9/23/00 remarks By the President at DNC Lunch, Palo Alto, CA
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (San Jose, California)
 For Immediate Release                             September 23, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                               AT DNC LUNCH

                             Private Residence
                           Palo Alto, California

1:36 P.M. PDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, thank you for talking a few seconds
longer so I could -- (laughter) -- could almost finish my Indian meal.  I
want to thank the Doctors Mahal and their children for opening their home.
Thank you, Vish.  Thank you, Dinesh.  Thank you, Joel Hyatt.

     You know for a long time, Joel Hyatt was the first legal entrepreneur
in America.  He had this sort of legal services for the masses.  He was
advertising before it was fashionable.  Hillary and I used to look at
Joel's ad on television.  She said, you know, he was behind us at Yale Law
School, but he's way ahead of us in income.  (Laughter.)  So I'm very proud
of him and grateful for his service to the party.

     I would also like to thank all of those who provided this wonderful
meal and the people who served it today.  It's really quite a wonderful
occasion for me.  Back when I was a civilian and had a private life, I used
to spend a lot of time in Indian restaurants, starting from -- I fell in
love with them when I was in England living for two years, where most of
the impoverished college students like me ate Indian food at least four
times a week.  (Laughter.)  We figured if we couldn't be full, at least we
would be warm, and we loved it.  (Laughter.)

     I want to thank you for supporting our party, and I want to make just
a few brief observations, if I might.  First of all, the primary thing I
have tried to do as President is to turn the country around and make the
systems of our country work so that Americans have the tools and the
conditions to make the most of their own lives.

     If you look at the Indian-American community in this country, if you
look at the phenomenal success just here in Northern California, the
industry and enterprise and imagination of people will carry communities
and countries a long way if governments aren't getting in the way, but
instead are offering a hand up.  And that's basically what we've tried to

     I'm very grateful for the partnership that I formed way back in late
1991 with a number of people in Silicon Valley who helped me to adopt good
both macroeconomic policies and to do better by the high tech community and
the information technology revolution in general.  And I am very grateful
for that.

     I also appreciate the kind words many of you said about the opening
that my administration and I have made to India and the restoration of
harmonious and good relationships which were, as I said at our table,
understandably a little out of kilter during the Cold War when India had to
relate to the Soviet Union because of the tensions between India and China;
but for more than a decade now have made absolutely no sense at all.  So we
are working hard on a partnership that I believe will be one of the most
important relationships that the United States has for many, many decades
to come.

     In a larger sense, your presence here -- I met one person who came
through the line and said, I can't believe it, I've been here one month and
I'm meeting the President.  (Laughter.)  And I think that is adequate
testimony to the increasing importance of mobility and openness in our
global society, increasing interconnectedness and, therefore, increasing
the importance of networks.  Now, some people believe that networks will
replace nation states.  I don't believe that, because there will still be
plenty of work to be done by both.  But I do believe that global networks
will become more and more important.
     There is a book I've been talking quite a bit about lately that -- the
author actually wrote me a letter last week and thanked me.  But I haven't
asked for any royalties or anything.  (Laughter.)  The title of the book is
"Nonzero," written by a man named Robert Wright, who wrote a fine earlier
book called, "The Moral Animal."

     But the argument of "Nonzero" is that even when human history seems to
be regressing -- in the Dark Ages, for example, in the early part of the
last millennium -- basically, there is a long process of increasing
interdependence which has reached its apotheosis in our time.  And that the
more interdependent people become, the more they are compelled to treat
each other in better and better ways, because the more you are
interdependent with others, the more your victories require other people to
have victories as well.

     So the title is a reference to game theory, but that -- in a zero-sum
game, in order for one person to win, someone else has to lose.  In a
nonzero sum game, in order for one person to win, you have to find a way
for others to win as well.  And he basically argues that the present stage
of economic, political and social development is the latest and by far the
most advanced example of the growth of interdependence.

     And that's also, by the way, been at the heart of a lot of what I've
tried to do in racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation.  I think the
trick is not to get people to give up their identities, but to take great
pride in their identities, their ethnic and their religious convictions,
but to recognize, at least in this lifetime, the ultimate primacy of our
common humanity and a way of reaching across divides so -- not so that we
can give up our differences, but so that we can celebrate them and still
find a way to work together and move forward.

