Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript

CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Bush Presidency: Address to Mayors Conference

Aired June 25, 2001 - 12:18   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: As promised, we take you now live to Detroit, Michigan, where President Bush has just taken the podium, beginning to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Traveling with me as well is the secretary of labor, Elaine Chao; the FEMA director, Joe Allbaugh. I hope you don't have to call him.

(LAUGHTER)

But if you do, I can assure you he'll be responsive.

I'm honored to be here with my friend, the governor of Michigan, and Michelle Engler.

I appreciate, Brent (ph), so much seeing you again. And I thank all the mayors for your hospitality.

Traveling with me as well are members of the United States congressional delegation, Tony Hall, J.C. Watts, Joe Knollenberg, Jim Ramstad, and right here from her own district, Carolyn Kilpatrick.

(APPLAUSE)

Also had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with the newest mayor on the block, Mayor Jim Hahn of Los Angeles.

(APPLAUSE)

Good to see the mayors from the great state of Texas. I see the mayor from Fort Worth and the mayor from Dallas. I suspect the mayor from Houston is somewhere around here. Oh, there he is. Thank you all very much.

There's another mayor. Thank you, Mayor.

I remember you. I hope you remember me.

(LAUGHTER)

It's good to see you all. I also want to thank the mayor of Detroit for his hospitality. I'm reminded of what President Kennedy said about Columbus, Ohio. He said, "There's no city in America where I get a warmer welcome and receive less votes."

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

I think because of that, the mayor likes me, and in spite of that, I like the mayor.

(LAUGHTER)

Detroit was the site of this organization's birth 69 years ago, when Mayor Frank Murphy and 29 of his colleagues met here in this city. In that year, in 1932, one-third of Americans were unemployed. Food lines stretched for blocks. Nearly 40 percent of America's banks had failed.

Today, the story is very different. American cities are once again a magnet for ambition and culture and enterprise. The welfare roles are down. In some places crime rates have fallen to what they were in the mid-1960s. Problems that once seemed hopeless have yielded to reform and good sense. And the mayors of America deserve much of the credit.

(APPLAUSE)

Yet, as we all know, tremendous challenges still remain. Too many children, through no fault of their own, are in families without fathers and neighborhoods without opportunity. Too many young people drop out of school, drop out of the labor force and end up in prisons. Too many men and women wander alone in the twilight of addiction, illiteracy and mental illness. These problems seem immune to our affluence. We're not in a post-poverty America.

The challenges we face are different than they were in the 1930s, and we must recognize new challenges demand new approaches. I realize that many of you are doing an outstanding job of dealing with these problems and that the burden cannot fall upon you alone. The federal government should take your side. The cities and communities of America need to be empowered not regimented, and this is my firm commitment to you, the mayors. The agenda is long and very important. Equal opportunity is an empty hope without good schools, so the education reform legislation passed by both the House and the Senate spreads power to local communities and, for the first time, demands results in return.

(APPLAUSE)

It's time to act when we find that children who graduate from high school have only an eighth grade education. You've been betrayed by the adult world, and we must end that betrayal by having high expectations, strong accountability systems and the resources necessary to make sure that not one child gets left behind in America. (APPLAUSE)

In the aftermath of successful welfare reform, we must turn to the problems of the working poor, especially the newly working poor. We're encouraging homeownership by providing a tax credit to investors to redevelop and build new single-family homes.

We're facilitating homeownership for low-income families by allowing them to consolidate a year's worth of Section 8 assistance for a downpayment on a home.

We believe owning something is a part of the American future. We want all people, regardless of background to be able to claim a home of their own in America. I can't think of anything better to help revitalize the neighborhoods in America's cities.

And we must actively work to fill the gaps in a health care system for the working poor. That's why the budget I've sent up to Congress provides resources to expand significantly the number of community health centers to make sure that all folks have got an opportunity for good primary care and proposes a new tax credit for those who have difficulty affording health insurance.

I'm convinced that we can make progress on the important issues. Today, I want to focus on one in particular, supporting the good works of charities and neighborhood healers, empowering communities to meet their own needs and to care for their own members.

In every city, there are people who mentor and tutor, who give shelter to battered women and children, who teach biological fathers to be real and caring fathers, who help young people find jobs and avoid violence, who comfort the aged and help the dying, who picket crack houses, who walk into gunfire to end gang wars.

These good people don't lack compassion, they certainly don't lack courage, they don't lack commitment and spiritual strength, but often they lack resources. And I believe government, where it can -- should -- stand side by side and help them.

(APPLAUSE)

This belief isn't owned by Republicans or Democrats. It doesn't fit into neat ideological categories. It demands an active government to support the good works of others, an active government to spread resources and authority beyond government entirely.

In articulating his philosophy of how to aid American cities, Robert Kennedy said there must be an overriding theme and goal. The involvement of the community of those who have the greatest stake in the quality of the services they receive.

He spoke about putting community at the center of all our policy. He sent government back to the people of the neighborhood. I agree. In the 21st century, we should bring government back to the people who have a powerful sense of mission and idealism... HARRIS: At this time, we're going to step away from President Bush's remarks in Detroit, to U.S. Conference of Mayors. You see he has begun entreating them to help support his initiative for faith- based groups getting federal funds to help neighborhoods in which they are working.

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

 Search   


Back to the top