THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 14, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON AIR FORCE ONE
2:55 P.M. (EST)
THE PRESIDENT: Seriously, what we were just talking about - maybe I
should make the general point I was going to just make. She said it was so
interesting to her when she goes to Europe, people are so interested in
these decisions and Americans don't seem to be. But the truth is, this is
their lives, you know. I mean, for people in the Republic, they live with
sort of an open wound with all this trouble in Northern Ireland.
But for people in Northern Ireland, it's just being able to get in
your car and not worrying about going down the street and having a bomb go
off, it's worth a lot.
So, it matters to them that - some people, you know, questioned over
the last eight years whether - first of all, whether I should have done
that, because it made the British mad eventually. But in the end, they
were very glad we did. But when the United States is involved, even in a
small place, it has big psychological significance to the entire Continent;
it makes a big difference.
I mean, it's obvious what was at stake in Bosnia and Kosovo, but in
Northern Ireland it said to the rest of Europe that the U.S. still cares
about Europe, we're still involved with them. So it has an affect in
helping us, because we have all kinds of problems with Europe, you know, we
have all these tough environmental issues related to the trade issues, and
then the trade issues themselves, and all that, and we will have. And
they're going through all their growing pains.
You saw they just had this real tough meeting in, I think, Nice where
they were arguing over how to aggregate the votes and whether Germany
should have more because they have more people. And they argue they should
have more because they have more people and they have to pay more money.
So, if they have to pay more money and have more people they ought to have
And then you've got France, Italy and Britain all at the same
population. They're all at 60 million, and then it's a pretty good drop
down to Spain. I think Spain has got like 40 million.
Q There is no recounts from what I understand.
THE PRESIDENT: No. They all use hand ballots, pencil ballots. So go
ahead, what were you going to say about Ireland?
Q If you wanted to give some advice about Northern Ireland --
THE PRESIDENT: To President-elect Bush?
Q Yes, on Ireland. The people there are faced with a significant
amount -- (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I reached the conclusion that it was worth the
risk for two reasons. The risks were two. One is, Would it do
irreparable damage to our relationship with Great Britain? And two, would
the IRA really declare a cease fire and honor it; or would it look like I
gave a visa to him and they were still getting money out of Boston and New
York for bad purposes that were still going on.
On the second, I felt based on people we knew in Ireland, starting
with the then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, that they would honor their word,
because it was in their interest to do so and they had made a decision to
try to work out a peace.
And on the first, I felt that the relationship between the U.S. and
Britain was so strong, and we agreed on so many foreign policy issues
related to Europe -- like the expansion of NATO, the importance of trying
to solve the Balkans crisis, just to mention two -- that if I put a lot of
my time and effort into going to the U.K. and working at it, that we could
work through it. And it turned out to be a good gamble.
And I had actually quite a good relationship with John Major. I mean,
the British press just killed us for awhile and they said Clinton did this
because Major and the Torries supported President Bush, helped - look at
Clinton's passport file. It was all ridiculous. I didn't give a rip about
Q But what would you -
THE PRESIDENT: So my advice to the President-elect, I think - and I
really haven't had a chance to talk about it - is just sort of stick with
the policy and work with the leaders. Because now, you know, you have a
consensus in Great Britain and in Ireland for continuing to work with the
parties in Northern Ireland. And they will have to make - there will be
specific calls along the way they will have to make. Maybe they will make
them the same way I would, maybe they wouldn't. But that's not as
important as the general trend there.
Because, you know, there are some problems that are unresolved where
time is running against you, so you might as well go ahead and bite the
bullet and do it. I feel very strongly about that in the Middle East.
They need to reach some sort of new accommodation; that is, we have come to
the end of the road of the September '93 agreement, plus the Wye Accord,
plus incremental measures. They need a new understanding. They need to -
they've got to either resolve it all or at least decide what the next step
up is, so they can get back to living in peace and the Palestinian economy
can start to grow.
With Ireland, the Irish Republic is the fastest growing economy in
Europe. Northern Ireland is now the fastest growing part of the U.K. They
come in from a low base but they're catching up in a hurry.
There was a big headline, I don't know if you saw it, in one of the
papers during our trip that said that there had been 600 million pounds in
American investment alone in Northern Ireland, where it only has a
million-and-a-half people, in the five years since I went there - the first
So, in Ireland, all you got to do is just keep it going because the
people will stay a little ahead of the politicians. The people will not
let the politicians crater this deal as long as their lives are getting
Q Have you heard back from Belfast, sir, and has your trip has its
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they all were happy with it. You know, that is
all the parties that are actually involved in the Government and the peace
process support the Good Friday Accords, are all happy and we're inching
along. And they may get another breakthrough. The point is, that the
atmosphere was much better.