     That's another reason I think that it's very important that you be
involved in the political life of your nation.  When Secretary and Mrs.
Mineta and I were riding over here, I told him that I believed that it was
imperative for the next administration to do more to get Indian-Americans
and others who come here from other countries involved not just in the
political process but in the governmental process in appointed positions at
high levels, in more boards and commissions and more advisory committees,
working on more projects because you really are making the world of the new

     One of the things that I used to say earlier in the year, when our
electoral prospects didn't look as good as they do now, when I would assure
people that I thought that the Vice President would prevail is that the
question is not whether we're going to change.  Anybody in a governmental
position who advanced the proposition that things are going so well we
shouldn't change, I wouldn't vote for that person.

     If there had been a candidate this year running, saying, vote for me,
Bill Clinton's a great President and we don't need to change anything, I
would vote against that person, because the underlying circumstances of
life are changing so much that's not an option.

     The real issue is not whether, but how.  Are we going to change in a
way that enables us to take advantage of a unique moment in human history.
Are we going to meet the big challenges this country faces.  Are we going
to continue to successfully integrate all the different groups of
immigrants that are coming into our country.  Are we going to have a policy
with regard to other nations that recognizes that their challenges are our

     We actually had -- Vice President Gore and I had some people in the
other party making fun of us not very long ago when we said that AIDS was a
security challenge.  But it is.  When you look at democratic African
countries with infection rates hovering around 40 percent in their
military, when you look at countries we've worked hard to stabilize as free
societies that within just a few years will have more people in their '60s
than in their '30s, when you look at wars that have been propagated and the
children that have been turned into soldiers and what that's doing to the
fabric of society and how the epidemic feeds that, we have to have a
broader notion of what is in our security interests.

     First, it's about more than military, it's about nonmilitary causes as
well.  And, secondly, it's about a lot of things that have to do with
health and education and well-being.

     Climate change, if we don't do something about it, will become a
national security concern because more and more land will become unarable,
and people will fight more and more over that which is.  More and more
countries will have water supply problems.

     We're working very hard to finish up the peace agreement in the Middle
East, and one of the things you never hear anybody talk about is the
importance of these nations reconciling so that we can meet the coming
water challenge in what is perhaps the second most arid part of the world.

     So I wanted to be here not only to thank you for what you have done
and thank you for what you are doing, but to tell you that to me, your
support for our administration and for what we're doing in this election
season is a stellar example of what I think America needs to be doing more

     When I ran for president in 1992, I had a more systematic outreach to
all sorts of immigrant groups than anyone ever had.  And I did it because I
believed that you were important to America's place in the world as well as
to America's economic growth and social health.  I still believe that more

     So I would just like to leave you with this.  There are huge
differences between the two parties in America.  There are some
similarities and that's good.  We've stabilized our country over many years
because we've managed to have two parties that could be broadly
representative.  But in the last decade, as you know, we had a much more
stark ideological difference and a challenge that had to be met.

     And essentially, our party is -- now is a modern political party with
a modern economic philosophy that is pro-growth, pro-high tech,
pro-immigration, pro-education, but believes that the most important
solutions are community-oriented solutions, the ones where everybody wins.

     We believe that everyone deserves a chance, that everyone counts and
that we all do better when we help each other.  And when you strip it all
away, that really is the fundamental difference here.  That explains the
difference in our position on a patient's bill of rights, and theirs.  Our
position on a drug benefit for seniors who don't have it now, and theirs.
Our position on raising the minimum wage, and theirs.  Our position on tax
cuts so that everybody can afford four years of college for their children,
and theirs; a whole range of issues.  And thank goodness, the last eight
years have given us some evidence that if you do all this within the
framework of fiscal prudence and a sensitivity to the economic opportunity
areas of American society, it turns out that good social policy is good
economic policy as well.

     So I came here, I guess, finally more than anything else, just to say
thank you.  This is an interesting election for me.  It's the first time in
26 years I haven't been a candidate.  (Laughter.)  My party has a new
leader, my family has a new candidate.  (Laughter.)  And I tell everyone
who will listen, my new official title is not Commander-In-Chief but
Cheerleader-In-Chief.  (Laughter.)  And I'm enjoying it immensely.

     I think that Hillary will be elected in New York if we can keep
getting -- building her support, and I think that we're going to do very
well in these Senate races.  I think we'll do very well in the House races.
But we have to win the White House, because of the stark differences on
economics, the environment, crime, education, health care.  On all these
issues, there are real differences.

     And I hope that if we do win, and I believe we will, that you will
intensify your involvement.  I hope you'll continue to support the
fundraisers, but I want to see more Indian Americans in the government, on
the boards, on the commissions, coming to us with specific ideas that ought
to be broadly spread.  Because we have only scratched the surface of the
public benefits of the information revolution.  And I'll just close with

     I went to Flint, Michigan a couple of days ago, which was the home of
a lot of the early automobile factories.  They still have seven, but they
only have 35,000 people working in the car plants there as opposed to
90,000 people at their height.

