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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Until 10:00 A.M. EDT
Saturday, July 8, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN INTERNET WEBCAST
The Oval Office
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Earlier this week, we launched a new
and improved White House website at www.whitehouse.gov. Today, I want to
talk a little about the website and about our other efforts to use
technology to bring government closer to the people.
I'm proud to have been the President who brought the White House into
the digital age. When I became President, there were just 50 websites on
the Worldwide Web. Now, there are 17 million, and almost 50 million
households on-line in the United States alone.
It was just six years ago that we launched the very first White House
website. Our website now has more than 9,000 pages of information -- and
that's not counting the archives. We've redesigned and updated it to keep
pace with its growth and the rapid changes in technology. The new and
improved White House website is another important step in our efforts to
make government high-speed, high-tech and user-friendly. We're bringing
information that matters into people's homes -- policy papers, the
citizens' handbook, links to federal agencies.
We've also made it easier to find the features that visitors use most
-- like e-mailing the White House, taking an on-line tour or finding
special activities for kids. And we've made the website a permanent part
of the Executive Office of the President, so that future Presidents will be
able to change it to suit their needs as easily as they can change the
furniture here in the Oval Office.
Under the leadership of Vice President Gore, we've used information
technology to bring government closer to citizens in many ways. People are
now using U.S. government websites to file their taxes, compare their
Medicare options, and find good jobs. They're tapping into the latest
health research, browsing the vast collections of the Library of Congress,
and following along with NASA's missions in outer space.
And we're in the process of creating a single, customer-focused
website, www.firstgov.gov, where Americans can find every on-line resource
offered by the federal government.
But we must do more to ensure that the benefits of the information
revolution flow to every American. That means working to close the digital
divide, to put computers in every classroom, to train our teachers to make
the most of them. We must also pay attention to the issues of computer
security and the privacy of our records on computers, so that the newest
technology doesn't undermine our oldest values.
Eighty-one years ago this week, Woodrow Wilson became the very first
President to communicate by radio. On his way home from Europe, President
Wilson used the radio, after several unsuccessful efforts, to call the
then-young Franklin Roosevelt, who was his Assistant Secretary of the Navy
back in Washington. It wasn't immediately clear how this new technology
would be used, or that in just 15 years Roosevelt, as President, would be
making radio broadcasts that 80 percent of our nation would hear. But it
was clear that a new door to the future had opened.
We're at just such a moment again today, and the new White House
website is just one small step toward bringing government more fully into
the Information Age. We have barely begun to understand how information
technology will change our lives. But those of us in government have a
responsibility to use these new tools to expand the reach of democracy and
give more people a chance to live their dreams.
I'll see you on line at whitehouse.gov, and thanks for logging on.
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