[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[October 3, 1994]
[Pages 1683-1686]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Reception for California Gubernatorial Candidate
Kathleen Brown
October 3, 1994

    The President. Thank you very much. Why don't we just vote right 
now? [Laughter] You do that for 30 more days, and you're in like Flint. 
That was terrific. Thank you, Kathleen. And thank you, Governor Bayh, 
for your leadership.
    You know, I really resent Evan Bayh. He's young and handsome, 
manages to avoid controversy and stay popular. And he's done a lot 
better as head of the Democratic Governors than I did when I was there. 
    Gov. Evan Bayh. Well, that's because I have a great President 
helping out.
    The President. Not only that, but he's a wonderful tribute to our 
party, and he has a terrific future.
    I came here tonight to speak for Kathleen Brown. I want to thank the 
members of our administration who are here, the members of the Cabinet. 
Their presence here should tell you how important we think this race is.
    I was listening to Kathleen speak a moment ago, and I want to just 
tell you a few things from the heart about this. First of all, I 
declared for President 3 years ago today. At the time I was Governor; I 
had just been reelected to a fifth term, two 4-year terms, three 2-year 
terms. I was happy as a clam at home. I got into the race basically 
because I didn't want to see our victory in the cold war be squandered 
in the aftermath, because I didn't want to see America move to the 21st 
century not able to compete and win, and because I didn't like the fact 
that our country was coming apart when it ought to be coming together.

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    And when I began that race, most people thought I needed my head 
examined because the incumbent President was over 70 percent approval in 
the polls. My mother thought I could win; that's about it. [Laughter] 
That's about it.
    I say it to make two points. One, in the moment the polls are not as 
important as the public official, the candidate, and the conviction. And 
secondly, the choice that Kathleen Brown just posed to you is a choice 
we're going to have to be making over and over and over and over again, 
until we get out of what we got ourselves into over a very long period 
of time.
    And all along the way, at various times, the choice will be more 
difficult for people. But when I look at what her opponent's tried to do 
to her out in California and how he's tried to sort of define her, it's 
classic Republican politics. And they're very good at it. Let's not kid 
ourselves. They are very good at demonizing their opponents, at turning 
their opponents into aliens, and making people at the local Kiwanis Club 
think that they wouldn't share a piece of apple pie with their 
opponents. That's what they're good at. That's how they stay in.
    They always think that, given the contentious and divisive nature of 
the way people communicate and the way they are communicated to today, 
they can exalt blame over responsibility, they can exalt division over 
unity, they can exalt fear over hope. That's what they believe. Once in 
a while we prove them wrong, when we can communicate with discipline and 
conviction and persistence and when we are not ground down.
    I'd have come over here tonight just to hear her give that speech, 
because now she's got me in a better humor, too. [Laughter and applause] 
I'm telling you.
    So you heard it, and it's the same thing everywhere. I mean, I ran 
for President because we were in the midst of 30 years of social 
problems, 20 years of economic problems, and 12 years of the kind of 
stuff she's going through now, where the leadership of this country 
would always tell the American people what they thought they wanted to 
hear. They would talk tough and get the image that they are tough--
Presidential, national message--and they would act weak. They would talk 
like our parent and then act like our child, telling us exactly what we 
wanted to hear as if it were tough medicine and then writing us a check 
and never worrying about who was going to pay the bill. Now, that is 
what has happened for 12 years. And always escaping responsibility by 
placing blame. Now, that is exactly what they have done. And that's what 
you see in California.
    I just want to say something personally to the people of California. 
I may not have an opportunity to say it out there. I've been to 
California about a dozen times since I've been President, would have 
been once more if it hadn't been for the events in Haiti that kept me 
away from going out there for Kathleen a few days ago. I love the place. 
It's a fascinating place. And everything that America has everywhere is 
also there.
    They have had two huge problems. One is, since they're the biggest 
State in the country economically, when we had a recession, they got hit 
harder with it. The second is that with about 12 percent of our 
population, they had 21 percent of our defense investments. So that when 
we cut defense in this country at the end of the cold war, starting back 
in '87--that's when defense peaked--it was absolutely predictable that 
it would have double the impact in California that it would have 
anywhere else because of the concentration and that the impact might be 
highly weighted in high-wage jobs. Therefore, turning it around takes a 
little more time because the hit was bigger there.
    And so I went all over California in that election trying to figure 
out what was going on in southern California, what was going on in 
northern California, what was going on for the farmers, what was going 
on in the inland empire, what was going on in San Diego--how were the 
border problems, the immigration problems going to be aggravated and 
exacerbated and people's sense of insecurity going to be reinforced by 
all these terrible economic problems. If you had 150 different racial 
and ethnic groups in Los Angeles County, that meant that it could be the 
beacon of the whole future for the United States, but how were they 
going to get through all the tensions that would be caused by the 
economic contraction of the moment until we could turn it around.
    I have really given a lot of thought to this. And when we put 
together an economic strategy, it was pretty simple. It was: reduce the 
deficit; increase investment in education, training, and new 
technologies; expand trade and investment; and try to empower 
individuals and communities to succeed, which means that the

