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Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2004

Transcript of President Clinton’s speech at the Dole Institute

June 3, 2004

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(Online Editor's note: The following is a transcript of the inaugural Dole Lecture presented by former President Bill Clinton May 21 at Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse.)


DATE: May 21, 2004
EVENT: Inaugural Dole Lecture
FEATURED SPEAKER: President Bill Clinton
LOCATION: Allen Fieldhouse, University of Kansas
HOST: Stephen McAllister, Interim Director, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
































Stephen McAllister: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon and welcome to Allen Fieldhouse.

[ Applause ]

The Home of the Jayhawks.

[ Applause ]

It's my pleasure to welcome you to the Inaugural Dole Lecture of the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. My name is Steve McAllister, and I am the interim director of the Dole Institute.

[Applause ]

Almost 63 years ago, a young man from Russell, Kansas, came to KU to begin his college education. He frequently wrote home to his family about his life as a KU student. This wonderful collection of letters, which is housed in the Dole Institute, is part of the nation's largest Congressional archive, demonstrates many of the typical joys and concerns of KU students. For instance, in one of his first letters home, the young man from Russell wrote, "Dear Mom, I hated to send all of this laundry home, but it costs too much down here. Shirts are 15 cents, shorts are 6 cents, towels 5 and socks 3 cents. That adds up pretty fast when you have as little money as I have." These letters home discuss his classes, his grades, his extracurricular activities, the part-time jobs to pay for tuition and fees, and of course KU sports. Indeed, as a member of the KU freshman football team, this KU student frequently wrote about KU football. For example, observing the KU-Nebraska game, "About all I can say is that KU had 11 men on the field, even though it didn't look like it."

[Laughter]

A few weeks later he shared with his family how around 3,000 students paraded to the Chancellor's house asking him to dismiss Monday classes after KU defeated K-State the previous Saturday.

[ Applause ]

The Chancellor declined, but the students refused to go to classes anyway, and spent that Monday celebrating. But at the end of his first semester, life as a KU student changed in a dramatic fashion. He wrote home that "I suppose you, like everyone else, are huddled around the radio, listening to war developments in the battle with Japan." This KU student completed two years at KU before he went into the service fighting for his country and suffering grave injuries in northern Italy. The rest of the story, as is said, is history. A history told in videos and exhibits located in the Dole Institute's spectacular Hansen Hall and in the thousands of boxes of letters and documents in the Institute's archives. I tell you the story because the young man from Russell never returned to KU as a student. But he is as much a KU Jayhawk as anyone in this Fieldhouse, and he has returned to KU as a teacher and an exemplary leader in public service and public life. The Dole Institute of Politics with Senator Dole as its inspiration and namesake is dedicated to the promotion of civility and public life and bipartisan solutions to America's problems.

[ Applause ]

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you one of Kansas's favorite sons, Senator Bob Dole, with his good friend, President Bill Clinton.

[ Applause ]

[ Applause ]

Sen. Robert Dole: Thank you. First --

[ Applause ]

Thank you. First, let me thank the student body. After 9/11, there was an effort made by KU to raise funds for the victims' children, and you were the first University to respond with, I think you gave to the Clinton-Dole team that time, we were raising money, $47,000 and we thank you for it.

[ Applause ]

I'm honored that my friend, President Clinton, is here.

[ Applause ]

And I know the Governor is here and the Chancellor is here and many distinguished guests and everybody is a distinguished guest, and it's always a pleasure to return to Lawrence. A great University where I get more compliments and fewer votes than anywhere in Kansas.

[ Laughter and Applause ]

Now, you may not know it, but we're about to break what our guest of honor has called "Clinton's Third Rule of Politics". Namely, whenever possible, you should be introduced by someone you've appointed to a high position. Their objectivity is stunning. Mr. President, welcome to the land of the Jayhawk and the home of one of America's great sports programs. For example, KU has marvelous basketball teams on this court over the years, only to fall just short of the national championship they deserved, sort of like the presidential campaign of 1996.

[ Laughter and Applause ]

It's hard to believe, but next week marks the 87th birthday of John F. Kennedy. I'm sure most of you have seen the famous footage of JFK in the White House Rose Garden shaking hands with a young admirer from Arkansas, who would one day go on to live in the same house. I come from somewhat different political tradition. I arrived in Washington January,1961 just as President Kennedy was beginning being inaugurated, and my personal hero, Dwight Eisenhower, was preparing to leave our nation's capitol. After eight years in the Oval Office, like President Eisenhower, I take pride in my Kansas roots. I've never forgotten where I came from or the badges I associate with Russell, University of Kansas, the state of Kansas, and all of its institutions, and I would not be here today if the people at Russell hadn't rallied around to help me and maybe that helps explain my belief that the greatness of America lies not in the power of our government, but in the goodness of our people. At the same time--

[ Applause ]

-- I owe my life to a lot of good doctors, a lot of good nurses, and a lot of good friends. And I would just say one thing that's meant not in a political vein, but I've never been reluctant to use federal authority where moral authority demanded it. In March 1965, a few days after civil rights demonstration, some had been beaten senseless for demanding federal voting rights legislation, I was in House chamber when President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed "We shall overcome." I was a conservative Republican from Kansas. President Johnson a Liberal Democrat from Texas. We disagreed more often than we agreed, but we were as one on the defining issue of our times and for a simple reason-- no first-class democracy can tolerate second-class citizens.

[ Applause ]

We're reminded of that again in Topeka on Monday in celebration of Brown Vs. Board of Education, the 50th anniversary, and I mention this not to wallow in nostalgia, but to remind the young people in today's audience that there really was a time in Washington when political differences didn't get in the way of personal friendships, which brings us to the political odd couple you see before you. President Kennedy was once asked by a reporter how it felt to be a war hero. "It was entirely involuntary on my part," said Kennedy. "They sank my boat." That sort of how I feel about my retirement from politics. It, too, was involuntary, mainly because the Clinton team kept scheduling televised debates past my bedtime.

[ Laughter and Applause ]

Since then, President Clinton and I have enjoyed an all-too-brief career as television pundits. We were the only act in history of the "60 Minutes" program that stopped the stop watch. More successfully, and there have been a lot of successes, we have worked together on a number of issues outside the TV studio. At the President's request, I served the administration as chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia. As I said earlier, after 9/11, we joined together, President Clinton, former Senator Dole, to raise scholarship funds for the children's of the victims of 9/11. I keep threatening to run against him for President of the Senate Spouse Club. I might finally get to be President of something. That's not all we have in common. Both of us are authors. I put together a book called "Laughing Almost All the Way to the White House." President Clinton got the White House. He also got the last laugh and $12 million for his memoirs. Not to be outdone, I decided to write another serious book myself. In at least one area, however, I have managed to cross the finish line ahead of President Clinton. Last summer we dedicated the Dole Institute of politics here at KU. It's not a Presidential Library --

[ Applause ]

It's not a Presidential Library, but will have to do. Come to think of it, if it wasn't for President Clinton, there might not be a Dole Institute of Politics. Among other things I'd like the Institute to promote, and I mean this very seriously, is civility in our public life.

[ Applause ]

And encourage a bipartisan search for solutions to America's problems. And finally, let me say it was my friend and former employee, Rick Smith, who first proposed an annual lecture, the Dole Lecture, which might serve as a showcase for something better than sound byte politics. It was also Rick who said "Wouldn't it be great if we could launch the series with President Clinton? Who better to dramatize the possibilities of partnership over partisanship?" and that's what today is all about: to demonstrate that political opponents need not be personal enemies, that strong convictions can co-exist with mutual respect, and that we unite as America patriots is much much greater than what divides us as election year partisans. So my fellow Kansans --

[ Applause ]

My fellow Kansans, would you please give President Clinton a good Jayhawk welcome.

[Applause]

[Applause ]

President Bill Clinton: Thank you. Thank you.

[ Applause ]

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I was looking at this crowd and listening to the warm welcome, thinking how kind and generous Bob Dole is to arrange for 90% of my total vote in Kansas to come here and listen to me speak today.

[ Laughter and Applause ]

I'm very grateful for that. I'd like to thank the Chancellor and all the people at the University and especially I'd like to thank Coach Bill Self and the basketball team for showing up and giving me a jersey. I'm a huge basketball fan, and I thought you did very well this year. I thank you Governor Kathleen Sebelius for being here. And former Congressman Slattery. I have a lot of friends in this room today, Janet worked for me in the White House, then worked here at KU, and Hannah, a 1992 graduate is my personal assistant in Harlem in New York City today, so I thank her for coming with me. And I just want to say something. I'm tired of being Bob Dole's straight man.

[ Laughter ]

I used to be funny before I was President. And nobody would let me tell jokes anymore. They said, you know, it's not Presidential. And most of your jokes are not repeatable, and you can't do this anymore. So anyway, I just finished this book, on my life, it was awful. It's hard enough living it the first time. The second time was agony. But I kept this little oral history when I was President. Once a month, this great historian who had been a friend of mine since we were boys would come in and we would visit. And after we got waxed in the '94 election and Senator Dole became the Majority Leader and Gingrich became the Speaker, the truth is, Dole was with me more than Gingrich half the time, but we all covered it up at the time because you know how politicians do. So they were just killing me one day about something and I was out in the country and a 10-year-old kid came up to me, and I had a record of this, a 10-year-old kid came up to me and he said, "Congress is giving you a tough time, isn't it?" I said yes. He said, "I bet it's hard to find a joke you can tell in public when you're President, isn't it?" Pretty insightful kid. I said, "It is. It is." He said "You want one?" I said "Sure". He said, "Being President with this Congress is like standing in the middle of a cemetery. There's a lot of people under you, but nobody is listening."

[ Laughter and Applause ]

That was one smart kid. One of the things that I used to tell people all the time about all this partisanship in Washington, I'm going to actually address it seriously in a moment, but one reason people are so mean to each other in Washington today is they're all sleep-deprived. They're exhausted, because it costs so much money to run for office. They got to go out every night and raise money, go home every weekend, they're living on an airplane. You think you won't get into bad humor, you ought to try it sometime. I used to tell everybody it was a lot easier for me to stay in a positive frame of mind when I was President because I worked above the store, I lived above the store. All I had to do was come downstairs and go to work. I didn't have an hour-long commute, I didn't have to fly someplace else every weekend, and they're irritable all the time and it gave all these opportunities for misunderstanding. And in our campaign together, Senator Dole's and mine, my last stop was in South Dakota, where we had a very close Senate race. It was interesting. The guy I campaigned for won and Bob beat me anyway up there, but anyway, I went there and I was trying to explain how there was so much misunderstanding in Washington, and I said it reminded me of the young politician that went up to a farmer's fence and said that he wanted to come ask for his vote, but he saw the dog in the yard and he said does your dog bite, and he said no. So he climbed the fence and came over and the dog bit him. And he said I thought you said your dog didn't bite. He said, son, that ain't my dog.

[ Laughter ]

We have those things like that happen in Washington all the time because they're sleep-deprived. So tell all your politicians to get more sleep. I want to say something seriously now. You know, Bob Dole and I flubbed up on "60 Minutes" because we wouldn't be mean enough to each other, that's the truth. They wanted us to say things we didn't believe. They wanted us to call each other names. They wanted us to check our brains at the TV studio and smart out these 10 or 15 second sound bytes that make good television, and make sparks fly, and nobody who watched us would have learned a thing. They would have no idea where we disagreed, no idea of where we agreed, and no idea what our reasons were. And maybe it's just intrinsically unsuited what we believe to the modern television airline, but that's the -- modern television age, but that's the truth. They kept saying "Can't you say this, can't you say that, can't you say the other thing?". Once or twice we got on each other's nerves and we worried about it for 24 hours afterward. Now, I want to talk about that. It is true that I have always admired Senator Dole. After the sacrifice he made for this country in World War II, he could have been forgiven if he never hit another lick for his country. He'd already done what he should have done and then some a hundred times over, but instead, he gave another nearly 50 years to public service.

[ Applause ]

And it is true that he is a convicted conservative Republican. And I am a convicted Democrat. And I'm--

[ Applause ]

Maybe I got 95% of my voters here today. But I want to talk about why we work together and when we don't. And I want you to think about it. First, it really is partly a matter of psychology. By temperament and experience, as I've heard Bob say many times, in politics there are talkers and there are doers. Now, I never met a politician that didn't like to talk, and we do. But we always kept score by what we did, not but what we said. And if you look at it that way, you work hard, you get the job done, you spread the credit around, then you go on to the next problem. I think that's very, very important. So how come it doesn't happen more often? Or when it does, you don't see it? Back in 1996, on the PBS program "Frontline" there was a documentary about the Clinton-Dole race, in which a writer for the New Yorker Magazine, Rick Hertzberg, said the following thing. (I think he was criticizing us, but I couldn't be sure) He said of Senator Dole and me, he said, "They're both people who would rather settle something. They would rather come to an agreement than have the battle of Armageddon. That makes them alike in certain ways." Now, some people think compromise is bad. In the 1960s when there was so much controversy in America over the Vietnam War, most of the haters in American politics were on the left, and I was often very uncomfortable because I didn't agree with our policy either, but a lot of the people who agreed with me thought there was something wrong with our leaders. I didn't. I don't think there's something wrong with you if you just got a wrong attitude or just make a mistake, and I never liked all that harsh rhetoric. I don't think President Johnson ever wanted one person to die who didn't have to die. I don't think he ever wanted anything but what he thought was right and best for America. Now I saw the other day Mr. Grover Norquist who organizes a lot of the ultraconservative interest groups once a week in Washington said (I hate to tell Governor Sebelius this) he said his main goal was to bring the same bitter partisanship that exists in Washington to every state capitol in America. I think that's a bad idea, and I'm not running for anything, so I can say what I think now.

[ Applause ]

The good news about not being President is you can say what you think, and the bad news is no one cares anymore. So, but I can do that. Listen to what Senator Dole talked about. And what you applauded for. He worked with Senator Moynahan on social security, with Senator McGovern on food stamps. He supported voting rights and supported its extension, the Voting Rights Act, consistently, for 25 years. He was one of the major movers behind the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the most important pieces of social legislation since World War II.

[ Applause ]

When 9/11 happened, we got together and raised $110 million with the first college, as you heard, the first University contributions we got from KU, but we raised $110 million to pay for a college scholarship for the children and family members of every person killed or disabled, and when we talked about it, one of the things that we told the people who talked to us about helping was that we would only do it if these scholarships were available not simply to the American families who were victims, but for those from 70 other countries who were killed in the United States because they came here looking for the American dream.

[ Applause ]

And one of the reasons that I asked Senator Dole to head the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia is that in an age when there is so much divisiveness and so much ethnic and religious and animosity, he believes that people in Kansas and people in Kosovo have more in common than what separates them, and I think that is very important.

