Remarks by President Biden at Rally for New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Published: Mon Nov 07 2022

Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York

6:26 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New York! (Applause.) What a great crowd. (Applause.) Hello, Sarah Lawrence College! (Applause.) One of the great liberal arts school in America. You guys are really good. (Applause.)

It's great to be with my good friend who spoke to you earlier today, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Chuck and I have gotten a lot done together. And one thing I can tell you: This guy never gives up - never gives up. And that's good for all of us.

And, by the way, Senator Gillibrand, thank you for everything you do for this state. And, by the way, nobody has been a greater fighter for women's rights in the United States Congress than she. She has taken on the military. (Applause.) She's taken on - no, I mean it. I mean it. She is a gamechanger.

And Jamaal Bowman - (applause) - lifelong educator, champion of the next generation for welcoming us to his district. I had to get a passport from him to get in - (laughter) - to get into the district.

And, folks, look - and how about that governor of yours? (Applause.) She's something else. She's someone who takes action. She gets things done.

New York, you've got - you've got two days - two days
to make sure the rest of New York knows the good that they have in Kathy Hochul. Two days until one of the most im- - and this is the - I - I know I don't look it, but I've been around a little while. (Laughter.) Somebody said my birthday is coming up, and I said, "No, that must be somebody else."

(A protestor disruption can be heard.)

Hey - hey - let him holler. Let him holler. (Applause.) That's a - that's a - that's more like my generation. (Laughs.) All right. (Applause.) I'm with you. Hey - anyway.

Look, two day until the most important election in our lifetimes. It's going to take shape in this country for decades
to come.

We're at one of those inflection points - I mean it sincerely, where what's going to happen the next couple of years is going to have more to do with what this country looks like 20 years from now than anything else.

AUDIENCE: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: You know, let's be clear: This ele- - well, let Joe talk, okay? (Inaudible.) Okay?

Look, this election isn't a referendum, it's a choice. It's a choice between two fundamentally different visions of America. I've said from the beginning: My objective when I ran was to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

And I tell you what: It's a fundamental shift. And it's working, compared to the MAGA mega Republican trickle-down economics. (Applause.)

You saw what happened last time under my predecessor. The economy - he left it in ruins. He's the first President in America since Herbert Hoover to lose more jobs than he got - than he had when he came to office. Fewer jobs. An unemployment rate - 6.4 percent. He lost manufacturing jobs. Hundreds of small businesses closed in this state alone, let alone around the wo- - the nation - thousands.

And the country in a pandemic with no way out. By the time I got sworn in, only 3.5 million people had been vaccinated - fully vaccinated. Now there are - twen- - 220 million we got done. (Applause.)

So, we moved. Our approach is working. Since I came to office, we've created 10 million brand new jobs. (Applause.) The unemployment rate is at a historic low of 3.7 percent. And we're making things here in America again. (Applause.) We're shipping American products overseas instead of American jobs overseas. (Applause.) We've created 700,000 new manufacturing jobs.

And, by the way, where the hell is it written to say we can't be the manufacturing capital of the world again? I'm not joking. Where is that written?

I signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. By the way, the governor's opponent, Zeldin, voted against that.


THE PRESIDENT: But as the governor said, she's still fixing the roads and bridges in his district, even though he's against it. He'll probably take credit for it somewhere along the line.

The most significant investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System.

And your governor is making sure all that money is coming to New York and is - billions - is getting out the door right away. She's repairing roads, bridges, building New York's
electric vehicle charging stations, expanding access to high-speed Internet, cleaning up the water systems.

You know, she's helping New York lead - lead the way of
making things in America.

As you just heard, I wish your governor - a few weeks ago - I was with her a few weeks ago in Syracuse, New York. And guess what? Before that, I was in Poughkeepsie with her.

And thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act, again -

(A protestor disruption can be heard.)

Well, let me tell you - (laughs.)

AUDIENCE: We love Joe! We love Joe! We love Joe!

THE PRESIDENT: I tell you, I love that.

And by the way, Zeldin voted against the CHIPS and Science Act. Chuck introduced and passed that companies are investing across America and manufacturing semiconductors at home.

You know, one of the reasons why inflation went up so much the first quarter last year was the cost of automobiles. Why? They could not get computer chips. Ain't nothing built these days without computer chips, including our defense establishment - microchips that are now part of everything. We invented the computer chip here in the United States of America, and then somehow we forgot about it.

