� Remarks at a Reception for Representative Debbie Stabenow
� March 28, 2000
� Thank you. Now, only a politician who is not running for office
would take a stand on the Final Four before the results are in.
� Thank you very much. Debbie, I am a huge basketball fan. And I
already lost my State school and my daughter's alma mater in the
NCAA, so I'm just watching it with great fascination. It's been a
� I want to thank Senator Torricelli for all that he has done for the
Democrats, and the Senate candidates in particular. And I thank Carl
Levin for more than I can say. You have no idea all the good things
that he does in the Senate, many of which are not vote-getting
issues; they'll never make the headlines. But someone needs to be
going to work every day who cares about public policy and good
Government and the way this country works. And Carl Levin does. You
should be really proud of him. He's a really good man.
� I want to thank Gary and Bill and Michelle for helping Debbie to
raise the money necessary to wage a campaign against an incumbent
Senator of the other party. It's a difficult thing to do. And she is
in good shape, but she needs your support to do it. And I want to
thank John Conyers and Sandy Levin for being here, and so many other
couple of months. I thank you very much.
� I was thinking to myself, "What am I doing here? I'm not running
for anything." [Laughter] I'm trying to get this fine Member of
Congress a 6-year term, and I'll never even have the privilege of
working with her. Well, one reason is-and on principle this year,
I'm very big on women going to the U.S. Senate. I have a passing
interest in a lot of these elections. [Laughter] But I would like
toI'll be very brief, because she's already told you why she's
� I think it's important that we remember that things were different
in 1992 when I ran for President. We had economic distress. We had
social decline. We had political division. And we basically had
drift and gridlock in Washington.
� And I believed that this country could build a bridge to the new
century with an America that offered opportunity for everyone who is
responsible enough to work for it, with an increasingly diverse
America that cherished that diversity but thought our common
the world for peace and freedom and prosperity. And we're in better
shape than we were in 1992, and for that I am very grateful. And for
the opportunity I've had to serve, I am profoundly grateful.
� But the real thing I would like you to think about is: What is it
that we propose to do with this prosperity? You know, I've reached
an age now when my memory stretches back long enough that I know
that nothing lasts forever. And in tough times, that's reassuring.
In good times, it should be sobering.
� This is a moment of phenomenal opportunity for our country. And a
lot of theI'm glad to see so many young people here, because you've
got most of your lives in front of you. And it's very important that
we take this moment to deal with the big challenges, the big
problems, the big opportunities in the new century, in a world that
is coming closer and closer together, in a world where increasingly
what matters is whether you believe every person counts and every
person is given the ability to develop his or her Godgiven
And I made a stop over in Switzerland to keep working on the Middle
East peace process. And I'll tell you an interesting story. I was in
this little village in India, one of the hundreds of thousands of
little villages in a country with over 900 million people, with a
per capita income of $450 a year, one of the poorest places on
� So I go to this little village, and I meet the local government.
And it's required now that all the different tribes and castes have
an opportunity to be represented, and 30 percent of all the local
governments are women-elected officials. And I meet the women's
dairy cooperative, and these women took over the milk business
because they got a little machine that tested the fat content of
milk. So they weren't cheating anybody out of their money anymore.
� And-now keep in mind, I'm in one of hundreds of thousands of
villages, right, in a country with a rich and diverse texture but a
low per capita income. Every single transaction that the dairy
cooperative made was recorded on a computer. Everyone that bought
milk in there got a computer printout of what the fat content was,
computer on who bought the milk and when she got her money.
� Then I go into the local government in this tiny village. And I see
there the computer in the community center. And every person can
come in and get on that computer in English or Hindi. And many of
the things you can find you can get even if you can't read, because
of the software, the sophistication of the software. So poor village
women can come in and see how they're supposed to care for their
newborn babies in their first year of life. They pull it up on the
screen, and then they had a printer, and they got it out. And it's
just as good information as you can get here or in any other place
in America, in the finest doctor's office in the land. This is going
to be a very different world in the next 5 or 10 years.
� I went to Hyderabad in India, which is sort of their high-tech
capital, and the head of the State Government there now offers 18
different government services on the Internet, including getting
your driver's license. [Laughter] Nobody ever has to wait in a line
in the revenue office. [Laughter] Do not move to India just yet.
[Laughter) We will get that done, but you get the picture, right?
we met with a bunch of Egyptian-Americans. One of them was a Nobel
Prize-winner from Caltech. Another was a high official at the World
Bank. Another was a big high-tech company executive. Another one ran
a big biotech company. We talked a lot about the human genome and
the sequencing of it, and how we were going to allow people to
patent legitimate discoveries, but how we had to keep the basic
information affordable so that the developing countries and poor
people around the world and in this country could also benefit from
� I mean, we're talking about no more Alzheimer's and cures for
Parkinson's and detecting cancers when they're just a few cells.
These are amazing things.
� And the reason that I'm here tonight, even though I'm not running,
is that I don't want our country to blow this opportunity. What's
the big problem in all these peace negotiations around the world?
People want peace. Young people like you, they're thinking about
their future; they want a whole different world. They're not all
impulses at war with old ideas cherished by people who can't let go.
� We have an American version of that, I think, in this contest here.
One of the reasons that I want Al Gore to be elected President is
that I know from personal experience he understands the future, and
he knows how to take us there.
� And you can't-most of what is written is written about politics and
politicians acts as if policies are inconsequential and acts as if
things that really affect the lives of millions of people don't
matter. But I would argue to you that the details of our welfare
program mattered; the details of our education program mattered; the
details of our environmental program mattered; the details of our
anticrime program mattered. It matters what you do. The details of
our approach to science and technology mattered. These things
� This is not about a bunch of hot air and slogans and positioning.
This is about whether this country, at its moment of maximum
prosperity and opportunity and minimum threats from abroad and from
lifetime, except maybe in the 1960's, before all the wheels ran off,
to write the future of our dreams for our children. That's what this
whole thing is about. Don't make any mistake about it. That's what
the whole thing's about.
� I worked hard to try to help turn this country around and get us
moving in the right direction. But the big benefits are still out
there to be reaped. Wouldn't you like your country to be the safest
big country in the world? Wouldn't you like your country to be a
place where every working parent could also succeed at rearing their
children because there was adequate child care? Wouldn't you like
your country to be a place where every child, no matter how poor,
was held to high standards but had high opportunities in education,
where there was no digital divide, where there were economic
opportunities in the poorest urban and rural neighborhoods and on
every Indian reservation in the country? And I could go on and on
and on. That's what this whole deal is about.
� And I'm telling you, if I can do anything this year, I am going to
try to convince the American people only to vote for those people
get us there. And all of us, together. That's why I'm here.
� And I hope tomorrow, if people ask you why you were here, you will
tell them that because Debbie Stabenow is a great human being, a
great public servant, and she will take us there.
� Thank you very much.
� NOTE: The President spoke at 7:45 p.m. in the Columbia B Room at
the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to reception
hosts William and Michelle O'Reilly; Gary Torgow, finance chair,
Stabenow for Senate; and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
Representative Stabenow is a candidate for U.S. Senate for Michigan.
Prior to the President's remarks, Representative Stabenow presented
the President with a Michigan State University T-shirt to honor the
school's men's basketball team's appearance in the Final Four of the
National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. This transcript
was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 29.