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Bush Addresses Rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Aired October 30, 2000 - 1:15 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We continue to bring you campaign events by the gentlemen running for president. This hour it's George Bush's turn, so let's go to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He got the airport there. He's en route to California.

Let's hear what he has to say.



AUDIENCE: We want Bush! We want Bush! We want Bush!

BUSH: I want the youngsters to know politics doesn't have to be the way it is today. And we can change it. We can aim higher. And we can do better.


There are good people in both parties willing to rise above the confrontation and stalemate of the last eight years, people who are ready for a fresh bipartisan approach.


And there a lot of independents just looking for more civility and more common sense and more integrity in the conduct of government.


This is not too much to ask. This is my record, this is my vision, and this will be my pledge to the American people.


In this final week, as Americans make up their minds, I'll be talking about a different issue every day. This will be a summary of my campaign and an agenda of reform for our country. Should I be elected, we will bring America together. We will bring America together to build an education system worthy of all our children.

(APPLAUSE) I have a plan -- I have a plan to ensure that every school has high standards, every parent has real options and no child is left behind.


We'll spend more money on education, but we will expect results in return. When a school district receives federal dollars to teach poor children, we expect those children to learn. Progress must be proven by yearly testing of every student, and if a poor children are not learning their parents should get the money to make a different choice.


This is real accountability, but there's a difference of opinion. My opponent says he's for accountability, yet he opposes annual testing to show parents which schools do better and which do worse.

But you know something? We know this: If you don't test a child and you don't measure results, reform is just an illusion. And what would be the outcome? In some places, in some schools, this would mean another generation of lost and cheated children.

Recently my opponent said that he might favor more educational choices, but only if -- and I use his words -- "only if I was the parent of a child who went to an inner-city school that was failing." That's what Vice President Gore said. He might favor reform if his children were in that situation. But what about all the other children? Where does that leave real inner-city parents?


A president -- a president has to think not only of himself but his own family, but of all American families.


Those families don't need sympathy, they need solutions. They've got problems.

They've got problems, and right now he has got the power. And to borrow a phrase, this campaign sides with the people, not with the powerful.


All my education proposals set big goals for America, but we don't build federal bureaucracies. We give resources to local schools, and give them the freedom to change and excel.


Federal bureaucracies get a lot of things wrong, and let me give you an example. The Department of Education, under this administration, has failed its last two audits, and recently we learned that nearly $700 million in the Clinton-Gore Education Department is unaccounted for. They don't know -- they don't know where it was sent. They can't say where it went. They only know it was somehow spent.


And I believe Mr. Gore owes the American people an explanation.


This is the big problem -- this is the problem with big and distant bureaucracies: No one is ultimately responsible. Washington is spending without accountability. It is even spending without accounting.

So here's the difference between us. My opponent, he'll build bureaucracies. We trust people.


He will work for the education establishment. I will work for children and their parents.


On education, I will challenge the status quo. He is the status quo.


We will bring America together to save and strengthen Social Security. I will lead a bipartisan reform to preserve and protect this program. For seniors, nothing will change; you've earned your benefits, you've made your plans, and the government of the United States will honor its commitments.


If you're a younger worker, we will give you the option of putting a small part of your payroll tax into a personal savings accounts much like a 401(k) or an IRA.


You will own it. You will control it. And you can pass it along, if you wish, to your surviving spouse or your children.


It will be more than just a program: It will be your property. With a higher rate of return, these personal accounts will help save Social Security for the future and build wealth for a new generation of Americans.

(APPLAUSE) We have a difference of opinion this campaign. My opponent completely ignores the long-term problems of Social Security. His idea is to issue government IOUs to fill the trust fund, a massive transfer from one government pocket to another. These IOUs amount to $40 trillion. And eventually they will come due, and our children and grandchildren will pay them with massive new taxes.

So this is the difference between us. He is trying to politicize Social Security. I'm going to strengthen it.


He offers our children debt. We offer them assets and retirement security.


His campaign makes phone calls to seniors trying to scare them into thinking I will cut their benefits. But our people need to hear this loud and clear: If I'm honored to serve as your president, I will work to save Social Security, and seniors will not see any cut in their benefits, no changes, no how, no way.


Social Security has been exploited by politicians long enough. It's time to stop frightening seniors and come together and do what's right. It's time...


It is time -- it is time to stop saving Social Security for a campaign issue, and to start saving it for future generations.


And another important priority of this campaign that I've talked about in this campaign and a priority of my administration will be to bring America together to provide prescription drugs to seniors and secure the Medicare system once and for all.


Under my proposal, every senior, without exception, will be entitled to the current set of Medicare benefits, but we will give them more options, letting them choose the coverage that is best for them. We will set Medicare on firm financial ground without raising the payroll tax. We will make sure -- we will make sure every low- income senior gets prescription drug coverage at no cost. We will limit -- we will limit the out-of-pocket expenses for everyone on Medicare so a serious illness does not mean financial ruin.


The vice president says he believes in health care choices, and he's made yours for you. If you want prescription drug coverage, his plan forces you to join a drug HMO chosen for you by the government. You would be required to pay a $600 access fee each year. For Medicare as a whole he offers no cap on out-of-pocket expenses.

And there's another catch: Under the Gore plan, you have to sign up for drug coverage at age 64.5 years old. If you don't, you're on your own.

So this is the difference between us. The Gore drug plan offers seniors one choice, one chance, no changing your mind. I offer to all seniors the prescription drug coverage they need and the options they deserve.


Now, I know you all have heard the talk about Medicare during the course of this campaign, and you've heard all of the numbers. He's got a plan, and I've got a plan. But one thing they can't escape from is this. In 1992, they traveled the nation saying, "We'll reform Medicare." 1996, they said the same thing. Here we are in the year 2000, they're still saying the same thing. My opponent says we ain't seen nothing yet, and he's right; we haven't seen anything yet.


He's had his chance. He has not led. And we will.


We will bring America together to rebuild the military strength of our country.


We will give our armed forces better pay, better treatment and better training.


We will provide our troops with a clear sense of mission. We will protect American citizens and our allies from terrorism and attack with a missile defense system.


We will build -- we will build the military of tomorrow, investing in research and technology to extend our influence far into the future.

My opponent favors outdated treaties over missile defense. He believes our military should be used for nation-building and peacekeeping, instead of focusing on its primary job, which is to be able to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place.

(APPLAUSE) And his administration has cut military spending for too long and too deep. The vice president claims credit for reducing the size of government; for what he calls reinventing government. What he doesn't tell you is that almost all the job reductions have come from the Department of Defense.

So this is the difference between us. My opponent says that any criticism of his unwise policy is somehow running down the military. But I have a message for the men and women who serve our country, and their parents and their families and their friends: Help is on the way.


ALLEN: The address before the people of New Mexico talking about the differences, he believes, between himself and his opponent Al Gore. New Mexico is a battleground state. Clinton-Gore won the state in '92 and '96. New Mexico has supported a losing presidential candidate only once. New Mexico backed Gerald Ford in 1976, when he lost to Jimmy Carter.

For George Bush, next it is on to the toss-up states...


... by Al Gore, but many people are saying it's too close to call now in California, what with the Ralph Nader effect in play there. And we also expect to hear from Al Gore this hour, as he campaigns in -- where is he? Let's see...


ALLEN: Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin -- thanks, Lou -- as they continue to hit the battleground state hard this week.

We'll take a break, more news after this.



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