You know, the fact is that it'll create 50,000 new jobs right here in New York. And that's on top of the 700,000 we've already created

Look, Governor Hochul pushed a similar law. Had we just done - just done the CHIPS Act, we would not have - I - we - very, very well have been - you know, Syracuse may have gone - the Syracuse investment may very well - Micron's investment of $100 billion may have gone to Texas. But she moved here in the state to provide help as well.

Micron is going to build semiconductor factories in Syracuse. IBM making a $20 billion commitment in Poughkeepsie, where I just was. (Applause.) And, you know, this couldn't have happened without your governor. I mean that sincerely. This is a really big deal for this state and this country.

And, folks, but for all our progress, we know a lot of families are still struggling. That's why, with Chuck's leadership and the help of your members of Congress, I signed the Inflation Reduction Act. It's going reduce the costs of everything that New Yorkers pay for every month.

You know, Congressman Zeldin voted against that as well. It gives -


THE PRESIDENT: By the way, that act gave Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug costs - the same power that the VA - the Veterans Administration - has and has used it to cut drug prices in half. But they said, "No, no, Big Pharma had too much power. You could never get Medicare to be in that position."

Well, we tried to get it done for years. Big Pharma -

(A protestor disruption can be heard.)

Big Pharma almost always stopped this, but not this year.

This year, Big Pharma lost and the American people won! (Applause.) We put a cap of $2,000 a year on prescription drugs for seniors no matter what their cost - 2, 10, 12, 15.

(The President stumbles on a floor wire.)

Oops, stepping on a - there's a - it's black. Anyway. (Laughter.)

No matter what the cost. And some cancer drugs cost as much as that. They're never going to have to (inaudible) more than $2,000.

And we put a $35-a-month cap on insulin to deal with their diabetes. (Applause.)

How many of you people know somebody who needs insulin for their diabetes?

AUDIENCE: (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, they're paying an average of 400 bucks a month now. It costs 10 bucks to make it, 15 bucks to - a total of 15 to package it, and they're charging $4- to $800. That's over now. (Applause.)

And we're coming back to make sure that not only applies to those who folks who, in fact, are on Medicare. We originally had it for everybody, but Republicans jumped in and blocked - block - got two Democrats to block it for everyone. But guess what? We're going to make sure everyone has that lifesaving insulin regardless of their age, if - when we come back,

And we're making the biggest investment ever to deal with climate - ever, ever, ever, ever. (Applause.) Four hundred and sixty-eight billion dollars to start with. (Applause.) That's going to lower energy costs for families.

Again, Congressman Zeldin voted against it. Voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: We're doing all this while reducing - by the way, you know Republicans say those "big-spending Democrats." Well, guess what, guys? I got handed the biggest deficit in history. Guess what? I have cut the deficit $1.4 trillion just this year - the largest in American history. (Applause.) Never has happened before.

We also cut $350 billion in the deficit last year. And we're going to cut another $250 billion in the next decade. And we did all these things without raising a single penny in tax on anyone who made less than $400,000 a year. (Applause.) Not a single penny.

I don't want to hear it from Republicans who blew up the deficit. Remember: These are the same guys that passed a $2 trillion tax cut when Trump was President that overwhelmingly benefited the super wealthy and big corporations and didn't pay for one cent of it. Not one single cent of it.

And the ones - you know, we're the ones bringing down the debt - they're the ones who raise it - allowing us to help provide ordinary middle-class citizens a shot.

You know, and we're finally making sure the biggest corporation begin to pay their fair share. (Applause.) I ra- - we raised the minimum tax of - on corporate America a staggering 15 percent. Give me a break. Firefighters pay more than that. But 15 percent - again, which Congressman Zeldin voted against. He didn't think we should raise the tax on corp- -

And guess what? There were over - the corporates are paying zero in federal - there were 55 of the Fortune 500 companies in 2020, when I got elected, that paid zero in federal tax. It's about damn time they paid a little. And they made $40 billion, and they paid zero.

Look, because we've reduced the deficit so much, we're in a position to help millions of working- and middle-class folks caught in the crossfire of the pandemic and an economic crisis left to us by Trump.

And here on a college campus - and you are one of the best universit- - colleges in America. (Applause.) No, you really are. And it's not just because - it's not just because my ambassador to Japan keeps pounding it in my head, but it's true.

