Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - Monday, October 23, 1995 ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v31; Issue n42 Remarks at a fundraising dinner in Houston, Texas

Monday, October 23, 1995


ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v31; Issue n42


Remarks at a fundraising dinner in Houston, Texas. (President Bill Clinton


Total number of pages for this article: 10 FULL TEXT



� October 17, 1995



� Well, Secretary Bentsen, that was such a wonderful introduction, I

almost forgive you for leaving. [Laughter] The operative word is

"almost." I thank Lloyd and B.A. for their friendship and the gifts

they've given our country. And I tell you that when the history of the

last 50 years of the 20th century is written in the United States, the

work that Lloyd Bentsen did to not only help to get hold of this

terrible out-of-control deficit but to do it in a way that would permit

us to invest in our people and our future and to connect the United

States to the rest of the world through NAFTA, through the GATT world

trade agreement, and in so many other ways will mark him as one of the

greatest Secretaries of the Treasury in the history of the United States

of America.



� I want to thank two other Texans who are here who made immeasurable

contributions to our administration: the Secretary of Housing and Urban

Development, Henry Cisneros. If you ask anybody who has followed the

work of that Department in the few decades that it has existed, they.

will tell you that without question he is the best Secretary of Housing

and Urban Development ever to serve in that position. And we're very

proud of him. And my good friend Bill White, who just came home to

Houston after being Deputy Secretary of Energy, thank you, sir. I will

say again that between Bill White and Hazel O'Leary and Ron Brown, the

Secretary of Commerce, they did more to further the energy interest of

the United States and to create jobs in the United States by getting

investment abroad than any previous administration has ever done. Thank

you, sir, for what you did in that, and I appreciate that very much.



� My heart is fall of gratitude tonight and so many wonderful things

have been said that if I had any sense I'd just sit down. [Laughter] I'm

afraid if I talk on now I'll disqualify myself for reelection. But I m

going to talk anyway. [Laughter]



� I want to thank the statewide chairs of these galas we've had. I have

had two wonderful days in Texas. I thank Arthur Schecter, who made a

wonderful statement earlier, and Joyce; Lee and Sandra Godfrey and Stan

McClellan; Lou Congillan; Sheldon and Sunny Smith; and George Bristol

and Frank and Debbie Branson, who did such a wonderful job for us in

Dallas yesterday. Thank you very much. Thank you, all of you.



� My good friend of nearly 25 years who is only a year younger than me

and looks 15 years younger than me - I resent it bitterly, but I still

love Garry Mauro. Thank you, my friend, and Judith, his wife.



� I'm really glad to see Ann Richards and Mark White here. I used to be

a Governor, you know, back when I had a real life. And we served

together, and we enjoyed it immensely.



� I appreciate Attorney General Morales and former Attorney General

Mattox being here. I told somebody the other day - he said, "What's the

best job you ever had?" And I said, "I was attorney general; that was

the best job I ever had." And they said, "Why?" And I said, "Well, I

didn't have to hire or fire or appoint or disappoint, raise taxes or cut

spending. And every time I did something unpopular, I blamed it on the

Constitution." [Laughter] So, remember that.



� I want to say a special word of thanks to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson

Lee and Congressman Jim Chapman for their work for our country and for

your State in the Congress. And let me say a great word of thanks, too,

to Bob Bullock for what he said and for the private things that he has

said to me in the last 2 days. It's been a great inspiration to me. And

I was sitting there thinking that I could play that talk he was giving

in several States, and it would help us. I wish I could patent it and

send it around like that Ozark water you talked about. [Laughter]



� And finally, let me say a special word of thanks, too, to Mayor Bob

Lanier and his wife, Elise. We came in and we got out of the car - I

spend a lot of time with a lot of mayors and I have many, many very

close friends who are mayors, but I'm not sure there is any mayor in

America who has the particular combination of compassion and intellect

and old-fashioned practical insight. It's really quite a genius, you

know, to not just talk about problems but to actually do something about

them. And in so many ways, Bob Lanier has done that. And I guess that's

why he got 91 percent last time. He has promised that if you beat it

this time, that he will give me a few that he has to spare in '96.

[Laughter] So I hope that you will do that.



� I want to thank Reverend Caldwell for praying over us tonight and for

his mission and his ministry and for bringing his wonderful wife, who is

a native of my State. His mother-in-law was a supporter and a woman I

got to know, a remarkable woman. I'm delighted to see you here, sir.

Thank you both for coming.



� I'd like to thank Terry McAuliffe and Laura Hartigan and Meredith

Jones, our Texas finance director, for the work they did and all those

who helped them for this fine night. I thank you.



� I also want to say a word on behalf of two people who are not here

tonight. The Vice President had meant to come with me when we were going

to do this last night, but I thanks to the sponsors here in Houston, we

were able to defer this until this evening so that I could go out to

California last night and participate in a national benefit for the

Center on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention, something that is very

important to me because I've dealt with both those issues in my family

and because our administration is committed to making progress on that.

And I thank you for your indulgence, but that kept the Vice President

from coming.



� I just want to say that even my severest detractors, when our

administration's history is written, will say that Al Gore was the most

influential Vice President in 219 years of the American Republic. And I

thank him for his work on the environment, on reinventing Government, on

technology, on helping us with Russia. But most of all, I thank him just

for being there.



� When we work together, I wonder what all of those other Presidents did

and why they didn't do more with this incredibly flexible office. The

only thing the Vice President really has to do is to sort of show up in

the Senate when there is a tie vote, and hang around waiting for

something to happen to me. [Laughter] Every day I think about that, I do

a few more sit-ups and - [laughter] - you know, do what I can to avoid

that. So, you know, you've got a fellow with a high IQ and a reasonable

amount of energy, it seems like a shame just to let him hang around.

[Laughter] And I really think he's done a magnificent job. I'm so proud

of him, and we have a genuine partnership.



� I'd also like to say that I know that the First Lady would like to be

here with us tonight, but as some of you doubtless know, she has been on

a very, very successful trip to Latin America. She went to Nicaragua, to

Chile, to Brazil, and to Paraguay. And since the people of Texas

understand better than any other people in the United States how

important our partnership with Latin America is, I hope you will excuse

her absence.



� I've been trying to think of what I ought to talk about tonight. You

saw a movie about the accomplishments of the administration, and then

Secretary Bentsen was kind enough to get up and talk about it, and

others did. What I'd like to do is to give you some arguments for the

next year. I've heard all this talk about how the Democratic Party is

dead because we don't have any new ideas or we're too liberal or we're

slaves to Government. And I have concluded that since they keep winning

elections with those arguments, we're better at doing and they're better

at talking. So I want to give you some talking tonight, if I could.



� I have learned a few things about the limits of liberalism. I heard a

story the other day my - senior Senator, Dale Bumpers, called me and

told me a story I want to share with you about the limits of liberalism,

involving Huey Long, the famous populist Governor and Senator of

Kentucky. One day, you know, when we were in the middle of the

Depression and we had - I mean, Louisiana. [Laughter] I've got a

Kentucky story I wanted to tell, but I decided, upon reflection, I

shouldn't tell it. So my conscience is clicking in on me.



� Anyway, when - do you remember, Huey Long - those of you who are old

enough to remember when he was Governor and then later Senator, he

campaigned around the State and then around the country on this "share

the wealth" platform. He came up north to Arkansas, actually, and helped

a woman named Hattie Caraway get elected to the Senate. The first woman

in American history ever elected to the Senate in her own right was

Hattie Caraway from Arkansas. And the only time anybody ever came into

our State as an outsider and helped anybody win an election was Huey

Long. He was a great politician. And unemployment was 25 percent in

America, and the per capita income of Arkansas, Louisiana, and

Mississippi was only about half the national average. So you could say

whatever you want to about sharing the wealth, and you had a pretty

willing audience.



� And he was out on a country crossroads one day, talking about how we

ought to share the wealth. And there were all these farmers standing

around. He saw this old boy in overalls, and he said, "Farmer Jones," he

said, "let me ask you something." He said, "Now, if you had three

Cadillacs, wouldn't you give us one so we could go around here on these

country roads and pick up these kids and take them to school during the

week and take them to church on Sunday?" He said, "Of course, I would."