I saw Sky TV, that's the European - the way they played the Northern
Ireland event, they had a little clip from me, they had little deal about
my swan song in Ireland and blah, blah, blah, and then they have a little
clip from me, a little clip from Tony Blair and then they had a great line
from David Trimble's speech about how he wouldn't let us go back to the -
he had that one poetic line about the dark and the hatred.
THE PRESIDENT: All that, that line. They played that on television.
Well, that's a huge deal because it reassures the Protestants that they're
supported, and it's immensely reassuring to the Catholic community that,
you know, he's still - even if they disagree with some particular position
that he's taking, that he's still on the track.
And so my belief is that they will eventually work this out if they
just give it enough time. Because they're doing better every day. That's
the right strategy. So, I don't think this is going to be a difficult
challenge for President Bush.
THE PRESIDENT: That's entirely up to all of them, starting with him.
I don't think it's - I think the Irish - a lot of them asked me about it
but it's only because they know me and they're comfortable. And once he
gets in there and has a good policy, they'll be fine.
So, if they ever needed me, I would do it. But I think on balance
it's not going to be essential. They'll do just fine with this.
Q What do you see when people - when the Irish, for instance, asked
you to stay involved, or in the Middle East, a lot of people have suggested
you should stay involved. Is that an apprehension on their part just about
I mean, you also have a unique relationship with the people.
THE PRESIDENT: I think that always happens. And we're going to have
a good transition. Al Gore made a fabulous speech last night. The country
is going to - we'll get into it, we'll adjust very quickly and so will all
of them. They'll all adjust quickly. So it will be fine. I think, you
know, it will just be fine.
The essential thing about democracy is that no one is indispensable.
That's why you have a system like this. And, you know, whenever you're the
first person to do something, people have a feeling about you. That's a
nice thing for me personally. And if I can ever be helpful in some, you
know - if your president asks you to do something, you do it. Bob Dole was
on television last night talking about how I had asked him to go to Bosnia
and Kosovo, and things we had done together.
But it's not important. The most important thing is that we have a
good transition and that he get off to a good start. The rest of it will
take care of itself.
Q Can we ask what you said to the President-elect?
THE PRESIDENT: I congratulated him and I told him that I thought he
made a fine statement last night and I thought that Al had made a fine
statement, and that I look forward to seeing him. He said he was coming
early next week and we would get together. That's all.
Q What about Vice President Gore? Did you have to console him at
THE PRESIDENT: I just called him - he was having his Christmas party.
I called him and told him how proud I was of the statement. I told him
that it was - I thought it was fabulous. I told him I wasn't sure I could
have done it as well as he did. It was just fabulous.
And he laughed - Al's got a friend that he went to college with who is
a stand-up comic and he says his best line now is something like, Gore got
the best of all worlds, he won the popular vote and doesn't have to do the
job. It's a great line.
Q -- where they have to go now - a lot of it in our country seems
to be reconciliation, reconciliation for the U.S., as is typical
presidential race, reconciliation for the issues that you had to face in
the last couple of years, reconciliation for Catholics and Protestants,
what would you take away from that? What advice would you give to somebody
THE PRESIDENT: To the Irish? Well, they have to keep working
together. For example, it's hard for us as outsiders to appreciate the
significance of that event yesterday. But in that event yesterday you had
huge numbers of Catholics and huge numbers of Protestants sitting in a room
together, a big room, clapping at the same lines. Now, that seems like
self evident. Well, it?s almost like the rhetoric of peace and so what?s
the deal here.
But I?m not sure even two years ago we could have gotten that big a
crowd from both communities, from the young to the old - the kids would
have done it that were there yesterday, but all the adults, I don't know
that we could have done it, even two years ago. So, I really believe this
is largely a question of sustained personal contact.
Their interests are clearly far more served by what they have in
common than their differences. They just have to continue to build trust.
All these issues that they?re debating now are basically trust issues.
Q In regard to that, the Celtic Tiger, the economy that's going so
strong - but a new component in Ireland is the idea of immigration to their
country, and the eight people killed in Ireland, immigrants -
THE PRESIDENT: It's going to be a whole new challenge for them
because they're -- it's funny, the Irish have emigrated all over the world
and I don't believe there has been day since the United Nations sent its
first peacekeeping force out that there hasn't been an Irish peacekeeper
somewhere around the world involved in peacekeeping effort. It's stunning.
So, there is no nation on earth as small as Ireland that has had the
impact and the outreach Ireland has had to the rest of the world, partly
because they had to come to America to live, the Potato Famine and later,
and significant numbers of them were still coming when I became President.
You know, there were an enormous number of nurses in Arkansas from Northern
Ireland when I was governor.
Q They can go back now.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, which they would like back now, and they may want
to go home because they can make decent money now. They never had the
reverse happen. Saint Patrick was an Englishman. He was practically the
last significant immigrant into Ireland, if you think about it. I mean, he
was an Englishman. There had never been a huge in-migration. So, you
know, it's tragic that those people were killed, but they're dealing - this
is going to be a whole new experience for them.
It's not like London. England has had I saw this when I was a
student in England in the late '60s and 1970, they had - what was that
guy's name - I never thought I would forget that. Right-wing politician's
name that was leading all the anti-immigrant stuff -
Q In America?
THE PRESIDENT: In Great Britain. I can't believe I've forgotten his
name. But the point is, there was all this early tension. Now you walk
the streets of London and the immigrants are there, they're all
intermarried but they still have their communities and their traditions.
There are movies being made now about kind of like - I saw a great movie on
the plane about a - a British movie about a Pakistani family. About the
Pakistani family trying to preserve its traditions and cultures; a
Pakistani husband and English wife, but he wants his kids all to have
proper Muslim marriages with other Pakistani families. All those things
that are - they're still playing themselves out. But they're operating at
a highly, I think, functional level now compared to 30 years ago.
The Irish will work through this. They're basically incredibly
generous spirited people, but they have had a very distance Irish culture
and mentality for hundreds of years. And with the economic success of the
Irish Republic now, and the romantic appeal of Ireland, and the great
lifestyle - and Dublin is a fabulous city, you know -- it's big enough to
be fascinating and not too big to be overwhelming -- they're going to have
a lot of people who want to live there.
Q Did Chelsea like it?
THE PRESIDENT: Chelsea loves Dublin. Chelsea loves Ireland. Chelsea
loved Ireland before I ever got involved in all of this. She was reading
Irish historical novels when she was a kid.
Q Would she go to grad school there?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. But if she did it would be fine with
me. It would give me an excuse to go back.
I think the Irish will do fine with this. They will just have to work
through it. I don't think people should be too judgmental or alarmist
because this is an experience they're dealing with that the Americans had
to begin dealing with at the turn of the century when we had our big wave
of immigrants, or even before; when the Chinese came to build the railroad;
and the British dealt with in the middle of this century, the last century,
up through the 1960s and the early '70s. And they're dealing with it.
You know, so you will have some of this stuff happen. It's terrible
and regrettable but they will absorb them. And I think it will be quite
amazing 10 years from now to go there and see all these people with
different colored skin quoting Yeats' poetry.
Q Mr. President, did this trip, and the fact that there is now a
President-elect, cement your thoughts about your own future any more?
THE PRESIDENT: Not really. I'm thinking about it. I need to get a
little sleep here. I've worked pretty hard for the last eight years, for
the last 27 years, and I'm going to just - I want to try to be a useful
citizen. But I will - I've got to build that library. I've got a lot of
things to do.
Q So, you're tired. Does that mean that this is your last foreign
trip? You don't have that look about you, sir?
Q We could do this all the way to North Korea.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't have anything to say about that now. I can't
comment on that.
Q I do have an example of Irish generosity, if you will hold on for
just a second.
Q Some people are comparing George Bush to you, saying that he has
the same type of -
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think he's, you know, trying to build good
will, which I think is important. And maybe the last few years have bled
enough poison out of the system where it will be possible. And I think the
Democrats, anyway, are more generally inclined toward working - you know,
we basically believe in government. We believe in the possibility of doing
things. And so I think that the Democrats will give him a honeymoon and an
opportunity to get his feet on the ground and pass some of his programs and
do some things. And I think they ought to.
Q Can I ask you about the visit with the Queen? Did you actually
discuss a little bit of politics?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, she's very careful, you know. She observes
strictly the British tradition of not making policy statements. But she's
a highly intelligent woman who knows a lot about the world. She has
traveled a lot. She has fulfilled her responsibilities, I think,
enormously well and I'm always - I always marvel when we meet at what a
keen judge she is of human events. I think she's a very impressive person.
I like her very much.
Q Did you have tea?
THE PRESIDENT: We had tea, we had proper tea, yes. Actually, I had a
little coffee, but Hillary had tea.
Q Last time I went to Ireland with Hillary, she liked that.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we do like this.
Q And because you won't be having this, I think you deserve a
little memory of your time - (laughter) --
THE PRESIDENT: Believe it or not, I don't have one of these.
Q You can keep the limo and play with that, you know, up on the
THE PRESIDENT: What I need is an automated tape of Hail to the Chief
so I know when I'm going into a room that I won't be lost. (Laughter.)
This is great, thank you.
Q Mr. President, you said in your statement this morning that the
Vice President spoke for a lot of people who disagreed with the Supreme
Court decision - is there a way --
THE PRESIDENT: That accept it. I agree with both the things he said.
He said it just right. Is there a way what?
Q Do you think, though, there is the sense that the Court was
political or is - and that is bad for the country that the Court ever got
involved in deciding the election?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that the statements of the Vice President and
the President-elect should stand on their own, and at this time I should
not say anything about it. I think it's just - I don't think I should
comment on it now.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I said I disagree with the Court decision but I
accept it. The right of judicial review established by John Marshall in
Marbury against Madison, then involving review of executive actions of the
President, has been extended to every other aspect of our law wherever
there is a federal question involved.
And somebody has to make the final call. And the American people
obviously make their judgments about it. And the Court, as you know, often
had different positions than they do now, that we've been through a lot of,
you know, a lot of cycles of this. Remember the Supreme Court struck down
all the New Deal legislation until 1937, then they turned around and they
Plessy v. Furguson was the law until the Warren Court came along and
basically redeemed the promise of the Civil War and the Thirteenth, and
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Before Abraham Lincoln and the war
and the amendments the Supreme Court said in the Dred Scott case that even
a freed slave that - I mean a slave that escaped to a free state was still
So, the Supreme Court - people can make their judgments there. No one
looking back on history would say that every decision they have made is
right. We could all find ones that we agree and disagree with. But the
principle of judicial review is very important in this country and
therefore we must all accept the decisions we don't agree with.
Q In a sense the one looser here is -- (inaudible) -- obviously the
belief that -- (inaudible) -- political unbiased nature of this court, the
Supreme Court. Is that what he said?
THE PRESIDENT: I just don't want to comment on it. I don't think - I
can serve no purpose by commenting on it. If I did I would not be honoring
what Vice President Gore said he wanted us to do in his speech, and what
President-elect Bush said he was trying to establish in the country.
There will be time enough to comment on it. And a lot of law
professors and other people who understand the history of the Constitution
will comment on it. And the American people will read it and discuss it.
And at some future time it might be appropriate for me to put down
somewhere my thoughts about it. But I don't think it's right now. I think
that this is a period when we ought to let - get the country going forward
and give the President-elect a chance to put his transition in order.
That's what's best for the country and I want to honor that.
Q What was your favorite trip to Ireland?
THE PRESIDENT: My favorite trip to Ireland? It's very hard. But the
first time I went - I loved '98, I loved Limerick, you know that was great
when we went there.
Q Not to mention Ballybunion?
THE PRESIDENT: Not to mention Ballybunion, yes. Which I missed
because of Bosnia. You remember in '95, I had to go see our troops off in
Germany. I think I went to Ramstein in Germany.
But in '95 it was like a dam breaking. You know, the emotion, the
feeling for peace. Keep in mind, things were much more uncertain then. We
had a good cease fire but we were still three years away from the Good
Friday Accord, or two-and-a-half years, it was the end of '95 when I went
and then the spring of '98 was the Good Friday Accord. But, you know, I
never will forget being in Derry, turning on the Christmas lights in
Belfast with - who was singing there?
Q Van Morrison.
THE PRESIDENT: Van Morrison was singing there and then I went to
Derry and Phil Coulter sang "The Town I Love so Well," in the square with
all the people filling the square, and then that street that goes up the
hill behind it as far as you could see.
I mean there wasn't a dry eye in the place, you know. I mean, I just
can't - and then we went to Dublin. There were over 100,000 people in the
streets in front of Trinity. We set up on the bank - you know in front of
the Bank of Ireland building. It was just amazing. There were a lot of
interesting people. And quoted Seamus Heaney's poem, you know, from the
Cure of Troy, for which the next year I took a phrase and made it the title
of the book I put out in '96.
And when I got to Dublin, Seamus came over to the Ambassador's
residence and had handwritten out the section of the poem that I quoted.