Look, because we've acted, we're providing $10,000 debt relief for students, and if you had a Pell Grant, a total of $20,000 relief from student debt. (Applause.)

And by the way, 95 percent of that going to people earning less than 75 grand. (Applause.) You know, so you can start a business, make a down payment on a home, just have a little bit of breathing room. That's what it's about.

And what are the MAGA Republicans doing about it? They're trying to stop it.


THE PRESIDENT: Congressman Zeldin called it "flat-out wrong."


THE PRESIDENT: Folks, their hypocrisy is unbelievable. The MAGA Republican members of Congress - this is a fact; as they say, "Check it out" - we took hundreds - they took hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars in pandemic relief loans. Remember we had - during the pandemic, we said we were going to - PPP loans. People who - their business was under - was taken down because of COVID and the rest.

Well, guess what? They're trying to block - these are the ones trying to block student relief.


THE PRESIDENT: And one of them, Margorie Taylor Greene -


THE PRESIDENT: She got $183,000 in PPP loans.


THE PRESIDENT: Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan of Florida got over $2 million forgiven.


THE PRESIDENT: Now they forgo- - forgiven those loans. Who in the hell do they think they are criticizing somebody getting 10 grand and struggling to get through school? (Applause.)

Folks, that's some of the big stuff we've done. Now let's take a look at our Republican friends. Do you know what their number one priority is? Not a joke. The interesting thing about these guys: They're accidentally being honest. (Laughter.) Because they're just saying it out loud, what they're for.

You know, they want to get rid of everything we just did.

The power we just gave Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices - gone.

The $2,000 cap on prescription drugs if they take back the Congress - gone.

The $35-a-month cap on insulin - gone.

Tax credits for lower energy costs - gone.

The 15 percent corporate minimum tax - gone.

The $800 savings in healthcare premiums we just got families on the Affordable Care Act - gone. In fact, these guys still want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act altogether.

You know what that means? It means that millions and millions of Americans who only have insurance because they have a pre-existing condition because it exists - that Affordable Cart Act - is gone.

No matter how hard they try to get rid of Obamacare, I ain't going to let it happen. (Applause.)

And, folks - and it gets worse. They're coming after Social Security and Medicare. It doesn't affect you students now except you pay into it already if you have a job.

You think I'm kidding? Don't listen to me. Listen to what they're telling - what they're telling us they're going to do it.

Senator Rick Scott - he's the guy from Florida in charge of electing Republican senators.


THE PRESIDENT: He put out a brochure, okay? The brochure says just one thing: All federal legislation sunsets every five years. Continuing quote: If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.

Translation: If they don't vote it back into existence, it goes out of existence. No longer any major program.

And then along came Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. As my mother would say, "God bless his soul." (Laughter.) He thinks five years is - this is real; I wouldn't have believed this. They're just saying it out loud, as I said. He thinks five years is too long.

He thinks Social Security and Medicare should be on the chopping block every single, solitary year. Every single, solitary year.


THE PRESIDENT: And if Congress doesn't vote to keep it, it goes away. It's not just Social Security and Medicare he wants to do. He wants to put veterans' benefits and everything else in the federal budget at risk.

But if Democrats keep control of Congress, we'll guarantee that veterans are always cared for, folks. (Applause.)

Look - and, by the way, as long as I'm in the United States presidency, I'm going to veto it if they get it anyway. (Applause.)

Look, there's one more thing I have to mention. I signed what's called the PACT Act, one of the most significant laws for our nation's history that helps millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances, like the firefighters in 9/11 were and they all came down with cancer and other illnesses. Well, only these were veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to burn pits.

A burn pit is a hole in the ground literally the size of a football field, 8 to 10 feet deep. They burn, in that, everything - poisonous chemicals, tires, jet fuel, and so much other waste.

And guess what? The law guarantees healthcare for those exposed those burn pits. (Applause.)

And on a personal note - as we used to say when I was a senator, "and a point of personal privilege" - my son Beau Biden - my son Beau Biden was the attorney general of the state of Delaware. He should be the one talking to you today, not me.

And he gave up his seat as attorney general to go with his regiment, his group from the National Guard. You either have to - you work for the President or you work for the governor. You can't work for both. So he gave up his job. And he went with his group for a year to Iraq at Camp Liberty.

I was in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 35 times. And I saw him. And I was - went - they call the "hooch," the place they live in, a little - little tent. And it was only about 250 yards from that burn pit.