He said, "If you had $3 million, wouldn't you give us a million dollars

so we could put a roof over every family's head and give them a good

meal at night and breakfast in the morning?" He said, "You bet I would."

He said, "If you had three hogs -" and he said, "Now, wait a minute,

Governor, I've got three hogs." [Laughter] So the Democrats, to be fair,

have learned a few things about the limits of liberalism. [Laughter]



� Here's what I think is going on. This is a time of extraordinary

change but very great promise for this country. We're moving from an

industrial age to an information and a technology age. We're moving out

of the cold-war era into a global village, where we're all closer

together than ever before and where there are vast new opportunities for

cooperation existing alongside the new security threats of terrorism,

biological and chemical warfare, organized crime, and global drug

trafficking. What we have to do is to harness all this change to make

America a better place.



� I ran for President with a clear mission in my own mind to try to take

good care of this country to achieve two objectives in the 21st century:

One was to make sure that the American dream was alive and well for all

people without regard to their race, their income, or their region. And

the second was to make sure that America continued to be the strongest

country in the world, so that someone could lead the world after the

cold war toward greater freedom and greater democracy and greater

security and greater prosperity. That's what I wanted to do.



� I said at the time that I thought we would have to move beyond the old

political debate that parties had been having for many years toward what

I called a new democratic philosophy. And I'd just like to go over what

those elements were that I told you I would try to bring to the




� I said I thought our economic policy ought to be based on growth, not

dividing the pie but growing the economy more; that we ought to do

whatever it took to maintain our world leadership but that we couldn't

be involved in everybody's problem everywhere; that we needed a new form

of Government that would be smaller and less bureaucratic, would be more

entrepreneurial, would give more responsibility to State and local

governments and to the private sector, would embrace all kinds of new

ideas, but would still fulfill our fundamental obligations that can only

be done by the National Government; and that all of this ought to be

done based on a reassertion of old-fashioned mainstream values that I

think got lost over the last 10 or 20 years: that we needed both

responsibility and opportunity in our country, that people had to be

able to succeed both at work and in their family lives, that we had to

have both growth and fairness in our country, and that in the end we had

to decide, as Mayor Lanier said, to be a community. We had to decide

that we had certain obligations to one another. That's what people in a

community feel.



� If we have no obligations to one another, then we're not a community,

we're just a crowd. We occupy the same piece of land, but we're just

going to elbow each other until whoever is strongest winds up at the

front of the line. And we never will turn over our shoulder to see what

happened to the others. Being a community means you have obligations to

our parents, to our children, to those who need help through no fault of

their own. It also means that we revel in and cherish and build up our

diversity, we don't use it as a cheap political trick to divide the

American people. That's what it means.



� Now, what I want to say to you tonight is that I believe I've been

faithful to that and I believe this country is moving in the right

direction, thanks mostly to the American people. But I believe that our

administration has made its contributions.



� You heard what was said about the economy, about the growth of the

economy. The misery index that the other party used to talk about so

much, the combined rates of unemployment and inflation, you never hear

them mention it anymore because it's at the lowest level it's been in 25




� And beyond the new jobs, I'm really proud of the fact that we've had

the largest number of new small businesses incorporated in the last 2

1/2 years of any comparable period in American history; that we've got,

thanks in no small measure to the remarkable partnership Henry Cisneros

has established with the housing industry in America, we have 2 1/2

million new homeowners, a record number for such a short time. And if he

keeps going, we're going to have two-thirds of the American people in

their own homes by the end of the decade, something that has never been

done before.



� Most of the credit goes to the American people, but the fact that we

drove down the deficit while increasing our investment in technology, in

research, in the education of our people, and that we expanded trade

dramatically - up 4 percent in '93, 10 percent in '94, 16 percent in '95

- those things have made a contribution to that economic picture because

we broke the mold.



