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Vice Pres. Al Gore Addresses Supporters at Pittsburgh Labor Day Event

Aired September 4, 2000 - 1:32 p.m. ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The Democratic candidates are in Pittsburgh, part of a marathon 27-hour campaign trip that began down in Florida with a visit with construction workers in Philadelphia, and now a visit with steelworkers in Pittsburgh. The vice president is at the podium.


VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Didn't Gloria do a great job? She really did.


And John Sweeney, and George Becker (ph), and all of the labor leaders who are here -- Bill George and Jack Shea (ph). I know that John is here with his wife Maureen (ph), and George's wife, Jane, is out here with three of their grandchildren somewhere.

Where are you, Jane?

Right out there. Bless you. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Let's here it for George and Jane Becker (ph).


I pay attention to that. Tipper and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary a couple of months ago, and we just became grandparents for the first time a year ago July 4th.


There are a lot of families represented here, and I certainly want to thank the Reverend Jesse Jackson for being here in Pittsburgh on Labor Day.


And let's elect Ron Klink to the United States Senate.


And let's elect Terry Van Horne to the United States House, and in the protest make Dick Gephardt the speaker of the House. (APPLAUSE)

I'm glad to be here with Bob Casey and Mayor Tom Murphy (ph) and all the distinguished guests who are here. Bill -- Congressman Bill Coyne. And incidentally, I was thinking earlier, the reception you've given me has been so wonderful here, you could almost call it an immaculate reception. I want to ask Frank O'Harris (ph) to come back out here one more time.


Thank you.

He's here with his son, Doc (ph). And, you know, there's so many families who are represented here, and there a lot of people who are off work today and celebrating on Labor Day, but I want to take just a moment to tell you what Joe Lieberman and I have been doing for the last 22 hours.

We haven't had any sleep. We've been traveling all over this country and talking with people who are working on Labor Day. And last night late -- well, we started in Philadelphia, and we talked with the building trades over there, and we went to Flint, Michigan and talked with hospital workers. And late at night, about 1 a.m., we went to the General Motors truck plant and talked with the autoworkers.

And at 4 a.m., we were in Tampa, Florida, and we split up, and he went to get on a bakery truck like the one that his dad used to ride every night when he was putting his kids through school, and raising his family. And I went over to an all-night diner to talk with waitresses like my mother worked as a waitress in an all-night coffee shop when she was working her way through school, and becoming one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School back in the 1930s.


And then we went over, and about 5 a.m. we had a great breakfast with the firefighters in Tampa. And we had a rally before 6 a.m., 1,000 people outside of that fire hall. And you know, it caused me to think of all the people who are working on Labor Day, and I want to take just a moment to thank a lot of the people that you don't often think about. I want to thank all of the medics. I want to thank the law enforcement officers who are working today on Labor Day.


I want to thank the Secret Service and all of those who have made my trip possible. I want to thank the working press corps who are working on Labor Day. I want to thank all of those who have worked to make this event possible. You know, they're not home with their families, and so I want all of them to accept my personal thanks.

And I want to say to all of you, our country faces a big choice in this election year, and that's one of the reason we're all gathered. And I see these signs out here that remind me of how many organizations are represented, and how important these organizations are to your ability to get fair wages and good, decent works conditions and a safe workplace. And I want you to know that I'm going to fight for you and stand up for you, and Joe Lieberman is as well.


While I'm here in Pittsburgh, he traveled to Detroit. And I'm going from here to Louisville, and he's going to Toledo. And this, of course, marks the kickoff of the final phase of the campaign, the kickoff, traditionally, of the last two months.

And we've got an awful lot at stake, our economy, for example. You know, the other side has been saying that we're worse off today than we were eight years ago. I don't think so...


GORE: ... because working people have had better wages and there've been more jobs in the last eight years because we've done some things right.

You remember how bad it was eight years ago. The deficits were $300 billion a year. The unemployment rate was high. We saw jobs being shipped overseas. We had all kinds of social problems getting worse. And thanks to you, we had a chance to bring some changes; and instead of the biggest deficits, we now have the biggest surpluses; and instead of a triple-dip recession, we've had a tripling of the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, we've got the lowest African-American unemployment ever measured, the lowest Latino unemployment ever measured, 22 million new jobs, and strongest economy in the 224-year history of the United States of America.


But let me be clear: I am not satisfied. You ain't seen nothing yet. We've got a lot of work to do.


I am not asking you for your support 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're going to create together in the next four years.


I think it's time to raise the minimum wage $1 an hour and have a living wage. I think it's time to fight for the families that most need help. And you know one of the things that means is figuring out among ourselves what we're going to do with this big surplus. Here we have the highest levels of personal wealth, especially at the top, that America's ever seen, and yet so many people have been left behind it is no time to bring up the ladder. Now is the time to ensure that our prosperity enriches not just a few, but all our families. Now is the time...


... to keep balancing the budget to keep interest rates low and keep our economy strong, and then pay down the debt so our children don't have to carry that burden.

WATERS: Billed as an around-the-clock tribute to middle-income working people, even praising the working press surrounding him today in Pittsburgh, part of a 27-hour marathon campaigning trip that began late yesterday and took Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman down to Philadelphia. They were in Tampa, Florida having breakfast with firefighters early this morning. They were with auto and hospital workers in Flint, Michigan and other at the labor rally in Pittsburgh. It's not over yet. Al Gore will leave Pittsburgh and head to Louisville, Kentucky for another rally. Joseph Lieberman will be in Toledo. Part of each stop is the plan to reduce taxes for the middle class, expand health care, upgrade schools, strengthen Social Security.



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