He went extremely fit and one of the most fit guys in his regiment, in his deal. And he came home with Stage 4 glioblastoma, which there's no cure for. And he - he died. He died.

And so many others are in the same situation as he was in. And a lot of people in that situation without the kind of help that - whose families able to have with our family. But this law guarantees care - healthcare to those exposed to those burn pits. And if they were to pass, it guarantees tuition benefits and assistance to their families and their children to go to school.

That's the least we can do, it seems to me. The least we can do. (Applause.)

And, folks, there's more. Republicans in Congress, led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham -


THE PRESIDENT: - already introduced legislation for a national ban on the right to choose.


THE PRESIDENT: Now, Governor Hochul is the first woman to serve as governor of New York. (Applause.) And on Tuesday night, with your help, she'll be the first el- - woman elected governor of New York. (Applause.)

And even before the Dobbs decision came down, your governor took action to protect patients and doctors to ensure that the right to choose for a woman in New York would be protected. (Applause.) And her opponent, meanwhile, believes that there should be no exceptions, even for rape or incest - none.

His position is extreme. For example, he's been down in Washington voting over and over again to defund Planned Parenthood. He's in the -

And, look, here's the bottom line: If Republicans gain control of Congress and pass a nationwide ban on abortion, I will veto it. (Applause.) And if we elect - they give me two more Democrats in the Senate and we keep control of the House, we're going to codify Roe v. Wade in January and make it the law of the land. (Applause.)

Folks, Governor Hochul's opponent talks a good game on crime. But it's all talk. It's all talk. I chaired the Judiciary Committee for years. I'm the guy that introduced the money for police officers and reforms. But let's look at the fact.

Back on March 202- - on March 2021, as COVID was hitting the economy hard, mayors all over the country - Democrats and Republicans - said they were going to have to lay off thousands of cops because they didn't have any budget money coming in. They didn't have taxes coming in.

So I came up with a plan called the American Rescue Plan. It gave states and local governments money they needed to keep cops on the beat, school teachers on the job, firefighters on the job. (Applause.) And - but when it came time to vote for this plan in Congress, not a single Republican voted for it.

And they talk about the reason why you were able to keep your cops and firefighters and first responders is because of that legislation. That's the reason. And they voted against it. And then they whine about how they're so tough.

Republican leaders decided to play politics. Governor Hochul's opponent had a choice: You can keep cops on the job or cave to his Republican leaders.

I'll give you one guess what he did. He caved. He voted against keeping cops on the beat and decided to play politics instead.

And then in May, Governor Hochul and I were together in Buffalo - I've visited every mass shooting site - in the weeks after that senseless, evil mass shooting.

We met with the families, spent four hours. And you - you could feel the anger and disgust. It would have been easy to feel helpless, but Governor Hochul decided to do something about it. Less than a month after the shooting, the governor signed a package of bills strengthening New York's gun laws. (Applause.)

Her opponent's plan for public safety is to put more guns on the street. He opposed red flag laws, which would take guns out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves and others. Look, what kind of sense does that make?

On the federal level, we passed the most significant gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years. (Applause.) And Zeldin opposed it.


THE PRESIDENT: And we're coming back. I'm the guy that got the assault weapons ban the first and - that lasted for 10 years. And when we had that ban, mass shootings dropped precipitously. Well, I'm coming back and getting that assault weapons ban again. It makes no sense. (Applause.)

Once again, Kathy's opponent is siding with the NRA. He voted against the assault weapons ban, refusing to keep weapons of war off the streets. And as I point out all the time, what comes out of a muzzle of an assault weapon is five times quicker, faster than comes out of a muzzle of another gun. It can pierce a Kevlar vest. There are not a whole lot of deer out there wearing Kevlar vests.

Look, folks, this is crazy. If from a - if a politician won't stand up for his - to his party leaders and keep cops on the beat, if he won't stand up to the NRA and get assault weapons off the street, do you really think he's going to take and help your families keep safe?


THE PRESIDENT: Look, I'll tell you: He won't, but Kathy will.

Folks, as I spoke - as I spoke about a few days ago, democracy is literally on the ballot.

I've making this case since I ran. You know, there are more than 300 Republican candidates for state, local, and federal office who are election deniers, who say that I did not win the election even though the hundreds of attempts to challenge that have all failed, even in Republican courts.

