all the
big opportunities, to meet all the big challenges, to build the future of
our dreams for our kids.

          And I believe I know better than any single American that in that
endeavor, every last Senate seat and every last House seat matters.  Every
single one.  (Applause.)  And I hope    -- I believe after last night the
American people have more of an idea of what the genuine differences are.
But let me tell you, I spent a lot of time not only living this job, but
studying the respective positions of the candidates.  And there's a huge
difference in where not only our nominees for President, but our whole
party is, on economic policy, on health care policy, on education policy,
on environmental policy, on arms control and national defense policy, on
what it will take to build one America that brings us together across all
the racial and religious and other lines that divide us.  Massive
differences.

          And the only reason I'm taking this time to talk to you is that
every one of you will see hundreds of people between now and election day,
and most of you have most of your friends among people who will never come
to an event like this -- but they will vote, because they love their
country, they want to be good citizens.  They will show up and vote.  But
they will never have an encounter like this.  They do other things with
their lives.  You need to be sure that every day you take every opportunity
to tell everybody you really have a chance to talk with about what the
choice is, what is the nature of the choice.

          Last night you heard in the debate the discussion about tax
policy.  And the Republican nominee said to the Vice President, well, your
tax cut leaves some people out.  Well, our Democratic tax cut is only about
a third of the size of theirs.  But there's a reason for that.  We think we
have to save some money to invest in education, health care, the
environment, and we think we've got to keep paying the debt off.

          Now, keep in mind, if you pay the debt off, as opposed to
continuing -- or returning to deficit spending, and getting into the Social
Security surplus, which their plan inevitably will do -- when you add up
their tax cut, the trillion dollars it costs to partially privatize Social
Security without bankrupting it for the people who will be guaranteed their
benefits, and all their spending promises, they go back to deficit
spending.

          Interest rates will be a point lower over the next decade under
the plan John Kelly will vote for.  Do you know what that's worth --$390
billion in home mortgage savings, $30 billion in car payment savings, $15
billion in college loan savings.  God only knows how much in credit card
savings.  Lower business loans means more businesses started, more jobs
added, more incomes raised and a higher stock market.

          And it also means you get rid of the third biggest item in the
budget.  Interest on the debt is the third biggest item on the budget.
Social Security, defense, interest on the debt, Medicare.  And we'll get
rid of it.

          When I took office, they told me the deficit would be $455
billion this year, and we'd be spending almost 15 cents a dollar on the
debt.  We got it down to 12 cents.  And we will have paid $360 billion of
the debt off when I leave office.  But this is something that the
progressive party ought to be for, even though it sounds conservative.
Why?  Because we live in a global economy where we're competing for
dollars; we need to free up money for the private sector to invest and
create jobs, and keeping interest rates low is a broad-based, middle-class
tax cut that benefits everybody.

          How do I know?  We've had the lowest African American and
Hispanic unemployment ever recorded in America; the lowest poverty rates
among those minority groups ever recorded in America.  Are they too high?
Yes, but we're moving them in the right direction.

          Last year we had the biggest drop in child poverty since 1966,
because we have a stable and growing economy.  And now we've got to spread
it to everybody.  The point is, people have a choice to make here.  To
pretend that there's no choice is dead wrong.  There is a clear choice.
And you have to decide, since a lot of you here, since you could afford to
be here, would get more out of their tax cut than ours in the first year,
you have to ask yourself, why am I here.  I went to Georgetown, I have to
be, right?  (Laughter.)  No, I mean besides that.

          And the answer is, you and everybody else in America will be
better off if we focus tax relief where it's most needed, to help people
deal with child care and long-term care and college education and saving
for retirement.  And if we keep those interest rates down and keep the
economy going strong, where everybody will make more money.

          It's not as if we haven't had a test run.  We tried it their way
for 12 years; we tried it our way for 8 years.  The evidence is there.
People need to understand the difference.

          We have a very different health care policy.  We're for the
patients' bill of rights that really is a bill of rights, not suggestions
-- and they're not.  And to be fair to them, they say, well, this may cost
too much on the health insurance premiums for small business employers, and
it may cost the HMOs too much and they may raise health care premiums and
they're too high already.  That's their argument.

          So the problem is, we have evidence.  I put in a patients' bill
of rights for everybody insured under the federal government -- Medicare,
Medicaid, military, federal employees, and the retirees who get their
health care under the federal government.  Do you know how much it costs
us?  One dollar a month per premium.  And their office, the Republican
Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost for the general
population would be less than $2 a month.

          Now, I would pay $1.80 a month to know that if one of you goes
out of this fundraiser, God forbid, and gets hit by a car, you can be taken
to the nearest emergency room.  You won't have to pass three on the way to
get to the one that is covered by your health plan.  And I think you would,
too.  This is a big issue, and it's a difference.  (Applause.)

          But there's a choice here.  This Medicare drug deal -- I can't do
a better job than the Vice President did last night.  I thought he made a
great show of it, because he said what our position is.  But you need to
know what's going on here.  We've got the money to provide prescription
drugs under Medicare.  If we were starting Medicare today, would we do it
without a drug plan?  Of course not.  But in 1960 -- Medicare was enacted
when we were beginning our Georgetown careers, and medicine was about
doctors and hospitals.  Now, medicine may be about staying out of the
hospital by taking medicine that makes you live longer and live better.

          And every day there are older people in this country choosing
between medicine and food.  Now, we say, since Medicare is an efficient,
popular, effective government program, let people buy into Medicare and get
drug coverage.  It also has, by the way, an administrative cost of about
1.5 percent, as opposed to 10 to 14 percent for most HMOs.  So it's the
most efficient way to do it.  And let everybody who needs it have a chance
to buy it.  We'll give poor people, we'll pay their premiums.  And then if
people have catastrophic bills, over a certain amount we'll pay that, and
everybody else will pay a co-pay and a monthly fee.

          They say, let's don't do that.  Let's phase it in over five
years, cover people up to 150 percent of the poverty line, and then cover
everybody else by letting them by an insurance policy.  The problem is --
and I have to give it to the health insurance companies.  As many fights as
I've had with them I have to take my hat off to them.  They've been
scrupulously honest in this debate.  They have been terrific.  They have
said, look, this is nuts, you can't design a health insurance policy that
anybody can afford to pay for that will cover an acceptable amount of
medicine.  The insurance market won't do it.

          Nevada has adopted the Republican plan.  That's what they
adopted.  Do you know how many health insurance companies have offered drug
coverage in Nevada since they adopted it?  Zero -- none.  Not one.  Why?
Because it won't work.  I've got to give it to our adversaries -- evidence
never phases them.  (Laughter and applause.)  You've got to kind of admire
that.

          But what's this whole deal really about?  Do you know what it's
about?  It's about the drug companies.  And they're not for this.  And you
may say to yourself, that doesn't make any sense, I'm in a business where
the more customers I have the better I do.  How could you be in the
business of making drugs and not want to sell more of them?  It's a good
question, and here's the answer.  Now, let me say, you don't have to
demonize the pharmaceuticals to do this.  I am proud of the fact that those
companies are part of America.  They have -- every single week they come up
with some new breathtaking discovery.  They provide tens of thousands of
wonderful jobs to Americans, and I thank God they're in our country.  You
do not have to demonize them.  But they're wrong on this, and let me
explain why.

          Here's their problem.  It costs a fortune to develop these drugs,
and then they spend a whole lot of money advertising the drugs.  And they
want to sell the drugs world-wide, but because Europe and Canada and
everybody else is under price controls, they have to recover 100 percent of
their development and their advertising costs from us.  That's fine for me,
I can pay it.  And what they're worried about is if Medicare, all of a
sudden, is representing millions of American seniors -- it's not price
controls, they're just worried that Medicare will become such a big buyer,
they'll have so much power in the market, that senior citizens in America
will be able to buy drugs made in America almost as cheap as they can buy
them in Canada.

          And they're worried, therefore, that since they can't recover
their costs anywhere else, that their profits will be drastically reduced,
thereby undermining their ability to continue to develop new drugs and do
all that.  It's a legitimate problem.  But surely to goodness, the answer
to the problem is not to tell old people they can't have medicine they
need.

          Now, what's our position?  Our position is we've got the money,
take care of the people who need the drugs, keep them well, let them live
longer, and then we'll help the drug companies figure out how to solve
their problem.  They're big, they're strong, they've got a lot of influence
around here.  We'll figure out how to solve this.  (Laughter.)  But,
surely, the answer to the problem is not to deprive people of the medicine
they need.  This is crazy.  We're right on this and they're wrong.  It's a
big reason to be for John Kelly.  (Applause.)

          I could go through the same drill on energy and the environment.
And Jeff Bingaman could give a speech better than me.  I could go through
the same drill on education.  Both sides are now for accountability --
that's good.  I would like to point out that when we took office there were
only 14 states with core academic standards, and we required it as a
condition of federal aid.  There are now 49.  We tried to have a voluntary
national test that could then be administered and judged and used as a
basis of giving out federal aid, and the other side said no.  So we
required all the states to identify their failing schools and take steps to
turn them around.

