[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: WILLIAM J. CLINTON (2000-2001, Book III)]
[November 3, 2000]
[Pages 2445-2448]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Get Out the Vote Rally in San Francisco, California
November 3, 2000

    The President. Thank you very much. Are you ready to win this 
    Audience members. Yes!
    The President. I want to thank the mayor for bringing us all 
together today and for being my friend for all these years. I want to 
thank the some 2,000 people who are outside the hall today, still 
listening to us. I'll be out there to see you in a minute. I want to 
thank California's great Governor, Gray Davis, 
who's been with me every step of the way and has been great for Al 
Gore, right from the start, never wavered.
    I want to thank Representative Barbara Lee 
from Oakland, who just had a rally for us over there. And my good friend 
Congressman Tom Lantos, who went to New York to 
campaign for my wife for the Senate, 
I'll never forget that. And most of all, I want to thank Nancy 
Pelosi, who has worked so hard to bring the 
Democrats back. She is a leader in the Congress, a leader in the 
country, and she'll be in the majority after Tuesday night.
    I want to thank Walter Shorenstein 
for having the guts to stand up here and say he didn't need the tax cut, 
and he wanted you to have it. I love him; thank you. And I want to thank 
a man who has been a hero of mine for more than 40 years, Willie 
Mays. He's been so wonderful to me all these 
years I've been President. Thank you, Willie. Thank you.
    And I want to thank this great choir behind me from Glide. I love 
these folks. And I want you to sing again for me after I speak, okay? 
Will you do that?
    Now look, I would like to just sort of give a speech here and have 
one applause line after another and you could cheer. But we all know 
that we're all converted or we wouldn't be here. [Laughter] So I want to 
ask you to, just for a minute--give me about 5 minutes, because I want 
to ask you to do something else. Every one of you has lots of friends 
who have never come to an event like this, don't you? Never came to a 
rally where the President spoke, maybe the Governor, maybe not even 
where Willie spoke, although I think he has 
spoken to every living person within 150 miles. [Laughter]
    But these folks you know that don't follow this as closely as you 
do, they will vote, or they might vote if they know it matters, and they 
would certainly vote with us if they knew what the choice was and what 
the consequences are.
    And many of you have friends who live outside San Francisco, live in 
one of these congressional districts where we're trying to win a

[[Page 2446]]

