Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - April 3, 2000 - Remarks at a reception for Representative Debbie Stabenow

� Remarks at a Reception for Representative Debbie Stabenow



� March 28, 2000



� Thank you. Now, only a politician who is not running for office

would take a stand on the Final Four before the results are in.




� Thank you very much. Debbie, I am a huge basketball fan. And I

already lost my State school and my daughter's alma mater in the

NCAA, so I'm just watching it with great fascination. It's been a

good tournament.



� I want to thank Senator Torricelli for all that he has done for the

Democrats, and the Senate candidates in particular. And I thank Carl

Levin for more than I can say. You have no idea all the good things

that he does in the Senate, many of which are not vote-getting

issues; they'll never make the headlines. But someone needs to be

going to work every day who cares about public policy and good

Government and the way this country works. And Carl Levin does. You

should be really proud of him. He's a really good man.



� I want to thank Gary and Bill and Michelle for helping Debbie to

raise the money necessary to wage a campaign against an incumbent

Senator of the other party. It's a difficult thing to do. And she is

in good shape, but she needs your support to do it. And I want to

thank John Conyers and Sandy Levin for being here, and so many other

of my friends from Michigan who helped me these last 7 years and a

couple of months. I thank you very much.



� I was thinking to myself, "What am I doing here? I'm not running

for anything." [Laughter] I'm trying to get this fine Member of

Congress a 6-year term, and I'll never even have the privilege of

working with her. Well, one reason is-and on principle this year,

I'm very big on women going to the U.S. Senate. I have a passing

interest in a lot of these elections. [Laughter] But I would like

toI'll be very brief, because she's already told you why she's




� I think it's important that we remember that things were different

in 1992 when I ran for President. We had economic distress. We had

social decline. We had political division. And we basically had

drift and gridlock in Washington.



� And I believed that this country could build a bridge to the new

century with an America that offered opportunity for everyone who is

responsible enough to work for it, with an increasingly diverse

America that cherished that diversity but thought our common

humanity was more important, with an America that continued to lead

the world for peace and freedom and prosperity. And we're in better

shape than we were in 1992, and for that I am very grateful. And for

the opportunity I've had to serve, I am profoundly grateful.



� But the real thing I would like you to think about is: What is it

that we propose to do with this prosperity? You know, I've reached

an age now when my memory stretches back long enough that I know

that nothing lasts forever. And in tough times, that's reassuring.

In good times, it should be sobering.



� This is a moment of phenomenal opportunity for our country. And a

lot of theI'm glad to see so many young people here, because you've

got most of your lives in front of you. And it's very important that

we take this moment to deal with the big challenges, the big

problems, the big opportunities in the new century, in a world that

is coming closer and closer together, in a world where increasingly

what matters is whether you believe every person counts and every

person is given the ability to develop his or her Godgiven




� You know, I just got back from India and Bangladesh and Pakistan.

And I made a stop over in Switzerland to keep working on the Middle

East peace process. And I'll tell you an interesting story. I was in

this little village in India, one of the hundreds of thousands of

little villages in a country with over 900 million people, with a

per capita income of $450 a year, one of the poorest places on




� So I go to this little village, and I meet the local government.

And it's required now that all the different tribes and castes have

an opportunity to be represented, and 30 percent of all the local

governments are women-elected officials. And I meet the women's

dairy cooperative, and these women took over the milk business

because they got a little machine that tested the fat content of

milk. So they weren't cheating anybody out of their money anymore.



� And-now keep in mind, I'm in one of hundreds of thousands of

villages, right, in a country with a rich and diverse texture but a

low per capita income. Every single transaction that the dairy

cooperative made was recorded on a computer. Everyone that bought

milk in there got a computer printout of what the fat content was,

what the price was that day, then got an accounting out of the same

computer on who bought the milk and when she got her money.



