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W hile deficit reduction was essential to my economic strategy, it was not sufficient to build a sustained, widely shared recovery. In the early months, we filled out the agenda with initiatives to expand trade, increase investment in education and training, and promote a host of micro-economic issues aimed at particular trouble spots or targets of opportunity. For example, I offered proposals to help military and civilian personnel who had lost their jobs as a result of the postCold War decline in defense spending; urged our major federal research labsLos Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, and Livermore in Californiato use the massive scientific and technological resources that had helped win the Cold War to develop new technologies with commercial applications; announced a micro-loan program to support budding entrepreneurs, including welfare recipients eager to get off the rolls, who often had good ideas but couldnt meet the credit standards of traditional lenders; increased the volume of Small Business Administration loans, especially to women and minorities; and named a National Commission to Ensure a Strong and Competitive Airline Industry, chaired by former Virginia governor Jerry Baliles. The airline manufacturers and carriers were in trouble because of the economic downturn, fewer orders for military planes, and stiff competition from the European manufacturer Airbus..cheap nike roshe run.
I also offered plans to help communities develop commercial uses for the military facilities that would be closed as defense was downsized. As governor, I had dealt with the closing of an air force base, and I was determined to give more aid to those facing the same challenge now. Since California was, by itself, the worlds sixth-largest economy, and it had been hit especially hard by defense downsizing and other problems, we developed a special plan to promote recovery there. John Emerson had the responsibility of riding herd on the project and other matters of concern to his native state. He was so unrelenting in doing so that he became known around the White House as the Secretary of California..moncler jackets outlet.
One of the most effective things we did was to reform the regulations governing financial institutions under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. The law required federally insured lenders to make an extra effort to give loans to low- and modest-income borrowers, but before 1993 it had never had much impact. After the changes we made, between 1993 and 2000, banks would offer more than $800 billion in home mortgage, small-business, and community development loans to borrowers covered by the law, a staggering figure that amounted to well over 90 percent of all the loans made in the twenty-three years of the Community Reinvestment Act..moncler outlet online.
May was an interesting month, and valuable for my continuing political education. On the fifth, I awarded my first Presidential Medal of Freedom to my old mentor Senator Fulbright on his eighty-eighth birthday. Al Gores father was at the ceremony, and when he reminded Fulbright that he himself was only eighty-five, Fulbright replied, Albert, if you behave yourself, youll make it, too. I admired both men for what theyd done for America; I wondered if I would live as long as they had; if so, I hoped I could wear the years as well..moncler outlet.
In the third week of the month, I went to California to emphasize the investments in the economic plan for education and inner-city development at a town hall meeting in San Diego, a community college in Van Nuys with a large Hispanic enrollment, and a sporting-goods store in South Central Los Angeles where the riots had occurred a year earlier. I especially enjoyed the last event. The athletic store, called the Playground, had a basketball court out back, which had become a gathering place for young people. Ron Brown was with me, and we took some of the kids and played each other in an impromptu basketball game, after which I talked about the potential of empowerment zones to create more successful businesses like the Playground in poor communities all across America. Im pretty sure this was the first time a President ever played basketball with inner-city kids in their backyard, and I hoped that pictures of the game would send a message to America about the new administrations priorities, and to young people in particular that I cared about them and their futures..cheap moncler jackets.
Unfortunately, most Americans never heard about the basketball game because I got a haircut. I hadnt found a barber in Washington yet; I couldnt go back to Arkansas every three weeks to see Jim Miles, and my hair was too long. Hillary had had her hair done by a man in Los Angeles, Cristophe Schatteman, who was a friend of the Thomasons and whom I liked very much. I asked Cristophe if he would be willing to give me a quick trim. He agreed to do it and met me in my private quarters on Air Force One. Before we started, I asked the Secret Service not once, but twice, to make sure I wouldnt cause any delay in takeoffs or landings if I put off our departure for a few minutes. They checked with the airport personnel, who said it would be no problem. Then I asked Cristophe just to make me presentable as quickly as possible. He did, in ten minutes or so, and we took off..moncler outlet online.
The next thing I knew, there was a story out that I had kept two runways tied up for an hour, inconveniencing thousands of people, while I got a $200 haircut from a fancy hairdresser who was known only by his first name. Forget the basketball game with inner-city kids; the irresistible news was that I had shed my Arkansas roots and populist politics for an expensive indulgence. It was a great story, but it wasnt true. First of all, I didnt pay $200 for the ten-minute trim. Second, I didnt keep anybody waiting to take off or land, as the Federal Aviation Administration records showed when they were finally released a few weeks later. I was appalled that anyone would think Id do such a thing. I might have been President, but Mother would still have given me a whipping if Id kept a lot of people waiting an hour while I got a haircut, much less a $200 one..cheap moncler jackets.
