PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 6, 1996
JIM LEHRER: All right, that's the last question, the last answer. Let's go now to the closing statements. Mr. President, you're first. Two minutes.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well first, Jim, let me thank you, and thank you, Senator Dole, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, all of you listening tonight, for the chance you've given us to appear.
I want to say in the beginning that I am profoundly grateful for the chance that you have given me to serve as president for the last four years. I never could have dreamed anything like this would come my way in life, and I've done my best to be faithful to the charge you've given me. I'm proud of the fact that America is stronger and more prosperous and more secure than we were four years ago. And I'm glad we're going in the right direction. And I've done my best tonight to lay out my plans for going forward to an even better future in the next century.
I'd like to leave you with the thought that the things I do as president are basically driven by the people whose lives I have seen affected by what does or doesn't happen in this country. The auto worker in Toledo who was unemployed when I was elected and now has a great job because we're number one in auto production again. All the people I've met who used to be on welfare who are now working and raising their children, and I think what others could do for our country and for themselves if we did the welfare reform thing in the proper way.
I think of the man who grabbed me by the shoulder once with tears in his eyes and said his daughter was dying of cancer.
And he thanked me for giving him a chance to spend some time with her without losing his job because of the Family and Medical Leave Act. I think of all the people that I grew up with and went to school with whom I stay in touch with and who never let me forget how what we do in Washington affects all of you out there in America.
Folks, we can build that bridge to the 21st century big enough and strong enough for all of us to walk across. And I hope that you will help me build it.
JIM LEHRER: Senator Dole, your closing statement, sir.
MR. DOLE: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank everyone for watching and listening. I want to address my remarks to the young people of America, because they're the ones who are going to spend most of their life in the 21st century. They are the ones who have the challenges, and there are people out there making predictions that it's not going to be the same, you're not going to have the opportunity, it's going to be more deficits, more drugs, more crime, and less confidence in the American people. And that's what you're faced with, that the parents are faced with and the grandparents are faced with.
It's important. It's their future. And I would say to those -- I know there are more young people experimenting with drugs today than ever before, drug use has gone up. And if you care about the future of America, if you care about your future, just don't do it. And I know that I am someone older than you, but I've had my anxious moments in my life. I've learned to feed myself and to walk and to dress, and I'm standing here as proof that in America the possibilities are unlimited. I know who I am and I know where I'm from, and I know where I want to take America.
We are the greatest country on the face of the earth. We do more good things for more people in our communities, our neighborhoods, than anywhere that I know of.
This is important business; this election is important. I ask for your support, I ask for your help. And if you really want to get involved, just tap into my home page: www.dolekemp96.org.
Thank you. God bless America.