� Then I go into the local government in this tiny village. And I see

there the computer in the community center. And every person can

come in and get on that computer in English or Hindi. And many of

the things you can find you can get even if you can't read, because

of the software, the sophistication of the software. So poor village

women can come in and see how they're supposed to care for their

newborn babies in their first year of life. They pull it up on the

screen, and then they had a printer, and they got it out. And it's

just as good information as you can get here or in any other place

in America, in the finest doctor's office in the land. This is going

to be a very different world in the next 5 or 10 years.



� I went to Hyderabad in India, which is sort of their high-tech

capital, and the head of the State Government there now offers 18

different government services on the Internet, including getting

your driver's license. [Laughter] Nobody ever has to wait in a line

in the revenue office. [Laughter] Do not move to India just yet.

[Laughter) We will get that done, but you get the picture, right?



� Today I met-when President Mubarak from Egypt was here today, and

we met with a bunch of Egyptian-Americans. One of them was a Nobel

Prize-winner from Caltech. Another was a high official at the World

Bank. Another was a big high-tech company executive. Another one ran

a big biotech company. We talked a lot about the human genome and

the sequencing of it, and how we were going to allow people to

patent legitimate discoveries, but how we had to keep the basic

information affordable so that the developing countries and poor

people around the world and in this country could also benefit from

the discoveries.



� I mean, we're talking about no more Alzheimer's and cures for

Parkinson's and detecting cancers when they're just a few cells.

These are amazing things.



� And the reason that I'm here tonight, even though I'm not running,

is that I don't want our country to blow this opportunity. What's

the big problem in all these peace negotiations around the world?

People want peace. Young people like you, they're thinking about

their future; they want a whole different world. They're not all

caught up-it's a question of people's impulses-the basic, good human

impulses at war with old ideas cherished by people who can't let go.



� We have an American version of that, I think, in this contest here.

One of the reasons that I want Al Gore to be elected President is

that I know from personal experience he understands the future, and

he knows how to take us there.



� And you can't-most of what is written is written about politics and

politicians acts as if policies are inconsequential and acts as if

things that really affect the lives of millions of people don't

matter. But I would argue to you that the details of our welfare

program mattered; the details of our education program mattered; the

details of our environmental program mattered; the details of our

anticrime program mattered. It matters what you do. The details of

our approach to science and technology mattered. These things




� This is not about a bunch of hot air and slogans and positioning.

This is about whether this country, at its moment of maximum

prosperity and opportunity and minimum threats from abroad and from

within, will take the chance that we have had never before in my

lifetime, except maybe in the 1960's, before all the wheels ran off,

to write the future of our dreams for our children. That's what this

whole thing is about. Don't make any mistake about it. That's what

the whole thing's about.



� I worked hard to try to help turn this country around and get us

moving in the right direction. But the big benefits are still out

there to be reaped. Wouldn't you like your country to be the safest

big country in the world? Wouldn't you like your country to be a

place where every working parent could also succeed at rearing their

children because there was adequate child care? Wouldn't you like

your country to be a place where every child, no matter how poor,

was held to high standards but had high opportunities in education,

where there was no digital divide, where there were economic

opportunities in the poorest urban and rural neighborhoods and on

every Indian reservation in the country? And I could go on and on

and on. That's what this whole deal is about.



� And I'm telling you, if I can do anything this year, I am going to

try to convince the American people only to vote for those people

that understand the future and are prepared to do what it takes to

get us there. And all of us, together. That's why I'm here.



� And I hope tomorrow, if people ask you why you were here, you will

tell them that because Debbie Stabenow is a great human being, a

great public servant, and she will take us there.



� Thank you very much.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 7:45 p.m. in the Columbia B Room at

the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to reception

hosts William and Michelle O'Reilly; Gary Torgow, finance chair,

Stabenow for Senate; and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

Representative Stabenow is a candidate for U.S. Senate for Michigan.

Prior to the President's remarks, Representative Stabenow presented

the President with a Michigan State University T-shirt to honor the

school's men's basketball team's appearance in the Final Four of the

National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. This transcript

was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 29.



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