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Special Event

George W. Bush, Al Gore Hold Campaign Rallies

Aired November 3, 2000 - 2:11 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And George W. Bush at the moment is rallying his troops in University Center, Michigan. This is live. Let's hear what the governor has to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But we both married above ourselves.

(LAUGHTER)

He married a girl from Texas, who's a really fantastic person, the first lady of Michigan, Michelle (ph) Engler.

(APPLAUSE)

And oh, by the way, in case you haven't noticed, there's three 10s on this stage.

(APPLAUSE)

The original 10 -- the first lady's a 10 from Michigan -- and the next first lady of the United States, my wife Laura Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

You can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.

(APPLAUSE)

And I keep really good company with Laura Bush. I'm so glad she's traveling with me. It gives the people of this land a chance to get a sense of our priorities. Our priority is our faith.

(APPLAUSE)

Our priority is our family.

(APPLAUSE)

And our priority is the greatest land on the face of this earth, the great land called America.

(APPLAUSE) I've learned some pretty good political lessons in my day. I've run some races and one time -- well, the first race I ever ran was for the United States Congress in West Texas. That's where I was raised, that's were Laura was raised. And I came in second place in a two-man race.

(LAUGHTER)

Notice, I didn't say last.

I'm an optimist.

A lady walked up to me after the race and she said, "George W., I didn't vote for you."

And I said, "Why not?"

She said, "Because you did not bother to come and ask for my vote."

Let it be said in Saginaw, Michigan, I'm here asking for the vote. I want the vote of everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

And not only do I want your vote, I want your help in the closing days of this campaign. I want you to join us in the grassroots, to convince your neighbors to go to the polls.

For those of you who are making all the phone calls on our behalf, thanks from the bottom of my heart. For those of who have worked hard to turn out this tremendous crowd, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

But don't let up. It's going to be a close race. Michigan is a pivotal state. And with your hard work we're going to carry the big state of Michigan.

(APPLAUSE)

And by the way, you need to know something about this campaign. We're not only asking for the votes of Republicans, we expect to get a lot of votes from open-minded Democrats and independent-minded people. And you know why? Because Americans from all political persuasions know there's a better day ahead for this country.

(APPLAUSE)

It doesn't have to be the way it is in Washington, D.C., today. No, Washington is a land of bitterness and finger-pointing and name- calling. This country needs somebody to unite our nation, somebody to bring us together, somebody to clean house up there in the nation's capital.

(APPLAUSE)

And that's what this campaign is about; it's about the people and getting the people's business done.

So when you're out there campaigning on our behalf, make sure you talk about the issues and our philosophy, because you're going to find, people are going to say, "If that's what he believes, if that's what we believe, we're coming your way on Election Day."

And let me talk about some of the issues with you right quick. First of all, I'd like to talk about Social Security. Now when I first got going in this campaign, a lot of people said, "Well, you'd better not talk about Social Security, Governor. It's what they call the third rail of American politics. If you touch it, it's the one that shocks you."

But I said, "Wait a minute. I'm running for a reason. I'm worried about the retirement system of the people. I understand we need some leadership in Washington to make sure this system fulfills its promise. No, I'm running because I want to bring people together, to reform Social Security once and for all, to make a difference for people."

(APPLAUSE)

And it starts with saying to the Congress and working with Senator Abraham, who's right by my side on this issue, it starts by saying, "All the payroll taxes are only going to be spent on one thing, that which they're meant for: Social Security."

(APPLAUSE)

We're not going to let the Congress touch them for any other reason. We're going to set them all aside, all aside, so that we can say to our seniors, once and for all, "A promise this nation has made to you will be a promise this nation keeps."

Now, I understand Halloween ended, but the political Halloween season still goes on. I'm running against an old style politician, somebody who likes to frighten people into the voting booth, somebody who wants to scare people into voting his way.

That's not our style. We're laying out a positive agenda for the people's retirement account. And I'm going to lead...