[ Applause ]

So here's what I want to say, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, whether you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative, whether you're still trying to make up your mind, I want to start with an outline of where I think the world is and why I think there's so much partisanship today. And what I want to challenge you to do is not to agree with me, but to decide, to think. The most important thing you can get out of a University education is not any particular set of information or skills. It is the ability to think, to reason. And then--

[ Applause ]

Then you can spend the rest of your life doing what Bob and I did and being frustrated by it, because once you get to where you can think, you realize you're not smart enough to understand everything, and you spend your whole life searching for some way to make sure that your mind and your heart and your spirit are all in the same place at the same time, going in the same direction. But first, you have to understand. Now, here's my take on where we are. I don't ask you to agree with me, but if you don't, ask yourself what you think. When our country was founded, the founding fathers said they pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor to an eternal mission. What was it? To form a more perfect union. Now, there are two or three ideas that are important there. I'll just mention two of them. One is the idea of union. The only reason you unite is because you need somebody else, right? The only purpose for having a union is that you can do more with somebody else than you can do all by yourself or with just your crowd. The second and equally important thing, which accounts for a lot of the fights I've had in my political life is our framers were essentially both deeply religious and deeply influenced by the scientific revolution, and the rationalism of the 18th century. They did not say form a perfect union. They said form a more perfect union. What does that mean? That means we will never be perfect, because there will always be problems as long as humans occupy the earth and because nobody is smart enough to have the whole truth. Now, you may not agree with that. You may believe some people do have the whole truth and therefore they have a right to impose that truth on everybody else. But that's not what the framers believed. They didn't say we're going to form a perfect union. They said our kids will be able to have a union more perfect than ours, and our grandchildren more perfect again and their grandchildren more perfect again and we will never achieve perfection. and so we set up this government that had both enough power to do what people needed to do to have a union and enough protection from power to guarantee that the government could never become the primary force in our lives, that people could pursue their private lives, their personal lives, build their families, say what was on their mind, worship God as they please or if they didn't please. That's the way it was set up. Now --

[ Applause ]

When we have understood what our mission was, we have enjoyed a fairly high level of bipartisanship, even though there have been great fights and great disagreements. At the end of World War II, with the bitter memory of our withdrawal from the world after World War I and what happened afterward, the Depression and the second World War, and with the looming threat of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the Cold War, and with the fresh evidence of the sacrifice of people like Bob Dole and over 400,000 Americans who never came home, the United States for the first time decided that we must be permanently involved in the world on the side of freedom. In 1989, over 40 years afterward, when the Berlin Wall fell, and we saw all that joyous celebration, it fell in no small measure because every President from Harry Truman to George Bush believed that the United States had a mission of freedom in the world, and that was part of our more perfect union. And we could not be safe at home unless we tried to be a force for good around the world. Did we make mistakes from time to time? I think we did. But as I said when I went to Vietnam with our ambassador, Pete Peterson, who was a POW there for six and a half years, I told the leaders, I said, "You know, Pete was in prison here for six and a half years and I was on the other side, but we had one thing in common. We both thought we were doing what was right for freedom." Don't you ever think the Americans who came here wanted to colonize Vietnam, just like we don't want to colonize Iraq. We don't go places to control them. We go places to try to help people become free.

[ Applause ]

Now, I say that to try to drive this point home. You may agree or disagree with our policy in Iraq. You may think, for example, we should have put more emphasis in Afghanistan, where the Al Qaida are, because they're the ones that caused 9/11. But--

[ Applause ]

Wait, wait, wait. This is thinking time, not cheering time. You can cheer later if you like it. But think. The point I wish to make is this. You should have disagreements with your leaders and your colleagues, but if it becomes immediately a question of questioning people's motives, and if immediately you decide that somebody who sees a whole new situation differently than you must be a bad person and somehow twisted inside, we are not going to get very far in forming a more perfect union. Now, why does it happen? Here's why. Because at the end of the Cold War, the paradigm, the way we looked at the world evaporated and we had to create a new one. It was my great good fortune, but also challenge to become the first president to serve my entire term in the Post-Cold War era, to be the first president of the 21st century, as well as the last president of the 20th century. America is in one of those periods where we are trying to come to grips with fundamental questions. How are we going to relate to globalization, how are we going to relate to the global threat on terror? What is the role of government in our lives now? What are we to make of all this new diversity? Is it going to -- the religious and racial and ethnic diversity-- is it going to make us more fractured or will it make us more interesting and more unified? These are big, big questions. When the Cold War was over and the industrial age began to be replaced by an information age, ever more globalized, we changed the way we work, the way we live, the way we relate to each other and certainly the way we relate to the rest of the world in ways that are marvelous and ways that are frightening. The intense political conflict that has marked the last 10 years or so is in large measure a result of that. The Democratic Party had to reform itself because we were used to being in power at a time when we wanted to preserve and extend the benefits of social justice, civil rights, social security, health care. We weren't used to the conditions I found in 1992: a decrepit economy, high crime, big questions to face about how we were going to relate to the rest of the world. The Republican party thought government was supposed to protect us in the Cold War and old-fashioned conservatives, including most of the governors that I served with in my long tenure, define conservatism thus, they were fiscally conservative, they thought other things being equal, the private sector should be given a chance to solve problems before the government did, and that if the government had to be brought in, other things being equal, we should try to solve these problems at the state and local government before the federal government came in. That was the definition of a conservative, for almost all my life. Now, slowly, over the last 20 years, a bitter anti-government, anti- tax feeling, combined with the religious right has essentially defined government differently. And so now you wind up with -- I mean I sound like Calvin Coolidge compared to these guys running things in Washington now, and the question of deficits and things like that. But it's important for you to understand that both parties are trying to build one slightly right-of-center, one slightly left-of-center, a new consensus that actually responds to the challenges of the 21st century world. And as long as we don't have that, extremists will have more influence than they ought to, and politics will be more bitter than it should be. Now, that's my explanation. There is another explanation for the Washington I found, which is the story of the guy that was walking along the Grand Canyon. You know this story? Nice man is walking along the side of the Grand Canyon, slips off and is falling to certain death. And he sees this twig sticking out of the canyon and grabs it and it breaks his fall and then he sees the roots start to come out of the side and he knows he's done for and he says, "God, why me? I'm a good man, I worked hard, paid taxes all my life, I'm a really good man, why me?" This thunderous voice comes out of heaven and says, "Son, there's just something about you I don't like."

