August 9, 2000
AL GORE: We like to think of ourselves as the new guard, and that other bunch as the old guard. (Laughter and applause) We don't want to go back, we want to go forward. I will not say a single unkind word about Governor Bush or Dick Cheney. I will not have a single negative personal attack on either one of them. We want to elevate this campaign. We want to elevate it. We want to invite them to debate the issues. We want to invite them to come to town hall meetings kind of like this one and just take questions from folks and go round the country that way. And that's a little bit about what we're going to do here today.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: My son is on Tincare. And his drug bill for prescription drugs runs about a thousand dollar as month. I'm a school teacher and my husband is a -- he works in the court. I have three other children, two of which are in college. I can't afford a thousand dollars a month.
AL GORE: Joe and I are fighting for a law that will change the Medicare program, which covers those who are disabled, as well as those who are retired under Social Security, to add a prescription drug benefit so that the extra expense that people now have for their medicine, which is more today than it ever was in the past, will be provided under that program.
There are two proposals. One of them is real, and that's the one Joe
and I are supporting. The other side has a proposal that would work
this way: Instead of giving the money to you for your child, they would
give the money to insurance companies in the form of a subsidy for you
to get a special policy that would cover prescription drugs when you
needed to buy them. And they ask the insurance companies what they thought
about that, and they said we don't think much about it because we don't
think it will work; we're in this line of business. And it is very different
from the other things we do. There is not a whole big risk about whether
somebody is going to need prescription drugs or not. Practically everybody
does. So, insurance is not the way to go on that one. The other side
is still offering that as their way of handling it. Ma'am, Joseph Lieberman
and I will fight for and pass a new law that gives a prescription drug
benefit to all of those disabled and retired under the Medicare program.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: Senator, we hope you can let the teachers and the educators across America feel comfortable about your vote in regard to selectively trying out vouchers -- we would like for to you be able to put to rest our worries in that regard.
JOE LIEBERMAN: I'll start to try to do that now, and we can talk about it more as time goes on. You know, the folks on the other side are trying to point out differences between Al and me. And, believe me, the differences are very, very few. We share values, we share a vision for the future of the country. And our voting record is almost exactly the same. But there are some things we disagree on. This is one. And I think it's a mark of the strength of leadership of this man that he didn't need to choose somebody who agreed with him on every single issue.
AL GORE: Let me add briefly that I'm not afraid to have a Vice President who disagrees with me on some issues. I think that's -- I think that's fine. [ Applause ] And our administration will be opposed to private school vouchers. I'm against them. I think they drain money away from public schools. But I'll tell you this: I think that we have to make education the number one priority. I think we need to start treating teachers like the professionals they are and give them smaller class size and new resources, along with new accountability and higher standards, universal pre-school. I think we need to modernize the schools, connect the classrooms to the Internet. And I think it is time to give a tax break and the resources to middle class families so that every single one of them will be able to send their children to college if that's what they want for their children. [ Applause ]
JIM LEHRER: On the Republican side, Governor George W. Bush began a two-day whistle-stop tour through California today. He spoke this afternoon in Oxnard.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Hey, I'm glad we came this morning. Thank you. (Applause) Congressman Gallegly said you know if you come to Oxnard there may be a few people that want to come out and say hello. (Cheers and applause) He forgot to tell me that 3,000 people were going to be here. Somebody said the other day, "well, you just like going to California because it's a pretty place to be, but you don't intend to fight for it just like the last two campaigns no, they misunderstand me. They don't understand my intentions. My intention is to come here a lot not only because it's a pretty place, but we're going to come here a lot because we intend to carry California in November. (Applause)
We landed at a military base today, a Navy base. You all know it very well. Fortunately we were honored to be greeted there as we came down the steps by the commander, and then we looked over at the rope line, and there were the men and women who proudly wear our uniform, and I went over and started working the rope line. A couple of them told me what I hear all the time: "Mr. President-to-be, help us to restore our morale in the United States military." And I want to tell the moms and dads who are here, I want to tell the grandparents that are here, and the moms and dads, I'm running to keep the peace. I want this to be a peaceful world. But I also understand that even though the evil empire has passed, evil still remains-- people who resent what America stands for. They resent our freedoms. They threaten our alliances and our friends overseas because a dangerous world requires this great country to have a sharpened sword. I will rebuild the military power of the United States of America. (Applause)
For the past seven years, morale in our United States military has declined to dangerously low levels. No, they had their chance. They have not led. We will. Whether it be on the issue of Medicare, an incredibly important program for our seniors, or in Social Security, an incredibly important program for our seniors and incredibly important for younger workers, they haven't led. Nothing has happened in seven years during this time in prosperity. They squandered the moment. They haven't led. We're saying loud and clear to the seniors, the promise of Medicare and the promise of Social Security will absolutely be kept when George W. Bush becomes the President of the United States. (Applause) And finally, one of the most important issues of all, in order to make sure the American dream is -- (speaking Spanish) to make sure the American dream belongs to everybody, I mean everybody, we better make sure that our children get educated. (Speaking Spanish) Every child learns to read. It is so important. It is the most important domestic issue there is, to make sure children are educated.
We challenge what's called the soft bigotry of low expectations, and we measure, we hold people accountable for results, and when we find success, we thank people. But when we find children trapped in schools that will not teach, and will not change, we challenge the status quo. We refuse to accept that. We don't want any child left behind in America. There is no second-rate children in our vision for this country, no second rate dreams. (Applause) I feel great about our chances in the great state of California, because we're on the right side of the issues. We're on the side of the issues with the people of this great state. But the people of this state know what I know as well.
It's important to raise our sights of our country. There's a bigger issue, and that is how do we change the tone of Washington, D.C.? Who best to bring people together to achieve common objectives? Who best to reject the politics of the past? Who is more likely to appeal to our better angels, not our darker impulses? That is the issue. I'm making the case it is the Bush/Cheney ticket that will do that. (Applause) Thank you all for coming. God bless. Muchas gracias. (Applause)
JIM LEHRER: Senator John McCain joined the train tour later today, and will be campaigning with Governor Bush through Saturday.