10/31/00 Remarks By The President To Irish Americans For Hillary Desert Reception
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (New York, New York)

For Immediate Release                                   October 31, 2000

                            REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                             Fitzpatrick Hotel
                                         New York, New York

10:35 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, first let me say that I understand
that Hillary has already spoken, so I really don't have to say much.
(Laughter.)  But I want to say, first, I'm late because the radar went out
in Louisville, Kentucky, today, and so it took us a while to get off.  Even
Air Force One needs radar because there are incoming planes.  So we found
some innovative way to get here and I'm glad we made it.

     Niall, thank you; and thank you, John.  And I thank all of you for
being here.  A lot of interesting people in this crowd tonight -- my
friend, Frank McCourt, thank you for being here.  And thank you, Tom
Cahill.  Thank you, Gabriel Byrne, for being here.  (Applause.)  It's nice
not to have to go to the movies to see you.  (Laughter.)  And I thank all
the rest of you for being here.

     I want to tell you how grateful I am that somehow, some way, when I
first starting running for President, the Irish in New York found me.  It
happened in other places, too.  My friend, Neal Hartigan, former Attorney
General of Illinois, is here from Cook County, Chicago.  But Bruce
Morrison, who Hillary and I had known since we were in law school, and a
couple of other people, somehow they hooked us all up.  And we started this
odyssey.  And people thought I was nuts when I said if I got elected
President I would try to help in the Irish peace process.  And they said --
and then I got elected, and then all these people who had helped me in
other contexts and were steeped in the foreign policy lore of America said,
you can't do that.  I said, but I told them I would.  (Laughter.)

     I gave my word, I've got to do this.  And they said, but it will be
terrible.  I said, it won't be terrible.  I said, I love Great Britain, I
went to college there.  I said, we'll be shoulder to shoulder with Britain
on a thousand other things, but I said, within six months they'll be glad
we did this.  And sure enough, they now are.

     So I can't thank those of you enough who started out with me, who gave
me the chance to do this.  It's been one of the greatest things about being
President to know that the United States, the home of the largest Irish
diaspora in the world had played some positive role in bringing that long
conflict to an end.  Now we're not out of the woods yet, but Mr. Trimble
dodged a bullet this week and we still have work to do.  And all of you
know what it is as well as I do.  But I just want you to know, for all of
you who have helped me to do this, I thank you.

     And the second thing I want to thank you for is when 800 of you showed
up on the White House lawn during a rather difficult time for me --
(laughter) -- and said that the Irish American community still thought that
I should serve as President of the United States, which I will never
forget.  (Applause.)  I'll never forget that.

     But most important of all to me, I want to thank you for what you're
doing for Hillary.  Because when we started this   -- and this is, by the
way, a big issue in the national election, too, presidential election --
when we started this, and Hillary --you know she went to Ireland without
me, in addition to the two times we went together.  And she was working
with all these women in this Vital Voices group, and she said, if we can
just get all these women together, they'd figure out a way to get over this
problem.  And I think she made an independent and a significant
contribution to the Irish peace process, for which I am very, very
grateful.  (Applause.)

     And now all over the world she's had these groups of women sort of
upsetting apple carts, in Africa and Latin America. (Laughter.)  It turns
out there are troublesome women everywhere -- (laughter) -- who don't like
it when troglodyte males keep wars going on when it makes no sense anymore,
and conflicts.  I mean, it's quite interesting.  And I think it's been

     The only other thing I would say is that I think it's quite important
that you have come here and contributed, but I think it would also be quite
important if every day for the last week of this election you tell people
why you came and why you support her, because people need reasons.

     I think that -- I'm terrifically happy that the country is in such
good shape and that we can have an election when there is prosperity, when
there is social progress, when there is the absence of domestic crisis and
foreign threat.  (Applause.)  I'm happy about that.  I'm glad that there is
so much less personal venom in the atmosphere in this election than there
have been in times past.  It never made any sense, and it certainly doesn't
now.  Maybe we've just drawn out a full quota over the last eight years,
there's none left.  (Laughter.)  But I'm glad for that.  But that should
not obscure the fact that there are serious, significant differences
between the candidates for the Senate, the candidates for President and
Vice President, that will have consequences for how we all live and work
and relate to each other and the rest of the world.

     So the only other thing I'd like to say is that the real problem with
events like this is, in the parlance of my faith, we're always preaching to
the saved.  And every one of you have friends who will never come to an
event like this.  Isn't that right?  You've all got friends -- most of your
friends are not as political as you -- they'll never come to an event like
this.  They'll never come to an event like this.  They'll never hear the
President give a speech directly and they'll never do all these things that
you do.  And I just want to ask you in the last week to go out and tell
them why you came tonight, why it matters that they vote, why it matters
that they vote for Hillary and the Vice President and Senator Lieberman,
and what the stakes are, what the consequences are.  Because I can tell
you, they're huge.

     You know, we're either going to build on this prosperity or reverse
our economic policy.  We're either going to keep the social progress going
or take down the education, health care, crime and environmental policies
over the last eight years.  We're either going to keep coming together
across all the lines that divide us, or walk away from things like the hate
crimes legislation or the employment nondiscrimination legislation -- the
things that the Supreme Court appointments that will promote civil rights
and human rights and bringing us together.

     So these things are big deals, I think, and I just hope that in
addition to coming here tonight you will go out and talk to everybody you
can -- just people you come across that will never come to something like

     The last thing I want to say is, I'm highly prejudiced about this
Senate race.  (Laughter.)  It's not fashionable to admit prejudice in
America today.  I've tried to make it highly unfashionable to be prejudiced
in America.  But I am completely prejudiced.

     However, having said that, this is the first time in 26 years I have
not been on a ballot somewhere.  I have had a lot of experience with
politics and politicians -- most of them are better than they got credit
for being.  And I've enjoyed knowing most of those I've known.  But of all
the people I've known, she has the best combination of brains, compassion,
determination and ability to get people together and get things done.  She
will be a fabulous senator.  And you need to tell people that for the next
days.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

     END  10:43 P.M. EST

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