[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[November 1, 1994]
[Pages 1933-1938]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1933]]

Remarks at a Rally for Democratic Candidates in Cleveland, Ohio
November 1, 1994

    The President. Thank you. I've had a good time tonight, haven't you?
    Audience members. Yes!
    The President. Mr. Stephenson, you play that horn a lot better than 
I do, but I love listening to you. You were great, and I thank you; You 
were great, and thank you, sir. And I thank the Cleveland School of the 
Arts for that wonderful rendition of ``Lift Every Voice and Sing.'' 
Weren't they magnificent? They were great; we thank you. When I'm not as 
hoarse as I am tonight, I can sing that song--[laughter]--even the 
second verse.
    Reverend McMickle, I'm honored to be in your beautiful church 
tonight; honored to be here with so many distinguished pastors, upstairs 
and down, and so many other concerned citizens. I'm glad to be here with 
the mayor, who sounded a little like a preacher tonight. [Laughter] When 
I heard Mike up here talking, it reminded me of what my grandmother said 
to me the first time she heard me give a speech. When it was over, she 
came up to me--my grandmother was about 5' 2'', weighed about 180 
pounds. She was one tough cookie. [Laughter] You've all had grandmothers 
like that. So I gave this speech and I was pouring my heart out, and she 
looked at me and she said, ``Bill, I believe you could have been a 
preacher if you'd been a little better boy.'' [Laughter]
    You've made a fine mayor and a good friend; I thank you, Mike White. 
Mr. Pinkney, I thank you for your work on this event tonight and for 
your service to our community. And my good friend Lou Stokes, what a 
fine man he is and what a great leader he is. I'm not sure, I think this 
is my third visit to Congressman Stokes' congressional district, maybe 
my fourth, but however many it is, it's however many he told me I was 
going to make. When I am summoned, I am here. [Laughter]
    I want to say a special word of thanks, too, for the presence of 
some other people here: First, your wonderful Senator and my stout 
friend and a great leader for this whole country, Senator John Glenn, I 
appreciate his being here today. My friend and State chairman, your 
attorney general, Lee Fisher, I want you to reelect him on Tuesday. Lee 
Fisher is a good, good attorney general.
    And I want to say something about a couple of other folks who are 
here. Barbara Sykes, stand up, stand up. I'm going to use Barbara's 
story as a little illustration about the difference between us and them. 
Barbara Sykes is from my home State. She's from Arkansas. And she was my 
political director here in Ohio. And a lot of you know Ohio made me the 
nominee of the Democratic Party and made me the President of the United 
States; I got my 276 electoral votes from when Ohio was declared. So now 
she's running for State treasurer. And not in Cleveland where it would 
hurt him but down south, in the typical way these Republicans are--they 
say one thing one place and another, another, and hope they don't get 
caught--[laughter]--there's a big newspaper article today about how her 
opponent is running a picture down south, where I'm not supposed to be 
popular in the State, of her having her picture turn into me and turn 
back into her.
    Now, I don't know what her relationship with me has to do with her 
fitness to be State treasurer or not, but since he raised it--
[laughter]--since he raised it, I hope all the Ohio press gets this 
straight. Her opponent says, ``She was Bill Clinton's political 
director, and she's from Arkansas,'' like it's some sort of podunk 
place, right? What has that got to do with being State treasurer? ``I, 
on the other hand,'' he says in his ad, ``I was the chief aide to Jack 
Kemp at HUD''--[laughter]--``and therefore I ought to be the State 
treasurer because I'm better at counting money.''
    Well, let me tell you something. I like Mr. Kemp; as those 
Republicans go, he's got some good ideas. But he's had some zingers, 
too. Jack Kemp was one of the guys that told President Reagan that you 
could increase spending and cut taxes and balance a budget at the same--
[laughter]--right? He didn't go to the Cleveland public schools, or 
anyplace else. He forgot about arithmetic. [Laughter]
    And we went all through the 1980's with their money counters. We 
quadrupled the debt of the Federal Government. We sent our jobs 
overseas. We put our economy in a ditch with their

[[Page 1934]]

economic theory. That was trickle-down economics. Now he wants to count 
your money? I'd bet on her any day of the week. [Laughter]
    I'm glad to see your distinguished and very handsome candidate for 
Lieutenant Governor there. And I'm glad to see some other people here. 
Congressman Sawyer is here. He's come all the way from Akron with some 
of his folks. He is a great leader in the Congress. I hope and pray he 
will be reelected on Tuesday.
    Congressman Fingerhut met me at the airport. He may not be here, but 
since he's from around here, in some of the Cleveland meetings here I 
want to talk about him. You've seen those ads they're running against 
him? Oh, it's the awfulest thing you ever saw. [Laughter] He's one of--
why would they be spending so much money to beat a first-term Democrat 
who is as independent as can be? I'll tell you why. Fingerhut's great 
passion in life is to clean up the influence of the lobbyists in 
Washington. He wants to pass this lobby reform bill and require them to 
report all the money they spend. He's got this crazy idea that you ought 
to know how much the organized interests in Washington spend to keep 
from having your interests furthered down there. So they are going 
bananas. And they're trying to beat Fingerhut, and they're saying all 
these terrible things about him. But I want to tell you something. When 
you see those ads, the reason they're trying to beat him is, if he comes 
back, he will pass the lobby reform bill that the Republicans killed 
this time because we ran out of time. That's what they're trying to do.
    Now, this is kind of like this treasurer's deal I was telling you 
about. A few weeks ago when the Republicans were already counting all 
their victories on Tuesday, convinced they were going to win, they beat 
the lobby reform package, and they beat campaign finance reform at the 
end of the last congressional session. This was on a Saturday. On a 
Monday, the House Republican leader meets with the lobbyists in 
Washington, and he tells them--this was reported, big front-page story 
in the Washington Post--``Now, we took care of you. You better take care 
of us. And you'd better not give any money to those Democrats because 
we're keeping score.''
    The next day, it's in the paper that he met with a bunch of 
Republican political operatives and said, ``Our goal in life is to 
convince people that the President is the enemy of normal Americans. 
We're going to make it unsafe for him to go anywhere except to talk to 
black voters between now and the election.'' That's what he said. Let me 
tell you something, folks. This whole country would be better off if 
every person in public life felt as comfortable in this church tonight 
as I do.
    So if you can do anything for that young man, Eric Fingerhut, you 
ought to. He voted to get this country moving in the right direction. 
But the real reason they're out to get him in your neighboring district 
is they don't want that lobby reform to pass, and he will bust a gut to 
pass it if he gets reelected.
    Now, Mr. Hyatt here, who's been my friend a long time--I've known 
him longer than nearly anybody in this church--he wants to be a Senator. 
And his opponent, oh, he's said all kind of terrible things about him. 
But let me ask you something: If you had a chance to vote for a guy who 
had built a business giving people legal services who had to have it and 
couldn't afford to pay big money for it; creating a lot of jobs for 
people; who'd been terrifically successful and then said, ``Because I'm 
successful, I need to give something back to my State and my country, 
and I want to go up there and fight for ordinary Americans, not for 
organized interests. And I'm prepared to pay my fair share of taxes, and 
I'm prepared to do my part. I want to move this country forward,'' and 
the fellow running against him had been one of the people who brought 
you the trickle-down Reaganomics that nearly bankrupted this country, 
wouldn't you vote for Joel Hyatt? I think you ought to, and I hope you 
    Let me remind you of something else, too. The man that's running 
against Joel Hyatt 2 years ago was running against John Glenn when I was 
running for President. And I was coming to Ohio all the time, following 
this election very closely. Now, you may not agree with every vote 
Senator Glenn ever cast. He and I have a disagreement once in a while. 
But one thing nobody will ever question is that John Glenn is one of the 
most distinguished, patriotic Americans in the 20th century. Nobody 
could question that. I'm going to come back to this in a minute. But in 
1992, the same man who wants to beat Joel Hyatt today ran against John 
Glenn and, because he had a lot of money to put ads on television, 
thought he could get away with actually questioning Senator Glenn's 
patriotism. I have just this to say to him: When you go fly

