tv Bill Clinton Address at Georgetown University on Public Service CSPAN April 25, 2015 12:14pm-1:46pm EDT
assault in the military. coming up tonight, the white house correspondents'association dinner at live from the helton with remarks from president obama. here is a look behind the scenes with the fulton's general manager. -- the hilton's general manager. >> maybe about 300 on-call banquet service. that evening is about 700 staff on site. about 200 banquet servers. we have about 50 managers that serve as human greaters throughout the building to get everybody where they need to go. we have nothing but focus on the bow ties. >> some of the staffers,i understand, fairly often in the
past several years, tell us a little bit about that. >> the executive chef, this'll be his 11th dinner he will be serving. he began 11 years ago and the first night working was for the white house correspondent association dinner. we broke him in well. our longest-serving team members celebrated 50 years of the hotel. he served all 47 dinners. >> tell us about the menu. he said there's a process in choosing it. what is it this year? >> the menu is very unique every year. we are looking to source local ingredients as much as possible from 150 miles of the hotel. honestly, we are really interested in what is going to serve well for 2600 people in a ballroom and knowing the time constraints and the schedule that involves secret service timing, the show timing of the event and all of that. it is about what holds well and what
will move quickly on to the table and what will be fresh and hot in front of the guests. reporter: how early do they start preparing? >> some things a few days ahead. 4:00 a.m. on the day of for the final preparations. >> it is live starting today at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. former president bill clinton spoke about the importance of a life in public service on tuesday at georgetown. this is an hour and 25 minutes. [applause]
>> good morning. it is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you to georgetown. this is the third of the clinton lectures at georgetown. i wish to think all of you for being here and to offer a special word of welcome to our guests, including the secretary agriculture and tom delaney. we have had the privilege over the course of the last decades to welcome president clinton back to georgetown on a number of occasions. notably for a series of lectures in 1991. on the steps of old north florida address -- for an
address in 1993 just days before his inauguration. and now, for this series, in his first lecture of this series, president clinton spoke of the significance of those 1991 lectures, now known as the "new covenant speeches" on responsibility and rebuilding american community, economic change, and american security. not only to his campaign, but also for his vision, were our future. -- for the future. he explained these lectures enabled him to "think about where we were, where we wanted to go, and how we propose to get there." we have come together to engage the wisdom and insights of one of the most accomplished leaders of our time. and to hear his perspective gained from a lifetime of service to our nation. as president, he presided over the longest economic expansion in american history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs, the reform of the welfare and health care systems,
new environmental regulations, peacekeeping missions in places such as bosnia, and a federal budget surplus. in the years since his two-term presidency's, the first democrat since franklin delano roosevelt, he has focused on improving global health, education, and economic development around the world through the bill, hillary, and chelsea clinton foundation which he founded in 2001. in these lectures, he brings to bear these experiences, and those of his youth and early political career. a 1968 alumnus of our school of foreign service a rhodes scholar, a yale law graduate attorney general, and then
governor of arkansas. a former instructor who taught clinton during his first year here at georgetown has described him as someone who "thinks deeply." he says when people are well informed and deeply reflective, it gives them a security and freedom to listen to a wide spectrum of opinions. clinton is not a man who is closed in his thinking, because he thinks deeply great it is -- deeply. it is only fitting for this lecture on the theme of purpose, father hence will serve as our moderator during the question and answer session that will follow president clinton's remarks. with this theme purpose, president clinton turns to each of us, as he did during those formative new covenant speeches to speak to all of you, future leaders of our nation, to think deeply about our own responsibilities, about where we are, where we want to go, and
how we propose together to get there. in 2013, he asked, what is required of us? how do we compose and live a life where service is important? today we come together to consider andenduring questions, how do we understand our purpose and are responsibilities, our service to the common good and to each other. ladies and gentlemen, it is now my privilege to welcome to the stage, the 42nd resident of the united states, and a true son of georgetown, president bill clinton. [applause] bill clinton: thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you.
thank you president, for having me back. thank you father hence for agreeing to asking questions. i'll give better answers than i did 50 years ago, i hope. thank you all for coming. students, faculty, friends of georgetown, secretary, thank you very much for being here and for your long career in public service. congressman john delaney, who is a shining hope for the possibility of bipartisan cooperation. he has a bill to repatriate all of this loose cash hanging around overseas that has as many republican and democratic sponsors, some people think there is something wrong with that, i think it is a good idea.
i thank him for that. i want to thank my classmates and friends who are here. two years ago i came here on in in april, intending to give a series of three or four lectures on composing a life in public service. whether or that is an elected or appointed office, or in the private sector, or nongovernmental organization. in a first talk, i said there were four essential elements to any successful service. the focus on people, policy, politics, and purpose. in that first lecture i was primarily focused on the importance of people centered service. under the necessity of understanding how different people view themselves in the world they are living in. without understanding people it is hard to develop the best policies and build and maintain
support for them. as i said then, i grew up in a storytelling culture. so i told you stories about people who taught me that everyone has a story and kept me focused on how to help other people have better stories. i told you stories about my family, and my teachers beginning in junior high and running through georgetown about , about people i had worked with through the years. people i met who were dealing with their own life struggles. the second lecture covered policymaking and the compromises involved when trying to do what machiavelli called, the most difficult thing in all of human affairs, to change the established order of things.
