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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 3, 2001
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                      AND SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
                       AT RECEPTION IN HER HONOR

                            Mayflower Hotel
                            Washington. D.C.

8:43 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. First of all, Senator Schumer has got to go to New York, and one of the things that I did not completely solve as President was the minor congestion we sometimes have at our airports. (Laughter.) So let's give Senator Schumer a big hand, because he's got to go. (Applause.) Thank you.

Well, I want to thank Walter and Thelma and Cathy, thank you all of you who worked on this wonderful party for Hillary tonight. I want to thank the people of New York for being so good to my wife and to me and Al Gore for eight years.

This is a special day for Hillary's mother and her brothers and my family, but especially for Chelsea and me. We were in the Senate gallery today at noon, Chelsea and I were, holding hands, trying to keep from laughing out loud and embarrassing Senator Clinton. (Laughter.) I resisted all temptation, I didn't take one of those little Kodak cameras in there. (Laughter.) I did everything I could to avoid spoiling what was, for me, one of the truly wonderful moments in my life and our family's life.

So, for all of you who helped Hillary over this last almost year and a half, I want you to know I am profoundly grateful to you. You also have taken a huge load off my mind. (Laughter.) Because, you know, for 30 years, I've been guilt-ridden that I, when Hillary came to Arkansas and married me, that I kept her out of a career in politics that she should have had. So I don't have to feel bad about it anymore. (Laughter.) And I really thank all of you for doing that. (Applause.) I say it laughingly, but I am dead serious about it.

I have always felt that Hillary had the best combination of mind and heart and passion and strength about the issues that we have always cared about than anyone I ever knew. And I also believe that the American people understand now that there really is a connection between the ideas you have and the level of commitment you have to implementing them, and what happens out there in the country. And if you have any doubt, you are about to find out. (Laughter.)

Because -- (applause) -- wait a minute -- I say that in all seriousness. There were, in this election, which was so closely fought out in so many places, there are real differences between the way we view the world. And they are honest and heartfelt. But at least our ideas have been tested for eight years, and most of them have worked pretty well. (Applause.)

Quite apart from the enormous personal pride I have in Hillary, and the enormous gratitude I feel and the incredible -- just sheer happiness that we all felt today, I am gratified to know that when my term of service as President ends, there will be one more magnificent voice sticking up for the folks that are too often forgotten and the causes that have too often been left behind. (Applause.)

I'll leave you with this thought. Public service, like a political campaign, is a team sport. It's not -- like tennis, it's not something you play by yourself. It's a team sport. And even if you get to be quarterback, no matter how good you are, you'll lose if you don't have a good team. I have been blessed to have supporters like you, people like you, all over this country. Don't ever forget it's a team sport. You stick with Hillary, and you guys will do great things for America.

Thank you and God bless you.

SENATOR CLINTON: Thank you. I am just overwhelmed and overjoyed to be here with all of you. I've been looking out at this crowd, and seeing people who I have known literally all my life, and people whom I have met in the last year, all of whom I am so grateful to for your support and your continuing encouragement not only in the Senate campaign, but in the previous eight years and many years before that.

And I want to thank Walter and Thelma, who have been so generous in welcoming all of us and in providing this wonderful hospitality. And I know from my travels, literally around the world, to many of our bases, that Walter has become a great friend of our men and women in uniform, and has really stood tall for the United States Army.

And I'm so pleased that my family can be here. And that certainly is a special joy for me. I'm delighted that my mother is here; my daughter, Chelsea -- (applause) -- my brothers, and Bill's brother and their families, all of whom have been just so strong in their support and love for our entire family, but particularly for me. And I wanted publicly to thank them.

And I particularly wanted to thank Bill and Chelsea, because this has been an extraordinary experience for me. Going out onto a campaign on my own and having their support and their good advice and counsel really made all the difference to me, personally.

And I agree with everything that Senator Schumer said and that Walter said. I believe that we are a better country than we were in 1992. (Applause.) I believe that the President's leadership has not only transformed the Democratic Party, but has really transformed our political system and our nation and America's understanding and engagement in the world.

Now we're going into a period of change -- a new administration with, as the President said, new ideas, which will have to be tested in the crucible of our political system, particularly in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. I'm looking forward to that. I want to continue the work that I've done for more than 30 years to try to make a difference in the lives of children and families and women's lives and working people's lives; to advance education and health care; to protect the environment; to make it possible for us to continue to go forward with confidence and optimism, based on the kind of results-tested politics that we've been practicing for the last eight years.

And so, in the Senate, I look so forward to working with Senator Schumer, who is such a leader and such an energetic force for positive ideas; and with the other members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle, who share my belief that the 21st century certainly can be the best century ever for America if our private sector and our public sector work together, set goals, and use the experience that we've obtained over the last years to really make a difference in the lives of the people who most need the kind of support that can come from the policies that the President has championed, that I believe in, and that I will fight for.

I also want, particularly, to thank everyone here from New York. I wish I could name every one of you. I see you out there. I see people who were County Democratic chairs. I see people who ran my campaign in places that Democrats had never won before, and we surprised a lot of people. (Applause.) I see people who welcomed me into their homes, their churches, their synagogues; who held conversations for me and about me and with me, and who from one end of the state to the other, were ready for the kind of positive campaign about ideas and issues that we ran together.

I can only reiterate what the President said. There is no way in the world, absolutely none, despite all of the press attention that I sometimes attract, there is no way in the world that I could have run and won that campaign without the hard work that everyone of you did for me. And I will never forget that. And every day, whether I'm in New York, or in the Senate, I will be thinking about what I can do, in some small way, to try to repay the debt of gratitude that I feel toward all of you -- to be the very, very best senator I can be for New York, to do everything possible -- (applause) -- to do everything possible to make good on all of those ideas and promises that we discussed over 16 months of the most exhilarating campaign that anyone could have ever experienced.

We're starting a new year; we're starting a new Congress; we're starting a new administration. But what really counts is our commitment to the fundamental values of our country and to putting people first, which I still believe is the best political slogan for anybody in American politics. If we remember that, we're going to do just fine. And I'm going to do the best I can do, because you'll be there with me.

Thank you all so very much.

END 8:59 P.M. EST