2000-8/14 President of the United States remarks to dnc major supporters dinner
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Los Angeles, California)

For Immediate Release
August 14, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                             Paramount Studios
                          Los Angeles, California

10:16 P.M. PDT

     THE PRESIDENT: Now, I have one new house and two front doors.
(Laughter and applause.)  Well, let me say very briefly, I want to thank
the Homebuilders, the Realtors, the Fannie Mae, the Freddie Mac people,
everybody who was involved in this.

     We had a serious policy right from the beginning to try to increase
homeownership.  And we have enjoyed working with all these folks that are
presenting this award.  I don't really feel that it's mine, I think it
ought to go to our national economic team and to my Treasury Secretaries
and my National Economic Advisor and all the people that have worked on

     But one of the key things rarely noted by those who analyze our
economic success over the last eight years is the explosion in
homeownership, which has been accompanied by an explosion in home building.
It's one of the reasons we need to work hard to keep paying down the debt,
keep the interest rates low and keep creating jobs so there will be a pool
of people to buy these homes once they get built.

     These folks standing with me represent tens of thousands of our fellow
Americans who played a major, major role in the economic boom that all the
rest of us have been a part of.  So I'm gratified to receive this award,
but I kind of think I ought to be giving it to them.

     Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

* * * * *

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Ed, and thank you Joe Andrew and thank you,
ladies and gentlemen.

     I wanted to come by to thank you for your support of this convention
and our party and our efforts.  And also to participate in an award --
which I'll say a little bit about it in a minute.  But, you know, I think
sometimes people tend to minimize the importance of political parties in
this day of mass media.  We don't have the same kind of old conventions we
once had, where we have 53 ballots before we pick a nominee.  You know,
that would be high drama.

     But these conventions are very important, because they give our people
from around the country -- just as the Republicans got the opportunity in
Philadelphia -- to get together, to talk, to find common cause, to
articulate what we believe to the American people.  And also to reinforce
one another in a profound way.  I appreciated what Mayor Rendell said about
the real people in the Pennsylvania delegation.

     I think in some ways it's the most rewarding thing about having been
President for over seven years now.  I was at a meeting about a week or so
ago and I was shaking hands with the people after I spoke.  And two women
were standing about 10 feet from one another and they didn't know each
other; and both were on welfare when I became President.  One of them has a
master's degree now, the other is a lawyer.   And it was really moving to
me.  (Applause.)

     I was in suburban Chicago a few days ago and I met with these police
officers from three different law enforcement jurisdictions.  And two out
of the three thanked me for helping getting more police officers for their

     So if you hang around long enough and you work at it, you actually can
get some things done.

     What I would like to say tonight, very briefly, before I bring my
friend, Walter Shorenstein, up here with me is that a couple of years ago
we were talking, the Democratic leaders and I.  And I said, you know, here
we are coming to the end of the 20th century.  And if you look back to the
time of FDR, our party has played a major role in shaping our nation and
our world.  And I still think that political parties are important.  And I
think the Democratic Party ought to have a national award for a lifetime of
service to our party that clearly benefitted our country.

     So the Democratic Party thought it was a good idea and last year we
gave the first award to Walter.  And tonight, we're giving the second award
to Lew Wasserman, who is here, and I want to thank him.  (Applause.)  And
I'm going to bring Walter up in just a second and let him say whatever he
wants to.

     But I came to see Lew Wasserman the first time, oh, maybe 20 years
ago, more or less, when I was the young governor of Arkansas -- with no
gray hair, didn't even look as old as I was and probably wasn't old enough
to do what I was doing.  And I asked him for advice.  I went to his office
and I asked him for advice -- this was in the '70s, it was more than 20
years ago -- about how to make more movies in my state.

     And then in the early '80s, I came out here again to an event that was
held at his home.  And over the last, now more than, 20 years, Lew and Edie
have spent a lot of time with Hillary and me, they've always been very
generous to take us into their homes.  I told Lew tonight I've been to so
many fundraising events at his home, I expected him to pro-rate this year's
property tax and send me my share -- (laughter) -- and I would pay.

     But in a remarkable lifetime of personal and professional success, he
has shown astonishing generosity to a wide range of causes, but never
stopped believing that one of the things that he ought to do is be an
active citizen and an active supporter of his political party.

     He has been a good Democrat without being a negative partisan.  We've
laughed in the past about how he supported the presidential libraries of
Republican Presidents, for example.  But he was -- he is, and I think
Walter is, in the best sense, people who believe in their party and believe
they can be proud of it without having to run down people in the other
party; people who can sit down across a table and have an honest discussion
about honest differences.  And that's really what I was pleading for in my
speech tonight.

     You know, I don't think anybody who participates in the electoral
process can have a genuine complaint if, after the election, everyone who
votes is fully aware of the differences between the candidates and makes a
really informed choice.  And no one can complain.  And this country is
still around here after over 200 years because people normally get it

     But the political parties play a role in that.  And I can tell you, as
someone with some measure of experience now spanning a few decades, there
are very few Americans in the entire 20th century that were any more
effective in supporting their parties in a patriotic way and, therefore,
fulfilling their fundamental citizenship responsibilities -- very few who
did it as well as Lew Wasserman.

     Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END                                                                 10:27

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