Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Dinner

May 23, 2000

Thank you to the modest Mr. McAuliffe. [Laughter] There's one other person I'd like to thank. I'd like to thank Abe Pollin for making this place available to us tonight. Thank you. And your reward for raising all this money is that you don't have to listen to me give a long speech tonight. You've heard it all.

But I want you to know that I am profoundly grateful. And when we started this campaign year, I was very, very worried that we would be, in this period between April the 1st and August the 1st, swamped by the Republicans financially. And it didn't work out that way, partly because they had a rather competitive primary. And then the idea—and I've been, as you know, I've been exerting some modest efforts, with a lot of your help, to raise money for our party and for our Senate campaign committee and our House campaign committee.

But this is a truly wonderful thing. You know, we'll still have to go out and raise some hard money and do some things. But this really puts the Democrats in a competitive position between now and November. And the gift you're giving the Vice President is, I think, inestimable, and I'm grateful to you for that.

I just want to say one thing. A lot of you have heard me say this before, but I want to say it one more time: The test of a country when times are good may be more severe than the test when times are tough. We don't know when again in our lifetimes, any of us, we will have at once so much economic prosperity and social progress and national self-confidence.

But there are huge, huge questions out there. We saw today, Governor Bush outlined one. You know, both candidates want to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, but one is not so sure we need either the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Most Americans don't know there's a big difference there and don't understand what that means for their children's lives. But it's huge.

You know, what does national security mean in the early part of the 21st century? How are we going to keep the economy going? And should we pay down the debt, or risk a tax cut that will put us in debt again? What are the consequences of either course? Do you think you can grow the economy and make the environment better, or do you think that's some sort of a subversive plot to destroy free enterprise? Do you believe that we will have to make further efforts, like employment nondiscrimination and hate crimes legislation, to be one community in the diversity of the 21st century or not? How are we going to put a human face on the global economy? What's the best way to deal with the aging of America? These are big questions.

And I say this repeatedly, but anybody over 30 years old can remember at least one time in your life when you made a huge mistake, personally or professionally, not because times were so bad but because they were so good you thought there was no incentive to concentrate and no consequence to the failure to do so.

This is a major election. I'm grateful for this dinner. I'm grateful that you're honoring me. I'm grateful for your extraordinary efforts and for Terry's indefatigable energy. But the purpose of all this is to build the future of our dreams for our kids. So I want us to have a huge, good time tomorrow night. And then I want us to go out and spend this money in the wisest possible way to make sure that all the work we've done in the last 8 years is not squandered but instead built upon.

And I thank you for helping the Vice President. I believe he is going to win, and I believe he's going to be a wonderful President. But it's going to be a lot more likely after tomorrow night.

Thank you, and God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:55 p.m. in the Capital Club at the MCI Center. In his remarks, he referred to Terence McAuliffe, former finance chair, Democratic National Committee; Abe Pollin, owner, National Basketball Association Washington Wizards and MCI Center; and Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives