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FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY

President Bill Clinton Remarks at HFA Fundraiser


Canton, Ohio
November 19, 2015
PRESIDENT CLINTON: So first, thank you, Pastor. Thank you, Bruce (ph). Thank you,
Rory (ph), Ron (ph), and Alex (ph). I literally this is the third time Ive come to an event here.
But I love you. Im I came through here on one of my bus tours from 1992 when I was
running for president, and I literally ran into a wedding.
PARTICIPANT: (Off-mike.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: You remember that? We ran into the wedding. So I thought, Oh
my gosh, there goes Ohio. (Laughter.) I opened the door of the bus, ran out, and we brought
the happy couple into the bus and took a picture, saved the whole deal. (Laughter.)
Then I was back on July 4th in 1996; some of you were there. Guess who provided the
fireworks? (Laughter.) Im the only thing standing between you and the fireworks (laughter)
and it wont be long.
I want to thank the Pastor Macklin (ph), as I said. I admire him very much. And I think Tim
Ryan is a great congressman. (Applause.) I want to thank the other cohosts, Dave Betras (ph),
Janet Carson (ph), Kathy Dechistafaro (ph). Mary Wilson (ph) Ive loved for a long time, and
she does still have it, doesnt she? (Applause.) She looks young and beautiful. (Applause.)
Thank you Chis Gillespie for playing. Thank you, Ray Mancini. Thank you, Jim Tressel for
being here and for what youve done. I was so glad to see Jim Brown (ph).
And I was really glad to see Ed ONeill. And I you know how you like somebody on TV and
you see them and you always think you know what youre going to ask them. And I lost my
guts. (Laughter.) Because I want to know if its true that he actually paid to play Sophia
Vergaras husband on Modern Family. (Laughter.)
PARTICIPANT: A lot of money. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I mean, I certainly would have, and I no, it was great.
Look, before this awful event in Paris, I was trying to help Hillary, going to events like this and
saying that I had concluded that I had become utterly worthless in politics. Im kind of like an
old horse. Our host knows something about horse racing. And they leave me in a barn; they put
me out in the meadow every day. Then, once every four years, they bring me a little extra hay,
load me out on the track, slap me on the rump, and see if I can get around just one more time.
(Laughter.)
And I thought, Im just not going to be good, because look at whats going on. I watched those
first two debates the Republicans had and I thought, I am worthless, because Im not mad at

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anybody. (Laughter.) I mean, weve been married 40 years this year; as far as I know, were
both healthy. Our daughter and son-in-law are doing well. Life is gorgeous; granddaughter that
we get to see once or twice a week. I love my foundation work. Im not mad.
I am mad about this thing in France and heartbroken. But thats not the larger point. The
purpose of politics is to empower people to live up to the fullest of their ability, to enable our
country to live up to the fullest of its ability, and to be a responsible force for peace and freedom
and security and prosperity in the larger world. It is serious business, and a lot of what we hear
today cant possibly be serious. I feel half the time like Im in a bad reality TV program.
Hillary went through 11 hours of that congressional hearing. I mean, I knew what was going to
happen. And Kevin McCarthy, the Senate Republican House Republican leader, who said they
just did it to drive her numbers down, which they were successful in doing for 60 days, actually
could no longer be speaker of the House. Hes the first guy I ever knew who lost a big job
because he told the truth.
Why am I telling you all this? Because what we saw happen in France reiterates that this is a
serious time. But its a serious time in ways that even sometimes the Democrats dont notice.
Ill give you another example. We had a debate a few days ago, right. And I was proud of how
Hillary and Governor OMalley and Senator Sanders did, because their differences were about
how best to accomplish things that need to be done. And they treated us all like we had half
good sense and they said what they thought should be done. But even there, the number one
story of the week, which you will identify with in Ohio, in a Democratic debate was never
mentioned: 84 percent of the American people, after inflation, had not had a raise of 1 cent since
the financial crash.
We have incredible debates all over America that shouldnt exist between people in different
racial groups because they dont trust law enforcement anymore. And in the middle of all this
we learned, breathtakingly, that middle-aged, non-college-educated white Americans life
expectancy is going down and is now lower than Hispanics, even though they make less money.
And the gap between African Americans and whites is closing, but unfortunately not because the
death rate among African Americans is dropping but because the death rate among white
Americans is rising. Why? Because they dont have anything to look forward to when they get
up in the morning. Because their lives are sort of stuck in neutral.
Why am I telling you all this? Because any objective observer that looks at America looks at our
relative youth, looks at our diversity, looks at our universities, looks at our research capacity,
looks at our capacity to generate unlimited energy from the sun, the wind, from geothermal,
biomass, looks at the fact that we have a good entrepreneurial environment anybody would say,
Id rather be in America than any other big country on Earth over the next 20 to 30 years. And
yet, we are stuck with these serious challenges. The good news is theres nothing wrong with
this country we cant fix. The bad news is we cant fix it if we keep acting like were in a grade
school food fight. (Applause.)

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So let me just say a word about the ISIS and the whole international thing. I first dont need to
try to put any words in my wifes mouth; she gave a great speech today about what we should do
about this. And you can its on the internet, and I urge you to read it if you care.
But let me just give you the setting here. We have unlimited potential in America to grow our
economy if we do a few things right, and not a lot. Five or six or seven things, really well see
jobs start forming again; well see business formation going up again; well see wages rising
again. And I believe shes outlined reasonable responses to all the things that will do that. And I
ought to have some credibility on that, because the only time in 50 years when all sections of the
American economy have grown together were in the eight years I had the privilege to serve.
(Applause.) And Im saying that to get credibility for my claim, not because youre saying hes
saying that because hes married to her, because its not true. I think that she really has a grip on
this.
On the international front, heres the problem we live in the most interdependent age in history.
Everywhere in the world, the borders look more like nets than walls. And Mr. Trump can put a
brick wall all across the Rio Grande, and theyll still look more like bricks than walls. In spite of
that, most people would rather live at home if they can make a living. So every time I hear all
this frantic talk in on their side about illegal immigration, I think, Why doesnt one person
say, Did you know that in 2014 there were 40,000 fewer undocumented immigrants from
Mexico in the United States than there were in 2010? Did you know that? No. Because of the
coverage.
Why did that happen? Because the United States had been a good partner and we tried to help
them draw their economy, because on their own they had a president who established 140
tuition-free universities and they produce 113,000 engineers every year now. We produce
120,000; our population is three times theirs. In other words, if they can make a living, theyll
stay home.
The people that are showing up at our borders are from Central America. And we passed a
bipartisan bill that George W. Bush signed that said if people are scared and their children are at
risk at home and they make it to our borders, we have a moral obligation to try to give them
some sanctuary. Even so, were trying to get them to stay home and process them so they wont
be taken over by human traffickers.
Why am I telling you this? Because the great challenge of the current moments. You have to
recognize that this ISIL thing is real. Weve got 6,000 young people who went to Europe to
Syria; as many as 1,500 of them may have come back. Lets assume 90 percent of them were
horrified by what they saw. That leaves 150. Thats ten times as many people as were involved
in the carnage in Paris. Thats why the Europeans are scared.
On the other hand, you should also know that Syrian immigrants have made a massive
contribution to the American economy, mostly around Dearborn, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio.
(Applause.) And made a massive contribution. And that we cant be afraid of our shadow. If
they are, they will have won. We shouldnt be stupid. We should strengthen our review

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procedures. We should give priority to orphan children and families, people with children,
because theyre far less likely to be what everybodys worried about.
But we need a president in a time like this who understands that the two most important thing we
can do are, first of all, lead the world to try to combat the bad things that are happening and keep
big bad things from happening, but also make some good things happen. I promise you, this is
my life now, outside of politics. For every one horrible person doing something horrible, there
are 100,000 or a million doing something good. They just dont make the newspapers.
(Applause.)
Ill give you an example. Let me talk to you about the Middle East. You know whats going on
that you dont like and read about it every day. Did you know there are now more women than
men in universities in Saudi Arabia? Did you know that the United Arab Emirates replaced
Norway as the country in the world that gives the highest percentage of its income to poor
countries to help promote economic development and lift people out of poverty? Ive worked
there. I mean, those are just two things, and I could give you lots of other examples.
The cellphone has become an instrument of terror. You see, boy, when the French got going and
they went after that, I was so proud of them. And they kept uncovering cellphones and
everything. Well, 10 years ago we had a terrible tsunami in South Asia. You remember that?
Hundreds of thousands of people drowned; all these people were ruined that made a living in
their boats. And I worked with the first President Bush and then with the UN to try to get
everybody back to normal. And we put those people who lived back in their boats and their
relatives back in new boats if they wanted them, but this time we gave every one of them a
cellphone, a simple cellphone. The average income of the fishermen went up 30 percent because
for the first time in their lives they knew what the honest price of fish was 30 miles up and down
the coast. So yeah, the cell phone is pretty scary out there.
In Haiti, where I have a kind of a permanent mission with my foundation, when I went down
there after the earthquake, only 15 percent of the Haitians had any connection to the banking
system, 70 percent of them with incomes of less than $2 a day. Today, 65 percent do. Why?
Because the banks opened up? No, because I got a Canadian bank and the biggest cell phone
company in the country to offer it to people while they walked around playing with their cell
phone. (Applause.)
Now, thats so you get your mind in the right place. We need a president who will defend us,
protect us, keep bad things from happening, but make good things happen too. When Hillary
was Secretary of State, she dramatically increased cooperation against terrorism, brokered a
ceasefire that stopped the shooting war between Israel and Hamas, negotiated the Iran sanctions
that even the people who dont like the Iran nuclear deal like, and unbelievably got Russia and
China to go along. And then her team developed and she negotiated and helped pass something
called the New START Treaty with Russia which drastically reduces the odds of a nuclear
exchange with Russia, which, given the political tensions weve had in the last few months, I
think is a very good thing. And its the one thing that Vladimir Putin has done with us that he
says he will honor. He said its a treaty and Im bound by it and we need the safety in the world.

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These are big things. It shows that she knows how to get stuff done. Youve got to have 67
votes to ratify a treaty in the Senate. She got a lot of Republicans to go along with her. Anybody
who can get the Republicans and the Chinese and the Russians to agree (laughter) is, by
definition, semi-qualified to be president, I think. (Applause.)
And Ill just tell you two other stories and then well go watch fireworks. (Laughter.) This
summer I was at a party that we our family always goes to in the summertime that a friend of
ours holds. And this fellow walked up to me I didnt know, and he said you dont know me
because I was not in government when you served, but when your wife was Secretary of State I
represented David Camerons Conservative government for the United Kingdom in dealing with
Northern Ireland. He said, Do you remember back in 2010 the whole peace process was about
to collapse? Everything you worked for eight years for, it was on the verge of collapse. And I
knew the only person who could save it was Hillary because of the standing that she and you
have in Ireland.
So I called her. She stopped what she was doing. Thirty-six hours later, the whole crisis was
over. She did that. Nobody else could have done that. There are a lot of us who would like to
tell the American people things like that.
A couple years before that when she was a senator on the Armed Services Committee, a young
military officer came up to me and said, Mr. President, you dont know me. I just was asked to
go to the Senate to testify on something else. And he said, You dont know me, but I represent
the Pentagon here and I think you should know that it is our collective opinion over there that
your wife knows more than any member of Congress of either party in the Senate or the House
about how the military really works and what the families are going through and what they need,
and we depend on that to have good decisions made.
There has never been anybody in my adult lifetime, including me and I was pretty well-suited
to be president in 92 who was more well-suited to the times to restore broad-based prosperity
at home, including bringing women more fully into the workforce. Weve got to have paid leave.
Weve got to have equal pay. Weve got to have affordable preschool and child care. Weve got
to have these things. (Applause.) To restore broad-based prosperity at home and to make the
most of the modern world, to reduce the hazards and maximize the possibilities. We cannot win
this fight if we focus only on the trouble.
This afternoon, I went to honor John Glenn at his institute at Ohio State. I want you to think
about this. Ohio State exists today because Abraham Lincoln in 1862 signed a bill called the
Morrill Act which set aside land in every American state for a state public university. Let me
remind you what was going on in 1862, if you think its rough now. We were in the middle of
the Civil War. If there had been odds makers in Las Vegas, the chance that our country would
survive in 1862 would never have been higher than 50/50 and probably a little less. And yet
Abraham Lincoln and the United States Congress bet on the future of America.
And thats what Im asking you to do. Weve got to do this together. But I am telling you Ive
spent a lifetime doing this. This is not complicated. All we have to do is get the country
together, take an inventory of our strengths, be honest about our problems, and get the show on

