Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - Monday, August 3, 1998 Vol. 34, No. 31 Remarks and a question-and-answer session at a Democratic National Committee reception in Aspen

Monday, August 3, 1998


Vol. 34, No. 31


Remarks and a question-and-answer session at a Democratic National Committee

reception in Aspen



�� July 25, 1998



� The President. That was better than I can do, Michael. Thank you

very much. Thank you and thank you, Ana, for welcoming all of us

into your home. And I want to thank my long, longtime friend, Roy

Romer, for being willing to keep his day job and take on another job

as well for our party.



�� Since vou mentioned the Brady bill, I think what I'd like to do is

maybe just talk just for a few minutes and then, probably to the

chagrin of all the people who came here with me, take a few minutes,

if any of you have any questions or comments or you want to give a

speech to me, I'll listen to that. But you think about it, if you've

got any questions you want to ask.



� But you heard the example Michael gave you of the Brady bill, and

if you ask me about what I tried to do through and with our

Democratic Party and as President that makes it worthy of the support

of thoughtful Americans, many of whom might have been Republicans

before, I would say two things.



� First of all, I've tried to move our party and to move our country

and, hardest of all, to move Washington, DC, away from sort of

yesterday's categorical, partisan name calling toward a genuine

debate over new ideas, because we are living in a new and different

time that, coincidentally, is at the turn of the century and the turn

of the millennium, but is indisputably different. It is different

because the way we work and live and relate to each other and the

rest of the world is different. It is different because the nature

of the challenges we face, among other things, in relating to the

natural environment are profoundly different than any previous

generation. So that's the first thing; it is different.



� The second thing I would say is that I have tried to redefine what

it means for Americans to be engaged in what our Founding Fathers

said would be our permanent mission, forming a more perfect Union.

And the Brady bill is about as good an example as any I can think of

for what the difference is today in Washington at least-not so much

out in the country maybe but certainly in Washington between the two




� If you go back to the beginning of the Republic, the people who

got us started were very smart people; they understood that they

weren't perfect. Thomas Jefferson said when he thought of slavery,

he trembled to think that God was just and might judge him justly.

So they knew they weren't perfect even then. And then they knew

there would be new and unchartered challenges in the future. But

they essentially-if you go back and read the Declaration of

Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it all

comes down to the fact that they believe that God gave everybody the

inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit-not the guarantee,

but the pursuit-of happiness, and that in those shared rights, we

were created equal, not with equal abilities, not with equal pace,

not all the same, but equal in a fundamental human sense.



� And then the second thing that distinguishes the Democrats from

the Republicans even today, I think-even more today than in the last

50 years, the Founding Fathers said, "Look, we can't pursue these

objectives completely by ourselves. We can't protect or enhance the

right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness unless we band

together and form a government. But governments ought to be limited.

They ought to be limited in scope, limited in power, limited in

reach, but they should do those things that we cannot do alone. And

sometimes, in order to advance our collective life, liberty, and

happiness, individually, we have to make a few sacrifices." That's

really what the Brady bill is all about.



� You know, in a country with 200 million guns, where last year,

with our zero tolerance for guns, we sent home-6,100 kids got sent

home from school because they brought guns to school, and you've seen

in the series of murders in the schools the consequences of failure

when that policy either doesn't work or isn't enough, the Brady bill,

by requiring a background check and making people wait 5 days between

the time they order and get a handgun has kept a quarter of a million

people with criminal records, stalking records, or records of mental

health instability from getting handguns. That's one of the reasons

that crime is at a 25-year low, and murder has dropped even more.



� Now, did it inconvenience some people to wait 5 days? Doubtless

so. Maybe some people that were mad at other people would cool down

after they waited 5 days. Is it an unconstitutional abridgement of

the right to keep and bear arms? Not on your life.



� In 1996 one of the most moving encounters I had in the campaign

was when I went back to New Hampshire, the State that basically

allowed me to go on when the first, we now know, Republican-inspired

assault was waged against me in 1991 and '92 in New Hampshire. And

they gave me a good vote, and I got to go on, so I went back there.

Then they voted for me in 1992 for President. And in 1996 they voted

for me again, which is unheard of because it's an overwhelmingly

Republican State in elections. But I went into an area of people who

are big sportsmen, and they had defeated a Congressman who supported

our crime bill with the ban on assault weapons and the Brady bill.

And I had all these hunters there, and I'd been going to see them a

long time. And I said, "I'll tell you what, remember back in '94

when you beat that Congressman because the NRA told you that the

President was trying to take your guns away with the assault weapons

ban, and the NRA?" I said, "Well, you beat him last time." I said,

"Now, every one of you who lost your hunting rifle, I expect you to

vote against me this time." But I said, "If you didn't, they lied to

you and you ought to get even." [Laughter] And you could have heard

a pin drop there, because they realized all of a sudden that this

sort of radical individualism, meaning you have no responsibilities

to collective citizenship, was wrong. And they could perfectly well

pursue their heritage that's deeply a part of New Hampshire where

people could hunt and fish and do whatever they want and still have

sufficient restraints to try to keep our children alive. And that's

just one example. And I could give you countless others.



� But as you look ahead in a world where we have done our best to

promote global markets, to promote efficient enterprise, we still

have to recognize that there are some obligations we have to each

other we have to fulfill together. And as you look ahead, let me


mention two or three-and I won't mention them all, but two or three.



� One is, as presently structured, both the Social Security system

and the Medicare system are unsustainable once all the baby boomers

retire. And I look at all these young people who are working here,

and young enough, most of them, to be for most of us, to be our

children. Not very long ago I went home to Arkansas because we had a

terrible tornado and after I toured the damaged area, I got a bunch

of people I went to high school with to come out and have dinner with

me. We ate barbecue from a place we've been eating at 40 years and

sat around and talked.



� Now, most of my high school classmates had never been to Aspen.

Most of my high school classmates are just middle class people, with

modest incomes, doing the best they can to raise their kids. But

every one of them said to me, you've got to do something to modify

the Social Security system, make it as strong for us as you can, do

the best you can, but we are obsessed with not bankrupting our

children and their ability to raise our grandchildren because the

baby boom generation is so big that by the time we're all in it,

there will be only two people working for every one person drawing.



� Now, I personally believe since the Democratic Party created

Social Security and Medicare and since they, I believe; they've been

great for America, that we should take the responsibility of

constructively reforming them rather than going into denial and

pretending that it doesn't have to be done. That's one example.



� Example number two: We've got the best system of college education

in the world, but nobody thinks we have the best elementary and

secondary education system in the wvorld. Ninety percent of the kids

in this country are in public schools. We have got to modernize

these schools, raise the standards, and do a thousand things that are

necessary that Governor Romer and I have been working on for 20 years

now if we expect America to grow together in the 21st century.



� Example number three-and then I'll quit after this, although there

are more, but I think it's important here in Colorado, especially in

Aspen-we've got to prove that we can grow the economy and improve the

endronment, not just preserve it the way it is but actually make it




� We have to make energy use like electricity and other things in

the next 50 years the way electronics has been in the last 50, where

everything gets smaller and smaller and smaller, with more and more




� I mentioned this at the previous dinner, but I'll say it again:

The main reason we have a year 2000 problem with all these computers,

you know, where� everybody is afraid that we'll flip into-at the

stroke of midnight, December 31st, January 1st, 1999, 2000, we'll all

go back to 1900 and everything will stop, is because we computerized

early in America. And when we computerized, these chips that hold

memory were rudimentary by today's standards. And so they had all

the numbers they did on dates, they just had the last 2 years, they

didn't have 4 years. So they're not capable of making this




� Today, it's a no-brainer. If you were building something today,

the power of these chips is so great, nobody would even think about

making it possible to have four digits on there and you could go

right on until the year 9999. So we've got to deal with this

education challenge. And we've got to prove that we can do it. And

then the second thing we have to do on this is to prove that we can

do with energy what we have done with electronics and the computer




� The best example of that that all of you will be able to access

within 3 or 4 years is a fuel-injection engine, where today about 70

percent of the heat value of gasoline is lost as it works its way

through a regular engine, when the fuel can be directly injected into

the process of turning the engine over you will cut greenhouse gas

emissions by 75 to 80 percent and triple mileage. And that's just

one example.