          And what Al Gore wants to do is say, turn them around, shut them
down or put them under new management.  They say the answer to the need for
more choice is to go to vouchers.  We say the answer to the need for more
choice is, since we don't have enough money in the school system as it is,
since we only give 7 percent of the total budget -- it was 9 percent in the
'60s.  When we came to Georgetown, the federal government was giving 9
percent.  It got down to nearly 5 when I took office, we got it back to 7.
We've got the biggest bunch of kids in school ever and we know how to turn
these schools around.  So we say, create charter schools and other forms of
public school choice, and let the kids go wherever they want to.  But don't
take the money -- that money -- out of the school system because we don't
have enough money as it is.  You need competition -- (applause.)

          Now, and we say, and by the way, we ought to help them.  So we
ought to finance more teachers for small classes in the early grades.  We
ought to finance after-school and summer school and pre-school programs for
everybody that needs it.  And we ought to help them build schools or repair
schools.  And we've got a plan to build 6,000 schools and repair 5,000 a
year for five years.

          Why?  Because they need help.  You've got more kids than ever
before, but a smaller percentage of their parents are property owners.  And
therefore, it's not like at the end of World War II, when even in Hillary's
home town in Park Ridge, Illinois, which voted 4 to 1 for Goldwater, they
had high school millages, because they wanted to make their schools good.
And they could do it.  It's different now.

          So we say, accountability-plus.  Big difference.  Anyway, I could
go through all these issues.  If you -- on arms control, we're for the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and they're not.  I think that's a big
difference.  (Applause.)

          So here's the deal.  If somebody comes up to you on the street
and they say, why should I vote for Al Gore -- if you live in New York, why
should I vote for Hillary -- if you live in New Mexico, why should I vote
for John Kelly, that incumbent congresswoman seems a perfectly intelligent,
nice person to me -- you need to be able to say, look, we're not into
personal criticism, we're not into personal attacks, we just want the
American people to understand what the choice is.
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          I'm telling you if the people understand what the choice is and
what the possibilities are, we're going to be fine.  John will win if they
understand what the choices are.  Now, the money is important.  Why?  Last
year, in '98, when we won seats in the sixth year of a presidency, for the
first time since 1822, we got out-spent by $100 million.  So you don't have
to have as much money as they do.  And we have too many positions that are
against the money to have as much money as they do.  (Laughter.)  Just on
the patients' bill of rights and the medicine alone -- we can't get there.
But that doesn't matter.  That doesn't matter.  What matters is that you
have enough to get your message out, and you have enough to answer the
incoming fire.  If you do and they have more, well, that's nice for them,
but it's not fatal for you.  So that's important.

          But I am telling you, you have got to be able to say, not just
with your checkbooks, but with your voice, why are you for these people.
What difference would it make if John wins, or not?  You need to be able to
say, there are economic consequences, health care consequences, education
consequences, environmental consequences, public safety consequences, and
national security consequences.

          And finally, there's a lot of one America consequences.  One of
the reasons I'd like to see him in the Congress is that I know how much he
cares about Native Americans and about righting our relationship with the
Native American tribes, not just in New Mexico, but around the country.
(Applause.)  We're for the hate crimes legislation, and they're not.  We're
for stronger equal pay laws for women in the workplace, and they're not.
(Applause.)

          But having somebody who knows and cares about what's happening to
people on these reservations and in the vicinity is profoundly important.
I went to Shiprock the other day with Tom, and we were talking about this
at the Navajo reservation.  And it's magnificent.  God, it is so beautiful.
It's magnificent.  And the people are so impressive.  But I was introduced
by a 13-year-old girl that won a contest in her school and won a computer.
And she couldn't log onto the Internet because her family didn't have a
telephone.  Over half the families don't have telephones.  Over half the
families don't have jobs.

          And here we are with 4 percent unemployment.  And they're stuck
there because they made a deal with America over 100 years ago that said
they'd give up their land and their mineral rights and everything else in
return for the federal government meeting certain responsibilities in a
nation-to-nation relationship.  And, frankly, we took the money and ran.
And ever since then, even though there have been a lot of well-meaning
people involved, they've been kept in a kind of semi-dependency that has
never, never been fair; it has never worked; and it's all the problems of
the old welfare system times 50.

          And if you believe, as I do, that intelligence and enterprise are
equally distributed among all people, this is an unconscionable situation.
I have done everything I could to turn it around.  This New Markets
legislation I think we will pass this time will help.  But whether you live
in New Mexico or not, whether you ever know a Native American or not, I'm
telling you, as an American citizen this ought to be important to you.  We
need somebody who cares, who knows, who has worked among and understood
these issues.  This is profoundly important.

          It is an important part of redeeming the promise of America that
we keep working on this until we get it right.  So you give people those
answers and we'll win.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

                        END           7:58 P.M. EDT


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