|ON THE STUMP|
October 16, 2000
RAY SUAREZ: Now, two more in our ongoing series of stump speeches; tonight we hear from the leading vice presidential candidates. First, Republican Dick Cheney. He spoke today at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.
DICK CHENEY: If you look at our proposals and the policies that are out there, the choice we're going to make on November 7 is very much that choice between the old, big government way of doing business, or an approach that we think works much better that relies upon the American people and empowers them to make decisions for themselves. If you look, for example, at the surplus, we now are anticipating a budget surplus over the course of the next ten years of about $4.6 trillion.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: We want it back (laughter) (cheers and applause)
DICK CHENEY: You're going to get it back. (Cheers and applause) Al Gore's approach is very different. He has what he calls a tax bill. But it's a very, very different proposition. What it is is a series of what he calls targeted tax credits, some 29 new or expanded targeted tax credits. And if you belong to the group called, "the right people," it's a phrase he actually used, then you get some tax relief under his plan, if you fall into one of those categories. If you have a solar panel on your roof, you get a tax credit. If you drive a battery-powered automobile, you get a tax credit. If you have your kids taken care of outside the home at some commercial facility, you get a tax credit. but if you're a stay-at-home mom taking care of your own kids, you get zilch. (Boos) bottom line, bottom line is under the Gore plan, 50 million American taxpayers get absolutely nothing. And this comes back around again to that fundamental, philosophical difference, the fact that they basically believe in big government and higher taxes and a more intrusive bureaucracy. Bottom line is they can't wait to get their hands on that surplus because they want to spend it.
Final point. I want to spend just a couple of minutes on this morning because it's so important -- and recent events I think are a reminder of how important this particular subject is -- and that's for all of us to pause for a moment and think about what happened last week in Yemen on board the U.S.S. Cole -- a U.S. Navy warship, one of our most modern destroyer in port in Aden, attacked by terrorist with the ship badly damaged, some 17 of our sailors killed or missing and dozens more wounded. But as we think about the future, vitally important for us to remember that we are also choosing a commander in chief. There is no more solemn obligation, no more important responsibility when we pick a President of the United States than the fact that we are picking the individual who will, for the term of office, be in charge of the United States military, be given the responsibility to decide when to deploy the force, when to commit the force, when to go to war, and to make certain that our young people in uniform have the resources that they need to do the job we ask them to do for all of us. (Cheers and applause) our opponents in this campaign, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman have sometimes argued when I raise issues about the status of the U.S. military today, they've sometimes argued we shouldn't talk about it. Shouldn't bring it up. Somehow it's unpatriotic to have this conversation. I think they're dead wrong. I can't think of a more important time to have this conversation than when we are making this decision.
Missouri is a key state, a battleground state. The outcome of this national election is likely to be determined in a handful of states, and Missouri is one of them - that we badly, badly need your help, and if you will help us and support us on November 7, then governor Bush and I will, as we take the oath of office on January 20, pledge to give you the kind of government you can be proud of once again. Thank you very much.
RAY SUAREZ: Now, Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman. He spoke this morning at a senior citizen center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: We're not going to say a negative word about our opponents. But we are going to talk about their records, and their recommendations for the future. Because that's what this is all about. I'll tell you, rather than building on our success, they want to tear it down and take us back. They want to fritter away the surplus on a giant tax cut that will give most of its benefits to those who need it least: The top 1%. We've got a very different vision here. And the greatest country on earth at the time of our greatest prosperity, no one who has worked hard all their life, this is the greatest generation, should be forced into poverty to pay for the prescription drugs your doctor tells you need to stay alive. Now that's just wrong. It's time we had a prescription drug benefit that covered all seniors and leaves nobody behind (applause). And our plan allows seniors the choice of doctors and guarantees that you can get the prescription the doctor recommends at the pharmacy of your choice. Half of the cost of prescription drugs and a catastrophic benefit which says to you if you're in the 5% or 10% that have really high drug costs every year, you will never pay in any one year more than $4,000 out of pocket for prescription drugs. That's a good plan, and one I think will really change your lives.
Now, our opponents say they have a real plan, but believe me, there are differences. I'm just going to describe it to you briefly. In the first four years of the Bush/Cheney plan, they give grants to states that have prescription drug programs, but there's no guarantee of coverage for any middle class seniors. So if your income is over $14,700 a year, you're not covered by the Bush prescription drug benefit for the first four years. That in our calculation means that 1.3 million seniors in Florida will get no prescription drug coverage for the first four years under the Bush/Cheney plan. After that, they give you that voucher that I talked about and urge you to go out into the market and convince an HMO to give you coverage. Good luck. The HMO's, as a matter of fact, say they're not going to offer the plan because they don't think they can make money on it. Bottom line, if I could sum it up, I'd say the Bush/Cheney prescription drug plan for seniors, middle class seniors, comes down to this: Wait four years, and then call your HMO in the morning. And I hope they answer the phone. They don't always do that. All right. That's the difference. It's all about choice.
Let me just say a word before I open up, I don't have to tell you, Florida is really battleground zero in this election. This is going to be the closest election in 40 years, since John F. Kennedy was elected. The polls, here, there, they're all within the margin of error. Effectively this is a dead heat. Now, six or nine months ago, a year ago, nobody would have guessed that Al Gore and I would have been even competitive in Florida. Thanks to you, thanks to the help that we received here, thank you -- you've made it happen. And three weeks from tomorrow is election day. We really need everybody to pour out and bring a change to America, to keep us going in the direction we want to go, keep us building on our dreams. If I can paraphrase Sinatra, I don't know if he was ever on this stage... (Laughter) okay. I'm not going to sing "My Way," but I'm going to say, if we win it here, we're going to win it everywhere. All right.