THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New York, New York) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release January 13, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT WALL STREET PROJECT RECEPTION New York Stock Exchange New York, New York
7:48 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first let me thank Reverend Jackson. And, Jackie, thank you. And, Dick Grasso, thank you for having all of us here tonight. This is the first time I have ever spoken from this microphone. You know, as President, I'm superstitious, and we've had such a good stock market, I don't ever comment on it -- except I like the way it finished today. (Laughter.)
I wanted to say just a couple of things very briefly. First of all, I want to thank Dick Grasso for his leadership in the Wall Street Project. A lot of people don't know that the stock market was organized over 200 years ago so that there would be a mechanism through which bonds could be issued to finance America's debts in the war for our independence. So, in the beginning, this stock market had not just a profit motive, but a public interest purpose. This man has infused the stock market not only with its greatest success in history, but with a public interest purpose, to include all Americans in our prosperity. And we thank him. (Applause.)
Most of you were with us today in the afternoon, and I won't make you sit through my speech again -- or stand through my speech again. Even though I'd kind of like to, because this is the first crowd in a long time when I've been guaranteed a standing ovation. (Laughter.)
I just want to make two points. One, I want to thank Jesse Jackson for being there on this issue for a long time, saying we would never be the country we ought to be until we really had economic opportunity for all. That's what the Wall Street Project is all about. (Applause.) And that it would be good business, as well as good morality.
The second point that I want to make, that I made today and I leave with all of you is, this is the only time in my lifetime we have had a booming economy, improvements in all of our social fabric, the absence of crisis at home and domestic threats, and the absence of threats to our security around the world as big as those we faced in the Cold War. None of this has ever happened before. The big question before us is, what are we going to do with this magic moment? Are we going to take the long look into the future and do the big things that America needs, or are we going to indulge ourselves in shortsighted, frittering away of our present wealth and serenity at home, and stability around the world?
I'm just telling you, we will never be the country we ought to be until every person, including the people and places that have been left behind in this remarkable recovery, has a chance to live the American Dream. We will never be as safe a country, as whole a country, the one America we ought to be until everybody has a chance. (Applause.)
That's what the Wall Street Project is all about. That's what my New Markets Initiative is all about. And I want to implore you to use this millennial year of 2000 to ask all of our fellow Americans to think about those who could be a part of what we celebrate and thank God for every day, but aren't yet. If we make them a part of it, we will really give a gift to our children and to the 21st century.
Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 7:51 P.M. EST