[ Laughter ]

Now, if you don't believe in explanations like that, then you have to ask yourself "Why is this happening?" I'll give you some evidence. Arguably the most partisan time in American history in terms of personal attacks, before the last 10 years, was in the early republic. Go back and read what Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and their supporters said about each other. Those guys started this country off and quit talking for 20 years because they were so mean. Why? Because after George Washington left the scene, who knew what America meant? We didn't have a national economy. Were we going to build one? We didn't have a national legal system. Were we going to have one? And why the matter was in doubt, the partisanship raged. So instead of moaning about this or throwing up your hands about this, let's get about the business at hand. How should we look at the 21st century world? How can we develop a consensus that we can then have a Republican and a Democratic response to that would be civilized and lead to positive, constructive, honorable compromise? This is the best I can do. I believe we live in an age normally referred to as globalization, sometimes referred to as the global information society. I prefer the term "interdependence." Because it goes far beyond economics. There's good and bad in it. I have a cousin that lives in the hills of Northwest Arkansas that plays chess over the internet with a guy in Australia twice a week. They take turns figuring out who's got to stay up late. On the other hand, 9/11 was a testimony to the power of inter-dependence. Don't you agree? The Al Qaida, what did they do? They used open borders, easy travel, easy access to information and technology to turn an airplane into a weapon of mass destruction, to murder 3,100 people nearly, in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York from 70 countries. It's a story of global inter-dependence. The dark side of global inter-dependence. When I was President, 30% of the economic growth that we had came from trade. When I was President, Senator Dole was always pushing me until we got it right-- to end the ethnic slaughter in Bosnia. A hundred years ago, we wouldn't have known how to find Bosnia on a map. But it offended us because we had to watch those people being killed just because they were Muslims being slaughtered, and because we wanted Europe to be united and peaceful and democratic for the first time in history, to make the Cold War all worthwhile. So then we would be united, we'd be working together, we'd be fighting the problems of the rest of the world together. That, too, is inter-dependence. So if it can be positive or negative, it's obvious what we ought to be doing. If you agree with me. We need a strategy that builds up the positive and beats down the negative. We need to recognize that inter-dependence is inherently an unstable condition. And we need to move the world toward a more integrated, global community defined by three things, shared benefits, shared responsibilities and shared values. That's what I believe. Now --

[ Applause ]

Here's the point I want to make. This may seem simple to you, but if everybody thought that way, then in every area, there would be a slightly liberal or a slightly conservative way to do that, and then we would have all these debates, and in all probability, as free discussion usually does, it would lead to the best possible outcome. I'll just give you an example.

In my view, there are five big issues here, for whatever it's worth.

Number one, we have to have a strategy to fight the new security threats of terror and weapons of mass destruction that is both offensive and defensive. What's the best way to have homeland defense? If you have limited amount of money, if you think about it like this, then you can say, well, I think what we should do is triple or quadruple the number of containers we're checking at the ports and airports for biological or chemical weapons or somebody else can say, no, I think we should be reinforcing the bridges or putting guards outside the electrical plants that have nuclear power or whatever you think. But the point is, if you're focused on it that way, you can focus on homeland defense. What's the best way to pursue an offensive strategy? Is it to go to Iraq and establish a beach head of freedom in the Middle East or is it to stay in Afghanistan and root out the Al Qaida, and then turn your attention to the rest of the world? But once you're focused on it, you can have a civilized debate, and if you both agree on the issue, then just because somebody has got a different idea than you do about how to handle it, you don't think there's something wrong with them.

