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DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION '96

Excerpts: 'A Campaign of Ideas, Not Insults'

August 30, 1996

Here are excerpts from President Clinton's acceptance speech Thursday:

Mr. Chairman--Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice President, my fellow Democrats and my fellow Americans. Thank you for your nomination. I--I don't know if I can find a fancy way to say this, but I accept. Thank you. . . .

Four years ago, with high unemployment, stagnant wages, crime, welfare and the deficit on the rise, with a host of unmet challenges and a rising tide of cynicism, I told you about a place I was born, and I told you that I still believe in a place called Hope.

Well, for four years now, to realize our vision, we have pursued a simple but profound strategy: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, a strong, united American community.

Four days ago, as you were making your way here, I began a train ride to make my way to Chicago through America's heartland. . . . I would not have missed that trip for all the world. For that trip showed me that hope is back in America. We are on the right track to the 21st century. . . .

We have the lowest combined rates of unemployment, inflation and home mortgages in 28 years. . . . Ten million new jobs, over half of them high-wage jobs. Ten million workers getting the raise they deserve with the minimum wage law. Twenty-five million people now having protection in their health insurance because the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill says you can't lose your insurance anymore when you change jobs, even if somebody in your family has been sick. . . .

We have also passed political reform: the line-item veto, the motor-voter bill, tougher registration laws for lobbyists, making Congress live under the laws they impose on the private sector, stopping unfunded mandates to state and local government. . . .

On crime, we're putting 100,000 police on the streets, we made "three strikes and you're out" the law of the land, we stopped 60,000 felons, fugitives and stalkers from getting handguns under the Brady Bill. We banned assault rifles, we supported tougher punishment and prevention programs to keep our children from drugs and gangs and violence.

Four years now, for four years now, the crime rate in America has gone down.

On welfare, we worked with states to launch a quiet revolution. Today there are 1.8 million fewer people on welfare than there were the day I took the oath of office. We are moving people from welfare to work. . . .

And the deficit has come down for four years in a row for the first time since before the Civil War, down 60% on the way to zero. . . .

*

My fellow Americans, this must be, this must be a campaign of ideas, not a campaign of insults. . . .

I love and revere the rich and proud history of America, and I am determined to take our best traditions into the future. But with all respect, we do not need to build a bridge to the past, we need to build a bridge to the future. . . .

By the year 2000, the single most critical thing we can do is to give every single American who wants it the chance to go to college. . . .

Let us proclaim to the American people we will balance the budget, and let us also proclaim we will do it in a way that preserves Medicare, Medicaid, education, the environment, the integrity of our pensions, the strength of our people. . . .

We could have the right kind of a balanced budget with a new Congress--a Democratic Congress. . . .

Tonight, I propose a new tax cut for homeownership, that says to every middle-income working family in this country, if you sell your home, you will not have to pay a capital gains tax on it ever--not ever. . . .

Let me say again, every tax cut I call for tonight is targeted, it's responsible, and it is paid for within my balanced budget plan. . . .

We have an obligation, you and I, to leave our children a legacy of opportunity, not a legacy of debt. Our budget would be balanced today, we would have a surplus today, if we didn't have to make the interest payments on the debt run up in the 12 years before the Clinton-Gore administration took office. . . .

The welfare reform bill I signed last week gives America a chance, but not a guarantee, to have that kind of new beginning, to have a new social bargain with the poor, guaranteeing health care, child care and nutrition for the children.

But requiring able-bodied to work for the income . . . we have a moral obligation to make sure the people who are being required to work have the opportunity to work. We must make sure the jobs are there. . . .

I propose also to give businesses a tax credit for every person hired off welfare and kept employed. I propose to offer private job placement firms a bonus for every welfare recipient they place in a job who stays in it. . . .

Tonight, I challenge every business person in America who has ever complained about the failure of the welfare system to try to hire somebody off welfare and try hard. . . .

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