The haircut story was crazy. I didnt handle it well, because I got angry, which is always a mistake. A big part of its attraction was that Cristophe was a Hollywood hairdresser. Many people in Washingtons political and press establishment have a love-hate relationship with Hollywood. They like to mix with movie and television stars but tend to view the entertainment communitys political interests and commitments as somehow less authentic than their own. In fact, most people in both groups are good citizens with a lot in common. Someone once said that politics is show business for ugly people..cheap moncler jackets.
A few weeks later, Newsday, a Long Island newspaper, obtained the Federal Aviation Administration records of flight activities at the Los Angeles airport that day, proving that the reported delays had never occurred. USA Today and a few other papers also printed a correction..moncler outlet online.
One thing that probably kept the haircut story alive and mostly uncorrected was something that had nothing to do with it. On May 19, on the advice of David Watkins, who was in charge of administrative operations at the White House, and with the concurrence of the White House counsels office, Mack McLarty fired the seven employees of the White House Travel Office. The office makes all arrangements for the press when they travel with the President, and bills their employers for the costs. Hillary and I had both asked Mack to look into the Travel Office operations because she was told that the office allowed no competitive bidding on its charter flights, and I got a complaint from a White House reporter about bad meals and high costs. After an audit by the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick turned up an off-the-books ledger with $18,000 not properly accounted for and other irregularities, the employees were dismissed..cheap sexy prom dresses.
Once I mentioned the reporters complaint to Mack, I forgot all about the Travel Office until the firings were announced. The reaction of the press corps was extremely negative. They liked the way they had been cared for, especially on foreign trips. And they had known the people in the Travel Office for years and couldnt imagine that they would do anything wrong. Many in the press felt the Travel Office staff virtually worked for them, not the White House, and felt they should have at least been notified, if not fully consulted, as the investigation proceeded. Despite the criticism, the reconstituted Travel Office provided the same services with fewer federal employees at lower costs to the press..cartier love bracelet replica.
The Travel Office affair proved to be a particularly powerful example of the culture clash between the new White House and the established political press. The director of the Travel Office was later indicted for embezzlement based on Travel Office funds found in his personal account, and, according to press reports, he offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge and spend a few months in jail. Instead, the prosecutor insisted on going to trial on the felony charge. After several famous journalists testified for him as character witnesses, he was acquitted. Despite investigations of the Travel Office by the White House, the General Accounting Office, the FBI, and the independent counsels office, no evidence of wrongdoing, conflicts of interest, or criminality by anyone at the White House was ever found, nor did anyone dispute the Travel Offices financial problems and mismanagement found in the Peat Marwick audit..Cartier Love Bracelet Replica.
I couldnt believe the American people were seeing me primarily through the prism of the haircut, the Travel Office, and gays in the military. Instead of a President fighting to change America for the better, I was being portrayed as a man who had abandoned down-home for uptown, a knee-jerk liberal whose mask of moderation had been removed. I had recently done a television interview in Cleveland in which a man said he no longer supported me because I was spending all my time on gays in the military and Bosnia. I replied that Id just done an analysis of how Id spent my time in the first hundred days: 55 percent on the economy and health care, 25 percent on foreign policy, 20 percent on other domestic issues. When he asked how much time Id spent on gays in the military, and I told him just a few hours, he simply replied, I dont believe you. All he knew was what he read and saw..cartier love bracelet replica.
I did some serious thinking about the trouble I was in. It seemed to me that the roots of the problem were these: the White House staff had too little experience in, and too few connections with, Washingtons established power centers; we were trying to do too many things at once, creating an impression of disarray and preventing the people from hearing what we had actually accomplished; our lack of a clear message made otherwise minor issues look as if I was governing on the cultural and political left, not from the dynamic center, as I had promised; the impression was being reinforced by the one-note Republican attack that my budget plan was nothing but a big tax increase; and I had been blind to the considerable political obstacles I faced. I was elected with 43 percent of the vote; I had underestimated how hard it would be to turn Washington around after twelve years on a very different course, and how politicallyeven psychologicallyjarring the changes would be to Washingtons main players; many Republicans never considered my presidency legitimate in the first place and were acting accordingly; and the Congress, with a Democratic majority with its own way of doing things and a Republican minority determined to prove I was too liberal and couldnt govern, was not about to pass all the legislation I wanted as quickly as I wanted to pass it..cartier love bracelet replica.