we discussed how policy meeting was done when i was president of of developing the economic plan in 1993 which reversed 12 years of trickle down economics. it gave us the only period in 50 years when all sections of the economy were robust. we talked about grafting the crafting the welfare reform bill of 1996, what compromises were acceptable, what has worked over the long run, what still needs to be changed. we talked about the pursuit of peace in the middle east. i hope that talk convinced you that policy actually matters. that ideas, when implemented have consequences. different ideas have different consequences.
a great deal of political rhetoric is devoted to blurring that. to pretending that if something good happens and the other guy did it, it was an accident, if something bad happens and you did it, it couldn't have been because you pursued the wrong policy. because of so much of our voting habits today are determined by the culture in which we live and the conditions in which we experience the world, we tend to blur all of that. i hope i convinced you that when ever you are trying to evaluate policy, you should try to asker ask yourself is there a , difference between a story and the story line? always look for the story. sometimes it is in the story line, sometimes it is not. there is a difference between the headlines, and the trendlines.
typically, for perfectly understandable reasons, bad news makes better news than good news. but, sometimes the trendlines are much better. we might have occasion to revisit that. today want to talk about the purpose of public service. i wanted to talk about the politics of turning concern into real changes that fulfilled your purpose for it. for obvious reasons, i will not talk much about electoral politics. it is important to remember, as the secretary and congressman delaney can tell you, there is plenty of politics when the election is over. when you are trying to implement policy, and there is plenty of politics if you are not elected to office. if you are working in a private
business or an ngo, that is the kind of politics i want to talk about. how do you have the skills to actually turn your ideas into actions. in every public service success, leadership requires the vision of a better future for the -- where the purpose of public service is made plain in the circumstances of the moment. a clear understandable plan to realize that vision, and the ability to implement changes, if it all possible by the conclusion of all stakeholders in the process. this is becoming more important than ever before. in an independent world, whether we like it or not, inclusive politics is necessary to have inclusive economics. inclusive discussion with various stakeholders is necessary to effect positive social changes.
asia has three different interesting leaders of the moment. the president of china, who is trying to grow the chinese economy internally more by resuming population growth by modifying the one child policy, and trying to elevate some of eliminate -- trying to eliminate some of the corruption that has been endemic to the system. the prime minister of japan is trying to overcome his own country by allowing widespread immigration by putting more women in the workforce and enabling people to work longer. prime minister modi of india has written a book called, "inclusive politics, inclusive governments." he recognizes his country's big problem is it has grown like crazy for the last 20 years
around it tech prosperity centers, but only 35% of the people are being reached by that effort. india needs to develop the ability to aggregate and employee capital so that 100% of the people have a chance to benefit from the enterprise that is now driving dramatic prosperity for just 35% of them. this inclusion issue is going to become bigger, and bigger, and bigger in the lifetime of the students who are here. let me try to illustrate the pitfalls and success of leadership with a few recent examples, recent in my terms not the students.
helmut kohl was the chancellor of germany when the berlin wall came down. he had a vision, born of a lifetime of experience that included obviously living through world war ii of a united, peaceful, and prosperous germany in the united democratic peaceful europe. both of these developments may seem normal to you. they were virtually unimaginable for most of european history. germany was not a separate country, but a collection of city states and united under bismarck. kohl began became the second longest-serving chancellor of history, second only to bismarck. he had a strategy, which he pursued with extraordinary
discipline. it was first, to unite germany after the wall came down, which required very large transfers of money from west to east germany to begin the long process of equalizing economic opportunities for both sides. second, to expand and strengthen the union, he wanted all of central and eastern europe to come to the eu so germany would be in the middle of europe, not on the edge where it had been a source of instability and conflict throughout the 20th century. third, he wanted to expand nato and strengthen the ties to the united states because he thought that was important to building a prosperous, democratic future, for germans and the rest of europe. fourth, he became the most vigorous supporter of russia after the end of communism. it is economic recovery,
democracy building, and increasing cooperation with the eu and the u.s.. it is hard to believe, given the headlines today, that was the order we were trying to build in the 1990's, and it worked for quite a while. in the beginning it worked, very well, but there were two central problems with implementing his vision after he left office. one is that much of the european union, although not every member adopted the euro zone currency, they had a eurozone the currency, which was adopted before those in the eurozone had a common economic policy, a common social policy, and common public investment policy. which meant it worked great when europe was growing well, and greeks could borrow money at
german interest rates, essentially. but when the economy turned down, it no longer work for a very well, partly because the german voters did not understand how much gain they had gotten out of all of those good years when greece, spain, portugal and italy got to borrow money at common interest rates and by german exports. germany is, by the way, still the number one rich country in the world in percentage of its gdp tied to exports and manufacturing. no small measure, but a good lesson for the united states because of its dramatic success involving middle-class businesses in the export market, having a continuous lifetime training program, and having a program that pays employers to keep people working, instead of paying unemployment benefits to unemployed employees.
