[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book II)]
[October 28, 1993]
[Pages 1846-1849]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Rally for Mayor David Dinkins in New York City
October 28, 1993

    The President. This is not one but two hard acts to follow. I am 
glad to be back in Queens. And I'm here because I still love New York.
    I want to say that when I was waiting to come out here tonight, I 
listened to the choir and the music and my friend Judy Collins. And they 
were great, and they got me in a wonderful frame of mind. I listened to 
all of you cheer. I listened to my friend Gary Ackerman tell me that he 
grew up in a public housing unit called Pominant near here. His mother 
is right over there. And I want to say right now that the first time 
Congressman Ackerman visited me in the White House, he looked around at 
the White House and he said, ``Don't feel bad, Mr. President, I used to 
live in public housing, too.''
    I want to thank Tom Manton and Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez 
and my dear friend Floyd Flake and Gary Ackerman for being my partners 
in the Congress of the United

[[Page 1847]]

States. I want to thank Claire Shulman and Freddy Ferrer and Peter 
Vallone and all the other leaders of the Democratic Party here, and Tom 
Van Arsdale and the leaders of the House of Labor for giving us a place 
to meet and a cause to fight for.
    I want to say a strong word for the rest of this ticket, Alan Hevesi 
and my friend of many years Mark Green, who will make a strong team when 
Mayor Dinkins is reelected on Tuesday.
    And I want to say one other thing. I know I should be mindful of New 
York every waking minute, but once in a while, just once in a while, you 
slip my mind. [Laughter] Now, this morning I went out running, as I do 
every morning, and I wore a cap that I was given the other night when we 
showed a wonderful movie at the White House about a young man who 
overcomes enormous odds to fulfill his lifetime dream of playing 
football at Notre Dame.
    Audience members. ``Rudy''!
    The President. The title of the movie is ``Rudy.'' I didn't realize 
that when they showed it on the CNN or wherever that there might be some 
political connotation to that. [Laughter] So when I learned that there 
was, I remembered that there was another movie made a few months ago 
that I also liked very much called ``Dave.'' So let me tell you, I liked 
both movies a lot, but when it comes to being Mayor, Dave's my man.
    Ladies and gentlemen----
    Audience member. We love you, Bill!
    The President. Thank you.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I have read some criticism, some of which I 
sort of understand, from people saying, ``Well, you know, the Vice 
President and Mrs. Gore and the President and the First Lady, they've 
all been there campaigning for Mayor Dinkins. What are they doing there? 
They don't have a vote in New York.'' Well, we may not have a vote in 
New York, but we have a stake in New York. How can America do well if 
New York City or New York State don't do well? How can we be the kind of 
country we ought to be if the home of the Statue of Liberty is not a 
living example of our liberty and our triumph and the strength of our 
    I also know that elections always stand for things. The voters of 
New York, no different than the voters of any other place in America, 
have been through a long, tough time. For 20 years now, most hourly wage 
earners have been working longer work weeks for the same or lower wages, 
when you take account of inflation. For 10 years, many workers have 
given up all their pay increases just to pay for higher health care 
costs. More and more when people lose their jobs, they don't get the 
same job back; they have to get another job. And often it doesn't pay as 
well or have as good benefits.
    More and more, people look at the present with some sense of 
insecurity. All over America I've told the story of the man who worked 
at a hotel in Manhattan who told me that his son wanted him to support 
me, but if he did it, he wanted me to make his son free. And by that he 
meant free to walk to school without fear of being shot or attacked.
    These are things that everyone in America feels. And when people are 
frustrated and anxiety-ridden, they naturally tend to vote to change 
things, whatever it is. Look at the Canadian elections. Look at what's 
happening in Europe, all over the world: every wealthy country having 
trouble creating jobs, having trouble giving people higher incomes when 
they work harder and smarter.
    We are seeing, my fellow Americans, a lot of problems in the world 
and a lot of problems at home. I ran for President because I wanted to 
change that. But here's what I want to say to you. And this is the 
message I have to everyone in New York, whether like me, a Democrat born 
and bred, or a Republican or an independent or a member of one of the 
other parties here: Yes, we must change America.
    Every day I get up and go to work to do that. Today we saw the 
deficit this year is over $50 billion less than we were told it was 
going to be on the day I became President. Why? Because we went after 
it. We brought down interest rates; we proved you could bring down the 
deficit. And for the first time in a long time, when you got that report 
the deficit was smaller, not bigger, than all the politicians said it 
was going to be. Yes, we need change.
    Yes, we need more jobs. But in the first 9 months of this 
administration we have more jobs in the private sector created than in 
the previous 4 years. Is it enough? Of course not. But we are on the 
right path.
    Yes, we need changes in education. Yes, we need changes so we can 
sell more of our products around the world. Yes, we need all kinds of 
changes. But here is what I want to say to you: For the people who are 
laboring to

