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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 28, 1994
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                        Hillcrest High School
                          Chicago, Illinois  

1:15 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be here. I thank you for your warm reception -- and I do mean warm reception. (Laughter.) I'm sorry it's so warm, but they had to put the lights up so that the cameras will put you all on the news tonight. (Laughter.) So, see, it's not so bad now, is it, when you think about that. (Laughter.)

I want to thank my good friend, Congressman Mel Reynolds, for arranging for me to come here and to be with you today, and for the leadership that he is already displaying in his career in Congress. He is a great credit to all of you here, and I think you would be very proud of the work that he does in Washington.

I want to thank your principal, Gwendolyn Lee, for inviting me here and for the comments she made. She told me that her mother made dinner for Martin Luther King when she was 11 years old. And she said her mother sent me a plate that he had dinner off of, so she sent me into a little room out here to have a snack off the same plate. (Laughter.) So, you see, even when you grow up you've got to try to do what your mama wants. (Laughter.) I've spent most of my life doing that myself.

I want to thank Starr Nelson for being here with us. I thought she was very well-spoken. We knew exactly what she had to say and she was brief. That makes you very popular if you're a speaker. (Laughter.)

I also want to say I've heard good things about your music program here, so I hope before I leave I get to hear the band play. You guys have got to play a little for me. (Applause.)

I also want to thank anybody in this whole student body who was responsible for putting together that statement up there, that letter for me. (Applause.) If every one of you believes that and lives by it, then I don't need to be here, I need to be somewhere else today. It's a very impressive statement and a real credit to your school.

I came here today, as I think all of you know, to talk about the problem of crime and violence in our land and especially as it affects our young people. As the Congress comes back to work this week, it will be considering some very important education bills and some very important crime legislation. We know as a practical matter that we can never really be what we ought to be as a people until we are not only free of the scourge of violent crime, but free of the fear of it. For the very fear of crime keeps 160,000 young people just like you home from school every day. Every day that's how many people we estimate don't go to school because they're afraid that if

they do go, either at school or going to school or coming from school, they'll be shot or knifed or beat up or hurt in some way.

I know that you understand that because last November two teens were shot and wounded within a week right outside your school. This kind of thing is happening all across the country, and we have got to do what we can to stop it -- you and I together.

The number of teens murdered by guns has doubled just since 1985. You think of that. We've been a country for over 200 years, and the number of our teenagers murdered by guns has doubled in less than 10 years. One in 20 high school students carries a gun to school each day somewhere in America. I hope not here. But it happens. Some do it for protection. Some do it for the wrong reasons.

More and more of our young people find themselves caught up in a cycle of violence. I just left the Wright Community College here in Chicago where I met a woman whose 22-year-old son was murdered by his best friend in just a fight over nothing -- over nothing they were fighting. And she said when the young man was arraigned in court he said he missed his friend every day.

I had another medical professional tell me that she looked into the face of a woman who had just lost her husband because his younger brother went in another room and got a gun and shot him down because they were fighting over which channel they were going to watch on television. And the guy had two little children. People dying over nothing.

I was in California a few months ago, and I did a town meeting. I'm going to that in a minute here -- get rid of this microphone and just let you ask me questions. And I was in Sacramento, California, but we were hooked into three or four other towns and people all over the state could ask me questions. And this young man stood up and told a story of how he and his brother didn't want to be in a gang, didn't want to have any guns, didn't want to cause any trouble. And their school was unsafe, so they went to another school they thought was safer. And while they were standing in line to register at this safer school, some half-crazy person came into school and shot his brother standing right there in front of him in the line.

These things are happening all over the country. Today, the Brady Bill becomes law. It's a bill that will save some lives. It's a bill that will require that no place in America can anybody buy a gun until they've been checked for criminal background or mental health history. And we know that it will keep thousands and thousands of people from getting guns who would otherwise get them, commit crimes and maybe even kill with them.

We have done our best to deal with the problems, the special problems of assault weapons. We have a lot of evidence now that more and more people are hurt more grievously by guns when semiautomatics or assault weapons are involved because they're likely to have more bullets in their body.

Today we banned an assault weapon called a "street sweeper" that was developed for crowd control in South Africa, to enforce apartheid in South Africa -- to repress blacks in South Africa. That's what this gun was developed for -- now not used anywhere, but manufactured in America so that people can get it and repress each other with it. No sporting purpose; no hunting purpose in this country.