so, it's worked fine, but when greece failed, and ireland failed, and spain had skyrocketing unemployment, all for slightly different reasons. basically it was just a real estate boom going bust in ireland and spain. portugal and italy had their own troubles. the automatic response of the eu was to try to impose austerity on greece because they had -- made promises they cannot keep. they had a country in which rich people did not pay taxes. in fact, constitutionally, the shipping companies are exempted from taxes. something a lot of people do not know. so if you are a cab driver in athens, or a fisherman in the
aegean sea, he felt like a chump if you did pay taxes. when they started austerity in 1999, their public debt was lower than it is today. it means the fundamental laws of economics has not been repealed. if inflation is lower than interest rates, there is insufficient demand, and more austerity will get you into a deeper hold, not out. so, that happened. there was no provision made at the creation of the eurozone for how to get out, without collapsing the hold or without spooking the markets. that was probably an error. if they were not prepared to have common economic and social policy and some sort of investment, they should have
made an exit strategy part of the beginning, then the hazards market hazards would not have been so great. the typical thing for a little country in the kind of trouble greek is in is to do value and take all the hard medicine and start trying to grow again. iceland did that. iceland was a particular tragedy. iceland had more self-made millionaires, mostly in tech and retail businesses than any other european country. they devalued and started building again, and got out of this mess in a hurry. so, that does not mean that kohl's european idea was wrong. for many older europeans, even the boring and bureaucratic nature of the cumbersome machinery of brussels in the eu
is a godsend. it is far better than the uncertainty of war. and endless intrigue with destructive consequences. the other thing that happened to his vision is that russia took a more unilateral and authoritarian turn as manifest both vividly and what happened in the ukraine, and what continues to happen there. but, on balance you would have to say he was the most important european leader since world war ii. because of the good things that happened and that bad things that did not happen. i still believe, over the long run, we will return to the path that he advocated for so long. second example, the prime minister of singapore recently -- the founding prime minister
of singapore recently passed away at 91. i was asked, along with henry kissinger, and represented -- and henry kissinger, to be rims that at its of the united states at his funeral. -- representatives of the united states at his funeral. i had known him and had a lot of contact with him. when he took office more than 50 years ago in 1962, he was the leader of a small, city state of a few million people with a per capita income of under $1000 a year. it had recently broken off from malaysia. there were two things, one was whether this city state was a minority and a smaller, but still noticeable indian minority, and filipinos and others, and two, whether a state
that small could withstand the debilitating consequences of the corruption which was an endemic to most of the rising asian countries. lee had a strategy. he want today -- first, his vision was to have a prosperous, unified, secure nation. he knew that singapore had the most important thing of all at the time he came of age location. it was located at a critical juncture for all the major sea lanes. he wanted to be there. his strategy was to govern first to govern singapore on terms of equal treatment for all its citizens without regard to their ethnic background. there were 10 speakers at his funeral.
his son, the prime minister, spoke first about his leadership. his second son spoke last about what a good father he was. in the middle, there were representatives of every ethnic group in singapore who talk ed about how he had made a home for them -- inclusion. he was rigorous in the pursuit of corruption from cabinet ministers to overcharging people -- minor functionaries overcharging people for fines. he allows people who are part of his political movement to go to prison. singapore gained the reputation to of the place you want to be, to invest. a place where people wanted to be. where everything was on the up and up.
things were on the level. it made a huge difference. the third thing he wanted to do was to have an alliance with the united states for security purposes, which he proceeded to do. finally, he launched a constant organized effort to modernize the country educationally, technologically, and to maintain social cohesion. with methods we thought were pretty severe, including caning maldoers, but it worked. i remember once there was a lot of show the and the press about the fact -- joking about singapore banning chewing gum. kids were leaving chewing gum under desk and seats. but they got rid of the problem. they built one of the five best
education systems in the world. a few years ago, a small country with only six plus million people allocated $3 billion to biotechnology research, the same amount of money i spent to sequence a human genome. did it succeed? when he took office, it was the per capita income was under $1000. when we celebrated his life at his memorial service, the per capita income was $55,000. one of the most remarkable economic success stories ever. ernesto became sort of an accidental president of mexico . the person his party favored for the presidency was killed early
in the campaign season. he was a well-trained economist. he wanted to build a modern economy for mexico and a modern political nation. that was his vision. he set about building a modern economy by opening the sukkot to mexico to competition and investment and promoting responsible and honest behavior. early in this effort through no fault of his own, they had a horrible economic crisis. they were about to go broke. the united states stepped in. i was president, it was 20 years ago, and we gave a loan that was opposed by 80% of the american people who thought about mexico's yesterdays instead of its tomorrows. the repaid the loan with over
$500 million of interest and three years early. it was one of the best investments we ever made. we still have disagreements with mexico, but think about your own life. it is one thing to have a disagreement with a friend, and another with an adversary. the consequences are dramatically different. may be important, he recognized his country could not become more modern unless his country was more politically competitive. he opened the field of competition. had an honest election. it was one life it sent a -- was won by vincente fox. he handed over peacefully to a member of the opposite party. did it work? one of his successors built 142 tuition free universities and
graduated thousands of engineers last year. the economic growth was sufficient to keep mexicans home between 2010 and 2014 for the first time in my lifetime. there was no net in migration from mexico. nelson mandela's vision was to build a democratic state that would survive and thrive after apartheid at the end of his term. his strategy included his now famous reconciliation commission, where people who had committed crimes, even murderous crimes, during apartheid could testify and make their actions heard and be reconciled so they could be participating in the future. it was an astonishing thing. he said, we don't have time to build more jails and worry. we have got to move forward.
something that was copied, largely in a slightly different form through a local community course in rwanda after the genocide. the capacity is beyond the culture of many other countries. interestingly enough, we are now seeing the ongoing efforts to of the president of colombia president santos, to resolve the last remaining conflicts there. and the big hangup is, who is going to be held responsible for what. this is all something we had to deal with in our lives and in other cultures. accountability is important. but so is going beyond. different people in different cultures go about it in different ways.
there's no doubt in my mind mandela did the right thing for south africa. the second thing he did arguably just as important a , was practiced the the politics of radical inclusion. that to most of us was symbolized when he invited jailers to his inauguration. but far more important he put the leaders of the party supported apartheid in his cabinet. you think, that happens all the time. mandela ran for president with eight teen opponents and won with 60% of the vote. it was the first time black south africans voted in 300 years. his whole term occurred when i was president.
we did a lot of business together. he liked to go to bed early. he knew i would stay up late. he called me late at night. he called me one night and said, oh, they are giving me hell. and i said who? the boers? and he said no, my own people. i said, what are they saying? he said, how can you put these people in government? they kept you in prison. they were shooting and killing a bunch of us. now you're going to get them government ministries? i said, what did you tell them? he said -- i said, you just voted for the first time in 300 years. let me ask you, can we run the financial system all by ourselves? can we run the military by
ourselves? can we run the police by ourselves? is there one thing in this whole country we can run all by ourselves? the answer is no. maybe someday. this is not that day. if i can get over this, so can you. we will do this together. you would be surprised if stone someone gave a speech like that in washington, wouldn't you? [laughter] it is important to recognize not to be too sanctimonious here. mandela had paid a remarkable price and learned astonishing lessons. and he had the stature to do that and not fall. there's a third often overlooked part of his strategy, which is why it hasn't worked out yet. he named as his deputy president a much younger man was the most gifted economist in south africa.
because he wanted -- he knew it would take his entire term and he was determined to only serve one term. he was already in his 70's and he had paid upa stiff physical price for the first years of imprisonment. the other part of his strategy was to build a modern and economic state. increase trade and investment across africa in a way that would stabilize south africa. that part of the plan didn't work, for reasons beyond his control. south africa became the epicenter of the world's aidesaids crisis and was made worse either troubles in zimbabwe and other places that lead to more people coming into south africa who are
hiv-positive. still somewhat mystifying is they denied the cause of the crisis the remedies and dimensions. i know this because our foundation helped them to come up with a plan. they were doing fine in the cities. they had prosperous cities and great health systems. but they really had to get out into the countryside. when we celebrated mandela's, maybe his 80th birthday, or 85th birthday. i was down there. we had 50 people dressed up and ready to go to south africa to implement a plan that the cabinet had adopted. it was all canceled. it was a bizarre story of local politics gone awry. the third most important person in south africa's political
hierarchy, after the deputy president and the deputy president, is the treasurer of the african national congress. he funds all of the political observations. it was a one-party dominance state. his wife was a health minister. she had been trained in the position by the old soviet union. she thought aids was a western plot to make pharmaceuticals more money. all this could be cured by eating native roots and yams. sounds crazy now, but they believed that. and back embeke felt perhaps even though he had a wonderful woman working in the office, and wanted to do
something about it, they didn't. the point is -- he took office intending to build a modern economic state. he was gifted enough to do it. he knew enough to do it. but he didn't deal well with incoming fire. when something happens you didn't intend to happen, things explode. -- aids explodes-- you cannot play like it didn't happen. when president bush and al gore ran for president in 2000, nobody asked, what are you going to do when the twin towers are going to be blown up and the pentagon attacked? he could've said, i'm sorry. that is not what i ran to do. iran to reverse linton's policy -- i ran to reverse clinton's
economic policy. [laughter] you are laughing, but that is basically what happened in africa. it is important to remember. there will always be something happening that you didn't plan for. you have to learn to deal with that and pursue your original vision at the same time. mandela still deserves history's applause. south africa is still operating and doing a lot of good. mandela proved that inclusion is better than conflict. so i think all of that works. let's talk about some nonstate actors. ongoingmatai one the noble prize for creating --
she was a good friend of hillary's and mine. she was an amazing woman. she knew that kenyan tree cover was going down to 1% of the land. she is that it was going to cause endless political conflicts in the country. corruptions. she had an idea to heal the damage so can it could take its considerable other strength and grow in a way that pursues broad-based prosperity. what she won the nobel prize for was figuring out that i need to figure out something everybody can do. i don't need to just advocate the changes in parliament, i need to do something that will involve everyone. she got thousands and thousands of people to plant trees. tens of millions of trees , single-handedly from grassroots up.
she began to try to reverse it until his elizabeth a debilitating problem we're still working on today. so her vision as a citizen organizing an ngo -- he didn't she did not have the power to do it all herself. now the government is allowing us to map the country and plan in a strategic way to do things. they asked my foundation to go there because of our long-term friendship. that is a way to look at her life and say, she made a real difference. she did it by empowering individual people to do something they found simple. and doing it on a scale that would catch the attention of the world. i'll give you another example.
