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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany

January 31, 1994

Interest Rates

Q. Mr. President, do you agree with Chairman Greenspan's comments this morning that interest rates need to be raised to get ahead of inflation?

The President. Well, I agree that there's no evidence that inflation is coming back into the economy. There is still a kind of a gap between short- and long-term rates, so it may be that— if they make that decision on short-term rates, what I hope is that it won't raise long-term rates, because there's no need to do it. And I hope that the stock market won't take an adverse view because we've still got good, strong growth in this economy.

But we want to manage it with real discipline, that is we don't want to have one of these roller coaster things. We want the economy to grow in a very stable, solid way. And obviously, low interest rates are critical to that. I consider that part of the kind of compact we've all made where we'll continue to reduce the deficit, and we've got to keep inflation down and interest rates down so that people can afford to borrow money and invest.

Northern Ireland

Q. How does letting Gerry Adams into the U.S. advance the cause of peace?

The President. Well, we hope it will advance the cause of peace. You know, that's a very thorny problem. But his comments over the last several days on the questions of violence and the joint declaration, I thought, justified not a general visa but a very narrow visa for the purpose of coming to this conference in the hope that it will advance the peace process. Ultimately, of course, that's an issue that's going to have to be worked out by the parties themselves, as all these matters do. But I thought it was the appropriate thing to do for those reasons, because of what he said and because he's in a position, I think, to push this process forward.

White House Press Corps

Q. Have you been sneaking out on us?

The President. No. I was amazed when I read that. We tried to remember if that happened. I don't think so. George and I couldn't think of a time.

Q. You're always willing to take us with you?

The President. You know, once I went running when the press had gone home, but I think they found me before it was over. And then when I was home for my mother's funeral, I went out in the town there and went to my old high school, but the press found me. I don't think we have. We were trying to think of— we can't—we've not been successful in thinking of five or six instances in which that has occurred. I saw the story. All I know is what I read this morning, but I'm not aware of it.

Q. Do you feel cloistered in here, Mr. President?

The President. Oh yes, I do. I mean, I wish it weren't so. And as far as I know, no other— maybe President Bush had these same sort of understandings where the press went everywhere but—I take a pool when I go to a Christmas party. Hillary and I went to Christmas parties; we took the pool with us.

Q. And we enjoyed it.

The President. You do enjoy it? Did somebody say that? [Laughter] I don't believe that. A lot of times you'd like to dump me.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]

Discussions With Chancellor Kohl

Q. Mr. President, are you going to discuss the Bosnia situation with the Chancellor?

The President. I'm sure we will.

Q. What will you——

The President. I want to talk to him about it.

Q. Are you looking forward to the restaurant, Filomena's, Mr. President?

The President. Oh, yes. You know, he told me about it, and so I went there. I took my family and some friends, and we had a wonderful dinner there. And I would not have even known about it if Chancellor Kohl hadn't mentioned it. So I told the people when I was there that the next time he came, perhaps we would both come together.

Chancellor Kohl. And we'll do that today.

Q. Will there be—[inaudible]—for Russia today?

The President. We might discuss Russia.

NOTE: The exchange began at 12:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. During the exchange, the President referred to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Senior Policy Adviser George Stephanopoulos. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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