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the road. We can restore broad-based prosperity. We couldnt do it for years after the crash, but
we can do it now. And we can make this world a much safer place. We can keep big, bad things
from happening. We can fight the bad things that are happening and we can make good things
happen. There is nobody else running for president in either party remotely as qualified as she is
based on a lifetime of service to do those things. (Applause.)
The last thing I want to tell you is, for as long as Ive known her, she felt that she had a moral
responsibility to get up every day and make the world a better place, even when she had no
elected job. We were in law school. I had six jobs trying to pay my bills. She worked for the
Legal Services Corporation. When we got out of law school, all of these big law firms offered
her jobs and good salaries. She went to work for the Childrens Defense Fund. She went to
Alabama and Georgia because she was outraged that teenagers were in prison treated like adults
most of them African Americans, never saw a lawyer in their life, didnt know how they could
protect them.
When she came home to Arkansas to be with me, she went to the university and started the first
Legal Aid clinic we ever had. And I will never forget I went with her to court the first day, and
the guy that had jurisdiction was a crusty old judge named Tom Butt. I didnt make that up.
(Laughter.) And he gave me an idea of what it was like 40 years ago. Tom Butt said, You
know, I dont like this Legal Aid program very much and I dont like lady lawyers very much.
By the time it was over, he liked them both.
But shed never been elected to anything. When I got elected governor and we moved to the
state capitol, she got worried about all these poor kids starting school without a chance, and there
was no idea thered ever be anything like universal preschool. So she read about this program in
Israel, appropriately for those of us of a certain age, called HIPPY. It stands for Home
Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters.
And so she bowls into me one day 30-some years ago and says, Bill, these kids are starting
school. They dont have a chance. Theres a program in Israel designed to help prepare kids
who come from North Africa and Russia and other former communist states who dont speak
either Hebrew or English to try to get them ready to go to school. I think it would work in the
Mississippi Delta.
And I said, What are we doing about that? She said, Oh, I called the woman who started the
program. Shes coming from Israel. Shell be here in 10 days. (Laughter.) That was 37 years
ago. That program is roaring along now in more than half of Americas states. (Applause.) And
shed never been elected to anything.
When I asked her to handle the education reform in Arkansas, an expert had analyzed our school
system. They said it was literally the worst in the country. Nine years later when I ran for
president, after her program was put in, the same guy said we had one of the two most improved
school systems in America. She had never been elected to anything.
She is the single-most gifted person I have ever dealt with in turning good intentions into real
changes. And all these Republicans they may jump on her, but they like her and they did a lot

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of work together in the Senate. They did a lot of work together when she was Secretary of State.
They raved about her when they really wanted her to dump on President Obama, and now that he
cant run for reelection they dump on her. Its all politics. She knows that. And you wont see
her complaining much. Its like a pro quarterback complaining about getting sacked. If you
dont want to get sacked, you need to get in a different line of work. In politics, it is a contact
sport.
But I am just telling you weve got to do this because the stakes are high. The upside is high, the
downside is high. And we have to win at home and around the world. Thats what she is a
genuine winner. Thank you. (Applause.)
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