Along with Gergens appointment, we made some other staff changes: Mark Gearan, Mack McLartys able and popular deputy chief of staff, would replace George Stephanopoulos as communications director, with Dee Dee Myers staying as press secretary and taking over the daily briefings; and George would move to a new senior advisor position, to help me coordinate policy, strategy, and day-to-day decisions. At first he was disappointed not to be doing the daily press briefings any longer, but he soon mastered a job much like the one he had done in the campaign, and he did it so well that his influence and impact within the White House increased.
The other positive change we made was to unclutter my day, providing two hours in the middle of most days for me to read, think, rest, and make phone calls. It would make a big difference.
Things were looking up by the end of the month, when the House passed my budget, 219213. The Senate then took it up, and immediately scrapped the BTU tax in favor of a 4.3-cents-a-gallon increase in the gasoline tax and more spending cuts. The bad news was that the gas tax would promote less energy conservation than the BTU tax; the good news was that it would cost middle-class Americans less, only about $33 a year.
On May 31, my first Memorial Day as President, after the traditional ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, I went to another ceremony at the newly opened section of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a long black marble wall with the names of all the members of the U.S. armed forces who had been killed or were missing in the war etched on it. Early that morning I had jogged over to the wall from the White House to look at the names of my friends from Hot Springs. I knelt at the spot where my friend Bert Jeffriess name was, touched it, and said a prayer.
I knew it would be a tough event, full of people for whom the Vietnam War continued to be the defining moment in their lives and to whom the thought of someone like me as Commander in Chief was abhorrent. But I was determined to go, to face those who still held my views on Vietnam against me, and to tell all Vietnam veterans that I honored their service and that of their fallen comrades and would work to resolve the still-open cases of prisoners of war and soldiers still listed as missing in action.
Colin Powell introduced me with conviction and class, strongly signaling the respect he thought I should receive as Commander in Chief. Nevertheless, when I got up to speak, loud protesters attempted to drown me out. I spoke to them directly:
To all of you who are shouting, I have heard you. I ask you now to hear me. . . . Some have suggested that it is wrong for me to be here with you today because I did not agree a quarter of a century ago with the decision made to send the young men and women to battle in Vietnam. Well, so much the better. . . . Just as war is freedoms cost, disagreement is freedoms privilege, and we honor it here today. . . . The message of this memorial is quite simple: these men and women fought for freedom, brought honor to their communities, loved their country, and died for it. . . . Theres not a person in this crowd today who did not know someone on this wall. Four of my high school classmates are there. . . . Let us continue to disagree, if we must, about the war. But let us not let it divide us as a people any longer.
The event started roughly, but ended well. Robert McNamaras prediction that my election had ended the Vietnam War wasnt quite accurate, but maybe we were getting there.
June began with a disappointment that was both personal and political, as I withdrew my nomination of Lani Guinier, a University of Pennsylvania professor, a longtime lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and my law school classmate, to be the first career civil rights lawyer to head the Civil Rights Division. After I named her in April, the conservatives went after Guinier with a vengeance, attacking her as a quota queen and accusing her of advocating the abandonment of the constitutional principle of one man, one vote because she had supported a system of cumulative voting, under which each voter would get as many votes as there are contested seats on a legislative body, and could cast all the votes for a single candidate. In theory, cumulative voting would dramatically increase the odds of minority candidates being elected.
At first, I didnt pay too much attention to the rantings of the right, thinking that what they really disliked about Guinier was her long record of successful civil rights fights, and that, as she made the rounds of the Senate, she would win enough votes to be confirmed easily.
I was wrong. My friend Senator David Pryor came to see me and urged me to withdraw Lanis nomination, saying that her interviews with the senators were going poorly, and reminding me that we also had an economic program to pass and not a vote to spare. Majority Leader George Mitchell, who had been a federal judge before he came to the Senate, strongly agreed with David; he said Lani couldnt be confirmed and we needed to end it as soon as possible. I was informed that Senators Ted Kennedy and Carol Moseley Braun, the Senates only African-American member, felt the same way.
I decided I had better read Lanis articles. They made a persuasive case for her position, but were in conflict with my support for affirmative action and opposition to quotas, and seemed to abandon one man, one vote in favor of one man, many votes: spread them out however you like.
