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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Nashua, New Hampshire)                        

For Immediate Release February 2, 1996
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                    TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SALEM AREA
                             Back Gymnasium
                           Salem High School        
                          Salem, New Hampshire                                 

7:48 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I don't know about you, but I think Larry's got a real future in this speaking business. (Laughter and applause.) I thank him and Joe and Mike and Cheryl for welcoming me here. I thank your superintendent and your high school principal for making me feel welcome, and your students. And I thank the Salem band for playing. They did a very good job. (Applause.) I thought it was the Marine Band playing when I first heard. They did a terrific job. (Applause.)

You know, it is true that four years ago when I first came here I walked into a room with Larry and six other people and I thought I had a crowd. We spoke to about 120 people then and I was overwhelmed by the multitudes. Tonight there are 3,000 people here and 2,000 more, apparently, who wanted to come and couldn't. And I can only say to all of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am very grateful to you. (Applause.)

Just before I got off the plane today, when I was flying up here, my staff gave me a list of all of the scheduled stops I made in New Hampshire just from January the 1st until February the 18th, 1992 -- not counting the ones in October, November and December, just the ones in those six weeks. There were 75 different stops on that list. (Applause.)

I'd like to say something to all of you as this campaign season begins again, that I have said repeatedly to people in the White House for the last four years. The New Hampshire Primary serves two purposes, not one. The obvious purpose that you think about and liken your leaders, without regard to party have worked so hard to protect, is that you have the first primary in the nation, you get the first say, you have a disproportionate impact on who is nominated by each party.

But what you should not underestimate is the other purpose that you serve and perhaps in the long run, an even more valuable one for the United States, because New Hampshire is a small state with a lot of communities, and because it is the first primary; when I came here and went to town after town after town, to school after school after school, to business after business after business, and I sat across tables and I sat around coffee shops and I listened to people, and they asked questions and they told me of their experiences and I heard what they had to say, I learned more about my country than I ever could have learned in any other way.

No one ever runs for president knowing enough about

America to be president. New Hampshire helps people learn that if you go out and you listen and you reach out to the people and you give them a chance to share with you. And that happens for people whether they win in this state or not -- the people always here are unfailingly courteous to the candidates and give them a

chance to learn about America. You taught me a lot about America, and I thank you for it. (Applause.)

Let me say, when I came here in 1991 and 1992, the focus in our country and certainly in this state was overwhelmingly on the condition of the economy, on the long recession, on the fact that the unemployment rate was so high, on the fact that so many businesses were going bankrupt and so many people were looking to the future without hope. And I asked the American people, as well as the people of New Hampshire, to give me a chance to serve as President because I had a very clear idea that in order to move into the 21st century the strongest country in the world, we had to provide economic opportunity to everyone, we had to expect more responsibility from all our citizens, and we had to pull together.

And whether we liked it or not, even though the Cold War was over, we had to continue to be the leading force for freedom and for peace in the world. I believed that then, and I believe it tonight, and that is the path we have taken. (Applause.)

Tonight I would like to do, in an abbreviated fashion, what I attempted to do in the State of the Union address last week. I want to give you an account of where we have come in the last three years, and where I believe we have to go.

Compared with three years ago, our economy is stronger, as Larry said. We have, combined, the lowest rates of unemployment and inflation we've had in 27 years. We have almost 8 million new jobs in this economy. We have a million new jobs in autos and construction alone. We have a 15-year high in home ownership. For three years in a row, we have broken records in the number of new businesses started in America. Each successive year has been a record high.

All those things are good things. In New Hampshire, the unemployment rate has dropped from 7.6 percent to 3.2. For the last three years businesses have been growing in number at 8 percent a year instead of shrinking, as they did before. Business failures are down. New Hampshire has 40,000 new jobs. That is a good record. We should all be proud of it. We have implemented the economic strategy I talked about here in every community -- to cut the deficit in half, to expand trade to all-time highs, to invest in education and research and technology, and to sell American products all around the world. That strategy is working. We are moving forward with it. It is expanding opportunity for the American people.

We have also been a stronger force for peace and freedom, even than I had imagined we might be, in the last three years. You can look at the Middle East, at Northern Ireland, at Haiti, at Bosnia and you see the work of America standing up for peace. You look at the fact that we now have almost 180 nations committed not to get involved in the nuclear arms race, and the fact that the Russians and others have detargeted their nuclear missiles so that now there are no more nuclear missiles pointed at any American homes for the first time since the dawn of the Nuclear Age. That is encouraging. (Applause.)

