CHANCELLOR ROBERT M. BERDAHL: Good afternoon. Welcome. Our house is
filled today with many friends and honored guests. And our hearts are
fill with pride, at this significant
campus community. Today, we
bring together leadership and learning, as we always have done at Berkeley.
We owe a debt of gratitude to many people for making this event possible. But
let me offer special thanks to three people, without whom today would not have
been possible. Susie Thompkins-Buelle and her husband, Mark Buelle, And Dean
Orville Schell of our School of Journalism.
Were also very pleased to be joined today by leaders of our local community,
leaders of the state, by distinguished members of the California Legislature,
including Speaker of the California Assembly, Robert Hertzberg.
I have the pleasure of introducing first this afternoon, a leader whose vision
for California has placed education first, and whose record of accomplishments
in office proves that. California Governor Gray Davis has fought for education
at all levels throughout his public life. As Governor, he has recognized that
the future of California not only depends upon a well educated populace, but
also upon investment in research. In a visionary plan, the envy of public universities
all across America, he has created four major research institutes within the
University of California. Berkeley has benefited from this investment as the
lead campus in the Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society,
and with UCSF as a major participant in the Bioengineering, Biotechnology and
Quantitative Biology Research Institute. These institutes, along with other cutting
edge research at the University of California will lay the foundation for the
future of California in the nations economy. Were grateful for his
visionary leadership and support for education and honored by his presence here
today. Please join me in warmly welcoming the Governor of the State of California,
a great friend of the University, the Honorable Gray Davis.
GOVERNOR GRAY DAVIS: Thank you. Mr. Chancellor, why arent the
journalists so nice in Sacramento? This is a wonderful reception, thank
you all very much. Chancellor, thank you for your leadership. President
Clinton, thank you for gracing us with your presence and for all you
did for America as our President. Speaker Hertzberg, thank you very much
for the wonderful working relationship weve had during your speakership.
Very few people know how much Bob Hertzberg has contributed to this society.
We together had to deal with the energy crises. I wouldnt wish
it on my worst enemy. Bob was a true partner and a stand-up guy. Please
give Bob a round of applause.
I may not have everyone who is in attendance, but Im told Superintendent
Delaine Easton is. Shes a wonderful partner, as Superintendent of Public
Instruction, thank you so much. Im told that Mayor Brown of Oakland is
here. I was just with him earlier. And if hes here, I thank him for being
here. Mayor Shirley Dean of Berkeley. Thank you, very much, Mayor, for being
here. And, of course, Dean Orville Schell, a wonderful friend of mine for 20
I just have three quick observations. First of all, Ive been so well
received at Berkeley on the two occasions Ive come here, it tells me that
Berkeley not only is arguably the finest institution of higher learning in the
world, but fully understands the phrase, the possibility of redemption.
The reason I know that is my first appearance is at the invitation of your Chancellor
to speak at Charter Day, which was a great honor, particularly for a graduateI
hate to say itof Stanford. But people gave me a chance. They treated me
warmly afterwards. So I know Berkeley understands that youthful indiscretions
are one thing, what matters is what you do with the rest of your life.
And, secondly, I want to make an observation about President Clinton. We all
know the tremendous leadership he provided the economy he helped to stimulate
and encourage through fiscal restraint and good public policies, his commitment
to education, to health care; let me just mention the SCHIP program, which was
a real dream of his, to make sure that the children of working poor have health
insurance. And Im very pleased, weve moved that program from 50,000,
when it was just getting started when I became Governor, to 500,000 now. So lots
of people are benefiting from his idea.
But let me tell you how we can also solve problems. We just came
why I was pleased that Mayor Brown is here, as I was just with him as we dedicated
the beginning of repairing the Bay Bridge after the 89 earthquake. Thats
been a decade, 12 years, whatever its been. There were all kinds of different
disputes on both sides of the Bay, as to how that bridge should be designed,
what it should look like, what kind of development should or should not occur
at either end. And, finally, it prevailed upon all the mayors, not just the Mayors
Brown, but all kinds of mayors on both sides of the bridge: lets all be
bound by whatever the Corps of Engineers believes is the right design. CalTrans
had a design that pre-dated my governorship; Mayor Brown has his view; the Corps
of Engineers had their view; the Navy had their view; various mayors, Mayor Jerry
Brown had his view; other people had their viewwe gave them all to the
Corps of Engineers, and the president said, he said, Gray, well be
happy to do the study. If youll pay for it, well be happy to do the
study. So they did the study. And the Corps of Engineers concluded that
the design pre-dating me, by the Department of CalTrans, was actually the seismically
best design. And so we, today, ended 12 years of talking and started building
the bridge. It will be the largest public works project in California, employing
67,000 people. And it will literally be the safest bridge in America, designed
to withstand an 8.5 earthquake and still be operational. So its a tremendous
undertaking, and we might still be talking about it if President Clinton hadnt
helped intervene to resolve this dispute. So thats just one of his many
achievements that may have escaped your notice.
Finally, let me just echo the Chancellors comments about our Centers
of Science and Innovation. I believe that our institutions of higher learning,
particularly the University of California, offer young people wonderful opportunities
to reach their full potential. And for decades theyve been doing that.
But for the last two or three decades, theyve also been reinventing the
future, creating economies that didnt exist before. And, in part, Silicon
Valley was a vehicle to commercialize ideas that came out of Berkeley, UCSF and
Stanford. Something called the Stanford Research Institute played a role in taking
ideas and putting them in commercial form. People dont know this, but virtually
every engineering company in America thenthen being at the end of World
War 2, going into the 50swas located in Chicago. But when they saw
all this synergy existing in the Bay Area, one by one, the moved out to the Bay
Area because they wanted to be close to the source of new ideas.
Well, I wanted to take that model and recreate it for the technologies of the
future. So weve created four Centers of Science Innovation, which are research
institutes on UC campuses. All the campuses competed for different technologies,
and the nine campuses actually made about 13 or 14 proposals, as they joined
with other campuses. Im very pleased that Berkeley on Information Technology;
UCSF, also Berkeley, partnering on Bioengineering, Biomedicine; UCLA partnering
with UCI on their Institute of Nanosystemsnano being the smallest particle
in the universe; and San Diego being Telecommunications, are the four research
institutes that will help develop products, push back the frontiers of knowledge,
and 25 years from now, people will say, This is the best thing the Davis
Administration ever did.
The last think Ill share with youI was at a Symposium on Innovation
in San Diego, and the President of M.I.T. came up to me, and he said, Governor,
you may think Im here to speak at the symposium. Im really here to
study your Centers of Science and Innovation. I thought, Were
on the right track, if M.I.T. is thinking of copying us.
So Im delighted that Berkeley is one of the four centers. This has been
a pioneer of thinking, new ideas and innovation for years and years, over a hundred
years. And Im thrilled to be a part of this day, which is honoring President
Clinton. Thank you for inviting me.
CHANCELLOR BERDAHL: Thank you very much, Governor Davis, and thanks
for the bridge. Youve been building bridges all term, so were
really delighted for that.
Berkeley has hosted many world leaders and United States presidents throughout
the years, beginning with Benjamin Harrison in 1891, who actually was so out
of sorts by the time he got to the Berkeley campus because of the dust and the
rough roads over which his carriage had to pass, that he declined to descend
from the carriage and greet anyone. Presidents couldnt get away with that,
I think, these days. But then he was followed by Theodore Roosevelt, William
Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, and Harry S. Truman. The last United
States president who spoke on the Berkeley campus 40 years ago, this spring,
was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President Kennedy understood intrinsically, the
relationship between leadership and learning. And that was the central theme
of the speech that he was to deliver in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963.
Berkeley provided such intellectual firepower to the Kennedy Administration,
that JFK said in his address on Charter Day, 1962, to the campus, "I am
forced to confront an uncomfortable truth, that the new frontier may well owe
more to Berkeley than to Harvard." To which we can only say, Go Bears!
Berkeleys influence grew again during the Clinton Presidency, as numerous
members of our faculty served in the Administration. Among them, our economists
Laura Tyson and Janet Yellon, had a profound role in successfully shaping the
economic policies that provided the remarkable economic growth of the 1990s.
William Jefferson Clinton first campaigned for office and later governed from
the Oval Office, in order to provide economic opportunity to more Americans.
In his words, he saw early on "the huge vast pent-up potential of the American
economy." "If I didnt get the economy going," he said, "nothing
else would matter in the end."
During his presidency, Bill Clinton oversaw the longest economic boon in American
history. A 50% expansion of the economy in real terms; a decline in unemployment
to 4%, marking a 40-year low; and the creation of 15 million new jobs in America.
During his presidency, the United States moved from record deficits to record
surpluses. Some would say this was merely good luck, and, no doubt, some luck
was involved. But it should be now apparent to all, it was also the result of
prudent tax policies and prudent expenditure policies.
Another profound transformation of the economy was underway as the Information
Age emerged from Silicon Valley and became global by the end of the century.
When he took office in 1993, few had heard of the Internet. By the time he left
office, the whole world was connected. The basic idea of economic progress, the
foundation of the American dream assumed global dimensions. In the New Economy,
progress fueled by knowledge holds the dreams of children in future generations
in countries all across the earth. For that reason, perhaps William Clinton has
been called the First Globalist President.
Since leaving office, he has visited more than 20 countries, carrying a message
of renewed dedication to the goals of economic empowerment of poor people; racial,
ethnic and religious reconciliation; and citizen service. Throughout his life
he has embodied Herculean persistence and endurance in public service. He once
said, "Theres a lot to be said for showing up everyday and trying
to push the rock uphill. If youre willing to win in inches, as well as
in feet, a phenomenal amount of positive things can happen. If you love your
country and have something you want to do, and you put together a good team,
and youre willing to be relentless and exhaust yourself in the effort,
the results will come."
Indeed they have. And we are honored by the presence of such inexhaustible
leadership and vision in this hallowed place of learning here today. In honor
of monumental public service, Berkeley has historically reserved its most prestigious
award, the Berkeley Medal. As Chancellor, on behalf of the University, I am delighted
to both welcome former President Bill Clinton here today, as well as bestow on
him for his lifetime of service to society, the Berkeley Medal.
Please welcome our newest Golden Bear, President Bill Clinton.
PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON: Thank you. I would be willing to
bet that was the nicest welcome ever given to a Stanford parent. I am
delighted to be here. Thank you, Chancellor, for the wonderful medal
and the great honor. Thank you, Governor and Dean Schell.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to be here, and honored by the invitation
to speak. I first came to this campus as a visitor in 1971, before most of you
were born. It was an interesting time to be on the Berkeley campus, a time when
as has become traditional, the students here were challenging the status quo
and determined to change the future. I met on the street a man who was then a
very famous author from back east, named Charles Reich, who wrote a book called
The Greening of America. And I was about three blocks from here when Richard
Nixon announced that he was imposing wage and price controls. That would make
him a left wing Republican in todays context. A lot has changed in 30 years.
I admire this school very much for the remarkable contributions you have made
to America, to California, and I want to especially thank my long-time friend,
Governor Davis, for the support of these Institutes of Science and Innovation,
especially the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of
Society here, and the Health Science Initiative to turn breakthroughs in biomedicine
into longer lives for people. So I am very happy to be here.
Now, Dean Schell told me when I came out that after I finish speaking theyre
going to be taking questions from the audience, then were going to go over
there and sit as if we were in our living room, in this intimate little setting,
and Im going to answer the questions. So what I think I will do is to try
to shorten the remarks that I was otherwise going to give, so we can leave more
time for your questions. But I have a few points that I want to make.
Since I left office, I have tried to go around America and around the world,
first, working on things that I cared deeply about as President, the economic
empowerment of poor people in Harlem and Lower Manhattan after September 11th;
in India, where we have established a foundation to try to rebuild Bhuj in Gujarat.
On education, Senator Dole and I after September 11th, launched a
fund to raise enough money to guarantee a university education for spouses and
children of all the people killed or disabled on September 11th. And
were about 90% of the way home, and I feel very good about that. On racial
and religious reconciliation, Ive just come back from the Middle East,
and we just had my Foundations first event at NYU this year on Islam
and the Modern World. I went to Ireland last year to try to help the process
along there, in what was otherwise a very dreary year for peace. I think the
Irish have made now an irrevocable commitment that will not be reversed, and
for that Im very grateful. And Im trying to expand AmeriCorps here
in America. And President Mandella and I have been working on a project to bring
AmeriCorps to South Africa, so they will have a community service program there
for young people, where people will work together across racial lines for an
extended period of time.
But I also, even before September the 11th, was making an attempt
in America and throughout the world, to explain to people where I think we are
at the dawn of this new century. Something that is even more important now. I
recognize that I am here under the sponsorship, in part, of the School of Journalism,
and I have to say good citizenship and good journalism are more important than
ever, and perhaps more difficult than ever to achieve. A lot of what we need
to think about and talk about is hard to get through the blizzard of competing
media networks, the 24-hour news cycle, shorter and shorter attention span, and
a climate in Washington that my wife often refers to as an evidence-free
zone. So nonetheless, I think that its more important than ever.
So heres what I would like to say to you about that, especially to young
people. The United States played the major role in rallying the world after World
War II, first of all, to organize ourselves for the Cold War, and, secondly,
to try to build the institutions of international peace and prosperity for people
who embraced freedom. That is, after all, what the United Nations, the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank, all these other international institutions, were
When Communism failed, the Berlin Wall fell, and the economy became truly global,
America and other wealthy nations reaped very big benefits. But I think very
few people had thought through the full implications of the new world in which
we found ourselves. A world characterized not just by a global economy, but by
a global information society. When I took the oath of office as President on
January the 20th, 1993, there were only 50 sites on the WorldWide
Web. In 93. When I left office, there were over 350 million and rising.
Today, theyre probably somewhere around 500 million. Theres never
been anything like it. At the same time, we had this breathtaking scientific
advance. I was honored to be president at the time when the International Consortium
of Scientists finished the sequencing of the human genome, something which has
already yielded the two major variances that are high predictors of breast cancer,
something that is leading us very close to unlocking the genetic strains that
cause Parkinsons and Alzheimers. And quite soon, young women will
come home from the hospital with their newborn babies in countries with good
health systems with little gene cards that will say, Here are your childs
strengths and weaknesses, and if you do the following ten things your baby has
a life expectancy of 93 years. This is going to happen in the lifetimes,
and in the childbearing lifetimes of those young people in this audience.
We saw an explosion of democracy. For the first time in history in the 1990s,
more people lived under governments of their own choosing than not in the world.
And an explosion of diversity within democracies. We all know now that one of
the cruel ironies of September the 11th is that a few hundred Muslims
were killed at the World Trade Center, people from every continent. I visited
one of the schools of where the kids were basically blown out of their schools
by the debris from the explosion, and had to go to another school. And there
were children from 80 different ethnic and national groups. So we have become
more diverse, and we have become a more democratic world.
America benefited enormously from this, as did other wealthy countries. So
we find ourselves in a world where we have torn down walls, collapsed distances,
and spread information and technology more widely than ever before. And we got
out of it 22-1/2 million new jobs, the highest per capital incomes in history,
the lowest poverty rates in a generation. In the last five years I was president,
the people at the bottom 20% income were increasing percentage-wise even more
rapidly than the rest of the economy.
And we also were given the chance to promote peace and prosperity and our ideals
around the world. But it wasnt the whole story, because half the world
was left out of the economic expansion. About half the people on earth live on
less than $2 a day. A billion people live on less than $1 a day. A billion people
go to bed hungry every night, and a billion-and-a-half people never get a clean
glass of water. So not surprisingly, they dont think as much of this new
world as many of us do because theyre not really a part of it.
In addition to that, for all the educational advancesin America, for
example, one of my proudest accomplishments as president was that we had the
biggest increase in college aid since the G.I. Bill, in over 50 years. And more
than 10 million more college students were getting assistance. The average assistance
was more than it had been, dramatically, than when I took office. But there are
100 million young people in the world of primary school age that never go to
school at allhalf the kids in Sub-Saharan Africa, a quarter of the kids
in East Asia, a quarter of kids in South Asia. Indeed, one of the most gripping
stories that has come out of the post-September the 11th obsession
with that part of the world, of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the breeding of
terrorists, have been all the stories about the Madrasas in Pakistan, the religious
schools, where so many people are indoctrinated, rather than educated. There
was a story of a young boy, who was an otherwise marvelous young boy, who gets
up every morning at 4:30 to pray and hes devoted to his parents, can answer
any question about the Koran, but doesnt know what 2 times 2 is, and believes
that America and Israel brought dinosaurs back to earth to kill Muslims. That
is a function of the poverty that gripped Pakistan over the last 20 years, and
their inability to fund their public schools, and the fact that this boys
parents couldnt afford the money to pay the tuition at what used to be
a free public school. So you have, you know, that problem.
We talk about all these health advances. And I didnt even mention some
of them. We started spending money on nano technology when I was President, investing
in that. Congress went along and we were getting close to diagnostic tools that
would identify cancers when theyre only a few cells in size, raising the
prospect that they could all become curable. We were working on digital chips
to replicate the sophisticated nerve movements of damaged spines, raising the
prospect that we might be able with chips, to give spines the capacity to work
again, and people long paralyzed could stand up and walk. And that exists in
a world where one-fourth of all the people who die this yearfrom terrorism,
from natural disasters, from heart attacks, and strokes, and cancera quarter
of all the people who die on earth will die of AIDS, TB, malaria, and infections
from diarrhea, most of them little kids that never got a clean glass of water.
For all the explosion of democracy and diversity and the triumph of freedom
and the relegation of Communism to historys cellar, we have also seen a
dramatic rise in identity politics littered in race, religion, tribe, and ethnicity,
in ways that have very negative manifestations in people who basically dont
buy the idea that we can build a common future based on our common humanity.
And since we have built a world without walls, we cant claim the benefits
that we have enjoyed so richly without some greater exposure and vulnerability
to all those burdens.
So in a profound sense, September the 11th was the dark side of
this new age of globalization and all of its benefits. We have to decide what
to do about it. Of course, at least I believe the answer is, of course, we should
do whatever we can to destroy the Al Qaida network and Mr. Bin Laden, they are
the most dangerous terrorist network in the world, and theyve been trying
to kill us for a long time. And I did what I could under the circumstances that
I found as president, to do that. We should cooperate with others in the fight
against terrorism around the world, in whatever ways are appropriate and possible.
Because its a global threat, invulnerability is global. But I do not believe
that a law enforcement and military strategy alone is sufficient to build a world
that I hope the young people in this audience will live in and raise their children
in, simply because I dont want you to have to substitute the walls that
we have torn down for barbed wire. I dont want you to have to wonder every
time you get on an airplane. And I dont want the world we live in to change
the character of our country, by having people dominated by fear of today, fear
of tomorrow, and fear of each other. And if you dont want that, then we
have to say, Okay, what kind of world do we want to live in? How are we
going to achieve it? It seems to me, we have to focus on the fight against
terror. Thats important. We have to focus on improving our defenses. Thats
important. The President is giving his State of the Union Address tonight, doubtless
he will talk about that. And homeland defense, theres a lot more that needs
to be done there.
But we also need to build a world where there is more cooperation and less
terror. And in order to do that, it seems to me that three things are required.
First of all, weve got to spread the benefits and shrink the burdens of
the modern world, so there are more people included in what we like. Secondly,
we have to work on creating the conditions in countries that breed terrorism
that made progress in a different ethic possible. We have to advance human rights
and freedoms, and actual basic good governments, things that its so easy
to overlook in the grip of the enormous harm that our people have sustained here.
And, finally, we have to build a truly global level of consciousness about what
our relationships and responsibilities are going to be.
You know, the people that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
they saw them as symbols of corrupt American materialism and power. They saw
all the people that died on those airplanes and in those buildings as legitimate
targets because they didnt share the truth that they think they own. But
I live and work in New York, and my wife represents New York in the Senate, and
I was the Commander in Chief of many of those people who died at the Pentagon.
I know people who were on those planes; many of you do. And I have a very different
view. Those people to me represented the world that I worked for eight years
to build, a world where theres more diversity and stronger community, where
theres more opportunity, where we keep reaching out. And these different
views are the extreme examples of a whole range of differences that, basically,
divide the world in ways that dont make any sense anymore.
And so what I would like you to think about is what you want the world to be
like in 10 years. How do you want to live? What are you prepared to do to achieve
that? What are you prepared to have your country do? And let me just talk a little
about each of these things.
What should America do to spread the benefits and shrink the burdens of the
21st century world? I think you could make a lot of statements, but
Ill just give you four examples. We ought to do more to create economic
empowerment and reduce poverty. And there are clearly proven affordable strategies.
Ill just give you a couple. In my last year as president, we had a total
bipartisan effort to complete an initiative I started in 1999 to give debt relief
to the two dozen poorest countries in the world if, but only if, they put all
the money that they save into education, health, or economic development. Now,
it passed, and in the year thats since then, Ill just give you two
examples. Uganda doubled primary school enrollment and reduced class sizes. Honduras,
in our hemisphere, increased mandatory schooling from six years to nine years,
a 50% increase. This was peanuts, what it cost us; it made all the difference
in the world to them. We should do more of that.
Second example. The United States funded two million micro enterprise loans
a year in poor countries, small loans to poor village people, a program pioneered
by the great Bangladeshi economist, Mohammed Yunus with the Grameen Bank, a man
who long ago should have won the Nobel Prize. Ill keep saying that until
they finally give it to him. We should fund five times that many, maybe ten times
that many. Ive been in little villages in Africa where the local village
person charged with keeping up with all the micro credit loans would run into
the thatched hut and come out and show me his accounts and show me what everybody
was doing with their money. And it can make a big difference.
