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Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Statement Commemorating the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

October 21, 1999

    Four years ago today, according to the Hebrew calendar, Yitzhak 
Rabin was murdered by an assassin in Tel Aviv. He was a Prime Minister, 
a general, a diplomat, and a courageous soldier in the battle for peace. 
All of us who were his friends still mourn his death.
    Twelve days from now, world leaders will gather in Oslo to honor 
Yitzhak Rabin's memory. I will attend on behalf of the American people. 
It was in Oslo, 6 years ago, that Israelis and Palestinians made the 
crucial decision to try to work together to achieve peace. Now, Prime 
Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat, and I will come together in Oslo to 
build on that legacy and move closer to Rabin's goal: a permanent peace 
between Israel and the Palestinian people.
    There is much hard work ahead, with difficult decisions for all 
sides. But as we look back in sorrow to mourn the passing of a great 
man, we must do everything in our power on behalf of the cause to which 
he gave his life.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2106-2107]
Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Statement on House Action on Education Legislation

October 21, 1999

    Making our schools work for all America's children is the most 
important challenge we face. By passing H.R. 2 today, the House took an 
important step toward improving educational opportunities for the 
Nation's most disadvantaged students. Although I have a number of 
concerns with this bill, I am pleased that H.R. 2 reflects a bipartisan 
consensus on several principles of the education reform plan I sent 
Congress earlier this year. As I said in my State of the Union Address, 
the Federal Government has a responsibility not only to invest more in 
our poorest schools, but to demand more results in return.
    In particular, the bill continues the work of standards-based 
reform, expands public school choice, and recognizes the importance of 
holding schools accountable for results. I am pleased that a solid 
bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject the false promise of 
vouchers. I am also pleased that the House, by passing the Mink 
amendment, chose to incorporate gender equity provisions in this 
    As the reauthorization process continues, I will work with Congress 
to improve certain aspects of this bill, including provisions for

[[Page 2107]]

students with limited English proficiency, as well as provisions that 
target funds to our neediest students, increase the quality of Title I 
instructors, and ensure that accountability systems are workable. We 
have more work to do to enact a strong, comprehensive plan to hold 
schools accountable for results. I urge Congress to continue moving 

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2107-2108]
Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Proclamation 7243--National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun 
Violence, 1999

October 21, 1999

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

    Events of the past year have dramatically demonstrated the 
continuing need for a National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun 
Violence. In communities across our country, we saw young lives cut 
short by gunfire. We watched, horrified, as the same scene played out 
repeatedly in classrooms, school yards, and places of worship. Out of 
cities like Fort Worth, Texas; Conyers, Georgia; Granada Hills, 
California; and Littleton, Colorado, came the images that have become 
painfully familiar--racing ambulances, terrified children, grieving 
families. As a national community, we shared a sense of devastating loss 
too immediate to comprehend. Behind these headlines, every day in our 
Nation 12 young people die as a result of gun violence.
    In response to this disturbing cycle, my Administration has taken 
comprehensive action against youth violence. Last October, we held the 
first-ever White House Conference on School Safety, where I launched a 
new initiative to increase the number of safety officers in schools and 
unveiled a new plan to help schools respond to violence. After the 
tragedy in Littleton, we held a Summit on Youth Violence at which we 
launched a national campaign to end youth violence.
    Earlier this month, I established the White House Council on Youth 
Violence to ensure the effective coordination of the many agencies and 
programs of the Federal Government that address youth violence issues. 
In addition, we have selected 54 communities to receive more than $100 
million in Safe Schools/Healthy Students grants in an effort to find and 
fund the best ideas to reduce youth violence through community-based 
collaborative efforts. These funds will allow communities to implement 
important measures such as hiring more security personnel, installing 
security equipment, and improving student mental health services.
    I have also called upon the Congress to do its part by passing a 
juvenile crime bill that closes the dangerous gun show loophole, 
requires child safety locks for guns, and bans the importation of large-
capacity ammunition clips. I will continue to fight hard to win passage 
of these commonsense measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
    As we observe this year's National Day of Concern About Young People 
and Gun Violence, I encourage every student in America to sign a Student 
Pledge Against Gun Violence, a solemn oath never to bring a gun to 
school and never to use a gun to settle a dispute. More than one million 
students signed the pledge last year, and I hope that many more will 
participate this year. I also urge all Americans to make their voices 
heard and support efforts to reduce gun violence. We need every sector 
of our society--families, educators, communities, businesses, religious 
leaders, policymakers, and members of law enforcement--to join together 
in this crusade to end the cycle of violence and create a brighter, 
safer future for our children.
    Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United 
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the 
Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 
21, 1999, as a National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun 
Violence. On this day, I call upon all Americans to commit themselves 
anew to helping our young people avoid violence, to setting a good 
example, and to restoring our schools and neighborhoods as safe havens 
for learning and recreation.
    In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first 
day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-
nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two 
hundred and twenty-fourth.
                                            William J. Clinton

[[Page 2108]]

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., October 25, 

Note: This proclamation will be published in the Federal Register on 
October 26.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2108-2110]
Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Remarks at a Reception for Senator Edward M. Kennedy

October 21, 1999

    Thank you. Is this a rowdy crowd or what? [Laughter] You know, I'm 
not used to showing up and being the straight man. [Laughter] This is a 
very emotional moment for me. [Laughter] When I was in the 10th grade, 
Ted Kennedy was in the Senate. [Laughter] And when I retire from two 
terms as President, Ted Kennedy will be in the Senate. [Laughter] And I 
resent it. [Laughter]
    I don't know what Patrick's doing here. He's supposed to be raising 
money for House Members. [Laughter] You may have cost us four seats 
tonight, with all this money going here. [Laughter] Actually, he got an 
excused absence from Master Gephardt to come here tonight, and I'm 
    Let me say a couple of words seriously. I am genuinely honored to be 
here. I love Edward Kennedy. And I am something of a student of the 
history of our country. I just--one of our guests tonight gave me a 
biography of Chester Arthur, because I don't own one. I've got this 
great--I've read all about all of our Presidents; I've studied the 
history of the United States Congress.
    I do believe that any fair reading of that history would say that 
Edward Kennedy was one of the four or five most productive, ablest, 
greatest United States Senators that ever served this great Republic of 
    And I am grateful for this family's commitment to public service. 
There is no question--I was a Governor for 12 years, and I care a lot 
about these issues that the States deal with. There's no question that 
Kathleen has done more with the job of Lieutenant Governor than any 
person in her position in the United States of America, and that 
Maryland was the first State--thanks to her--to make community service a 
part of the requirement of being a student in the public schools. And 
that is very, very important.
    And you know, I said I was in the 10th grade when Ted went to the 
Senate. Patrick looks like he's in the 10th grade--[laughter]--and yet, 
here he is. You know, he's been here 3\1/2\ months or something in the 
Congress, and he's already the head of the campaign committee. 
[Laughter] So I think that there is no limit to what he can and will do 
in the Congress. And you already heard him say he's trying to recruit 
one of his brothers--I mean one of Kathleen's brothers--to run for the 
Congress in Illinois. So we are grateful for the service of this Senator 
and this family. And, you know, Vicki is my neighbor from Louisiana, so 
they've shown a certain affinity for Southerners. [Laughter]
    I want you to know something else, too, that I'm grateful for. In 
January of 1992
Jackie came to a fundraiser for me when I was running fifth in New 
Hampshire, and reached out to my wife and to my daughter in ways that I 
will never forget. One month after, her son had also come to an event 
for me, when I think I was running sixth in New Hampshire. [Laughter] So 
we've had this marvelous friendship.
    Sargent Shriver was, yesterday, with me when we celebrated the fifth 
anniversary of AmeriCorps. We've had 150,000 young people in 5 years 
serve their country in citizen service, earned some money to go to 
college. We've done a lot of things together.
    But the reason that you're here, and the reason you ought to be 
here, is that a lot of big decisions are going to be made in the next 
few years. And it'll make a big difference if Ted Kennedy is in the 
Senate. We also have a genuine, legitimate chance to be in the 
congressional majority again. And that's very important.
    But I said in '92 if people would vote for me, I would try to 
reinstitute the basic values of opportunity, responsibility, and 
community. I said that we would try some new ideas that would transform 
our country. I said in '96, ``If you'll reelect me, I'll try to build 
this country a bridge to the 21st century.'' I might have said, in 
starker terms, that this country was in tough shape in '92, and drifting 
and divided. A lot of people have forgotten that.
    And I feel that we have sort of turned around, just like a big ship 
in the middle of the ocean, and we're steaming in the right

[[Page 2109]]

direction. Any statistic I could quote--we have the longest peacetime 
expansion in history, 19\1/2\ million new jobs, the highest 
homeownership ever. And just listen--when people ask you why they ought 
to be for the Democrats--we have the lowest unemployment in 29 years, 
the lowest welfare rolls in 30 years, the lowest poverty rate in 20 
years, the lowest crime rate in 26 years, the lowest murder rate in 31 
years, the first back-to-back surpluses in 42 years, all with a 
Government that is the smallest it's been since John Kennedy was 
President in 1962, 37 years ago. And Ted Kennedy was at the center of 
every decision that was made that made that possible. And you should be 
proud of that.
    Now, next time you meet somebody that says they're going to vote for 
a Republican for the Congress or the White House, you give them those 
statistics and ask them what their answer is.
    But what I want to tell you is we can build that bridge. But the 
people of this country are going to make some profound decisions. And 
there are profound differences. Are we really going to do what the 
Republicans want, and give all the non-Social Security surplus away in a 
tax cut? If they get the White House and Congress, we will.
    Are we going to meet the challenge of the aging of America? The 
number of people over 65 is going to double in 30 years. I hope to live 
to be one of them. [Laughter] We'll have two people working for every 
one person drawing Social Security. We have a chance and an obligation 
to save Social Security, to reform Medicare, to restore some of the cuts 
we put in that were excessive 2 years ago, to add a prescription drug 
benefit, and to take care of the elderly of this country, which all of 
the young people should favor, because it means they won't have to do it 
and they'll have the money to raise our grandchildren. It's a big issue.
    Are we going to take seriously our responsibility to the largest and 
most diverse group of students in our history, and modernize their 
schools and connect their classrooms to the Internet, and give them 
teachers so they'll have small classes with well-trained teachers in the 
early grades, and give them the after-school and the summer school 
programs they need? Or are we going to squander that opportunity?
    Are we going to do something, finally, for the people and places 
that have been left behind in this recovery? Yes, we've got the lowest 
poverty rate in 20 years; that's the good news. The bad news is that 
there's still about 20 percent of our kids in poverty and a higher 
percentage of minority children. And we have a chance to bring the 
benefits of enterprise to people who want to work in places left behind. 
Are we going to do it or walk away from it?
    And I hope to persuade Congress that--well, we can do all this and 
still, over the next 15 years pay down our debt until we're debt-free 
for the first time since 1835. And I think another one of your nephews, 
Joe Kennedy, used to talk about this when he was in Congress: the 
liberal party ought to be for doing that, because it means lower 
interest rates; more jobs; more investment; higher incomes; lower costs 
for home loans, for student loans, for car loans, and for credit cards. 

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