[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 diversity? 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.