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pd08mr99 The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema of...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, March 8, 1999
Volume 35--Number 9
Pages 329-376

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



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Addresses and Remarks

    California, Saxophone Club and Women's Leadership Forum reception in 
        Los Angeles--329
    ``Dare To Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports,'' screening--365
    Death of Harry A. Blackmun--360
    Democratic congressional leaders, unity meeting--338
    Interior Department, 150th anniversary--359
    Internet accessibility in classrooms, radio remarks--333
    New Jersey, reception for Senator Robert G. Torricelli in Newark--
    Radio address--332
    ``Read Across America'' Day, radio remarks--333

Communications to Congress

    Federal Labor Relations Authority, message transmitting report--337
    International agreements, letter transmitting report--337
    Iraq, letter reporting on compliance with U.N. Security Council 
    Republic of Korea-U.S. extradition treaty with documentation, 
        message transmitting--337

Interviews With the News Media

    Interview with Janet Langhart Cohen of Armed Forces Television--353
    News conference with Prime Minister D'Alema of Italy, March 5 (No. 

Meetings With Foreign Leaders

    Italy, Prime Minister D'Alema--365


    Death of Harry A. Blackmun--364
    Irish-American Heritage Month--334
    Save Your Vision Week--336
    Women's History Month--335

Statements by the President

    California's Headwaters Forest, agreement to preserve--337
        Billy Jack Gaither--374
        Harry A. Blackmun--364
    ``Education Accountability Act,'' proposed--334
    Internet accessibility in classrooms--333
    Kennedy-Murray amendments to proposed education flexibility 
        partnership legislation--373
    National Assessment of Education Progress--363
    Uganda, murder of tourists--364

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--376
    Checklist of White House press releases--375
    Digest of other White House announcements--374
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--375

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[[Page 329]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 329-332]
Monday, March 8, 1999
Volume 35--Number 9
Pages 329-376
Week Ending Friday, March 5, 1999
Remarks at a Saxophone Club and Women's Leadership Forum Reception in 
Los Angeles, California

February 26, 1999

    Thank you. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you very much for the 
standing ovation. [Laughter] I want to thank Janice Griffin and Joe 
Andrew for their service and their speeches. I want to thank Trudi Loh, 
the Women's Leadership Forum southern California chair. And the Sax Club 
cochairs, Lara Brown and Paul Krekorian, thank you very much. I'd like 
to thank Kathleen Connell and Representatives Waters and Sanchez for 
being here, and Speaker Villaraigosa for being here. And I'd like to 
thank Governor Davis and Sharon for being here.
    You know, Governor Davis has decided that he will sort of cultivate 
this ``gray'' image. [Laughter] And it is so bogus, I can't believe it. 
[Laughter] We were standing up here--you know what he said to me when I 
came here? I said, ``Gray, that was a wonderful introduction, and I 
really appreciate it.'' And he said, ``Well good, you can give me two 
strokes the next time we play.'' [Laughter]
    Let me say to all of you, first of all, a profound thanks. Thank you 
for the support of the WLF and the Saxophone Club. The Saxophone Club's 
been going now for several years, and the biggest one we have in the 
country is right here in southern California. And I thank you. I thank 
the people of California for being so wonderful to Hillary and to the 
Vice President and to me, all along the way. It has been an amazing 
    I'm thinking today about a trip I made almost exactly a week ago--I 
guess it was a week ago yesterday--to a place that superficially is very 
different from California. On February the 18th I went back to New 
Hampshire, on the 7th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary in 1992. 
And everywhere I went, it was cold and rainy and just the antithesis of 
today. And New Hampshire only has about a million people, and California 
has a few more. [Laughter] It has a lot of people living in small towns 
and in rural areas. But on this cold, rainy day, everywhere I went, 
there were schoolchildren standing out in the rain, and people standing 
there. I hadn't been there in a good while. They normally vote for 
Republicans. They voted for Al Gore and me twice there, and I'm very 
grateful for that.
    But the reason I was thinking about it tonight is that when I 
traveled around the country, beginning in 1991 and throughout 1992, I 
think the two places that, in some ways, most clearly embodied the 
anxiety, the difficulty, the frustration of America, were New Hampshire 
and California. Because while you were very different, both places were 
used to being on the cutting edge of economic progress. Both places 
believed in hard work and opportunity, and both places were pretty 
devastated by what was going on.
    In New Hampshire, five of the seven biggest banks had failed. I met 
people who had their business loans called even though they weren't 
delinquent. I met children whose parents became seriously depressed, 
clinically depressed, simply because they couldn't stand coming home at 
night to dinner not being able to work and provide for their children.
    And I saw a lot of incredible things. But when I came back to see 
New Hampshire, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, 
and a great deal of self-confidence, one of the things that touched me, 
because it was such a small State, is that all these people said, ``We 
want you to know, Mr. President, we're for you not only because we're 
doing better, but because you did exactly what you said you would do 
when you ran for President.'' And that meant a great deal to me.
    So increasingly over these next 2 years, as I travel around America 
to events like this, I will be here advocating the agenda that I

[[Page 330]]

intend to pursue until the last hour of my last day in office. But I 
will also be reminding the American people of the ideas and the ideals, 
which are bigger than any administration and bigger than any person, 
that we have tried to bring to bear in American public life for the last 
6 years.
    In 1992 I came to California and I said this country needs new 
ideas. We can't stand inaction. But these new ideas have to be premised 
on fulfilling the historic mission of America: opportunity for everybody 
who is responsible enough to work for it; a community of all Americans, 
not just some; and the leadership of the whole world for peace and 
freedom and prosperity.
    And we have been about that business, and guess what--it worked. It 
worked. And sometimes I think--and I say that in all humility. I don't 
take full responsibility for all the good things that have happened--
neither should anyone else. America has produced this. This has been an 
American achievement.
    But I do say this--because our administration and because our people 
from the Vice President and the First Lady to the Cabinet, to all of our 
people--because we believe in things that clearly distinguish ourselves 
from our friends in the other party, we have made a difference.
    We believe that every single person deserves a chance to live out 
his or her dreams. And we believe that none of us can be all we would 
like to be unless we recognize that all of us are part of one community 
and one family, and we have to help each other in order to make the most 
of our own lives. And we believe the purpose of political life is to 
bring out the best, not the worst, in people; to unite this country, not 
to divide it; to lift people up, not hold them back. That's what we 
    And after 6 years, with the longest peacetime economic expansion in 
history and the lowest unemployment rate in peacetime since 1957, the 
welfare rolls cut in half, homeownership at an all-time high, record 
numbers of new businesses every year, over 200,000 new jobs in 
technology areas alone in the last couple of years, half in just 3 
years, half of all of our classrooms connected to the Internet, so we're 
going to make that goal of all of them connected by the year 2000, with 
over 90 percent of our children getting their basic immunizations for 
the first time in American history, I think we can say America is on the 
right path to the future and moving in the right direction.
    Tonight I want you to remember basically just two things: Number 
one, I believe that for our party and our supporters, the best politics 
is doing the right thing. And that means trying to get as much done as 
we can this year to take advantage of our prosperity, to take advantage 
of our confidence, and not to simply relax and enjoy it.
    California, of all places, with all the diversity and all the change 
and people here from everywhere else, aware of conflicts and troubles 
and instability in other parts of the world--this State knows that we 
have to look to the long-term challenges facing our country. And that is 
why I have asked the Congress to join me now in dealing with the 
challenges that the baby boomers will present as we age and solve and 
save Social Security and Medicare for the 21st century.
    That is why I've asked the Congress to join me now to keep this 
economic recovery going by doing three things: Number one, I have 
proposed a new markets initiative in recognition of the fact that in Los 
Angeles County, in New York City, in rural areas in the Mississippi 
Delta and Appalachia, on Native American reservations all across the 
country, there has been no economic recovery. If we cannot, through tax 
incentives and loan guarantees, get free enterprise investment into the 
poorest areas of America and make them part of our prosperity now, we 
will never get around to it. Now is the time to bring opportunity to all 
    The second thing we ought to do is save about three-quarters of this 
surplus of ours for the next 15 years to fix Social Security and 
Medicare, and in the process, pay down the debt. If you pay down the 
debt--now, this is not something any of you ever thought about--if I 
told you in '92 vote for me and I'll come back here in 6 years and tell 
you I'll pay down the debt after it had quadrupled, you would have said 
that man is too unstable to be president; we can't have him here. 

[[Page 331]]

    But I want the young people here to listen to me. You don't know 
what's going to happen in other parts of the world. I am doing my very 
best to stabilize the global economy, to put a human face on the global 
economy, to avoid the kind of churning disruptions we've had in Asia and 
the threats to Latin America so we can continue stable growth.
    But let me tell you this: If we pay down that debt, in 15 years, 
debt will be the smallest percentage of our income it's been since 
before we got into World War I. We'll only be spending 2 cents of every 
dollar you pay in taxes servicing our debt. Interest rates will be 
lower. Business loan rates will be lower. Home mortgage rates, car 
payments, credit card payments, student loans will all be less 
expensive. There will be more investment, more jobs, and higher incomes. 
If we have tough times around the world, America will have it better. If 
we have good times, America will have it great. Help me to convince the 
American people all to tell the Congress to secure our economy for the 

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