� I was in a low-income housing development in California a couple

weeks ago where the windows let in twice as much light and kept out

twice as much heat and cold. All of this is designed to do in energy

what we have already done in electronics and so many other things.

This is a huge challenge. I was pleased to wake up just the other

morning and look at CNN; the first story was on climate change

because of all the scorching heat in the South and the fires in

Florida, pointing out that the 9 hottest years ever recorded have

occurred in the last 11 years; the 5 hottest years ever recorded have

all occurred in the 1990's; 199 was the hottest year ever recorded;

and each and every month of 1998 has broken that month's record for




� This is not a game. We cannot afford to go into denial about

this. We have to find a way to reduce the emission of greenhouse

gases into the atmosphere and still keep growing the economy, not

just for America but for China, for India, for all the people that

are looking for their future. These are just three examples.



� The last point: 50 years ago tomorrowI had this on my mind because

I dedicated the aircraft carrier, the Harry Truman, today; some of

you may have seen it on TV tonight-50 years ago tomorrow Harry Truman

signed the Executive order ending segregation in the United States

military. And 50 years later-there are a lot of people who whined

and squalled about it and said it was the end of the world and how

awful it would be-50 years later we have the finest military in the

world, in no small measure because it is the most racially diverse

military in the world, where everybody meets uniform standards of




� Today we have one school district in Washington-across the river

from Washington, DC, with children from 180 different national and

ethnic groups, speaking over 100 different native languages-one

school district.



� So that's the last point I will make. It is particularly

important that we figure out how to live together and work together,

to relish our differences but understand that what binds us together

is more important. When you look at Kosovo and Bosnia, when you look

at Northern Ireland and the Middle East, when you look at the tribal

warfare in Rwanda and elsewhere, you look at the way the whole world

is bedeviled by not being able to get along because of their racial,

ethnic, and religious differences, if you want America to do a good

job in the rest of the world, we have to be good at home.



� Those are some of the things I think we should be thinking about.

And I believe politics should be about this. So if when you turn on

the television at night and you hear reports about what's being

discussed in Washington, the tone in which it's being discussed, and

the alternatives that are being presented, you hardly ever hear this,

do you? You ought to ask yourself why. I can tell you this: You

help more of our guys get in, what you're doing by your presence

here, you'll have more of this kind of discussion, and I think

America will be better in the 21st century.



� Thank you very much. National Economy



� Q. As you know, I'm a Houstonian, but I have a house down the

street from my friends, the Goldbergs. I want to say that in your

last trimester of your stewardship, I remember sitting on a bus with

Senator John Breaux, my boyhood friend, and you talked about your

plans for America. And I haven't seen this in the paper lately, but

I guess I want to tell you that we recognize low interest rates; we

recognize low inflation and, I think, a booming economy. And I think

with that track record that I should be reading that in the paper

more. But I want to tell you that I thank you, and I think all these

people here thank you.



� The President. Thank you. If I could just say one thing about

it- as you well know, because you work all over the world, the

economy is a constantly moving target. And I am very grateful we

have the lowest unemployment rate in 28 years and the lowest

percentage of people on welfare in 29 years and the lowest inflation

in 32 years and the highest homeownership ever. That's the good




� About a third of our economic growth has come from exports. About

a third to 40 percent of our export growth-40 percent-has gone in

Asia. If Asia goes down, our export growth goes down; our economic

growth goes down. That is already happening. So one of the things

that I think is very important to do is that we impress upon the

Members of Congress, both Republican and Democratic, that we have to

do those things which are designed to keep the rest of the world

growing. Otherwise, we can't grow.



� We are 4 percent of the world's population; we have 20 percent of

the world's income. It does not require much mathematical

computation to realize that if we want to sustain our income, we have

to sell more to the other 96 percent of the people in the world.



� And that's why I've been in such a big fight in Washington to fund

America's dues to the International Monetary Fund to modernize and

strengthen and restore growth in these economies, why I want to see

us continue to be engaged with Japan, why I went to China because a

strong economy will cure a lot of social problems. And very few

social problems can be cured in a democracy in the absence of a

strong economy because the middle class becomes preoccupied with its

own problems.



� But in this day and age, we can't sustain a strong economy without

a strong foreign policy that commits us to be constructively involved

with the rest of the world. And one of the things that I worry most

about in Washington is in various ways, there are elements that are

still-some in our party but more in the other party-still pulling

away from our constructive engagement in the rest of the world. We

cannot become what we ought to become unless we continue to get more

deeply involved, not less involved, with the rest of the world. But

I thank you for what you said.



� Go ahead.



� Republican Congress



� Q. You mentioned Harry Truman, and I still remember those

headlines, "Dewey Wins," right? And in fact it was Harry that won.

And my question is, I believe-I am not smart enough to know exactly

why, but I believe that one of the reasons he won is he said, that

do-nothing 80th Congress-is that the right number, 80-I hope-and

we're going to really show them.



� When are we going to-when do your advisers say it's time to start

talking in the parts of matter instead of more that sort of global

thing where we are all going to be together and be all a happy




� The President. Well, I have been hitting them pretty hard over

the way they killed the tobacco bill, the way they are so far killing

the Patients' Bill of Rights, the way they killed campaign finance

reform, the way they are endangering our future economic prosperity

by walking away from our dues to the International Monetary Fund.



� You know I haven't attacked them personally in the way they have

attacked me, but I've tried to make it clear that I think there are

serious risks being played with America's future there. But I,

frankly, believe that we have to wait until-see what happens in the

first 2 weeks after the August recess. They're about to go out.

Then they'll come back, and they'll have to make a final decision

whether they are going to work with us to get something done for

America or whether they're just going to play politics. And I

believe the American people will have an extremely negative reaction

if they walk away as a do-nothing Congress.



� So far-one of the major papers called them a "done-nothing"

Congress. They said so far, they're a "done-nothing" Congress.

They're not yet a do-nothing Congress because they still have a few

days left. But they're not meeting very much this year and so far-I

just think that they believe that conventional wisdom is that when

times are good, incumbents all win, so what they really have to do is

to keep their base happy. And in this case, the base is the most

ideologically conservative people in the country. And I think they

think they can keep them happy just by banging on me and doing a few

other things.



� And I basically disagree with that because I do not think, as good

as times are, I don't think this is an inherently stable time-I mean,

stable is wrong. I think it's stable but not status quo. I think

all you have to look5 years ago, Japan thought they had a permanent

formula for prosperity. Now they've had 5 years of no growth, and

their stock market has lost half its value.



� But one of the reasons that our country is working so well is that

the private sector, the entrepreneurs in this countr y, can stay in

constant motion. There are opportunities out there. They can see

things that are changing, and they can move and everything. And

we've got to equip more people to do that. But I guess I'm having a

vigorous agreement with you, but I think the Republican political

analysis is that they can get by this election by doing nothing

because times are so good that all incumbents will benefit, even if

the President is more benefited than others.



� My belief is that the good times impose on us a special

responsibility to bear down and take on these long-term challenges

because good times never last forever and because things inherently

change more rapidly now than they ever have before. So I think

they're making probably a political miscalculation and certainly a

miscalculation in terms of what's best for our country. And I think

you'll hear more of it in the last 6 weeks before the election. Yes?



� 1998 Elections



� Q. The Republican Party has clearly been captured by the

conservative idealogue. The Christian right, the religious right,

knows what they're doing; they know what they believe; they're well

organized; and I think they are probably the most-[inaudible]-that we

have. On the other hand, Democrats, we have a-all of us have a

tradition of understanding and of tolerance for the discrepancies and

the differences in opinions across the party, we're not so well

organized. How do we face this



� The President. Well, first of all



� Q. election against people who are as determined, as well

organized, and as well funded as the conservative right is?



� The President. Well, we are working hard to get better organized.

And I think we are going to be better organized than we ever have

been. We were quite well organized in '96, and we did well. We

would have won the House in '96, but for the fact that in the last 10

days of the election, in the 20 closest races they out-spent us 41/2

to one-in the last 10 days. Over and above that, you had all these

third party groups like the Christian Coalition groups, doing mass

mailings into these districts, basically talking about what heathens

our candidates were.



� And I think the Democrats are just going to have to decide whether

they're going to be tough enough to handle that, I mean, we don't-but

I think we will be better organized. I think we will be better

funded this time. They did their best to bankrupt us the last 2

years, and it didn't work.



� So I think if we're better organized and better funded and we

train our candidates better, then what we have to do is be ready for

that last 10-day onslaught where the Christian Coalition and the

other far right groups do these heavy, heavy mailings basically

trying to convince the people they're mailing to that we're cultural

aliens and that we don't have good values, and we don't support

families, and the country will come apart at the seams if we become

the majority again. And if we're tough enough to handle that, I

think we've got a chance to do pretty well.



� We were doing fine in '96, we just didn't have enough ammunition

at the end. We were so far down in '95 that we had to spend a lot of

our party money go get back up, and then the last 10 days they just

blew us away. But you've helped a lot by being here, and I think we

know now that you don't have to descend to the level of personal

meanness that your attackers do, but you do have to show a similar

level of vigor, with a strategy that will work.



� My own view is that we've got a strategy that will work; we've got

a message that will play. And you asked about the partisanship

thing- the most effective partisan attack, and a truthful one, is to

say that they are being partisan in preventing us from making

progress. It's not just to say Democrats are better than

Republicans. It's to say they're being partisan; they're preventing

us from making progress. Here are our ideas. Now, what are their

ideas. Measure them up. Twothirds of the American people will pick

ours. So if they don't stampede us with fear and money, we'll do

fine. And that's the ultimate answer to the question you asked.



� Q. Mr. President, first of all, I think it's really wonderful-

you've had a long day, and you're answering our questions. That's

really the American way. Thank you.



� The President. It's 1:15 a.m. our time. International

Environmental Issues



� Q. [Inaudible]-incredible things worldwide. I read the newspapers

where you even got those two suspected terrorists and they may end up

getting tried in The Hague. And that's wonderful. And NAFTA was the

greatest thing. I know you have to give and take, Mr. President, but

during NAFTA I know one of the things you had to kind of give on a

bit was to let the Mexican fishermen take up to 10,000 dolphins and

kill them. Is there any way in the last year and a half we could

take a couple of these ecological issues and maybe readdress them

again to help make the world a better place to live?



� The President. Well, we've got a lot ofone of the reasons we did

that is that we finally got the Mexicans to agree to at least end

some of the unsanitary conditions under which people were living

along the border. And we tried to build up a border commission that

would allow us to invest in the environment and elevate the public

health of the people in the Maquilladora areas along the border.



� I think that you will see, I predict, a number of areas where

there will be advances in wildlife protection and the environment in

the last 2 years. We're doing our best to get a much broader

agreement, for example, on all kinds of efforts to restore the oceans

generally. There's been a significant and alarming deterioration in

the oceans, not unrelated to climate change and global warming but

caused by forces in addition to that. There is a dead spot the size

of the State of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico outside the mouth of

the Mississippi, for example. And we're trying to address all those.



� I believe the American people-I think within a decade you'll see

an overwhelming majority of the American people for operational

environmentalism. Today we have 70 percent of our people, our

environmentalists and almost all little children are-it's something

they have to be taught to abandontheir instincts are to preserve the

planet. But I think that people still believe something I don't

anymore, which is that you have to give up all this if you want to

grow the economy. I just don't believe that. And I think that you

will see a steady movement toward more aggressive environmental

policies which will come to dominate both parties, I believe, in the

next 10 years. And I hope before I leave office I can do more.



� I even had somebody from Utah come up to me tonight and thank me

for saving the Red Rocks, the Grand Staircase Escalante, you know-who

said they didn't think it was right when I did it before.



� Moderator. Mr. President, I know your schedule. Would you mind

taking just a couple more?



� The President. Go ahead.



� Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia



� Q. Mr. President, I've got a question about foreign policy. Do

you have any concern about India and Pakistan, South Asia, what's

happening over there? And what kind of leadership role can you take

to bring peace over there or even float the idea of creating an

independent country of Kashmir, because that's the biggest problem

there? What can you do about it?



