THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release February 15, 1999
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY Hacienda Temozon Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Q Mr. President, do you feel vindicated by the Senate vote? And how do you think you will be able to overcome any damage that was caused in your relations with Republican leaders in Congress?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have, really, nothing to add to what I said on Friday about that. I think this is a time for reconciliation and renewal. I think what we have to do is to serve the American people. And if we keep that in mind I think everything will be fine.
We can't resolve the challenges of Social Security and Medicare, education, these other things; we can't keep the international economy going unless we have a level of cooperation. I'm encouraged that we have a number of Republican members of Congress on this trip, and I intend to do exactly what I said I'd do last Friday. And I think if everybody just keeps our eye on the ball -- which is that we are here to serve the public, and not the other way around -- I think we'll be fine.
Q Mr. President, do you have any problems with the system the United States has for certifying drug cooperation?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, it is the law of the land, and the Secretary of State sometime in the next few weeks will have to make a recommendation. I think the question is how can we do better to deal with the drug problem. President Zedillo said it's his number one national security problem. Neither country has won the drug war. And the fundamental question is are we better off fighting it together or separately, and perhaps sometimes at odds with one another.
Under General McCaffrey, who's here, we put in place a very aggressive antidrug strategy. Finally, we've got a lot of the indicators going in the right direction in the United States. And cooperation with Mexico has clearly improved under President Zedillo's leadership. The issue is what is most likely to free our children of this scourge in the new century, and that's what will guide my decisions.
Thank you all.
Q Have you encouraged Mrs. Clinton to run for the Senate, sir? What have you said to her?
THE PRESIDENT: People in New York started calling her. I don't think it had ever occurred to her before a lot of people started calling and asking her to do it. I think she would be terrific in the Senate. But that's a decision that she'll have to make. And for reasons I'm sure you'll understand, she hasn't had anything like adequate time to talk to the people who think she should do this, much less people who think perhaps she shouldn't. I mean, she just hasn't had time to deal with this.
But it's her decision to make. I will support whatever decision she makes enthusiastically. She has a lot of other opportunities for public service that will be out there, and she and I both would like to continue to be useful in public affairs when we leave office. But it's a decision she'll have to make. She'd be great if she did it, but she hasn't had anything like the requisite amount of time to talk to people and to assess it, and I'm sure that everyone will understand and appreciate that.