(APPLAUSE)

And let me tell you why. Let me tell you why this issue -- let me tell you why this issue is no longer the third rail of American politics, because there are thousands of younger workers in America today who understand if we don't think differently, they either going to have to pay a bunch of payroll taxes or have their benefits reduced when people like me retire. The math isn't adding up.

It's time to have somebody who understands this profound fact, that if we let younger works manage their payroll taxes in the private markets to get a better rate of return, that's how you save the Social Security system.

(APPLAUSE)

But, no, the people in Washington, don't want that to happen. See, they don't trust you.

That's the fundamental difference of the campaign. They don't trust younger workers to manage the payroll taxes. They want the government making all the decisions.

But they've got it, kind of, confused, folks. Those payroll taxes are not the governments money. They're your money and you ought to be able to manage them the way you want to do it.

(APPLAUSE)

Under our vision, Social Security will not be just a government program. Social Security will become a chance for younger folks to build their own portfolios, to have their own asset base that they can pass from one generation to the next.

No, ours is a positive vision for a better tomorrow for this great land.

(APPLAUSE)

Now there's some important priorities. And that's what a leader does, a leader sets the priorities, makes it clear what the priorities are all about, so that when the people go to the polls, he's able to go to Washington, D.C., with the will of the people, able to stand up in front of the Congress and say, "I've been clear and the people have spoken."

One of the key, crucial issues, as we head into the 21st century, is the education of our children. The great challenge to America's good heart is to make sure that every child in America -- every child -- is educated so that not one child is left behind.

(APPLAUSE)

But I want to assure you all -- I want to assure your good governor and everybody else here that I don't want to be the federal superintendent of schools. That's not our way of thinking.

You see, we stand on this principle, that we trust the people of Saginaw, Michigan, to chart the path to excellence for every child. We believe in local control of schools. We trust parents and teachers and local folks to make the right decisions for the children in which they live.

(APPLAUSE)

But a president can have an influence. A president can have an influence. The president can insist that folks raise the bar, to challenge what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations. A president can insist upon our society being a results-oriented world, so we know, so we know whether children are learning to read and write and add and subtract. And if so, I promise you we'll praise those kind teachers that are working their hearts out.

But when we find children trapped in schools that won't teach and won't change, children locked in our -- schools that lock our children into a future of mediocrity, I promise you I'll challenge the status quo, because there's no second-rate children in America and there are no second-rate dreams in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank the moms and dads and grandparents who have come today, because I want to look you all in the eye, along with everybody else, and I want to be able to say to you, "Dick Cheney and I will do everything we can to make the world more peaceful."

I can't think of a better legacy than to make the world more peaceful, but we want a strong hand when it comes to keeping the peace.

You've heard the debate, I'm certain, about my opponent saying, well, you know all Dick and I are trying to do is tear down the military when we talk about the military, that's what they're saying.

But you see, the role of a leader is to anticipate. A role of a leader is to look down the road, and if he sees problems do something about them. And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm worried about the fact that too many of our captains are leaving the military. I worry about the fact that many enlisted personnel are not re-upping. I'm worried about the fact that certain branches of the military are running short of parts. I'm worried about the fact I'm running against an opponent who uses nation- building and the military in the same breath.

I'm worried about the fact that our mission is not clear. It ought to be to have a military that's properly trained and equipped to be able to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place.

(APPLAUSE)

WATERS: George W. Bush at a rally at Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan. We have dueling rallies today, Bush with his jacket on. Gore has taken his jacket off in Ames, Iowa, where he's on stage in front of some hay bails talking to his supporters. Let's listen to what he has to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... faced with, well, making the right and responsible choice, because we can either go forward toward more prosperity that includes everyone or we can take a right-wing U-turn and go back to the old ways of the old days.

(BOOING)

Well, think about it: Governor Bush says we were a lot better off eight years ago than we are today.

AUDIENCE: No.

GORE: And he recommends that we go back to the kind of policies that we had eight years ago.

