Remarks at a Rally for Democratic Candidates in Detroit, Michigan
Thank you so much. Can you hear me in the back? Well, I'm doing the best I can. But if you'll be a little more quiet, I'll be a little louder and maybe you can hear. Can you hear now? I will do the best I can, and you do the best you can.
Mayor Archer, County Executive Ed MacNamara, Congressman Carr. Folks, Bob Carr gave a good speech, and you ought to give him a good vote on November 8th and send him to the United States Senate. And I hope you will support Howard Wolpe and Debbie Stabenow. I thank Senator Riegle, Senator Levin, Congressman Conyers, Congressman Ford, Congressman Kildee, Congressman Dingell, Congressman Bonior, and two people you ought to send to Congress, Bob Mitchell and Lynn Rivers, I thank them all for being here. I'm glad to see your secretary of state, Dick Austin. And I want to ask you to support Judge Conrad Mallett, who is not here today. I thank the Straight Gate Gospel Choir, the Murray Wright High School Band, the Mason Drummer Corps, and Jennifer Holiday—was she great, or what?
Ladies and gentlemen, we're a week before election. There have been some clouds in this election, but they're starting to clear. The Sun is coming out. The choice is becoming stark and clear and unambiguous. Do we want to go forward or turn back? Do we want to support people who vote for ordinary Americans or people who just vote for organized interest groups?
[At this point, there was a disruption in the audience.]
You know, 21 months ago—let them talk, let them talk. Wait, wait a minute. They couldn't get a crowd like this. They had to come to ours. We welcome them here; let them come. And we welcome a little free speech and debate. If we had more of it, we'd be doing even better in this election.
Let me ask you something, folks. When we came here 21 months ago, you elected me President to change this country and to move this country forward, to face up to 30 years of social problems, 20 years of economic stagnation, 12 years of their trickle-down economics, and 4 years of the worst job growth since the Great Depression. We said we could change that, and we've been working at it steadily, to make this Government work for ordinary people, to get this economy going again, to empower people so they can compete in this global economy, and to make this world safer and more secure.
And I tell you, folks, there are still a lot of problems in America, but we have made a very good start. This country is in better shape, and we don't need to go back now.
If you look at Michigan alone, because of the work of our administration, with the help of these Members of Congress behind us, 1 1/2 million workers are now protected by the family and medical leave law, so they can take a little time off when a baby is born or a parent is sick; 400,000 working families with children in their home got a tax cut so they won't fall into poverty if they're working full time and raising their kids. You heard the mayor talking about the crime bill: more police, more prisons, tougher punishment, and prevention to give our children something to say yes to as well as something to say no to.
We brought down the deficit that the other party only talked about. We slashed the bureaucracy they only complained about. We cut the regulations that they gagged over but never did anything about. When we put this economic strategy forward, the Republicans said if it passed, the economy would collapse. Well, they were wrong. In 21 months we have cut the deficit 3 years in a row for the first time since Truman was President. We have shrunk the Federal Government, but we have invested more in your jobs, your future, and we have 4.6 million new jobs in America. In Michigan, we've seen a 1 1/2 percent plus drop in the unemployment rate.
Is there more to do? You bet there is. Yes, there is. But if there's more to do, we ought to keep on doing what we've been doing for 21 months, not go back to what worked so poorly for 12 years before.
It was in the last 21 months that we expanded the Head Start program, that we passed a law to immunize all the kids in this country under the age of 2 by 1996, that we passed laws to have apprenticeship programs all over this country to help people who don't want to go to college move from school to work into good jobs, not dead-end jobs.
We passed the reform in the student loan laws to provide for lower cost, longer repayment student loans, so that every middle class student in this country and every poor kid in this country can afford to go to college and get a good education and not drop out and not turn back. In Michigan alone, 580,000 people will be eligible for better terms on their college loans because of this administration and its partners in the Congress.
And let me just say this. I noticed that Mr. Carr's opponent ran a television ad using my voice against him, saying if it hadn't been for him we wouldn't have passed the economic program. Well, that's why your unemployment rate is down; that's why your jobs are up; that's why this country is moving forward.
But I want to give you another one, and I bet you won't see this in his television ad. If it hadn't been for Bob Carr, we would never have had the votes to reform the student loan program; we wouldn't be having 20 million more Americans eligible for lower interest rates, lower costs, better repayment terms. If the other fellow had been there, it never would have happened. And that's the kind of choice we're facing in this election.
What have they done? They said no to student loan reform. They said no to the crime bill. They said no to family leave. They said no to the reduction of the deficit. They said no to economic recovery. That's what they did. They killed campaign finance reform and lobby reform and the Superfund bill to clean up the toxic waste dumps.
And now they have told us what they will do if you put them in office. They want to take us back, back to trickle-down economics; back to massive tax cuts for the wealthy. They have made you a trillion dollars' worth of promises. "Elect us," they say, "and all will be easy: tax cuts, spending increases, a balanced budget." Does it sound familiar?
Their contract on America doesn't say much about how they're going to pay for this. But they do say that if you give them power, they will cut $9 billion worth of college loans for over 3 million students. We ought to be sending more people to college, not less people. Vote for the Democrats, and keep this country moving forward.
Listen to this. This is their argument. This is their argument. They say, "Well, this is a tough election for Republicans. The Democrats took our issues away. We were always for jobs, against crime, against big Government. We were active in foreign policy. Now, the Democrats have given us 3 years of deficit reduction in a row for the first time since Truman, the smallest Federal Government since Kennedy, the toughest crime bill ever, a growing economy in a safer and more secure world. We would be saying, if we did it, that we should build a statue to the Republicans if we'd done it. But, my goodness, the Democrats did it. How are we going to run this race?"
"I know," they say. "We will deny that it happened. We will take the cynicism of the public and build on it. We will take the skepticism of the public and feed it. We will take the unbelievable reluctance of people to believe in this country again, and we will stoke it. We will divide the people. We will throw a smokescreen over the election. We will attack them for big Government and taxes, even though they cut taxes on working people and gave us less Government and moved the economy forward and made the country safer." That's what their program is. Their program, my fellow Americans, is to keep everybody shouting, keep the country in a turmoil, keep the people upset.
Let me tell you something. This country has problems. There are still too many people who are worried about losing their jobs, who haven't gotten a raise, who are afraid they'll lose their health care, who are looking for work and don't have it. But the country is in better shape than it was 21 months ago.
Don't let them sucker you. Keep going where we're going. Show up on election day. Stand up for what is right. Don't turn back. We can do better.
I just got back from an incredible trip. I saw our fine soldiers in the Persian Gulf standing up for freedom there. I saw the peace in the Middle East. I saw the faces of millions of people looking at America, looking to America for support. Let me tell you something, folks. From Northern Ireland to Haiti to the Persian Gulf to the Middle East to Korea, people say, "We like the United States. It's a country of energy, a country of freedom, a country of growth, a country of tomorrow." They are not cynical about us. I wish you could have seen the faces of our young men and women in uniform in the Persian Gulf there, in the desert, and all those soldiers from other countries looking at them. I wish you could see the faces of the Haitians holding up their little "Thank you, America" sign when President Aristide went home and democracy came back to those people. They aren't cynical about America.
Folks, 90 percent of the cynics about America are in America. They listen to people who are screaming all the time, who are shouting all the time, who are trying to divide this country all the time. Let me tell you something. This is a very great country, and its best days are ahead of it. Our best days are ahead of us.
We have challenges ahead of us. We do not need the easy promises and the failed policies of the past. We need to say, "This is America. We're getting this economy going. We're educating our people. We're making this Government work for average Americans again. This world is going to be safer and more prosperous. We are going into the future."
Say no to the failed policies of the past. Say yes to going to the future. Say no to fear and yes to hope. Say no to the people who are always trying to denigrate everything we do to move this country forward. And say yes to Bob Carr and the other Democrats who are running for you and your future.
Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 12:31 p.m. in the Cobo Hall Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Dennis W. Archer of Detroit; Howard Wolpe, candidate for Governor; Debbie Stabenow, candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Conrad L. Mallett, Jr., candidate for Michigan Supreme Court chief justice; and singer Jennifer Holiday.
William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Rally for Democratic Candidates in Detroit, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/217999