I asked her to come see me so that we could talk it through. As we discussed the problem in the Oval Office, Lani was understandably offended by the battering she had taken, amazed that anyone would see the academic musings in her articles as a serious obstacle to her confirmation, and dismissive of the difficulties her nomination presented to the senators whose votes she needed, perhaps through several filibusters. My staff had told her we didnt have the votes to confirm her, but she declined to withdraw, feeling she had a right to be voted on. Finally, I told her that I felt I had to withdraw her nomination, that I hated to do it, but we were going to lose, and though it was cold comfort, her withdrawal would make her a heroine in the civil rights community.
In the aftermath, I was heavily criticized for abandoning a friend in the face of political pressure, mostly by people who didnt know what was going on in the background. Eventually, I nominated Deval Patrick, another brilliant African-American lawyer with a strong civil rights background, to lead the Civil Rights Division, and he did a fine job. I still admire Lani Guinier, and regret that I lost her friendship.
I spent much of the first two weeks of June picking a Supreme Court justice. A few weeks earlier, Byron Whizzer White had announced his retirement after thirty-one years on the High Court. As I said earlier, I first wanted to appoint Governor Mario Cuomo, but he wasnt interested. After reviewing more than forty candidates, I settled on three: my Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who had been attorney general of Arizona before becoming governor; Judge Stephen Breyer, chief judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, who had compiled an impressive record on the bench; and Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, a brilliant woman with a compelling life story whose record was interesting, independent, and progressive. I met with Babbitt and Breyer and was convinced they both would be good justices, but I hated to lose Babbitt at Interior, as did large numbers of environmentalists who called the White House to urge that I keep him there, and Breyer had a minor nanny problem, though Senator Kennedy, who was pushing him hard, assured me that he would be confirmed.
Like everything else that happened in the White House in the early months, my interviews with both men leaked, so I decided to see Ginsburg in my private office in the residence of the White House on a Sunday night. I was tremendously impressed with her. I thought that she had the potential to become a great justice, and that, at the least, she could do the three things I felt a new justice needed to do on the Rehnquist Court, which was closely divided between moderates and conservatives: decide cases on the merits, not on ideology or the identities of the parties; work with the conservative Republican justices to reach consensus when possible; and stand up to them when necessary. In one of her articles, Ginsburg had written: The greatest figures of the American judiciary have been independent thinking individuals with open but not empty minds; individuals willing to listen and to learn. They have exhibited a readiness to reexamine their own premises, liberal or conservative, as thoroughly as those of others.
When we announced her appointment, it hadnt leaked. The press had written that I intended to appoint Breyer, based on a tip from a leaker who didnt know what he was talking about. After Judge Ginsburg made her brief but moving statement, one of the reporters said her appointment gave the impression that my decision to appoint her, rather than Breyer, reflected a certain zig-zag quality to the process of decision making in the White House. He then asked whether I could refute that impression. I didnt know whether to laugh or cry. I replied, I have long since given up the thought that I could disabuse some of you of turning any substantive decision into anything but political process. Apparently, when it came to appointments, the name of the game wasnt supposed to be follow the leader but follow the leaker. I have to confess that I was almost as happy about surprising the press as I was with the choice I had made.
In the last week of June, the Senate finally passed my budget by only 5049, with one Democrat and one Republican not voting, and Al Gore breaking the tie. No Republican voted for it, and we lost six conservative Democrats. Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, whom I had known since 1974, when he first ran for governor and I ran for Congress, gave us a vote to stave off defeat, but indicated that he would oppose the final bill unless it contained more spending cuts and fewer taxes.
Now that the Senate and House had approved the budget plans, they would have to reconcile their differences and then wed have to fight for passage in both houses all over again. Since we had won by such small margins in both places, any concession made by one chamber to the other could lose a vote or two, all it would take to defeat the whole package. Roger Altman came over from Treasury with his chief of staff, Josh Steiner, to set up a war room to organize the campaign for final passage. We needed to know where every vote was, and what we could argue or offer to wavering members to get a majority. After all the blood wed spilled over minor issues, this was a fight worth making. For the next six and a half weeks, the economic future of the country, not to mention the future of my presidency, hung in the balance.