a republican american businessman sadly passed away a few years ago. in the early 1960's, he founded a company called nucor. it was a steel company. his vision was to make steel. not in original casting the way it was largely done in and around pittsburgh, but by melting down existing steel and reforming it. the technology was developed so the steel could be rolled into one inch thick rolls and making make it much more malleable and suitable for converging into a variety of purposes. that is not the important thing. iversen decided that if he wanted his company to last for the long run and to be able
to adapt, 40% of its success would be routed in his their technology and 60% in the people. he adopted the most radical in eke out terry e gala terrygalitarian culture of any company of which i'm aware in america. the reason i know this is i recruited the company to arkansas. i'm pretty sure he never voted for me. he was a very conservative republican. he don't want the government to time to do this. first of all, when he had 11 steel mills, they rented office space. they had a grand total of 22 people in the central office. with 11 steel mills.
the workers were paid a salary that average 65-75% of the industry average, but get a got a weekly bonus based on production totals. nonproduction workers got a bonus based on another formula. in addition to that there was a profit-sharing plan of 10% of the profits. unavailable to top management. everybody else participated. in addition to that, if you had a child who wanted to go to college they would pay the equivalent of a years tuition in community college for one man in carolina educating eight children. it had no adverse affect on your pay or your bonus.
in addition to that they had a no layoff policy. i got the letter can anderson wrote to his employees in the only year in 1980's when they may less money than the year before. they never lost money in till the financial crash. their profit margin went to down. he sent a letter which says something like this. "as you know, the world's steel businesses are in a terrible slum, so our sales went down 20% this year. -- are in a terrible slump, so our sales went down 20% this year. it is not your fault. it is, however, my fault. as you know, i have a no-layoff policy, so everybody's income is going down 20% this year. but since it is my fault and not yours, i'm going to cut my income 60%. there was a big article in
"fortune" and "forbes," talking about how he was by light years the lowest fortune 500 paid -- the lowest paid fortune 500 ceo in america. he wore it like a badge of honor. he said i could go down the streets where the corporate offices are, and i can watch them go to work and look at them for five minutes at their desk and tell you whether that company is succeeding or not. he said i do not want short-term investors in nucor. they want somebody to turn a quick profit, they should look somewhere else. we are in it for the long run. it is very interesting to see. he had a very inclusive process. there were only three management layers below him and the employee making the steel. and every employee had the
president's phone number and his. you could call him on the phone, but only if you would talk to your supervisor first. the point is, he created a culture of radical inclusion and it works and it is working today. they have the same culture today, except now the education benefit is higher. if you have a spouse who wants to go to college, your spouse is eligible. if you want to go after work you can go. none of it takes a penny away from your wages or your bonus. so i would say that guy is a success. from the time i became president, nucor was the third biggest steel company in america. he did it with a vision, with a plan, with execution, and radical inclusion. and i will give you another example.
bill and melinda gates -- they have a simple vision. their vision is that every life has equal value, and therefore we should create a world where people have equal chances. that is their vision. simple. they have a strategy. we got a lot of money and we are going to invest it to achieve that vision, but we will invest it in people who can do things that we cannot do. for example, melinda gates -- hillary recently announced the four she left the foundation that they were going to go over data research they had done on the condition of women and the disparities and conditions of women and men in the united states and around the world.
bill gates and bill gates foundation invests a lot of money every year through our health access initiative to solve problems. and i love the way he is just totally iconoclastic. he wants to do what works. he said to me a few years ago "the world should not need what you do. the world health organization ought to be able to do this, but it cannot. so we do it." but it is very interesting to watch how a person -- if you listen to him, he will say we find it harder to give this money away than it was to make it, because our goal is simple and clear. we want to create a world of equal chances.
and i think they had been most successful in their health investments around the world where the millennium development goals had been exceeded in any number of measurements. i will give you one other example. i recently went to haiti, where i had been working for many years, to visit project i supported, on the grounds of the oldest aids clinic in the world. the first its clinic in the world established in port-au-prince, haiti, by a doctor named bill papp, a native of port-au-prince. the city was built for 200,000 people and now 3 million live there. 100,000 people just live in what should be out in the water. this makes the possibility of waterborne diseases much more likely, and that is what cholera turned out to be. it basically entered the water stream in haiti, because the
country does not have good super and water systems. so bill papp -- good sewer and water systems. so bill papp build a modern cholera treatment center. this guy spent his whole life treating aids, and then when the earthquake occurred, all the land he had around this little hospital, he gave over to the city. but he realized that cholera could be just as debilitating to his country, so he designed a hospital to maximize the success of treatment, maximum sanitation, no infections, and he treated the water and the sanitation above the ground, who because of the characteristics i just described. he developed this absolutely beautiful treatment system, covered in plants and greenery
which got 99% of the bacteria out of the waste system, and then they covered it with chlorine and got up to 99% before it could ever be released into the ground. this one man in one place doing something at an affordable price that could be scaled and could save countless lives around the world. paul farmer, my friend on the board of our health programs founded partners in health with the head of the world bank, and he figured out how to serve in the area of 200,000 with a health staff that would normally serve only 20,000, by building one good hospital and then satellite clinics, and beyond the satellite, trained community medical workers.
