Remarks at Ohio State University in Columbus
"It is a glorious night here at the university, in Columbus, in the great state of Ohio. And I am thrilled to be here with all of you. And I want to thank Tony for his introduction. He made the greatest case against my opponent, didn't he? Thank you, Tony. And thanks to Mayor Ginther and Congresswoman Beatty and to my great friend, your former governor, and with your help, the next senator, Ted Strickland.
Any of you see that debate last night? I'll tell you what, I'm not sure you'll ever see anything like that again. At least I hope you won't. It was such a clear display of what's at stake in this election. And I am thrilled to have the chance to talk with all of you about what we can do together, because I truly believe we are stronger together. To move our country forward.
Now, the one thing I thought about last night and said was, as I was standing there on the stage with my opponent, was to remember what Michelle Obama had said. To paraphrase her, one of us went low and one of us went high. I want you to understand, I want to be a president for all Americans. I think the American dream is big enough for everybody. And I am honored to have support, not just from Democrats, but from independents and Republicans, because we've got to pull this country together if we're going to move into the future together, creating what we need for ourselves and our children.
Now, I got to tell you, tomorrow is a big day in Ohio for this election because tomorrow, October 11th, is the last day to register in Ohio. And I hope every one of you will take your phones out, go to iwillvote.com, to confirm that you are registered. Because we want everybody to vote and we particularly want young people to vote because this is your election more than anybody else's.
When I think about the challenges that we're facing, I don't think any one person has all the answers. I think we have to listen to each other and respect each other and celebrate our diversity, because that makes us smarter as well as stronger.
Donald Trump spent his time last night attacking me when he should have been apologizing. We all heard on that tape what he thinks of women and how he treats women. And last night he doubled down on his excuse, saying that, well, it's just locker room banter. You know what's happened today, which is so interesting, is that a lot of athletes and coaches from the NBA, from Major League Baseball, from the NFL and more, have been coming forward, tweeting, they've been saying, no, that's not what happens in our locker rooms. And I just happen to think that our athletes and our coaches know a lot more about what happens in locker rooms than Donald Trump does.
But it wasn't just this one video that was so disturbing, even shocking. We have seen this kind of behavior throughout this entire campaign, and it's not just about women. Yes, he's insulted and demeaned women; we've seen it over and over again. But he has targeted others as well. He's disrespected and denigrated African Americans and Latinos, Muslims and POWs, people with disabilities and immigrants. He is an equal-opportunity insulter if there ever was one.
That is not what we are in America. And it may be who he is, but this election is our chance to show who we are. We are better than that. We are bigger than that. And I want to send a message to every boy and girl, every man and woman in our country, indeed, to the entire world, that that is not who America is. And we can do that by making sure that we turn out in the biggest numbers ever. Some analysts are saying we may have the biggest presidential election than we've had in a really long time. And the main reason is because your generation, the young people of America, are the most tolerant, open and generous generation in American history.
You know what's at stake, but you also know what you believe. And you don't want someone who says that he's going to appoint Supreme Court justices who will reverse marriage equality; who will – who will keep Citizens United, one of the worst decisions ever made, that allowed dark, unaccountable money in our electoral system; that will reverse a woman's right to make her own health care decisions; who will defund Planned Parenthood. You know better than that. You are helping us move toward a more perfect union. That has been the story of America at our best. We keep widening the circle of opportunity and inviting more people in. If you're willing to do your part, you're willing to make your contribution, there is a place for you in this nation of ours.
We don't have to make America great. We've got to do what we can to make sure it remains great and it becomes greater because we keep broadening that circle of opportunity.
And please, never forget America is great because America is good, and if we deviate, if we deviate from our fundamental values – and that's indeed the kind of campaign my opponent has run. He has said he would order our men and women in uniform to commit war crimes. He has said he would impose a religious test on who could come into our country – a nation founded on religious freedom and liberty. This is turning the clock back, not just a few years, but centuries. The only way to rebuke this is to vote. Use the single most important, fundamental right you have as citizens of America.
And when you do, I want you to know what you're voting for, because I don't want you just to vote against something. I want you to vote for something. And here's what we're going to do.
I believe our economy should work for everyone, not just those at the top. So I am ending this campaign the way I started my career all those years ago when I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund. As soon as I got out of law school, I said, I don't want to do anything else other than work hard and advocate for kids and families. So I was fortunate to have the chance to be really on the front lines of a lot of change, helping to get the law that enabled people, kids with disabilities, to go to school. Now, most of you may not have any reason to remember this because you weren't born, but – there was a time in our country not so long ago when if you had a disability, if you lived in a school district, there was no requirement that they make accommodations for you. And literally millions of kids were denied an education. I went door to door getting information about what was going on with these children so that I could contribute a report to a big national effort to go to the Congress and say, this is wrong – in America, we're better than this. Open the doors of our schools to kids with disabilities.
