2000-9/15 President of the United States remarks at Hillary 2000 reception
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

                                                                  For
Immediate Release                        September 15, 2000


                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                         AT HILLARY 2000 RECEPTION

                              Mayflower Hotel
                             Washington, D.C.


8:30 P.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  First, let me thank Weldon and
Connie for getting us all together, and thank all of you for coming and for
contributing to Hillary's campaign.  I want to thank the large number of
members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were here earlier, who came
by to express their support.  I'm looking forward to being with them, and I
suppose a lot of you, tomorrow night at the dinner.

     I won't keep you long, but I want to make two or three points.  First
of all, you ought to know how you came to be here tonight.  Weldon came up
to me one day, and he said, so Hillary is really going to run.  I said,
yes.   He said, well, you know, I'm from New York -- and I said, have I got
a deal for you. (Laughter.)  And here it is.  (Laughter.)

     Anyway, I am very grateful to him and to Connie and to all of you for
helping Hillary, and I'll be quite brief in bringing her on.  I'm very
grateful that I had the chance to serve, and I'm very grateful that the
country is in better shape.  And I'm glad that we were able to do some
things that people hadn't done before, too -- reach out to people within
our country, and also beyond our borders, that had too long been
overlooked.

     She had a lot to do with that.  She went to Africa before I did.  She
went to India and Pakistan and Bangladesh, before I did.  She has been to
more countries, trying to help empower poor people and support democracy
and support women's rights and support getting girls in schools where they
don't go to school, than any First Lady in the history of this country by a
long, long way.

     She helped to establish this Vital Voices Network of women around the
world that have worked for peace in Northern Ireland.  I just got a -- I
was just in Nigeria, and when I mentioned it, all the members stood up and
started applauding in this audience.  The guys in the audience didn't know
what I was talking about, but the girls in the audience knew about Hillary
and their deal, it was great.

     So I'm grateful for what she did there.  What I want to say is that I
think in a lot of ways this election is as important, in some ways maybe
more important, than the election of 1992, which brought Al Gore and me to
the White House, Tipper and Hillary and our crowd.  Because then the
country was in bad shape, and the people took a chance on me.  But I don't
know that it was much of a chance, since the country was in bad shape.
(Laughter.)  Everybody knew that we had to do something different.

     Now, we're laughing, but you know I'm telling the truth, right?  How
many people do you think went in that room and said, in that voting booth,
I don't know about this guy, he's a governor of this little state, I'm not
sure where it is.  I mean, you know, they say all these bad things about
him but, oh, what the heck.

     Now, the country is in good shape.  And I think sometimes it's harder
to make a good decision in good times than it is in bad times, because you
have to actually decide.  What do you want?  Where do you want your country
to go?  What do you want it to be?  And the reason I feel so strongly about
this election, it's the first time in 26 years I haven't been on the
ballot.  (Laughter.)

     My party has got a new leader, my family has got a new candidate.
(Laughter.)  My official title is Cheerleader-in-Chief.  (Laughter.)  But
the reason I feel strongly about it is, we worked so hard to turn this
country around, get it going in the right direction, and now there's a real
hard decision, or set of decisions, to be made.  And I can tell you, after
eight years here, obviously it matters who the President and Vice President
are.  It matters hugely.      Every single Senate seat, every single House
seat. (Applause.)
     I wanted to say, in the presence of the Black Caucus members that were
here, even when we went into the minority, nothing I achieved here, of any
real substance, could have been possible if they hadn't stuck with me every
step of the way.  It matters, and it really matters who's in the Senate.

     And, we need to keep changing as a country, but we need to build on
what we've done.  And when I think of all the great questions facing
America, how are we going to provide education for the largest and most
diverse group of kids in our history -- and I think how long Hillary's been
working on that, and the results we got, because of her efforts, when we
were at home in Arkansas.

     When I think about how are we going to balance the demands of work and
rearing children -- which is a challenge not just for poor working people,
but for middle class working people and for a lot of people that are upper
middle class -- and I think that, you know, she spent a lifetime working on
that.  Everybody talks about it now.  One of the most popular pieces of
legislation we ever passed, and she helped pass it, was the Family and
Medical Leave law.  Over 20 million people took some time off when a baby
was born of a parent was sick without losing their jobs.  Twenty-two years
ago -- 22 years ago -- she founded a state wide advocacy group for families
and children at home, long before it was fashionable to think about.

     When I think about how are we going to spread this prosperity to
people and places that have been left behind, that's what she spent eight
years doing as First Lady, going to places to promote microcredit and
economic empowerment, all around the world.  Same issues apply in upstate
New York, and the inner city areas that have been left behind.

     I could go on and on and on.  We need somebody who's spent a lifetime
working on the things that we need to decide to do now, because most people
don't have to do it now.  And we need somebody who thinks about the future
all the time.  And so even if I didn't know her better than anybody in this
room, I'd be for her because of what she's done and what she's achieved,
and what she wants to do.  (Applause.)

     You know, most of the time we've been hit so many times, between the
two of us, we're kind of thick-skinned.  But one thing sometimes people say
that really steams me is, I heard somebody the other day say, well, she
wouldn't even be running if she weren't First Lady.

     Let me tell you something.  If you look at her record as a lawyer, as
a public servant -- she spent 30 years helping everybody else.  She never
asked anybody to do anything for her.  But if she hadn't married me so long
ago, and chosen to live a life of volunteer public service, she could have
been doing this 20, 25 years ago.

     So you get somebody now who has spent a lifetime in public service,
always giving to other candidates, other causes, always leading by the
power of her example, who actually has spent a lifetime doing what America
needs to focus on most, today, when we think about the future.

     This is a big decision, and you've helped to make sure it will be the
right one, and I am very grateful to you.  But you will be very proud of
what she does for New York and America.

     Thank you.  (Applause.)

                           END                 8:40 P.M. EDT


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