and then he went to rwanda at our request and worked with our foundation and built a hospital and every week they had all been destroyed except the one during the capital city during the genocide. the last hospital is near the ugandan border, and the only cancer treatment center in that part of africa. but they are all the same thing -- a simple system that can be affordable and repeated by countries at income levels way below ours. if you have a vision, a strategy, and you have the support of people at the grassroots level because you are inclusive, these kinds of things can be done by ordinary citizens. these are things we need to be
thinking about in america if we want broad-based prosperity. as we work to define our role in the world, competition from new and different sources to define the future. arguably, the most interesting nongovernmental organization today -- which proves the importance of inclusion by its shortcomings but is formidable -- is isis. isis is a terrorist organization, an ngo, trying to become a state. that is, they do not recognize
any of the boundaries of middle eastern countries as legitimate. they were largely established by westerners after the collapse of the ottoman empire in world war i. when they go capture a place they set up their own judicial system, their own rulemaking. they set up wherever their social services are going to be. the only thing is, you cannot disagree with them or they will kill you, as we have seen. sometimes they kill you -- they will allow, just as the ottomans did -- they will allow a christian or a june 2 to live if they agree to pay a fine or a tax every year to live within their hallowed kingdom. but if they decide you are an apostate, they just kill you which is why they authorize the killing of other muslims and why they went after that tiny sect who were totally powerless
because they viewed them as inherently apostate. it is the only book i am going to recommend today, a fascinating book written on the minority religions of the middle east, by a retired british military -- there are still 200,000 samaritans there. surely there is a good samaritan. it is fascinating. but the point is, isis is the opposite. they have a vision, they have a strategy. they think they are right. but they are anti-inclusion in the extreme, and people are voting with their feet, as you see.
it will not be the future, but it cannot be ignored. it has to be countered. so, as america charts its course in the world and tries to restore broad-based posterity -- broad-based prosperity, it is well to remember that we need to make our purpose is clear with a vision that is inclusive of our own people, and also gives other people a chance to be part of constructive rather than destructive partnerships. for me personally, i have always
had a pretty simple purpose. i always wanted, at the end of my life, to be able to answer with a resounding yes three questions -- our people better off and you quit than when you started? do children have a brighter future? are things coming together instead of being torn apart? to me, all the rest is background music. and i tried to develop the political skills and the ability to constantly develop policy that would enable me personally to say that. which meant that given times if i had a different vision than what my country would do at that point in time or my state had to do at that time -- all of you had to do that. when i was a student here -- and
i quoted this in 1992 when i gave my lecture before i started my campaign -- i was deeply moved by carroll quigley's statement in "the history of civilizations," the defining characteristic of our civilization was the simple belief that the future could be better than the past and every person had a moral responsibility to contribute to making it better. that no one had the truth, so the great joy in life was the constant search for the truth. it was a journey that gave life dignity and meeting -- dignity and meaning. so i cannot tell you what your purpose should be. but i can tell you you will have a lot more fun in your life if you have one, and if it is bigger than you. a couple of years ago, right as
the annual meeting of our global initiative was beginning, i was notified that a young woman who worked for our health access initiative in mozambique and her fiance, a gifted architect, had been among those murdered by al shahab in the attack on a mall in nairobi. she was a dutch nurse. ironically, in all these years i have been doing this around the world, we have only lost two people to violence, and they were both such nurses. she was so good at what she did, she took time off from working for us, went back to harvard
got a phd in public health, and came back to take a management position in africa. her name was ella. she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. she went to nairobi because it is the base place -- the best place in that part of africa to have a baby. she and her husband were just strolling down a wall and they were killed. the people that killed her doubtless think they are righteous people, but if you believe in an inclusive future in it interdependent world, it does not belong to them. nigeria has a new president because a majority of people in nigeria do not like boko haram. they do not think you have the right to kill everybody you disagree with. so anyway, when i was at the global initiative, i was very moved by this because i had been with that woman six weeks before she was murdered.
visiting our projects. and she was beautiful and very pregnant. i said i am a father. if you have an emergency, just call me if play. we were joking and having fun. six weeks later, she was gone. none of us know how long we are going to be here and what we are going to do. but her life had purpose because she had a vision and she developed a personal strategy to make a difference, which she did. so i told this story. that i just told you. when i told the story, another woman came up to me and said you know, more than 20 years ago i was that young nurse. i was in kenya, i was working.
