Bill Clinton on Principles & Values

Rich pardon based on numerous foreign policy & legal reasons

    Because of the intense scrutiny and criticism of the pardons of Marc Rich and his partner Pincus Green, I want to explain what I did and why. They were indicted in 1983 on charges of racketeering and mail and wire fraud, arising out of their oil business. I decided to grant the pardons for the following legal and foreign policy reasons:
  1. Other oil companies that had structured transactions like Rich’s were sued civilly instead of being indicted;
  2. In 1985, the Department of Energy found that the manner in which the Rich/Green companies had accounted for [other related] transactions was proper;
  3. two highly regarded tax experts reviewed the transactions in question and concluded that the companies “were correct in their US income tax treatment.”
  4. their companies had paid $200 million in fines, penalties, and taxes [despite the tax review];
  5. finally, many Israeli and Jewish community leaders urged Rich’s pardon because of his contributions and services to charitable causes.
Source: Editorial by Clinton in NY Times Feb 18, 2001

Opens post-Presidential office in Harlem

In front of the building [in Harlem in which he will set up his post-Presidential office], Mr. Clinton said that “I feel wonderful about it” and “I hope we can work the lease out in the details.” Mr. Clinton said that Harlem had long held a special attraction for him, first when he was a university student in England and then later when he became president. The building, which may be the best privately owned office building in Harlem, is in an economic empowerment zone that Mr. Clinton helped create in his first term. Aides have added that Mr. Clinton is also grateful that African-Americans stood by him in the bleakest moments of his presidency.

Should Mr. Clinton eventually settle on office space in Harlem, it would settle the storm of criticism that has followed him since he first planned to move into the 56th floor of [a midtown office tower]. The lease for that space was estimated from $738,700 to $811,000 a year. The asking annual rent for the 14th floor in Harlem would be $210,000

Source: NY Times, p. A22 Feb 13, 2001

Repaying $85,000 in gifts to avoid impropriety

Bill and Hillary Clinton announced they will pay more than $85,000 for gifts given to the first family during the president’s last year in office “to eliminate even the slightest question” of impropriety. “As have other Presidents and their families before us, we received gifts and followed all of the gift rules,” Bill Clinton said. “While we gave the vast majority of gifts we received to the National Archives, we reported those gifts that we were keeping.”
Source: Feb 3, 2001

Acknowledges wrongdoing; pays fine; seeks closure

Today, I signed a consent order in the lawsuit brought by the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct which brings to an end that proceeding.

I have accepted a five-year suspension of my law license, agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to cover counsel fees, and acknowledged a violation of one of the Arkansas model rules of professional conduct because of testimony in my Paula Jones case deposition. The disbarment suit will now be dismissed.

In this consent order, I acknowledge having knowingly violated Judge Wright’s discovery orders in my deposition in that case. I tried to walk a fine line between acting lawfully and testifying falsely, but I now recognize that I did not fully accomplish this goal and that certain of my responses to questions about Ms. Lewinsky were false.

I have apologized for my conduct and I have done my best to atone for it with my family, my administration and the American people. I hope my actions today will help bring closure and finality to the matters.

Source: Statement on conclusion of Whitewater investigation Jan 19, 2001

Turns over reins of leadership with America at its strongest

I’m very grateful to be able to turn over the reins of leadership with America in such a strong position to meet the challenges of the future.
Source: President Clinton’s farewell address Jan 18, 2001

Future: fiscally responsible; lead world; weave diversity

    Tonight I want to leave you with three thoughts about our future.
  1. America must maintain our record of fiscal responsibility. If we choose wisely, we can pay down the debt, deal with the retirement of the baby- boomers, invest more in our future and provide tax relief.
  2. Because the world is more connected every day in every way, America’s security and prosperity require us to continue to lead in the world. At this remarkable moment in history, more people live in freedom than ever before. Our alliances are stronger than ever. People all around the world look to America to be a force for peace and prosperity, freedom and security.
  3. We must remember that America cannot lead in the world unless here at home we weave the threads of our coat of many colors into the fabric of one America. As we become ever more diverse, we must work harder to unite around our common values and our common humanity. We must work harder to overcome our differences in our hearts and in our laws.
Source: President Clinton’s farewell address Jan 18, 2001

Be patient; this is democracy in action

From our earliest days, the right to vote has meant the right to participate and be heard. If ever there was a doubt about the importance of exercising the most fundamental right of citizenship, it sure was answered on Tuesday. No American will ever again be able to seriously say, “My vote doesn’t count.”

The people have spoken. The important thing for all of us to remember now is that a process for resolving the discrepancies and challenges to the election is in motion. The rest of us need to be patient and wait for the results.

I want to congratulate both Vice President Gore and Governor Bush for a vigorous and hard-fought campaign. Once again, the world has seen democracy in action.

The events unfolding in Florida are not a sign of the division of our nation, but of the vitality of our debate, which will be resolved through the vibrancy of our Constitution and laws. Regardless of the outcome, we will come together as a nation, as we always do.