Well, Kathy's opponent is one of those - those election deniers.

These deniers are not only trying to deny your right to vote, they're trying to deny your right to have your vote counted.


THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not joking. I'm not joking. With these election deniers, there are only two outcomes for any election: either they win or they were cheated. No, I'm serious. Think about it.

But let me tell you something: You can't only love the country when you win. (Applause.) And, folks, these are the same guys, many of them, who said what happened on January the 6th, two years ago, the people who were engaged in that were "patriots."


THE PRESIDENT: No, I mean - no, all kidding aside. You're all students of history - most of you are not old enough to have lived it very much, but you're students of it. Can you think of any other time since the Civil War where anybody says things like that - where it's happened, where violence is condoned?

Look what happened. My friend Paul - anyway. I shouldn't even get into it, I'll get going. But Nancy Pelosi's husband - look what the Republicans said. Some of them making fun of it or making excuses. There's never been a time in my career when we've glorified violence based on a political basis.

Let me close with this. Today, as I said earlier, we face one of those inflection points. One of those moments that not only - it only comes around every three, four, or five generations.

We all know it in our bones that our democracy is at risk. The latest polls say 76 percent of American people worry about maintaining our democracy. And we know that this is - this is your generation's moment to defend it, to preserve it, to choose it.

And I want you to know, we'll meet this moment. Remember: The power in America lies where it always does - with you. That's not hyperbole. With you, the votes. (Applause.)

And the reason I have been - everybody keeps asking why I'm so optimistic - and I'm not joking, I've been saying this for a year - because of you. And here's - I'm being deadly earnest.

You're the best educated, you're the least prejudiced, you're the most engaged, you're the most involved generation in American history. (Applause.)

And you look at all the polling data. If you all show up and vote, democracy is sustained. Not a joke. This is not hyperbole. It's the second time. Not a joke. It matters. It's in your hands.

And look, you're one of the reasons why, as I said, I've never been more optimistic about the future of this country. I look at America reasserting itself to lead the world in the 21st century.

I've traveled this country and I've traveled the world, before and since I've been President. I'll tell you one quick story.

I showed up in February after I got elected in January. I got sworn in to the so-called G7 - that's the seven largest democratic economies - in London. And I sat down with the other heads of state, most of whom I had known before, because either my job as Vice President and as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. And I said, "America is back." And one of the leaders looked at me and said, "For how long?" No, I'm serious. Think about it now.

And then I think it was - I think it was Scholz of Germany, but I can't remember for certain, but one of them said to me - he said, "Mr. President, what would you think if you went to bed tonight here in England at this meeting and woke up and found out a mob of 1,000 people broke down the doors of the British Parliament, went down the halls, ended up killing two police officers and injuring scores of people to stop the outcome of an election? What would you think?"

I'm being deadly earnest now. I give you my word this was what the discussion was. "Ask yourself what you think if tomorrow morning you turned on the television and found out that the Bundestag had been in fact - had been in fact moved, they had - they had been raided, they had been - what - what would you say?"

(Audience member faints.)


THE PRESIDENT: Okay - I - I got it. Let's get a little bit of help here. Someone fainted. I got it. I got it. We'll get some help over here. Can we get some help if we have any folks out there that can help out? Raise your hands here where he or she is.



THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Come on. You've been standing a long time. Come on. Do we have - have any medical help here or - here they come. I don't think we can get through that way.

Hang on a minute. It'll be okay. Coming through both ways here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good job, President. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: No, it's - it's a lot of standing.




THE PRESIDENT: You got her. Okay, thank you. (Applause.)

Look, like I said, I look out at our country and I see how the rest of the world looks at us. They still look at us as that shining hope. They really do look to the United States. We've got to demonstrate who we are. I see a great nation because we're a great people. We just have to remember who we are.

We're the United States of America. (Applause.) And there's nothing - nothing beyond our capacity if we work together. So, vote! Get out the vote now. (Applause.)

God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


THE PRESIDENT: No more drilling. There is no more drilling. I haven't formed any new - new drilling.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You released five more years of offshore drilling.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible) Atlantic or the Pacific but in the Antarctic and off the Gulf of New Mexico - off the Gulf of Mexico.

THE PRESIDENT: That was before I was President. We're trying to work on that, get that done. (Applause.) Thank you.

All right.

6:57 P.M. EST

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