|ON THE STUMP|
September 6, 2000
MARGARET WARNER: Now to our stump speeches. We begin with Vice President Gore. He spoke this afternoon at Cleveland State University in Ohio.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: I'm here today, in America's heartland, to talk specifically, concretely, about an issue that lies at the heart of America's progress in the years ahead-- a growing economy that enriches all our families. And I'm releasing this new economic plan here in Cleveland today, and I'm doing it because
I don't want you to have to read the tea leaves, or read between the lines of a press release or position paper, to know exactly what a Gore-Lieberman administration would mean for families. Today I am setting out, in black and white, ten goals for the future of America's economy, and the specific steps that we will take to achieve these goals.
First of all, let's make Social Security financially sound into the second half of this new century... (Applause) ...and make Medicare financially sound for at least another 30 years. (Applause)
Second, second, let's double the number of families with family savings over $50,000. We can do it.
Third, let's also take specific steps that will raise real family incomes by one-third, so families can not only save more but also earn more. And let's lift millions out of poverty, so that within the next four years... (Applause) ...here is the specific goal, within the next four years, fewer than one in ten Americans will live in poverty. Isn't that a worthy goal? Let's reach the lowest level of poverty in recorded history during the next four years. (Applause)
Fifth, let's cut the wage gap between men and women. In fact, let's cut it in half. (Cheers and applause) And then let's keep going until we achieve the ideal of an equal day's pay for an equal day's work. (Cheers and applause)
Sixth, let's enable seven out of ten Americans to own their own homes, a new record high. Let's raise employment levels, by adding ten million new high- tech, high-skilled jobs across every sector of our economy, while making the new investments that also protect our environment.
Eight, let's fight for and win targeted tax cuts for middle-class families, so that within two years... (Applause) ...a typical family, within two years, will have the lowest tax burden in half a century. Let's open the doors to college wider than ever before, with a specific goal that three- quarters of all high school graduates will be attending college, and half will go on to graduate from college. (Applause)
Now... and, as we do these things, let's reduce the national debt year after year, every single year, until it is completely eliminated by the year 2012. (Applause)
In fact, I am proposing to go even further than a balanced budget that pays down our national debt each year. The other side believes it's okay to spend more than the entire surplus, and then hope the economy does far better than anyone expects, so the numbers will somehow add up. Well, Joe Lieberman and I have a different approach.
Today, I am announcing that we will under spend the surplus, rather than over promise our way into an economic hole. Our approach is simple common sense. Our national government should do what so many families have done for years, namely, set aside some money for a rainy day, to be absolutely certain that we never spend money that we don't have. (Applause)
Again, let me be specific: I propose to take one out of every six dollars of the budget surplus, and put it aside, so that it will not be used for new spending. It will not be used for new tax cuts. It will not be spent on promises or proposals of any kind. So if today's economic forecasts fall short, this new reserve fund will guarantee that even if they do fall short, we will not have to cut education or health care. (Applause)
And unlike the promises made on the other side, we will not be running deficits or endangering America's prosperity. My plan wasn't built on the cross-your-fingers economics that says we can give more to the people who already have the most, and then just hope that the benefits trickle down to the middle-class.
The Gore-Lieberman economic plan has one guiding purpose: To help the middle-class families who have always been America's purpose and pride, the people who pay the taxes, bear the burdens, and live the American dream (Applause) -- the people who create the jobs, drive our economy, and just need a little more opportunity to achieve what they want for their families. That's who I'm fighting for in this election. And that's who I'll work for each and every day if you elect me President of the United States of America. (Applause)
MARGARET WARNER: Earlier today, Governor Bush spoke to the American Legion Convention in Milwaukee.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I am here to talk about what is owed to armed forces of the United States: Past, present and future. To the veteran, we owe gratitude shown not just in words of tribute, but in acts of care and acts of attention. To those who serve today, and in the future, this country owes the best in training, and equipment, and leadership.
There is no question, no question, that our military today is the strongest in the world. It is confident, and proud, and willing to carry out the mission that we give them. They have never failed us, and we must never fail them, but the best intentions and the highest morale are undermined by back- to-back deployments, by poor pay, by shortages of spare parts and equipment, and of rapidly declining readiness. As a percentage of the GNP, our investment in national security is at the lowest level since World War II.
Overall, in the armed services, commitments around the world have tripled, while our forces have been reduced by 40%. The administration's own chairman of the Joint Chiefs recently said, "we're doing much more than we were ten years ago, and we're doing it with much less." But let's get something straight, these are not criticisms of the military, they are criticisms of the current commander in chief and the vice President for not providing the necessary leadership for America. (Applause)
I believe a leader has the responsibility to speak out when the armed services are short on support and short on resources. We have a responsibility to take their side when too much is asked of them and too little is given in return. Leadership is a responsibility to act, and should I become your President, I will act to restore the morale of the United States military. Our soldiers must have confidence that if asked to serve and sacrifice, the cause will be worthy, and our support for them will be total. We will have to give our armed forces better pay, better housing, better training. We will increase housing allowances, and I will ask the Congress to increase the pay for those men and women who are in uniform, by $1 billion more than the current pay raise. (Applause)
These steps will go a long way toward improving morale, but this is only a start. It's only a start. As commander-in-chief, I will give our military a clear sense of mission. America will be involved in the world, but that does not mean our military is the answer to every single difficult foreign policy question. I will order an immediate review of our overseas commitments in dozens of countries. I will keep our pledges to defend our long-standing friends and allies against aggression, but I'll make it clear we can't put troops on the ground to keep warring parties apart all around the world. We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers. The great country called America will be the peacemakers. (Applause)
I will replace uncertain missions with well-defined objectives, should I become the commander-in-chief. The mission of the United States military will be fully prepared to fight and win war, and therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place. (Applause)
Should I become the President, I will use this window of opportunity to create the military for the future. Today our military is organized more along the threats that we used to have in the Cold War, than a military ready to meet the challenges of a new century. It's organized for the industrial age operations, rather than information age battles. There is almost no relationship between our budget priorities and our long-term strategic vision of what the military ought to look like. Now is the time to shape the future of the military, with new concepts, new strategies, new resolves.
As President, I will begin an immediate and comprehensive review of our military, the structure of its forces, the state of its strategy, the priorities of the procurement program, conducted by a leadership team under the Secretary of Defense. We will challenge the status quo, and envision a new architecture for American defense for decades to come.
Our forces must be able to project power over great distances and do it quickly. They must be agile, and harder to find, easier to move, and lethal in action. They must have the technology to dominate information, as well as the technology to dominate the skies and the seas in order to keep the peace. And whenever America uses force in the world, whenever we commit our troops, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming. (Applause)
The veterans of the United States represent the best of the American tradition of preserving freedom. The veterans in this hall represent the best of the American tradition of serving a cause greater than self. America is a great nation, because of our people. And the veterans of America are the best people this nation has ever produced. God bless. (Applause)
Thank you for having me.