[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[October 8, 1998]
[Pages 1767-1768]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on the Impeachment Inquiry Vote and an Exchange With Reporters
October 8, 1998

    The President. We are about to start a meeting with the economic and 
budget team about the unfinished work in the budget that has to be done 
in the next few days. But before we start I'd like to make just a very 
brief comment on today's vote.
    First of all, I hope that we can now move forward with this process 
in a way that is fair, that is constitutional, and that is timely. The 
American people have been through a lot on this, and I think that 
everyone deserves that. Beyond that, I have nothing to say. It is not in 
my hands; it is in the hands of Congress and the people of this country, 
ultimately in the hands of God. There is nothing I can do.
    But there are things I can do something about. And the most 
important thing I can do now is to work in the next few days to work to 
cross party lines to do the work that we have to do here. We have got to 
pass a budget that protects the surplus and still to save Social 
Security, that keeps the American economy going amidst all this economic 
turmoil in the world, that protects, instead of damages, the 
environment, and that gives the kind of priority to our elementary and 
secondary education that it so clearly needs.
    Those are my priorities. I think those are the priorities of the 
American people. It will require us to put progress ahead of 
partisanship, but it clearly will strengthen our country. And that's 
what we're going to work on, and I hope we can do it.
    Q. Sir, you could speed the pace of this up if you were to volunteer 
to testify, decide whether or not now you would challenge Monica 
Lewinsky's account of your relationship. Have you made any decisions on 
that front?
    The President. Let me say again, on that I will do what I can to 
help to ensure this is constitutional, fair, and timely. Ultimately, it 
is in the hands of the Congress. I don't think it's appropriate to 
comment further than that.

International Financial Situation

    Q. Mr. President, what's your reaction to the Republican demands on 
the IMF funding bill, and how closely are you watching the decline of 
the dollar against the yen?
    The President. Well, we're watching that very closely. Of course, 
the strengthening of the yen could be a good thing. The yen got too 
weak, and it led, for example, to breathtaking increases in imports of 
Japanese steel, which hurt a lot of our people, our industry, and our 
workers who were clearly competitive internationally. And if the 
Japanese yen were to come back because people believed Japan was serious 
about economic reform, then it would be a good thing. It would be a 
balancing of forces in the world economy. It would strengthen the 
American economy by strengthening our own domestic manufacturing sector 
and making our exports more competitive. It would make it possible for 
Japan to buy other countries' exports in Asia.
    If it's a temporary phenomenon that evidences some sort of 
instability, then that's something we just have to try to sort out. But 
I don't think we can know for sure yet. The clear answer over the long 
run is for America to fund our responsibilities to the IMF, for Japan to 
get serious about its economic reform, for the Europeans to keep their 
markets open and continue growth, so that all of us can get more money 
back into the global economic system right now and then deal with the 
long-term problem. That's what I hope. I think it's very important not 
to be diverted by day-to-day developments here and think about what the 
larger problem is.

[[Page 1768]]

International Consultations/Impeachment Inquiry Vote

    Q. Mr. President, have you talked to other world leaders today? And 
how are you feeling personally about the vote?
    The President. Today I spoke with President Chirac of France. And I 
am meeting tomorrow with the man who will be the next German Chancellor, 
Mr. Schroeder. And we talked about Kosovo. And I have been working, as 
you know, all week long with people from all over the world on the 
international financial crisis.
    Personally, I am fine. I have surrendered this. This is beyond my 
control. I have to work on what I can do. What I can do is to do my job 
for the American people. I trust the American people. They almost always 
get it right and have for 220 years. And I'm working in a way that I 
hope will restore their trust in me by working for the things that our 
country needs. These things we're going to discuss at this budget 
meeting, that's what I can have some impact on, and that's what I intend 
to do.

Note: The President spoke at 5 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to President Jacques Chirac of France 
and Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder of Germany. A tape was not 
available for verification of the content of these remarks.