[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[December 1, 1998]
[Pages 2108-2109]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Dinner
December 1, 1998

    Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, let me first of all say, 
when Steve Grossman was standing up here bragging on everyone else, I 
thought to myself: When he took over our party when we were $18 million 
in debt, it didn't seem like a very sound decision on his part--not a 
sound political decision, not a sound business decision because he had 
to stop doing other things, probably not a good thing for his family. 
And we wouldn't be here if he hadn't put in all those long hours and 
long days and long weeks and long months. He never got tired. People 
talk about how I don't; I do get tired. I plead guilty: I get tired. 
Steve Grossman never got tired. [Laughter] And I think we ought to tell 
him that we know that, and we thank him so much. [Applause] Thank you.
    Let me say tonight is a special night for all of us because we're 
joined by three of our new Senators, and I'm very proud of all of them. 
Hillary and I have known Evan and Susan Bayh for a long time. They're 
both my golfing partners; they used to be my jogging partners back when 
I was young like they still are. And we served as Governors together. 
We've done a lot of things together for years. And I was absolutely 
thrilled to see the great success that they enjoy.
    I met John Edwards in North Carolina when he and Elizabeth were down 
there. We went to a very hot rally one night, and I went away--and 
Erskine Bowles went down with me. It was the day we had the--we 
celebrated America's Heritage Rivers, and we did the New River in North 
Carolina. And then we went to this big event where John was the featured 
speaker. And we walked out, and Erskine and I had to go back to 
Washington. I said, ``Erskine, I'll swear I believe that guy can be 
elected.'' This is months beforehand. [Laughter] And sure enough, he 
was, thanks to a magnificent effort in North Carolina.
    And all of you know that Hillary and I virtually moved to New York 
State in the Schumer campaign. And I saw Chuck and Iris and their 
daughters up close on many occasions, campaigning. I thought I knew New 
York real well, but Chuck Schumer taught me a few things and showed me a 
few people and a few places and a few neighborhoods that I had not known 
before then.
    And I really believe that these people embody not just the future of 
our party but the future

[[Page 2109]]

of our country. And I am honored to serve with them, and I am very much 
looking forward to it.
    Let me be very brief. All of you are here, this is sort of a yearend 
celebration, the last of a long series of efforts. I want to tell you 
also that it may be true, as Steve said--and as many of our friends in 
the Republican Party have said since the election in which they outspent 
us by more than $100 million--it may be true that money is trumped by 
message. And it must be true at some level, because they did outspend us 
by more than $100 million.
    But I also think it's important to remember that the message has to 
get out. And if you hadn't been willing to come to so many of these 
events, hear me give the same speech over and over again, and be there 
for us in the bad times as well as the good, it wouldn't have been the 
same on election day. I have done this now for quite a long time, and I 
will never do it again on my own behalf, so I can tell you from a 
lifetime of experience that it is quite possible to win an election in 
which you are outspent, but only if you have enough to be heard. And so 
you gave our people a chance to be heard. And you gave our people a 
chance, as Steve never tires of saying, to be organized, to show up, to 
be counted. And I want you to know I am very grateful.
    The last thing I want to say is we now have a heavier responsibility 
going into next year and the next year than we would otherwise have had 
because of the gains that were made, because of the elections that were 
won against all the odds, because the American people said so loudly, so 
clearly, so unmistakable, ``We like the way we're changing. We like the 
path we're on. We want to keep on. We want to keep moving economically. 
We want to keep moving toward greater social harmony. We want to keep 
tackling our problems and solving them and getting them out of the way 
and going on. We want to keep reaching out to the rest of the world in a 
positive way.''
    Because they said that, because they did say, ``We choose progress 
over partisanship and people over politics and unity over division,'' we 
have a higher responsibility. Elections are not simply the choices of 
people to sit in slots until the next election, they are a mandate for 
certain kinds of action or inaction, certain kinds of direction or 
changes of direction.
    And so I say to you, we have a responsibility to lead and to try in 
good faith to work with the Republicans to save Social Security for the 
21st century; to give every child in this country an excellent, world-
class education; to deal with the challenges of the health care system, 
including the Patients' Bill of Rights; to do whatever it takes to 
maintain our leadership for peace and freedom around the world; and to 
stabilize the global financial system so that we can continue to have 
long-term prosperity and opportunity here at home and for our friends 
and neighbors in other countries.
    And down deep, beneath it all, we have a responsibility to keep 
working to reconcile the American people to one another, to really stand 
up for the best kind of unity, to stand against the politics of 
division, to prove that we have more in common than what divides us.
    That is what I believe the voters asked us to do a month ago, and 
that is what I intend to spend 2 years doing. And I am profoundly 
grateful that these three magnificent public servants are going to be in 
the United States Senate to carry their load and then some.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:01 p.m. in the East Room at the 
Mayflower Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Steve Grossman, national 
chair, Democratic National Committee; Senator-elect Evan Bayh and his 
wife, Susan; Senator-elect John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth; and 
Senator-elect Representative Charles E. Schumer and his wife, Iris.