THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
(Chicago, Illinois)
For Immediate Release                                   January 9, 2001

                          REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                             TO OVERFLOW CROWD

                            Palmer House Hotel
                             Chicago, Illinois

7:37 P.M. CST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Let me ask you a question.  Did you hear what went on
upstairs?  (Applause.)  This is troubling -- half are saying yes, half are
saying no.  Let me say to all of you, I'll give you a brief version of what
I said there.

     First, I want to thank Chicago and the State of Illinois for being so
good to me.  (Applause.)  I thank Mayor Daley for his leadership and
partnership and for making it possible to prove that our crime policies and
our welfare policies and our economic policies would all work, because they
worked here in Chicago.  (Applause.)

     I thank Bobby Rush for helping me in '92.  I thank Bobby and Dick
Durbin and the entire crowd in your congressional delegation who have been
so good to me.  But Senator Durbin, I especially thank you for all the
things you've done.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

     I thank Bill Daley for being a superb Secretary of Commerce and a
brilliant campaign manager.  (Applause.)  What I told them upstairs was,
Bill Daley ran the first presidential campaign in history that was so
clearly winning, a court had to stop the vote in order to change the
outcome.  (Applause.)  It was brilliant.

     Now, I want to say two other things.  Upstairs, I said that this hotel
was very important in my life.  I spoke to the Democratic chairs here in
December of '91.  I had my party here on St. Patrick's Day in 1992 when we
won the primary.  Were you there?  Some of you were there.  (Applause.)
And I still have a picture in my little office off the Oval Office of
Hillary and me standing here in this lobby with the confetti coming down on
St. Patrick's Day.  I've had it there every single day for eight years to
remind me that Chicago and Illinois made me President.  (Applause.)

     I thank you for voting for us overwhelmingly in '92, in '96.  I thank
you for a fabulous convention in 1996 which was a joy.  And I thank you for
sticking with us in the year 2000 which you did.  I thank you for that.

     I thought -- it was really important to me to come here before I leave
office to say thank you.  And I also want to bring you greetings from the
new Senator from the State of New York.  Hillary said to tell you hello.
(Applause.)  And I told Senator Durbin that you should just sort of
consider that Illinois also has two Democratic senators again.  (Applause.)

     I am honored to have been President at a time when a lot of changes
were going on in America and in the world, and as I look back, I am
profoundly grateful that our country is so much stronger and more united
and more successful and so much more future-oriented and self-confident
today than it was eight years ago when we started.  And you had a lot to do
with that.  (Applause.)

     I believe politics and public service is a team sport.  And you can
have a great quarterback, you can have a great captain, but if you don't
have a team, you're going to lose every time.  So you were my team, and we
won for America together.

     So when you think about the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years, or
the lowest minority unemployment rate ever recorded, or 22.5 million new
jobs, or 25 million people taking advantage of the Family Leave law, or 13
million more people getting college tax aid through the HOPE Scholarship
tax credit -- (applause) -- or over 3 million more kids with health
insurance, or 90 percent of our little kids with immunization against
serious diseases for the first time, or more land set aside for protection
for all time than any time in 100 years -- when you say all those things --
(applause) -- that wasn't just me, it wasn't just us with the Democrats and
the Congress, it was you, too.  We did it together.  We were a team, and I
thank you for that.  (Applause.)

     The last thing I want to say is this.  I want you to keep fighting for
the future.  And I'll be there with you.  I'll just be a citizen, but I can
serve well.  I've still got a voice, I've still got a heart, and I've got a
mind to spend the rest of my life trying to pay America back for all the
good things the American people gave me these last 25 years.  (Applause.)

     So don't get discouraged, don't be frustrated by what happened in
November.  But don't be passive.  Just take a breath and keep looking
forward, and keep doing what will come naturally -- to fight for the things
we believe in, to build the future we want for all of our children

     I can honestly tell you that 11 days at high noon, when I walk out of
the White House for the last time as President, I will leave more
optimistic and more idealistic about the people of this country and their
potential, and especially about the young people of this country, than I
was the day I took the oath of office in 1993.  I love you.  Thank you.
God bless you.  Good-bye.  (Applause.)

     END  7:44 P.M. CST

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E