The President. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I'm glad to be back in Paducah. Folks, I don't know if you remember this, but on the day before the election in 1992, I flew to Paducah and I didn't have any voice at all. I've still got a little left now. And I could only get up and say to you, "Folks, I have lost my voice, but if you folks in Paducah and Kentucky will vote for me, I'll be your voice for the next 4 years."
Well, folks, I'm here tonight with what the crowd counters tell me is 25,000 of our good friends and Americans to tell you I have been your voice. Compared to 4 years ago, we are better off. We are on the right track, but we still have work to do. And I want you tonight, for the next 4 years, to help me build that bridge to the 21st century. Will you do it? Will you do it?
Audience members. Yes!
The President. I want to thank Governor Patton and Mrs. Patton for being here, for their leadership and their energy. I want to thank our good friend Senator Wendell Ford, a great leader in the Senate and an immensely respected man. I don't know how many times I've thought to myself, if we just had about 10 people like Wendell Ford in the Senate we could solve half the country's problems in a month or two.
I want to thank Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry for being here. I want to thank Steve Beshear and join in what has been said about him. When I was looking at him speak tonight, I thought, boy, Kentucky would be better off if he were the United States Senator, along with Wendell Ford.
You know, it's really too bad that a person like Steve Beshear or our fine candidate for Congress, Dennis Null, whom I urge you to help elect—it's too bad that they have to get up and give campaign speeches, with so much to be done in this country, about what they have to help stop. It's too bad that they have to talk about—here it is, 1996—that a Congress in 1996 actually tried to break apart Medicare into a two-tier system; that a leader of the Congress, now a nominee for President, actually bragged about—in 1996, not before—actually bragged about being one of the only 12 people to vote against Medicare in the House; that they tried to take away the guarantee that Medicaid gives not just to elderly folks in nursing homes, not just to pregnant women and poor little kids but also to a lot of middle class families that happen to have a family member with a disability.
A lot of you saw Christopher Reeve and his magnificent speech to the convention. But, you know, one of the most moving conversations I've had in the last several months was with Mr. Reeve when he said, "A lot of people with my disability don't have the income of movie stars, and even movie stars can go broke caring for something like this. Don't ever let anything happen to Medicaid, Mr. President." We need for working middle class families to be able to care for their children, their brothers, their parents, their spouses if they have a disability without going broke and going to the poorhouse. We ought not to have to defend that against these congressional leaders.
At a time when we know we need to be doing more for education, we ought not have to defend our education programs. Why would anybody want to make student loans more expensive and have fewer people in Head Start? We ought not to have to defend that. At a time when we have proved in this administration that you can grow the economy and save the ...
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