� We brought down the deficit and invested in our people. We went for

free trade with NAFTA and GATT in 80 agreements with other countries,

including 15 with Japan. But we also went for fair trade that looked

after labor standards and the environment and that finally, finally got

an agreement with Japan that we can enforce on automobile related

issues. These are important things that will make a difference over the

long run. And I think they're worthy of support.



� You heard what Mr. Schecter said about the role the United States has

played in world peace; I won't belabor that. I will tell you that this

is also a safer country than it was 2 1/2 years ago. There are no

Russian missiles pointed at anyone in America for the first time since

the dawn of the nuclear age. We are moving toward a comprehensive

nuclear test ban treaty next year. We have extended indefinitely the

agreement of over 170 nations not to be proliferators of nuclear

weapons. We are making progress in working with other countries in

fighting terrorism, in fighting the spread of biological and chemical

weapons, in trying to make the American people safer. I am proud of

that. And we have to continue to do it.



� This Bosnia issue has been difficult, but we must lead here. And if we

can get a peace agreement, as the leader of NATO, we have to help

implement it. Otherwise, we will have a terrible problem in the middle

of Europe that can engulf us in the future.



� Do we have problems? Yes, of course, we do. We still have too much

income inequality. You always have that when you change from one

economic arrangement to another and everything gets shaken up. The

people that are best positioned to do well, do very well. Those that

aren't positioned to do well get hurt worse. And we have to do something

about that. And I've put forward a program to do that, to offer more

educational opportunities, to raise the minimum wage, to give middle

income families a tax deduction for the cost of a college education so

that more people can get that education.



� We have to deal with that, but let's see it in the context of what's

happening. This country is generating jobs and growth and opportunity.

There will always be problems as long as the world exists. We need to

focus on the problems but keep doing what is working in America.



� If you look at the issue of Government - Lloyd Bentsen said the

Government's 165,000 smaller than it was when I took office; let me tell

you what that means. Next year, the Federal Government will be the

smallest it's been since Kennedy was President. But more importantly, as

a percentage of the work force, the Federal Government today is the

smallest it's been since 1933. I hardly think that qualifies us to be

the party of big Government.



� We've done more to give authority to States to get out from under

Federal rules on welfare and health care experiments than the last two

administrations combined did in 12 years. We have done more to get rid

of thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. We are trying to

make this Government work. Does it still do dumb things? Of course. Do

we make mistakes? You bet we do. Is the answer to abolish the Federal

Government? No. No. The answer is to have it be smaller but make it so

it can still protect people.



� This is a fundamental decision that's at issue in this election

season, that's at issue in this budget fight. Do you really believe that

the market will solve all problems and we'd be better off without any

Government? Are you willing to tolerate the occasional mistake of a

Government that is transforming itself radically in order to know that

somebody is there looking out for the public interest and our

obligations to one another as a community.



� Do we need to do more? Of course, we do. I still want the line-item

veto, lobby reform, campaign finance reform. There's lots of things we

can do. But the point is, we're going in the right direction. The answer

is to reform the National Government, not to dismantle it. That is the

answer. That's what will work for America. That is the right approach.



� If you look at whether we've furthered our values or not, let me tell

you that I want to give you some statistics that will support what you

saw yesterday in that march. Forget about all the speeches and all the

politics about it and everything; just remember the faces of the people

that were at that march yesterday. Listen to what they said. That march

was about them and their desire to reassert responsibility for

themselves, their families, their communities. Their understanding that

until everybody in America is willing to do their part, then the

Government can't fix the problems, no one else can - that is a beautiful

and awesome thing, and no one should denigrate it and no one should

underestimate it.



� What I tried to do at the University of Texas yesterday was to give a

clear voice to what I believe was in the hearts and minds of most of the

people who showed up there yesterday. But I believe it's in the hearts

and minds of most Americans. And I think it is a great tragedy that

people who basically share the same values and, frankly, have a lot of

the same problems often cannot reach across the divide at one another.



� But what I want to tell you is, this country, even more than what you

saw at the march yesterday, across racial and gender and age and

regional lines, there is a reawakening in this country, a sort of a

coming back to common sense and shared values and a determination to go

into the future with greater strength and character and devotion to the

things that make life worth living.