AUDIENCE: No.

GORE: I'm with you. I suspected that.

Eight years ago, we had the biggest deficits in history, high unemployment. We had had triple -- a triple-dip recession. We saw crime rates going up. And now after eight years, what we have seen instead of the biggest deficits is the biggest surpluses, instead of a triple-dip recession, the market has tripled, and instead of high unemployment we got 22 million new jobs and the strongest economy in the history of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

But it's not good enough. And my message is: You ain't seen nothing yet. Let's do better, and we will. But we've got to make those choices correctly and one of them's on the economy.

You know, Governor Bush has recommended a giant $1.6 trillion tax cut that would go mostly to the wealthy. In fact, almost half of it would go to the wealthiest 1 percent. That is, families making on average a million dollars a year. And that would put us back into deficits again and start putting pressure on interests rates to up again and threaten our prosperity, push us back toward recession and debt.

I believe that instead, we should balance the budget every year and pay down the debt and then eliminate the debt so these kids can grow up debt free and build their own dreams without the burdens of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

Are you with me?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

GORE: Now, I believe very deeply that we do need tax cuts, but I believe that we need tax cuts for middle-class families who are having a hard time making house payments and car payments and making ends meet.

You're the ones that work the hardest to pay the taxes and need the relief. And I'll give you an example right here on this campus of one of the middle-class tax cuts that I'll bring you: I want to make college tuition tax deductible, $10,000 a year for middle-class families.

(APPLAUSE)

Are you with me?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

GORE: I think it's wrong for such a large majority of students graduating from college to end up with such a heavy burden of debt that they've got the equivalent of a home mortgage without a home. So they go back home. And they get pressured to get into the rat race for the top dollar before they have even had a chance to devote their hearts to some idealistic cause to make the world a better place.

I want you to be able to go to college. And I want your families to be able to send you to college. And I want you to be able to send your kids to college. And that means that we have got to handle the economic policies correctly and make our priorities -- set up our priorities in the right way.

And I personally believe the number one priority in the United States of America must be to bring major improvements in every single one of our public schools so we don't have any failing school.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe education is the top priority. I think we've got to start treating teachers like the professionals they are and reduce the class size, and give more one-on-one time so that the students who learn a little different way can ask the questions they need to have answered in order to keep up with the rest of the class; so that the teachers will have a manageable number and be able to enforce discipline and instill character in their lesson plan.

I believe that we ought to have universal pre-school for every child in every family all across the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

And we have got to fight for the people who have been left out of this prosperity. I think it's time to get rid of most of the provisions of the so-called Freedom to Farm Act and have a safety net that works for farmers.

And I want to thank Lee Swenson (ph) for being here with the farmers union. And I want to thank our secretary of agriculture, Dan Glickman, my friend, and all of those who are on the Ag Force One tour, the bus tour across the farm states. They're on Ag Force One so they can put me on Air Force One.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I can put your family number one. So we can get the economy going right.

But, listen, we've seen the threats to family farms. We've seen too many farmers go under. And we've seen too many families not be able to operate the farm into the next generation. We need major reforms in the estate tax for family farms and for family businesses. We need fair prices. And we need effective investigations and action against the monopolies and the powerful interests that are denying farmers some of the good profits that they ought to have with fair prices, especially with this bumper crop.

(APPLAUSE)

I also believe we need to raise the minimum wage $1 an hour for those who most need help.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to protect the right to organize and get rid of permanent striker replacement.

(APPLAUSE)

And we got to recognize that in this day and time, as we start the 21st century, it is just flat wrong to accept the fact that women, who are working so hard, just as hard as men, coming home sometimes for a double shift, they're still -- you are still getting an average of 76 cents on every dollar a man makes. I want an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.

