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Special Event

Sen. Kennedy Gives 'Whole-Hearted and Complete Support' to Vice President Al Gore

Aired January 5, 2000 - 10:40 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we take you live at a school just outside of Boston. Senator Ted Kennedy expected to announce his endorsement of Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential elections. Let's listen to the senator.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you very much, Tommy Menino. We want to thank you so much, Mayor Menino. Welcome the opportunity to join with you here today.

As I have said in so many parts of the city of Boston and around our state, there's been no mayor in our country that's been more committed or strongly supportive of improving the qualities of education for the people here in the city of Boston and also in our country.

You are really the education mayor. We thank you so much for greeting and welcoming and joining with Al Gore and myself here this morning.

I welcome the opportunity to give my whole-hearted and complete support to a great friend, a magnificent vice president and the next president of the United States, Al Gore.

(APPLAUSE)

No one in this country has fought harder and been more effective and a stronger voice for the great principles of the Democratic Party than Al Gore. I had the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate with Al Gore Sr., when he represented the state of Tennessee, and also to serve with Al Gore in the Senate of the United States.

His was the voice for working families in this country. The Gores of Tennessee represent the best in public service of our nation and the best in public commitment to the democratic ideals of our party.

(APPLAUSE)

Between 1988 and 1992, Massachusetts, part of New England -- New England represents about five percent of the nation's population -- lost 20 percent of the jobs in this country. We had severe economic recession.

Al Gore came to Massachusetts. He saw what was happening, and he was a strong and effective and continuing, ongoing voice to put in place the kinds of economic policies that today have added some 450,000 jobs, good jobs, for the people of Massachusetts that have seen the unemployment lines retreat from over 7 percent to less than 4 percent. That's made a great deal of difference to families here in our state and throughout New England.

But it isn't only in Massachusetts and throughout New England, but he has been the strong and effective voice in making sure that those economic policies were going to be applicable to the country. We know, because of Al Gore, we are going to continue to have a strong economy because Al Gore is going to be the strong economy president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

There are few issues which families in our state care more about than the quality of education for their children.

We have made some progress. As the mayor knows, as Tom Pesante (ph) can tell you, and as the superintendent of this school and the children of this school can tell you, we have made some progress in having smaller class sizes, better training for our teachers, in bringing new technology into the classroom, and the utilization of that technology with an effective curriculum.

We've taken advantage of the E-rate that Al Gore was indispensable in shaping and in forming.

We have seen an expansion of the after-school programs. And not only, we have seen the greater opportunity for children that are here at the Cleveland school to continue their education and to go on to the schools and colleges in Massachusetts than in any time in the history of this country. That progress will continue because Al Gore will be the education president.

(APPLAUSE)

People in Massachusetts care about the quality of their health care, with the strong teaching hospitals that make such a difference in the quality of health care and training, of the physicians in this nation.

Al Gore has been there to preserve our Medicare system. He has stood to support a strong prescription drug program for the seniors of Massachusetts and the nation. And he has been a force to ensure that we are going to have the doctors make the medical decisions for families in Massachusetts and this country, rather than the insurance companies.

(APPLAUSE)

We have an improving health care system, and that is going to continue because we are going to have Al Gore has the health care president.

(APPLAUSE)

Al Gore has been a resister of the efforts that we have seen in this Congress and in this country over the period of these past years to effectively eliminate the Department of Education. I think most families in Massachusetts would say: We want someone there at the president's elbow every single day saying that the education of the children is important for our country. He's been there to resist the cutbacks in Medicare and the cutbacks in Social Security. He's been there in the battles and in all the great fights.

So, I am proud today. I'm proud today to stand with him in the course of this campaign and to speak to his leadership qualities and what they can mean for this country.

Al Gore, you have the ability, the vision and the experience and the wisdom to lead our country in the year 2000 and in the years ahead. We're grateful to you for being willing to come to us at the Democratic Party and to offer yourself for leadership, and I want you to know that I look forward in standing with you in each and every one of the battles that we will face in this campaign in the years ahead to make it a stronger, a better, a fairer America -- Al Gore.

KAGAN: Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts giving a very strong endorsement to Vice President Al Gore as he makes his run for the presidency. Unusual for Senator Kennedy to give an endorsement this early in the season. He's only done it twice before, and the previous two times, Governor Dukakis and Senator Paul Tsongas, were both from Massachusetts.

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