Exchange With Reporters
Air Collision at Pope Air Force Base
Q. Mr. President, why are you going to Fort Bragg?
The President. I'm going down there because it was a very, very serious accident. A lot of our service people lost their lives; many, many others were quite seriously injured. And I just want to go down there and visit the hospital and express my concerns to the people who are still hospitalized and to their families and all the people at Fort Bragg for the losses they suffered. I think it's an appropriate thing to do.
Q. How do you feel about last night, Mr. President? Do you think you put some of this Whitewater business behind you?
The President. I just tried to answer the questions, and I felt good about it. I did my best to answer the questions. I feel good about it.
Q. [Inaudible]—Mr. President, how you could have forgotten about a $20,000 loan and check to your mother to buy a——
The President. Well, I think what happened was—keep in mind, all this happened in the heat of the '92 campaign. And they just said, "Is there any way any of these checks from Madison could have come from some—been about something else?" I said, "I don't think so." And what happened was, when I read my mother's autobiography, I said, "You know, that's right, I did help her buy that place." So then—and Hillary and I were talking, so we asked for the checks. And when I saw the check, then I realized that that's where it had come from.
But when Jim McDougal said that, that he was sure that it didn't have anything to do with Madison, that's what got me to thinking about it. Then I saw it in the book. Then we asked for the check stub. That's how we verified it. So it just happened that way.
You know, keep in mind, keep in mind, when I was first asked about this back in '92, just off the top of my head, I said, "We lost money, but I don't think it was a great deal." I thought—I think I'm quoted in '92 saying I thought we'd lost about $25,000, just from memory. So apparently, we lost quite a bit more than that.
Q. Are you positive the tax returns that are being released today will clear the air on this matter?
The President. Well, they certainly ought to. Like I said, I always did what I think most Americans do, I gave all my records every year to my accountant. They were normally very simple returns. I didn't have a lot of complicated things on them. And we've given them out, all the way back to '77 now. So you guys have got them. You can do what you want to with them.
NOTE: The exchange began at 11:30 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, prior to the President's departure for Pope Air Force Base, Fort Bragg, NC.
William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/218528