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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Little Rock, Arkansas)
For Immediate Release                                      July 17, 1998
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                             UPON ARRIVAL

                      Little Rock Air Force Base
                         Little Rock, Arkansas

2:10 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, General. First let me say I am delighted to be back home. I'm glad to be with your Congressman, Vic Snyder, and our Secretary of Transportation, Rodney Slater. They're doing a great job for you. (Applause.) Mr. Mayor, thank you for coming out to make me welcome, and thank all of you for coming out.

I want to spend most of my time just saying hello to people in the crowd, but let me just make a couple of points. First of all, I am so grateful to the people of Arkansas for all that you did to give me a chance to serve as President. And I hope you take a certain amount of personal pride in the role you played when you read every day the news of our country's progress.

I'm very grateful that I had a chance to serve in a time when, working together, we've got the lowest crime rate in 25 years, the lowest unemployment rate in 28 years, the first balanced budget in 29 years, the lowest welfare rolls in 29 years, the lowest inflation rate in 32 years, and the highest home ownership in the history of America. I'm proud of that. You should be proud of that.

I'm also very, very proud of the work that America is doing, and the role that the people who serve at this base have in it, in advancing peace and freedom and prosperity and security around the world. And I know you have some folks overseas right now doing important missions -- we thank them for that.

I also want you to know that I consider the training mission of this base vital, and I'm very pleased with the Air Force report, which has been embraced by the Defense Department to continue the important mission of the base here, and I will support that. I know you will too. Thank you for what you do every day. (Applause.)

Now, let me say one of the things that the President cannot do anything about, at least in the short run, is the heat. (Laughter.) So I think it's time to stop the speeches and start the greeting, so you can get out of here before anything too bad happens.

But I'm glad to be back. Thank you, thank you for everything. God bless you. Thank you.

END 2:15 P.M. CDT