Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With the University of Arkansas Rollin' Razorbacks Wheelchair Athletes
Q. Mr. President, surrounded by all these winners, do you think you can be a winner tonight?
The President. Well, I hope so.
Q. What is your latest assessment?
The President. I feel just the way I did before the House vote. I'm just working. I'm working. We're picking up a few and—
Q. Have you called any Republicans?
The President. I think I should answer that question after the vote tonight.
Q. We don't want to blow their cover.
The President. I think I should answer that question-
Q. Mr. President, in retrospect, do you wish you had reached out more to Republicans early on? Some moderates say they'd be on board if you had.
The President. I don't know. I did call a number of them. And I tried to—after Senator Boren and Senator Danforth announced their little coalition—I don't mean little, I mean their coalition—I also reached out to some Republicans then. And I continue to reach out to some Republicans in the House. It's just rare in these first tough budget votes to get any votes from the other party. And I hope that this will never happen again. I hope that it won't ever happen again.
But you have to understand, we're also trying to reverse 12 years of, basically, people being told the easy thing and letting the country just sort of slowly grind downhill. And we're trying to change it. And these changes are never easy. I never thought they'd be easy. I'm hopeful for tonight.
Q. What would be—in the conference committee, sir?
The President. I'll be glad to answer that question after we see if we're going to have a conference. First, we have to prevail tonight. Let's try to make sure we win tonight, and then we'll be able to -
Q. Are you—[inaudible]
The President. I'm only concerned until there's a vote. We're working hard. I think we'll prevail, but let's wait and see what happens.
NOTE: The exchange began at 5:40 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.
William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With the University of Arkansas Rollin' Razorbacks Wheelchair Athletes Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220694