TOPICS > Politics

Clock Winding Down

October 25, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


KWAME HOLMAN: President Clinton traveled to Georgia today for the first time since he attended the summer Olympics in July.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Hello, Atlanta! Are you feeling good? (applause) You made the sun come out!

KWAME HOLMAN: At a large lunchtime rally in downtown Atlanta, he urged the crowd to get out on election day and support Democratic congressional candidates, including Senate hopeful Max Cleland.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: And Georgia is about to be given a chance to add another person to the list of distinguished, nationally significant servants of the people of this great state in our country, and I hope you will send Max Cleland to the United States Senate.

KWAME HOLMAN: Four years ago, Gov. Clinton barely edged out President Bush in Georgia. This year, polls show President Clinton with a slight lead over Bob Dole for Georgia’s 13 electoral votes. For the last two weeks, the President mostly has refused to respond directly to Dole’s attacks on his integrity and that of his administration. He continued that pattern today.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Now the other side, their idea of sacrifice is to take Head Start away from five-year-olds, college loans away from students, to take the economy–the environment away from all of our people and to weaken our future economy for short-term promises. I think Max Cleland’s idea of service to America is the right one, and I believe Georgians will agree. (applause) Now, you know I want to talk most, if anything, to the young people today. This is your election, and we need you. You have most of your tomorrows in front of you. You have your future out there ahead of you, and you have to decide about that. I appreciate what Sen. Nunn said about the last four years. It is true that we’re better off than we were. It is true that we have more jobs, that the other side talked about being conservative, but our administration is the first one to take the deficit down in each of our four years in the 20th century. (applause) It is true that the other guys talked about how bad the big old federal government was, but it’s our administration, working with our allies in Congress, who has cut the size of the federal government, the number of regulations, the number of government programs, and we have privatized more government operations than the last two Republican administrations did in 12 years combined. That’s the truth. (applause) But, but there is a difference. We still believe, we still believe that we have responsibilities to move forward together, and that’s what you have to decide, all you young people, whether you want a future in which you’re told you’re on your own and we hope you have a nice life, or whether you believe it does take a village to raise a child, protect the environment, and build a future. (cheers and applause)

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Bob Dole rallied his Southern supporters in downtown Houston. A Houston Chronicle poll released this morning shows Dole clinging to only a three-point lead over Clinton in Texas, despite the traditionally heavy Republican leanings of the lone star state. Dole used his speech to step up his charges of White House ethical lapses and the news media’s alleged failure to report them fully.

SEN. BOB DOLE: I don’t read all these political things, but somebody told me the press reported that Bob Dole was frustrated. Well, I’m not sure I’m frustrated, but I’m a little–I don’t understand–Vice President Gore goes to a Buddhist temple where everybody takes a vow of poverty and comes out with $122,000. And so good old Al, he explains it to the media, oh, I was on an outreach program. So that’ll be the end of that. Nobody’ll look beyond that in the media. That’s the end of that one. And then we have the President of the United States sitting down here with 900 FBI files, might be one of yours, might be one of yours. And then we have the President of the United States who won’t say he will not pardon somebody who did business with him and might implicate him later on. Where is the outrage in America? Where is the outrage in America? (applause) Where has the media gone in America? (applause) Where is the outrage in America? (applause) Can you imagine former President Bush doing one of those things? No! And you’ll never imagine Bob Dole doing one of those things either. (Crowd shouting “No!”) So where’s the outrage? Where’s the outrage? When–when will the voters start to focus? I think they’ve started about right now. They’ve started to focus. (applause) This is serious business. This is serious business–this is about the public trust. Remember the public trust? Well, they never understood the public trust. It was always a game with this White House. It was always a game. How far can you push the envelope? How much can you get away with? What can you do? Bringing people into America, raising money all over, and I tell you we’re going to have a change. When Bob Dole and Jack Kemp are elected on November 5, America will start to change, and we’re going to be a lot better off as we go into the next century.

KWAME HOLMAN: This weekend, the Dole campaign moves on to California for two bus trips in a state where Dole promises to make a stand. President Clinton is staying close to home this weekend, in part to celebrate the First Lady’s birthday.