� The President. Well, one of the problems we've had-I thought-I

actually feel bad about this because I had a trip set up for the fall

to India and Pakistan. And in 1993, when I took office, I got all of

our peopleactually, before I took office-and I said, "Let's look at

the major foreign policy challenges this country faces and figure out

how we're going to deal with them and in what order." And as you

might imagine, we went through the Middle East and Bosnia, and then

we had Haiti on the list. We went through the idea that we had to

build a trade alliance with Latin America, that we needed a

systematic outreach to Africa, that the big issues were how were

Russia and China going to define their future greatness and could we

avoid a destructive future. And we worked hard on that.



� But I told everybody at the time, I said, one of the things that

never gets in the newspapers in America is the relationship between

India and Pakistan and what happens on the Indian subcontinent, where

they already-India already has a population of over 900 million, in

30 years it will be more populous than China; it already has the

world's biggest middle class. And Pakistan has well over 100 million

people and so does Bangladesh. So it's an amazing place.



� So I had planned to go there with plans to try to help resolve the

conflicts between the two countries. One big problem is India

steadfastly resists having any third party, whether it's the United

States or the United Nations or anybody else, try to mediate on

Kashmir. It's not surprising. India is bigger than Pakistan, but

there are more Muslims than Hindus in Kashmir. I mean, it's notthe

same reason that Pakistan, on the flipside, is dying to have

international mediation because of the way the numbers work.



� What I think we have to do is go back to find a series of

confidence-building measure which will enable these two nations to

work together and trust each other more and to move back from the

brink of military confrontation and from nuclear confrontation. And

we have to find a way to involve the Russians and the Chinese because

the Indians always say they're building nuclear power because of

China being a nuclear power and the border disputes they've had with

China. And, oh, by the way, we happen to have this Pakistani




� So I have spent a lot of time on that, even though it hasn't

achieved a lot of notoriety in the press. And I'm still hopeful that

before the year is over, we'll be able to put them back on the right

path toward more constructive relations. I mean, India,

interestingly enough, is a democracy just� as diverse, if not more

diverse, than America. Almost no one knows this. But most-most, but

not allthe various minorities groups in India live along the borders

of India in the north. And it's just-it would be, I think, a

terrible tragedy if Hindu nationalism led to both estrangement with

the Muslim countries on the border and the minorities-Muslim and

otherwise-within the borders of India when Ghandi basically set the

country up as a model of what we would all like to be and when

India's democracy has survived for 50 years under the most adverse

circumstances conceivable and is now, I believe, in a position to

really build a level of prosperity that has not been possible before.



� I feel the same thing with the Pakistanis. I think if they could

somehow-they're much more vulnerable to these economic sanctions than

the Indians are. If they could somehow ease their concerns which are

leading to such enormous military expenditures and put it into people

expenditures, we could build a different future there. I don't know

if I can do any good with it, but I certainly intend to try because I

think, whether we like it or not, I think that the one good thing

that the nuclear tests have done is that they have awakened the West,

and Americans in particular, to the idea that a lot of our children's

future will depend on what happens in the Indian subcontinent.



� Q. How about if you called their Prime Ministers here?



� The President. Well, I can't force a settlement on them, but I

can-that's why I say because of their relationships with India and

China, we need their help as well. And so far-excuse me-with Russia

and China. And so far, the Russians and the Chinese have been very

helpful to me in trying to work out a policy that we can pursue. But

I'm working on it. Believe me, if I thought it would work, I would

do it tomorrow, and I will continue to explore every conceivable




� Q. That's great. Thank you very much. The President. Thanks.

One last question. Go ahead.



� Intellectual Property Rights



� Q. I'm an intellectual property owner. I represent a lot of

entrepreneurial and independent interests against a lot of the large

multinational companies. I know what it's like to be on the nose

cone of a missile pretty much. And these interests can tell us that

basically that black is white in Congress and try to weaken the

patent system and protection of intellectual property.



� Governor Romer's son is one of the most vocal spokesmen for-

[inaudible]-the thing that differentiates us from the rest of the

world is intellectual property.



� The President. Well, it's interesting that you'd say that. First

of all, I don't think we should weaken the system. And secondly, I

think we should continue to aggressively pursue those protections in

our trade relations. I have spent an enormous amount of time with

the Chinese, for example, trying to protect against pirated CD's of

all kinds and other technology.



