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Special Event

Gore Delivers Economic Policy Speech at Columbia University

Aired October 19, 2000 - 12:07 p.m. ET

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

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to take you now to Columbia University in New York. Vice President Al Gore is making a campaign stop there today. He is talking about the economy, an issue he believes works for him in this election. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... heard me say in the past what respect I have for Bob Rubin and what a joy it was to work with him so closely during the last eight years.

Let me also say it's great to be back at Columbia just five months after my daughter Karenna's law school graduation.

Secretary Rubin and I were talking just before we came out here, and this is really a privilege to have a chance to, once again, be with him because we worked together to get the fundamentals right; to make sure that our economy headed in the right direction. And we faced some hard choices and we picked the hard right over the easy wrong.

I've come here today to talk about the choices that our country faces now. Because just 19 days from today, Americans will choose not only a new president but a whole new future for our country. Some have suggested that with a strong and growing economy, the stakes are somehow lower in this election. I believe the opposite is true. We now have a greater chance than at any time in our lifetimes to create the America of our ideals. If we don't make the right choices today, that chance could slip right through our hands.

And so on November 7th, we face one of the biggest choices America has faced in half a century, a choice of priorities; a choice of values; a choice as fundamental as prosperity itself.

Will we seize this moment to extend the prosperity and share it widely? or will we just lavish more on those who need it least and threaten our economic gains?

Will we make the right choices and the right investments to keep our economy growing? or will we bust the budget and short-change the future for a massive tax cut for the few?

This is about more than numbers on a spreadsheet. All Americans created this prosperity, and I want to make sure it enriches all Americans.

And I want to make two simple points today. The economic policies my opponent has put forward in this election are not just unfair, they are unsound and they would hurt our economy. Thanks to the hard work of the American people, the entrepreneurial spirit of our businesses, and the right economic policies, America has put its house in order.

Instead of sky-high deficits, we have record surpluses, and opportunity as vast as the New York skyline.

Instead of high unemployment, we have 22 million new jobs, and the lowest unemployment in 30 years. The lowest African-American and Latino unemployment in the entire history of the United States.

It wasn't easy to get here. And I don't believe our future prosperity is preordained. I don't believe we can take liberties with it or take it for granted. Our families have worked too hard, and come too far, to just throw it all away.

Yes, we've come a long way, but that's not what this election is about. I am asking for your support not because of how far we've come, but because of how much farther we can go together.

(APPLAUSE)

I ask for your support on the basis of the better, fairer, and more prosperous America that we can build together. A prosperity that primarily enriches the top 1 percent is wrong for our country, and wrong for our economy. Not because I begrudge tax cuts to those at the very top of the economic ladder, but rather because of my sincere and unyielding belief that we have an obligation to make America work for all the families who work hard every day. I'm talking about the people who are struggling to make house payments and car payment, people who are working harder to save for college or retirement; people who are trying harder to do right by their kids.

How and what we do for all of you, the people who pay the taxes, bear the burdens, and live the American dream, that is the standard by which we should be judged.

So I want to be very clear about the big choice in this election. I want to make sure prosperity is shared by everybody, with tax cuts to the middle class, for the biggest hopes our families have, like college, retirement savings and health care.

Governor Bush wants to squander that surplus on a tax plan that benefits the very wealthy, giving more than 40 percent of the benefits to just 1 percent of America's families.

More importantly, I have a plan to extend prosperity by balancing the budget every year, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and investing in our priorities.

Governor Bush's plan gambles with our prosperity by bringing back deficits, draining Social Security, delaying debt reduction and fueling higher interest rates. One of the biggest differences between our two plans is on the fundamental issue of fiscal discipline.

As president, I'll balance the budget every year, and pay down our national debt every year, that's the way to keep interest rates low, keep our prosperity growing and make sure it works for middle- class families.

(APPLAUSE)

MESERVE: Al Gore speaking today at Columbia University, saying that on November 7th, election day, the country faces a big choice, whether, he says, whether to seize the moment to extend and expand our prosperity, or lavish more on those who need it least and squander our economic gain.

He criticized the economic proposals of his opponent, George W. Bush, calling them "unfair, unsound," and also saying they would hurt our economy.

For his part, Republican George W. Bush today accused the Gore campaign of trying to scare senior citizens about his plan to reform Social Security. Speaking in suburban Detroit he defended his goal to let what he called "the rising generation" of younger workers invest part of their Social Security payroll tax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's irresponsible for the chairman of the Democratic Party, and for Vice President Gore to stoke the fears of seniors, while ignoring the hopes of younger workers. A true leader does not try to pit grandparents against grandchildren.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: Bush will talk more about his economic agenda on CNN's "STREET SWEEP." That's at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, 1:00 Pacific.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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