But we have more to do. Congress is also considering, as I said, the crime bill. Let me tell you a little bit about what it

does, and then I'll open the floor and you can tell me what else you think we can do.

The crime bill now before Congress would permit us to train and hire, working with cities, another 100,000 police officers to work not just to catch criminals, but to walk the streets, to know the neighborhoods, to go into the schools, to meet and become friends and neighbors with the young people in the schools. Last month, as Mayor Welch reminded me, Country Club Hills received a grant for three new police officers from our Justice Department to do this kind of thing.

We have seen evidence all across America, even in tough neighborhoods and big cities that if there are enough police that are really walking the streets, knowing the families, knowing the young people, working with them, that a crime rate can go down by just creating an environment in which people don't commit crimes and feel that there is somebody secure and supportive there.

So that's the first thing that this bill does. The second thing the bill does is to ban about 28 kinds of assault weapons. The third thing it does is to have a safe schools provision which provides money to help provide security measures in schools, but also to try to help young people resolve their differences in different ways. We forget at least -- I say, "we" -- not you, but me -- those of us who are older who grew up in a different time and who stayed busy all day doing other things -- we forget that there are a lot of people who see people resolve their differences hours and hours and hours a day on television programs where the differences are always resolved with a fight or a shooting; and where there may not be someone else saying there's another way to do this. And so we're doing our best through this crime bill to give the schools and the communities of our country the means to bring -- get the people in, to work with young people about how to resolve their differences, how to deal with anger, how to deal with frustration.

Let me tell you something: We all feel anger. We all feel frustration. We all feel like we're being thwarted. There are always things that happen to all of us that we wish wouldn't happen and where we want to double up our fist or pick up a stick or something. But we learn not to do that. You have to learn not to do that in a society where you're really going to be civilized and recognize one another's rights. That's what we're struggling for in Bosnia today. That's what we hope for the people of all those countries in Africa which are embroiled in civil wars. And that's what we have to hope for our own people, that we can decide that we can do that. And in the end, that's what the people of the troubled Middle East are going to have to decide -- if they can resolve their differences without killing each other.

So this is a big deal. And this is what is in the crime bill. The crime bill has tougher punishment. It recognizes that most of the really serious crimes are committed by a small number of people, so if you commit three serious violent crimes that hurt people, sequentially, you won't be eligible for parole anymore.

But most people who are in prison are going to get out. And most people can be helped before they commit crimes. So we try to find ways to deal with all these other issues.

I can't help saying one thing about drugs that I think is important, and that is that we see some evidence now that drug use, after going down among young people for several years, may now be on the rise again. And I just have to tell you that one of the things that I learn every day as President is to be a little humble about what I can do. That is, I get up every day and I try to do what I can to make the future better for you. My job really is about guaranteeing the future for America, preparing America for the 21st

century, trying to keep the American Dream alive for you. I've lived most of my life, and I hope more than I can say that none of you have lived most of your lives. I hope the vast majority of your life is still out there ahead of you. But I know that there is a limit to what even the President can do.

The President can't keep anybody off drugs. The President can't keep anybody from getting in trouble with the law. The President can't keep anybody from resorting to violence. These are decisions you have to make.

And so I came here to this school today on the first day the Brady Bill is effective -- a bill for which people fought for seven years to give you a better chance to be free of violence -- to tell you that we're going to keep on fighting against violence. We're going to fight for more police. We're going to fight to have them be friends of the community. We're going to fight for tougher penalties. But we're going to fight for better chances, for young people to have things to say yes to.

But in the end, what matters more than all of that is whether you believe what's up there on that wall. And if I do my part and the Congressman does his, and the teachers and the administrators do theirs, and all these parents and others who are here today do theirs, in the end what still counts is whether you believe what's on that wall. But if we, your parents and your grandparents, will assume our responsibility to deal with these tough problems now, and you will believe what's on that wall, then I believe that you will grow up in the most exciting time this country has ever known. And if we don't -- if we don't do our part and you don't do yours -- then what you saw here when those people were shot outside this school a few months ago is the beginning of just how bad it can be.

The choice is yours. The choice is ours. I'm going to make my choice for your future. And that's the choice I want you to make, too. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Now, where are the microphones out here? One, two, three. Just make sure everybody can see. One, two, three. So if you have a question or a comment, get it to the microphone.