So that's the first thing. Second thing we have to do is to have a strategy to make a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. Now, why do I say that? Besides the fact that I'm a Democrat. Why would I say that? Why should every American think that? Even people that don't believe in social programs? Because if you believe the world is inter-dependent and you cannot kill, occupy, or imprison all your actual or potential adversaries, sooner or later you have to make a deal. That's what politics is. If there's a factual matter, that's what I talked until I was blue in the face in the Middle East about, they walked away from that peace deal in 2000. It was the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life. All we've got now is the Middle East is not a bit less inter-dependent today than it was when we made seven years of progress toward peace. We got 3,000 dead Palestinians, about 9200 dead -- I mean 920 dead Israelis. They're no less inter-dependent. Nothing has changed except more people are dead and now more people are mad and there's less trust and it's harder to deal with it, but they are not a bit less inter-dependent. So you remember that. If you're in any environment in life that you don't have total control over, you have to make a deal. That's what politics is. And that's why compromise is honorable, not dishonorable.

[ Applause ]

So, anyway, so how would you go about making a world with more friends than fewer enemies? Well, first of all, you gotta realize that half the people that live on earth aren't part of this globalized economy that works. On earth, half the people live on less than $2 a day, of the 6 billion people on earth, 1 billion live on less than $1 a day, a billion and a half people never get a clean glass of water, a billion people go to bed hungry every night, 10 million kids die of preventable childhood diseases, and one in four deaths every year on earth now come from AIDS, TB, Malaria and infections related to diarrhea. Most of them are little children who never got a single clean glass of water in their lives. So for a tiny fraction of what we spend on defense and homeland defense, and I do mean tiny, we could double what we spend to help put all the children in the world who aren't in school in school, to pay our fair share of the fight against the world's diseases--

[ Applause ]

- and to do these other things. And to give you an example, after 9/11, I think we increased -- I believe this is right. I think we increased defense and homeland defense 60 something billion dollars in one year. We could double our assistance programs in these other areas, double them, for about 10 or 12. In a budget that must now be nearly $2 trillion, I don't know what it is. I haven't looked at it. I don't have to look at it anymore, so I don't, but I think that's about what it is. So you got to have a strategy for terror, a strategy for more friends. The third thing I think is to find more ways to cooperate institutionally. This is a big challenge for America because we're going through a period in history when we have unrivalled military economic, and political power. So every time we make a deal with anybody to do anything, we're giving up some of our freedom of action. Maybe a good deal for them, not a good deal for us because most of the time we can do whatever we please. The problem is, we will not be the only military, economic, and political superpower forever. If present growth rates continue, China, India, and the European Union will equal or surpass the United States sometime in the 21st century, just because of their size. They may not ever have to reach the per capita income we do to have greater output. So I think we should do that, but if you believe that, then it puts a whole different cast on the debates you hear today over putting up missile defense, getting rid of the antiballistic missile treaty, should we be part of the comprehensive treaty, should we be part of the criminal court, should we be part of the Kyoto Climate Change Accord, and I say that, I didn't join -- there's one I didn't join. I didn't join the land mine treaty because they wrote it in a way that was absolutely hostile to the United States, and we have the finest record of any country in the world in promoting demining in the last 15 years, and it had enormous bipartisan support. Bob supported it. And so I'm not saying we can join every treaty, but I'm saying we should have a preference for being part of every conceivable network that will bring people together, because I can tell you something. It's just like any club you belong to, any organization you belong to, it builds the habit of working with other people. And the more you're in the habit of believing that if you stay on the team, good things will happen, as compared to if you get off the team, the more likely we are to find peace and resolution to the problems of the 21st century. So I think that's very, very important and now I want to make just two more points. So terror, more friends, more cooperation. Fourth thing is, we have to keep making America better. A lot of our influence in the world comes not from the size of our military or our arsenal of weapons, but from the power of our example. One of the schools that was destroyed in New York City on September 11th, 2001, the children had to leave and go meet in a temporary facility. So Hillary and I went to this school to see these kids, elementary school kid. 600 kids from over 80 different national racial and ethnic groups. One school. If we can prove that freedom brings mutual respect and that people can be proud of their heritage and proud of their religion, and proud of everything that's special and still bound together in a more perfect union, that will do as much to undermine the long-term appeal of terror as anything else we can do. Just continuing to prove America works.

[ Applause ]

Now, last thing I want to say is this. I don't want you to think I'm flaky here, but I believe this. Like I said, no consequences, I don't really care what you think. But anyway, none of this will happen until we move the American people's way of thinking about other people forward. And let me explain what I mean by that. You guys love your basketball team. I like the Arkansas Razorbacks. We're all pulling for different people in the NBA playoffs. We have wars you know who you're for -- you got over 600 people from Kansas in Iraq today putting their lives on the line. We think in categories that are oppositional. And we have to organize ourselves in little boxes. I see a man, I see a woman, I see somebody that's white, I see somebody that's black, I see somebody that's brown, all right. I see a Baptist, a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Sikh. I mean, if we couldn't put ourselves in boxes, nobody could function. You think about how many University courses are designed to giving people more boxes to think with. You got this amorphous reality out there and the person with a largest number of boxes who can keep them all straight is called a genius. Right? That's all true, but at some point it has to become irrelevant. The whole story of humanity is a story of forming a more perfect union. Ever since our fore bearers stood up on the African savanna, something over 100,000 years ago, they learned to relate to other people, first they were in clans. Then larger tribes, then villages, and they would come into contact with wider and wider circles of people that had different views and felt threatened, and there would be fighting and killing, but sooner or later, before they destroyed the human race, they'd find a way to get along. In the 20th century, our weapons were so powerful, we nearly got it wrong.