(APPLAUSE)

We've got to address the health care crisis in this country, too. We've got to insure every single child in America within the next four years. We can move step-by-step toward universal health care and build on the strengths of our current system, but we've got to start by taking 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?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

GORE: And we've got to recognize that seniors like Winifred Skinner, who was one of my advisers during this debate process, and others who are choosing between skipping meals and skipping their medicines, that they have the opportunity to afford their prescription medicine. I believe that we need a prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all seniors.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush is opposed to that plan, just as he is opposed to the Patients' Bill of Rights. Why? Because the big drug companies and the HMOs and insurance companies are supporting Governor Bush and he is supporting their proposals. I'm supporting you. And I'll fight for you and your family and your future.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you about an issue that has just arisen because of something that was said yesterday. Yesterday, Governor Bush said that Social Security is not a federal program. He has proposed the partial privatization of Social Security and wants to take a trillion dollars out of the trust fund. And he's promised it to two different groups of people.

Now I know that one plus one equals two. But 1 trillion promised to two different groups of people doesn't add up unless you're using what kind of math?

AUDIENCE: Fuzzy math.

GORE: Evidently, that's the kind that he's using.

But we learned yesterday one of the possible explanations for why he thinks it's OK to make this proposal: Because he was trying to defend it and he said that the people who are opposed to this cockamamie plan have the wrong idea because, he said, "What do they think Social Security is, some kind of government -- some kind of federal program?" Yeah. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

Do you want to entrust the Oval Office to somebody who doesn't even know that Social Security is a federal program?

AUDIENCE: No.

GORE: Let me tell you what my ideas on Social Security are. First of all, I will put Social Security in a lockbox. I will veto anything that takes money out of the Social Security trust fund for anything other than Social Security. We'll keep it sound.

(APPLAUSE)

And then, as the debt is paid down, we'll put the interest savings back into Social Security and extend it out 55 years. And then I'll give a new incentive for savings and investment to young workers who want and should have a great ability to build up a nest egg of their own.

My friends, you have got to decide, because in Iowa you made the decision in the caucuses that set me out on this journey, and I will be grateful to the states of Iowa for as long as I live. I've loved the town hall meetings that I've had here, the families that Tipper and I have stayed with. The McKinney (ph) family from Colo is here somewhere.

(APPLAUSE)

There's Buzz Carmody, the mayor of Colo.

How you doing, Buzz?

Oh, this is Buzz's truck we're standing on.

Is this your new one, Buzz? And there's Chris Peterson (ph), the farmer who has helped all of us understand why family farmers need a champion who will -- who will fight for them.

(APPLAUSE)

And there's Laura de Castro (sic), who was one of my debate advisers. Thank you, Laura.

(APPLAUSE)

Tipper and I have made so many dear friends here. And I want to say that traveling all over the United States, I can tell you what you already know: You have one of the greatest governors in Tom Vilsack ever to serve any state in the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

This guy fights for you. And a great first lady in Christie Vilsack. And I always remind Tom she had just slightly better political judgment than he did. And I appreciate that.

And Leonard Boswell, my fellow Vietnam veteran, who is fighting for the small business people and the farmers...

(APPLAUSE)

... and of course, my pal who I -- who I served in the House with, went to the Senate with on the same day. A week later he got me involved in my first filibuster on the floor of the Senate, fighting for farmers.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Fighting for farmers, that's right.

GORE: You bet. Tom Harkin is a fighter.

(APPLAUSE)

We got to bring our people together. We've got to resist any efforts to divide us. Never again shall we be divided on the basis of race or ethnicity or religion. We're one nation. We're one nation.

We need a hate crimes law in this country. We need to enforce the civil rights laws and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

(APPLAUSE)

WATERS: Al Gore, his second rally of the day following the second Bush rally of the day, which you heard just before that in Michigan, where the race is as tight as a dram -- as a drum, same thing in Iowa, the vice president honing his end of the campaign messages to his supporters. Next it's onto Tennessee for Al Gore, his home state, where Bush has been ahead in recent polls. George W. Bush is onto West Virginia, and we continue to cover the campaign with only four days to go now.

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