And then I was privileged to work to make sure that we got young people out of adult jails and prisons where they had no reason to be in the first place.
So when Donald Trump talks about what I've been doing for the last 30 years, I welcome that. I welcome it because in the 1970s, I was working to end discrimination and he was being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination against people in his apartments. And in the 1980s, I was working to improve the schools in Arkansas to make sure that teachers were well paid and that the coursework was going to prepare kids for the future, while he was getting a loan for $14 million from his father to start a business. And in the 1990s, I went to the UN Conference on Women and said women's rights are human rights – while he was insulting Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. And on the day – on the day that I was in the Situation Room watching the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting Celebrity Apprentice. So if he wants to talk about what we have been doing the last 30 years, bring it on.
So we've got to make up our minds about what kind of economy we want. And I'm pretty clear about that. I think we want new jobs with rising incomes. And I want us to have the biggest new jobs effort since the end of World War II. And I have some specific ideas in mind. We are going to have a big investment in infrastructure: our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our water systems. They need to be upgraded and maintained and built. That is a question of competitiveness. We have to have a competitive economy. Our airports are so rundown we don't even have one airport in our entire country in the top 25 in the world because we're not using the newest technology. We're not really prepared to do what we need to to invest in you and invest in those new jobs.
I do want to bring advanced manufacturing. I heard Ted Strickland talking about that. I think we can have a manufacturing renaissance. There is no reason that we cannot own new manufacturing. I'm not interested in a race to the bottom, in competing for low-wage jobs. I am interested in competing for the high-wage jobs. So let's lead in precision machining, 3D printing.
And let's be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. Some nation's going to have that title. I think it's either going to be Germany or China or us. It should be us. No question it should be. We're going to fight climate change. And we're going to lead the world in fulfilling the requirements of the Paris agreement.
I'm running against somebody who doesn't believe in climate change or at least he says he doesn't , who has even said he thinks it's a hoax created by the Chinese. Well, right now the Chinese have twice as much renewable energy as we do. So maybe they think it's a hoax, but they're investing. And they're creating. And they're going to want to export. And what a shame it would be. We have innovated. We have made the technology that could bring us into the forefront of this. And we're going to do it.
When I am president, I want all of you who care about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, I want you to be part of it. And while we are growing the economy, we are going to make it fairer. We are going to raise the national minimum wage because no one who works full-time should be left in poverty. And don't you think it is finally time to guarantee equal pay for women's work?
You know, back in the spring, I was at a town hall in Las Vegas. And the little girl raised her hand. And I called on her. And she said to me, 'If you're elected president, does a girl president make the same as a boy president?'
I said, "Well, that's one of those jobs where they have to publish what you make." So we're going to have more transparency so people have more incentive to make sure that everybody is treated fairly.
And I'll tell you something else. I want to do more to promote profit-sharing. If you help to make the profits, it shouldn't all just go to the executives and the shareholders. You should be able to share in that.
Now, there's a lot we can do. And people say, 'Well, how are you going to pay for it?' Well, I'm going to go where the money is. And all the money is going to the wealthiest in our country. I have made a pledge, and you can hold me to it. I will not raise taxes on the middle class. Nobody who is working hard to get ahead should be asked to pay more in taxes when we have so many people who have done so well and are not paying their fair share.
Now, Donald Trump is the poster child for this. Last night he finally admitted he hasn't paid a dime in federal income tax for years. Now, he claims that's because back in the early 1990s, he apparently lost a billion dollars running casinos. Who loses money running casinos? Really. Now, one of his supporters said, 'Well, the fact that he lost a billion dollars and that meant he didn't have to pay taxes made him a genius.' Well, I guess you do have to be a genius to lose a billion dollars in a year. But I'll tell you what. What that meant was he paid zero, zero for the military, zero for our vets, zero for Pell Grants to help a lot of you afford college and get through college.
And then he did something that, in retrospect, seemed both odd and not very smart. He brought in Warren Buffett. He said, 'Well, everybody does this. Warren Buffett does this.'
So Warren Buffett, who, by the way, is a real billionaire, Warren Buffett, heard that, pretty hard to miss. And so he put out a statement today. And here's what he said. He said, 'I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13.' He said, 'I have copies of all 72 of my returns. And none uses a carryforward.' That was the gimmick Trump used to avoid paying his fair share. And then Warren Buffett ends by saying, 'Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem releasing my tax information while under audit.' 'Neither would Mr. Trump. At least he would have no legal problem in doing so.' Well, if you take a shot at Warren Buffett, you'd better be prepared.