� And I'll just give you a few examples of that. In the last 2 1/2

years, the crime rate is down, the murder rate is down, the welfare

rolls are down, the food stamp rolls are down, the poverty rate is down,

the teen pregnancy rate is down. A lot of people don't know that. Now,

no Government program did that. That's the folks that live in this

country getting themselves together and sort of - you know, we're a

great big, complicated country, and we change slowly, but that's an

awesome thing when you think about that.



� Now, I think our policies helped. I think we helped when we cut taxes

on 15 million working families who were making modest incomes, so that

we'd be able to say, if you work 40 hours a week and you've got kids in

your house, you won't be in poverty anymore. I think that was a good

thing to do. I think that was an honorable thing to do.



� I think the family and medical leave law helped. I don't think people

ought to lose their jobs if their parents get sick or their baby's born

and they need to be there.



� I think the 35 States who we gave permission to experiment with

welfare reform - I think that helped. I'll give you an example. One

thing that they're doing in Texas that I agree with is they have asked

for permission to get out from under Federal rules so that they can say

if you want a welfare check and you've got a child, you have to prove

your child has been immunized against serious diseases. We have one of

the lowest immunization rates in the country. I think it's a great idea.

It's a great idea.



� And I hope - I think the crime bill helped. I appreciate what Mayor

Lanier said. I was very moved by what I saw that he was trying to do in

Houston when I ran for President. And that crime bill, by putting

100,000 police on the street and community policing is helping America

to lower the crime rate, but also by emphasizing the prevention and

giving these kids something to say yes to, that's also helping to lower

the crime rate. And I want to say more about that in a minute.



� I just want you to remember this little moment from yesterday's speech

in Texas - at the University of Texas, I mean. I tried to say that a lot

of what has to be done to bridge the racial divide requires first the

assumption of personal responsibility by all Americans without regard to

race. Second, the ability to talk honestly and listen carefully to one

another - we don't do enough of that. We still haven't even scratched

the surface of that. But thirdly, there are responsibilities of things

we have to do. One of the big fights I'm in now with Congress is whether

we ought to just get rid of all this money for prevention. Now, they say

they like this, giving the States and localities the right to spend the

money; that's what we did. We said, here's the prevention money. I don't

know what works in Houston and whether it would work in Hartford,

Connecticut. I know one thing, you get enough kids in these programs

playing soccer after school or learning to play golf or doing whatever

else these kids are doing, you get all of them in there, and your crime

rate is going to go down. You're going to save a lot of kids' lives. You

won't have to spend all that money building jails and putting them in

prison. You can spend less money and educate them and have them do well.

I believe that.



� I have always believed we should be very tough on crime. I have always

believed that in some crimes you just have to give up and be

unforgiving. But I am often reminded of one of my favorite lines of

poetry that was written in the context of the turmoil in Ireland but

applies to the children growing up alone on these mean streets today.

William Butler Yeats once said, "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone

of the heart." And we shouldn't forget that.



� Our biggest problem today is, in spite of all those good numbers I

told you, in spite of the fact - one thing I didn't say is that drug

usage among young adults is down - in spite of all that, the violent

crime rate among juveniles in most cities is up. Casual drug use,

especially marijuana, among young teenagers - not young adults, among

teenagers - is up. Why? Because there's too many of those kids out there

raising themselves. And nobody's looking after them and making sure they

have something to do, something to say yes to. The mayor told me that

the juvenile crime rate is not going up in Houston because those kids

are being engaged.



� So I say to you, we're moving in the right direction. The answer is to

do more of this, to do more things consistent with our basic values, not

to do less, not to do less.



� This is a great country. We are getting our act together culturally

and socially. And our economy is going great. What we have to do is to

figure out how to spread the benefits of the economy to people who don't

have it and how to deal with the social and cultural problems that need

some help from the outside, that can't be totally solved by individuals

and families on their own. This is what I want you to think about: That

means that a great deal of the rhetoric in Washington today is

irrelevant to what we have to do, to the future, and that's what bothers

me about it.