Source: Weekly radio address by President Clinton Nov 11, 2000

Grounds for impeachment: lying & obstructing justice

Source: The Starr Report, p. 21-22 Sep 11, 1998

America stands today between hope and history

When I visited Ireland last year, I met with Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, a man who has chronicled Ireland’s long struggle and his own fight against cynicism and defeat. I was particularly moved by some words he had written, which I quoted in my speeches to the Irish people. Later, he was kind enough to write them out for me. That piece of paper now hangs in my study at the White House, and I look at it often. One line always leaps out at me-the moment when “hope and history rhyme.“

I believe that America today stands between hope and history-at the edge of a moment when these two powerful forces are as one, when we can embrace the dawn of the new century, drawing strength and guidance from our past, filled with confidence that in this new age of possibility, our best is yet to come.

Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.175 Jan 1, 1996

New Covenant: responsibility, citizenship, opportunity

We all gain when we give. We reap whatever we sow. That’s at the heart of the New Covenant: Responsibility. Citizenship. Opportunity. They are the virtues by which we can fulfill ourselves and our God-given potential-the virtues by which we can live out the eternal promise of America, the enduring dream of that first and most sacred covenant: ‘that all men are created equal.’

We need to forge a New Covenant that will repair the damaged bond between the people and the government and restore our basic values-the notion that our country has a responsibility to help people get ahead. That citizens have not only the right but a responsibility to rise as far and as high as their talents and determination can take them, and that we’re all in this together.

Make no mistake: This New Covenant means change-change in our party, change in our national leadership, and change in our country. People have lost faith in the ability of government to change their lives for the better.

Source: Clinton on Clinton, p. 65&156, State of the Union speech Jan 24, 1995

Member of Democratic Leadership Council.

is the chair of the Democratic Leadership Council:


The DLC’s mission is to promote public debate within the Democratic Party and the public at large about national and international policy and political issues. Specifically, as the founding organization of the New Democrat movement, the DLC’s goal is to modernize the progressive tradition in American politics for the 21st Century by advancing a set of innovative ideas for governing through a national network of elected officials and community leaders.

Who We Are

The Democratic Leadership Council is an idea center, catalyst, and national voice for a reform movement that is reshaping American politics by moving it beyond the old left-right debate. The DLC seeks to define and galvanize popular support for a new public philosophy built on progressive ideals, mainstream values, and innovative, non bureaucratic, market-based solutions. At its heart are three principles: promoting opportunity for all; demanding responsibility from everyone; and fostering a new sense of community.

Since its inception, the DLC has championed policies from spurring private sector economic growth, fiscal discipline and community policing to work based welfare reform, expanded international trade, and national service. Throughout the 90’s, innovative, New Democrat policies implemented by former DLC Chairman President Bill Clinton have helped produce the longest period of sustained economic growth in our history, the lowest unemployment in a generation, 22 million new jobs, cut the welfare rolls in half, reduced the crime rate for seven straight years, balanced the budget and streamlined the federal bureaucracy to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.

Now, the DLC is promoting new ideas -- such as a second generation of environmental protection and new economy and technology development strategies -- that is distinctly different from traditional liberalism and conservatism to build the next generation of America’s leaders.

Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC0 on Nov 7, 2000

New Democrat: "Third Way" instead of left-right debate.

adopted Third Way principles of the Democratic Leadership Council:

America and the world have changed dramatically in the closing decades of the 20th century. The industrial order of the 20th century is rapidly yielding to the networked “New Economy” of the 21st century. Our political and governing systems, however, have lagged behind the rest of society in adapting to these seismic shifts. They remain stuck in the left-right debates and the top-down bureaucracies of the industrial past.

The Democratic Leadership Council, and its affiliated think tank the Progressive Policy Institute, have been catalysts for modernizing politics and government. The core principles and ideas of this “Third Way” movement [began with] Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 1992, Tony Blair’s Labour Party in Britain in 1997, and Gerhard Shroeder’s Social Democrats in Germany in 1998.

    The Third Way philosophy seeks to adapt enduring progressive values to the new challenges of he information age. It rests on three cornerstones:
  1. the idea that government should promote equal opportunity for all while granting special privilege for none;
  2. an ethic of mutual responsibility that equally rejects the politics of entitlement and the politics of social abandonment;
  3. and, a new approach to governing that empowers citizens to act for themselves.
The Third Way approach to economic opportunity and security stresses technological innovation, competitive enterprise, and education rather than top- down redistribution or laissez faire. On questions of values, it embraces “tolerant traditionalism,” honoring traditional moral and family values while resisting attempts to impose them on others. It favors an enabling rather than a bureaucratic government, expanding choices for citizens, using market means to achieve public ends and encouraging civic and community institutions to play a larger role in public life. The Third Way works to build inclusive, multiethnic societies based on common allegiance to democratic values.
Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC1 on Nov 7, 2000

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