NEW YORK -- Twelve years of "isolation and neglect" of American cities will end if the nation puts Bill Clinton in the White House, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told assembled Democratic Party leaders and a national television audience here last night.
Today, he said, American cities like Baltimore are places of "great pain," burdened by crime, by crumbling highways and water systems, and by poorly trained workers.
The Bush administration did nothing in response, the mayor said. Instead, it punched holes in the ship of state and "started throwing people overboard."
"Who did they throw over first?" the mayor asked. "The strongest, the toughest, those best able to swim? No! They tossed the weakest and most vulnerable -- the poor, minorities, children and seniors. And where do most of those vulnerable citizens live? In cities."
Mr. Schmoke was moved into a prominent role in the convention based on his early endorsement of the Arkansas governor and on Mr. Schmoke's commitment to turn out Baltimore votes in the fall election.
The Clinton campaign in Maryland is to be directed by Mr. Schmoke's close political adviser, Larry Gibson.
Mr. Schmoke recalled that Mr. Clinton issued a major policy statement on the revitalization of cities while in Baltimore. In the Clinton vision, Mr. Schmoke said, cities "are places where no child goes to school hungry; where people do not live on the
streets; where national drug policy brings to our neighborhoods peace, not war; where people are trained for jobs that need doing. . . ."
"Imagine cities that don't have to close their libraries, and [that] have what they need to educate their children. Imagine cities where crime goes down and student test scores go up."