Bill Clinton photo

Remarks to the Community in Toledo, Ohio

August 26, 1996

The President. Thank you so much to the citizens of Toledo. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for making us feel so very welcome tonight. Now, I want to tell you first of all, I love Toledo, and I love to spend the night here. I love to run along the water here in the morning. And I'm delighted to be back. I've still got my Toledo Mud Hens cap. And I'm glad to be back. I also want to tell you that if you saw Senator Glenn and I talking a little while the program was going, you need to know that at some point in about 15 minutes I'm going to stop, and the whole country is going to see you, because we're going to be talking back and forth to our convention in Chicago. So I want you to help me. Will you do that? [Applause]

Now, in the meanwhile, I'd like to talk to you a few moments. First, I want to acknowledge your mayor and thank him for his vigorous leadership to help develop Toledo economically and to help fight the crime problem and working with us on it.

Secondly, let me say, there is not in the entire United States Congress another Member of the Congress who is as active and energetic and aggressive and effective on behalf of the constituents as Marcy Kaptur is for you. She's fought for your jobs; she's fought for your welfare; she's fought for your values. You can be proud of her.

And let me say of Senator Glenn, I have known very few people in public life that I would say I admired as much as John Glenn. He is an American hero and a national treasure. He's too modest to tell you, but we did downsize the Government, but we didn't put those Federal employees in the street. We didn't cast them off and forget about them. We gave them early retirement. We helped them find other things to do. And we used the opportunity of the savings to do things like put 100,000 more police back on your streets, to bring your deficit down. And we used ways to save money and increase the effectiveness of national defense, increase the effectiveness of our ability to respond to emergencies. We cut the budget of the Small Business Administration, for example, and doubled the loan volume. We did those kind of things, in large measure in 1993 and 1994, with the help and leadership of John Glenn. And he deserves a lot of credit for it.

I also—a lot of Ohioans know that Senator Glenn is one of America's leaders on the problem of nuclear proliferation. That's a big old word, but I'll tell you what it means now. During this administration—and thanks in no small measure to the leadership of John Glenn—for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, on this night, this beautiful night, there is not a single nuclear missile pointed at a child in the United States of America. And we can be proud of that.

I want to thank the CitiFest organization for helping this to become possible. I want to thank our Lucas County Democratic chair, Keith Wilkowski, for his work on this. And I want to mention two other folks, one, the gentleman to my right who is sitting over there with Chelsea. He's one of yours. His name is Robert Wyckoff. He was wounded fighting for your country in World War II, but he had never received, after all these years, the combat medals he earned, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Well, 50 years too late, on our train tonight, just before we got to Toledo, it was my great honor to pin on Robert Wyckoff the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart he earned for our country before. Would you stand up, sir? Let's give him a hand. [Applause] Thank you.

There's another person I want to introduce tonight who is not here, and you'll understand in a minute. Marcy gave Chelsea the keys to the Jeep. [Laughter] One of the things I'm proudest of in America's economic recovery is that for the first time in 20 years, the United States is the auto capital of the world. We're producing more cars than the Japanese, and we're selling more around the world. And tonight, tonight in Chicago at our convention, an autoworker from Toledo named Todd Clancy is speaking on behalf of the working people of America. And I know you can be proud of him.

We have had a wonderful time. We've been to West Virginia, Kentucky. We've been all over Ohio. We started this morning at the State police training academy in Columbus. We've been to Arlington. We had an unbelievable rally in Bowling Green. We are having a good time taking the train across America's heartland, a train that gives me a chance to thank you for giving me the chance to serve as your President, to say that I have worked for you, and to look in your eyes and tell you we've been up there for 4 years every day trying to help you go forward. And we'd like 4 more, because America is on the right track, the right track.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you. Thank you so much. We're on the right track. And I'll tell you, I want you to watch our convention. We're going to have a good time. And I'm glad a few of our friends from the other party showed up tonight with their signs. You're welcome here. We're glad to have you here.

[At this point, there was a disturbance in the audience.]

Audience members. Boo-o-o!

The President. No, don't boo them. Don't boo them. Don't boo them. We're glad to have them here. But our convention is going to be a little different. We're not going to hide our leaders. We're going to parade them out on the stage and say we're proud of them. And I have read our platform. I'm proud of it, and we're all glad to run on it. We're not running away from it. And we don't need to avoid our record or distort it. We'll just run on our record and on our ideas for the future. We're proud of it. We're proud of it. We're proud of it.

I want you to think about what has been going on for the last 4 years. When I came to see you 4 years ago and I asked you to take a chance on me, I had never worked as an elected official in Washington, DC. I ran for President because I was worried about what was happening to my country, because we had high unemployment and stagnant wages, because we had a rising crime rate, a host of unsolved social challenges, a widening rift among our people, a growing sense of cynicism about the ability of political leaders to make a difference in ordinary people's lives. And I was sitting out there in my home State going to work every day as our State's Governor, and I didn't like it and I decided I'd try to make a difference. And I asked you to help me.

And on June 2, 1992, the votes of Ohio gave me a majority of the delegates I needed to be nominated. In July of 1992, at the national convention, the delegation from Ohio cast the votes that put me over the top. And as John Glenn said, in November of 1992, when they called Ohio for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the commentator said, "As Ohio goes, so goes the Nation. They will win the election."

And so tonight, my friends, I come to you to make a report, to say we are on the right track, but we have more to do; to ask you to join with me for the next 70 days to tell your friends and neighbors, whether they're Democrats, Republicans, or independents, about what has happened in America these last 4 years, what the choice is in this election, and what we still have to do.

Look at the record. Look at the economy. You heard Senator Glenn say that we brought the deficit down in all 4 years of this administration for the first time since before the Civil War. That's the last time that happened, in the 1840's. I'm proud that our Democrats did that. I wish we had had some help from the folks in the other party, but I'm glad we did it anyway. I'm glad we did it. We paid a price for it, but I'm glad we did it.

Do you know that we would have a surplus in Washington today in your budget—a surplus—were it not for the interest run up when we quadrupled the national debt in the 12 years before I took office. If we didn't have to pay interest on the debt in the 12 years before I took office, we'd have a surplus in that budget today. We've got to keep on going until we balance it, to keep the interest rates down and the jobs coming back to America. That's what we need.

But we have to balance that budget in the right way. Last year, I presented a balanced budget. The congressional leaders presented their balanced budget. They passed theirs and didn't want to talk about mine. And I vetoed it because it had cuts that were too big in education and the environment, in Medicare and in the Medicaid guarantees for our people. I vetoed it because it raised taxes on the poorest working people in America. I vetoed it because it allowed workers' pensions to be raided by corporations, and we spent the whole last several years trying to secure workers' pensions. So yes, I did. But I'm still for balancing the budget. We have cut the deficit 60 percent, and we're still going to do it. But we're going to do it in the right way. They can shut the Government down if they want to. I will not be blackmailed, not ever. We're going to do it in the right way.

Let's look at education. Today, there are more children in Head Start. Our schools have funds to promote safe and drug-free schools that they didn't have before. They have funds that help them to stay open in after hours—we need a doctor here. We got one. Thanks. They have funds to stay open after hours when these kids often need someplace to go so they don't get in trouble. There are literally hundreds of thousands of young people who now have lower cost college loans because of the initiatives we have. And the AmeriCorps program has given young people a chance to serve in their community and earn money for college. Those are things we did, and we're proud of it. We're proud of it.

But, my friends, we must do more. We ought to put a million children in Head Start. We ought to hook up every classroom in America not only with computers and qualified teachers but hook them all up to the information superhighway so every child has access to the best education. And we need to make the first 2 years of education after high school as universal in the next 4 years as a high school education is today. If you vote for me, that's just what we're going to do.

I want to give a tax credit worth $1,500 to every family so you can go to a community college. And every single American will know, at the very least, we can all get a community college education. Whatever our age, whatever our station in life, we can all get it. I want to give every working family in this country a tax deduction worth $10,000 a year for the cost of college tuition for the kids or the parents to educate our people. That's what we still have to do.

Look where we are with health care. We've worked hard to get the inflation rate down in health care. For the first time in 30 years this year, it's running below the overall inflation rate in the economy. And right before I left to come on this trip, I signed the Kennedy-Kassebaum health care bill which says to 25 million Americans—25 million Americans—no longer can you lose your health insurance because you changed jobs, and you can't be denied because somebody in your family got sick. It is a good bill. It is a good bill.

But we need to do more. In our budget we also say—and you know here in Toledo from your lean years, there are a lot of good people who sometimes have to be unemployed for longer than they'd like until they get another job. We think we ought to help the unemployed to keep their health insurance for at least 6 months, and their kids. We believe older women ought to be able to get mammographies. We believe people who are caring for their parents because they've got Alzheimer's disease ought to be able to get a little help with respite care to keep the families together and keep going. We like that. We believe in that. And we can afford that.

If you look at where we've come in crime, for 4 years in a row now in the United States, the crime rate, including the violent crime rate, has dropped. I am very, very proud of that, and I know you are, too. But you also know that the crime rate is still too high and we have to do more. We're about halfway home in putting those 100,000 police on the street. We have to finish the job. That's a big difference between the two parties, I guess, philosophical difference. They voted against the 100,000 police, and they've tried to do away with it a couple of times. And I've said no every time because I know that if you've got those police on the street they're not only going to catch criminals, they're going to prevent crime, they're going to get to know the kids, they're going to get to know people that can help to work with the children and say, "Don't commit that crime in the first place." Let's finish the job with 100,000 police in the next 4 years.

Let's finish the job with the Brady bill. It's kept 60,000 felons and fugitives from getting handguns. And not a single Ohio hunter has lost their weapon. But you know what? We ought to finish the job of protecting our police officers and people at home. I believe that if someone has committed a crime of domestic violence against a member of his or her family, they ought to be covered by the Brady bill, too. They shouldn't have a weapon they can kill somebody with. And I think we ought to ban those cop-killer bullets. They don't do any good on the hunting trail, but they do a lot of harm in America.

