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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 11, 1998
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                           IN PHONE CALL TO 

4:57 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello. Lois? I didn't know you were on the phone. Congratulations.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: Well, thank you so much.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm so thrilled for you.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: It was a tremendous experience and I owe a lot to all of the people who are listening.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you made a great grass-roots campaign and I think you really persuaded people that you would be a strong, independent voice for them. And, of course, we were all thrilled that you ran on the issues that I think are critical to the future of the country -- on education and the Patient's Bill of Rights, and the tobacco issue. I'm just so ecstatic. But I know how hard you worked and you must be so proud today.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: I'm very proud and very grateful. It's an affirmation of Walter as well.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly it was. It certainly was.

The Vice President is on the phone with me. I know he want's to say something.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'll wait until Dick Gephardt goes. Go ahead, Dick.

CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT: Thank you, Al. I thank you, Mr. President, for having this call. And, Lois, we all here in the House congratulate you on this wonderful victory. It's a real testimony to you and the kind of campaign you ran and the way you related to the issues that people really care about in your district -- education and health care, pensions. We believe this campaign, your campaign, is the formula by which we will win the majority back in the House in 1998.

So, congratulations. God love you and your family. And you're going to carry on in the spirit of your dear, wonderful husband, Walter. And we look forward to having you here next week.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: Oh, thank you, Mr. Gephardt.

CONGRESSMAN FROST: And, Lois, this is Martin Frost. If could just say a brief word, because Dick and I have to go vote in a minute -- something you'll be doing very shortly. This was an extraordinary victory. In fact, we're watching you on television right now; we see you on CNN. The fact that you won by such a significant margin, the 53-45, the 13,000-vote margin, is more than any of us had hoped for. We knew you were a terrific candidate, but we were just overwhelmed with your victory. And everyone here is talking about it -- in the cloakrooms and in the halls and everywhere up here on the Hill today. It is the number one topic and people can hardly wait for you to get here next week.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: Could I now say, this is all sweet music to my ears. And I want to thank you, all of you, and that which you represent, for the support that you gave, actually, for the freedom that you all allowed us to have here to run a local race. And that began in the very beginning, when I felt no undue pressure as a grieving widow to make a decision before I was ready to. And that carried through in the kind of support that you gave us here and the kind of interest you showed then and do show now, and in kind of letting us take the lead and listen to what people on the central coast of California were telling us about what are their important issues.

And you remember, Mr. President, I said when -- in the midst of the campaign when I heard the State of the Union speech, I said to someone with whom I was with, it sounded as though you were walking among the people here on the central coast with us. And that's how much this resonates here. The issues of child care, the issues of our local schools and health care and the economy staying strong and keeping Social Security solvent -- these are the refrains that we have heard and responded to.

And I believe, you know, it's across party lines. It's what the mainstream of, I can tell you for sure, one district in California, the 22nd, really has compelled me to carry to Washington. And I'm so thankful that now I can do that, having paid attention to them and able to listen and join in the conversation there that you all have going.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. You know, we've only got 68 days left.


THE PRESIDENT: We need you.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: We'd better get busy.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lois, this is Al Gore.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: This is Al Gore, Lois. And I also want to congratulate you on running a fantastic race. And it was about the issues that Americans really care about, and the future of education, the environment, technology and schools, child care, the others that you mentioned. And we all look forward to working very closely with you on those issues and on improving the lives of the American people. And God bless your family and Walter's memory.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: And we miss Laura. She did a great job for you.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: Well, she has. She's coming back soon. She's excited to get back there, as well. And, Mr. Gore, thank you. You just touched on all of the issues that we are going to be working on together.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Great. God bless.

THE PRESIDENT: Lois, we need you. We'll be glad when you get here.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: I'm hurrying up. We'll be there soon.

THE PRESIDENT: Give our love to Laura. I'll see you.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT CAPPS: Thank you so much. Thank you all.

END 5:04 P.M. EST