Q I'm a sophomore here at Hillcrest High School. I was just wondering if I were a graduating senior who planned to work full-time next year, what should I expect to pay in general medical expenses under your health care reform program? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good question. Good question. You should expect to pay, again, depending on how much you make -- you should expect to pay about two percent of your payroll out of your pocket if you work for someone else. And your employer would pay somewhere between just under four percent and just under eight percent of your payroll, depending on how big your workplace is and what the average payroll of the people working there is.

Now, having said that, let me get in a little plug. I just had some statistics given to me that I'll give back to you that relate not so much to health care but to your decision to go to work after you get out of high school. In 1992, the unemployment rate among high school dropouts nationwide was over 11 percent, and that included people 40 and 50 years old. For younger people it was much, much higher. Okay? The unemployment rate for high school graduates was 7.2 percent. The unemployment rate for people that had had at least two years of a community college or further training was 5.2 percent. And the unemployment rate for college graduates was 3.5 percent.

In 1992, the average high school graduate made $4,000 a year more than the average high school dropout; and the average person who had a high school diploma and at least two years of further training made another $4,000 more.

So my answer is, if you go to work when you get out of high school, enroll in a community college at night or something else and get further education and training so you can get your income up. Then you won't mind paying for health care. (Laughter.)

And the good news is that right now, under the system we have now, you might or might not get health care. It just depends on the accident of whether your employer provides it. Under our plan, everybody will get it for the first time in the history of the country, and no one will lose it, even if somebody in their family has been sick.

That's the biggest problem now -- almost everybody in America is at risk of losing their health insurance if something happens to somebody in their family.

Q I'm a junior. And I'd like to know if I was interested in becoming a CIA or FBI or national security agent, what would I have to do as far as education, what are would I still have to do to get there? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: That's a good question. I think one of my Secret Service agents should talk to you when this is over. You come down here when this is over; I'll introduce you to one of the Secret Service agents and they can tell you about it, okay? (Laughter.) What do you think? (Applause.)

But wait, wait, I'm going to answer the question. The answer to your first question is, though, as an absolute minimum you have to go to college and finish a four-year college degree. And a lot of the -- particularly in the FBI, depending on what they're doing, have further education over that. And a lot of people in Secret Service were once in other kinds of law enforcement. But it's not necessary for you to have a particular degree in law enforcement. A lot of them have done different things. But what I would suggest you do is to literally talk to one of my agents after it's over. But what I suggest you do -- go to college, get the best education you can, do well, and keep up with what the requirements for joining these various federal law enforcement agencies are, so that as you move toward the end of your college career, you can do what it takes to qualify. And if you have to do something else for a year or two before you get in, then that's all right as well.

But it's important that you keep up because, for example, suppose you decide to go do some other kind of law enforcement work first; under our national service proposal, you might be able to start when you're a junior in college working with law enforcement in the summertime, so you get a little leg up on that. (Applause.)

Q I'm a junior here at Hillcrest High School. And I would like to know, Mr. President, why is the government cutting the cost for college education? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute -- why are we -- why aren't we cutting the cost, or why are we?

Q Why are you cutting the funding.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're not. You may be doing it in Illinois, and at the national level -- I don't know that you are. I'm not accusing anybody or anything. (Laughter.) But let me tell you this: For several years student aid levels were frozen at the

national level, so that, in effect, they were being cut because inflation meant that the money didn't go as far anymore.

This year I have asked the Congress to put more money into the Pell Grant Program, which is the college scholarship program for low-income kids that comes out of the federal government -- (applause) -- and also -- did you give up on your question? And also, also, we have reorganized the college loan program.

This is very important. I want you all to listen to this. We have reorganized the college loan program so that now you can borrow money at lower interest rates and you can pay it back, no matter how much you borrow, as a percentage of what you earn after you go to work. Now, a lot of people quit, drop out of school because they worry about the cost of it and they worry about the burden of paying the loans back. So now we are giving everybody who wants it an option. You can pay your loan back basically on a regular loan repayment schedule. But suppose you want to do something that doesn't pay a lot of money, at least when you begin? Suppose you want to become a schoolteacher in the beginning, and you know you're not going to be a millionaire. You could pay your loans back, but you can't pay a whole lot at once. Under our new proposal, you can borrow the money at lower interest rates and you can pay it back over a longer period of time, a smaller amount every year based on your income.