And perhaps most important of all, there is a real sense that Americans are becoming more responsible and are coming together more. The crime rate, the welfare rolls, the food stamp rolls, the poverty rolls, the teen pregnancy rates -- all these are lower than they were, and that is a good thing; they're going in the right direction.

Now, having said all that, all of us know that this country still faces some stiff challenges. It is an amazing thing to consider that in the last three years, we have produced in the United States in each year the largest number of selfmade
millionaires our country has ever produced -- not people who were given their money, people just like you who earned it.

And that's something we can be proud of. But we have to face the fact that in each of those three years most Americans worked harder and harder and did not get a raise. Even with eight million new jobs nearly, most people still are working harder just to keep up. In this global economy with all of this technology, the pressures operate to hold people's wages down and many big companies keep laying people off so that there is a greater sense of insecurity.

A lot of people don't feel that their employer would treat them the way the employer at Methuan Mills did if something bad happened; a lot of those employees are here today, and I thank you for that. (Applause.)

And as you know, the Feuersteins were guests of Hillary at the State of the Union Address. I was honored to have them there. But a lot of people feel that, even at work, they're not important like they used to be, that maybe they could just be discarded. Millions of American families still work harder and harder, and they don't have access to health care. That's one thing I've tried to do that I didn't get done, and I'm not ashamed that I tried, and neither is the First Lady. (Applause.)

Millions of Americans work hard and don't have access to a pension, or they can lose it if they move from job to job. There is a lot of anxiety out there, as well as all this opportunity. And even though the crime rate is coming down, we know it's still too high. Even though these other indicators I mentioned are coming down, we know we still have serious social problems.

So I say to you as you look ahead, the issue is: What should we do now? I would argue, we should build on the successes of the last three years and keep going in the right direction until we have dealt with these problems in an adequate fashion, until we have seized our opportunities, until we make maximum use of what is before us. That is what we ought to do. What we should not do is take a change of course and follow a direction that we know has no chance of working. What we need to do is bear down and go forward. (Applause.)

There are those who say that this is a question of should we solve these problems through big government or not. That, my fellow Americans, is a myth. When I came here four years ago, I said if you will vote for me, I will reduce the size of the federal government by 100,000 and put another 100,000 police officers on the street. Well, we're putting another 100,000 police officers on the street but we reduced the size of the government by 200,000, and it will soon be 300,000, and it's the smallest government we've had in 30 years. There is not a big government issue out there anymore. (Applause.)

The real issue before us, as I have seen as I've traveled around New Hampshire today -- and I have gone into factories; I've looked at apprenticeship programs; I've been in an elementary school and looked at a computer program. I've seen the Concord schools hooked up to the Internet this week. In March, 20 percent of the schools of California at one time will be hooked up to the Internet. By the end of this decade we are going to see every schoolroom and every library in this country on the Internet and the information superhighway. I know that. (Applause.)

And big government is not doing these things. The question is not whether we should have big government or not. The question is whether we are going to go forward by working together, in which every part of our country and every element of our society, including your nation's government, does its part;
or whether we're going to go back to a time when people were told to fend for themselves.

If you look at this room tonight, if you think about this community, if you think about any endeavor you have ever been involved in that really worked, what works is when people work together, when everybody has a chance to fulfill their God-given abilities, when everybody works together, we all do better individually. That is the issue before the American people: Are we going forward together as a community to solve our problems? (Applause.)

When I came in they gave me a cap for your football team, state champion, that had 12 and 0 on it. (Applause.) And I imagine like every good team, the team has some stars. But let me say this: There's not a halfback in America that can run without a line. (Applause.) You can't do it. If you watched the Super Bowl, it was a great football game. There were some great stars out there. It was a contest of teamwork.

And that's the way nations are. You've got to get all of your players on the field, then you've got to make sure they're properly trained; then if they do what they're supposed to do, there has to be some kind of reward. And the only way it ever works is if they're all working together. That is the issue for America today.

Whenever a country goes through a period of sweeping change and all of the balls get thrown up in the air, there will be winners and losers. But for a nation to be everything it ought to be, everyone has to have a chance to win. And that can only happen if we go forward together. That is what I want you to believe. (Applause.)