[[Page 1935]]

all those planes full of bullet holes and you get in a spaceship and go 
up by yourself in space, then you question John Glenn. Otherwise, be 
quiet and do something else. Do something else.
    This is an amazing year, you know; I mean, it's a strange year. And 
I was glad to hear the pastor quoting the Scripture. There's a lot of 
things we need to think about. You can go back in the Scripture, and you 
can find times like this when things seemed sometimes upside down. But I 
can tell you this: We're a week out from this election, and the clouds 
are beginning to clear, and people are beginning to see what this 
election is all about. The election is about whether we're going to keep 
going forward, or whether we're going to turn around and do what got us 
in the trouble we got in in the first place. That's really what the 
election is about.
    You know, 21 months ago I became President, thanks to you. 
[Applause] Thank you. And I had a program that I thought would help take 
our country into the 21st century, to rebuild the American dream by 
putting the American people first. I had some very specific commitments 
I made. I said, ``If you will vote for me, here's what I want to do: I 
want to make Government work for ordinary Americans again, to do more 
with less. I want to empower you and then challenge you to do what it 
takes to compete in this fast-changing, global society. I want to get 
this economy back on its feet again. I want this world to be a more 
prosperous and a safer place for Americans to operate in. And we can do 
that if we'll take the challenge.'' Well, 21 months later we haven't 
solved all the problems in this country, but we're in a lot better shape 
today in America than we were 21 months ago.
    If you look at it, we're making Government work for just working 
people with families and jobs. That's what the family and medical leave 
law was all about. It protects 2 million people in Ohio who might need 
to take a little time off from work because there's a baby born or a 
parent sick, without losing their job. That's what our economic plan was 
all about when we lowered taxes for 500,000 working families in Ohio who 
are working full-time with children in the house who should not be in 
poverty. We ought not to tax people in poverty. We ought to lift them up 
if they're working and doing their best to raise their children.
    That's what we were doing when we passed the Brady bill and the 
crime bill with more police, more prisons, more punishment, but more 
prevention, too, to give our kids something to say yes to and a chance 
to avoid a life of crime and trouble and misery and instead make 
something of themselves so they can lift their voices and sing. That's 
what that crime bill was all about.
    And we have begun to empower people more. We've started a program to 
help every State set up apprenticeship programs for people who don't go 
to college but want to be in good jobs, not dead-end jobs. We provided a 
dramatic increase in lower cost college loans so that everybody can 
afford to borrow the money to go to college. And they'll have easier 
terms to pay it back, so they can always afford to pay it back. It is a 
big deal, and we need to celebrate it and use it. One million students 
in Ohio alone are now eligible for lower cost, better repayment college 
loans. That is something that can change the future of the State as well 
as of the people involved. That is making the Government work for 
ordinary people. That is empowering people. That's not giving people 
anything except the tools to make something of their own lives.
    And we said we'd get the economy going again. And so I gave the 
Congress a long-range economic plan: expand trade, invest more in 
education and technology and defense conversion, and bring the deficit 
down. And when the Congress voted on our deficit reduction program the 
Republicans said, ``Oh, my goodness, if this plan passes, the sky will 
fall. The economy will collapse. You ought to do it the way we did. Tell 
everybody what they want to hear, and let the debt go crazy, and let the 
economy run off the track. But at least you won't make anybody mad.'' I 
said, ``Our job is to take responsibility. Better to make a few people 
mad and straighten things out and get us on the right road.'' And that's 
what we did.
    So what has happened since our opponents said the sky would fall? 
Well, the unemployment rate in Ohio fell 1\1/2\ percent. And now 4.6 
million new jobs have come into our economy. And in the last 3 months 
the economy expanded at a healthy rate of about 3.4 percent with no 
inflation--1.6 percent inflation. In other words, the economy is coming 
back. We were right, and they were wrong.
    And who could fail to be pleased that for the first time since we 
had nuclear weapons

[[Page 1936]]

