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                                            William J. Clinton

[[Page 485]]

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., March 23, 

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on March 
24. This item was not received in time for publication in the 
appropriate issue.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 485-488]
Monday, March 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 12
Pages 471-530
Week Ending Friday, March 26, 1999
Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Reception

March 19, 1999

    Thank you very much. You know, this is my second public event today. 
I earlier did a press conference, and I like this a lot better. I want 
to join all of you in thanking Steve Grossman for a job superlatively 
well done. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Barbara. Thank you for being 
there. He's come a long way since he took over the leadership of the 
Democratic Party, thanks to all of you, and I appreciate that.
    I want to thank Roy Romer, Mayor Archer, Loretta Sanchez, and all of 
our other officers who are here. I want to thank Carol Pensky and Len 
Barrack and those who are going out. I want to thank Joe Andrew, Andy 
Tobias, Beth Dozoretz. I want to thank Gloria Molina, Lottie 
Shackelford, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Joan Menard. I want to thank all of 
you who are members of the DNC.
    I want to thank the people from our administration who are here and 
those for whom they stand. We have Aida Alvarez, our Small Business 
Administrator; Janice Lachance, the Director of OPM; John Podesta, my 
Chief of Staff; and many people from the White House; and Buddy MacKay, 
the former Lieutenant Governor of Florida and our new Special Envoy to 
Latin America. Thank you all for what you have done.
    And I want to say a special word of thanks to the Vice President for 
being my partner and being our leader in everything we have done 
together. This country is a better place in the last 6 years, because 
we've done the right things, and most of them would not have been 
possible if it hadn't been for the partnership that I have enjoyed with 
Al Gore, and I thank him very much.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I will be fairly brief tonight. I want to make 
about three points, as clearly and forcefully as I can. First of all, 
you know what we can do now when we're united and when we're clear and 
when we take a message to the American people that resonates with them. 
You know that no one believed that we could win seats in the House in 
1998. It had only been done in a midterm election twice in this century, 
twice since the Civil War, and not in the second term of a President 
since 1822.
    You know something that never gets written when people mention this: 
We did it while being outspent by $100 million. Equally remarkable was 
the fact that we did not lose seats in the Senate, even though we had 
more Senate seats up and more people retiring, and just a few months 
before the election the other side was saying they would pick up between 
four and six Senate seats and probably end the threat of a filibuster so 
they could have all their way. You did that. We did that together.
    And I want to say two things about that. First, we can do even 
better next time if--if--we go out and get good candidates. And I want 
to give exhibit A here for Joe Andrew: the Governor of Indiana, Frank 
O'Bannon, is here, and he won against all the odds in Indiana because he 
is a good leader; he is a good candidate. He was doing the right things. 
He succeeded a man who was doing the right things.
    The Democratic Party and the Republican Party don't mean a great 
deal to a lot of people most of the time. They show up on election day; 
they want to look at a flesh-and-blood man or woman, and they want to 
know what does this person stand for--what is going to happen if I give 
that person my vote? And so I say to you, we have to be about the 
business of asking more and more people to join our ranks and to put 
themselves on the line.
    If you live in a State where there's a Senate seat up, you shouldn't 
rest until you believe you have the best people asking for the 
Democratic nomination. You shouldn't rest until you have the best people 
asking for the Democratic nomination to run for the House of 
Representatives, to run for the open Governorships, to run in the 
legislative races, to run in all these races. You cannot beat somebody 
with nobody.

[[Page 486]]