in africa, in an ngo. and i went to nairobi to have my baby. my baby was born healthy, and i was blessed. but a few years ago he was shot several times in the virginia tech shooting. and she said, thank god he lived, and it changed his whole life. and all he wants to do now his work in a nongovernmental group to give children a safer future. we all find our purpose in our own way. but if you work at it, it will come. i wish you well. thank you very much. [applause]
what does going to georgetown mean to you? how does it influence your purpose? president clinton: i will try to give a short answer. i think i told you this before. when i wrote my other biography -- when i wrote my autobiography, my editor made me take out 20 pages i wrote about georgetown. there is still a lot in there. they say, you cannot possibly remember all these people and teachers. but i do. it had a profound impact on me because i met people from all over the world, both my teachers and my fellow students that i never would have met otherwise. our class was the only graduating class i think in american history that produced three presidents in three
countries. when i became president, my classmate was the president of el salvador. when i left office, a classmate was the president of the philippines. the whole time i was there, our classmate was ambassador of the united kingdom. i was here at a fascinating time. but it affected me mostly because of the teachers i had. and the people i went to school with and the conversations we had about what was going on in our classes. and the debates we had. it is very different from now. in my class, we did not have an elective course until the second semester of our junior year. big controversy. but i loved it. i doubt very seriously if i ever would have become president, had
i not come to georgetown. i'm certain i would not have done whatever good i did done. -- whatever good i did do. i would have done it less well if i had not been here. >> thank you. this is from a sophomore in the college. where do you see this generation of young adults going? in what way is our path going to be different than before? president clinton: what has happened in technology yesterday will look like child's play over the next 20 to 30 years. i think most of you will live to be 90 years old or more unless some accident befalls you or have an environmentally caused
cancer and we do not know how to treat you. i think that you will live in a time where the technological revolution will extend to artificial intelligence and we can do the things we have not been able to do before. i think the combination of nanotechnology improvements and the continuing plumbing of the mysteries of the genome will lead us to have affordable, four times a year health exams that will involve going into a canister and being scanned. one of the biggest debates in medicine in 20 years will be for example, since we all have cancerous cells in our body all the time and most of us -- most of them are just destroyed by the operations of our body, one
of the great questions will be we can see this submicroscopic tumor. should we zap it out now or do it later? your life will be dramatically different. i believe you will begin in one final chance to figure out how to avoid the most calamitous consequences of climate change and i think there will be more economically beneficial ways to do it than now. i think you will have to worry about water. i think water is a canary in the coal mine. i think you have to worry about how to feed billions of people. the one thing that slows down the birthright across all ages and cultures is education of women and economic development of the poor. so i think you live in an exciting time. i think that it is unlikely that these ideologically driven conflicts we are having now with nonstate actors will be fully resolved.
i hope and pray that we will leave behind a system where we can say with some confidence that we can keep really bad things from happening. that is why this negotiation with iran is so important. maybe for reasons that have not in much in the press. for example, if they get a bomb, then there are four or five arab countries that can afford them. you have six more people with nuclear capacity. if you have a bomb that you can use, you have to have access to some material. any country that uses a big bomb knows it can be annihilated. but the material is not considered a minor miracle of the modern world. the stocks of pakistan, as far
as we know, even though the technology was given to north korea and others -- as far as we know, the materials have not been stolen, sold, or given away. i think you will have to worry about all that. but i believe that you will live longer, have more options, and you will -- we will probably not have fully resolved the problem between growing productivity and adequate employment. but i do think we will do a better job -- you are raising your own kids and living your own lives. we will more fairly apportion the wealth we are creating. there will be more shared prosperity.
but when nobody can tell you is -- but what nobody can tell you is, when the changes are so rapid, we will not be able to create an employment to keep the populace employed. we will have to think about something if that happens. think about some radical changes in the arrangement of labor and capital. carlos slim said the other day -- and he is pretty smart -- that he thought that some time in this new century, we would be down to a three-day work week just because of the breathtaking increases in productivity. if so, have at it. >> this may be the easiest question or the toughest. what was your most difficult decision as president or otherwise?
we can pass that on if you want. president clinton: the ones that i had to make echo interestingly enough, they were not the ones that were most politically unpopular. like i said, 80% of the people were against what i did mexico. easy decision. 74% of the people were against my first act in the presidential arena, putting together a big aid package for russia. they were so poor. a majority was against what i did in bosnia when we started. the most difficult decisions were my version of dealing with the age crisis -- dealing with the aids crisis. first, i thought trickle-down economics were wrong. ordinary people were not benefiting at all.
poverty had gone up. wages were stagnant. i wanted to give the middle class a tax cut. right before i was elected, the government said, either way, the deficit is going to be twice as big as we told you it was. by the way. so i had two choices. i could play like it did not happen and i could go ahead and present my original plan. or go back to the core strategy, which was to get america growing again. we had to bring interest rates down. we had a normal economy -- that
is, inflation and interest rates were getting high, and it was going to drive -- my gamble was if i could get interest rates down, there would be a huge amount of private investment, which would overcome the contractionary impact of the economic plan i presented, which called for both spending cuts and tax increases. but i hated to give up something that i really wanted to provide, and i had to choose that were doubling the earned income tax credit, which benefited primarily lower income workers, who had children. and i just do not think a society as rich as ours should allow anybody to have kids in the house and work full-time and still be in poverty. i just think that is wrong. so i did it.
all i heard for two years was he broke his promise on the middle class tax cut. lowering mortgage rates, college rates. when we passed the balance budget bill -- that was a hard decision. it was hard for me not to act alone in bosnia. we all knew what serbia was doing in bosnia, and by then secretary of state warren christopher asked them to help in europe, and they did not want to do it for a thousand reasons why. i decided i should not do that because it would. the sustainable -- because it would not be sustainable. the europeans had to buy in. they had to own the fact that if they wanted a europe that was
united, democratic, and free for the first time in history, the balkans were going to be part of it. and so i waited until we could get a unified response. but it was a painful way to let people down in that way. some of the decisions that i regret most were not hard. but were wrong. we did not even talk seriously about whether we should send troops to rwanda because the public was exhausted with what happened with black hawk down in somalia and because we were involved in bosnia and that was much more in the news. frankly, we had no idea it could kill 10% of the country in 90 days, essentially.
