Bill Clinton photo

Remarks to an Overflow Crowd at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana

January 28, 1998

Thank you. First of all, thank you for coming, and thank you for waiting. I'm sorry you had to wait so long.

I want to thank Secretary Riley and the Vice President, and I also want to thank your Congressman, Congressman Tom Ewing, for coming along with me. Let's give him a big hand. [Applause]

We have had an incredible day at the University of Illinois—an incredible day. You know, this is the third meeting we've been to. You had to sit through the other two, didn't you? Is that okay? [Applause]

This reminds me—I hate to give the same speech over, but once I went to a concert where Tina Turner sang—you all know who Tina Turner is—and at the end of the concert, after singing all her new songs, she started to sing her first hit, "Proud Mary." And the crowd started clapping, and she said, "I have been singing this song for 25 years, but it gets better every time I do it."

But I'm not going to give you the whole dose again. I want to just make two points very briefly. Number one, the Vice President and I and our administration, we've worked very hard these last 5 years to get America in good shape, to have this country work again for ordinary people. And I think you can see, from the condition of the economy and from the fact that we're making real progress on our social problems and from our work in the world at large, that we're making that kind of progress.

Now is the time we need to be thinking about what the 21st century will look like for all the young people here. And that means a commitment to education for everybody, all the way through college. It means a commitment to the idea that we can preserve and improve our environment while we grow the economy. It means a commitment to the idea that we can reform Social Security so that the big baby boom generation, that I'm the oldest member of, can retire without putting unfair burdens on those of you who are younger and your children.

And it means that we can find a way in our increasingly diverse country to come together, across all the lines that divide us, into one America, because in a global society, believe you me, a great democracy like ours that can accommodate people of every race, every background, every religion, and still be bound together by shared values is the most blessed place on Earth.

Our best days are ahead of us as a nation. And we are here today to ask you to stand with us in that fight, to imagine that kind of future and to be a part of it. And I am very grateful to you for coming out.

Thank you, and God bless you. I want to go shake hands. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:04 p.m. in Gymnasium 2 of the Intramural Physical Education Building.

William J. Clinton, Remarks to an Overflow Crowd at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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