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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 25, 2000
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                            AND MRS. CLINTON

                            Brown University
                        Providence, Rhode Island

5:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Derek, Ruth, Anthony, Julie, Marva, Alyson; all of the family and friends. I want you to know why we're here today. Over 30 years ago, I lived with Casey's uncle, Strobe, and through him I met Casey's aunt, Brook. And they were in love, and so I then had to meet Derek and Cody and Marva and Skip. And then I introduced them to Hillary. And then Derek introduced all of us to Ruth. And the rest is history.

What I want to say to all of you is, when we were young, we were to each other what Casey has been to you. And I think I can say for all of us, listening to you today has been overwhelming, and wonderful. And all I can hope is that you will hold on to it for the rest of your lives.

But we have a few memories, too.

MRS. CLINTON: We do. We have our memories of Casey. We remember Casey as a baby, even before those of you who went to pre-school with him, crawling around the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, where his parents had brought him, literally the first week that Bill was governor. And we were there, not knowing what it meant to be a governor, sitting in the living room, feeling very much like Casey, as we tried to figure out where to go next.

We remember the countless challenges that Casey and Anthony made to Bill and Derek to play basketball, starting, I think, when the ball was bigger than Casey. I remember especially several years ago, when Anthony and Casey challenged Bill and Derek. And it was a true turning point, because the old guys may have won -- (laughter) -- but it was clearly close. And despite Casey's reputation for being a fierce competitor, there were some of us who thought it was the last time he would let the old guys win.

THE PRESIDENT: His classmates might be interested to know that when I ran for president first in 1992, Casey actually tried to tutor me in rap music. (Laughter.) You know, I would do this whole shtick -- I played on Arsenio Hall's show and I was trying to show that I was in tune with younger voters. I knew nothing about rap music. (Laughter.) I knew nothing about the music of the '80s. I went to work and missed it all. Casey was horrified that I was going to embarrass myself on national television and blow the election. (Laughter.)

I also remember, after we went to the White House, Casey and his family, we went to a Baltimore Orioles game together. And I actually thought I knew something about baseball until he offered the play-by-play. (Laughter.) So I remember that.

And then --

MRS. CLINTON: Then, when Derek was appointed Ambassador to Finland, it became a real family service, because Ruth made such a contribution, and Anthony and Julie and Casey were so involved in the life of Finland. And I remember when I visited them and stayed with them in Helsinki, I heard as many stories about Casey's outreach to young people in Finland as I heard about Derek's work on behalf of diplomacy.

And the most striking memory I take back is this constant, almost sickening reference to this group called Leningrad Cowboy that Casey had discovered and was absolutely insistent on making everyone he knew in Finland and the United States fans of. And if you've ever listened to the Leningrad Cowboy, you would know that you would have to love Casey to even listen to them. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I come here today and find out that he gave a great gift to our embassy in Italy with that -- (laughter and applause.) You know, even though I just have a few months left to serve, I still have some measure of influence, and I think I'll have a plaque put up at that pool. (Laughter.)

Let me say to all of you just one last thing. Growing older has its joys. But one of the great burdens is the pain and mystery of losing children -- the ones you know and the ones you don't. And I don't know any more about it today than I did when I was your age. But I know a little more about life. It's such a short time -- 21 years, 22.

But a few days ago, I went to Chicago to an event. And after it was over, I went with my friends there to the Field Museum, where Hillary spent a lot of time as a kid. Now, at the Field Museum now, they have this 67 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue, after the woman who found her on a South Dakota farm. I liked old Sue. And I thought to myself, we're all just passing through -- I mean, she was here 67 million years ago.

And what I would like to say to you is that, whether you live for 20 years or 50 or 80 or 100, it doesn't take long to live a life. And Mr. Wordsworth was right -- the last best portions of it are the little unremembered acts of kindness and love. Casey Shearer had a great life.

Thank you. (Applause.)

END 5:54 P.M. EDT