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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 11, 2000
                             TO THE NATION

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On this Veterans Day as America honors the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, we are witnessing the extraordinary resilience of the democracy they've pledged their lives to defend.

From our earliest days, the right to vote has meant the right to participate and be heard. If ever there was a doubt about the importance of exercising the most fundamental right of citizenship, it sure was answered on Tuesday. No American will ever again be able to seriously say: My vote doesn't count.

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, "Democracy is not a static thing, it is an everlasting march." Our Founders may not have foreseen every challenge in the march of democracy, but they crafted a Constitution that would.

The people have spoken. The important thing for all of us to remember now is that a process for resolving the discrepancies and challenges to the election is in motion. The rest of us need to be patient and wait for the results.

I want to congratulate both Vice President Gore and Governor Bush for a vigorous and hard-fought campaign. Once again, the world is seeing democracy in action. The events unfolding in Florida are not a sign of the division of our nation, but of the vitality of our debate, which will be resolved by the vibrancy of our Constitution and laws. Regardless of the outcome, we will come together as a nation as we always do.

As this election unfolds, the nation's business continues. Tomorrow, I will begin a trip to Asia that will end in Vietnam. I will be the first President to visit that nation since the height of the Vietnam War. I will go to open a new chapter in our relationship with its people.

For nearly a decade now, we have been building a more normal relationship with Vietnam, basing each step forward on progress and accounting for Americans missing from the war in Vietnam. We've made great strides, repatriating remains, obtaining documents, never forgetting that each case represents a brave American with a name, a home, a family that cares about his fate.

I will make clear to Vietnam that we expect continued cooperation. I will also offer the support of the American people as Vietnam becomes more open to the world, promoting trade and more ties among our people and championing human rights and religious freedom.

We also have important business here at home. As Congress prepares to finish its work for the year, I urge the members to build on the bipartisan progress we have already made. Let's finish the job of improving our schools, resolve our differences on immigration and worker safety, and let's raise the minimum wage. We should pledge to get these things done for the American people before the next President takes office in January.

A couple of nights ago, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the White House. We marked much more than the bicentennial of a building. Through two centuries of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, the White House has stood as the living symbol of our democracy. It has welcomed every President since John Adams under its roof, always through a peaceful transition of power.

This January, as it has done for 200 years, it will do so again -- because of the timeless power of our Constitution and our undying faith in we, the people.

Thanks for listening.