A third example. A great Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto, basically discovered
something that was before all of our eyes, which is that poor people actually
have quite a lot of wealth in the world. The poorest people have, according to
him, $5 trillion worth of assets in their homes and their businesses, but theyre
totally useless for joining the market economy because theyre not in the
legal system. If they live in Bombay, theyre in a metal shack, they dont
have an address, they dont have a verifiable title, they dont have
any way to establish value, so they cant borrow any money on it. If they
live in a city and they have a small business, chances in most big cities in
poor countries are better than 50:50 the business will not be legalized because
of the bureaucratic and other hassles it takes to legalize the business. I just
saw Desotos map on Cairo, a very important city to the future, and about
eight in ten businesses are not legalized. Because if we went there tomorrow,
you and I, and decided to open bakeries, it would take us almost two years to
go through all the legal hurdle to open a little bakery, where were just
trying to make and sell bread. So hes going around the world trying to
clean all this up, get all these businesses first, and then later homes, in the
legal system, so people can actually have collateral for loans, and borrow money
and join the market economy. It has enormous potential. They did it in Peru.
They had double-digit growth three years in a row. We gave him a little money
when I was president. We ought to fund this and get this done everywhere, so
people will be in a better position to help themselves.
And America should also buy more products from poor countries. In my last year
as president, we had trade opening to Africa, to the Caribbean, to Vietnam and
to Jordan. In less than a year, our purchases from some poor African countries
had increased by a thousand percent. And it didnt hurt the American economy.
And it didnt cost a lot of people their jobs. And we should be spending
more money on job training and reap the training anyway, in America, for people
that need that, need to be moving up in their income-earning potential. This
is important, and it will create a world with more partners and fewer terrorists.
The same thing applies to education. In my last year as president, we got $300
million to offer a good meal to children, breakfast or lunch, if, but only if,
they came to school. $300 million in the poorest countries in the world will
feed 6 million children everyday of the school year. Six million. And we just
got the reports. The enrollments are exploding.
Same thing applies to health care. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the
U.N., has asked us for $10 billion, the whole world, to fight AIDS, TB, malaria,
and other infectious diseases. Our share of that would be somewhere between $2.2-
and $2.4 billion. The Afghan war cost about a billion dollars a month, to give
you some idea of what youre comparing. And thats about as inexpensive
as a war gets these days for a country like ours. So thats roughly comparable
numbers. And is it worth it? Well, Brazil proved that medicine and prevention,
they could cut the death rate from AIDS in half in three years. Uganda proved
that prevention alone, they could cut the death rate in half in five years. There
are now 40 million people with AIDS and there will be 100 million in 2005. And
if you have 100 million, take it from me, some countries are going to fail. And
youll have a lot more young people willing to be terrorists or mercenaries
in tribal wars because, what the heck, theyre going to die anyway. And
wed spend a lot more money cleaning up those messes than we would spend
if we invest in now in this health fund.
You could make the same argument with the environment. You know, weve
got terrible problems. The ocean is deteriorating; it generates most of our oxygen.
I already said one in four people dont have access to clean water. And
climate change is real. If for the next 50 years, the earths climate warms
at the rate of the last 10, well lose 50 feet of Manhattan Island, well
lose the Florida Everglades, island nations in the Pacific will be flooded. Thats
the most dramatic set of examples, but the most important is that agricultural
production will be disrupted all over the world, and millions upon millions of
people will be turned into food refugees, breeding more terrorists and anger.
So this is one area where I actually think we could make money, and we could
help poor people make money. I just got back from the Middle East, and I told
them they ought to forget about being the oil center of the world, they ought
to become the energy center and double the capacity of solar technology and conservation
technologies and put them in in every warm place in the world, because its
Now, the point I want to make to you is listen tonight to the State of the
Union address at how much money were spending on defense and what the proposed
increase isand I support a lot of itand how much money were
spending on homeland security, the proposed increaseand Ive already
told you, we need to spend a lot on it. But Im telling you, we could do
Americas fair share of economic empowerment of poor people, putting all
the poor kids in the world in school, funding the Secretary Generals health
efforts, and accelerating the effort to turn around climate change. We could
do all that, and pay our fair share for more or less what we would spend in a
year in Afghanistan in the conflict, and much less than we spend on other things.
And I can only tell you, it is a lot cheaper than going to war. And it is a lot
and its also in real dollars terms a lot cheaper than
what we spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. And
its the same basic idea. Go back and read George Marshalls speeches,
somebody ought to just stand up everyday and read George Marshalls speeches
to America for the next month or two. And, you know, we were grievously wounded,
and we spent this money to help Germany after what they did. We wanted Japan
to come back. Weve got to think about this in the way that we want the
world to be in 15 or 20 years.
The second thing I want to say is we want to spend more effort trying to help
countries solve their own problems and develop basic capacityfreedom, openness,
human rights, and actual capacity to govern. I spend a fair amount of time on
that now, and I hope Ill be able to do more in the years ahead.
And the final thing I want to say and then well open the floor to questions,
is we have to develop a way of thinking about the world that is more consistent
with the way the world is and the way we would like it to be. Bin Laden and this
crowd that attacked us and killed all those innocent people, theyre like
fanatics throughout history. They believe they have the whole truth. And if you
share their truth, your life has value, and if you dont, youre a
legitimate target, even if youre just a 6-year-old girl that was going
to work with her mother on the morning of September 11th. And thats
what they really believe. I mean, youve seen him on television, you know,
thats what he believes, hes a serious person. And their view of community
is very different. Their view of community is that youve got to think like
them and act like them, and if you break the rules theres got to be somebody
to whip you back into line, which is why everybody was so happy when Afghanistan
was liberated and women took off their burkas and men started shaving. But thats
what they believe.
So they have sort an extreme, exclusive view of the world. Dont
tell me about my common humanity. The only thing that matters about me is my
difference. I know that Islam is the only true religion, and I know what Allah
meant in every word of the Koran. And the second knowing is more trouble
than the first, just like it is for those of us of other faiths. Right?
So most of us, we have a whole different view of that. Most of us believe that
nobodys got the whole truth, that especially among deeply religious peopledeeply
I mean, most people who are deeply religious feel our
human limitations all the more, and understand that nobodys got the whole
truth, therefore, life is a journey on which we move toward the truth and we
learn something from other people, so everybody ought to be entitled to take
this journey. Therefore, most of us believe a community is not everybody who
is just alike, but everybody who accepts certain ruleseveryone counts,
everyone has a role to play, we all do better when we help each other. So, radically
different world view.
But I would argue to you, in a world without walls, it is the only sustainable
world view. If you take down the walls, no matter how much barbed wire you put
up in its place, no matter how many defenses you think you can erect, if the
world is dominated by people who believe that their racial, their religious,
their tribal, their ethnic differences are the most important fact of life, a
huge number of innocent people will perish in this new century.
Now, I think it is unlikely that the 21st century will be as bloody
as the 20th. And lets try to put this into some context. We
lost 12 million people in World War 1, 20 million in World War 2, 20 million
between the Wars, 20 million from bad governments after the War, over a million
in Korea, about a million in Vietnam, 700,000 in Rwanda in 90 days, a quarter
of a million in Bosnia, at least, and most of them were innocent non-combatant.
But with technology being spread wider and wider, with the weapons available
to people, and the knowledge available to people, and the walls down, it will
be a dreary world indeed, unless those of us who believe that our common humanity
is more important than our interesting differences, can defeat in the battle
of ideas and in the facts of life those who believe that their differences define
the truth and give them the right to wipe out the lives of others.
Thats what this whole thing is about. And, you know, you can look around
Berkeley; its a nice university. You look around this crowd, everybodys
different. It looks a lot different than it would have 30 years ago, and radically
different than it would have 40 years ago when President Kennedy was here. And
its easy to give this right answer. But I promise you, its very hard
to live this right answer. In my last year in college, Martin Luther King and
Robert Kennedy were killed trying to reconcile the American people to each other.
Gandhi was killed by a Hindu, not a Muslim, because he wanted India for everybodythe
Sikhs, the Jains, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists. In the
Middle East from which I just came and where I had worked so hard, and ultimately,
unsuccessfully, to make peace, two have died since we started this peace journey
over 20 years ago. Anwar Sadat, killed not by an Israeli commando, but by an
Egyptian, who thought he was a bad Egyptian and a bad Muslim for making peace
and wanting a secular government; and my friend, Yitzhak Rabin, whose grave I
visited last week, killed by an Israeli, who thought he was a bad Jew and a bad
Israeli because he got tired of killing Palestinians and thought he ought to
give them a homeland instead, and find a peace by recognizing their legitimate
So its easy to talk about this in the comfort of an auditorium like this.
But out there in the real world, where the economic problems overlap, the health
problems overlap, the politics overlap, people acquire all these vested interests
in keeping whatever worlds turmoil is out there tearing people into knots.
Its hard to live. But the fact is that there are just too many places where
people my age are making decisions that inflame people your age and cause them
to die. In the Intifida, since August of 2000, 55% of the Palestinians who have
died have been under 18. Over 60% of the Israelis who have died have been under
24. Hillary gave me a little card when I ran for President in 92; its
something that I just kept reading every time Id get discouraged. It said,
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different
So, you know, this may sound naïve to all of you, but I can tell you,
you know, Ive ordered people into battle, Ive dropped bombs, Ive
done all those things that youre supposed to do in the real world, usually
to good effect. Im proud of what we did in Bosnia and Kosovo. And I wish
I had been successful in my efforts to get Mr. Bin Laden earlier. But in the
end, in the end, whats going to determine the shape of the 21st
century, is whether we have an ethic that says, I think we like our differences.
We like who we are. We like the color of our skin, the way we pursue our faith,
we like whats about us thats different. We like our little boxes,
we all have to have them to navigate reality. You laughed when I said Cal
and Stanford. You gave me a good reception because I was a Stanford parent, right?
It gives you a way to organize things. But the older you get, somebodys
a scientist, another persons an economist; somebodys a Democrat,
somebody else is a Republican; somebodys Asian, somebody else is something
else. But in the end, most people figure out that these boxes with which we navigate
reality, as important as they are, are not as important as our common humanity.
And if we dont figure it out, then a whole lot of experience is denied
us, and a whole lot of wisdom never comes into our spirits.
And thats really whats going on here, folks. The world has never
truly had to develop an ethic of interdependence rooted in our common humanity.
And if we do it, the 21st century will be the most interesting, exciting,
peaceful era in history. If we dont well spend a lot of time playing
catch-up and trying to punish people, and get them to atone for travesties like
September the 11th.
So I will say again, I support the current effort against terrorism, we need
more of it, and we need to increase our effectiveness, and we will get better
at it. And no terrorist campaign in history, by the way, has ever succeeded.
And this one wont either, unless we let it change us. But if you want the
world that I think you want, you have to both be very vigilant and disciplined,
and tough in people that have already set themselves beyond the pale of the world
youre trying to build. And then you have to go about trying to build a
world where you spread the benefits and shrink the burdens, where you help people
who arent very good at solving their own problems yet get better at it
and understand they have to accommodate human rights and openness. And you have
to basically tell people, Look, we respect your differences, well
celebrate them, but only if you acknowledge that our common humanity is more
important. Not very complicated, but thats what I think will determine
the whole shape of the new era. Thank you very much.
DEAN ORVILLE SCHELL: Well, thank you, President Clinton for those interesting
remarks. Its wonderful to have you here, and we join the Governor
and the Chancellor in thanking you for taking the time to do so.
Lets plunge right into questions. I have questions from you, some from
myself, so lets just get going.
Lets assume for a minute that globalization is the best possible scenario
for the world; in any event, its happening. How do we galvanize our own
country to become sufficiently internationally-minded, to really play a role
we must play if its going to succeed?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I think, first of all, the American public
is now seeing everything, even things theyre not consciously seeing
through the prism of what we endured on September the 11th.
And a lot has been learned. For example, Im encouraged that the
Administration wants to spend some money in Afghanistan to help it succeed,
because in the early 1980s, we were only too happy to support the
Mujahadeen when they were fighting the Soviet invasion, on the old theory
the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And then as soon as that
was over, we pulled away from them, and paid the consequence. So heres
a case where an Administration that criticized me for my involvement
in a lot of things around the world, has now said, Wait a minute,
we cant just go in there and overturn the Taliban and leave the
Afghans to their fate. We have to help them build a future. So
they were able to see this reality in a different way because of what
happened on September the 11th and what they had to do about
it. And I applaud them for that.
We have to do that in other areas as well. Our country spends a smaller percentage
of our income of foreign assistance than any other country in the world with
an advanced economy. In the Cold War, we justified it because we spent a larger
percentage of our income on defense. So we basically said to the Europeans and
the Japanese, Look, heres the dealwell create a defense
umbrella and you guys go take care of the problems. And then most of our
foreign aid was tied to some specific other objective we had.
Now, we know what works. We know this debt relief works, we know the micro
loans work, we know that there are proven programs which will reverse the AIDS
epidemic. Its not like we dont know what works. Were not talking
about going out there and just throwing a bunch of your money away. And it is
such a small percentage of the overall money were spending to build the
world we want to defend ourselves, I think if we can just get the facts out and
tell people that this will help us to avoid further insecurity from terrorism,
and its either that or try to rebuild all the walls of the world, which
were not going to be able to do anyway, and most of us wouldnt want
to do. I think thats where you have make the argument in the context of
what we have learned since September the 11th, and I think you will
have a listening audience.
But the American people also have to have the facts. Most Americans are shocked
to know what a tiny percentage of the federal budget foreign assistance is, theyre
shocked to know that every other advanced country in the world spends a higher
percentage of their income than we do on it. And they are shocked to know that
you could do as much good as you can do with as little money as you can, which
is why I tried to make that point with all of you today, and I hope you will
repeat that. So I think you have to really
look, this country is around
here after more than 225 years because most of the time we do the right thing
on the big decisions, if we have time to absorb the reality and we know the facts.
We normally do the right thing, thats why were still here. So I think
what we have to do is to get the facts out there and the arguments, and reference
it to what people are feeling and knowing since September the 11th.
Then I think well have good success.
DEAN SCHELL: On the other hand one would have to say that September
11th, even though it does have certain benefits and maybe
sounding the alarm, it was a terrible shock, a terrible way to have to
become more globally conscious. Is it possible for us to, I think, evolve
in this way without such terrible alarm?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, I think it was possible. I mean, if I had told
you in 1999, when I said
I went to Cologne, Germany in 1999 for
the GA meeting. And I said, Look, the worlds rich countries
should forgive the debt of the worlds poorest countries, but only
if they take all the savings and put it into health education and economic
development. Okay, so I make that speech. But I told you in 1999
okay, it didnt surprise me then that the Pope came out
and said, The millennial year is a jubilee year, and its
a year, scripturally, for forgiving debts. It probably didnt
surprise us. Then, if you know anything about U2, it probably didnt
surprise you that Bono decided to lead the sort of citizens efforts
around the world for debt relief. But if I told you, Guess what?