But we escaped. We gave in to neither the tyranny of Hitler or the tyranny of communism or the power of our weapons to destroy. We threaded a big needle there. And everybody that made a contribution deserves our gratitude. But the point I want to make is that if you believe to go back to the founders that our job is to form a more perfect union and nobody has got the whole truth, then everybody's got a contribution to make. And I think America, if we're ever going to truly defeat terror without changing the character of our own country or compromising the future of our children, has got to not only say, "Okay, I want to shoulder my responsibilities, I want to create my share of opportunities" but we have to find a way to define the future in terms of a humanity that goes beyond our country, that goes beyond any particular race, that goes beyond any particular religion.

We should continue to judge people based on what they do. And if they persist in terror, we should punish them. We should go to war, we should use military power, we should do whatever we have to do. I'm not suggesting we act like it doesn't matter what you do. It matters a great deal what you do. But we have to be able to say to the world, we want a home for every peaceable person. We like our faith, we like our ethnic group, we like our crowd, we like our basketball team, we like the way it is. But there's a place for you here, too. The world has never before, never in all of human history, had to do this. It's a big psychological jump. It's easy for somebody like me, who has been to 100 and something countries to stand up and give a speech like this. It's quite a different thing for a country to live this way. It was not until 1945, after World War II, that we even had a United Nations. The Americans thought it was weird. The senate defeated it after World War I. "Who wants to be in a United Nations with all those guys? You gotta be kidding." So then we nearly blow ourselves up and we have a U.N., right? And a universal declaration of human rights. It was a fraud until the end of the Cold War. Not a fraud, we just couldn't make it available to everybody. We have had 15 short years since 1989 to build a global community in which everybody thinks, like Dole does, that people in Kosovo and people in Kansas are more alike than they are different.

Now, I will leave you with one last statistic to put in your little box. My last year in the White House, Hillary sponsored a lot of these what we call "Millennium Evenings". We'd bring in people to talk about big questions. One night, Vinton Cerf, who sent the first e-mail to his profoundly deaf wife, now 22 years ago, and Eric Ladner, a biologist and genome expert from Harvard, came to talk about how the digital chip made possible the sequencing of the human genome. Forget about that. You know the most interesting thing that he said? Genetically, all human beings are more than 99.9% identical and the genetic differences among individuals within a given racial group are larger than the genetic differences of one group as compared to another. Now, next time you start to feel like you really need to demonize somebody, think about that. Biggest laugh I ever got at the State of the Union Address was telling the Republicans and the Democrats whether they liked it or not, they were 99.9% the same. There had been a lot of blood spread over that one-tenth of one percent, and all you really have to do is figure out how to free yourself to live by the other 99.9%. Thank you very much.

[ Applause ]

[ Applause ]

Jonathan Earle: Thank for coming to this amazing event. My name is Jonathan Earle and I teach history at KU and direct programming at the Dole Institute of Politics. That was certainly the most applause any Razorback has ever received in Allen Fieldhouse. As many as of you know, this is the last day of finals week.

[ Applause ]

And students, President Clinton has generously and graciously agreed to answer a few questions before he leaves us today. But in this case the tables are turned.

Instead of professors asking the questions, these were written by KU students.

First one is many Americans might be surprised to find you giving an address at the Dole Institute of politics. Do you and the Senator represent a lost era of cooperation along party lines?

Clinton: No, there's still a lot of it. I mean, John McCain and John Kerry are friends, for example. Just for example. There's a lot of it. But it's under stress now. And if you want it back, you gotta demand it. But in order to -- it's amazing.

Look, when I was a Governor, my vote went up among Republicans every year that I ran and it went down among rural Democrats who didn't believe in my school standards because they felt the rural schools were under too much stress. But most Republicans liked the fact that I was for high standards in schools and they voted for me. So my political base of support changed a lot in the 12 years I served as Governor. But it was never particularly partisan except that we had our debates, you know. What happens is-- something else I haven't said, Washington is a long way away from Arkansas and Kansas. And what happens there gets filtered to you through television news. That has two negative consequences:

First of all, controversy is easier to report on than cooperation, so it's always

Going to look a little worse to you than it is. That's first thing. Second thing is the people who are political consultants to, you know, particularly the people who are more ideologically removed from the center they tell them we can get 15 seconds on television or send out a mailing and if we inflame people in Arkansas or Kansas by demonizing our opponent, we'll raise more money and win more elections. That's one of the real problems. We have got to find a way to use the Internet and other modern means of communication to bring what happens in Washington closer to you. So that neither side can ever do this. And then they need to get more sleep, like I said.