� Now, you want to deal with yesterday's rhetoric - and the Republicans

say, "Well, Clinton's liberal; the Democrats are liberal; they love big

Government" - you got a few questions you can ask them. You say, "Well,

if that's true, of the last three Presidents, who cut the deficit more?

Who was the only one to present a balanced budget? Who reduced

regulation more? Who gave more authority to State and local governments

to get out from under the Federal Government more of the last three

Presidents? Who cut the size of Government more? Who cut taxes more for

small businesses?" Believe it or not, we did in 1993, thanks to Lloyd

Bentsen. Those are all facts. Who had the most pro-family welfare and

child support and tax policies? We did.



� But that is not the argument we need to make. I want you to say that;

maybe that will open some people's ears and eyes. But that's not what

this is about. This is not about politics. This is about the people of

the United States, about our future, about how we're going to get into

the 21st century, remember, with the American dream alive for everybody,

with America the strongest country in the world. That is the mission.

The mission is what happens to the people - not what happens to the

politicians, not what happens to the political parties - what happens to

the people of the United States of America.



� And I ask you to consider just two things as I move out of this and

leave you here and go back to work. First is, in a time of change the

President has to do what is right for the long run, which means

inevitably he will do things that will be unpopular in the short run.

Now, that is absolutely true. I'd bet everything I've got in the bank,

which isn't all that much - [laughter] - that I've done four or five

things that made everybody in this room mad in the last 2 1/2 years. And

sometimes I've been wrong. But I show up every day. [Laughter] But the

point I want to make here, what I want to say is, you have to understand

that when things are changing so quickly and the moment is there, you

cannot even imagine what will be popular in a month or a year in a time

of change like this. You have to think about what it would look like in

10 or 20 years.



� When Lloyd Bentsen and I - he didn't tell you the whole story - I'll

tell you the whole story about that budget - probably people in this

room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your

taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them

too much, too. But you know why we did it? Because we had been in

Washington - you ask - we had been in Washington one week when the

then-minority leaders of the House and Senate, now the Senate majority

leader and the Speaker of the House, informed us that we would not get

not one single, solitary vote from the other party for our budget, no

matter what we did, and were very candid. They said, "We want to be in a

position to blame you if the economy continues to go down. And if it

goes up, we want to be in a position to attack you forraising taxes,

whether you raise taxes on people or not. You're going to raise taxes on

some, and that's the attack we want, so we're not going to vote for it,

not a one of us."



� Well, needless to say, we had information, as you heard Secretary

Bentsen say, that if we could get the deficit down $500 billion in 5

years, we could lower interest rates and boom the economy. And so we

decided, even with only Democrats voting for it, we would have to make

whatever decisions would be necessary to do that, even though it meant a

little more tax and a little less spending cut than we wanted. And we

reasoned - and I remember him telling me this, he said, "I'm going to

pay more, but most people will make a whole lot more money if we get

this economy going than they'll pay in extra taxes." And that's exactly

what happened. It was the right thing for America for the long run, even

though it was difficult politics in the short run. It was the right

thing to do.



� You know and I know they cut us a new one in Texas over the assault

weapons ban and the Brady bill. [Laughter] But let me tell you

something. Since we adopted the Brady bill, last year, 1994, there were

40,000 felons who did not get handguns and didn't have a chance to shoot

innocent Americans because of it.



� I know when we had to decide whether we should move the administration

through the FDA to try to crack down on teenage smoking and restrain

advertising directed at teenagers, all the political advice was, "Don't

do that. Don't do that, because if you do that, everybody that's against

you will vote against you, and everybody that's for you can find some

other reason to vote against you."



� That's why things often don't get done, by the way, in national

politics. [Laughter] Because organized, intense, minority interests will

all vote against you and will terrify whoever they can terrify if you do

such and such a thing, and then everybody that agrees with you will find

some other reason to be against you. So it paralyzes the political




� But we studied this problem for 14 months. Three thousand kids a day

start smoking; 1,000 of them are going to die earlier because of it. How

much political hit is 1,000 lives a day worth? I think it's worth a

whole lot. It's the right thing to do. Twenty years from now, there will

be a lot more kids alive because of the initiatives of the

administration. It is the right thing to do.