� And the consequences are far greater than they used to be. And we

always had a lot of this in Asia. We had Gucci handbags and the

Rolex watches and then when I first went to Taiwan 20 years ago, you

could buy all the latest hardcover books for $1.50; that was

something that was done. But the volume and level of trade and the

interconnections and the sophistication of what was being copied were

nowhere near what they are today where you're talking about billions

and billions and billions of dollars that can literally undermine the

creative enterprise of whole sectors of our economy.



� So I think it's important, first, to keep the legal protections

there, but secondly, it's important that the United States make this

a big part of our foreign policy and all of our trade policy. And we

try to do it. I spent a huge amount of time on it myself.



� Education



� Q. Mr. President, recently Massachusetts had some ugly test scores

from its teachers; they couldn't pass lOth grade equivalency. And

there's a problem, I guess, in other States, as well. Is there any

way that the education of the kids-[inaudible]-it will take another

generation to upgrade the teaching in the public schools?



� The President. Well, first of all, yes I think-I advocate-I think

what Massachusetts did was a good thing, not a bad thing. Most

people, every time they read bad news think this is a bad thing.

Sometimes when you read bad news, it's a good thing, because

otherwise how are you going to make it better if you don't know what

the facts are? So the first thing I'd like to say is we ought to

give Massachusetts a pat on the back for having the guts to have the

teacher testing, get the facts out, and deal with them.



� Now, what I think should happen is, I think every State should do

this for first-time teachers just the way they do it for lawyers and

doctors. Then I believe there should be a much more vigorous system

for trying to support and improve teaching as we go along, trying to

bring like retired people with degrees in science and mathematics and

other things into the teacher corps, which is very uneven across the




� And there's also something called the National Board for

Professional Teacher Standards, which certifies master teachers every

year, people who have great academic knowledge, could knock the socks

off that test, and people who have proven ability in the classroom.

And one of the things that I've got in my budget is enough money to

fund 100,000 of those master teachers, which would be enough to put

one master teacher in every school building in the country. And if

you look at-I don't want to embarrass him, but Tony Robbins standing

here-if you ever listen to his tapes or look at him on television,

you know he's a teacher. He's teaching people to change how they

behave. Well, it just stands to reason that if you could get one

really great teacher in every class, in every school building in

America, you would change the culture of that school building if they

had mentoring as part of their responsibility. So I think this is a

huge deal. But let me say, there's a lot more to do. You have to

recognize, too, that we have to do more to get young people into

teaching, even if they only stay a few years-really bright young

people. One of the proposals I've got before the Congress today

would fund several thousand young people going into inner-city

schools and other underserved areas to teach just for a couple of

years and they would, in turn, get a lot of their college costs

knocked off for doing it. Congress hasn't adopted it yet, but I

think that's another important avenue to consider. You've got to-the

quality of teaching matters.



� Now, I won't go through my whole education agenda with you, but

the other thing that you have to remember whether you're in Colorado

or anyplace else, is that when most of us who are my age at least

were children, the smartest women were teaching because they couldn't

do anything else for a living. And they weren't making much for

doing it, but it was all they could do.



� And now, a smart woman can run a big company, can create a company

and then take it public and be worth several hundredmillion dollars,

can be elected to the United States Senate and, before you know it,

will be President of the United States. So that means if you want

good young people to be teachers, we're going to have to pay them

more. And that's-everybody nods their head and then nobody wants to

come up with the bread to do it, but you've got to do it. I mean,

there's no question about it. If you really want to maintain quality

over a long period of time, you have to do-you have to pay people;

you have to improve the pay scales.



� The best short-run fix is to get really smart people who did other

things and now have good retirement income to come in because they

don't need the salary as much, or to get really smart young people to

do it for a few years as soon as they get out of college by helping

them cover their college costs.



� Moderator. Mr. President, Michael Goldberg promised me he would

show me some reruns of his brother, the wrestler, on winning his

championship after you were done speaking.



� The President. I'm really impressed by that.



� Moderator. You're running me out of my time on watching that

wrestling. [Laughter]



� The President. Thank you very much.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 10:58 p.m. at a private residence.

In his remarks, he referred to dinner hosts Michael and Ana Goldberg;

Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado, general chair, Democratic National

Committee; and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. A tape was not

available for verification of the content of these remark



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