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Special Event

Clinton: Median Household Income Up; Poverty Rate at 20-Year Low

Aired September 26, 2000 - 11:48 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: With that we want to take you live to the White House. President Clinton talking about poverty numbers and Census numbers coming out of the national government.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Census Bureau reports that last typical household income rose $1,072 to the highest level ever recorded, breaking $40,000 for the first time. American incomes have been on the rise for five years running now. Since 1993, when we launched our economic strategy, median family income has risen by 15 percent. That means, for the typical family, after inflation, $6300 more a year in real purchasing power for the things that matter most: sending their children to college; covering critical health care costs; saving for a secure retirement.

And the poverty rate has fallen to 11.8 percent. the lowest in 20 years. Since 1993, 7 million Americans have moved out of poverty; 2.2 million in the last year alone.

The equality part of this recovery is picking up steam. Last year, African-American and Hispanic poverty rates took their largest drop ever. Child poverty dropped more than any year since 1966. And elderly poverty fell below 10 percent for the first time in history.

KAGAN: We have been listening to President Clinton from Presidential Hall, who looks at some new Census numbers. The president giving out the numbers that the median American family income is now $40,000, the first time that it has hit that level. Also he says that the poverty rate is now at 11.8 percent. The president saying that that is the lowest rate in 20 years.

With more on these numbers, let's go to Kelly Wallace, who is standing by at the White House.

Kelly, good morning.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.

This is obviously good news for the White House and for Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Gore. The administration, the president's remarks will continue, and the administration says, the president will say that the economic strategy that the vice president and the president have been following over the past seven years is working. This is the evidence. They say they have focused on fiscal discipline, job creation, welfare reform, leading to these numbers.

Let's put up some number, though, for viewers at home to hear these numbers. Basically, the president announcing that the poverty rate is at 11.8 percent in 1999. It is basically down from 1998, a rate of 12.7 percent. As the president just said, it is the lowest level in 20 years.

Also, median income for nation's households, that number is up, as the president said: 1999, $40,816 the median income per household. That is up from 1998, a rate of $39,744.

Again, though, the White House saying that this is good news. Senior administration officials saying that this is powerful testimony that basically the administration strategy is working and that voters will face a definite choice in November: Either continue on the track they have been following, or go back to what these officials call the failed policies of the 1980s.

Now the vice president, for his part, is basically saying that this presidential campaign is not an award for past performance. His campaign saying, while there is progress, the vice president believes he is the best one to keep the prosperity going and to spread it to those who are not currently benefiting.

No word yet, though, Daryn, from the Bush campaign. Although, the governor has been saying that he will do the best to help middle class Americans by giving them more money in their pocketbooks, using the surplus for their tax cuts.

Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: Well, Kelly, if you want to the Bush campaign. We have the Bush campaign for you. Kelly Wallace at the White House.

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