And in fact, Warren Buffett actually agrees with me that wealthy people ought to pay more. He says no person in his fortunate position in life should be paying a lower tax rate than people who work for him. And he has proposed what's called the Buffett rule, and I am absolutely behind that, and I've said that's one of the changes I want – so that the wealthy have to pay their fair share.
Now, there was a lot about last night that was hard to believe. And so, don't. But one of the things that really struck me was he had not answer. You know, he's not usually tongue-tied, but he had no answer when confronted about the report that he's been buying cheap Chinese steel for his construction projects instead of American-made steel that supports good American jobs. Now, I know you've seen reports and you've probably seen a lot of the visuals coming out of his rallies. He's had a lot of them across Ohio. He claims to be on the side of workers. He especially likes to talk about how he supports American steelworkers. He even had the nerve – this is what kills me about him – he even had the nerve to brag about how American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. And the whole time he was hiding the truth. Hiding the fact that he chose to buy illegally-dumped Chinese steel instead of American steel.
You know, when China illegally floods our market with steel at below-price, and people like Trump buy it, that kills jobs. It kills jobs in this state, including right here in Columbus. This May, Columbus Castings, the biggest single-site foundry in America, just seven miles from where we are tonight, filed for bankruptcy and announced that 800 workers would be laid off. Now, when I think of that and I think of the way Trump has been playing people, it really – it really gets me upset. There's no justification for it. But it fits him to a T. For all his talk about putting America first, he's made his products in at least 12 other countries. Trump's suits and ties were made in Mexico and China. They could have been made right here in Ohio. In fact, he could have made his ties three miles from the Trump Tower in New York.
So we've got to figure out how we have an economy that really does produce growth and rewards companies that do the right thing. And that for me means we need to have a tax system that rewards investment in our country, investment in workers, investment in plant and equipment, investment in research and development, and give the good guys a chance to get ahead instead of being taken advantage of by Wall Street and others.
We are going to end the cowboy culture on Wall Street and what happens in too many boardrooms. We're going to defend the tough new rules on Wall Street that President Obama got passed, the Dodd-Frank rules. Trump wants to do away with those. He also wants to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, something that was designed and created by my friend Senator Elizabeth Warren to protect consumers. He wants to do away with that. And yet he claims to be on the side of working people and the middle class.
Well, we're going to crack down on corporate fraud, like we've seen at Wells Fargo. We're going to crack down to make sure that Wall Street can never wreck Main Street again. And we're going to do it in part by imposing some penalties on companies that try to pick up and leave America. If they try to leave, we're going to slap an exit tax on them and make them pay back every single penny they ever got in tax benefits from anybody in America.
We're also going to end the carried interest loophole. I've been trying to get that done for years. We're going to get it done. We've got a couple of different ways of doing it. I hope that Congress along with us, but if they don't, we're going to figure out a way to finally put an end to what is one of the most unfair parts of the whole tax code, hedge fund managers and others paying a lower tax rate, not for investing but just for moving money around. That's going to end. I want to reward the productive economy. I don't want to keep rewarding the financial economy. That is not the way we're going to grow new businesses, and create new opportunities and more jobs for Americans.
Now, people in Ohio often ask about, 'Well, what are we going to do about trade?' Well, we're going to have smart and fair trade. That's what I love about your Senator, Sherrod Brown. He is one of the best advocates for the kind of trade deals we should have. Look. We've got to trade with the rest of the world. We're only 5 percent of the population of the world. We've got to trade with the other 95 percent. When I was Secretary of State, we really bore down on this, and we increased American exports 30 percent, and in particular, 50 percent to China, because we stood behind every American business. We helped them knock down every barrier so that they could get into those markets and sell.
And I've gone toe-to-toe with the Chinese over trade. They have tried to slap unfair tariffs and prevent American companies from doing business without having to pay some kind of big fine or make some big deal. So we're going to stand up. I'm going to have a trade prosecutor who will report directly to me to make sure every trade deal we're already in is absolutely followed to the letter so nobody takes advantage of us.
And I've always had three tests for trade deals: Does it create American jobs? Does it raise American incomes? is it good for our national security? And when it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, it fails my tests. Once it was finally negotiated, I don't think it will do what I want it to do, so I oppose it. I oppose TPP now. I'll oppose it after the election. I'll oppose it as president. But I'm going to keep fighting to open markets so that we can get more jobs and rising incomes by exporting into those markets and doing business with the rest of the world.
I also saw a sign or a t-shirt out here about Social Security. And that may not always be something that people on a great university campus think about, but I'll tell you what. I am never going to let anybody privatize Social Security. That is off the table forever.