[[Page 1848]]

produce change, you should have a reward, not a punishment. If we need 
better education, shouldn't we reelect a Mayor--without any help in 
Washington, no help from Washington, found a way to keep the libraries 
open 6 days a week and to promote education?
    If we need health care security for all, shouldn't we reelect a 
Mayor who's actually got a theory about how to use these public health 
clinics to keep people well and give primary and preventive services and 
keep people in a position where they can have more health care for lower 
costs? I think we should.
    If crime is a scourge tearing at the heart of America and ripping up 
families and communities, shouldn't we reelect a Mayor who with no help 
from Washington put 6,000 more police officers on the street and, not 
according to his campaign literature but according to the FBI 
statistics, oversaw a reduction in the total number of crimes reported 
in all major categories from over 700,000 to over 600,000 a year? Sure, 
there's too much crime, but if a guy's doing right by it, why punish 
him? Reward him. Send a message to other people throughout America that 
you want change and you will reward change, and people will vote for 
those who have the courage to change. That's what this is about.
    And tell me, you walk across to your neighboring State where 
Governor Florio is running for reelection, and you look here, and you 
see two people who said we need more cops, fewer guns, and we need to do 
things to give people a chance to have a better way in life; we need to 
give them something to say yes to, not just tell them no all the time. 
So we're going to prevent crime, punish crime but give people a chance 
to escape from a life of crime and from a fabric of destruction. When 
people are committed to that kind of change, no matter how frustrated, 
no matter how angry, no matter how hopeless people sometimes feel in 
their darkest moments, those are the public officials who should be 
rewarded. How can we make progress if the voters cannot make 
distinctions between those who fight for the right kind of change and 
those who do not? This man has earned reelection, and I hope you will 
give it to him on Tuesday.
    The other thing I want to say to you is that it is easier to be a 
good President for New York City and for New York State if you have a 
good partner at city hall or in the statehouse. It is easier. I know we 
have a lot of work to do. Today, just today, I asked Congress to act on 
the vision of Mayor Dinkins and Senator Moynihan so that the Federal 
Government can work with New York City and New York State to build a new 
railroad station inside the old post office on 33d Street in Manhattan. 
For more than half a million commuters every day, Penn Station is the 
gateway to New York City. We can build a beautiful new station worthy of 
this great future and this great city.
    This is the beginning of the kinds of things we must do together. 
But I need your help. So what if we pass a health care plan--we've got 
to do that--and every one of your Members of Congress vote for it. How 
will it work? How will it work? We must still have the clinics in the 
cities where the people are isolated from care. We must still make sure 
the great hospitals can prosper and provide care. We must still, in 
short, have the kind of partnership with this city so that when we pass 
a bill providing health care security for all of our people, health care 
that is always there, health care that can never be taken away, it is 
really there when people show up the next day. That requires a 
partnership with a Mayor and a city committed to providing quality 
health care to all the people who live here. That is why I want you to 
reelect David Dinkins on Tuesday.
    My fellow Americans, I believe with all my heart the decisions we 
make as a people in the next 4 to 5 to 6 years will shape America for 50 
years. We have finally admitted as a people that we can no longer ignore 
the great challenges of our age: the great challenges of global economy, 
the great challenges of crime here at home, the challenge to make a 
strength out of our diversity, the challenge to educate and train our 
people better, the challenge to liberate our people from the scourge of 
fear on the streets. We know what we have to do.
    We know we can no longer ignore the fact that when there is no 
investment in these distressed neighborhoods, whether they're in the 
inner cities of New York and Chicago and Detroit or back home where I 
come from in the Mississippi Delta, which is still the lowest income 
part of America, we know we can't ignore those anymore. We cannot let 
the fact that we know we have great problems blind us to our promise or 
take away our ability to distinguish between those leaders who have 
embraced the challenges and change and taken the steps necessary to move 
to the future, and those who

[[Page 1849]]

have not.
    I come here, yes, because I am a Democrat; yes, because David 
Dinkins is my friend; yes, because I never pass up a chance to come to 
Queens and New York City. Yes, I come here for all those reasons. But 
I'm telling you, far more important than all of that, I come here 
because I believe we need leaders who think children should have a 
chance to read, who think people should have a chance to live in safe 
neighborhoods, who believe that we have to have health care that works 
at the grassroots level, who have plans to put people back to work and 
give them jobs and hopes, who have embraced the cause of change. And I 
know that every day, to the best of his God-given ability, in every way 
he can, David Dinkins gets up and does that. And I know when you give 
him 4 more years on Tuesday, he will be the best partner the President 
of the United States could ever have. Do it! We need you!
    Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 6:18 p.m. at Electric Industries Hall. In 
his remarks, he referred to Judy Collins, entertainer; Claire Shulman, 
Queens Borough president; Fernando Ferrer, Bronx Borough president; 
Peter Vallone, speaker, New York City Council; Tom Van Arsdale, former 
labor leader; Alan Hevesi, candidate for New York City comptroller; and 
Mark Green, candidate for New York City public advocate.