Democratic seat. Or maybe you have friends beyond the State of 
California, who live in battleground States where one or 2 or 3 or 10 
votes could make a difference.
    Now, you look at this vast crowd today. If every one of you decided 
that every day between now and the election you were going to tell 10 
people why you are for Al Gore and Joe 
Lieberman, why you want the Democrats to 
win, what the stakes are in the election, you might have a decisive 
impact on whether we win the House and on how well we do in some of 
these other areas of California and in other States.
    So I just want to tell you what I believe this election is about, 
what I think the signal differences are, and what the choice is for 
America. I want to begin by thanking the people of San Francisco and 
California for being so good to me and Hillary and Al and Tipper Gore 
these last 8 years. I can't thank you enough. It has been an honor to 
    But let's start with this. There are a lot of younger people who can 
vote now, and I'm the only President they've ever known. [Laughter] And 
there are a lot of people who literally don't remember what it was like 
8 years ago when the unemployment rate in California was nearly 10 
percent; the society was divided; crime was going up; there were riots 
in L.A.; the environment was deteriorating; the schools were troubled; 
the number of people without health insurance going up every year--we 
had all these problems. And the political system in Washington was 
pretty unresponsive. And I came here and asked you to give us a chance 
to put the American people first again.
    Now, President Reagan used to say the test for whether somebody got 
reelected was, or whether a party was continued in office, was whether 
you were better off than you were 8 years ago. Now, all of a sudden, 
they have forgotten that test, another party. They think there ought to 
be some other test, you know. Or they think if we're better off, the 
Democrats had nothing to do with it.
    One of Al Gore's finest moments in the 
first debate was when his opponent said, ``I think Clinton/Gore got a 
lot more out of the economy than the economy got out of Clinton/Gore. 
The American people have been working hard. They brought this economy 
back.'' And Al Gore said, ``Yes, the American people have been working 
hard, but they were working hard in 1992 when it was in the dumps, and 
it's different now.''
    So I want to say, the first big question: Do you want to keep this 
prosperity going and give it to the people who aren't a part of it yet? 
[Applause] If you do, you only have one choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, and the 
Democrats. But you've got to be able to tell somebody in a couple of 
minutes, why. So let me explain that, in a couple of minutes.
    Here's the Gore/Lieberman Democratic program: Keep paying down the debt. Why? 
It keeps interest rates low; it keeps the economy going. Take what's 
left and invest it in education, health care, and the environment and a 
tax cut we can afford for average Americans for child care, long-term 
care, college tuition, and retirement savings. That's the Gore plan.
    What's the alternative? A tax cut that's 3 times as big. Although 
most of you would do better under the Gore 
plan, after I get out of office I might do better under theirs. 
[Laughter] And to privatize Social Security and promise to spend money 
on their own.
    Here's the problem. This is arithmetic. People ask me all the time, 
``Mr. President, what great new idea did you bring to economic policy?'' 
And I say, ``Arithmetic.'' Arithmetic. [Laughter] You've got to make the 
numbers add up. Now look, everybody can remember this. The projected 
surplus is $2 trillion. We'll forget about the zeros--2. They want to 
spend over three-quarters of it on a tax cut that benefits mostly upper 
income people. It costs 1.6 trillion, with interest. Then they want to 
privatize Social Security, and that costs a trillion dollars. Why? 
Because if the young folks here take your money out of Social Security 
and put it in the stock market, but people like me get promised we're 
going to get our money, the money has got to come from somewhere. It 
costs a trillion dollars. Then they want to spend some money. They want 
to spend about half a trillion dollars, that's .5. Here's the problem: 
The surplus is 2, right; 1.6 for the tax cut plus 1 to privatize Social 
Security plus .5 to spend is 3.1. Three-point-one is bigger than 2. 
    This is not rocket science, folks. [Laughter] If you vote for Al 
Gore and Joe Lieberman and the Democrats, interest rates will be about a percent 
lower every year for a decade. Do you know what that means? Lower car 
loans, lower college loans, lower home mortgages,

[[Page 2447]]

lower credit cards, lower business loans, more businesses, more jobs, 
higher stock market.
    Now look, this is a big deal. This is the first economic recovery in 
30 years where we're all going along for the ride. It's a Democratic 
recovery, big ``D'' and small ``d.'' We're all going along: average 
income up 15 percent, average income over $40,000 for the first time, 
poverty among seniors below 10 percent for the first time, poverty at a 
20-year low, a 30 percent drop in child poverty, half the people moving 
from welfare to work. This is a different America, because we did it to 
benefit everybody and because the numbers add up.
    So you can remember that. If you want to keep the recovery going, 
you've got to vote for Gore. Why? Because 
3.1 is bigger than 2; it doesn't add up. [Laughter]
    Number two, it's not just a better off country; it's a better 
country. What do I mean by that? Crime at a 26-year low; the number of 
people without health insurance going down for the first time in a dozen 
years; cleaner air, cleaner water, safer food, safer drinking water; 
more toxic waste dumps cleaned up, 3 times as many as they did; and more 
land set aside forever than in any administration since that of Theodore 
Roosevelt 100 years ago.
    But most important of all, there is the revival of American 
education. That's why Bob Chase, the 
president of the National Education Association, is here for Al 
Gore and Joe Lieberman today. Thank you, Bob, for being here with us.
    Now look, here are the facts. Reading, math, and science scores are 
up. The dropout rate is down. The college-going rate is at an all-time 
high, thanks in part to the biggest expansion of college aid since the 
GI bill. Thanks to Barbara Boxer, we are now 
serving 800,000 kids in after-school programs around America. We're 
putting 100,000 teachers in the classroom. We're moving in the right 
direction. We have 1,700 charter schools in America. We have a program 
to turn around failing schools or put them under new management. We're 
moving in the right direction.
    So here's the issue. If education and health care and the 
environment and crime are moving in the right direction, do you want to 
build on the progress of the last 8 years and even do better?
    Audience members. Yes!
    The President. Well, if you do--if you do--there's only one choice: 
Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, and the Democrats. Why? If somebody asks you, you have to 
be able to say why. Why? Because the other party has promised--
promised--to do the following things: to abolish our program to put 
100,000 and more police on the street, to abolish our program to put 
100,000 teachers in the classroom for smaller classes in the early 
grades, to oppose our program to promote school construction, to build 
new schools and repair old ones.
    They're against our program for a Patients' Bill of Rights, for 
Medicare drugs for all our seniors, to expand coverage to all the 
children of the country and the parents of children in the Children's 
Health Program. And they are against the tighter clean air standards we 
have adopted. They want to repeal my order setting aside 40 million 
roadless acres in the national forests.
    Now, those are commitments, right? So here's your choice. If 
everything is going in the right direction and one ticket wants to build 
on it and the other ticket wants to reverse what was done, it's not much 
of a choice. But you've got to be able to say that. You've got to be 
able to say, crime is down; the schools are better; the environment is 
cleaner; we're making progress in health care; and everything that we 
have done, they want to undo. Instead, vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman; they 
will build on it and do even better. That is the second choice.
     So here's the third choice. Here's the third big question, and for 
me, the most important of all. Yes, I want to keep building on the 
prosperity. Yes, I want to keep building on the progress. But most of 
all, I want us to keep building together as one America, across all the 
lines that divide us.
    This country has become more and more diverse. California, our first 
State in which Americans of European heritage are no longer in the 
majority--there is no majority here. We're all just here, folks.
    We've tried for the last 8 years to make you feel at home, to make 
you feel that you had friends in the White House, people that cared 
about you. Whatever your racial or religious background, whether you 
were a man or a woman, whether you were young or old, whether you were 
straight or gay, we wanted you to feel like you had a friend in the 
White House.