So let's say yes to good jobs, but here's what else we need to say yes to. Let's say yes to good education from preschool all the way through college and university. I want every kid to be able to attend this great university to do well. And for a lot of kids, they're not prepared when they get to kindergarten and first grade. There's an achievement gap already. There's also a digital gap; we have five million homes, mostly poor homes, without access to the internet, so they're behind. I want this to be a true meritocracy. I'm tired of inequality. I want people to feel like they can get ahead if they work for it.
So I want to have universal pre-kindergarten so every child can be prepared to be successful. I want good schools and good teachers in every zip code so every child has the best possible public education. And I think we made a mistake when we took what used to be called vocational education out of high school. We need technical education for more young people. Not everybody needs to or wants to go to a four-year college, but everybody should have the opportunity to get the skills that he or she needs to get ahead and be successful. I want us to have our community colleges working with our high schools and our businesses. We have a lot of job openings for machinists and tool and die markers, for coders, for all kinds of skills.
And then when it comes to college, I want everybody who goes to a public college or university to understand what I am proposing that is a joint proposal from Senator Sanders and myself. We both remember that college was affordable. And it isn't for a lot of people now, and a lot of states have disinvested in their great public colleges and universities. So here is our proposal.
We want anyone from a family that makes less than $125,000 a year to go to Ohio State University tuition-free. And for families over that line, we want you to go debt-free. So yes, you pay what you can afford, but you don't have to go into debt to go to Ohio State. And I'll tell you, the other big problem – how many of you already have student debt? Oh, wow. Practically every hand. Well, here's what we're going to do. We're going to make it possible for you to refinance that debt. If you can refinance your home mortgage, your car payment, or if Donald can refinance his airplane, you ought to be able to refinance your student debt.
And then we want you to pay it back as a percentage of the income you make, and have a limit on that, 10 percent, so that – I feel personally about this because that's what I did after law school. My dad was a small businessman, and he really was a saver. He didn't even have a credit card. Didn't believe in that. So he saved the money for me to go to college. I had to work if I wanted to buy a book, but that was okay. That was the arrangement. And then I told him I wanted to go to law school. He said, 'You're on your own. I don't have any money for that.' So I worked, I got a small scholarship, and I took out loans. But boy, was I lucky, because I got into one of the earliest income repayment programs. In other words, when I got out of law school, I could go to work for the Children's Defense Fund and make, I don't know, $14,000 a year because I could pay it back as a percentage of my income, not on an interest rate of 8, 10, 12 percent like I see from young people across America.
So that's what I want, but I also want to make it possible, if you do public service or national service, to have a lot of your loan, and maybe all of it, forgiven because you're going to be paying back to our country. And I've got this idea about something I'm calling the National Service Reserve. It's kind of like if any of you have ever been in the military reserve. You get the training and you're kind of on call and you practice and train. And then if you're needed, you're called up. I want a civilian national reserve, and I want people of all ages in it. And we would train you so that if there's a natural disaster or some other problem that has to be dealt with, we could call you up to go do that. And it's a way of making sure that people are giving back all the time to this country because that's how we build solidarity. That's how we get to know each other better.
So I'm pretty excited about what we're going to do together. And I can't do any of this without your help. I really am asking you to do everything you can to make sure you're registered, to tell your friends and anybody else you can talk to make sure they're registered. As I said, go to iwillvote.com. You can find it out right there on that site. And we'd love to have you be involved in the campaign because I know that if we win in November, we can summon the positive spirit of our country back again. I think I have to do everything, everything in my power to bring people together, and I will.
It's really important to me that you know that I want to be your president whether you vote for me or not. Obviously, I hope you do, but I will be your president, and I will stand up for you, and I will work for you, and I will fight for you. So please, if you're not registered, get registered by tomorrow, and then you can start voting October 12th. And whatever issue, whatever issue you care about, imagine that that is on the ballot. Imagine if you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage, if you believe – if you believe that we finally should have paid family leave in this country like every other advanced economy, if you believe climate change is real and we could save our planet by creating a lot of jobs at the same time, if you believe diversity is America's strength, not a weakness, if you believe women should be able to make our own health care decisions and that LGBT Americans should be treated equally across America, and you should be able to live up to your potential, no matter who you are or where you come from, then start voting October the 12th!
And I promise you this. Together we're going to prove that we can make the future what it should be for all of you; that there is a positive, optimistic, confident America out there; that America's best days are ahead of us, not the dark and divisive vision of my opponent, but one in keeping with what I see as I travel across America – the energy, the dynamism, the entrepreneurial spirit of all Americans, but particularly young Americans. So please, join this campaign. Be part of it for the next 29 days. And together we will prove that we can have the future that we want and that yes, love trumps hate! Thank you, Ohio State!"
NOTE: Speech as delivered. This was Secretary Clinton's largest rally to date, with about 18,500 people attending.
Hillary Clinton, Remarks at Ohio State University in Columbus Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/319580