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Formerly withheld Clinton Documents

Formerly withheld Clinton Documents

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Published by ABCPolitics
Formerly withheld Clinton Documents pertaining to Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol.
Formerly withheld Clinton Documents pertaining to Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol.

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Published by: ABCPolitics on Apr 30, 2014
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05/02/2014

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04/30/99 4:40PM

PRESIDENT WILLIAM J. CLINTON
REMARKS AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS DINNER
THE WASHINGTON HILTON
May 1, 1999
Good evening [dais dignitaries], White House Correspondents, ladies and gentlemen: I'd
like to give a speCial welcome to t h   ~ .viewers and New York Times correspondents J
watching this dinner live on C-SP AN.
I hear the Times is boycotting the Dinner this year to protest its increasingly circus-like
atmosphere. Tell me about it. I'm the guy who shows up every year and gets shot out of the
cannon.
Maybe it has gotten a little out of hand in recent years, but as I look out on the audience
tonight, I still see plenty of familiar faces. I think it's great that so many Hollywood celebrities
have invited workaday Washington reporters as their guests.
Let me say that I think the New York Times has taken a principled stand and I support it.
In fact, I challenge the Washington Times and The Weekly Standard to boycott next year's
dinner.
Now, I know there was some talk about me not showing this year. I admit that the.
thought did cross my mind. But then I heard that ifl didn't attend, Aretha might not, either.
1
CLINTON LIBRARY PHOTOCOPY
And I just couldn't bear the thought of Scott Pelley getting up on stage to sing
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
It's a pleasure to see all the White House Correspondents here in this room tonight. It's a
rare treat to see you all outside the White House gates. Get used to it. As a lot of you know, the
National Parks Service is plru:ming to relocate the White House briefing room to a larger facility
outside of the West Wing. Which is too bad. Helen was just starting to get comfortable.
She's still miffed about the last time the White House briefing room was moved-- when
the capital relocated to Washington from Philadelphia.

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But moving the briefing room so far away will be inconvenient for the White House as
well. Leakers are going to have to start dialing 10-10-3-2-1.
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Now, these have been very sy times for the press corps.· ¢he same faces
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handicapping · · · . I hope the

NATO commanders vi eotaped this morning's briefing by Retired General Howard Fineman.
Tell me: How did the Allies ever pull offD-Day without TalkBack Live? _e
eu--
Press coverage has certainly changed over the years. During the Hundred Years' War,
the European press    
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Just imagine iftoday's press corps covered yesterday's wars. "Paul Revere's Warning:
f' . . . .
Little, Too Late?" e< this o.r "Lincoln Speaks ai Gettysburg ... Fails to Articulate Exit
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· Real-time coverage of foreign conflicts puts real pressure on public figures. At the
critical moment, you've got to take a stand-- immediately, clearly, and decisively. Unless, of
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course, you are the Governor of Texas.
"
That's right, just take your time.
...


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This is, as you know, 'the last White House Correspondents Dinner of the millennium.
Now, a lot of people are worried the impact of the Y2K computer bug. I'm pleased to report
that we've been doing a lot of contingency planning. Plan A: We hold next year's dinner here.

Plan B: We hold the dinner at a super-secret government installation, deep underground, safe
"-
But don't worry. The dinner will be delicious. We've already begun stockpiling rice
pilaf and bread sticks.
· Frankly, I'm surprised you see any news value in all this millenniuin stuff. I mean, we've
3
CLINTON LIBRARY PHOTOCOPY ·
. only known about it for a thousand years now.
I think history will record that the world spent the last days of this millennium compiling
lists. You may have seen a list compiled by the Newseum of the Top 100 news stories of the
century. Everything from putting man on the Moon to the polio vaccine, ranked in order of
importance.
I don't mind telling you that I'm on the Newseum list-- something about the events of
the past year. Number fifty-three. [pause. indignantly:] Fifty-three? What does a guy have to
do to make the top 50?
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I came in six places after the invention of plastic, for crying out loud. I don't recall
twelve months of round-the-clock coverage of the "miracle of plastic."
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I hope you'll forgive me ifl cut the comedy a little tonight. I have a lot of fun at
these dinners, and I hope you do, too. It's good for all of us, I think, to step away from the work
we do, if only for an evening, and to laugh a little before returning to the challenges at hand.
Those challenges, as you know, are many. We find them here at home, where we.are still
asking questions and seeking answers about the events in places like Littleton; and we fmd them
4
CLINTON LIBRARY PHOTOCOPY
abroad, in Kosovo, where America and our allies are engaged in a difficult struggle for freedom
and human rights. Neither challenge is easy; neither will be resolved overnight. We know that.
But we also know that America is strong -- as strong as we have ever been -- and, just as
important, we are using that strength as a force for what is good, and what is right, and rising to
our responsibilities as a nation.
I was pleased to learn tonight that the White House Correspondents Association has made
a donation to help the refugees in Kosovo. That's a welcome and valued contribution-- though
no more so than the reports that you and your colleagues file every day, sometimes at great
personal risk, to tell us a very important story.
As I said, that story may take some time to unfold. There will be difficult days ahead,
requiring real bravery by our men and women in uniform, and steadfast commitment by our
people. But America has risen to every challenge ever put before it. And we will rise to this one
as well.
***
Thank you again for having me here tonight.
~ li'l ~ ~   "1 ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
I hope you all enjoy Aretha Franklin and the rest of the evening. And I hope to see you
all later. Last year, Sid Blumenthal swore he could get me in to the Vanity Fair party. And this
year, I'm taking him up on it. Let's go, Sid. [Mr. President-- the Vanity Fair party is the most
CLINTON LIBRARY PHOTOCOPY

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