Remarks to High School
Students and Citizens in
The President. Before I begin my
remarks today, I have a very pleasant announcement to make. This morning the
unemployment figures for September came out. And once again, unemployment is
down to 5.3 percent. That is close to the lowest that it has been in nearly a
decade and a half. And last month,
now, I want to thank you,
And now, before I go any further, I have a request I brought with me from my roommate. She wants me to remind you that, please, for your family, for your friends, for your country, but most of all, for yourselves, just say no to drugs and alcohol.
Audience members. Just say no! Just say no! Just say no!
The President. All
right. Okay. I'll tell her. Now, you may not know it, but I've heard a
lot about the
Now, I've also heard that you who are students here care about your community, and that in one of your most popular clubs you visit hospitals and help the sick and those with handicaps, as well as giving of yourselves in many other services to your community. Yes, I've heard that when we talk about that old tradition -- old as our country -- of Americans volunteering to help neighbors, when we talk about -- certain good friend of mine has called a Thousand Points of Light that shine in America's sky, one of the brightest of those lights is the S.O.S. Club of Stevenson High School.
I've heard something else -- about the future -- about your future, about
Well, I'm here today because I believe you're right to care about the future. I believe America's future and your future hold promises bigger than the sky and more vast than the galaxies -- if we have faith and if we're true to the values of family, work, and community that have always been America's guiding stars on the path of history. In the last 8 years we've set our sights once again on these enduring values, and you know the results: more than 18 million new jobs since our expansion began, more new jobs than Europe and Japan combined; an unemployment rate the lowest it's been in 14 years; the greatest flowering of new businesses and new technologies in the history of the world; the longest peacetime economic expansion ever recorded; and more people are at work today than ever before in the history of the United States.
And there's something else, something you don't often read in the papers. Today the highest proportion of our labor force is employed than ever before in the history of our nation. And job for job, the jobs we've created in our expansion pay better than the jobs that existed before our expansion began. How did we do it? By getting government out of the way and letting the American people do their thing.
You know, in my job I visit many schools and factories, farms and communities around our country, and I get to see why our nation is so strong. Again and again I find myself remembering what General George C. Marshall said when he was asked why he was so confident that we would win the Second World War. General Marshall said, ``We have a secret weapon: the best blankety-blank kids in the whole world.'' Well, in our economy, we too have a secret weapon: the best blankety-blank men and women in the whole world.
growth that our expansion has brought
Audience members. No!
The President. Well, yes, the last 8
years have been great, but I've got a hunch that when you get in the saddle, as
someone said in an old movie: Well, we ain't seen nothing yet! But I hope, as you study and work to build
I don't want to be too partisan here today. I know
this is a bipartisan crowd. Some of you will root for
Now, those of you who can vote, and your parents and friends, will decide that question. And think of what that means. You hold history in your hands if, as I say, you vote. Earlier this year I had the privilege of doing something I had never thought an American President would be able to do.
spoke to students in
Let me, before I go, ask you something. Those of you who are eligible to vote this year -- I'm asking for a commitment now, and if you say yes, I'll take it as a promise: This November, will you show up at the polls and vote?
Audience members. Yes!
The President. All right. Now, those of you who aren't old enough to vote -- you can talk to family and friends you know and make sure they cast their ballots. That can be your way of voting -- by getting someone to vote who wasn't so sure that he or she would. So, let me ask you something. And again, I'm asking for a promise, so if you say yes, mean it. Will you make sure that your parents and your friends who can vote will vote? [Applause] All right.
One last thing -- next Tuesday, this coming Tuesday, is the deadline for registering to vote. And I'll bet there are some here who are eligible to vote that haven't yet registered. And you know that if you aren't registered on election day, you can't vote. It's like making the team and then not showing up for the big game. So, let me ask one last thing. Will all of you make sure that any friends who aren't registered get registered by Tuesday? [Applause] Well, that's what I was hoping you'd say. Now, I'm supposed to join some folks in town for lunch. And I bet you're getting hungry, too. So, I'll have to just stop right here. But I just want to tell you, you have inspired me, and this is so wonderful to see all of you out here. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you.
[At this point, the President was given a football jersey.]
The President. For those of you too far away, it says ``Win one for the Gipper.'' Thank you very much. Thank you all.
Note: The President
spoke at on the