[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[March 11, 1998]
[Pages 361-362]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Telephone Remarks Congratulating Representative-Elect Lois Capps
March 11, 1998

    President Clinton. Hello, Lois?
    Representative-Elect Capps. Hello, Mr. President.
    President Clinton. Oh, I didn't know you were on the phone. 
    Representative-Elect Capps. Well, thank you so much.
    President Clinton. I'm so thrilled for you.
    Representative-Elect Capps. It was a tremendous experience, and I 
owe a lot to all of the people who are listening.
    President Clinton. Well, you made a great grassroots campaign, and I 
think you really persuaded people that you would be a strong, 
independent voice for them. And of course, we were all thrilled that you 
ran on the issues that I think are critical to the future of the 
country, on education and the Patients' Bill of Rights and the tobacco 
issue. I'm just ecstatic. But I know how hard you worked, and you must 
be so proud today.
    Representative-Elect Capps. I'm very proud and very grateful. It's 
an affirmation of Walter as well.
    President Clinton. Certainly it was. It certainly was.
    The Vice President is on the phone with 
me. I know he wants to say something.
    Vice President Gore. I'll wait until 
Dick Gephardt goes. Go ahead, Dick.
    Representative Richard A. Gephardt. 
Thank you, Al. I thank you, Mr. President, for having this call. And 
Lois, we all here in the House congratulate you on this wonderful 
victory. It's a real testimony to you and the kind of campaign you ran 
and the way you related to the issues that people really care about in 
your district, education, health care, pensions. We believe this 
campaign, your campaign, is the formula by which we will win the 
majority back in the House in 1998.
    So, congratulations. God love you and your family. And you're going 
to carry on in the spirit of your dear, wonderful husband, Walter. And 
we look forward to having you here next week.
    Representative-Elect Capps.  Oh, thank you, Mr. Gephardt.
    Representative Martin Frost.  And Lois, 
this is Martin Frost. If I could just say a brief word, because Dick and 
I have to go vote in a minute--something you'll be doing very shortly--
this was an extraordinary victory. In fact, we're watching you on 
television right now; we see you on CNN. The fact that you won by such a 
significant margin, the 53 to 45, the 13,000-vote margin, is more than 
any of us had hoped for. We knew you were a terrific candidate, but we 
were just overwhelmed with your victory. And everyone here is talking 
about it in the cloakrooms and in the halls and everywhere up here on 
the Hill today. It is the number one topic, and people can hardly wait 
for you to get here next week.
    Representative-Elect Capps. Could I now say, this is all music, 
sweet music, to my ears. And I want to thank you, all of you, and that 
which you represent, for the support that you gave, actually, for the 
freedom that you all allowed us to have here to run a local race. And 
that began in the very beginning, when I felt no undue pressure as a 
grieving widow to make

[[Page 362]]

a decision before I was ready to. And that carried through in the kind 
of support that you gave us here and the kind of interest you showed 
then and do show now and in kind of letting us take the lead and listen 
to what people on the central coast of California were telling us about 
what are their important issues.
    And you remember, Mr. President, I said when--in the midst of the 
campaign when I heard the State of the Union speech, I said to someone 
with whom I was with, it sounded as though you were walking among the 
people here on the central coast with us. And that's how much this 
resonates here. The issues of child care, the issues of our local 
schools and health care and the economy staying strong and keeping 
Social Security solvent, these are the refrains that we have heard and 
responded to.
    And I believe, you know, it's across party lines. It's what the 
mainstream of, I can tell you for sure, one district in California, the 
22d, really has compelled me to carry to Washington. And I'm so thankful 
that now I can do that, having paid attention to them and able to listen 
and join in the conversation there that you all have going.
    President Clinton. Well, thank you. You know, we've only got 68 days 
    Representative-Elect Capps. Okay.
    President Clinton. We need you.
    Representative-Elect Capps. We'd better get busy.
    Vice President Gore. Lois, this is Al 
    Representative-Elect Capps. Hello.
    Vice President Gore. This is Al Gore, 
Lois. And I also want to congratulate you on running a fantastic race. 
And it was about the issues that Americans really care about and the 
future of education, the environment, technology and schools, child 
care, the others that you mentioned. And we all look forward to working 
very closely with you on those issues and on improving the lives of the 
American people. And God bless your family and Walter's memory.
    Representative-Elect Capps. Thank you.
    Vice President Gore. And we miss Laura. 
She did a great job for you.
    Representative-Elect Capps. Well, she has. She's coming back soon. 
She's excited to get back there, as well. And Mr. Gore, thank you. You 
just touched on all of the issues that we are going to be working on 
    Vice President Gore. Great. God bless.
    President Clinton. Lois, we need you. We'll be glad when you get 
    Representative-Elect Capps. I'm hurrying up. We'll be there soon.
    President Clinton. Give our love to Laura. 
I'll see you.
    Representative-Elect Capps. Thank you so much. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 4:57 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to Representative-Elect Capps' 
daughter, Laura, Staff Director for the Office of Speechwriting at the 
White House. Lois Capps was elected Representative of California's 22d 
Congressional District in a special election on March 10, to succeed her 
husband, Representative Walter Capps, who died on October 28, 1997.