Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters in Kasane, Botswana

March 30, 1998

Botswana National Parks

The President. I learned today that 17 percent of this country is in national parks and national preserves. They've done a great job of protecting their wildlife.

Future Russian Elections

Q. TASS is quoting Yeltsin as saying he's not going to be part of the 2000 campaign and he's going to support Chernomyrdin.

The President. Chernomyrdin?

Q. Yes.

The President. That's interesting.

President's Safari

Q. What have you seen today, sir?

The President. Well, we've seen probably 20 or 30 different kinds of birds, fascinating ones, including some eagles I had never seen before and some storks I had never seen before and obviously the vultures and then a lot of the smaller, very beautiful birds, like these rollers. There you've got a baboon, right there, and is that an impala with it? An impala, a baboon, and three elephants right here where we're standing.

We saw a water buffalo—I think you saw it also—that had been wounded, apparently, by a lion. We saw the horns of a kudu and the skull, all that remained of what apparently was a lion kill up the road here, and the vultures were still kind of hanging around it.

It's amazing. It's been an amazing day.

Q. Any warthogs? We saw some.

The President. No.

Hillary Clinton. We saw hippos.

The President. We saw a lot of hippos.

Mrs. Clinton. Crocodiles.

Q. Did you check out the stars last night?

The President. It was amazing, wasn't it? The stars were amazing.

Mrs. Clinton. We saw the lions, too.

Q. Oh, you didn't see the lions.

Mrs. Clinton. We did, Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News]. We did.

Q. You saw a lion?

Mrs. Clinton. Yes, we saw a mother lion and four cubs.

The President. Oh, yes. They were up underneath a tree.

Mrs. Clinton. One of the lions was in the tree.

The President. You could barely see them, and the mother lion was on her back, playing with the kids.

Q. I would have killed for that. [Laughter]

The President. It was great. At one point, she even had one of her—one of the cubs' tail in her mouth. They were playing with it, back and forth.

Q. Can a Democratic President admire an elephant?

The President. Yes, and I like to see them concentrated here. [Laughter]

Q. I set you up there.

The President. Actually, I was kind of jealous that the Republicans had appropriated such a nice animal as their symbol. [Laughter] I think they're fascinating, these elephants are.

Q. At the restaurant last night, did you check out any of the zebra or crocodile?

The President. I tried it all.

Q. Those elephants produce more dung than any other animals. [Laughter]

The President. If you write that, make sure you say he did it, not me.

Q. But make sure you say the President was smiling.

Q. Mrs. Clinton, have you enjoyed it?

Mrs. Clinton. Oh, very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:55 a.m. at Chobe National Game Park. In his remarks, he referred to former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of Russia. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters in Kasane, Botswana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives