2000-10/10 President of the United States REMARKS AT REP CROWLEY RECEPTION
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release               September 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 happened.

     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 vulnerable.
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 controls.

     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 my
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

     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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