[[Page 2448]]

    Now, what did that mean in practical terms? We fought for family 
leave, the minimum wage; we fought to mend but not end affirmative 
action; we fought for fairness for immigrants; we're fighting for hate 
crimes legislation, for employment nondiscrimination legislation, for 
equal pay for women enforcement. We are fighting for court appointments 
so that we'll have a Supreme Court that will defend civil rights, human 
rights, and a woman's right to choose. That is an issue.
    In every one of those areas, the people who are running on the other 
side have an honest disagreement with the Democrats. The leadership does 
not agree with the hate crimes legislation or the employment 
nondiscrimination legislation or strengthening the equal pay laws. And 
they certainly don't commit themselves to a Supreme Court and Federal 
courts that will preserve civil rights, human rights, and a woman's 
right to choose.
    Now, they disagree honestly. But for people to say there are no 
differences in these elections--you should be happy. The country is in 
great shape and you have choices. But it's important to understand what 
the choices are. You don't have to say a bad word about any of their 
candidates from the President on down. You can just say, look, we have a 
different view of what's good for America.
    But I'm telling you, the reason this election is so close is that I 
think people feel a certain comfort level with how well things are 
going. And you know, this one sounds good, and that one sounds good, and 
today I like this one, today I like the other one.
    But this is an exercise in citizenship. And I'm telling you, I've 
been doing this a long time now. This is the first time in 26 years I 
haven't been on the ballot at election time. [Laughter] And I'm 
perfectly happy out here campaigning for the Democrats for Congress and 
for Hillary for Senator and for Al 
Gore and Joe Lieberman. I'm grateful.
    But what you have to do--I'm telling you, you can do this for 
people. You can walk up to people you know; you can walk up to people 
you don't know. But I'm telling you, you cannot let this election unfold 
unless everybody you know votes and votes as a knowledgeable citizen. If 
you want to build on the prosperity, if you want to build on the social 
progress of the last 8 years, if you want to keep going forward as one 
America where we keep coming together, across all the lines that divide 
us, those are the three big questions.
    And if you want to do that, you only have one choice: Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, 
and the Democrats.
    Thank you, and God bless you.

 Note:  The President spoke at 12:50 p.m. in the Esplanade Ballroom at 
the Moscone Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor 
Willie Brown of San Francisco; Walter H. Shorenstein, founder and 
president, Shorenstein Company, LP; and former professional baseball 
player Willie Mays.