THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release January 3, 2001
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
AT RECEPTION IN HER HONOR
8:43 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. First of all, Senator Schumer has got to
go to New York, and one of the things that I did not completely solve as
President was the minor congestion we sometimes have at our airports.
(Laughter.) So let's give Senator Schumer a big hand, because he's got to
go. (Applause.) Thank you.
Well, I want to thank Walter and Thelma and Cathy, thank you all of
you who worked on this wonderful party for Hillary tonight. I want to
thank the people of New York for being so good to my wife and to me and Al
Gore for eight years.
This is a special day for Hillary's mother and her brothers and my
family, but especially for Chelsea and me. We were in the Senate gallery
today at noon, Chelsea and I were, holding hands, trying to keep from
laughing out loud and embarrassing Senator Clinton. (Laughter.) I
resisted all temptation, I didn't take one of those little Kodak cameras in
there. (Laughter.) I did everything I could to avoid spoiling what was,
for me, one of the truly wonderful moments in my life and our family's
So, for all of you who helped Hillary over this last almost year and a
half, I want you to know I am profoundly grateful to you. You also have
taken a huge load off my mind. (Laughter.) Because, you know, for 30
years, I've been guilt-ridden that I, when Hillary came to Arkansas and
married me, that I kept her out of a career in politics that she should
have had. So I don't have to feel bad about it anymore. (Laughter.) And
I really thank all of you for doing that. (Applause.) I say it
laughingly, but I am dead serious about it.
I have always felt that Hillary had the best combination of mind and
heart and passion and strength about the issues that we have always cared
about than anyone I ever knew. And I also believe that the American people
understand now that there really is a connection between the ideas you have
and the level of commitment you have to implementing them, and what happens
out there in the country. And if you have any doubt, you are about to find
Because -- (applause) -- wait a minute -- I say that in all
seriousness. There were, in this election, which was so closely fought out
in so many places, there are real differences between the way we view the
world. And they are honest and heartfelt. But at least our ideas have
been tested for eight years, and most of them have worked pretty well.
Quite apart from the enormous personal pride I have in Hillary, and
the enormous gratitude I feel and the incredible -- just sheer happiness
that we all felt today, I am gratified to know that when my term of service
as President ends, there will be one more magnificent voice sticking up for
the folks that are too often forgotten and the causes that have too often
been left behind. (Applause.)
I'll leave you with this thought. Public service, like a political
campaign, is a team sport. It's not -- like tennis, it's not something you
play by yourself. It's a team sport. And even if you get to be
quarterback, no matter how good you are, you'll lose if you don't have a
good team. I have been blessed to have supporters like you, people like
you, all over this country. Don't ever forget it's a team sport. You
stick with Hillary, and you guys will do great things for America.
Thank you and God bless you.
* * * * *
SENATOR CLINTON: Thank you. I am just overwhelmed and overjoyed to
be here with all of you. I've been looking out at this crowd, and seeing
people who I have known literally all my life, and people whom I have met
in the last year, all of whom I am so grateful to for your support and your
continuing encouragement not only in the Senate campaign, but in the
previous eight years and many years before that.
And I want to thank Walter and Thelma, who have been so generous in
welcoming all of us and in providing this wonderful hospitality. And I
know from my travels, literally around the world, to many of our bases,
that Walter has become a great friend of our men and women in uniform, and
has really stood tall for the United States Army.
And I'm so pleased that my family can be here. And that certainly is
a special joy for me. I'm delighted that my mother is here; my daughter,
Chelsea -- (applause) -- my brothers, and Bill's brother and their
families, all of whom have been just so strong in their support and love
for our entire family, but particularly for me. And I wanted publicly to
And I particularly wanted to thank Bill and Chelsea, because this has
been an extraordinary experience for me. Going out onto a campaign on my
own and having their support and their good advice and counsel really made
all the difference to me, personally.
And I agree with everything that Senator Schumer said and that Walter
said. I believe that we are a better country than we were in 1992.
(Applause.) I believe that the President's leadership has not only
transformed the Democratic Party, but has really transformed our political
system and our nation and America's understanding and engagement in the
Now we're going into a period of change -- a new administration with,
as the President said, new ideas, which will have to be tested in the
crucible of our political system, particularly in the House of
Representatives and in the Senate. I'm looking forward to that. I want to
continue the work that I've done for more than 30 years to try to make a
difference in the lives of children and families and women's lives and
working people's lives; to advance education and health care; to protect
the environment; to make it possible for us to continue to go forward with
confidence and optimism, based on the kind of results-tested politics that
we've been practicing for the last eight years.
And so, in the Senate, I look so forward to working with Senator
Schumer, who is such a leader and such an energetic force for positive
ideas; and with the other members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle,
who share my belief that the 21st century certainly can be the best century
ever for America if our private sector and our public sector work together,
set goals, and use the experience that we've obtained over the last years
to really make a difference in the lives of the people who most need the
kind of support that can come from the policies that the President has
championed, that I believe in, and that I will fight for.
I also want, particularly, to thank everyone here from New York. I
wish I could name every one of you. I see you out there. I see people who
were County Democratic chairs. I see people who ran my campaign in places
that Democrats had never won before, and we surprised a lot of people.
(Applause.) I see people who welcomed me into their homes, their churches,
their synagogues; who held conversations for me and about me and with me,
and who from one end of the state to the other, were ready for the kind of
positive campaign about ideas and issues that we ran together.
I can only reiterate what the President said. There is no way in the
world, absolutely none, despite all of the press attention that I sometimes
attract, there is no way in the world that I could have run and won that
campaign without the hard work that everyone of you did for me. And I will
never forget that. And every day, whether I'm in New York, or in the
Senate, I will be thinking about what I can do, in some small way, to try
to repay the debt of gratitude that I feel toward all of you -- to be the
very, very best senator I can be for New York, to do everything possible --
(applause) -- to do everything possible to make good on all of those ideas
and promises that we discussed over 16 months of the most exhilarating
campaign that anyone could have ever experienced.
We're starting a new year; we're starting a new Congress; we're
starting a new administration. But what really counts is our commitment to
the fundamental values of our country and to putting people first, which I
still believe is the best political slogan for anybody in American
politics. If we remember that, we're going to do just fine. And I'm going
to do the best I can do, because you'll be there with me.
Thank you all so very much.
END 8:59 P.M. EST