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Remarks By The President At Hillary 2000 Dinner

Private Residence
Syracuse, New York

8:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Well, first, I want to thank Duke and Billie for having us here. I want to thank the neighbors in the back for putting up the bathrooms. (Laughter.) And I want to thank the neighbors across the street for putting up with the sound. Hello, folks! How are you over there? (Applause.) You get to hear my pitch for free. I want you to vote for Hillary, too. (Laughter.)

We've all had a good time, and I want to hear the musicians some more, and we've got a magician and I want to see this. I spent eight years trying to be one. (Laughter.) So I just want to say a couple of words here.

First of all, I want to thank the people of New York, including the people of Syracuse and Central New York for being so good to me and Hillary and Al and Tipper Gore for the last eight years. It's meant a lot to me. (Applause.) Secondly, I want to thank my buddy, Terry McCauliffe, and his family for being like a second family to Hillary and me. And little Jack is out there passing out Hillary stickers. He even gave me one. He wasn't sure who I was for. (Laughter.) And he wanted to make sure I didn't go soft on him between now and election day, so I appreciate that.

I don't know what I can say to you, because you know where I stand on this election. But there are a couple of points I'd like to make that I know. First of all, you should know that to an extraordinary extent, Hillary has played a substantive, positive role in the work we've done over these last eight years. Everything we've done -- (applause) -- in education, health care, and helping people balance work and family and taking care of kids she's had a hand in. From the Family and Medical Leave law in 1993 to our efforts right through this year to promote adoption and to take better care of foster kids, and to take care of those kids that go out on their own in the world with nobody to take care of them. And I'm really proud of that.

To getting 2 million kids health insurance to all the things we've done to open the doors of college for all. We now have 10 million people getting tax credits for college education today. And she has fought for every single one of those things. I'm very proud of her. (Applause.)

The second thing I want you to know is -- because economics is an issue in Central New York and north of here -- when I was governor of Arkansas, for 12 years, we had to completely turn the economy around. We did not have an unemployment rate below the national average until I ran for President in 1992, for a decade. And we worked for 10 long years.

During that time, my wife went on the boards of three Arkansas companies -- or two Arkansas companies and one other company -- and learned what it would take to get people to invest money and to bring jobs to places that had been left behind. And I'm just telling you, of your choices in the Senate race, you've got one person that spent a serious 10 years working to redevelop the economies of places that aren't doing as well as they ought to be doing. And that's experience; it's money in the bank for you, and you ought to take advantage of it. (Applause.)

Now, the third thing I want to say is I think she can have an enormously beneficial impact for New York all around the country and all around the world. She can help you in all kinds of ways. One of the reasons that I -- I wanted her to run for the Senate if she wanted to -- who am I to ever tell anybody not to run for anything. But I said, you know, you've got to be willing to pay the price. I'm going to India and Pakistan, and you can't go. I'm going to Africa and you can't go. I'm going to Colombia and you can't go. So everywhere I go in the world, people I don't even know come to me and say -- everywhere in the world -- say, I am pulling for your wife; I'm sorry she can't be here.

At the state dinner the other night in Nigeria, the President of Nigeria, one of the most highly-regarded leaders of any developing country in the world, a decorated army general, gets up in the state dinner and says, I'm really sorry your wife is not here, but I'm glad she's home and I hope she wins her election. Not normally said at state dinners. (Applause.)

I was in Bombay with my daughter, in India, and this woman who spends her life going out into villages trying to help millions, literally, of women who have been left behind figure out how to borrow money, start businesses, and take better care of their kids -- all she talked about to me was Hillary.

And I'm telling you that because there is a reason that the people that are running against her spend all their time trying to run her down. Because they know if the people of New York ever figure out who she is, what kind of person she is, what she's done and what she can do for them, she will win in a walk. That's what I want you to do in this election.

I thank you for your contributions. But the most important thing is that you realize that elections are decided by people who don't know the candidates, not by people who do. And she is running a campaign based on the issues and the honest differences between her and her opponent.

And you know, their campaign is basically try to paint a -- try to do reverse plastic surgery on her. Right? I mean, let's face it. So you gave her the money, and I thank you for that. And she'll spend it well. But I want you to go out and take some time every day between now and November to tell people you came here, you saw this woman, you like her, you admire her, she'd be good for you, good for your kids, good for your future, and great for New York. If you'll do that, she will win on election day.

Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you.

I've got to say one other thing. This is flat pander, but I'm not running for office so I can get away with it. I have, for the last 27 years, eaten barbecue for a living. I come from a place where barbecue is not food, it is a way of life. (Laughter.) It is a philosophy of human nature. I have rarely had any as good as this. These people are great, and I thank you very much. (Laughter and applause.)

END 8:43 P.M. EDT

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