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Vice President Gore Holds Campaign Rally in Davenport, Iowa

Aired October 26, 2000 - 2:04 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you now live to Al Gore's latest campaign event. We'll listen in.


VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... keep this prosperity going! Well, that's what I want to talk about here today. And it is a great honor to be here on this fire truck with Gov. Tom Vilsack and the great first lady of Iowa, Christie Vilsack. I'm so glad she's with us here today; and my friend Rich Trumpka, the secretary/treasurer of the AFL-CIO, former head of the mine workers. I want to also thank my good friend, Davenport Mayor Phil Yerington.

Phil, did you ever think about weight lifting?


Did you ever think about weight lifting? Appreciate you being here.

Listen, Rob Tully, the party chair, is here; Sen. Pat Deluhery. Secretary of State Chet Culver is here also.

Thank you, Chet, for being here.

And, OK, let's talk a little bit about this whole choice that we have to make on November the 7th. Not much time left. It's a big choice for the country because it's not only the selection of who's going to be president, it's the selection what direction our country is going to take in the future.

My opponent likes to say we were a whole lot better off eight years ago than we are today. But we're not, and you know we're not. He likes to recommend that we go back to the policies similar to the ones that we had eight years ago, but we won't because we remember.

We had the biggest deficits in history, the debt had been quadrupled, high unemployment, high crime rates. And now, because we got rid of those policies and you gave Bill Clinton and me a chance to bring economic change to America, instead of the biggest deficits we've got the biggest surpluses; instead of high unemployment, we've got 22 million new jobs and the strongest economy in the history of the United States.


But I'm not satisfied. It's not good enough. You ain't seen nothing yet! We're going to do better still!


But we've got to make the difficult choice to have fiscal discipline. And I will balance the budget every year and pay down the debt until it's completely gone so it's not on the backs of these children.


I will protect Social Security and Medicare, put them in a lockbox. And I'll veto anything that takes money out of Social Security or Medicare for anything other than Social Security or Medicare.


I will never go along with what Gov. Bush is proposing, a huge tax cut for the wealthy with almost half the benefits going to the wealthiest 1 percent. Instead, I'll give middle class tax cuts to the folks who most need tax cuts, who are having a hard time paying car payments and house payments and making ends meet.


You know, when you hear this talk about interest rates, as Gov. Vilsack just put it to you, it's really important to let that sink in, because back when we tried it their way for 12 years, the interest rates went sky high because the government was borrowing so much money that the private businesses and farmers and others who needed capital were crowded away from the loan window. And when they did get loans, the interest rates were so high it was hard to pay them back.

By balancing the budget and beginning to pay down the debt, we get those interest rates down and that puts more money into circulation and helps our economy grow. Now, we need to keep on that course. But what Gov. Bush has proposed is not only this huge $1.6 trillion tax cut that goes mostly to the wealthy, he has also proposed a Social Security privatization plan that would cost another trillion dollars.

I believe, as I said before, that we need to protect Social Security and Medicare. And I believe that among the tax cuts for middle-class families and working men and women that are needed is a new incentive to let you have an easier time saving money and investing money, not at the expense of Social Security but with a new incentive on top of Social Security that will match your savings and make it easier to build up a nest egg.


What my opponent has proposed instead is he's promised a trillion dollars out of Social Security, out of the trust fund surplus, which is only temporary. He's promised a trillion dollars to young people, which sounds pretty good until you realize that he's promised the same trillion dollars to older Americans to keep from cutting any benefits. Well, now, look, I know that one and one equals two, but one trillion promised to two different people doesn't add up unless you're using what kind of math?

AUDIENCE: Fuzzy math!

GORE: Fuzzy math. And we used it before back in the '80s and early '90s. And that's what put our economy in such difficulty.

Now, on his -- in his plan, he actually gives 41 percent of the benefits to the wealthiest 1 percent. He actually spends more money for a tax cut to the top 1 percent than all of the new money he proposes for education and health care and national defense all combined.

That's wrong. It's the wrong set of priorities.

And I've been talking about how his numbers don't add up and, of course, they're big numbers and it's complicated, but just this morning in "The Washington Post" newspaper, there was a very important study released by the American Academy of Actuaries -- these are the men and women who make their living projecting financial trends out into the future. And they confirmed what I've been saying, that his numbers don't even come close to adding up, and they said that he way overspends, and spends more than what I have proposed by a long shot.

And, incidentally, what I'm proposing would reduce government spending as a percentage of our national economy to the lowest level in 50 years. What I want is a smaller, smarter government that is on your side and stands up for you and helps you with the problems that you need to help -- you need help in fighting against.


And we've got some challenges that we have got to make much higher priorities. One of them is education. I believe it's time to start treating teachers like the professionals that they are and reduce the class size so there's more one-on-one time.

Now, how do you reduce class size? First of all, you recruit more teachers, and that's why I want to keep local control and have new accountability, but provide new resources to help local school districts recruit teachers who get trained and certified to teach where they're most needed. We need to test all new teachers to make sure they know what they're doing -- test them in the subjects they're teaching, test all students so that we can measure performance.

But then we need to make their salaries competitive and we need to couple new money with new reforms and new ideas so our schools are the best in the world. Are you with me?


And then I want to make college tuition tax deductible for middle income families up to $10,000 a year.


Now, I want to talk about the environment here today, because we have a situation where the big polluters are supporting Governor Bush, and they are wanting to be in control of the environmental policies.

In his state of Texas -- Tom talked about some of the statistics there -- here's another: They're No. 1 in something; they rank No. 1 out of all 50 in industrial pollution. They rank No. 1 as the smoggiest state. Houston's just solidified its title as the smoggiest city.

He put a lobbyist for the chemical manufacturers in charge of enforcing the environmental laws, made some of the environmental laws voluntary and then the state sank in its ratings.

Now, look, just today we are seeing on television the new study that just comes out once every five years where the scientific community around the world tells us what they've learned about this problem that these kids are going to grow up with unless we do something, and that's the problem of global warming. And I know a lot of people say that that looks like it's off in the future.

But let me tell what you this new study said: instead of just going up a few degrees in the lifetimes of these kids, unless we act, the average temperature is going to go up 10 or 11 degrees. The storms will get stronger, the weather patterns will change. But it does not have to happen, and it won't happen if we put our minds to solving this problem.

And that is one of the reasons I'm running for president. Here is the good news: If we take the leadership role that these kids have a right to expect us to play, we can create millions of good, new, high-paying jobs by building the new cars and trucks and furnaces and boilers and technologies to stop the pollution and lift standards of living at the same time. Are you with me?


There's a big difference on this issue. I laid out a plan this past summer that will create partnerships with the car companies and with the utilities and with the factories to give tax breaks to get the new kinds of technologies going. And we'll lead the world in those technologies, and all over the rest of the world, they're wanting to buy these new kinds of technologies; and we're the ones that ought to be making them and selling them to the rest of the world.


And most of what needs to be done ought to be done for other reasons anyway. One of the leading reasons why kids miss days in school is the increased incidence of asthma. And if we can make the air cleaner and prevent that temperature increase, we're going to help protect our kids against asthma. If we can clean up the water and have good drinking water, we're going to have healthier families.

I think it's a very important issue. I need your help. Together we can clean up the environment and create good, new jobs in the process.


Governor Bush takes a different view. He wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the big oil companies for a few months worth of oil many years down the road. He says on global warming, he's not sure what the cause is and maybe we shouldn't do anything except just study it.

Well, these kids have a right to expect that we will take responsibility for picking the hard right over the easy wrong; which turns out to be the best course, not only for the environment, but also for the economy.

I need your help. I need your support; let's do the right thing. Let's pick the hard right over the easy wrong.


Now I want to tell you what is the basic nature of the choice between me and Governor Bush. What it comes down to is who we're intending to fight for. I want to fight for you. I want to fight for middle-class families and working men and women.

Governor Bush is supported by the special interests -- I mentioned the polluters, by the wealthiest 1 percent and those who are financing the $100 million-plus campaign that he put together there.

Let me just give you two examples that, I think kind of illustrate the difference in this race. One example is something that was mentioned earlier, and that is prescription drug benefits that are needed by seniors and new competition needed for the drug companies to bring the price of medicine down.

Here's what's going on: Our senior citizens are now being forced to pay more for prescription medicine than any other group in this country. They're getting on buses and going to Canada; and down farther South they're going to Mexico to get affordable prices for their medicine. That ought to be embarrassing to us and it ought to galvanize us to do something about it.

Why is it that they're paying such higher prices? Well, the big drug companies have a monopoly on a lot of medicines and, you know, patents are good things and in the Constitution, it says give out patents where, if somebody innovates a new product they get to be the only one to sell it for a limited time. OK, that's good, we want to encourage more innovation.

But here's what's happening: They're using their political influence and their campaign contributions and their power to try to convince the Congress to give them an artificial extension of their monopoly, and then they're putting roadblocks in the path of the approval of the competing medications when it's time for the monopoly to be over and you deserve the benefit of the competition.

And worst of all, they're using their financial wealth and their political power to block the passage of a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. Now why would they not want Medicare to give them money? Because, if Medicare is buying medicine for seniors, the money's going to end up in the hands of the drug companies.

So, at first blush, you would think, well, they ought to be in favor of that -- but here's why they're not: Right now, if you are in a group health plan, or if you get your health insurance at work and you're in a big pool that's run by a company that can bargain with the drug companies, they go into the drug companies and they bargain for a lower price, and you get the benefit of that bargain.

But if you're a senior citizen and Medicare doesn't pay for prescription drugs, you go to your pharmacist and you are on your own. And the pharmacist is not required to give you the discount that's been negotiated for all of the other customers. And they have to pass through what the drug company charges the pharmacy.

Most of the pharmacies are for this prescription drug benefit that I am proposing, because they see the impact on the seniors every single day. The drug companies don't want Medicare to get in there and help seniors, because they know if Medicare gets involved, Medicare will bargain on behalf of seniors, and force them to charge a lower price. That's one of the reasons why I want Medicare involved: to make them charge a lower price, to bargain with them on the behalf of these seniors.

Now, if we -- if we took the time to go around all of the thousands of people who are here, and ask every single one of you whether or not you favored this proposal I'm making, I warrant that most of you would say yes, you do. And if you heard the full explanation from me and the full explanation from the other side, you would be in favor of what I'm proposing, I'm confident of that. And I know that's the same thing all over the country.

So why hasn't it passed already? It's because the drug companies have so much power that they are using their lobbying and political influence and contributions to block it. And now, they are supporting Governor Bush's campaign, and he has come out against the proposal that will help seniors, and has put out this -- this fuzzy proposal -- thank you! I was looking for just the right word and you were there in my time of need. I appreciate that.


He's put out this fuzzy proposal that makes it seem like it would do something, but at the end of the day, all it would do is what the big drug companies want. Now, the drug companies are spending more on advertising now than they are on innovation and product development anyway. And their point of view ought to be heard. But they ought not have the power to drown out the voice of the American people. And that's why this election is so important.

Every four years, you have one chance, on one day, to make your voice heard, and back off the special interests, and stand up for what you know is right, for your families, and your loved ones and your community. You elect me president, I'll fight for you. We'll get a prescription drug benefit under the Medicare program for all seniors. We'll reduce those prices and we'll get fairness in health care.


It's up to you, I need your help.

Now let me give you a second example. I said I'd give you two. This patients' bill of rights, what's that about?

Well, you know there are people here who have had their doctors recommend a particular treatment or medication, and your doctor has gone to medical school and gotten training and trained as an intern in a hospital and has experience and cares about you, and after an examination gives you a recommendation that is good for your health. So how come, some young bean counter behind a computer terminal, working for an HMO, who doesn't have a license to practice medicine, all of a sudden has the right to play God and overrule your doctor? That's wrong. It's morally wrong. It needs to be changed.

You agree with that. All over the country Americans agree with that. Why hasn't it been changed? It's because the HMOs and the insurance companies have poured money into campaigns of people who will do what they want, instead of what you want. The HMOs and the insurance companies support my opponent, and they're opposing my plan because they know I've got 24 years of experience in fighting for the people, and they know I'll get it done, and they don't want to see it done.


Once again, their point of view deserves to be heard. We don't want to run roughshod over some industry or some company that has got a point of view that needs to be taken into account. But after they've made their arguments, and we've heard their point of view, then it ought to be balanced with what's in the best interests of everybody. And they should not have so much power that they are able to overwhelm and drown out what your point of view is. That is what...

You know, he says give them hell!

I'm going to do what Harry Truman said he would do. I'm going to tell the truth, and they will think it's hell.


But I need you to give them hell.


And every four years, there is one day that comes around when they just hold their breath and hope that all of the misleading advertising that they pay for to convince you of something that's not true will leave enough confusion so that you will vote against your interests; so that you will support someone who will pretend to do what you want, but actually end up doing what they want.

That day, when you need a clear mind and all the information and passion in your heart to go to the polls and get your neighbors and friends to go to the polls, is November the 7th. You go out for me on November the 7th, and I'll pass a patients' bill of rights, and we'll take the medical decisions away from the HMOs, and give them back to the doctors and the nurses and the health care professionals. Are you with me?


And then we'll raise the minimum wage a dollar an hour for those who most need it. And we'll outlaw permanent striker replacement so people can organize if they want to.


And we'll get the working women of this country, who deserve more than two-thirds of the pay they've earned, an equal day's pay for an equal day's work. And we'll fight for a Supreme Court that reflects our values and not turn it over to the right wing.


Now, let me close with this: This is a close, close, hard-fought contest. And really it's not about me or George Bush. It really is about you and your family, the future of Iowa and Illinois, the future of the Quad Cities, all five of them.


I was just in Bettendorf. I was at a parade in East Moline on Labor Day a couple of years ago.


I've been all over this area, as you know, and, of course, Iowa in many ways started this effort. I am -- I will always be grateful, more than I can say in words, to the people of Iowa for starting me on this journey so long ago.


And now I need to you be with me at the conclusion of this journey, just 12 days from now, and once again, Iowa may have the decisive voice, because, just as you and the caucuses made your voice heard loudly and clearly, now, in a close race, with a tie in the Electoral College and a tie in the popular vote, Iowa, even though it's not a big state like California or New York or Florida or Texas, Iowa is in the cat-bird's seat. You have a chance to pick, not only the next president, but the kind of future that you want for your children. And thank goodness it's Iowa because you are involved and committed and determined to make the right kind of difference. So I want to ask you in closing, not only for your vote and your support. I want to ask you to open your hearts and genuinely believe that we can do the right thing in America and the better for it, that we can fight for the kind of future that these young children deserve.

I know one thing about the job of president. It's the only position in our Constitution that's filled by someone who has the responsibility to fight not just for the few, but for the many; not just for the wealthy and well connected, but for the working men and women, the middle-class families, the farmers who are sick and tired of the Freedom to Farm law that's not working, we need to repeal most parts of the Freedom to Farm law and restore profitability to the family farm. I will fight for farmer, and small business people, and working men and women.

And I know this, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you elect me president, I know that I will not always be the most exciting politician like Tom Vilsack...


... but I will fight for you. I will work for you every day. And I will never let you down.


So there it is, and it's up to you. The future is yours. The choice is yours, the next 12 days are the -- is the time when you will have to decide, not just with your heads. I want you to -- after this is over with, I want to you talk to your neighbors and friends and any undecided, uncommitted voter that you can find. Republicans are welcome. Independents are welcome. Democrats, of course. are welcome. I want you to talk to all of them. I want you to give them the arguments on the issues. Tell them why it's in their interest to support the Gore-Lieberman ticket. Tell them all these things we've discussed.

But then, before you finish with them, I want to you confront them with the passion that you have in your heart about the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the history of the world because we've always had people willing to stand and fight; willing to get involved; willing to do what's right.

I need your help so I can fight for you, and fight for your family, and fight for Iowa, and Illinois, and the future of this country. God bless you. Let's win this election, November the 7th.

ALLEN: Al Gore firing up the crowd outside an old fire house, now a museum, in Davenport, Iowa. This is in the county carried by the Democrats in the last three elections, but Al Gore emphasizing every vote counts in this incredibly close race.

We brought you his entire speech there today. We also brought you 30 minutes of George W. Bush earlier today. As we get closer and closer to the election. we'll bring you bigger chunks of the candidates out on the campaign trail. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT


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