[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 36, Number 32 (Monday, August 14, 2000)]
[Pages 1800-1803]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Reception for Hillary Clinton in Martha's Vineyard, 

August 6, 2000

    Thank you. Well, first of all, I want to thank the Biondis for 
having us back at their home this year and for raising all this money. 
And I want to thank the Iscolls and the others who helped them. And I 
want to thank all of you for helping Hillary.
    I can hardly add anything to what Carol said; I thought that was 
great. I hope we got it on tape somewhere. [Laughter] But I would like 
to say just a couple of things about Hillary and about the election in a 
larger sense.
    It is not often that someone runs for the Senate to do work that he 
or she has been preparing to do for 30 years. When I met Hillary, in 
1971 in the springtime, wearing a yellow shirt--that's why I wore it 
tonight--[laughter]--I can't believe I said that. [Laughter] Anyway, she 
was working on children's issues. She wrote an article when we were in 
law school on the best interests of the child and what they really 
meant--one, I might add, that the Republicans attacked her for in 1992 
when I ran for President, and one I was only too happy to defend.
    She took an extra year when we were in law school to work at the 
Yale Child Studies Center in the Yale hospital, so she could learn more 
about children's biological development and the nature of child 
development and how it would impact on the law and what we could do to 
better give our kids--all of

[[Page 1801]]

our kids, including those that grew up in the most disadvantaged 
circumstances--a decent shot at life.
    In the 8 years that I have been President she pioneered sweeping 
changes to make adoption easier, including adoption across racial lines, 
to take better care of foster kids and help them when they move out of 
foster care just because they're 18 years old, and before we passed the 
recent legislation in most States of this country, there was nothing for 
them. They were just out there on their own, abandoned, lost, forgotten.
    She held the first conference ever at the White House on early 
childhood and brain development. She worked on violence against children 
and so many other issues that I think are central to what kind of 
country we're going to be. And along the way, she did a lot of other 
    On the way in here tonight, she gave a White House millennial 
treasures designation to the tabernacle here on Martha's Vineyard and 
the work that's been done there.
    When we started thinking about how we ought to celebrate the year 
2000, because we knew it would be our last year in the White House, 
Hillary came up with this idea that we ought to celebrate the millennium 
by honoring the past and imagining the future. So she launched this 
unbelievable lecture series that some of you have probably seen or 
logged on to your Internet site or seen publicized, on all the major 
topics that will dominate the 21st century, and at the same time a 
massive attempt to save the historic treasures of America from every 
little community like this one, all the way to the Star-Spangled Banner, 
the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. And we recently 
announced the designation of the cottage that Abraham Lincoln and his 
family used at the Old Soldiers' Home in Washington, which many other 
First Families in the latter half of the 19th century used as a summer 
    And Dick Moe, the head of the National Historic Preservation Trust, 
got up and said that Hillary's millennial treasures effort was the 
largest single historic preservation effort in the entire history of the 
United States of America.
    And there's 50 other things I could have said, I have forgotten, or 
left out. [Laughter] But the main point is that you couldn't have 
anybody who knows more and who cares more and who has shown more 
consistency in the Senate.
    Now, the other thing I want to say is, as somebody who is not on the 
ballot this year, I've worked as hard as I know how to turn this country 
around from where it was in 1992--[applause]--thank you. Stop--
[laughter]--timeout--and if I might, in the metaphors of our two 
campaigns, to put the American people first and to build a bridge to the 
21st century. But every election is about the future, and this election 
presents quite a stern test to the American people, because we have to 
decide what to do with the most momentous prosperity we've ever had, 
when all the social indicators are going in the right direction, when we 
face an absence of flaming crisis at home and glaring threat to our 
existence from beyond our borders.
    And it is very easy at a time like this for people to believe, A, 
that the election is not important, and B, that it doesn't make much 
difference who gets elected. And differences tend to get blurred. I 
don't want to do anything to undermine the happy feeling the American 
people have now, the upbeat and the positive feeling, but you can make a 
huge mistake in good times by thinking there's no penalty in failing to 
analyze your situation and acting on what's out there.
    We may never have another chance in our lifetimes to build the 
future of our dreams for our kids. And there are profound consequences 
to this election. And I'll just mention two, because I want Hillary to 
talk and I want you to hear from her, but I want you to think about two 
things that affect the Presidential race and the Senate race. I could 
mention 10, but I want you to focus on the 2.
    One is, if you like the fact that we're becoming a more just society 
where there is less discrimination against people because of their race, 
their gender, their income, their sexual orientation, where the crime 
rates are going down, the welfare rolls are going down, the single-
parent household poverty rate's at a 46-year low, the female 
unemployment rate at a 40-year low, the minority unemployment the lowest 
ever recorded, it is important if

[[Page 1802]]

you want to keep that going not only to have good social policies but to 
keep this economy going and to make extra efforts to spread its benefits 
to the people in places that are left behind. The number one economic 
issue in this race, a huge difference between Hillary and her opponent 
and between the Vice President and his opponent, is what we intend to do 
with the economy and the surplus.
    Their line is, ``It's your money. We're going to give it back to you 
in a tax cut, all of it.'' Now, that doesn't give them any money left to 
pay for their own spending promises. It gives no money left to pay for 
their Social Security promises. And I can tell you this. If you 
partially privatize Social Security and you guarantee the benefits that 
are there and the people who are about to be there, that costs another 
trillion dollars, at least, that you've just got to put in there just to 
protect the benefits. And Dr. Modigliani is up there nodding his head. I 
have a Nobel Prize-winning laureate here, backing up my budgetary 
figures. So you've already spent--just with the tax cut promises and the 
Social Security promises, you already spent 50 percent more than the 
projected surplus.
    What happens? Interest rates will go up at least a point over a 
decade, taking away the benefits of any tax cut from 80 percent of the 
American people, undermining the health of the economy, undermining our 
ability to grow, and undermining the security the American people need 
to deal forthrightly with our social problems and to build one America. 
Plus which, the most important thing is, this is a projected surplus.
    Some of you were at the Kennedy event last night over in Hyannis 
Port, and I said this is kind of like one of those letters you get in 
the mail from Ed McMahon and the Publishers Clearing House. [Laughter] 
``You may have won $10 million.'' And you may have. But then again, you 
may not. And if you spent the $10 million when you got that letter, you 
should support them. [Laughter] But if you didn't, you should support 
Hillary and Al Gore and keep this economy going.
    The only other thing I wanted to say is, this election is also a 
choice about choice--for the White House and for the Senate. I hope that 
no one in the Democratic Convention will do what some in the Republican 
Convention did by illusion in what they used to do to make a living, 
which is to criticize our opponents as people. I think we should assume 
that they're honorable, they're patriotic, they love their country, they 
love their families, and they'll do their best to do what is right.
    They don't believe that we should keep Roe v. Wade.  That's what 
they honestly believe in their heart, and they have a perfect right to 
believe that. But there will be two to four appointments on the Supreme 
Court next time. And I hope Al Gore will be making them. But it's 
something you need to think about in the Presidential race. But you 
should never forget that no one gets appointed to a major position like 
that who is not confirmed by the Senate. So it matters. Every last 
Senate seat is of critical importance in this Presidential race. Those 
are just two issues. As I said, there are 8 or 10 others that are of 
profound importance.
    But if you want to do something for Hillary in this election, and 
I'll get down to the last here, one of the things that really hurts me 
the most--and if you listen to the tenor of the campaign against her--is 
basically, ``Don't vote for her because she's not from here. Don't vote 
for her because, why is she doing this? Don't vote for her--let me see 
if I can get you to resent her.''
    And you know that old aphorism, ``Whom the Gods would destroy, they 
first make angry.'' If the voters in New York can get really confused, 
that's the only way she can lose. Because if they vote for the strongest 
person, for the best qualified person, for the person who can do the 
most, and for the person with whom they agree, she wins. They know that.
    That's why you have seen the campaign unfolding the way it is. If 
ever anybody deserves a chance to serve in public life, she does. But no 
one--no one--but the truth is, no one deserves public office--no one--
[laughter]--she, more than anybody I know, but nobody. The reason that 
people ought to vote for her is, it's good for them and for their kids 
and their future. That's what democracy is all about.
    So the last thing I want to tell you is, when you leave here 
tonight, if you're from New York or if you know anybody from New York,

[[Page 1803]]

the thing she most needs is for people like you to tell other people 
they know, ``I know this woman. She is a good person. She is a great 
public servant, and she ought to be the next Senator.''
    Thank you very much.

 Note:  The President spoke at 7:30 p.m. at a private residence. In his 
remarks, he referred to reception hosts Frank J. Biondi, Jr., and his 
wife, Carol; Republican Presidential nominee Gov. George W. Bush of 
Texas; and Franco Modigliani, recipient, 1985 Nobel Prize in Economics. 
A tape was not available for verification of the content of these