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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, November 10, 1997
Volume 33--Number 45
Pages 1697-1753

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]


Addresses and Remarks

    Fast-track trade legislation--1729, 1735, 1743, 1746
        Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner in Boca 
        Democratic National Committee luncheon in Palm Beach--1697
        Democratic National Committee autumn
                retreat on Amelia Island
            Arts and culture session--1710
            Education session--1705
            Globalization and trade session--1707
    National Public Radio's ``Performance Today,'' 10th anniversary--
    New Jersey, gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevey in Edison--1716
    New York
        Congressional candidate Eric Vitaliano in Staten Island--1714
        Mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger in New York City--1719
    Senator John F. Kerry, dinner--1732
    Texas, dedication of the George Bush Presidential Library in College 
    Virginia, gubernatorial candidate Donald S. Beyer, Jr., in 

Bill Vetoes

    Line item vetoes

        Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations 
            Act, 1998, message transmitting reports--1712
        Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban 
            Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 
            1998, message transmitting reports--1711

Communications to Congress

    See also Bill Vetoes
    Cyprus, letter transmitting report--1750
    Sudan, message--1728

Executive Orders

    Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions 
        With Sudan--1727

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchange with reporters
        Briefing Room--1743
        College Station, TX--1740
        Oval Office--1735
        Roosevelt Room--1746
        Rose Garden--1729


    National Adoption Month--1726
    National American Indian Heritage Month--1722
    National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence--1745
    Veterans Day--1749

Statements by the President

    Fast-track trade legislation--1731
    Russian ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention--1739

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--1753
    Checklist of White House press releases--1752
    Digest of other White House announcements--1750
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--1751


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[[Page 1697]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 1697-1701]
Monday, November 10, 1997
Volume 33--Number 45
Pages 1697-1753
Week Ending Friday, November 7, 1997
Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at a Democratic National 
Committee Luncheon in Palm Beach, Florida

October 31, 1997

    The President. Harriet got on a roll, I didn't want her to stop. 
What did you say? No, I was just thinking Harriet was on a roll. I 
didn't want to stop her.
    Thank you, and thank you, Jerome. We are old friends. And I want to 
thank Sidney and Dorothy for having me back in their wonderful home. I 
was here a little over 5 years ago. They look much younger even than 
they did then, and I have all this gray hair to show for the last 5 
years, but I've enjoyed it immensely.
    You mentioned the St. Mary's Hospital Board, and for those of you 
who don't know, that was the hospital that took care of me when I tore 
my leg off by falling 8 inches here a few months ago. I visited the 
little school in Jupiter that I was supposed to visit that day when I 
couldn't go. And I'm delighted to be back here.
    We're in Florida, among other things, pushing the fast-track 
legislation. There's going to be a vote in Congress next week. And 
Secretary Daley, the Secretary of Commerce, and my Special Counselor, 
Doug Sosnik, who has a wife from Argentina, the three of us just got 
back from Latin America. And I came back even more convinced than ever 
that it's the right thing to do for our country.
    Let me just be very brief. What I'd like to do is to talk a minute 
or two and then, if you have a couple of questions maybe I could hear 
from you. That would help save my voice, and it will be more interesting 
for you.
    We learned today that growth in the last quarter--this quarter, is 
3.5 percent, and growth has averaged almost 4 percent over the last 
year, the highest in more than a decade. I think that has come about 
because we both broke political gridlock in Washington in 1993 with the 
economic plan and in 1997 with the Balanced Budget Act, and because, 
perhaps even more important, we broke an intellectual gridlock.
    Harriet mentioned that she knew me a long time before I became 
President. Most Americans didn't. And one of the things that never 
ceases to amaze me is when I read things written about our policies and 
they say, ``Well, he's adopted this Republican policy and that 
Democratic policy and just making it up as he goes along.'' I was 
reading the other day--last night, getting ready to come down here, an 
article I wrote in 1988 that basically sounds like the speeches I'm 
giving today. But if you're a Governor out in the hinterland, you don't 
exist for people that interpret you to America until you move to 
Washington. So I thank Jerome and Harriet for being my old friends.
    But what I wanted to do when I came to Washington 6 years ago was to 
get people to stop thinking in these sort of outdated, left-right terms, 
and start thinking instead about what we were trying to do, what is the 
mission of America. And if you think about it in that term, it helps you 
to pick the proper course.
    Without economic policy, it seemed to me there was a huge fight 
between whether we should run a huge deficit and cut taxes or whether we 
should run a slightly smaller deficit and spend more money. And I 
thought both of those were wrong for the modern economy. And people 
laughed at me when I went to Washington and said, ``Here's what we're 
going to do. We're going to reduce the deficit, balance the budget, and 
spend more money on education and the health care of our children and 
empowering our poorest communities.'' And they said, ``Yeah, and the $3 
bill is coming back.'' But that's what we've done, and it worked.