in two countries there are no longer any Russian missiles pointed at our 
children tonight? There are the elements in place of an agreement that 
will keep North Korea from becoming a nuclear power. We've been on the 
side of peace and freedom everyplace from the Persian Gulf to the Middle 
East to Northern Ireland to southern Africa to Haiti. This world is for 
Americans a more prosperous and a safer place than it was 2 years ago.
    Do we have problems yet? You bet we do. There are still people in 
Cleveland that want a job that don't have one. There are still people in 
Cleveland that haven't gotten a raise in years. There are still people 
in Cleveland worried about losing their health insurance or afraid 
they'll lose their job and won't be able to get another one. Yes, there 
are problems. What is the answer to the problems? The answer is keep on 
doing what works. Don't turn around and go back and do what didn't work. 
That's what the answer is. And that's why you need to vote on election 
day and make sure all your friends do.
    Our Republican friends, they're an interesting lot in Congress. They 
want to kill things and then blame us for not having them pass. They 
tried to kill the crime bill. They attacked the crime bill for its 
prevention programs, even though they had cosponsored a bunch of them. 
They thought they wouldn't get caught. And they delayed, as I said, they 
killed the lobbying bill, the campaign finance reform bill.
    They killed the Superfund legislation. A lot of you don't know what 
that is, maybe, but that was the bill to clean up the toxic waste dumps 
of the country. That's a big problem, you know? Everybody was for the 
bill. We had the chemical companies and the labor unions and the Sierra 
Club, the environmental groups. There wasn't anybody against that bill 
except enough Republican Senators to delay it to death. Why did they 
want to delay it? Because they didn't want Lou Stokes to be able to come 
home and be able to say, ``I helped to clean up poison waste dumps.'' 
They said, leave the poison in the ground and try to put some poison in 
the political atmosphere. I say it's time to take the poison out of the 
ground and out of the political atmosphere and start building this 
country again and doing what's right for the people of America for a 
    Now, our Republican friends say if they get to go to Congress, 
they've got the answer to all of our problems, their Contract With 
America. I called it a contract on America, and it upset Mr. Hoke. Come 
to find out, I wasn't sure they knew what was in it, he and his AA. They 
asked me all those questions in Cleveland last week. [Laughter] I'll 
tell you what's in it. It's a sweet deal. They come to you and--I come 
to you with challenges; I tell you there are things you're going to have 
to do. I can pass the crime bill; you've got to fix crime in your 
neighborhood. You've got to take this and use it, use the police, use 
the prevention programs, use these things, and you do it. I passed the 
college loan bill; I'll tell you, you've still got to go to college. 
[Laughter] I can't do it for you.
    What do they say? They say, ``Oh, we're going to give everybody a 
tax cut.'' They don't tell you almost all of it goes to very wealthy 
people. ``We'll give everybody a tax cut, and we're going to increase 
defense, and we're going to increase Star Wars. We're going to bring 
that back, and we're going to balance the budget.'' Sounds great; how 
are you going to pay for it? ``We'll tell you that after the election.'' 
    That was the theory, by the way, of the fellow that wants to be the 
treasurer: ``We're going to cut taxes, raise spending, and balance the 
budget.'' I wouldn't let anybody count my money that had that idea. 
[Laughter] And that was their idea; so they want to do it all over 
again. Now, I'm going to tell you what's going to happen. If you raise 
this spending and you cut all these taxes and you balance the budget, 
the only way to do it is to cut Social Security and cut Medicare, and 
that's wrong. And we're not going to let them do that; that's not right.
    And if they don't mean it, if they're going to run and hide--boy, 
they're running for cover on that now; we pointed out what the math 
was--if they don't mean it, the only other alternative is to explode the 
deficit and drive the economy in the ditch and send our jobs overseas 
just like they were before. And I say we have to tell them we have been 
there, we have tried that. We don't want to cut Social Security and 
Medicare and college loans and veterans benefits, and we do not want to 
explode the deficit and put the economy in the ditch. No thank you very 
much. We'll keep going forward. We do not want to go back.
    I got to thinking about this, folks. It's frustrating for them. They 
ran against the Government for years, you know; the Republicans said how