So there will never be a reason not to go to college. In addition to that, this year 20,000 young Americans, and three years from now, 100,000 young Americans will be able to earn several thousand dollars in scholarship money by participating in our community service program.

So I am trying to make it easier for people to go to college, because it makes a huge difference -- as I just quoted to you the numbers -- in your employability and your income.

Go ahead.

Q Hi, I'm a senior here at Hillcrest. My question is, besides giving money to the city of Country Club Hills, in the future do you foresee giving money to the less fortunate communities in the city of Chicago, such as Cabrini Green -- (applause) -- so that they as well can fight against drugs and gang activities?


Q And if so, how do you go about completing --


Q so that we as people can work together instead of working against one another.

THE PRESIDENT: Give her a hand. (Applause.) First of all, in this last round of grants for law enforcement, where this small community got $238,000, Chicago got $4 million to hire more police officers. (Applause.)

But let me just tell you, there are two or three things that are quite important here. If our crime bill passes, then a lot more money will come to Chicago not only for police officers, but also for drug treatment and for alternative activities for young people. And in addition to that, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, which has jurisdiction over the big public housing projects, has a major new initiative to try to work with the homeless, especially homeless young people, to try to deal with that on a more permanent basis and to try to improve security and reduce drugs in public housing projects.

You know, you've had some remarkable success in Chicago, actually, cleaning out public housing projects and making them safe and providing jobs for people who live in the projects to work to help to keep them drug-free and free of violence. And the truth is that we've not provided enough money nationwide to do in every housing project in the country what has been done in some housing projects here in Chicago.

So in this new round of our budget, through those two areas -- through the crime bill and through the Housing and Urban Development Department -- we're going to try to give the people of Chicago and in cities like that all across America the tools they need to do the job.

And that was a good question, great question. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, before I begin with the question, I'd like to thank you for sending my brother who was in Somalia home. I'd like to thank you from my family. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'd like to thank him, and through him, through your family, for the work they did over there. We have -- we can't stay forever and solve all the problems of Somalia. We can't run the country. But what we did do was to save hundreds of thousands of people from starvation, to organize life again and to give them at least a chance to work out their own problems. If they don't do it, they'll have to take responsibility for it. But at least we've given that country a chance to survive. And your brother can be proud of the service he rendered, and I appreciate that. (Applause.)

Q Welcome, President Clinton. I would like to know -- I'm a senior. I would like to know how do you plan to improve the public educational system so that it's equal throughout Illinois and throughout the states? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do and then I'm going to be honest with you on the front end and tell you it's not enough -- okay? Because let me say -- most public education in America, over 90 percent of it, is funded from state taxes and local taxes, so that the President and the Congress provide a very small percentage of the money that comes to this school district. That's the way it's always been.

I don't know what the numbers are for Illinois, but if I were guessing, I would guess that probably 55 percent of the total cost of public education probably is paid for at the local level. Is that about right? Most of it comes from the state? No, most of it -- well, anyway, take my word for it, over 90 percent comes from the state and the local level in some relationship.

Some states pay a big percentage of it. Hawaii, for example, pays almost all; there's almost no local taxes in Hawaii. Some states pay almost nothing, and it's all local property taxes. New Hampshire is the most extreme. All the other states -- Illinois, New York, everybody else is somewhere in between.

Whenever you use local property taxes to fund schools there will be unequal funding. Why? Because some school districts have more valuable property than others -- right? So at any given tax rate -- I mean, if you've got -- you're going to have that. That is the fundamental problem with inequality in America.

Now, at the national level, we have certain programs designed to help low income districts and low income kids or kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, like special education programs, or

Chapter I programs. What we are doing with our money this year is to put some more money into programs directed toward low income children, like the Headstart program; and to change -- I'm asking the Congress to change the way we give the money out to give more money to the poorer school districts so that we can equalize the funding.

But the reason I tell you it's not enough is if you put up 90 cents and I put up a dime, I can redistribute my dime, but it still may not overcome your 90 cents. You see what I mean? So what that means is that, in Illinois, if you think it's a real problem and you think a lot of your schools are not being properly funded and it's unequal, you have to solve a lot of this problem at the state level with the state legislature in Springfield. We'll do as much as we can, and I have asked the Congress to do more, but there's a limit to how much we can do. (Applause.)

Q Hello. I'm a sophomore, and I was wondering, how do you justify millions of dollars being spent on space exploration when there are millions of homeless people in our country? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, for me, it's not a hard justification, but it's a very good question. The way I justify it is this: I think it's important for us to continue our lead in space because I think it helps our national security to be out there first and to always be in a position to shape developments in space; because space has given us a way to cooperate after the Cold War with the Russians, the Japanese, the Europeans, and the Canadians -- we're all working on the space station together -- because it creates new high-tech jobs for scientists and for engineers, and they create a lot of wealth for the rest of us; and because in space technology, a lot of things are found out that may have a lot of benefits for us right here on Earth.

I'll just give you just one example. I was down at the headquarters for the American space program in Houston, Texas, the other day. And I saw a motor that was used to pump water in space where it's gravity-free, so the motor obviously has to be very powerful to pump water and make it move where there's no gravity. And they discovered that the exact same technology could be used as a heart pump here on Earth to keep people alive, and it's lighter and better and cheaper to produce than what had been the case here.

I also saw cancer cultures growing in space in gravityfree environments where the cells will grow differently, in ways that will enable all kinds of medical research to be done that may keep a lot of us alive when they get cancer here on Earth.

So I think a nation like ours has to take some of its money and invest it in the future, even though you know it may not work out, even though you can't justify every penny based on immediate benefit. It's like investing in education in a way. If I invest in your education, I think you're going to come out better. It may be seven or eight years down the road, and yet every dollar I spend on education is a dollar we don't spend on the homeless or feeding the hungry or some other problem.

So I don't believe we're spending enough on the homeless, by the way. And under my budget we're going to spend more. So I can't defend that. But I think that if you were in my position, every one of you, one of the hardest decisions you would have to make is how much money am I going to spend taking care of problems today, and how much money am I going to spend investing in the future so we'll have fewer problems, more jobs, higher incomes, better opportunities. It's one of the hardest decisions I have to make. And like I said, I -- by the way, a lot of people in Congress don't agree with me. A lot of people in Congress every year vote to cut the space program and put more money into problems just like you

said. And if you were there, you might make the same decision. But as President, I always have to keep one eye on the future and one eye on the present and try to balance the needs in a proper way.

That was a great question. Give him a hand. It was a good question. (Applause.)

Q Hello. I'm a junior at Hillcrest High School. Mr. President, I would like to know why is it that the U.S. gives and helps other countries while we have our own people starving, no way -- we have crime, no jobs, people on welfare, and gangs? Why don't we start helping our own country and not others? And how is it that you're going to change this around whether we'll become a more industrial country and not where Taiwan and Korea and Japan are beating us in industrial ways? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good question. Good question. First of all -- that's a real good question, don't you think? (Laughter.) Good question. First of all, that's exactly what I ran for president to do, to get us to take care of our problems at home first, because my belief is if you're not strong at home you can't be strong abroad. So I believe that, okay? (Applause.)

Now, I believe that. And as a result of that, in the last year, we have changed the economic course of the country; we're bringing our deficit down; we're seeing more investment and more jobs coming into this economy; we're opening up opportunities to sell American products around the world, so we can compete with these other countries.

But you need to know that last year, our economy grew more rapidly than the economy of Europe and the economy of Japan, and that we are starting to come back. We are creating more jobs than they are and we are beginning to really compete again. And that is my first and most important job and the overwhelming priority that we have.

Now, let me say also, though, we spend a smaller percentage of our income on foreign aid than the Europeans or the Japanese do. The Japanese give more money in foreign aid than we do now. The foreign aid is not a big problem; indeed, even though we're the strongest country in the world, we haven't even -- I haven't been able to persuade Congress yet to appropriate the money we owe just to pay our past-due bills to the United Nations.

And we have to spend -- it's like the question this young man asked me about the space program. It's hard to -- there is no easy dividing line here between at home and abroad in the sense that now a big percentage of our income depends on our ability to sell products and services overseas because we live in a global economy.

The next time you go in a store, just pay attention to everything you buy. The next time you buy some clothes, for example, just see where all it's made, and you just see what a global economy we live in.

So if the United States wants to be able to lead the world and preserve the peace and avoid a war, and not have a lot of people like the lady with the microphone's brother going all over the world getting -- to fight major wars, we have to maintain some leadership in the world. And that requires us to invest some money. And I think we should invest some money. But the overwhelming priority should be on the problems here at home, and that's what I'm trying to do. But we can't run away from our responsibilities abroad. We just have to put the folks at home first.

And I totally agree with you that we have not invested enough in education, and jobs, and curing the problems of the homeless, especially in the distressed inner city areas. If we had the same policy on getting foreign investment into inner city America that we have in getting American investment overseas, we could cure a lot of these problems. And that's what I'm trying to do as President. (Applause.)

I'll take -- we've got to quit. They're trying to get me to quit. Two more.

Q I'm a junior here at Hillcrest. I was informed that the money that was granted to us was to use for gun control. Now, if we could use that money for education, to educate the people to give them a choice, not to go into gun control, why can't we do that? Not to go to gangs or to drugs.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean the money that you got -- that the city got to hire the police officers?

Q Yes, the money that was granted to the city --

THE PRESIDENT: You used that to hire police officers. that money was used just to hire police officers. But the money in the crime bill -- you know, I talked about the bill that's now pending in the Congress -- there will be money in that bill that can be used in this community and in this school to do just what you said. In other words, I don't want to mix apples and oranges. I think it's important to hire more law enforcement officers, too, because I know if they're in the community and tied to the folks in the community, they can reduce crime. But I agree that there also has to be money spent to do the things you said.

If this crime bill passes in anything like the form we're talking about, there will be money for that purpose. And I perfectly agree with you.

That was a good question. Give her a hand. (Applause.)

Q I'm a junior here at Hillcrest. I was wondering, as we see, in the United States there's an increasing amount of homelessness. And I was wondering why have there been cuts in welfare. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, to the best of my knowledge, unless you've done something here in Illinois I don't know about, I don't know that there have been cuts in welfare unless there was a state program that got cut. At the national level, there's been no cut in welfare, but the welfare check has not kept up with inflation. However, that's not the primary problem with homelessness. One of the things that we find is, increasingly, you've got families that are out of work that are homeless, as well as people who have some terrible problem in their lives. And what I think we've got to do is not only improve the welfare system, which I want to do -- that is, I want to spend -- people on welfare I believe should be required to work, but only after they've had education and training and until their children are supported with health care. Then I think you can require them to work. (Applause.)

So I think that is very important. But the homeless problem is a different one. One of the things that I'm most proud of about my government now is that the person in charge of this, Henry Cisneros, who used to be the mayor of San Antonio, has really spent an enormous amount of time trying to figure out all the different reasons people are homeless and why getting homeless people off the street involves a lot more than just building shelters where people come in and spend a night or two, and then they're homeless again.

And what we're trying to do this year is take an approach to the homeless problem which will really give us a chance to go in and, family by family, person by person, examine why are these people homeless, what would it take to put them in control of their own lives again, and what do we have to do to do it. And I believe that within a year or so, you will be able to see some real results from our efforts with the homeless.

I keep telling our Cabinet, if we could just do one thing, just one thing that would make America feel better about itself, it would be to get these folks off the street and into a constructive life. People in our country want that, I think. I think all kinds of Americans want that. I think it breaks America's heart to see all these folks trapped in a life that they can't really seriously want to live forever. And we're going to do our best to do better. I'm glad all of you care so much about that. Thank you. (Applause.)

They say we've got to go. I'm on my way to Pittsburgh. It's an interesting story. You talked about the rest of the world -- I'm supposed to meet with the Prime Minister of Britain tonight, Great Britain. His grandfather worked in a steel mill in Pittsburgh. And his father was a circus performer in the United States. Just shows you what a small world it is.

I really have loved being here. I wish I could stay all day and answer your questions. You asked great questions, those of you who asked questions, and I wish we could have taken some more.

Please remember what I said. If you have other questions like this, you ought to bring these concerns to your Congressman -- that's what he's here for, to bring them to me in Washington. I feel a lot better about the young people of the country just being here with you and listening to you ask these questions and knowing how much you care. And I will say again --I'll try to do the best I can on the issues we've talked about today. And you do the best you can to stick with what's on the wall. And we're going to do fine.

Thank you. Good luck. God bless you. (Applause.)

END2:55 P.M. CST