Jonathan Earle: I knew someone would ask this one. Mr. President, do you think young Americans are growing disenchanted with the political process? If so, why? And what do you think can be done to help bring the younger crowd to the voting booth?

Clinton: Well, first of all, you know, some are and some aren't. But if you just look at the 2000 election, you see that if you sit it out, you did vote if you did sit it out. If you sit it out, you voted. You voted for whoever you didn't want to win.

[ Applause ]

And if you think it doesn't make any difference, then you haven't been paying attention. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, you can't-- nobody who is paying attention could possibly believe that there's no difference here. And you know I won't do my little campaign riff here. I'm too polite to Senator Dole. We could have a great debate here. But for example, I would choose -- I love saying this because I make money now and I never did before I left the White House. I didn't have a nickel to my name. But I would have preferred that my tax cut be kept in the treasury of the U.S. Government and that we would have paid the deficit down and let the children, let some of the cuts in the last budget, like after-school programs, I'd rather they kept my money and kept these kids in after school programs. But the point I want to make, forget about that, doesn't matter if I'm right or wrong, we've got to -- we got to use the internet, we got to use modern forms of entertainment, the Republicans and the Democrats have both got to get better at it to convince people, number one, that it makes a difference and then once you get there, then you can argue about who is right or wrong. But first of all, people have to believe it makes a difference. I have the impression not a lot of people think it makes a difference, and nobody who is paying attention could possibly make that argument.

[ Applause ]

Jonathan Earle: One more question. As Senator Dole noted this past week the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, obviously a historic milestone, but one that some commentators use to point out that resegregation remains a serious problem. Do you think the U.S. will be a more or less segregated society in the future?

Clinton: Less. And let me say -- let me say, you know, this has been the most important issue of my life, I think. This whole race deal. My grandfather, with whom I lived until I was four had a grocery store in a little town in Arkansas. Most of his customers were black. And it was before food stamps and anybody that worked got credit from him. When he died he had all these books with his customers still owed him money because he said anybody that worked ought to be able to feed their children. So I've been living with this all my life. And we still have racism and we still have hatred, and we still have a politics that deals with a rolling series of minorities, but in general, what do we know? We know that personal contact tends to diminish discrimination. It's very interesting, Senator Dole and I, we had this early debate in my presidency over gays in the military. And I don't want to get into that but except to say this. It was fascinating, I saw a survey that someone not working for me, some independent person did who said that the biggest differences on that opinion were not among men or women or different racial groups, but among people who had known someone who was gay. If they knew somebody, they were two to one in favor of saying anybody who is law-abiding should be able to do anything. I think that the more people are brought into contact with one another across racial lines, the better we will do. The thing that I think, the great unfinished question of ground is not that, in my view. The great unfinished question of Brown vs. Board of Education is why didn't integration plus affirmative action end the racial disparities in income, education, healthcare, and perceptions of justice in the criminal justice system? And I can only tell you what I believe the answer is. I believe the answer is that the Democrats and the Republicans didn't work together enough to think about how to bring the full benefits of free enterprise to people who couldn't get bank loans and whose neighborhoods weren't looked at as good investments and some other things like that. And my last year as President, the Speaker of the House and I sort of co-sponsored something called a New Markets Initiative and I really hated to leave before we got it in there because what we tried to do was to create tax havens, if you will, for people to invest in poor communities all across America, including remote Indian reservations. Still, the poorest people in America are the Indians that don't have gambling, and we shouldn't forget that.

[ Applause ]

So I would like to say to you, I think we ought to pass the hate crimes legislation, I think we'll have to keep enforcing equal opportunity laws, we'll always have vestiges racism for a long time, but we're going to get better on race, because it's stupid not to. And because we're not-- and because we're not stupid. So we'll get better. And because personal contact will cure that over time. We'll get better. But we should ask ourselves, those of us who are white, it's easy for me to say that and get a round of applause, but you should ask yourself, what does getting better mean if you're on the other side of the racial divide and you can't find anybody being mean to you when you walk down the street? They'll let you live in a house, but you can't afford to live there. How do we have people with the feeling that not that they're not affirmatively discriminated against, but they have an equal shot? And that means that we have to be much more sophisticated with, in my opinion, our economic and educational strategies and with trying to keep a bunch of these young kids of color out of the criminal justice system than we have been in the past. I think that's the next big challenge.

[ Applause ]

Stephen McAllister: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. One final piece of the program, before we give the President a real Rock Chalk thank you for his visit here, we have a Dole Institute t-shirt that we'd like to present to him as a memento of his visit and a campaign button. [ Applause ]

Clinton: This is the only Republican campaign button I have ever worn. Here it is.

[ Applause ]

Stephen McAllister: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

[ Applause ]

Real-time captioning Underwritten by Sunflower Broadband and Cox Communications. Captioning provided by Caption Services of Kansas, loc www.captionservices.com.

Edited by Elizabeth Carter, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

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