It's what the chorus says, "History says don't hope on this side of the
grave. But then, once in a lifetime the longed-for tidal wave of justice
can rise up, and hope and history rhyme. Believe in miracles and cures and
healing wells." I have it on the wall in my private office on the second
floor and I look at it every day.
And so he wrote it out in his hand and then at the end he said, "To
President Cinton, it was a fortunate wind that blew you here," and that
line is also from the Cure of Troy, which I would have every person
involved in any of these kinds of things read.
It's only about 90 pages long and it's a play written in the form of a
Greek tragedy so that the chorus speaks for the collective wisdom of the
people. It's a play about Philoctetes, who was a Greek warrior with
Ulysses. He had the magic bow and whenever the Greeks have Philoctetes in
the Trojan Wars, they always won; they never lost a battle when he was
And they were in a battle and he was badly wounded. And they thought
he was certain to die. His leg was horribly wounded. And they were afraid
to carry him. And they were trying to make a quick getaway. So, they
dumped him on this tiny island in the Aegean, which was just basically rock
and shrub. And he didn't die and his leg never fully healed. It just sort
of became a stump.
And for 10 years, he was alone on the island. He became this sort of
wild feral creature, just hair everywhere and his stump leg. And Odysseus
got a message for the gods, Ulysses did, that Philoctetes was alive and
that he had to have him to win the final battle of the Trojan War with the
famous Trojan Horse.
So, he -- Ulysses devised this ruse to try to con him back into the
deal. He took a very nice young man with him on a boat and they found this
island and he sent the young guy up to see him. And he had some line he
put on him about - he figured out there was something wrong, this didn't
make sense, this guy appears after 10 years.
So finally Ulysses kind of fessed up, went up and said, I left you, I
shouldn't have, I'm sorry, but we need you, will you come? And he forgives
him and he comes. He gets his magic bow and he limps down to the boat and
they go off and they win the Trojan War.
So, it's a story about how this guy is living alone on this
godforsaken rock while his leg never heals, and yet somehow what happened
to him over those 10 years, he just gives it up. And he goes on. And when
he is leaving, as he is pulling out of the - you know, away from the
island, the three of them in the boat - Philoctetes looks back at the
island and says, "It was a fortunate wind that blew me here."
But he somehow, in that 10 years, just purged his soul. I mean, it's
really - all the things Seamus ever wrote for the peace process in Northern
Ireland, and for people struggling with tribal wars in Africa or any of
these conflicts or people that are still mad at each other - you know, when
I got to Washington there were members of Congress were still mad at each
other over things that happened in the 1970s, literally, still mad. And
you know, there were times when I felt like a pinata in somebody else's
So, you know, when I read this - I remember I read it one night in the
presidential guest residence in Cairo. I had been carrying it around with
me and, you know, my body clock was all messed up and I couldn't sleep. So
Hillary went to sleep and I just sat up and read it. I thought, wow, this
is really - I wish I could just get everybody to read this.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, whenever - one of the times I was in Cairo. The
one thing about me - I have a reputation for having a good memory but it's
totally shot. I literally - I remember things that we did now and I can't
remember what year we did them. And if I'm going to write my memoirs, I'm
going to have to get all these young people that work for me to come in and
sort of fill in the blanks.
So much has happened in such a compressed way. On a deal like this,
you know, maybe I get three hours of sleep a night. I just can't remember
things. Or, I remember things but I don't remember exactly when they
Q Why did an Irish playwright write a Greek tragedy?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that he believed that it was a simple, clear
way to capture some timeless wisdom that would speak to Ireland and maybe
to others in the same position.
It's really an astonishing work, you know, because if you read it - if
you didn't know anything about it you would think is this some play of
Aeschylus I missed when I was in Greek Literature 101 or something?
Q Before you leave office, do you think that there will be a sense
of permanency -- (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: That's what I was trying to say in the beginning. I
think that it's creeping in. And I think that the physiological impact of
this visit, more than anything else, was designed to help create that. But
I think there will be rough spots along the road. I think there will be
arguments back and forth.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I think they will still have arguments. I just
don't think they will ever let it slip the tracks.
THE PRESIDENT: I think they're moving on them. Whether they will be
resolved or not I don't know. But the main thing is, I think every time
you do something and it really builds confidence and mutual trust, at least
if they think - both sides think that they want to make it, you know, then
it's - you increase the likelihood of success one way or the other. And
the time deadlines don't matter so much.