     After the Second World War, an enormous number of people, both African
Americans and European Americans from my home state couldn't make a living
on the farm anymore, and they moved to Flint or to Detroit or to other
towns in Michigan where they got jobs in the auto industry and they became
good, middle-class citizens.

     So when I ran for president, everybody from my home state, it seemed
like, moved to Chicago or Michigan.  I won big victories in Illinois and
Michigan and the gentlemen who were running against me never did figure out
why.  It's because half the people who live there were born in Arkansas.
(Laughter.)  Because they literally couldn't make a living, so they went up

     Now, Flint's gone through this enormous economic restructuring, but I
went there because they have one of these community computer centers we're
setting up, like the ones I saw in the little village of Nyla, for example,
in Rajasthan when I was in India.  But they have -- in Flint -- I went
there for a specific reason.  They had a particular emphasis on the power
of the Internet and new software technology to empower the disabled.  And
we had this great disability rally.

     But before, I went through and I looked at the technology there and
saw how people who were deaf could use it, people who were blind could use
it, and I also used this laser technology that is fully activated and
operated by one's eyes.  And it's very important for people who are
completely paralyzed or for people who are suffering from Lou Gehrig's
disease, where eventually, you lose all momentum, movement in your body
except for your eyes.

     The people there in Flint, Michigan every week get an e-mail from a
guy with Lou Gehrig's disease in North Carolina who is a friend of mine.
And we were friends in the 1980s and he was a young, handsome, vigorous
man, and we worked on education and economic development in the South, and
he was tragically stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease.  He's had no movement
for some time now.

     In the next month or two, he will publish a book that he wrote with
his eyes, thanks to the Internet.  (Applause.)  Maybe even more important,
he can talk with his wife and children.  And I've mastered the technology
enough so that I've turned on lights and turned them off, I turned on the
tape deck to listen to music and turn it off.  And I finally got "good
morning" down.  (Laughter.)  But I could see how, with a couple of days'
effort, particularly if you couldn't move your head, which is the primary
thing that throws it out of whack.  It was an amazing thing.

     Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist -- and a lot of you may
have read his books -- is a friend of mine.  And he has lived longer with
Lou Gehrig's disease than any person ever recorded, as far as we know, any
person in history.  And he has lived longer because he has just this
movement in two fingers.  But he can operate a machine that has thousands
and thousands of words in it and he's memorized the order of all of them.
And he came to the White House and delivered a speech on the future of time
and space for Hillary in one of our Millennial Evenings that he wrote
himself, put into his machine and then pulled out with a voice box.  And he
is alive today because he can share what he can think and feel and know
with other people.

     So that is the other thing I would like to say about this.  I'm glad
all this money has been made here.  I'm glad that our country has added all
this wealth.  I hope we can do a better job by bringing these kinds of
opportunities to poor areas and poor people who have been left behind in
our country and in other countries.

     But fundamentally, the wealth itself is not an end; it's a means to an
end.  And what really matters to people is their life story.  Norm and
Danny and I were talking about that on the way in.  That's one thing I
learned as a young boy from my relatives who had no money but were very
wise.  They said, just remember there is not much difference separating the
very successful from people that have had a lot of bad breaks in life.  And
everybody's got a story.  And people should be able to live their story,
they should be able to dream and live their story.

     And one of the things that I am thrilled about is that this
information revolution and what's happening with the Internet has the
potential to lift more people more quickly out of poverty, adversity and
disability than any development in all of human history by a good long

     But it will be very important for the United States to lead the way
and very important -- this is another big difference between the two
parties.  One of my greatest regrets is that the United States is -- we
have never succeeded in winning a big debate about what our
responsibilities are in the rest of the world and how fulfilling them helps
us.  If we help a poor country become a middle class country and a trading
partner, it helps us.  It's also the morally right thing to do.

     So that is another argument, I would hope, for all of you staying very
actively involved.  We need to imagine what all these technologies can do
and all of these new ideas that you're coming up with and all of these new
companies you start, what it can do not simply to pile wealth upon wealth,
but to do it by continuing to advance society, by continuing to find those
nonzero sum solutions so that we all win.

     If we become what we ought to become, if we make the most of this
truly magic moment, I'm convinced that it will be in no small measure
because people like you played a full part in it.

     Thank you very much.

     END  1:58 P.M. PDT

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