Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          February 13, 1996     

                      REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                        The State Dining Room

2:09 P.M. EST

             THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I want to thank Ed 
and Del, and I want to thank all of you for serving.  This was truly 
a distinguished council, a very diverse group.  I bet you had some 
interesting meetings.  (Laughter)  I wish I had been privileged to 
hear all of them.

             When Ed McCracken was talking about the reports and he 
compared it President Kennedy, he said, you know, President Kennedy 
launched a move that sent Americans -- men to the moon -- no, men 
into space, he said, men into space.  I thought he was going to say 
this is going to send all of our children into cyberspace.  

             And what I was thinking about, watching Ed and thinking 
about the work his remarkable company has done, that -- all of you 
have probably seen that picture of me when I was in high school, 
shaking hands with President Kennedy.  After I saw Forrest Gump and 
thought about Ed, now every child in America will be able to shake 
hands with President Kennedy. (Laughter.)

             Let me assure that we are going to take these 
recommendations seriously.  The council's work may be done, but the 
nation's work is just beginning.  And I know I speak for the Vice 
President who, 20 years ago, coined the term "information 
superhighway," and Secretary Brown and all the other members of our 
administration who are around this table -- Deputy Secretary Kunin, 
Mr. Givens, Mr. Barham, and others -- we are very grateful for this 

             All of you know that we are entering an age of 
incredible possibility for the American people.  I believe that the 
signing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 last week will help to 
increase those possibilities, and I want to thank Reed Hunt and all 
others who worked on that legislation and all of you who supported 

             If you just think about what has happened since this 
council was formed in 1993, the growth of the Internet, the hit movie 
created by computer animation, the explosion of technology.  We know 
that the potential to improve the lives of the American people, both 
economically and otherwise, is absolutely staggering.  And we all 
know that we are just at the beginning of that process.
             The thing that I liked so much about the 
Telecommunications Act is that that Act was passed in a manner and 
requires a certain public interest in its implementation that I think 
represents the best of what we ought to be doing and how we ought to 
be doing it.  You know, the Act in the end passed almost unanimously.  
And it, to me, represents the model of the public and private 
cooperation we ought to have for the future in so many ways.

             It obviously unleashes the forces of the market more 
than ever before.  It will bring vast new opportunities for 
information, for learning and for entertainment to the American 
people.  It will do it in a way that is consistent with the best 
principles of fair competition and public interest.  Among other 
things, it will help your recommendations in the KickStart Initiative 
to become law because of the guarantees in there for access of 
schools and libraries and hospitals.  So all of these things are very 
             If you think about the challenges facing our country.  
If you just take the ones I mentioned in the State of the Union: the 
challenge to build strong families and to give all children a 
childhood, the challenge to give every American access to the 
education we need for the 21st century, the challenge to provide 
greater economic security for Americans in a time when their 
particular jobs may be less secure than they were in a former 
economy, the challenge to make our streets safe, to keep our 
environment clean, to restore integrity to our government, to 
maintain out leadership in the world.  All these things will be aided 
by the technological explosions symbolized by the information 
             We know now, for example, that we can make families more 
secure by providing better health care because of technology.  People 
in rural areas can contact a doctor in a city all the way across the 
country for help in dealing with a medical problem.  We know we can 
make our criminal justice system work immensely better because of 
computers.  We see that dangerous criminals can be arraigned by 
computer without having the move them from police station to 
courthouse.  We can expand our opportunities to identify problems 
because of technology.  Today if someone steals a car and drives it 
halfway across the country and leaves it in a shopping mall parking 
lot, within literally a matter of a couple of seconds, as soon as the 
car is found, its owner can be identified and the facts surrounding 
its loss can be established.
             We know that technology can enable our government to 
work better and it already has in so many ways.  Millions of 
Americans will file their tax returns electronically this year 
because of the advances of technology, lifting a lot of burden and 
time off of them.                                                We 
know Americans starting small businesses can get all their SBA 
information from a single place on line now.  And these are just the 
beginnings.  The KickStart Initiative is particularly important to me 
because of the promise it holds to achieve one of my major goals: to 
connect all the schools, the libraries and community centers in this 
country to the information superhighway by the year 2000.

             And it can be done community by community.  I was in 
Concord, New Hampshire, the other day, just two days after all the 
schools in that community were connected.  And it was truly a 
community effort, the kind of thing that we have to have.  I happened 
to be in a school in the neighborhood with the lowest per capita 
income in the community.  And I saw what local community leaders had 
done to make equipment available to students that they could take 
home and share with their parents, even students who came from modest 
circumstance, with parents with no formal education or previous 

             The community grass-roots KickStart element of this 
whole endeavor, I think, is incredibly, incredibly important, and I 
applaud you for making it a separate report and making sure that we 
all do our part to help that succeed.

             As you noted in your report, educational technology has 
actually helped to raise educational performance.  You can see it in 
test scores at the Clearview Elementary School, in Chula Vista, 
California, which you mentioned.  You also know that it's allowing 
students around the country to do things they could never have done 
before, to examine gray whales, to study Hawaii's volcanoes, to 
explore the Galapagos, all without leaving the classroom.  I remember 
I met a young man not very long ago in Albany, New York, an 
eighth-grader who had done a research paper on volcanoes, entirely 
based on resources in Australia, because of his access to the 
information superhighway.

             We know, too, that technology can brighten educational 
prospects in all kinds of schools, even in areas where achievement 
had previously been very modest.  The Christopher Columbus School in 
Union City, New Jersey, which you mention in your report, is a school 
I plan to visit later this week to try to highlight the importance of 
your recommendations and our goal, and to demonstrate to Americans 
all across this country that it really can make a difference.
             As I said in my State of the Union address, as we change 
the nature of work and we change the nature of the workplace, and 
more and more organizations become less bureaucratic, less 
hierarchical and more flexible, the era of big government is also 
passing from the scene as defined by big, centralized bureaucracies.  
This government today is the smallest it's been since 1965.  By the 
end of this year it will be the smallest it's been since 1963.
             But just because we don't have a big government in a 
traditional sense, doesn't mean that we should have a weak one.  It 
doesn't mean we can allow individuals and families and communities to 
go back to a time when they had to fend for themselves.  In this new 
world we are facing we can only take advantage of the opportunities 
and beat back the problems if we work together.
             You have set an example.  And this report shows the kind 
of framework of partnership that enables people to make the most of 
their own lives and communities to do the best they can in seizing 
their own opportunities that I believe should be followed by 
Americans in many, many other areas of our nation's life.
             Your support for the Benton Foundation, which I 
particularly want to applaud, will help countless schools and 
libraries and communities learn from each other and speed their 
progress much faster than what otherwise would have bee possible.
             And thanks to the help of Bill Nye, the Science Guy, 
with the bow tie -- t                                            hat 
I can't tie.  (Laughter.)  The video produced by Disney and AT&T will 
make it easier for everyone to understand the information 
superhighway.  I want to thank Bill and Disney and AT&T and I want to 
thank all the other companies that have made their own contributions 
to this endeavour.  
             Finally, let me just emphasize what is to you obvious, 
but may not be obvious to all of our fellow Americans who have not 
been exposed to these developments.  This is not about technology for 
technology's sake.  It's about using technology to help people work 
together to realize a better future for themselves and for their 
families.  You have helped to challenge America and you have shown us 
the way, a way which offers the promise of the American Dream to all 
of our citizens who are willing to work for us, and offers us a way 
to continue to work together in a new era.  
             That is the most important lesson I have learned as 
President.  We have to find new ways to work together so that people, 
as individuals and families in the communities, can realize their 
great promise -- and you have done that for us in these two reports.  
Your country is indebted to you, and I thank you.  Thank you very 
much.  (Applause.)

             Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  
             VICE PRESIDENT GORE:  You did great.
             THE PRESIDENT:  You led the way.  Thank you very much.
             Q    -- speak to the Iowa Democratic caucasus -- the 
             THE PRESIDENT:  Well, obviously I was pleased.  I think 
we got all the delegates and almost all the votes -- 99.8 percent.  
(Laughter.)  The thing I'd like to point out, though, that I was 
astonished by, and I did not learn until about midnight last night, 
is that apparently, in an uncontested caucus, 50,000 people went.  By 
contrast, there were only about, I think, 100,000 people in the 
Republican caucus with nine candidates, and they had anticipated 
30,000 or 40,000 more.

             And to me, the fact that 50,000 people went out on a 
cold winter night in Iowa to reaffirm their support for the positive 
direction in which we're taking the country, and the idea that we do 
have to work together, we do need a strong set of new ideas in which 
the government is a partner in the fight for the future -- that's the 
most rewarding thing of all.  I was stunned.

             There never had been 50,000 people go to the Iowa caucus 
in an uncontested election -- never had anywhere close to 50,000 
people.  And I want to thank the people of Iowa for the reception 
they gave to me.  I want to thank the people who have worked for our 
efforts.  And most of all, I want to thank those 50,000 Americans who 
showed that our people are not cynical, they haven't given up on 
citizenship, and they are prepared to take control of their future.

             Thank you.

             END                          2:22 P.M. EST