I'm more concerned about, you know, giving that sense again to the
Middle East. We had that sense for awhile and then Rabin got killed and
then we had those two terrible terrorist incidents and the whole Middle
East rallied around the Israelis at Sharm el-Sheikh, totally unprecedented,
never happened before.
And then there was this sense of possibility again. And then, even
with all the difficulties they had with the Netanyahu government, the
differences of opinion wound up producing the Wye Accords. It was nine
days and nights and it was sort of like the last person standing won the
argument but it was - they did it. There was a sense of it. That's what
they need again. They need a sense that, you know, the direction is right
and it's going to work.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't want to comment on that either. I don't want
to comment on that or North Korea. All these things are very delicate.
The less I say the better it is for them and for whatever I can do and for
the next President.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, sort of, but you know it's - it's all been
written about. Everybody knows kind of what's going on. I think he
decided that he wanted to bring some finality to it. He wanted to have
some deadline, some election, whether either his course will be ratified or
something will happen. I think it was - it's bold move. We will have to
see how it works.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. I don't make judgments about -- I think
when it comes to apologies, you ought to save your judgments for yourself
-- to whom should you apologize. And let other people make those
decisions. I think that nobody is right about everything. He is an
immensely talented man. And I think the course is right now. And I think
the fact that I'm leaving the scene is not - won't be significant. I just
don't think they will let it go.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, she will be a Senator, not president, but I
think that she will be passionately interested in the Irish question and
she is kind of like me - although, unlike me, she has no Irish relatives;
her people are English and Welsh - but she is very familiar with Great
Britain, she made all my trips there. And I think she will be a very
And of course, we've got that huge Irish crowd in New York. They were
the people that really introduced me to the Irish issues. The New York
Irish and Bruce Morrison from New Haven who had been a friend of Hillary's
and mine since we went to law school together. And the late Paul O'Dwyer
and his son - Neal O'Dowd (phonetic), that whole crowd.
THE PRESIDENT: The Irish Echo, yes. They were there at the
beginning, my first meeting in 1991, we had that little meeting, you know.
And I thought, you know, it makes a lot of sense to me. I will do
something on this. I will pander to her. I don't mind. I will give her
Hey, I'm leaving, I'll pander.
Q What was your favorite trip outside of Ireland?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. I loved so many of them. I loved that
trip to India. I loved my trip to China. I loved the -- the Africa trip
was amazing. There was a Guinean woman -- you were standing there on the
street today, you were there with me -- when we were walking down, you
know, on Portobello Road. Did you see that woman come up to me and say,
"Aproba, aproba, aproba" (phonetic). That's the Guinean word for welcome.
I said, were you there? She said, "I was there. I was there." It was so
touching. It was wonderful.
I think it's really important that the United States have a sort of
21st Century view of what really counts in the world. I think that Africa
has to count for us. I think that Latin America has to count for us. I
think President-Elect Bush, I think, will be very, very good in Latin
One of the things that I noticed about him that I liked, during all
the years when I fought the Republicans in Congress and in California over
immigration issues, he never got over there with them. And it's probably
the only issue on which Texas Republicans are more liberal or less
conservative than California Republicans. And it's because of the whole
history and culture of the Rio Grande Valley, which I love very much.
I went down there 30 years ago and I've always loved it. I think I
was the first President in 50 years, almost, to go down there as President.
And I have been three times to the Rio Grand Valley. And you can't
understand how Texans feel about immigration if you've never spent any time
in the Rio Grande Valley and understand how it works for them. It's a
whole different deal.
And he will be very comfortable, he will be good with Mexico. And I
think it will lead him to an interest not only in the big countries of
South America but I would hope the small countries of Central America too.
But I expect he will be quite successful in building on the outreach we've
done in the Latin American countries.
It's going to be important. That's the point I was tying to make
today in my speech at Warwick: As the world becomes more interdependent,
pursuing our interests involves more than great power politics.
It's like in the Middle East. Now, I think pursuing our interests
involves having a good relationship with the Saudis and, insofar as we can,
the other oil producers, except for Iraq, where I just don't think - I
think they're still unreconstructed.
But it also involves caring about the Palestinians. Life is more than
money and power. And ideas are power and emotions are power. I have tried
to reconcile the legitimate desires of both the Israelis and the
Palestinians. We didn't succeed yet, but we -- I think that in the end if
we want Israel to be fully secure and at peace in the Middle East, the
Palestinian question has to be resolved in a way that enables them,
actually not only to live but to actually start, you know, having a
successful economy and a functioning society.
I can't really say I had a favorite trip because all of them, you
know, I can remember too many things abut them all.
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