    We have wonderful people in this country who believe as we do, who 
have the same dreams for America. We have got to persuade them to put 
themselves on the line. It's not easy to run for public office. You 
know, the person that I have shared my home with for over 20 years now 
said to me the other day, as she was doing all these calls to people in 
New York--I have to reiterate my statement at the press conference; I 
have no idea what she's going to do. And I don't. [Laughter] But she 
laughed at me the other night. We were talking about this, and she said, 
``You know, this is a lot harder when it's you instead of somebody 
you're helping.'' [Laughter] And so I say to all of you, I understand 
what a sacrifice it is to seek public office. And having run several 
times, and having been defeated twice, I can tell you that it's not fun 
to lose. But you can't win if you're afraid to lose.
    And so when the Democratic committee leaves here with a new set of 
leaders--I'm glad we're putting in a slate unopposed, but we won't be so 
fortunate in the Senate races, the House races, the Governors races, the 
legislative races. And as I repeatedly tell anyone who ever asks me, the 
last honest draft of a politician for public office was when the Romans 
took Cincinnatus out of the field over 2,000 years ago. [Laughter] Ever 
since then, people more or less have to ask for the job.
    So go home inspired by what we have done and what we're fighting for 
and what we stand for, and make sure that we show up in all these 
elections. You can do that.
    The second point I want to make is this: We won the elections in 
1998 because we had a message for the country. It wasn't simply because 
the American people disapproved of what the other party was doing; it 
was because we said, ``Vote for us, and we will save Social Security and 
Medicare for the 21st century; we will be for a Patients' Bill of 
Rights; we will be for 21st century schools with more teachers, smaller 
classes, modernized facilities; and we will do the things necessary to 
keep our economy growing.'' And the American people said, ``It sounds 
good to me. That's what I want to be part of.''
    And so for the next 2 years, we are going to be working as hard as 
we can and in good faith with the Republicans for principled compromise 
that reflects our values and our positions to honor the commitments we 
made in 1998. Make no mistake about it: We have to be caught trying hard 
to do exactly what we promised to do.
    So if anybody asks you, if anybody asks you what the President said 
when you were in Washington, you tell them he said we're going to save 
Social Security and Medicare for the 21st century. We're going to pay 
the debt of this Government down to insure the health of the American 
economy for our children and our grandchildren for 20 or 30 years. We're 
going to pass a good Patients' Bill of Rights, not another patients' 
bill of goods, like--one more time--the other party voted out of 
committee yesterday, that leaves out 100 million people and doesn't 
guarantee you the specialist or emergency room treatment you deserve and 
won't protect your rights even if they're written into law.
    Tell them we're going to fight for more teachers and smaller classes 
and modernized schools. Tell them we're going to stick up for the 
environment, everything from global warming to the livability agenda to 
make all of our communities more livable in the 21st century, that the 
Vice President did so much to develop.
    And tell them one more thing: the Democratic Party is determined to 
go into the 21st century taking everybody along. We did it in 1993 when 
we passed, by the narrowest of margins, the deficit reduction plan that 
began our efforts to double our investment in education and training; 
that gave tax cuts to 15 million working families; that did more than 
any budget bill had in a long time to create empowerment opportunities 
for ordinary citizens, including our empowerment zone initiative that 
Mayor Archer has done so much with in Detroit, and that we see 
revitalizing urban and rural areas all across America.
    And in this budget, we have the next big step. We have, in this 
budget, something--I want everybody to go home and talk about this. 
There's not a State in America that doesn't have a community somewhere 
that has not yet fully participated in this economic

[[Page 487]]

growth. And if you want America to keep growing, we have to find new 
markets, and we ought to find them here at home. There are cities; there 
are rural areas; there are Native American reservations. There are 
places from Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta, to south Texas to east 
Los Angeles, and all across the northern tier of this country that 
haven't been a part of that.
    Here's what our initiative does: It uses tax credits and loan 
guarantees and other incentives to give Americans the same incentive to 
invest in America we give them to invest overseas. It's high time we did 
it, and I want you to help us pass it.
    And finally, let me just say one last point. In the last 2 days, we 
have had amazing things happening under this tent. Night before last, we 
celebrated Saint Patrick's Day, and I gave the Medal of Freedom to 
George Mitchell of Maine for his role in helping us to promote peace in 
Northern Ireland. Last night the widow of Prime Minister Rabin, his 
daughter, his granddaughter were here. And they said they were going to 
dedicate a garden at the Rabin Center in honor of Hillary and me, and 
they gave us a little award.
    The award is not important. The important thing is that the people 
of Israel were recognizing once again that the people of the United 
States, and that this administration--not just me but all of us--are 
irrevocably committed to the proposition that people can live in peace 
together in the Middle East if they can live in justice and fairness 
together in the Middle East.
    I just had a distinguished group of American women into the White 
House to see me, to talk about the problems of the oppression of women 
and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan--over one million refugees in 
Pakistan. America cares about those women. America cares about the 
little girls. America cares about the male sons of the widows who have 
been plundered there. That's what your country stands for.
    The First Lady's not here tonight because she's in the Vice 
President's home State, at a dedication of Alex Haley's farm, to 
remember the roots of 30 million African-Americans.
    Why do I say this? Because when you go home, and people ask you why 
you're a Democrat, I want you to tell them that you're a Democrat 
because you believe that every responsible person in this country should 
have opportunity, the chance to develop, the chance to grow, the chance 
to live out their dreams, and because you believe that every individual 
can only achieve it if we are committed to doing it for each other 
together. That we believe in a profound way in the idea of community--
not some sappy, purely altruistic idea, but that we ourselves cannot 
have the lives we want unless we give our brothers and sisters around 
this country, and like-minded people all around the world, the same 
    I am so grateful that I have had 6 years, and have nearly 2 more, to 
fight for those opportunities and to fight for that idea of community. 
That is what distinguishes the Democratic Party. It is what has made 
America great. In some ways, it is what makes us today not only the 
party--as I have repeatedly said--of Jefferson and Jackson and Roosevelt 
and Kennedy and Johnson but also the party, today, of Abraham Lincoln 
and Theodore Roosevelt. We embody the best in America and in America's 
    So go home full of energy. Have a great meeting tomorrow. Have your 
uncontested election. And then go home and find Democrats who will 
contest the elections of 2000. Go home and tell people we mean to do 
what we said in 1998, and the Democratic Party is in Washington fighting 
to save Social Security and Medicare, to pay the debt down, to keep the 
economy going, and to take everybody into the 21st century. And go home 
and tell them you're proud to be a part of the oldest party in the 
entire world, because it believes in opportunity for all and a community 
in which we all help each other to be what God meant us to be.
    Thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:25 p.m. in the South Lawn Pavilion at the 
White House. In his remarks, he referred to the following Democratic 
National Committee officials: Steve Grossman, national chair, and his 
wife, Barbara; former Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado, general chair; Mayor 
Dennis W. Archer of Detroit, MI, general cochair-

