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Special Event

Gore Holds Campaign Appearance in College Park, Maryland

Aired August 24, 2000 - 1:50 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We are interrupting to take you live to the campaign trail. Al Gore is at the University of Maryland, visiting with students and faculty. And he is going to talk about that plan to make $10,000 of college tuition an annual tax deduction.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I remember that the -- that eight years ago we had huge deficits, the largest in history, $300 billion a year, on the way up, we had quadrupled the national debt, we had high unemployment. There was no real sense of confidence and hope that we could move in the right direction and solve our problems.

But, in the last eight years, we've made significant progress. We have turned the biggest deficits into the biggest surpluses; instead of a triple-dip recession, we've seen a tripling of the stock market; instead of high unemployment, we now have the lowest African- American and Hispanic unemployment ever...

(APPLAUSE)

... 22 million new jobs, and the strongest economy in the 224- year history of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

That's progress.

(APPLAUSE)

But my message today is: You ain't see nothing yet. I'm not satisfied.

(APPLAUSE)

This election is not an award for past performance. I'm not asking for your vote on the basis of the economy we have. I'm asking for your support on the basis of the better, fairer, stronger economy that we can create together as we embark on these next four years.

(APPLAUSE)

And as we continue the prosperity and progress and deepen it and strengthen it, we must decide, all of us, that no one's going to be left behind. We have to reach out to make sure everyone participates in this prosperity.

(APPLAUSE)

And that means a commitment to education. We need to make sure that our prosperity enriches not just a few, but all of our families. And that means investments in health care, yes, in education -- which I'm going to talk about in just a moment -- and in middle-class tax cuts and a secure retirement.

I came here today to tell you specifically, in concrete terms, what I'm proposing, because I believe that in this day and time, the American people deserve to have a serious, intelligent, adult discussion of the choices that we face in this election year of 2000, so I'm going to give you specifics, and I'm going to talk about issues...

(APPLAUSE)

... because I think you deserve to know, and I think you deserve the right to be able to judge for yourself.

Now, I'm speaking primarily to a group of young people right here. But I want to start by telling you of my absolute obligation and determination to make sure that we protect and preserve and strengthen Social Security and Medicare.

I'll put them in a lockbox and say, "Politicians, hands off." And I'll veto anything that takes money out of Social Security and Medicare before anything other than Social Security and Medicare.

(APPLAUSE)

And I will not go along with any proposal to strip one out of every six dollars intended for the Social Security trust fund out of the Social Security trust fund. I will never go along with the privatization of Social Security because I think it's wrong.

(APPLAUSE)

I think it's in the worst interest of our country.

And I also want you to know about the changes I'm proposing on health care. I believe that it is time to say that medical decisions should not be turned over to bean counters behind computer terminals who don't have a license to practice medicine and don't have a right to play God.

(APPLAUSE)

I think it's time to take the medical decisions away from the HMOs and insurance companies, and give them back to the doctors and the nurses and the health care professionals.

(APPLAUSE) And I think it's time to recognize that concentrated power can sometimes work to the disadvantage of competition and the American people.

Specifically, we have seen a dramatic increase in prescription drug prices in recent years, especially for our seniors who are charged the highest price of all. Everybody else gets a lower price for prescription medicine than senior citizens in the Medicare program.

You can even go to a veterinarian, if the vet prescribes a medicine that's used by people, as is often the case -- we have a dog that has arthritis, for example -- and cats and dogs get a much lower price than people do.

It's a reflection of the fact that the big drug companies have so much power today that they can dictate different prices to different markets. And we need more competition to bring the prices down. And we need a prescription drug benefit for seniors under the Medicare program to help them pay the bills.

(APPLAUSE)

Now I want to talk about education. Education is the key to our future. We're now in a time when two-thirds of the business leaders in America have said that the number-one obstacle they encounter when they try to expand and grow is the shortage of well-trained and well- educated job applicants.

They're now trying all kinds of different techniques to remedy that problem, but the main remedy is one that can only be brought about by all of us as Americans making a decision that it is time to make the largest investment in education since the GI bill and make our schools the number-one priority for America's future.

(APPLAUSE)

That's my objective.

(APPLAUSE)

I'll work to open the doors of opportunity for all Americans with better schools.

(APPLAUSE)

I think it's time to start treating our teachers like the professionals that they are.

(APPLAUSE) I think it's time to reduce the class size, so there's more one- on-one time...

(APPLAUSE)

... modernize the school buildings...

(APPLAUSE)

... have universal pre-school for every child in every family...

(APPLAUSE)

... expand Head Start.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, we need to recognize that the kind of education required of teachers, if taken to almost any other profession, now commands a higher salary.

If you have a college degree and the extra instruction that is equivalent to the amount of time you need extra after college graduation to be certified as a teacher, you look at all of the other professions that require that same amount of education and training, and all of them earn higher salaries than are paid to teachers.

Now, money alone is not the answer. We need new ideas as well as new resources. We need new accountability, new performance measurement. As I said, smaller class size and modern schools, and more training and professional development, and better approaches.

But we can't solve the problem without new resources. And that's why we have got to make it the top priority, because, you know, unlocking the potential of a young mind is something that is really the key to our future.

ALLEN: The Democratic presidential candidate, on the campaign trail in Maryland. He is going to offer up a plan to make $10,000 of college tuition an annual tax deduction. He also took the time to talk about other issues that he supports, including health care changes he wants to make.

And, as we mentioned, the Republican candidate, Texas Governor George Bush, is speaking also at a the university in New Orleans today.

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