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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Chicago, Illinois)
For Immediate Release                                    January 9, 2001
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                            AT PRIVATE PARTY

                            The Empire Room
                        The Palmer Hilton Hotel
                           Chicago, Illinois

7:30 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: We had a rally upstairs. You heard them, didn't you? In the ballroom. A little loud. And I hope we didn't interrupt you. So there's an overflow crowd in the lobby. And they said they have to go through the edge of another ballroom. (Laughter.) So here I am. (Laughter and applause.)

So I've invaded your dinner. (Laughter.) Well, thank you for the wonderful, warm welcome. I'm in Chicago today to basically say goodbye to the people of Chicago and Illinois as President.

It's a very happy day for me in many ways. This hotel, since you're here for that, I should tell you, this hotel plays a huge role in my life. And I have two pictures of this hotel. That's what I told them upstairs, I have two pictures of this hotel which I look at every day of my life. One is of the lobby on St. Patrick's Day of 1992; Hillary and I are standing there with green graffiti -- not graffiti, what do you call it -- confetti, not graffiti, confetti -- (laughter and applause) -- it's been a long day. And a long eight years. (Laughter.) Confetti coming down, because that's the night that we won the Democratic primary in Illinois, which basically sealed my nomination. (Applause.)

The second picture was my mother and my father dining here in 1946. (Applause.) And that's in my private office in the Residence of the White House. I look at it every night -- every single night. So I've seen those two pictures of this place every day for eight years. This is also where I basically kicked off my campaign in Illinois in December of 1991, and so I'm very happy to be here.

And I wanted to come here for my last appearance in Chicago as President. And I want to tell all of you that it's been an honor to serve. I'm glad my country is in better shape than it was eight years ago. (Applause.) I thank all of you for the role that you've played in revitalizing our country. And I wish only the best for the future.

I've said many times and I'll say again, America may find people who do this job better than I have, but you will never find anybody who loved doing it any more. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 7:35 P.M. CST