Bonos biggest convert will be Jesse Helms, and everybodys
going to be for this, and the only time Pat Robertson ever came to the
White House when I was President to meet with me was to be part of the
big religious coalition to forgive the debt of the poor people of the
world, you might have found that surprising. But thats exactly
what happened. And we can do that on everything else, and we dont
have to have a lot of people die to do it. But we do have to have people
who will press the case and make the arguments in terms of whats
in our interests, and well as whats consistent with our values.
I dont think that. I dont think September 11th had to
happen at all, and I will never be reconciled with the fact that it did.
On the other hand, let me just mention, since you mentioned this, for different
reasons, if no one had been killed during the anthrax scare, and, tragically,
about five people have been, it would actually have been a good thing because
in 1999 and 2000, we got funds for all the major urban areas of America to plan
responses to incidents of bioterrorism. And my guess is most of them havent
done very much with it and hadnt thought very much about it. And I think
the fact that there was this anthrax scare has caused a much higher level of
preparedness all across America for dealing with the practical problems presented
by acts of bioterrorism. So that actually might have had, on balance, a good
effect. And as I said, if it hadnt been for the people dying, I would have
actually been not so disturbed that that happened, because it forced everybody
to kind of get their act together and find out where were still behind
in the antibiotics and vaccines, and having surge beds where people can be in
quarantine and still be in hospital-like conditions. So thats actually
something everybodys thinking about working on now, and thats quite
DEAN SCHELL: Thinking about globalization, I think one would have to
say that this point in our history global companies play an equal if
not more powerful role than governments. Whats your assessment
of the ability of corporations to act in the global interest in a way
that would be salutary on this whole undertaking?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, they may be more powerful than some governments.
Theyre not more powerful than ours, which is why its still
important for ours to establish certain rules of the game, and certain
things that companies can and cannot do, and should and shouldnt
be able to do. And why its important, I think, to have international
institutions that are a public counterweight.
The only place where I think that companies are more powerful than the wealthy
not companies, but where the market, if you will, is in financial
management. Its clear now that fiscal responsibility in a global financial
system is imperative even for a wealthy country. And if you get caught not practicing
it, theres nothing in the world you can do to make your interest rates
other than what theyre going to be anyway. So, for example, if you look
at this present situation, the Fed has lowered interest rates 11 times in the
economic slowdown, but long-term interest rates didnt change very much
because the markets believe that we have decided to return to deficit spending
over the long run, and we wont be able to handle the retirement of the
Baby Boomers without huge borrowing, and therefore, that is going to reduce our
economic growth, unless we can turn that perception around. So thats true.
Poor countries, on the other hand, are powerless in the face of companies that
are doing irresponsible things. And so I think its important that we, number
one, try to get responsible companies together and work with them in partnership,
and, number two, try to identify things that are being done that shouldnt
be done. And the international institutions like the United Nations, like the
International Labor Organization, like the WTO, which I still believe should
have environmental and labor standards factored into all the trade negotiationsthose
international institutions have to require the capacity to set, in a way, the
limits of acceptable conduct. You cant have a global economic system without
having a global social policy, global environmental policy, global education
effort, global security effort. You cant just say, We want global
economics, and everything else should go away. As we have seen, it doesnt
work that way.
DEAN SCHELL: Do you think its actually possible, I mean, that
if globalization succeeds, that the resources of the world, the environment
of the world, could actually sustain the level of development it would
really take to lift all boats, not just yachts?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I do, but only if we sever the link between greenhouse
gas emissions and economic growth. And the sustainable development is
still a phrase that means next to nothing for most people. I mean, most
people in the university campus know what it means, and it sounds like
a pleasant enough concept, but it might as well be in Aramaic to most
people. And one of the
you know, this assault on the Kyoto Protocol
has not just been on the practical details of what are we know having
since the Congress wouldnt
the Republican Congress when I
was president, wouldnt adopt any of the initiatives I had for meeting
the Kyoto goals, cant be met. There are really people who basically
believe, first, that you cant really get rich, stay rich, or get
richer unless you put more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And, therefore,
they have to believe that global warming is a fraud, otherwise, theyd
face the Hobsons choice of being poor or being toast.
So I want you to laugh, but only because I want you to think about this. This
is dead serious. There are a lot of people who just dont believe this.
But if you look at
Governor Davis will remember this. A couple of years
ago, we got the Energy Department and HUD and the Homebuildershardly a
left-wing radical group, the National Homebuilders Associationto agree
to build a housing development at the end of the rail line in the Indio Empire
around San Bernardino for low income working people, and promised them that they
would pay a little more for these houses, that all had little solar reflectors
in their shingles, better insulation, the best lighting, that we would lower
their electric bills, on average, by 40%. And two years after these houses were
built and occupied, the average reduction was 65%. That was all using existing,
known technologies in voluntary partnerships. There is a $1 trillion market out
there right now. And were very close to having cars that get 89 miles,
to having fuel cells that are commercially viable, to all kinds of other breakthroughs,
never mind the existing stuff thats out there now.
So, yes, I think we can lift the poor of the world to a decent standard of
living without burning up the planet, but only if the people who are in a position
to make the decisions, honest-to-goodness believe that we can do it. I know the
Chinese and the Indians often believed when I was president thatthey liked
me well enough and they thought I meant them wellbut when I got off on
this, they thought I was either going into never-never land or I had some Machiavellian
strategy to keep them poor. I remember when the Chinese Environment Minister
came up to me after my environmental meeting event in China on my way down to
Gualin, and thanked me for doing this because he said the people in his own government
just didnt believe him when he kept telling them they could meet the challenge
of global warming and still sustain Chinas growth targets.
So this is a debate
for a lot of you in this room, this debate was over
a long time ago. For the real world out there, this debate is just beginning,
and thats why I have belabored this answer. You should never assume that
just because you think something, everybody else knows it and thinks it. And
you shouldnt assume that you cant win this argument because you think
you know, its a question of Republicans and Democrats and
liberals and conservatives. This is an idea deeply embedded in the collective
psyche of the industrialized world, that you cant get rich, stay rich,
or get richer unless you put more stuff into the air. Unless you change the idea,
the policies wont change.
DEAN SCHELL: I think the notion of how you get these ideas deeply embedded
in the public consciousness raises the question of the media. It is a
question that everyone wants to know: How do you view the media? Has
it been fulfilling its role in meeting the publics right to know?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oh, I think it depends entirely on which media and
what issue. I think, on balancelet me say thison balance,
and Ive had more than my share of differences, but Im still
trying to figure out what the difference is in revealing what went on
with the Health Care Task Force when I was president and what went on
with the Energy Task Force now. I cant understand the distinction,
but there must be one and Im just too dim to get it.
But I think, first of all, you cant generalize. So let me say I dont
really want to go where your question is, but I want to say two things. One is,
I think the media has done a good job, generally, of educating us since September
the 11th about who the Taliban is, that not all Muslims are terrorists,
that there is a difference in doctrine and practice, and that it is wrong for
us to discriminate against Muslims. I think one of the best things the President
did after September 11th was go to a mosque and meet with Muslim leaders,
and then break the fast of Ramadan with some Muslims in the White House. So I
think that theres been a effort to educate us about what the nature of
the terrorist threat is, what their attitudes are. Weve learned a lot that
we never knew about Afghanistan and about Pakistan and about terrorist networks,
generally. We know more than we ever did about problems in Indonesia and the
Philippines and other places. So I think, in general, theyve actually done
quite a good job in bringing us as a people up to speed.