� Most of you liked it when I helped Mexico, but the day I did it,

there's a poll in - the Washington Post came out, the poll was 81-15

against what I did. I thought it just another day at the office.




� But the American people could not possibly see ahead 10, 20 years to

what would happen to the United States if the economy of Mexico failed

and the financial markets in Argentina and Brazil collapsed. And our

whole strategy for growing the American economy in the 21st century in a

world economy, but starting in our backyard with Mexico and the rest of

Latin America and then moving to Asia, Europe, and other places would be

wrecked. And our ability to cooperate in fighting drugs and in dealing

with illegal immigration and all these things would have been




� So I said to myself, "Yes, it's unpopular, but this is a good country.

People are fairminded. Maybe it will work out in the next year or two.

But whether it does or not, 20 years from now, it will look like a very

good decision." That is the way we all have to begin to think. And when

we do, then we can begin to dismiss out of hand these trivial wedge

issues that are designed to divide us and drive a stake in our hearts.



� I applaud the mayor for not abandoning affirmative action. It's not

time yet. It's not time yet. It's not time yet. We had so many different

programs in Washington, there were things wrong with them. We're trying

to fix them. And any time you do anything, if you do it long enough,

somebody will make a mistake, and then someone else can go find it, and

they can blow it up in a 30-second ad and make it look like, you know,

you can't find your way home at night. [Laughter] But it is not time




� If we haven't learned anything from the last few weeks, we should have

learned that. We have still got work to do to make sure everybody has a

chance to participate on fair and equal terms in the bounty of America.



� So these are the things we have to do, and that's what I want you to

see. Now, having said that, I want you to see this fight over the budget

in these terms.



� Let me tell you as you leave here, this is not about balancing the

budget. For the first time since Lyndon Johnson was President, the

President and the leaders of Congress are committed to balancing the

budget. That is a very good thing. I applaud the Republican leadership

for that. This is not about slowing the rate of medical inflation and

securing the Medicare Trust Fund for the first time in a good while.

We're both committed to that. The issue is, how are we going to do it,

and are we going to do it in a way that is consistent with our values

and with common sense and bringing us together?



� Now, my budget is a good, credible, conservative budget. It gets rid

of hundreds of programs. But it does not - it does not, in this age, gut

education or research or technology. I want everybody to get on that

information superhighway and ride straight into the 21st century, and it

is nuts for us to cut education if we're going to do that. It is wrong.

And it doesn't hurt families. I can't imagine my getting a deduction for

Chelsea's college costs, which is what would happen under their bill,

and turn around and raising taxes on families making $20,000 a year

trying to support three children. But that's exactly what they do.

That's wrong. That is wrong. It doesn't make sense, and it's wrong.



� And on the health care issue, you may think there's a lot of

demagoguery in it, but let me tell you - we have got to slow the rate of

medical inflation, but that is happening. Health insurance premiums went

up less than inflation this year for the first time in 10 years. We can

fix this. But we do not want to cut Medicare so much.



� Listen to this. This is their proposal: Cut Medicare so much that we

stop paying the copay requirements for really poor elderly people.

You've got a lot - a bunch of old folks out there living on $300 a

month. And the way this budget, their budget, is written now, they get

hit the hardest. We stopped - because right now, we pay their copays and

their deductibles because they don't have enough money to live on. And

it's estimated a million elderly people could drop out of the Medicare

system if the budget passed. We don't have to do that. We don't have to

do that.



� And we don't have to go back to the time where we say to an elderly

couple, if they're lucky enough to both live and be happy, and they're

way up in their seventies or eighties, and they're still together, but

they don't have much money, and one of them needs to go into a nursing

home, we don't have to go back to the time when you could tell the

person that's not going into the nursing home, "You've got to sell your

house. You've got to sell your car. You've got to clean out your bank

account, or your spouse can't get any help." Do you really want to give

those people that choice? I don't. We don't have to. It's in their

budget, but we don't need it to balance the budget. And I'm going to

fight it. It's not right. It's not right.



