Remarks in Manchester, New Hampshire
The President. Thank you.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. Thank you.
Audience member. Nice tie! [Laughter]
The President. Thank you. I sort of like this tie myself. Thank you. It was given to me just this morning. [Laughter]
A couple of weeks ago we were trying to plan how we would end this campaign—I hope I can say this without cracking up. [Laughter] And I said I would like to begin the last day of my last campaign in New Hampshire.
Five years and one month ago today I came to New Hampshire saying that the world was changing, America was changing, and that we couldn't stay with the old politics, that our country was being paralyzed by all this name-calling and rhetoric out of Washington, dividing us when we needed to be pulling together, and thinking about all the incredible opportunities as well as the stiff challenges we faced. And I believed that if we changed the nature of politics in our Nation's Capital we could change America and we could come together and move forward, that we could create more opportunity and have more responsibility and we could come together in an American community. That's what I believed.
Four years ago, all over this State, all kinds of people took me on faith. You heard what Dick Swett said, we are better off than we were 4 years ago. We are moving in the right direction because of what he did. And a different kind of tone has overtaken the politics of New Hampshire. I was so happy and proud when I stood here on this stage this morning and I listened to Arnie and Joe and Dick and Jeanne Shaheen talk about what they wanted to do and why they were running and what they represented.
And I heard, I guess it was Joe who said Warren Rudman said that the Democrats had become the moderate party. I think the Democrats have become the modern party as well, the party of the future. America has always needed—at times of great changes in how we work and live and relate to each other and the rest of the world—a modern, moderate party, a commonsense but vital, vigorous, centrist party moving this country forward. That's what you see on this stage.
And I was so proud—I heard Arnie speaking and she reminded me this morning that I first met her in an elevator here before the Democratic Convention in the '92 campaign and she didn't know me, but then no one else did either. [Laughter] And I was thinking how far Joe Keefe has come, how greatly he's matured, what a terrific speech he made. And they're going to be terrific Members of the Congress if you'll stick with them tomorrow and help them.
I was thinking that the first time I ever met Jeanne Shaheen I thought she was a diamond waiting to be discovered, that if the people ever really got a good look at her, they would want her to serve in higher office. You have given her that chance, and tomorrow you're going to make her your Governor. And it will be a good time for New Hampshire.
First time I met Dick Swett and Katrina and their children—you have to come to New Hampshire every 9 months if you want to meet all their children. [Laughter] I thought—somebody asked me today, "You know, you're the first President in history ever to come to New Hampshire eight times in your term of office." I said, "Well, I've got to keep up with Dick's family." [Laughter] I thought to myself, this man is the walking embodiment of family values.
You remember back in '92 we had a toast and roast to raise money for the party, and you all virtually extorted all this money out of those of us who were running for President; you knew we'd show up and say nice things about Dick Swett. He knew that he could do very well in his campaign, raising money with all the candidates, showing up at the toast and roast. I stood up and said that I didn't come here to heap praise on him like all these panderers did who were running against me for President. I came up here to wipe his windshield on his car. [Laughter]
I want to say to you that Dick Swett stood for reducing the deficit, reducing the crime rate, for making Congress live under the same laws it imposes on the American people before it was the popular thing to do—before it was the popular thing to do. He would be a positive, uniting force in Congress, not a divisive, rancorous force. He would be a force for generosity, for the better part of the spirit of the people of New Hampshire, for the better part of your future, not a force telling you how bad this person or the other one or the other one is, but a person who would be bringing us together. I'm telling you, that's what we need more than anything in America today. We need to stop the insults and get on the issues and building our future and going forward, and that's what Dick Swett would be.
Now, you know that compared to 4 years ago, in terms of the economy, the lowest crime rate in 10 years, declining welfare rolls, rising child support collection, in almost every way of indicating the character of American life, we are moving forward into the 21st century.
You don't have to take me on faith anymore; you don't have to say, well, that sounds like a good approach. We tried our approach, and they have fought it every step of the way. And you know which one works. And New Hampshire is now a living example of what happens when we work together to help each other make the most of our own lives. And make no mistake about it, that is what is at issue here. With all these big, big issues we fought about—when you hear us talking about the budget or education or the environment, the fundamental core issue is whether there are some things on the edge of this great new century and new millennium we must do together. If we want every American to have a chance to live up to his or her God-given ability, if we want America to be the strongest force for peace and freedom and prosperity in the world, if we want America to be a community that's growing together and going forward together, there are some things we must do together.
One thing we have, I hope, dispelled in New Hampshire and throughout America is that this has nothing to do with liberal and conservative. It is our administration that has reduced the deficit 4 years in a row for the first time in the 20th century. The Government is the smallest it's been since John Kennedy came to New Hampshire as the President of the United States. We have reduced more programs and regulations and privatized more Government services than our Republican predecessors. But we believe there are some things we must do together. They say, "You're on your own." We say, "Let's build a bridge to the 21st century together that we can all walk across together." All of these issues are in that one choice.
And let me say this goes beyond party, too. At every point of great change in the history of this Nation someone has to step up and say we're going to meet this challenge and we're going to go forward together. And when we do we will be living closer to our ideals. It hasn't always been the Democratic Party; Abraham Lincoln gave his life to save the Union and end slavery. Theodore Roosevelt devoted his Presidency to making America change in a way that would help to preserve and enhance our values in the face of the industrial revolution. It was Roosevelt who said it's wrong for these children to be working 70 hours a week in factories when they ought to be in school; that it's wrong to tear up all of our natural resources; it's wrong to let monopolies destroy every small-business person in the country and end the free enterprise system. It hasn't always been the Democratic Party.
But you remember what they did on the other side when they had the majority in Congress. They passed a budget that was divisive, destructive, and would have taken us back to the past. It is now our responsibility to keep on this path that I charted with you in New Hampshire in 1992 because we are the only people who are out there advocating that. That's why we need Arnie Arnesen; that's why we need Joe Keefe; that's why we need Dick Swett; and Jeanne Shaheen in the Governor's office. That's why we need them.
Your vote is going to decide whether you return to the Congress the majority of people who were prepared to shut the Government down unless we agreed to dismantle the Medicaid program, to revoke the national standards—even the standards on the quality of nursing home care—revoke the commitment we've had for 30 years to provide health care to families with members with severe disabilities so they could continue to live middle class lifestyles as they worked hard. Your vote will decide that.
They voted for a budget that cut education— student loans to Head Start—for the first time in modern history, that for the first time in 25 years abandoned our national bipartisan commitment to preserving the environment and instead put shackles on our ability to preserve clean air and clean water. And when we wouldn't accept it, they shut the Government down twice. Now, that was their approach. They said my approach was wrong, but you see what the results are.
You know now what our approach is. You know now what their approach is. The choice is there for you. Are we going to finish the job of balancing the budget while investing in our children and protecting Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment, or blow a hole in the deficit? Your vote will decide. Your vote will decide whether we will let the family leave law wither on the vine because they oppose it, or expand it and say, you know, you ought to be able to take a little time off from work without losing their jobs to go see your children's teacher twice a year and take your family members to the doctor.
Your vote will decide whether we continue our work of putting 100,000 police on the street. Remember when I was here in Manchester not very long ago, visiting the neighborhood where the crime rate had been lowered because there were more police on the street? They opposed us in putting 100,000 police on the street. Then they said it would never happen. Well, we've now funded about half of them. They voted against it. Then they eliminated it in their budget. Then they tried to shrink it again. They do not believe that we should work together. I can't think of anything more important than to make our children and our families safe on their streets, in their schools, in their homes, in their neighborhoods, reclaiming our streets for law-abiding citizens.
Your vote will decide. Your vote will decide whether we continue to support the safe and drug-free schools program. The only indicator in this country right now, social indicator that's not going in the right direction, with welfare down and crime down and out-of-wedlock pregnancy down for the first time in 20 years and child support collections up and drug use overall down and cocaine use down 30 percent—the only indicator that's not going in the right direction is drug use by young people under 18. I have done my best to dramatically increase the programs at the grassroots level helping people to tell our kids drugs are illegal, drugs are wrong, drugs will kill you. The safe and drugfree schools program is putting people in uniforms before young children at early ages to give them a chance to stay out of trouble in the first place. But they cut the program dramatically. I will expand it. I believe we have a common interest in helping schools all over America to reach our children at an early age, to support the values we should all be communicating and keeping our kids out of trouble. Your vote will decide. Your vote will decide.
Your vote will decide whether we or they are right when I supported and initiated and they opposed the first effort ever by our National Government to tell the big tobacco companies they had to stop advertising, marketing, and distributing cigarettes illegally to children because 3,000 a day start smoking and 1,000 will die soon because of it. Your vote will decide.
[At this point, an audience member required medical attention.]
The President. Yes, we need a doctor here. My medical team's here. We'll be right there.
You will have to decide that. And folks—yes, here they are. You will have to decide that. And I want you, when you walk out of here today, to remember everything that's happened in this country since I first came here in 1992. Remember that and think about it tomorrow when you get up. And think about these four fine people behind me and think about what your responsibilities are. You have a chance to seize the most brilliant future in American history. The best days of this country are still to be lived. But we have to make the right decisions. And you have to make the right decisions.
In what I suppose has become the most famous of my political speeches, I said in Dover, New Hampshire, in 1992 that if you would give me a chance to be President, I would be with you until the last dog dies. Now, folks, there's a lot of life in this old dog. And I want you to seize this day for our children, for our future, for the right sort of policies especially in education. We're going to open the doors of college education to all. We're going to hook up all these classrooms to the Internet. We're going to teach all of our young children to read. We're going to continue to reform health care so that more and more and more Americans can afford it and don't lose it when they're in difficult circumstances. We're going to continue to grow this economy while we balance the budget and protect the environment.
These are the things we can do together. We're going to continue to make our streets safe and our children's future brighter if you will seize the day and help us build that bridge to the 21st century.
God bless you, New Hampshire. Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 8:55 a.m. outside the Merrimack Restaurant. In his remarks, he referred to Dick Swett, New Hampshire senatorial candidate; Deborah (Arnie) Arnesen and Joseph F. Keefe, candidates for New Hampshire's Second and First Congressional Districts, respectively; Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate; and former Senator Warren Rudman.
William J. Clinton, Remarks in Manchester, New Hampshire Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/221961