Remarks of the President in Eulogy for Mel Carnahan (10/20/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Jefferson City, Missouri)
For Immediate Release               October 20, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                    South Grounds of the State Capitol
                               Jefferson City, Missouri

12:57 P.M. CDT

          THE PRESIDENT:  Robin, Tom, Russ, Deborah, to all the Carnahan
family and the extended Carnahan family; to the Sifford family; and
Governor and Mrs. Wilson; Senator Daschle and Congressman Gephardt and all
the members of Congress who are here; and the governors.  I think I can
speak for Hillary and the Vice President and Tipper when I say that we are
profoundly honored to be here, and we come out of respect for the work that
Mel Carnahan did for the people of Missouri, the example he set for the
nation, and the genuine friendship he showed to us.

          I loved the guy.  And anybody who thinks he was dull never looked
him straight in the eye, because he had steel and passion and fire.  And I
think he rather enjoyed being under-estimated by people who disagreed with

          I hope his fellow citizens of this "show me" state will be
gratified by what is an absolutely stunning representation here in this
crowd of his fellow governors, United States senators, United States
representatives from all across this great land.  They came here because he
in some way touched them, or because he inspired them, or because, like me,
they were just crazy about him.

          He was a leader in the very best way.  Yes, he was a leader like
Harry Truman -- he spoke the plain truth and thought there was no greater
calling than public service, and really believed that if you appealed to
the best in people, most of the time that's exactly what you'd get.

          In a time when it's fashionable for people in public life to sort
of complain about the difficulties of it, he was frank to say that he liked
politics and public service; indeed, he loved it.  He didn't understand why
some people thought it was a sacrifice and a pain.  For him, it was a
calling.  A calling to work with people -- and I saw it, personally.

          I don't know how many times either the Vice President or I came
to Missouri because this was the leading state in the country in moving
people from welfare to work.  He believed that the dignity of a job and the
ability to work and support one's children was the best form of social
welfare.  And he thought we could do it right.  And we came here at least
three times -- I did -- to try to point the way to the rest of the country
to look and see what was going on here and know we could do it all around

          I, too, remember those awful floods where he led by example,
scrabbling up levies to help bear the burden of sand-bagging.  When his
critics warned him not to raise taxes for education because he could lose
his job, he decided Missouri's kids were worth the risk.  And those of us
who followed him loved him even more.

          And when some outside interests tried to pass a concealed weapon
law in Missouri, he really took his career in his hands.  Mel and Robin and
the entire family got a lot of people involved, even got Hillary involved,
everybody they could scrounge up to help them to stand up and turn a tide
that I have to confess I didn't think they could turn.

          For the Carnahans, politics was a noble family affair.  They have
given so much of them, each in their own way.  And they've done it with
dignity, grace, and generosity of spirit.  For all the young people out
here wondering whether politics is or is not compatible with a good, loving
family, I say, look at the Carnahans.  You can deal with the rough and
tumble; if there's enough love, you will endure and flourish.

          Less than a week ago, our friend, Mel, was hard at work in what
turned out to be his last campaign.  I thought when we marched behind the
casket today and the magnificent horse with the boot turned backwards in
the stirrups, that in a way it was fitting that our friend Mel died in the
saddle with his boots on, fighting for the causes he championed and the
people of Missouri whom he loved so much and served so well.

          We honor that.  And we honor the life of his son and of Chris
Sifford.  We honor the fact that Randy was always ready to help and support
his father.  We honor the fact that Chris was an idealist who gave so much
of his life to the public service that Mel did.  We honor the fact that
they believed in him and, in turn, he made them believe in themselves and
their ability to make a difference.

          I like the fact that Mel Carnahan was the only politician that I
have known who was actually not ashamed to say that one of his political
role models was Adlai Stevenson.  It didn't matter to him that Stevenson
had holes in his shoes, lost the presidency twice, and was considered by
most people to be an impractical egghead.  The main thing was Stevenson was
an elegant, good man who thought politics was a noble endeavor.  And he
said it better than just about anybody ever has.

          I will never forget coming to a rally in Southwest Missouri in
early 1992, when Mel was involved in a very tough primary for governor that
he wasn't necessarily favored to win, and I was running for president,
polling a distant fifth in New Hampshire.  Only my mother thought I could
win.  But Mel Carnahan came to that rally in Southwest Missouri and came
out for me.  He had absolutely nothing to gain by it -- nothing.  He did it
just because he thought it was right.  And for eight years, he has been my
friend and my partner.

          In so many ways, he was a magnificent governor.  I suspect only
those who have worked with him across a wide range of issues can know just
how good he was.  The last thing we did here together, Jean, was talk about
the patients' bill of rights and to eat a little barbecue.  Mel made sure
we went in the kitchen and shook hands with the people   there.  He never
let me forget that just because I wasn't running again, I was still a
public servant.

          I am grateful -- grateful -- that I knew Mel Carnahan.  I am
grateful that we had the chance to work together.  He left us too early,
but he had a great ride.  He had a wonderful wife, devoted children, people
who believed in public service.  Robin worked in our administration for a
while, and I'm grateful for that.  And I think we should remember him with
this admonition of St. Paul to the Galatians:  While we have time, let us
do good.

          I spoke the other day to a congregation of bishops of the Church
of God in Christ, and I made the mistake of saying I was glad to be with
them because, unlike me, they weren't term-limited.  And the head bishop
stood up and said, Mr. President, we are all term-limited.  So if he were
here -- and in a way, he is -- he would say, okay, so I had a lot more I
wanted to do, but I had a good ride.  And it's not so bad being up there.
The boys are good company, and I'm looking down on you.  You know what to
do.  While you have time, do good.

          We'll miss you, Mel.  We'll try to take up the slack, but we'll
not have another one like you.  God bless you and God speed.  (Applause.)

                          END          1:04 P.M. CDT

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