First of all, this country has one big piece of unfinished business. We have cut the deficit in half in three years, and that is good. We never had a permanent deficit at a high level until the 12 years before I became president. We are turning that around. We are coming down. But we have to finish the job. We have to adopt a credible balanced budget plan.

What will happen? Just think what happened in 1993 when we cut the deficit in half. What happens? If people know you're going to balance your books, interest rates go down. Car payments go down. Home mortgage payments go down. Credit card payments go down. Businesses find it easier to borrow money. They invest. They create jobs. Families find it easier to make ends meet. This is an important thing to do, and we must do it.

What I want you to know is that after more than 50 hours of negotiations, after weeks and weeks among the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress and the Vice President and myself, we have identified more than enough savings that are common to both of our approaches -- more than enough --to balance this budget in seven years, according to Congress's own scorecard -- more than enough.

There are differences which remain. Most of those differences, in my view, relate to what our obligations as a nation are to bind our community together. But those differences are not an excuse not to balance the budget. They are not an excuse for a work stoppage between now and the November election. We are all paid to work every day between now and November, and our first job is to finish the job of balance the budget. We ought to do it. (Applause.)

I can assure you that we can do this while maintaining our obligations to our parents, to our children, to the truly poor and the families with children with disabilities, and to the future, in terms of our investments in education and in protecting the environment. We can do that. (Applause.)

We could even do that by taking the savings we have in common and, in addition to doing all that, we could have a modest tax cut. But we have to do it. The time has come to say, look, we've got enough in common to do this one big job -- balance the budget. We have differences over the shape of the Medicare program. We have differences over the shape and obligations under the Medicaid program. We have differences about our obligations to protect the environment. We have differences about what the nation's obligation is to open educational opportunity for all. But we have agreed upon enough savings to balance the budget. It is unconscionable not to do it. We must do it, and we ought to do it right now and not wait. (Applause.)

But let me say to you, even if we do that, this country clearly has challenges as we move into this new age. Why do we have these challenges? First of all, because any time you have a big upheaval in the way people work and live, the established patterns of life will be disturbed. And a lot of people will seize new opportunities, but others will be dislocated. Go home and pick up any history book and look what happened in America when we moved from farm to factory, when we moved from being a rural country to a more urbanized one. Vast fortunes were made. People who had nothing did very well. But a lot of people were uprooted and despairing. This always happens when you change the way people live.

We are now moving into a world dominated by technology and information. It is exploding. And the good news is, as I saw today -- I was in Nashua and the Sanders/Lockheed plant. It's unbelievable. You know, they're making satellites that are going to be put up in the sky for literally 10 percent of what it cost us to put a satellite up just three or four years ago. And within a matter of a year or so you'll be able to have a portable telephone and, literally, you can talk to anybody anywhere on the face of the earth -- in the remotest jungle, in the remotest desert, in Antarctica, you'll be able to pick up the telephone and call somebody. This is incredible.

But we also know that with all of these open borders and with all of this competition, it keeps the pressure down on prices, but it also makes it hard for people to get a raise. And we also know if more people can do more and more and more and more work because of technology, it means that big units can do the same amount of work with fewer people. That means we've got to create more jobs with small businesses. It means we have to be more attentive to what it takes to get people's incomes up and to give them health care, pensions and access to education for a lifetime. That is what we have to do. (Applause.)

So it also means that when things are changing and people are being subject to just literally thousands and thousands and thousands of messages bearing down on them every time they turn the television on, every day when they wake up, every night when they go to bed, we have to work harder to preserve our most essential values and our most important institution, which is the American family. We have to work at that. We have to make conscious efforts to do it. (Applause.)

And so I ask you to look with me ahead. This country has made a decision that we've got to eliminate the deficit. We're going to keep the deficit coming down regardless. We ought to pass a plan that clearly balances the budget because of the confidence it will give the American people, and because it will drive interest rates down and keep growth going. We ought to do that.

But let's look ahead. First of all, we have got to make a national commitment to renew our efforts to improve childhood and strengthen families. That's what we did when we passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, and I am very proud of that. (Applause.) I believe that's what we did when I insisted that the telecommunications bill which was passed just yesterday in the Congress, a piece of legislation which also will create tens of thousands of high-wage jobs in America, require that all new cable TV sets be equipped with a V chip so that parents can decide which programs their young children should watch and they won't be exposed to excessive violence and other things they believe are destructive. (Applause.)

I believe that we have to make a commitment as a nation that every young person will have access to the educational opportunities necessary to compete and win in the global economy -- every young person. (Applause.) There are many things involved in that, but beyond hooking up all of the classrooms and the libraries to the Internet, we need to give teachers and parents and people who operate our local schools the flexibility and the options they need to make whatever changes are necessary to meet high standards of excellence. (Applause.)

And, frankly, our schools need more support from our parents. They ought to be willing to turn the television off, get the homework done, and see that the work is done in the schools. (Applause.) Then we have to make it possible for every young person in America who gets out of high school to go on to college or to further education -- every one. Every one of them. (Applause.) In the last three years, we have overhauled the College Loan Program so that now it is easier to get a college loan. And as I pledged here in '92, much, much easier to pay it back as a percentage of what you earn. No one can be bankrupted by borrowing money to go to college, because of that. (Applause.)

Now, I have asked the Congress to increase work-study opportunities so that a million young people can work their way through school every year. (Applause.) I have asked Congress to provide a merit scholarship of $1,000 a year to the top five percent of every graduating class and every high school in America this year. (Applause.) I have asked Congress not to abolish the AmeriCorps program which, in New Hampshire and so many other states, are giving our young people a chance to do good things. (Applause.)

And, finally, if there is to be a tax cut, we ought to cut taxes in a way that will grow the economy and increase opportunity for people, and the best way to do that would be to give the families of America a tax deduction for the cost of college tuition. That is what we ought to -- (applause.)

Now, our third challenge is to face the biggest economic problem we have -- to give more economic security to those families that are working harder and harder just to keep up. How can we do that? First of all, we ought to raise the minimum wage. It is too low. (Applause.) If we do not raise it this year, within one year the minimum wage will drop to a 40-year low in terms of its purchasing power, even though there are millions of people out there, principally single mothers, who are raising children on the minimum wage. It is hard to raise a family on a modest income today; it cannot be done properly on $4.25 an hour. There is no excuse for not raising it, and we should raise it. (Applause.)

Secondly, we should protect our workers' pensions and we should make it much easier and less expensive for small businesspeople to take out pensions for themselves, their families and their employees. It's important. (Applause.) The next thing we ought to do is to recognize that it's not just young people who need an education; it's older people as well. The average education of our American people in four-year colleges is 26 now. The average age of people in the two-year institutions is much higher than that.

We need a system which enables people every time they're out of work, or grossly underemployed, to go back and get education and training -- every one. The tax deductibility of tuition will help, but it would also help if the Congress would adopt my G.I. Bill for America's Workers, which gets rid of all these tens and dozens of programs, little programs for training, collapses them all, puts them in one big pot, and gives every person in America when they lose their job a voucher worth $2,600 a year for two years to get an education and training worthy of this new economy. (Applause.)

Finally, let me say I will never forget the stories I was told in New Hampshire four years ago -- of the families that had no health care because they lost their jobs or because they had to change jobs or because the husband or the wife or the child got sick. That's what we all thought insurance was for, for sick people. Turns out, for a lot of people it's only good if you're well; if you get sick, you can't have it anymore. Now, you know that's true. Maybe I asked the American people, through the Congress, to do too much in trying to give health care coverage to everybody. But I'll tell you something: It is wrong at least not to make affordable health care accessible to every family. And we can do that. (Applause.)

There is a bill before the United States Senate today, a bipartisan bill with 43 Democrat and Republican sponsors. The chief sponsors are Senator Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. (Applause.) And let me tell you what this bill does. This bill does about three simple things. It says you can't lose your health insurance just because you changed jobs. It says you can't be denied coverage and your family can't be dropped just because you or your family has a preexisting condition, somebody has been sick. (Applause.) And it says that self-employed people and small business people ought to have the opportunity in every state to go into bigger pools so that they can buy health insurance on the same competitive terms that people who are in large employer units can do. That's what it says. (Applause.)

And we ought to pass it. We ought to pass it now. It was voted out of the Senate committee with not a single opposing vote, unanimously out of the committee in the Senate, and we cannot get it to a vote on the floor because people are trying to delay it because the health insurance industry is against it. The National Chamber of Commerce is for it. The National Association of Manufacturers is for it. Business and labor are for it. Real people are for it. Let's pass it. No other country would permit this to happen, and we shouldn't either. (Applause.)

The fourth thing we have to do is to maintain our fight against crime and gangs and drugs until crime is the exception, not the rule. It's not enough for the crime rate to go down. It must become the exception, not the rule again, in America. (Applause.) I told you in 1992 when I came here that I would attempt to put 100,000 more police officers on the street, that I would support the Brady Bill, that I would support limits on assault weapons, and protect other weapons. (Applause.)

Now, I know that New Hampshire is a big hunting state, just like the state that I was born in and spent most of my life in and was governor of for 12 years. But I want to tell you, it has now been one year and then some since we passed the crime bill with the assaults weapons ban. And we just had a big deer season in New Hampshire, and there was not a single, solitary deer hunter that lost his weapons. We told the truth about that. It was an assault weapons ban, not a gun control operation. We told the truth about that. (Applause.)

We took some dangerous weapons off the streets of our cities. We protected the police. We protected innocent citizens. Forty-four thousand people with criminal records have been unable to buy handguns because of the Brady Bill, because we did the background check. It was the right thing to do. (Applause.) But the most important thing of all is the crime rate is coming down and crime is being prevented because of the community policing strategies adopted with our help, putting 100,000 police on the street, and we need to finish the job. We need to keep going for two more, three more years, until we've got them all out there. It is the right thing to do. (Applause.)

Our fifth challenge, and you've been talking about it a lot lately in New Hampshire, the Vice President was just here -- is to maintain our commitment to preserve and enhance the natural environment. (Applause.) I had thought that there was a general consensus in our country in both parties, including all political independents, number one, that there were still problems out there; and, number two, that we had to find a way to grow the economy while protecting the environment. We could no longer sacrifice the environment and say that's the only way we can create jobs.

Let me just remind you of the facts. I know this is the 1990s. But when I became President, immediately I found that we had people dying because they ate food contaminated by the E.coli virus. And I discovered that in the 1990s, we were still testing meat in the way we've been testing it for 60 years, the same way dogs do -- we were sniffing the meat and looking at it. (Laughter.) It sounds funny until you think about what it could be if it were you.

So we changed the meat requirement standards and the meat testing standards, and we got new technology coming in to make sure the American people are safe. In Milwaukee just a few years ago, 100 people died drinking water contaminated with cryptosporidium. If you think about the weather that our people have endured, the bitter snowstorms, the deep floods, the summer fires out West, and one of our major news magazines had a cover story just a couple of weeks ago saying that the snowstorms were due in part, believe it or not, to global warming. Why? Because when you upset the climactic balance, you have more extremes in weather, including harder winters, as well as hotter summers; 1995 was the hottest year in the earth's history, as long as we've been measuring it with this way of temperature.

So I tell you, my friends, the jobs of the future and the incomes of the future and the high-tech opportunities of the future are going to go to those who can find a way to work to preserve what God has given us not to tear it up. That is a fact; we've got to do it. (Applause.)

Our sixth challenge -- I won't say a lot about this, but I know I have to mention it, because I know I have so little popular support for this. The United States at the end of the Cold War, especially since the Russians have now detargeted their missiles and they don't point them at us anymore, and because we have so many challenges here at home is often tempted to think, well, we don't really have to get involved with our friends and neighbors, we don't have to be involved in Bosnia, we don't have to be involved in Haiti, we don't have to even take our time with the Middle East, or in trying to solve the Irish problem. We don't have to really work on all of these other things, getting a comprehensive test ban treaty, which I believe we'll get this year, to end nuclear testing forever. (Applause.) Why do we have to do that?

Well, let me just remind you of something. First of all, we do have security threats. We have all of these terrorists from overseas that can come into this country, as we have seen. Do you want the countries they come from to give them up and send them here for justice? Don't you want countries to say there's no place you can hide if you're a terrorist; if you come to America and blow up a building and kill innocent people, you can't go back home and hide.

Well, if we want those countries to cooperate with us, we have to cooperate with them. When people bring all this cocaine into this country or heroin into this country, it's not grown here in America, it comes from somewhere else. If we want those countries to literally -- their leaders to put their lives on the line to go after those drug cartels, we have to work with them in other ways.

The gentleman I just named our new Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, a four-star general -- (applause) -- has been commanding our Armed Forces south of the border. He has been protecting our national interests in all kinds of traditional ways, but he's also been very identified in a fight to stop drugs coming into the country, working with our civilian law enforcement agencies and with foreign governments.

Do you know, in the last year we have seen arrested seven of the eight top bosses of the Cali Drug Cartel, the biggest drug cartel in the world. (Applause.) But right next door to Colombia, when Ecuador and Peru got in the fight, who did they want to help come mediate it? The United States. I just had 10 soldiers down there and we had lots of people from other countries and a lot of you may have never read about that, but if I had said to them, oh, I'm sorry, we can't be bothered with that, that's not our problem, then they might say, well, the drugs on your street are not our problem.

The security threats of today and tomorrow are worldwide problems. The organized crime, the drug trafficking, the terrorism, the weapons of mass destruction, the people that broke open that vial of poison gas in the Japanese subway -- these are worldwide problems, so I ask you: We should be preoccupied with solving our problems at home, but I ask you at least to support me when I make a judgment that it is in your interest and our children's future's interest to have America lead the cause for freedom and peace in the world. (Applause.)

And there is one last challenge, and it may be a work that will never be done. But we have to keep working to give you a government that you feel you can trust and have confidence in. You know, when I came here running for president, I said there are at least four things we ought to do to make the government more responsive. And, believe it or not, two of them have been done. And this Congress did them, and I applaud them, and they did it on a bipartisan basis.

I said, we ought to make the laws that Congress applies to the private sector apply to Congress. They did that. (Applause.) Congress ought to accept these lavish gifts from lobbyists, and they should have to disclose -- lobbyists should have to disclose how much money they spent, where they get it from, what they spent it on and what they're trying to do with it. They did that. That's a good thing. (Applause)

We have two down and two to go. The third is: the line-item veto, where is it? I want it. And they say we're going to get that this year. I certainly hope so. And the fourth is campaign finance reform. (Applause.)

So, I ask you to join me in embracing those challenges. And I ask you to think about one other thing. This country is in better shape than it was three years ago but this country still has a lot of challenges. This country needs the right President. I'm glad you think I am the right President but -- (applause) -- but this country is around here after 220 years, still the great hope and shining beacon of the world because of
the values embedded in the Constitution, because of the values embedded in the hearts of the American people, because of the character and strength and determination and plain old-fashioned good citizenship of the American people.

And I tell you, cynicism is a luxury you cannot afford. Pessimism is unwarranted based on the evidence. And not participating in the public life of your nation is a cop out that will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. (Applause)

Sometimes I think the greatest moments of my life now are when I am able to represent you when I go overseas. Because when I get in Air Force One and go to another country -- as a force for peace in Northern Ireland when all those people -- you saw it on the television -- were in the streets screaming, they weren't screaming for Bill Clinton. They weren't even screaming for the President of the United States. They were cheering the United States. They were cheering American and everything we stand for. (Applause.)

And when I go other places and I talk to foreign leaders they sometimes say to me, I read all these surveys in America about how pessimistic people are, about how they don't have faith in their institution," he said -- and foreign leaders all over the world, they say, how could this be? Your country has a lower unemployment rate than other countries, your country has created all the jobs that have been created in the seven biggest economies in the world net in the last seven years, is the number that have been created here. The rest -- some created a few, some lost a few, they're net out zero. We have all the jobs, net.

Our deficit today is a smaller percentage of our income than any of our major competitors. Our country is admired and trusted. Just a few years ago we thought we might go to war with Russia. When this issue in Bosnia came up, I met with the president of Russia, and he said -- the president of Russia said -- he looked at me and he said, "Bill, I will send as many Russian soldiers as you want to serve under whatever American general you name." That is a great gift. (Applause.) That is a gift.

And so I leave you with this challenge -- you live in a great country. Sure, we've got some problems. We're human beings. Yes, we make some mistakes. We're human beings. We are not a superhuman race of people. But there is no country on Earth where so many diverse people get together and work together so well, no country on Earth with more resources to deal with the challenges it faces. And we cannot afford to be cynical or skeptical or pessimistic about our future.

I am moved by you being future more than any words I can say, just because you're here and you're enthusiastic and you're full of energy. And what I want you to do is to leave this place tonight, and when you wake up tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day, you tell your fellow Americans: You don't have a right to be cynical, you don't have a right to be pessimistic, this is the greatest country in human history, and we're going to make it greater.

Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 8:40 P.M. EST