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Where They Stand: President Clinton and Senator Bob Dole

October 30, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


JIM LEHRER: We begin again tonight with “Where They Stand” campaign speeches by candidates Clinton and Dole. President Clinton spoke this afternoon to women business owners at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Women are establishing businesses and creating new jobs at twice the national rate of business and job growth. One third of all the businesses in our country, about 8 million companies now, are owned by women. They employ one in five of American workers. Here in Michigan, over 1/4 million women-owned businesses employ over 1/2 million people. In 1992, women-owned businesses contributed $1.6 trillion to our economy. Today, in only four years, that number has grown to 2.3 trillion dollars. (applause) I might say there are a very, very few companies–countries in the world that have an annual output of more than $2.3 trillion. We know that increasingly more and more and more of our jobs are coming from our small businesses. And I’d like to talk a little bit about that. We have doubled the loan volume of the SBA in the last four years, while reducing the budget. We have cut the regulations by 50 percent in the SBA. For loans, applications of $100,000 or less, we’ve gone from an application form that is one-inch thick to a form that is one page– (applause)–in four years. (applause)

The White House Conference on small business asked us to do a number of things. We have now in two different bites, in 1993 and 1996, increased the expensing for small businesses who invest more in their own business from $10,000 a year all the way to $25,000 a year, the number one recommendation we got out of the White House Conference. The second thing that we were asked to do was to make it easier for people who own small businesses and for their employees to take out 401-K pension plans and to move those plans when they change from job to job, and we have done that. I am very proud of that. (applause) I signed regulatory reform legislation which will make it more difficult in the future for government to do things that are dumb to small businesspeople without giving small businesspeople a chance to stop it in the first place. We established a network of community development banks, each with a mission, to have a micro-enterprise loan program like those which many of you have experienced around here. If you think about it, micro-enterprise loans have helped to revolutionize the culture of poverty in countries far poorer than America all over the world. Why couldn’t we revolutionize a culture of poverty in our inner cities and other isolated areas with micro-enterprise loans in America to bring free enterprise? (applause)

Women can lead the way in this. (applause) And in general, I’m proud of the fact that we have reduced the size of government by about 250,000 to its smallest point in 30 years. We have reduced 16,000 pages of regulations. We have eliminated hundreds of programs. We have privatized significant chunks of the federal government that belonged in the private sector, more reduction in size regulation and programs and more privatization in these four years than in the previous twelve years combined, giving you a smaller, less bureaucratic government but one still committed to investing in education, protecting the environment, and moving this country forward together, giving everybody a chance to live up to the fullest of their own capacities. (applause) I got–I was a little amused today–my distinguished opponent said that we had the worst economy in 20 years. Now, two weeks ago, he said it was the worst economy in a hundred years, so we’re making progress. (laughter among audience) And I feel good about that.

JIM LEHRER: President Clinton speaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan, this afternoon. Bob Dole was in Tennessee today. He spoke this morning at a rally at Austin Pea University in Clarksville.

SEN. BOB DOLE: As we left Washington, D.C., today, I told Elizabeth let’s drive by the Lincoln Memorial, I need a little inspiration, I need to reflect about America and about the Republican Party and maybe have a word or two of silent prayer. And so we did. We are going to win this election, Mr. Lincoln. (applause) We are–we are the party of Lincoln, and I’m proud of it. I’ve read a lot about Lincoln. I know the good times, the bad times, the doubtful times. But he never lost his focus, and he did what he set out to do, and that’s to save the union, keep us together. That’s what I have, in a different sense, been trying to do, keep America together, honor the public trust in America, honor the public trust in America. (applause)

Understanding when you’re elected President of the United States, you have a special obligation to all the people to keep your word–keep your word. (applause) And I’m sorry the President could not be here today because he’s missing his own retirement party right here in Clarksville. (cheers and applause) There are a lot of differences between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, and one is I’m getting ready to move in, and he’s getting ready to move out of the White House. (cheers and applause) And I wouldn’t say a thing to offend the media. No. But I want to–I want to stress–because a lot of the people in the media don’t understand the economy very well–report on it–and they’ve been reporting all these–oh, this is a great economy, it’s tough for Bob Dole because the economy is so good. Well, let me tell you. Today, I’m afraid, the truth about the Clinton economy is getting easier to see and easier to understand because let me tell you what happened.

This morning, we learned that our economy is slow and getting slower and slower and slower because third quarter growth has fallen to a paltry 2.2 percent, 2.2 percent. It has dropped in half since the second quarter. Now, this is a real economic slowdown, and I might say it’s disastrous news for American workers and businesses and even worse news for low and middle-income Americans who have been squeezed and squeezed and squeezed by lower wages and higher taxes in this administration. It doesn’t take a team of economists to tell you what happens when you mix slow growth with increased taxes. That’s a recipe for economic collapse. And for three years, we have seen the so-called Clinton recovery. Now, if other Presidents had known all you had to do to make the economy grow is to raise taxes, don’t you think somebody would have discovered it before. President Kennedy said we’ve got to cut taxes. Ronald Reagan said we have to cut taxes. Governors, Republican Governors say you have to cut taxes. It’s your money. Give people more of their money back and let them decide how to spend it. Let them decide how to spend it. (applause) So if this is a recovery, I can hardly wait for the recession, if this is a recovery.

JIM LEHRER: Bob Dole speaking today in Clarksville, Tennessee.