so sometimes the things you regret were not hard at the time and should have been a little harder. i will always regret we did not have a long, drawnout debate on it. we did not really discuss it. and i spent my life trying to make it up to the rwanda's. -- to the rwandans. i am working at it. >> early on, you committed yourself to public service, and you outlined your fundamental purpose. a vocational commitment like that, you kind of go through your time where you really question it and say what am i doing here? president clinton: well, i dated a couple of times when i was governor. i was governor a long time. at least i've proved i could hold down a job.
i served a very long time, and people of my native state were good enough to elect me five times. based on recent events, i do not know if i could win again. so there were times when i just got burned out, you know. but i never wanted -- i would always find something new to do and i told people one of the reasons i love being in public life, it was like peeling an onion that had no end. there was always another layer, something new and interesting, something to engage the imagination, stretch your capacity.
so i did not. and when -- when the congress and the press were all on that whitewater business, i knew it was not on the level and that there was nothing to it. i had invested in a land deal and lost money. the guy later went into the s&l business and failed. it was a made up deal. it was heartbreaking to me to see otherwise sensible people treated like it was something, but it never made me want to quit. i was raised -- i had an unusual upbringing, but i was raised not to quit. we are not big on quitting in my family. you may have noticed that. [laughter] president clinton: so it was awful, but i learned to kind of just wall it off.
and i think -- i also felt that maybe this was arrogant and i should not have felt that way -- but i spent a lot of time when i was president reading the history of other presidents, including not well-known presidents. and i realized that the success of a given president is first determined by the time in which he lived. washington was going to be a great president or a flop, depending on whether or not he was going to be a king or keep the democracy. he was a great president and he made really good decisions on the big things. lincoln became president when the whole question was whether the union would survive or not. a lot of people thought it would
not. a lot of people thought the south had more talented generals and we would not hang around, the union would not hang around long enough. roosevelt had the depression and world war ii. but it also depends on whether the skills and the psychology of a person in a given leadership position -- this is not just politics -- actually fit well with the challenges of that particular moment. when i read all of these histories of the lesser-known presidents, some of them were suited to govern when they did and others had not -- would not be as successful had they not governed in the time that they did. a lot of people think franklin pierce was one of the worst presidents we ever had. if you measure that because he was elected right before the civil war and he could not stop the country's drift toward war or stop the spread of slavery and this and that, that is
absolutely true. but he was an immensely successful soldier in the mexican war. he was a successful member of congress, went home and became the governor of new hampshire only other governor of a small state to be elected president. he was on his way to be inaugurated with his only child. presidents were then inaugurated in march, and he took a train down to washington. on the way, there was a train wreck. nobody was hurt very bad. there were a couple of bones except his 11-year-old son fell on his neck and snapped it and died. nobody else got anything but a broken bone.
that is how he started his presidency, with his wife starting out in a catatonic state of grief. i am not sure it was in the cards for anybody to succeed before the country split apart. that is what i think about. but by and large, i think when you get tired, you want to bag it unless you are old and you think i have three years left and you want to spend it doing something else, you ought to hang in there and work through it. you ought to go, somebody will push you out one way or the other. but you ought not to open the door if you think your vision is not -- i am not big on quitting. i would rather hang around, and if you need to go somebody will
kick you out. >> mr. president, we are allowed one warp question -- one more question. you are obviously very well read. if you had to recommend one book, what would it be? that is all you get. you mentioned one earlier. president clinton: "the meditations of marcus are really us." >> he did it. [laughter and applause] thank you.
i really appreciate it. i really appreciate it. [applause] coming up tonight the white house correspondent annual dinner. ahead of her big night she gives us a preview of what she will be saying following the president's remarks. >> he tried a second joke today. i'm always threatening you want me to say that? i'm not going to. >> any jokes you want to share with us? >> no. i need to save them. >> anyone off limits? i would
rather anything is funny. that is the most important. meaner jokes -- i think you can hear it when a joke is not working handed this mean. sometimes you can sneak little jabs in there. >> you have hillary clinton. we may mention republican contenders. >> live coverage of this year's white house correspondents dinner starting at 6 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> she was considered modern for her time called mrs. president by her detractors and was outspoken about her views on lavery -- on slavery and women's rights.
abigail adams, sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span's original series first ladies, influence and image, examining the private lives of first ladies and their influence on the presidency. sunday at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span three. as a conduit to the series, c-span's new books available. providing lively stories of these fascinating women, eating an illuminating, entertaining and inspiring read. it is available as an hardcover or e-book. >> transportation secretary anthony foxx appeared before a senate appropriations subcommittee wednesday to talk about fiscal year 2016 transportation budget. this is an hour 25 minutes.
>> while we are waiting for secretary fox to arrive -- and right on cue he comes through the door. i want to explain that we moved up the time of the hearing by a half hour. mr. secretary, i feel your pain on the traffic because it never has taken me longer to get to work than it did today because the protest and street closures. we do welcome secretary fox to testify about the administration's fiscal year 2016 budget req