Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a Saxophone Club Reception in East Hampton

August 01, 1998

Thank you very much. Wow! [Laughter] First, I want to thank you for being so laid back and quiet and restrained. Aren't you proud you're here and proud of what we're trying to do for our country? [Applause]

Let me begin by thanking Alec and Kim for opening their home tonight to this intimate little gathering, giving up their privacy for this high public purpose, and making us all feel like we're very welcome at their beautiful home. Thank you very much.

I want to thank Judith Hope and Tom Twomey, Alan and Susan Patricof, Liz Robbins, all the cochairs of the event tonight. Thank you, Chairman Grossman, and all the people from the DNC. And thank you, Hootie and the Blowfish. Thank you. I told some people coming in even an old guy like me likes them. I love them. I thank Congressman Meeks, Congresswoman McCarthy, Lieutenant Governor Ross, Mark Green, all the other office holders who are here.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am so thrilled to see you. I'm thrilled that you're here for this purpose, and I want you to take this enthusiasm out from under this tent back to your daily lives. And I want you to infect every person you meet with it between now and November.

You know, in—a young girl came through the line earlier tonight, shook my hand, and had her picture taken with me, a little girl. And she said, "Why did you want to be President?"

She must have been about 8 years old, maybe 7. I said, "Well, I wanted you to have a better future; I wanted your country to do better; and I wanted you to live in a safe world." And she said, "That sounds pretty good to me." [Laughter]

When I ran for President in 1992, I wanted this country to move in a different direction. And here we are, on the edge of a new millennium, just 2 years away from a new century, a new 1,000 years, an amazing time. Hillary was in Seneca Falls and at George Washington's Revolutionary War headquarters and other places in New York, sort of promoting our idea of how we should mark this sea change in history by honoring our past and imaging our future, a future where things are changing faster and more profoundly in the way we live, the way we work, the way we related to each other and the rest of the world.

We've been working on this for 6 years, thanks to New York in 1992 and the magnificent victory the people here gave us in 1996. And I thank you. And you ought to tell the doubters that there is a connection between the economic and social policies and foreign policies this country has pursued for the last 6 years and the fact that we have the lowest unemployment rate in 28 years, the lowest crime rate in 25 years, the smallest percentage of people on welfare in 29 years, the first balanced budget and surplus in 29 years, the highest homeownership in history, with the lowest, smallest Federal Government in 35 years. And I am proud of that.

We also made the first 2 years of college virtually free to most Americans; opened the doors of college to everyone; immunized over 90 percent of our children; kept 250,000 people with a bad criminal or mental health history from buying handguns, with the Brady bill; banned the assault weapons over the opposition of the other party. The water is cleaner; the air is cleaner; the food is safer; there are fewer toxic waste dumps. We are moving in the right direction, my fellow Americans.

And our party right now is working in Congress, not just to pass a Patients' Bill of Rights, but also to put 100,000 more teachers in the early grades, to build new schools and repair old ones, to bring economic opportunity to urban neighborhoods and rural areas that haven't gotten it yet, to have a genuine environmental policy that will deal with the problem of climate change and continue to grow the economy, that will have record amounts of money going into medical research and other scientific research, in short, that will prepare our path for the 21st century.

And in almost every area, we are being opposed by the leadership of the other party. The choice is clear. The record is clear. The results are in. You're here—go out of here and tell the American people you're proud to be part of the direction we're taking to tomorrow.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:24 p.m. at a private residence. In his remarks, he referred to actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, reception hosts; New York State Democratic Chair Judith Hope; Tom Twomey, Alan and Susan Patricof, and Liz Robbins, event cochairs; Steve Grossman, national chair, Democratic National Committee; the music group Hootie and the Blowfish; Assemblyman Gregory W. Meeks, 31st New York District; Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross of New York; and Mark Green, New York City public advocate.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Saxophone Club Reception in East Hampton Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/224213

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