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Exchange With Reporters En Route to the Opening Day Baseball Game in Baltimore, Maryland

April 05, 1993

Affirmative Action in Baseball

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of Jesse Jackson's protest today?

The President. I think it's an informational protest. I think it's fine. The owners put out a statement a few days ago which they say was the first step in, you know, efforts to increase minority ownership and minority increases in management. I think we should. I'm encouraged by Don Baylor's appointment out in Colorado. And I think it's time to make a move on that front. So, I think it's a legitimate issue, and I think it's, like I said, it's an informational picket and not an attempt to get people not to go to the game. So, I think it's good.

Q. Do you think they're moving fast enough? The President. Well, I think that it was a good first step. And I think you'll see some movement now. And I think it's an issue that deserves some attention, and they're obviously going to give it some. And I think that Reverend Jackson being out there will highlight the issue. So I think it's fine.

Stimulus Package

Q. Mr. President, how about the logjam in the Senate on the economic stimulus plan? Do you think they'll be able to break that and get cloture?

The President. I don't know. We're working at it. I mean, it's a classic—there was an article in the paper today, one of the papers I saw, which pretty well summed it up. They said, you know, it's just a political power play. In the Senate the majority does not rule. It's not like the country. It's not like the House. If the minority chooses, they can stop majority rule. And that's what they're doing. There are a lot of Republican Senators who have told people that they might vote for the stimulus program but there's enormous partisan political pressure not to do it.

And of course, what it means is that in this time when no new jobs are being created even though there seems to be an economic recovery, it means that for political purposes they're willing to deny jobs to places like Baltimore and Dallas and Houston and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Portland and Seattle. It's very sad. I mean, the block grant program was designed to create jobs in a hurry based on local priorities, and it's one that the Republicans had always championed. Just about the only Democrat champions of the program were people like me who were out there at the grass roots level, Governors and Senators. I just think it's real sad that they have chosen to exert the minority muscle in a way that will keep Americans out of work. I think it's a mistake.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:45 a.m. aboard the MARC train en route to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In his remarks, the President referred to civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters En Route to the Opening Day Baseball Game in Baltimore, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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