Everywhere I've gone in America, people come up and talk to me about their struggle with the demands of work and their desire to do a better job with their children.
The very first person I ever saw fight that battle was here with me four years ago, and tonight I miss her very, very much. My irrepressible, hard-working, always optimistic mother did the best she could do for her brother and me, often against very stiff odds. I learned from her just how much love and determination can overcome.
But from her and from our life I also learned that no parent can do it alone, and no parent should have to. She had the kind of help every parent deserves - from our neighbors, our friends, our teachers, our pastors, our doctors and so many more.
You know, when I started out in public life with a lot of my friends from the Arkansas delegation down here, there used to be a saying we'd hear from time to time, that every man who runs for public office will claim that he was born in a log cabin he built with his own hands.
My mother knew better. And she made sure I did too. Long before she even met Hillary my mother knew, it takes a village, and she was grateful for the support she got.
As Tipper Gore and Hillary said on Tuesday, we have all of us in our administration worked hard to support families in raising their children and succeeding at work. But we should do more. We should extend the Family and Medical Leave Law to give parents some time off to take their children to regular doctor's appointments, or attend those parent-teacher conferences at school - that is a key determination of their success.
We should pass a flex-time law that allows employees to take their overtime pay in money or in time off, depending on what's better for their family.
The FDA has adopted new measures to reduce advertising and sales of cigarettes to children. The vice president spoke so movingly of it last night, but let me remind you, my fellow Americans, that is very much an issue in this election, because that battle is far from over, and the two candidates have different views. I pledge to America's parents that I will see this effort all the way through.
Working with the entertainment industry, we're giving parents the V-chip.
TV shows are being rated for content so parents will be able to make a judgment about whether their small children should see them. And three hours of quality children's programming every week on every network are on the way. The Kennedy-Kassebaum law says every American can keep his or her health insurance if they have to change jobs, even if someone in their family has been sick. That is a very important thing. But tonight we should spell out the next steps.
The first thing we ought to do is to extend the benefits of health care to people who are unemployed. I propose in my balanced budget plan paid for, to help unemployed families keep their health insurance for up to six months.
A parent may be without a job, but no child should be without a doctor. And let me say again, as the first lady did on Tuesday, we should protect mothers and newborn babies from being forced out of the hospital in less than 48 hours.
We respect the individual conscience of every American on the painful issue of abortion, but believe as a matter of law that this decision should be left to a woman, her conscience, her doctor and her God. But abortion should not only be safe and legal; it should be rare. That's why I helped to establish and support a national effort to reduce out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy.
And that is why we must promote adoption. Last week, last week the minimum wage bill I signed contained a $5,000 credit to families who adopt children, even more if the children have disabilities. It put an end to the racial discrimination in the adoption process. It was a good thing for America.
My fellow Americans, already there are tens of thousands of children out there who need a good home with loving parents. I hope more of them will find it now.
I want to build a bridge to the 21st century with a clean and safe environment. We are making our food safer from pesticides, we're protecting our drinking water and our air from poisons. We saved Yellowstone from mining. We established the largest national park south of Alaska in the Mojave desert in California.
We are working to save the precious Florida Everglades.
And when the leaders of this Congress - when the leaders of this Congress invited the polluters into the back room to roll back 25 years of environmental protection that both parties had always supported - I said no.
But we must do more. Today 10 million children live within just four miles of a toxic waste dump. We have cleaned up 197 of those dumps in the last three years - more than in the previous 12 years combined. In the next four years, we propose to clean up 500 more - two-thirds of all that are left, and the most dangerous ones. Our children should grow up next to parks, not poison.