[[Page 1698]]

    On crime, it seemed to me we were having a phony debate in 
Washington about whether we needed to talk tougher and have harsher 
sentences or do more to help prevent crime in the first place. The 
sensible thing to do is to sentence more harshly people who should be 
and prevent everybody you can from committing crimes and also work on 
the environment. That's what the Brady bill, the assault weapons ban, 
100,000 more police on the street were about. And we've contributed to a 
dramatic decline in crime in the last 5 years.
    On welfare, the debate was, ``It's an unfortunate system, but don't 
you have to take care of these children,'' or ``These people don't 
really want to work, so you have to make them work''--sort of polarizing 
debate. My experience as a Governor was that nearly every person I ever 
met on welfare was dying to go to work; that the system penalized them 
because they generally didn't have the education and skills they needed 
on the one hand, or on the other, if they took a job that was a minimum 
wage job, they lost Medicaid health coverage for their kids, and they 
didn't have the money to pay for child support.
    So we said, ``Let's be tough on work, require people that can work 
to work, but take care of their children, because everyone's most 
important job is taking care of their kids.'' We've had over 3 million 
people drop off the welfare rolls, the biggest decline in history, the 
smallest percentage of Americans on welfare since 1970, after 20 years 
of high levels of immigration.
    I guess what I'm saying is, what I think works is saying, ``The 
Government can't sit on the sidelines. The Government can't be a savior. 
The Government's job is to create the conditions and give people the 
tools to make the most of their own lives and to build good communities 
and families.''
    And I believe we're much closer than we were 5 years ago to my dream 
of the 21st century America where there's opportunity for everybody 
responsible enough to work for it, where we're still leading the world 
for peace and freedom, and where the country is managing its diversity, 
even celebrating it, but coming across all those lines into one America. 
And for all of you who have helped me to do that, I'm very grateful.
    Now, we still have some challenges. One of them is this fast track 
bill. A third of our growth in the last 5 years has come from trade. 
This bill gives me the power to negotiate trade agreements. If the 
Congress doesn't like them, they can vote them down. It has all been 
caught up in, I think, worries of uncertainty and instability among 
certain workers, because not everybody wins when there's more trade, 
although most job loss in America, 80 percent, is due to technology.
    So what should we do? We ought to provide more education and better 
transition for people who lose their jobs through trade or technological 
changes, not walk away from trade. These jobs pay more on average. And 
we have no choice. Latin America is going to grow on average 3 times the 
rate of America. We're 4 percent of the world's people. We've got 20 
percent of the world's income. If we want to keep it, we better sell 
more to the other 96 percent. So the fast-track debate is a big debate.
    We had a big meeting with China this week; the President of China 
was here. We have severe disagreements over human rights, political 
rights, religious rights. But the best way to advance those issues, in 
my view, is to work with China and try to make a partner out of China in 
the 21st century, not create a new cold war with a different country on 
the other side. If it comes out that way, it ought not be our fault. We 
ought to have the sure knowledge if there is a polarizing situation in 
the 21st century that it's not our fault, that we did everything we 
could to create a responsible, international system of free trade, 
peace, common efforts against terrorism, weapons proliferation, shared 
environmental and disease problems, and respect for democracy and human 
rights. So I think we're doing the right thing.
    We've got a number of other challenges. I'm in a big debate with the 
Congress--in some ways, the most fateful one--over whether the United 
States should have national academic standards in the basics in schools 
and an exam--voluntary--to see if our children are meeting those 
standards. And I suggested we start with a reading test in the fourth 
grade and a math test in the eighth grade. Just had another study this 
week that said that kids who take algebra in

[[Page 1699]]

the eighth grade are far more likely to stay in school and far more 
likely to go to college and far more likely to do well in college. We're 
the only major country without any kind of national academic standards, 
and I think it's crazy not to do it. I'm still fighting that out.
    We were thwarted this year in our efforts to pass campaign reform, 
but I think we've got a good chance to pass it next year. And I might 
say, I appreciate the fact that all of you who are here at this event 
are giving us what in the current jargon is called ``hard money'' and 
what also will be provided for under the new campaign finance reform 
law. We need to change the finance system.

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