If you look at where we are on welfare reform, I've worked hard for 4 years to move people from welfare to work. Seventy-five percent of the people in this country were under welfare-to-work experiments before Congress passed the welfare bill I signed, and we reduced the welfare rolls by 1.5 million people. We can be proud of that. But now—now that we have a new law that says that you're on welfare and you're able-bodied, we'll give your children health care, we'll give you child care, we'll protect your food stamps, but you've got to go to work if you can—we've got to create work so people have the jobs they need.

We've worked hard to protect the environment. We've cleaned up more toxic waste dumps in 3 years than they did in 12, and I'm proud of that. Fifty million Americans are breathing cleaner air, and I'm proud of that. The meat standards are higher, the protection against pesticide poisoning is better, and I'm proud of that. But we have to do more. We ought to clean up two-thirds of the waste dumps in this country and keep on proving you can grow the American economy and protect the environment for our children. We know we can do that.

Most important of all, my fellow Americans, I have tried as hard as I know how to say that we're going to get into the 21st century with the American dream alive for everybody who's responsible enough to work for it. We're going to get into the 21st century with America leading the world for peace and freedom and prosperity if—but only if—we make up our mind we have to go into that future together, as one community. I don't like the fact that people are too often divided here by race, by religion, and by all kinds of other categories just to try to put somebody down so somebody else can be lifted up. That's not the America I want to live in.

Look at what I dealt with as your President, trying to make peace in the rest of the world. Look at the Middle East. Look at Bosnia. Look at Northern Ireland. Look at the problems in Rwanda and Burundi in Africa. You'd think in those poor countries, where people don't have enough to get along, they'd want to roll up their sleeves, work together, and try to help lift each other up. But place after place after place, people define themselves by being able to look down on their neighbors, and it's wrong. But we've got to fight it in America. That's why we've got to stand against those church burnings in the South. That's why if a synagogue is marked up or an Islamic center is defaced, we've got to stand against that, too. In my America, you can be whatever you want to be. As long as you believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and you're willing to show up, pay your taxes, work hard, and obey the law, you're a part of my America and we're going into the future together. That's what I believe.

And so we're on the right track to Chicago and to the 21st century. The best days of this country are still before us. Our children will do things we haven't even imagined yet. These children in this crowd tonight will have lots of jobs that haven't been invented yet if we do what we know is right, to create more opportunity for all Americans, to get more responsibility from all Americans, and to go forward and grow forward as one American community.

That will take America into the 21st century. That will keep Toledo growing and going. That will make us very, very strong and keep us the hope of the world. That is the commitment I want from you. Will you help me for the next 70 days?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Will you be there on election day?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. We passed the Family and Medical Leave Act—I love all these signs—we passed the Family and Medical Leave Act to help our families. Twelve million American families got to take some time off without losing their jobs when a baby was born. Will you help us keep it and expand it? Will you stand for things like that? [Applause]

And in the next 4 years, are you willing to stand up and keep helping us try to move this country forward, not only by passing laws in Washington but by lifting people up in Toledo? Do you believe that we have to take responsibility for our children? And do you believe that if you're a parent you need to raise your kids and take responsibility, but you need help from the local teachers, from the local churches and synagogues, from the people who run the police departments and the people who look after the hospitals and the people who look after the health of your food? I guess what I'm trying to tell you folks is, I think my wife was right, not them: It does take a village to raise a child.

If you believe all that—if you believe all that, you're part of the new Democratic Party. And we're going together into the 21st century because we're on the right track, the country is on the right track, and we're going to take the right track all the way into the best days America has ever, ever, ever known.

Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.

[After a pause, the President spoke by satellite to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, IL.]

The President. Folks—hello, Chicago! Can you hear us? This is Toledo, and we say hello and thank you. Thank you. Thank you all.

Well, folks, I just want to say to our delegates in Chicago, if they can hear me—Josh, can they hear me in Chicago? I want to say to the folks in Chicago, Chelsea and I are proud to be here with Senator Glenn and Congresswoman Kaptur and Mayor Finkbeiner in Toledo.

We're proud we're bringing the 21st Century Express to Chicago because America's back on track, and we're on the right track for the 21st century. We're coming right at you. And we want you to know that those of us who are here in Toledo tonight are proud of you in Chicago.

Thank you, Christopher Reeve; thank you, Sarah and Jim Brady; thank you, all who spoke. Thank you for loving America. Stay with us, and we'll be there.

Thank you, and God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:46 p.m. at Promenade Park. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner of Toledo; Joshua A. King, Director of Production, White House Office of the Press Secretary; actor Christopher Reeve; and Sarah Brady, head of Hand Gun Control, Inc., wife of former White House Press Secretary James S. Brady.

William J. Clinton, Remarks to the Community in Toledo, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives