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Special Event

George W. Bush Delivers Remarks at Minnesota Campaign Rally

Aired November 1, 2000 - 3:05 p.m. ET

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

BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST, CNN "TALBACK LIVE": We want to talk about that ad. We'll have to put it on hold for just a moment and throw to a Bush rally going on in Minneapolis at this moment. And so let's listen to what the candidate has to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I appreciate my campaign manager, Norm Coleman.

(APPLAUSE)

Ever since I got started in the campaign, Norm has been saying, "We're going to win Minnesota."

(APPLAUSE)

And when I first looked at him, when he first said that, I said: "Did I pick the right chairman? Is he a realistic fellow?"

(LAUGHTER)

But the more I've been coming back to Minnesota in the past, in the summer, the more I'm hearing what's going on here, the more I hear how strong our grassroots organization is...

(APPLAUSE)

... I believe he's right! I believe he's correct!

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for your support. I can't thank you enough for coming here today. It really makes us feel great as we're heading down the home stretch to know so many folks are willing to come out and go to work on our behalf.

It makes us feel great to see so many of our fellow Americans who are willing to take the extra step to do what's right for America, to have a new leadership in Washington, D.C.

(APPLAUSE)

I thank you for the vote. I thank you for your help. And by the way, let's make sure Rod Grams goes back to the United States Senate.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to put this good man back in the Senate. I need some allies up there to do what's right for this country.

(APPLAUSE)

I like to tell people -- I like to tell people you can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.

I'm keeping really good company with the next first lady of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm so proud of Laura, so proud that America's going to love her like I love her. One of the reasons I love traveling with her because it helps send a signal to America about our family's priorities. Our priority is our faith, our priority...

(APPLAUSE)

Our priority is our family.

(APPLAUSE)

And our priority is the greatest country on the face of the Earth, the great land called America!

(APPLAUSE)

And by the way, when you're out there canvassing for the votes as we're coming down the stretch, don't be afraid to talk to open-minded Democrats and independents in this state. Don't be afraid to call upon them, because they understand what we know. There can be a better day in America. It doesn't have to be...

(APPLAUSE)

Our government doesn't have to be bitter. No! Our government doesn't have to be that way, a place of bitterness and acrimony and finger-pointing and name-calling. It doesn't have to be that way. What I want to do is bring America together. Our nation, our government and our nation must rise above the bitterness and stalemate, and get positive results on behalf of the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

This is my message in the last week of this campaign just as it has been my message in the first week of the campaign. It's been my message all along.

I'm running to seize this moment of opportunity to accomplish some great goals for our country. I want to unite our nation to achieve those goals. One goal is to make sure that every child, I mean every child is educated and not one single child is left behind.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to reform the Social Security system, to not only be able to say to the seniors a promise this nation has made will be a promise we kept, but to say to younger workers we understand if we don't think differently, if we don't let you manage some of your own money, that the system won't work!

(APPLAUSE)

I want to bring people together to make sure the promise of Medicare is fulfilled to our seniors. And I want to be able to tell the parents of America Dick Cheney and I will do everything we can to keep the peace. We will rebuild our military power to make the world more peaceful.

(APPLAUSE)

But today, I want to focus on a defining issue, a fundamental choice for our country: tax relief and tax reform.

(APPLAUSE)

We've got a surplus in Washington, D.C., but let me tell you what I think a surplus means. It means the government has got more money than it needs. That's why it's called a surplus.

(APPLAUSE)

But we have a difference of opinion about the surplus. If you listen to my opponent and all his spinmeisters it sounds like they think the surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of your federal government.

(BOOS)

No, we know differently. The surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the American people!

(APPLAUSE)

When you have a surplus, it means our people are overtaxed, that your government is overcharging you, and I'm going to do something about it!

(APPLAUSE)

I propose responsible priorities for our surplus: a balanced budget and a fiscally responsible plan. Half of the surplus will go to Social Security, because, as I said, a promise this nation has made is a promise we'll keep.

I understand we've just gotten rid of Halloween, but my opponent seems to forget it. He's still trying to scare seniors in the voting booth. Not this time and not this year!

(APPLAUSE)

About a quarter of the surplus will fund the important priorities that I have outlined earlier: education with a strong emphasis of local control of schools; health care by trusting people; debt reduction; and of course national defense.

And a quarter of the surplus, quarter of that surplus will go back to the people who earned the money in the first place. It will go back to the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

These are my priorities, and they're rooted in a record. It can be done. I've done it in Texas. We have made progress on important goals.

Our No. 1 priority was the education of our children, and we funded that priority. We funded health care and criminal justice. But we've also, by setting clear priorities, delivered the two largest tax cuts in our state's history and we balanced our budgets.

I've done in office what I said I would do as a governor of my state.

(APPLAUSE)

My opponent, he's got a record, too. He's got a record as well: a record of support for higher spending and higher taxes. And like me, he has a plan for the surplus. He wants to spend it all and then some. It's a little hard to remember all his spending, so I decided to bring along a list, and here it is.

(APPLAUSE)

He's been making promises on one side of the coast, one side of the country, and going to the other side and making promises, but we've been watching and we've been adding them up. There are over 285 plans, new programs or expanded programs.

His plan calls for the largest expansion of the federal government in 35 years.

(BOOS)

His commitment is to spend the entire non-Social Security surplus, and more, on permanently larger government.

According to the Senate -- listen to this now -- according to the Senate Budget Committee, he overspends by $900 billion.

(BOOS)

We've had some interesting moments during the campaign, some humorous moments. I think perhaps one of the most humorous came in one of our debates when he looked at the camera and said, "I'm against big government."

(LAUGHTER)

I could barely contain myself. I knew the man was prone to exaggerations, but I knew the facts. He proposes three times more new spending than Bill Clinton did.

(BOOS)

Three times the spending of our current president, and more spending than Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis combine.

(BOOS)

That's a lot of spending.

You add it all up and you get a $2 trillion spending spree over 10 years, about $20,000 per family spent on more government.

(BOOS)

His is a plan of spending without discipline, spending without priorities and spending without an end.

Al Gore's massive spending would mean slower growth and higher taxes. And it could mean an end to this nation's prosperity.

These aren't the policies of the '90s. These are the same policies that threatened our economy in the '70s. When President Ronald Reagan changed those policies in the '80s, my opponent was there, opposing him all the way. In 1981 -- in 1981, the vice president voted in favor of a 70 percent top income tax rate.

(BOOS)

I want you to hear the facts, folks, as we're coming down the stretch. If his views and vote had prevailed, a family of four making $50,000 would pay three times more in federal income taxes than they pay today. And that's not all. And that's not all his record.

Twelve times while in Congress, he was rated big spender by the National Taxpayers Union. Three of those times he earned the worst rating of any member of Congress, and considering the competition, that's quite an achievement.

(LAUGHTER)

We have a difference of opinion. He trusts the government. I trust you.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe...

BATTISTA: We appear to be having some technical problems with our feed there. There we go. It's back. BUSH: ... government helps best by trusting people, by trusting people with responsibility. I propose a prescription drug plan for seniors, giving them not only the health coverage they need but choices in the matter of their health.

(APPLAUSE)

I have a plan -- I have a plan to extend health insurance for low-income people by helping them afford the insurance that they will choose themselves.

We've got a Social Security reform that let's younger people manage your own money in the private markets to get a better rate of return.

(APPLAUSE)

Our education reform, our education reform sets high standards. It challenges the soft bigotry of low expectation. It restores local control of schools. It insists upon accountability. And where we find children in schools that will not teach and will not change, we trust parents, we give them real options for the lives of their children.

(APPLAUSE)

Ours is a smarter, fairer, more effective government. My opponent -- my opponent and I disagree. You see, we believe in government that knows its limits and shows its heart. These ideas will reach across party lines and attract the support of Republicans and Democrats.

Should I earn your confidence, I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to get the people's business done, to rid Washington of its bitterness, and to set a new and constructive tone.

(APPLAUSE)

My opponent offers an old and tired approach. He offers a new federal spending program to every -- to nearly every voting bloc. He expands entitlements without reforms to sustain them. And when others, Republican and Democrat, proposed needed reforms in Social Security or Medicare or education, he opposes and attacks and tears them down.

Just when progress on important issues seemed within reach, he's left the vital center of American politics.

Until recently, I didn't even have to point this out at all. He was out there claiming credit for all his new spending. But lately, he's been backing up. Even with these new 285 new or expanded programs, he says he's committed to cutting government. He says he won't hire even one more new government employee.

Think about that: 285 new or expanded programs, $2 trillion more in new spending, and not one new bureaucrat to file out the forms or answer the phones? Let me tell you what I think: I think he might be exaggerating again.

BATTISTA: All right, George Bush on the campaign trail today in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We are talking politics on "TALKBACK" today. We'll take a break and we'll continue in just a moment.

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