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much they hated the Government. Now we have reduced the size of the 
Federal Government. They ran against the deficit, even though they gave 
it to us. We have reduced it. They said they were for a strong economy. 
We got more jobs. They said they were interested in foreign policy. Our 
country is safer and more secure. So how are they getting away with 
having a close election? Why is Joel Hyatt in a close election? Why 
isn't Tom Sawyer and why isn't Eric Fingerhut and why isn't Lee Fisher--
why aren't they being elected overwhelmingly? Because the American 
people have been told for so long that things are so bad, and they've 
been told they ought to be cynical and skeptical and nothing good ever 
comes out of Washington. Can anything good come out of Washington? 
That's in the Bible somewhere, too, right? [Laughter] And they remind me 
now of another Biblical verse because they're often straining at a gnat 
so they can swallow a camel. [Laughter]
    So what is their theory? Their theory is, just deny that we did 
these things. Shoot, if a Republican President had reduced the deficit, 
reduced the size of the Federal Government, passed a tough crime bill, 
and promoted economic growth, they'd be saying it's unpatriotic to 
criticize the man. [Laughter] You know they would. I can hear it now in 
all their talk shows: ``How dare they criticize our President. He 
reduced the deficit. He reduced the size of the Government. He grew the 
economy, and he got tough on crime.'' What do they do? They just deny 
that it happened. And they hope that you have been so conditioned for so 
long to hear only bad things, and that you hear the way people scream at 
each other in communication today, that it will just miss you.
    They want to turn other voters, and they want you to stay home. They 
want you not to know what has happened. They want you not to understand 
what is at stake. They want you to let them go right back to the 1980's 
when the country was in trouble but the people they were trying to help, 
the organized and powerful interest groups, did just fine, never mind 
what happened to America. They were wrong. Let's tell them no, we're 
going forward to tomorrow, not backward to yesterday. Our kids depend on 
it, our country depends on it, and we're going to do it.
    Proverbs says, ``A happy heart doeth good like medicine, but a 
broken spirit dryeth the bones.'' When you are raising children, what's 
one of the first things you try to teach your kids when they're old 
enough to understand? Don't ever make a decision when you're mad. ``If 
you're mad, count 10 before you say something.'' How many times have we 
all been told that when we were children?
    We can win on Tuesday if we know what the record is, if we know what 
the alternative is, if we know what the future holds, and if we believe 
in ourselves, and if we go out and talk to our friends and neighbors and 
say, ``Listen here, don't make a decision when you're mad. Take a deep 
breath. Let's have a cup of coffee. Let's go drink a Coke. Let's talk 
about our kids and our future and what is at stake and why we cannot 
walk away.''
    I just came back from the Middle East. I was honored to represent 
all of you for our country's role in helping to make peace between 
Israel and Jordan. And then I got to go to the desert of the Persian 
Gulf and see our young men and women in uniform, who stood up for 
freedom there and rolled back Saddam Hussein. I have seen the faces of 
Haitians saying ``Thank you, America'' when our troops took President 
Aristide home and reestablished democracy. I have received the President 
of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, thanking us for America's role in 
helping make sure his elections were fair and free. I have been so 
pleased to have our country asked to help the Catholics and the 
Protestants in Northern Ireland, who have been fighting for hundreds of 
years, finally make peace, one with another. And here's what I want to 
tell you. The rest of the world thinks we're a pretty good country. And 
we are.
    I was the first American President to go to Syria in 20 years, in 
Damascus, the oldest continuously occupied large city in the world, rich 
with the texture of Biblical history. And I watched those people pouring 
out to their apartment windows, standing in the street, looking not at 
me but at America.
    When I spoke to the Jordanian Parliament and I said that in our 
country we respect all religions--``I don't believe we've got a fight in 
America with Moslems, with the religion of Islam. We're against 
terrorism wherever it occurs, on our streets, or in your country. But 
millions of our people answer the Moslem call to prayer; we respect 
    When I woke up in Jerusalem, looking over the Holy City at sunrise, 
and then I saw the faces of the people in Israel looking to America,

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our power, our strength, our example, our ability to change, our 
fidelity to our ideals, I am telling you, there are no cynics about this 
country beyond our borders. And there should be no cynics about this 
country within our borders. We are going in the right direction. We are 
a great country. We can solve our problems.
    But we have to stand up to the forces that would divide us. We have 
to stand up to the forces that would take us back. And we've got to 
stand up for ourselves. No matter what I do, I cannot take you to the 
polling place on Tuesday. You've got to go there yourselves. You are the 
bosses in this country, and I am your hired public servant. You are in 
control. And on Tuesday, you will be in control. And you will be in 
control whether you vote or don't. Because if you don't vote, that's a 
decision, too.
    Now, I'm telling you folks, all these people that are trying to 
divide us by race, by region, by religion; all these people that are 
trying to throw a big blanket over what we've done the last 21 months 
and hope nobody notices it until it's too late; all these people who are 
pushing us to political extremes to grab power--we have to stand up, and 
we have to say, ``We tried that, and it got us in a lot of trouble. And 
we just started 21 months ago in a new direction. And if it's all the 
same to you, we'll keep going forward with our face toward the Sun, with 
the wind at our back. We will not turn back. No, no, we're going 
forward, every one of us, and we're going to do it together.''
    God bless you. We can do it. I need your help. They need your help. 
Let's do it. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 6:38 p.m. at the Antioch Baptist Church. In 
his remarks, he referred to saxophonist Sam Stephenson; Rev. Marvin 
McMickle, pastor, Antioch Baptist church; Peter Jones, candidate for 
Ohio Lieutenant Governor; and insurance executive Arnold Pinkney, 
coordinator for the school levy bond issue.