[[Page 488]]

designate; Representative Loretta Sanchez, general cochair-designate; 
Carol Pensky, treasurer; Leonard Barrack, national finance chair; Joseph 
J. Andrew, national chair-designate; Andy Tobias, treasurer-designate; 
Beth Dozoretz, national finance chair-designate; and Los Angeles County 
Supervisor Gloria Molina, Lottie Shackelford, and Linda Chavez-Thompson, 
vice chairs. The President also referred to Massachusetts State 
Democratic Party Chair Joan M. Menard, president, Association of State 
Democratic Chairs; former Senator George J. Mitchell, who chaired the 
multi-party talks in Northern Ireland; and Leah Rabin, widow of the late 
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, her daughter, Dahlia Rabin-
Pelossof, and her granddaughter, Noa Pelossof. This item was not 
received in time for publication in the appropriate issue.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 488-489]
Monday, March 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 12
Pages 471-530
Week Ending Friday, March 26, 1999
The President's Radio Address

March 20, 1999

    Good morning. Today I want to talk with you about the next important 
steps we can take to rid our streets of gun violence and to make our 
communities even safer for our families. I'm proud to be joined today in 
the Oval Office by Attorney General Janet Reno, Treasury Under Secretary 
Jim Johnson, AFT Director John Magaw, Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore, 
Police Chief Jerry Oliver of Richmond, and Chief Robert Olson of 
Minneapolis, Congressman Anthony Weiner, as well as four of our United 
States attorneys who are leading this fight across America.
    Over the last 6 years we've worked hard to fight crime, putting in 
place a strategy of more prevention, stricter enforcement, tougher 
punishment. We funded more than 92,000 police officers for 11,000 
communities, taken more criminals and deadly assault weapons off the 
street, and with Brady background checks, stopped more than a quarter of 
a million handguns from falling into the hands of convicted felons and 
other prohibited persons.
    As a result, the crime rate has dropped by more than 20 percent, to 
the lowest level in a generation. Gun crimes have declined by more than 
25 percent. Gun murders have fallen by a third. Slowly but surely, 
neighborhoods once abandoned at the crack of gunfire and the wail of 
ambulance sirens are coming alive with the sounds of children playing 
freely in the streets.
    This is indeed encouraging news. But we must do more. In 1997, 
14,000 people were murdered by guns. While the numbers are declining, 
any child caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout, or a police 
officer struck down by a criminal's bullet, or a store clerk murdered in 
a robbery is one tragedy too many.
    That is why today I'm directing Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and 
Attorney General Reno to use every available tool to increase the 
prosecution of gun criminals and shut down illegal gun markets. I'm 
asking them to work closely with local, State, and Federal law 
enforcement officials and to report back to me with a plan to reduce gun 
violence by applying proven local strategies to fight gun crime 
    Look at what Federal prosecutors and the ATF are doing in Richmond, 
Virginia, in an effort they call Project Exile. Under the leadership of 
U.S. Attorney Helen Fahey, Project Exile has used the threat of tough 

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