I think that for other issues it is difficult for the media to do a fair and
balanced and accurate, and sometimes even truthful job because of the structure
of the modern media. When I was a young man in college, there were three television
networks. There was enough competition, so that they kept each other honest,
and they had enough guaranteed market share so they could hire seasoned people
who know a lot, to do thoughtful pieces. And I think television, particularly,
was a much more, in that sense, balanced and constructive and sort of stable
force in our national life. Now, you have CNN plus all these cable channels that
are on all the time. By the time the evening news comes on, most news events
have been on the television at one of these cables for hours and hours. By the
time the newspapers come out the next day, theyve been washed over 50 times,
and theres all this
theres this incentive to think youve
got to put a little spin this way or that way on it, just so it will be worth
absorbing if youre later in the chain.
Plus, theres so much competition to do it so fast, theres very
little time. I once had a media executive, who must remain nameless, tell me
in the middle of an argument we were havingand he was sympathetic to meand
I said, You know, when I was a young man starting out in politics, I had
a lot of opposition from the conservative press. Because look at what was
going on in the early 70sthe Vietnam War was still going on, the
ERA debate was going on, Roe v. Wade was two years old, we still had civil rights
troubles in the South. There was a lot to argue about. And I was often strongly
vigorously opposed in the conservative press. But I said, You know, everybody
I dealt with really cared that what they said was accurate and fair, and true,
and really cared. I said, A lot of you guys dont care anymore,
do you? And he said, No, we dont have time to. And then
he sort of tried to back off. And I said, No, its okay, you should
I said, You know, you told me the truth, and Ill never
out you this.
But thats the world we live in. And so I say this out of sympathy. I
have a lot of sympathy for people. How would you handle it if you were the news
director for one of the cable channels? How would you change your news coverage
if you were the news director for one of the network nightly news shows, and
half the stories you want to talk about have been on these cable channels for
six hours? How would you change the content and the organization of your newspaper
under these circumstances? And if you had a cable channel, so you had to depend
on a segmented market, would you really want to challenge those viewers
views, or would you just want to reinforce them because all the research shows
that to get a segmented market of 800-, 900,000, a million people, which is all
you need to keep one of these things going, you have
they want to look
at somebody that agrees with them, and tells them what they already think.
So Im just saying, the media faces a lot more challenges today. Its
a much more difficult job than it used to be. And yet we need more reason, more
balance, more sustained argument, and less demonization of each other than we
have ever needed it at a time when all the commercial pressures and all the political
pressures are pushing them into reverse direction. So I think there are still
some really great newspapers in America. I think the L.A. Times is a great newspaper.
And I dont always agree with them, and Lord knows, they didnt always
agree with me. And I think there are lots of other good newspapers in America,
but its hard for them, its really hard. And you should think about,
those of you who are in the Journalism School, think what you would do if you
had to start tomorrow and you were one of the cable channels, and you didnt
want to go broke.
DEAN SCHELL: Well, that raises the question of ownership, and whether,
in a certain sense, there is a contradiction between a media outlet that
has to compete and, you know, have a bottom line, that is competitive
with some other company. Do you think that there may be some discussion
we ought to have about a different form of media ownership? I know, for
instance, in your 1998 State of the Union talk, you called for free or
inexpensive political ads. And the National Association of Broadcasters
didnt like that because it would have drained them of a huge source
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, but theyre wrong about that. Thats
a different issue; let me talk about that. On the ownership, you know,
I really dont know where you would begin. All I can tell you is
that if youre a DemocratI can only say what I knowyou
know, people in my party who pick up, who follow this stuff, the Republicans,
for years, were alienated because they thought the press was so liberal.
And our perception is that there are basically two dominant elementstheres
an establishment press and right-wing press. And the right-wing press
is a magnet and pulls the establishment press to the right. Thats
what most Democrats think. And so since we know that the politics of
some of the people that own some of these networks are so overt, thats
what we believe. So theyve already got one strike against them
before they ever come on the air, in terms of us believing that its
balanced perception and reality.
But I dont know what to do about that. I cant figure it out, and
I dont know how to tell somebody they cant own something. I mean,
I dont know how you do that now.
But let me go back to this. I think that it wouldnt matter as much if
we had the right kind of campaign finance reform. And let me explain what it
is. I support this bill thats going to pass, finally. And one of the things
the media didnt tell you because they had to convince you that both parties
were equally at fault, is that for at least two years, we had 100% of the Democrats
in the House and the Senate for the McCain-Feingold-Shays-Meehan Billfor
at least two years, 100% of them, we had them all.
So its not true that both parties are equally tainted. It is true that
I refused to practice unilateral disarmament and pretend that it was law when
it wasnt. I tried that dealing with the opposition and it never worked
very well, unilateral disarmament. I usually wound up with severe wounds under
But this is a plus, its a good thing to do. But lets talk about
why elections cost so much money. They cost so much money because we raise all
this moneyGovernor Davis is out here raising all this money, and Im
going to help him if I canbut hes out here raising all this money
because hes got to tell you what he did as governor and what hed
like to do next time, and if someone criticizes, he has to give you an answer.
And it costs a lot of money to do that on television, or in a radio ad, or in
some other forumthe mass mailing or big newspaper ads. It costs a lot of
money. So the very people that have attacked us vociferously for raising too
much money and all those things they say, are the same people that when we want
to communicate with our voters say, Give us the money. Show me the money
here. Because its a business.
So if you really want campaign finance reform that will work, which is to give
you a clear sense that you know who the candidates are, you know what the issues
are, you know what the differences are, you know what the consequences are, and
you want to do it so that they dont have to spend all their time raising
money, then there has to be some incentive, which is free or reduced air time
or a publicly-funded subsidy for that. And I always favored free or reduced air
time for the
you know, you get the airways if you own one of these television
channels, and you tend to do pretty well. But I think thats really important.
The networks got a little closer. You know, in my last election, I think Fox
gave Senator Dole and me five minutes, and then one of the other networks gave
us like 90 seconds at three different times during the week. You can say a lot
in 90 seconds if you youre on three different times in the last week before
the election. But I understand why they dont want to do this. But Im
telling you, you can say, Im going to eliminate soft money,
and this group cant give, and that group cant give,
and they can only give 50 cents, or whatever, but if it still costs
that much money to communicate with you and for a person to defend himself or
herself when someone else is attacking them, then these politicians are going
to have to find some way to communicate with you or otherwise just get wiped
out in every election. And it will undermine democracy.
Let me just say one other thing. I said this yesterday in Washington, in Seattle,
but I want to say it to you. Theres another reason you should be for this
kind of campaign finance reform, more for your senators and congressmembers than
for your governors or other state officials because at least theyre here
on the ground. But one of the reasons that Washington is so
going to all laugh when I say this, and youre going to think, Hes
like everybody else. You know, when they get out of office they get a little
dotty and little crazy. But Im telling you, one of the reasons that
there is often such an acrimonious atmosphere in Washington, is that too many
members of the Congress in both parties are sleep deprived. And you just think
about it. You send somebody from Berkeley to Congress. Now, its okay, lets
say, here that
its not so much
overwhelmingly Democratic districts
or an overwhelmingly Republican district, an overwhelmingly Democratic state,
overwhelmingly Republic stateonce you get in, they think they can stay.
But in every competitive environment heres what we say: Go to Washington.
Make all your votes. Read all the reports. Read all the information. Cast intelligent
votes. This is a complicated time, take a little time and read a few books. Have
a few people to dinner who are experts, learn what youre doing. Show up
here every weekend to see us. And in the meanwhile, raise a fortune for every
election. Im telling you that the main reason you ought to be for
some kind of meaningful campaign reform is that half the people in Congress are
physically exhausted all the time from trying to make their votes, learn about
the issues, come home on the weekend, and spend all their time raising money.
And it clouds your judgment, and it undermines your ability to be relaxed and
respectful in dealing with your adversaries.
Now, every one of you, if youve ever been really tired a long timeyou
know, I spent 30 years sleep-deprived and I got used to itbut Im
serious, you have no idea how much more physically difficult it is to be a member
of Congress now than it was before you had to raise this kind of money. And you
ought to take a burden off their back and keep working until we get real campaign
finance reform, so you can have people who are thinking, who have time to think
about these issues and study them, and who believe they will have the opportunity
to argue their position to their constituents, so they dont have to take
the most extreme possible position because thats what it takes to get the
money, and theyre not so exhausted from chasing around after the money,
that they never get a decent nights sleep. Now, you can laugh about that,
but Im telling you, if you had all members of Congress here and they were
being honest with you, theyd tell you that I just told you one of the most
important reasons that you could ever be for this.
DEAN SCHELL: Why did the right wing despise you so?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Because I won. You have to understand that they thought
there would never be another Democratic president. They thought that
they had found a fool-proof formula to turn us into cardboard cutouts,
superficial one-dimensional non-American figures to the American people.
Remember the 88 Presidential Election, and they performed reverse
plastic surgery on Dukakis? Do you remember that? Here was a guy who
didnt care if his wife was raped, wouldnt stand up for anything
you know, all the kinds of
they had this little formula. And so
we didnt fit the formula, and the American people voted for me.
And they never thought it was legitimate. They never thought it was legitimate.
They decided no honeymoon, no nothing, you know, We should not
have ever lost the White House, its ours. It belongs to us.
And youre laughing, but Im telling you, this is true. I never
would have believed it if I hadnt lived through it.
So if you want to be a Democrat or a Progressive and run for national office
today, you have to have a reasonably high pain threshold. But its still
the best work in the world, its the most rewarding thing I ever did, and
if I had to do it all tomorrow, Id do it again in a heartbeat. I mean,
I just think
And I hope that maybe one of the things that will come out
of this whole, awful thing weve been through is that we will all, all of
us, be a little more charitable toward one another, and have our arguments in
a more reasonable context. Thats what I hope will happen. It may or may
not happen. But Im just telling you
Ive have great candid conversations
with Newt Gingrich and many other members of Congress privately, in which they
basically said that, We have to, you know, inflame people against you because
youre winning. And so since we cant win the argument, weve
got to convince them youre a devil. And that often works, but it
didnt work. So dont sweat it. Dont sweat it.
Theres nothing else to say, its just part of the cost of doing
business in politics today. But I learned a lot from listening to people like
Mandella and other friends of mine who have been through stuff. It makes my life
look like a walk in the park. Its never what happens to you, its
how you choose to react to it, how you choose to respond, and whether you let
your heart turn to stone. And, you know, I got to serve; I had no complaints.
And it was the most wonderful experience of my life, and I feel very grateful.
I dont think its particularly good for America to have the, you know,
right wing in America be as hard as they are and as tough as they are, because
not everybody has the level of pain threshold I have, or my critics would say,
you know, obtuseness. But its just part of the deal, it just goes with
the deal of being in public life today. I mean, look what they did to Senator
Daschle when he said what he thought was right about the kind of stimulus package
we ought to have. Its just part of the deal. And you just have to smile
and go on and deal with it, and stand up for what you believe in.
Theres nothing better than public service, its still the best work
in the world. If you talk to all the people who were involved in our Administration,
theyre out doing other things now, 90% of them would say if you said, How
you doing? They would say, Well, I like having my life back,
they would say. I would say that to you, I enjoy that. They would say, Im
making a lot more money. But I miss the people, and I miss the work. I miss the
work. So I have no complaints.
But they didnt like me because I won, and they didnt think they
would ever lose again. And, you know, I think Democrats, we dont necessarily
hate people when they beat us because we were so used to losing for the last
34 years. We thought, you know, its like a contest, you get in the ring,
you wrestle or you box or you go play a game, and somebody wins and somebody
loses, and you wait until the next time and you try again. But if you think youre
going to win every time, and you think you found a formula by which they cant
even get close, and then somebody turns up and wins when you thought they were
never going to win again, youve got to go out and convince the people who
feel dispossessed that something bad happened here. And thats basically
what happened. They just never thought any of us would win again.
DEAN SCHELL: Speaking of winning and losing, Enron is quite a loss.
I wonder what does that whole experience say to you about
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The Enron thing? Well, I think, first of all, there
are two separate things here. I have no knowledge, and most of you dont
either, I dont think, what, if anything, this particular government
did or didnt do that they should or shouldnt have done, except
on public policy grounds. Our Administration tried to shutdown some of
the tax havens, partly because we thought of it as part of the fight
against terrorism. Theres a story in the news about it today. And
Arthur Levitt, the SEC Commissioner tried to change the
rules in a way that would have made the kinds of things that were done
wrong by that company more difficult to do, and the Republican Congress
did everything they could to stop him. It was a difference of philosophy
about how the economy should be managed.
I think we proved beyond question that you can have responsible management
of the economy and still have it grow like crazy. That if you moderate the excesses
of capitalism, both by lifting people out of poverty and by stopping particular
excesses or wrong businesses practices, that the capitalist system will actually
work better and youll get more growth. That was our theory, and I think
the evidence is that were right about that. But we had differences of opinion.
In terms of specific acts of what or what didnt happen, thats what
were having an investigation for, and I dont think the rest of us
ought to get in the way of it. Just let it happen and well see what happens.
I dont know what the facts are.
DEAN SCHELL: You know, I know you got to go, but I cant help resist
asking you as a writer, how is your book coming?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Its really interesting, and its harder
than I thought to do, and its more fun to do. And whats really
humbling about it is the bizarre tricks your memory plays. You know,
Im shocked at
I told somebodyI just came from a lunch
with a bunch of my friends, and I told them, I want to have a chapter
in this book, and the title of the chapter is going to be Everything
Happens At Once. Some of you who followed our 92 campaign
know that we had a slogan that said, Its the economy, stupid.
James Carvel put that sign up in our little war room. So about a month
after I was in office, there was this hilarious cartoon where Im
sitting behind my desk, and theres this sign thats tacked
up that says, The economy, stupid, and another one says,
Its China, stupid, and another says, Its
health care, stupid, and another says, Its Social Security
And theres like 50 things up there.
Everything happens at once, and Im shocked at what I can no longer remember.
But thank goodness, weve got pretty good records, and Ill try to
make it an interesting book. I didnt mean it like that! I did not mean
it that way. You all started laughing about that deal, I didnt even think
DEAN SCHELL: Well, however it turns out, we wish you Gods speed
on the venture. And I particularly want to thank you, youve been
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you all very much. And bless you. Thank you.