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Special Event

Gore Addresses Rally West Virginia; Bush Speaks in Pennsylvania

Aired November 4, 2000 - 12:34 p.m. ET

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

GENE RANDALL, CNN ANCHOR: We're breaking into "CNNdotCOM" to bring you the latest on the presidential campaign. Vice President Al Gore's addressing a rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... a great governor of this state and a great senator for West Virginia. And my friends, please, do everything necessary to join me in making certain that you elect Bob Wise (ph) the next governor of the state of West Virginia. I've served with him. You know what he's made of.

I want to acknowledge, along with my wife, Tipper, an individual who is also joining us here, a coal miner's daughter, Mrs. Irma Byrd. And thank you, Kathy Mattea, for this daughter of West Virginia, this great singer and great Democrat, and a great friend of Tipper and me also.

You know, Senator Rockefeller said about Senator Byrd that today, this very day, he becomes the second-longest-serving senator in the history of our republic and in the history of the United States Senate, 212 years, and of course Senator Byrd is also the historian of the Senate. And I don't know one one-hundredth of what he knows about the United States Senate.

But I do know this, though he may be the second-longest-serving senator, he has cast 15,860 roll call votes, and he is the first most- voting senator in the history of the United States of America. And he's cast the right votes.

I thank you all for being here, and I look out and feel the enthusiasm here, I listen to the words of Senator Byrd and Senator Rockefeller. And I get a message that is indelible and undeniable and overwhelming. The message I'm hearing from you is, on Tuesday, we're going to win West Virginia, we're going to win the White House.

We're going to win, write it down. Book it.

And I appreciate your enthusiasm and help because we've got a lot of work to do. And among those who have come out here, I also want to express my thanks to the Huntington High School Band and the Cabell Midland (ph) High School Band. Thank you all.

My friends, I'm here today with a message of hope for West Virginia. We have seen economic progress in the past few years, but there are too many in West Virginia and in Tennessee and in other places in our land who have not fully participated in the economic good times. We've created more jobs in America, but still there are people who do not have them. We have increased family wealth in America, but there are too many families that are still stuck on the bottom.

I believe that we need to have a Democratic Congress, House and Senate, a Democratic White House, but more importantly than that, we need individuals in these offices who will fight for the people who most need a champion, individuals who understand that it's not the very wealthy who should get the surplus that's been painstakingly built up by all of the people.

You know, there are Republicans and independents who are supporting this campaign. I saw a sign over there that said, "Republicans for Gore," and I appreciate that. You are all welcome.

So let me tell you where I stand. I believe that we ought to balance the budget every year and pay down the debt so it's not a burden on the backs of these young children, and within those balanced budgets, which are necessary to keep the interest rates down and keep the economy growing, within those budget priorities, we have got to fight for working people and middle-class families, the families that need the help.

And yes, we need tax cuts. But as Senator Byrd said, not a giant tax cut for the wealthiest of the wealthy but middle-class tax cuts for the families that are struggling. I want to make most college tuition tax deductible for middle-class families, $10,000 a year. I want to make our number one budget priority public education, to treat teachers like the professionals that they are, and reduce class size so there's more one-on-one time.

New accountability, yes. Local control, yes. But new resources, because the classrooms are overcrowded, the teachers are overburdened. We need to recruit new teachers, and we need to give them the chance to work with the students that learn a different way, or need to ask a question after class. This is awfully important, my friends.

And I disagree with my opponent, Governor Bush, when eh calls for draining taxpayer money away from the public schools in private school vouchers. We need to lift up the public schools instead of abandoning them.

I believe it's time to raise the minimum wage $1 an hour for the people who most need help. I believe it's time to protect the right to organize and get rid of permanent striker replacement. I believe it's time to meet the needs that families have when it comes to health care, and seniors who are struggling to pay for their prescription medicine deserve a prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all seniors. I'll fight for it. My opponent will not.

And we need to take the medical decisions away from the HMOs and insurance companies and give them back to the doctors and the nurses and the health care professionals. The HMOs don't agree, the insurance companies don't agree. They're supporting Governor Bush. The drug companies don't agree with the prescription drug benefit under Medicare because they don't want Medicare bargaining on behalf of seniors. And the big drug companies support Governor Bush.

Well, he can have the special interests, and they do funnel millions of dollars into his campaign. But there's one day that comes around every four years when you have a vote and a voice more powerful than all the special interests put together. That day is Tuesday, November 7. I need your help.

CROWD: We want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore, we want Gore...

GORE: My friends, we need to respond to the needs of working families. And we need to understand that we need more and better jobs for steel workers, and we need to look out after the companies and the workers in the steel industry here in West Virginia and around the United States of America. I will be a president for the working people. I will work with Senator Byrd and Senator Rockefeller and Governor Bob Wise and Congressman Jim Humphries and the other members of your delegation.

And yes, we need clean coal technology. I have committed myself to that not only in speeches in West Virginia, but in speeches all over the United States, including environmental speeches, because I believe in my heart that our energy and environmental future depends upon our willingness to invest in ways to use our energy resources more efficiently, to reduce pollution and fight against global warming, to reduce air and water pollution, but to create more jobs in the process and put our people to work building the technology that we can sell all around the world.

Now, Governor Bush says that he wants to get along, that he'll get along with people in Washington, and that's good. We need less partisanship. But there is a question that lingers. Who does he want to get along with? The HMOs? The big drug companies, the oil companies? Sometimes a president has to be willing to say no to the special interests in order to say yes to the American people.

And I can no with a smile, because I'm fighting for you. That's why I'm in this race. It's not about me, it's about you and your family and your future. It's about whether or not you will have a president who understands deep down that the presidency is the only...

RANDALL: And from Al Gore's speech at a rally in Huntington, West Virginia, we're going to shift gears and go to Republican George W. Bush, who is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, another Keystone State.

GEORGE W. BUSH, (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... close personal friend. You're lucky to have him governor, I'm lucky to have him as an ally, Tom Ridge. You got a good man as your United States senator. Let's send him back to Washington.

I look forward to working with your senator to do what's right for the people of Pennsylvania in order -- and as -- including making sure we enforce the antidumping laws, to insist upon fair trade all across the globe. Rick's a good, strong supporter, good man.

And oh, by the way, for the other elected officials here, here's my word, in three short days, help is on the way. Three days, help is on the way. In three days, with your help, we're going to carry the great state of Pennsylvania.

I'm so honored to be traveling with a fabulous man named Colin Powell. One of the jobs of a leader is to find the best and ask them to serve. I found one of the best in Dick Cheney. And with three days to go, I'm not offering anybody any jobs, but let me just put it to you this way, I'm glad Colin Powell's here.

You can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps. I keep great company with the next first lady of the United States. I'm so proud of Laura. America will love her like I do. What a fabulous lady.

We're in for a tough race. This is going to be a close contest, and I'm here asking for your help. I want you all, all of those of you who've been working at the grassroots level, thanks for your work, but keep going. I'm counting on you, I'm counting on your support. I'm counting on you to reach out to open-minded Democrats. I see a Democrats for Bush sign out here. You're not alone, brother.

You're not alone. There's Democrats all around America who understand there's a better day tomorrow. It doesn't have to be the way it is in Washington. We need a uniter, not a divider, somebody who will bring us together and lead this nation to a better tomorrow.

Make no mistake about it, we've got tough competition. I'm running against the incumbency. I don't know if you remember, for a long period of time...

CROWD: No more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore, no more Gore...

BUSH: For a long period of time, my opponent was trying to escape the shadow of the president. But I was reading in the newspaper, the shadow is back. No, make no mistake about it, it's tough competition. He's a competent man. After all, he announced he invented the Internet. But if he's so smart, how come every Internet address begins with W? Not one W, but three W's?

No, we got a tough race, but with your help, we're going to win. We're going to win, because America knows there's a better day, that there's a different style of leadership. America wants a fresh start after a season of cynicism, and that is what my administration will bring to Washington.

The role of a leader is not only to put an administration in place, the role of a leader is to set clear priorities. That's what I've been doing in the course of this campaign, I've been setting clear priorities and earning the will of the people. I want you to remember that mine has not been a candidacy that has needed to reinvent itself during the course of the campaign. Mine is a candidacy that's been consistent throughout.

A priority of ours will be to save and strengthen Social Security. We're going to set aside all the payroll taxes for one thing, Social Security. We'll say to our seniors, a promise this country has made will be a promise that we kept. We're going to say to our seniors, the old style of politics of trying to scare people into the voting booth is going to end in the year 2000.

That old, tired, stale politics of trying to frighten people is going to be rejected, but we're also going to say younger workers, understand that there is an issue that if we don't reform the system, younger workers need to be able to take some of your own money if you want to and manage it in the private markets.

It's time, it's time to have a leader who stops using the issue of Social Security as a political opportunity and brings Republicans and Democrats together to solve this issue once and for all.

No, we've got priorities. The general mentioned a priority. Dick Cheney and I will keep the peace, but we want a strong hand, that we're going to rebuild the military power of the United States of America.

Another priority will be to make sure that every child is educated and not one child is left behind. The great challenge to this nation, the great challenge to this nation is to make sure education system works for everybody. I want to assure you and your good governor, I don't want to be the federal superintendent of schools.

I don't believe in the federalization of public schools. See, I stand on the principle that we got to trust local people to run the schools. But a president can stand on the side and reform. We'll challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. We'll challenge failure when we find it. We will challenge the status quo when schools will not teach and will not change by trusting parents and local folks, because there's no second-rate children in our vision, and no second-rate dreams.

Another priority of the federal government will be to have a Medicare system for which we can be proud, a Medicare system that will include prescription drugs for all seniors, a Medicare system that understands that some seniors have to choose between food and medicine. That's not our vision for the country. We'll help the poor be able to afford their prescription drugs.

We'll help all people with prescription drugs, but we'll also say to seniors, if you're unhappy with the Medicare system, we'll trust you, we'll trust you to make different choices for you and your family and your spouse. No, there's a different way.

Now, there's been a lot of talk about -- lot of talk about Medicare. You've heard his plan, you've heard mine. Sometimes I think they're trying to throw out numbers to create some confusion. But one thing from which they cannot run nor hide is this fact that I want you to take to the undecided voter. In '92 they went around the country saying, Give us a chance to reform Medicare. Here we are '96, they campaigned, my opponent was out there saying, Hey give us a chance to reform Medicare.

The year 2000, give us a chance to reform Medicare, they say. One of his favorite phrases is, "You ain't seen nothin' yet," and he's right, we haven't seen anything yet.

The role of a leader is to get results. The role of a leader is to bring people together, the role of a leader is not to see issues as political opportunities but as opportunities to make the American citizen regardless of their political affiliation have a better opportunity in life.

For eight years we've been wondering where Medicare reform is. But we ain't seen nothin' yet. There's an achievement gap in the public's -- in some public schools. We need reform. But we ain't seen nothin' yet. The Social Security system needs to be reformed, it needs to be strengthened. But for eight long years, we ain't seen nothin' yet. There's uninsured workers, uninsured workers in America. We're wondering where reform is for eight years. We ain't seen nothin' yet.

The military, the military's overdeployed and undertrained and underpaid for eight years. We've been wondering where leadership is. We ain't seen nothin' yet. But folks, we've seen enough. We've seen enough. On November 7, we're going to get new leadership for Washington, D.C.

RANDALL: George W. Bush speaking at a rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of the crucial states in next Tuesday's voting. Earlier in the half hour, we saw Vice President Al Gore in Huntington, West Virginia, another tossup state.

We'll be back with "CNN SATURDAY" in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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