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places that are in the worse shape need some extra help.
    How did that play itself out in California? Well, we removed 
restrictions on $35 billion worth of high-tech exports where California 
has a decided interest greater than any other State in the country. We 
spent hundreds of millions of dollars, as Kathleen said, on defense 
conversions, helping to turn bases over to local communities so they 
could get businesses in there to put people to work and actually 
investing with companies in new technologies of the future. I visited 
the Rockwell plant out there, and you were there, too, the day we went 
there to talk about that.
    When the earthquake came, when the fires came, we were there with 
emergency aid in a hurry. We rebuilt the world's busiest highway quicker 
than anybody thought we could by literally reinventing, to use the Vice 
President's term, the way we spend the money out there.
    In spite of all this talk about immigration, it was our 
administration that for the first time recommended and got through 
Congress Federal assistance to pay for the criminal justice costs of 
illegal immigrants. We increased by 30 percent, by 30 percent, the 
amount of aid--in a tough time when we were reducing spending overall, 
we increased by 30 percent the amount of money going to California to 
deal with their costs of immigration, 30 percent over what happened when 
the previous President was here and the present Governor was a Member of 
the United States Senate. That's what we did. That's our record on that 
    We have done a number of other things. We are backing Senator 
Feinstein's desert bill. Last weekend we turned the Presidio over to you 
so you folks can do something great with it. We are doubling the border 
guards for enforcement on the border. We have worked hard for 
California. We're selling California rice to Japan for the first time in 
    I met a walnut farmer last month from California said, ``It just 
kills my farmer friends because they're all Republicans, but they have 
to admit that you have done more for us than any President in the last 
30 years.'' So we are working for California.
    Now, I say that to make this point--and why it's so important that 
you're here--all that can still be washed away by the deliberate, 
concerted effort of our opponents to place blame over responsibility, 
division over unity, fear over hope, can wipe away all the details and 
all the facts. And what you have to do to help Kathleen Brown win is to 
contribute now and then talk and work between now and the election, to 
prove that what really counts is what will build that State.
    I'm really proud of the fact that in 20 months we have made a good 
start on bringing this country back. But don't kid yourself, it's just a 
good start. I'm proud of the fact that we have 3 years of deficit 
reduction in a row for the first time since Truman; we're going to the 
smallest Federal Government since John Kennedy was President--the 
Republicans bad-mouth the Government, but we shrunk it with no help from 
them; that there are 4.3 million new jobs in this economy; and that for 
the first time in 9 years the United States was rated a couple of weeks 
ago by the panel of international economists as the most productive 
country in the world. I am proud of that. But it is just a beginning.
    You look at what is happening in California, and you will see the 
combined impact of 30 years of social problems, 20 years of economic 
problems, 12 years of neglect and a disproportionate impact of the 
defense cutback. The people out there cannot be blamed if they are still 
frustrated and full of anxiety. That is not their fault. It is our job 
to tell the people of California that Kathleen Brown and Dianne 
Feinstein are builders, people who are trying to make things better and 
that they should not be diverted from the urgent task of building the 
country and building the State.
    If I might just say a word about crime, Kathleen's already said 
that. You know, a picture of Kathleen Brown and Jerry Brown and Rose 
Bird is not worth near as much as the assault weapons ban, 100,000 
police, 100,000 jail cells for criminals, thousands and thousands of 
prevention programs, and a tougher approach to crime. And I'll tell you 
something else, I know something about this; I started out as attorney 
general of my State. I have a different position than she does on 
capital punishment, but our crime bill had 60 different specific 
statutes on that. She supported our crime bill, and he didn't. Who are 
we kidding with these ads about who's weak on crime or not? She had the 
record when we needed it.
    So I say to you, you have to make up your mind. You can cheer 
tonight, but tomorrow all those ads will still be out there on 

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and everybody will be writing about this as if it's a horse race instead 
of a fight for the spirit and the soul of that State and what happens to 
the future of little children. And you have to decide whether you feel 
some sort of personal responsibility to affect the outcome.
    I'm telling you, it is a wonderful place. It has enormous potential. 
This country will never fully recover until California recovers. And we 
have work to do. And the people out there cannot be blamed for voting on 
what they know. That's the way all the rest of us are, too. We can only 
act on what we know. We can only see the world through the prism of our 
own experience. And while all of us have been up here working for them, 
the other guys have been out there talking about us. So now when the 
Congress goes home, the election should be our friend because we can go 
tell the truth. And what you have to do is make a personal commitment to 
do that.
    The economic plan that Kathleen Brown has outlined will help to do 
what only the State can do to rebuild California. The Federal Government 
and a partnership that we are building between the private sector and 
the Federal Government cannot do it alone. There must be State 
initiatives. There will always be in California things that can only be 
done by people who know the problems the best, who understand the 
opportunities most clearly. The economic strategy that I have outlined 
cannot fully succeed anywhere without aggressive leadership at the State 
level to rebuild the economy. And believe me, we can continue to make 
progress on education and training; we can continue to build this 
economy; we can drive down the crime rate; we can make progress on 
immigration. But to do it, it's going to require a tough, disciplined, 
concerted, long-term partnership between the White House and Washington 
and the people who live and work in California, starting in the 
statehouse in Sacramento. That's what this election is about.
    So the country has a big interest in who wins here--not the 
political system, not the political pundits but the welfare of the 
average man and woman and child all across America. You just heard her 
case for why she should win. Let us exalt hope over fear. Let us exalt 
unity over division. Let us prove that responsibility still beats blame 
in commonsense America by making sure that no voter goes to the polls in 
California unaware of the real facts.
    Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 6:45 p.m. at the Sheraton Carlton Hotel. In 
his remarks, he referred to Gov. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Rose Bird, 
former justice, California Supreme Court.