� Do you really want to take thousands of kids out of the chance to be

in the Head Start program or cut the number of college scholarships for

poor kids at the time when we need more children going to college? What

do you think it's going to do to the racial dialog in this country when

you need more and more and more education? Look around here. If we'd had

this dinner 20 years ago and charged us to get in, would there have been

any black people here? Would there have been any Hispanic people here?

No. How do you think they got here? They have good educations. What are

we going to do - does that make any sense? No.



� I could go on and on and on. This is - they want to get rid of the

Commerce Department. Who do you think is opening all these doors for all

these Texas energy companies in these countries that many people just

learned existed a couple of years ago? [Laughter] The Commerce

Department, the Energy Department, the United States of America, working

in partnership with our business interests to create jobs here in

America by building bridges of commerce around the world. Why should we

do that? We don't have to, and it doesn't make any sense.



� Let me tell you something about the Medicaid program. This is the last

one I'll mention. This is big for Houston. The Medicaid program: Most

people think that that's that program for health care for poor people on

welfare. Well, that's sort of true. About 30 percent of the Medicaid

program goes to pay for health care mostly for children of welfare

families; 70 percent of it goes to help older people who don't have a

lot of money in their nursing homes or home health care, or to help the

disabled population in America.



� And when that happens, it means that their middle class children, if

you're talking about nursing homes, or their middle class brothers and

sisters and parents, if you're talking about the disabled, are therefore

able to save the money they have and educate their children and maintain

a middle class lifestyle. And it holds us together. I don't know a

single, solitary health care provider in the United States of America

who believes we can maintain the quality of health care we've got now

for all those people if we put these Medicaid cuts in.



� Not only that, the Medicaid program helps cities like Houston big

time. Why? Because the Medicaid program gives extra money to university

teaching hospitals, gives extra money to children's hospitals, gives

extra money to inner-city hospitals, gives extra money to rural

hospitals in all those little towns in Texas that are 90 miles from

nowhere and wouldn't be able to give health care if they didn't have

country hospitals out there. What's going to happen to that? Is that

what you want? I'm not for that. We don't have to do that.



� And then there are all those little curlicues in the budget. You know

how they're giving everything to the States, right? The States are the

source of all wisdom now - [laughter] - all wisdom. They're never going

to make a mistake. We're giving everything to the States except a few

things. For example, they've decided that Texas, even though Texas just

passed a tort reform law, you don't have enough sense to do your own

laws. So they want to take away your right to decide what your

malpractice laws are and what all your other laws are. They want to just

take that away. All of a sudden, you can do everything but decide what

your legal system is.



� And last week - you know what they did last week? This is an amazing

thing. One of their committees, last week they said, "We're going to

give the Medicaid program back to the States in a block grant. Now,

we're going to cut their money by 30 percent, but we're sure they'll do

fine because they're so much more efficient than we are, they can get

lower costs." And the next vote - I mean within the same hour they voted

to stop States from being able to bargain with drug companies to get

cheaper prescription drugs. [Laughter]



� This is not about balancing the budget. This is about whether you

believe America should be a winner-take-all society or a society where

everybody has a chance to win. That's what this is about. It's about

whether you believe that the market can solve every problem in the

world, or that all human systems are imperfect and democracies are

instituted to find fair ways to treat people fairly so we can go forward




� I'm telling you, folks, this country is in better shape than it was 2

years ago. Part of it is because we have had a good economic policy.

We've had good social policies. We've done the right things by the

Government. We stood up for America around the world. But a big part of

it is, the American people are changing the way they live and think, and

they are moving into the future. And you deserve better than what is in

that budget. And I'm going to do my best to see that you get it. It is

the right thing for America. And I want you to help me. And I want you

to fight for it because it's right for you.



� Thank you, and God bless you all.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 8:15 p.m. in the Westin Galleria Hotel.

In his remarks, he referred to former Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd

Bentsen and his wife, B.A.; former Texas Governors Ann Richards and Mark

White; Texas Attorney General Dan Morales and former Texas Attorney

General Jim Mattox; Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock; Texas Land Commissioner Garry

Mauro; and Terence McAuliffe, national finance chair, and Laura

Hartigan, national finance director, Clinton-Gore '96.


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