On the day after the Senate passed the budget, I ordered the military into action for the first time, firing twenty-three Tomahawk missiles into Iraqs intelligence headquarters, in retaliation for a plot to assassinate President George H. W. Bush during a trip he had made to Kuwait. More than a dozen people involved in the plot had been arrested in Kuwait on April 13, one day before the former President had been scheduled to arrive. The materials in their possession were conclusively traced to Iraqi intelligence, and on May 19 one of the arrested Iraqis confirmed to the FBI that the Iraqi intelligence service was behind the plot. I asked the Pentagon to recommend a course of action, and General Powell came to me with the missile attack on the intelligence headquarters as both a proportionate response and an effective deterrent. I felt we would have been justified in hitting Iraq harder, but Powell made a persuasive case that the attack would deter further Iraqi terrorism, and that dropping bombs on more targets, including presidential palaces, would have been unlikely to kill Saddam Hussein and almost certain to kill more innocent people. Most of the Tomahawks hit the target, but four of them overshot, three landing in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood and killing eight civilians. It was a stark reminder that no matter how careful the planning and how accurate the weapons, when that kind of firepower is unleashed, there are usually unintended consequences.
On July 6, I was in Tokyo for my first international meeting, the sixteenth annual G-7 summit. Historically, these meetings had been talkfests, with few meaningful policy commitments and little follow-up coming out of them. We didnt have the luxury of another meeting where nothing happened. The world economy was dragging, with growth in Europe the slowest in more than a decade, and in Japan the slowest in nearly two decades. We were making some headway on the economic front; in the last five months, over 950,000 more Americans had found work, about as many new jobs as the economy had produced in the previous three years.
I went to Japan with an agenda: to get the agreement of European and Japanese leaders to coordinate their internal economic policies with ours, in order to raise the level of global growth; convince Europe and Japan to drop tariffs on manufacturing goods, which would create jobs in all our countries and increase the chances of finishing the seven-year-old Uruguay Round of world trade talks by the December 15 deadline; and send a clear, unified signal of financial and political support for Yeltsin and Russian democracy.
The odds of success on any of these items, much less all three, were not great, in part because none of the leaders were particularly strong coming into the meeting. Between the tough medicine in my economic plan and the bad press over problems, both real and imagined, my public approval had dropped steeply since the inauguration. John Major was hanging on in England, but was hurt by constant unfavorable comparison to his predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, something the Iron Lady did nothing to discourage. Franois Mitterrand was a fascinating, brilliant man, a Socialist in his second seven-year term, who was limited in what he could deliver by the fact that the French prime minister and his governing coalition, who controlled economic policy, were from opposing political parties. Carlo Ciampi, the Italian prime minister, was a former governor of the Italian Central Bank and a modest man who was known for riding his bicycle to work. Despite his intelligence and appeal, he was hampered by the fractured and inherently unstable Italian political environment. Kim Campbell, Canadas first female prime minister, was an impressive, clearly dedicated person who had just taken office after the resignation of Brian Mulroney. She was essentially finishing Mulroneys long run at the helm, with the polls showing a rising tide of support for the opposition leader, Jean Chrtien. Our host, Kiichi Miyazawa, was widely regarded as a lame duck in a Japanese political system in which the long monopoly of the Liberal Democratic Party was coming to an end. Miyazawa may have been a lame duck, but he was an impressive one, with sophisticated understanding of the world. He spoke colloquial English about as well as I did. And he was also a patriot who wanted the G-7 meeting to reflect well on his country.
The conventional wisdom held that Helmut Kohl, the long-serving German chancellor, was also in trouble, because his poll numbers were down and his Christian Democratic Party had suffered some recent losses in local elections, but I thought Kohl still had plenty of life in his leadership. He was a huge man, about my height and weighing well over three hundred pounds. He spoke with great conviction in a direct, often brusque manner, and he was a world-class storyteller with a good sense of humor. And in more than size he was the largest figure on the European continent in decades. He had reunified Germany, funneling massive sums of money from West to East Germany to lift the incomes of those who had made far less under communism. Kohls Germany had become the largest financial supporter of Russian democracy. He was also the leading force behind the emerging European Union, and he was in favor of admitting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into both the EU and the NATO alliance. Finally, Kohl was deeply troubled by Europes passivity in Bosnia and thought, as I did, that the United Nations should lift the arms embargo because it was unfair to the Bosnian Muslims. On all the great questions facing Europe, he was on the right side, and pushing hard for his point of view. He felt if he got the big things right, the polls would follow. I liked Helmut Kohl a lot. Over the next several years, through many meals, visits, and phone calls, we would forge a political and personal bond that would bear great fruit for Europeans and Americans alike.
I was optimistic about the prospects for the G-7 because I was bringing a strong agenda to the meeting and because I believed all the other leaders were smart enough to know that the best way to get out of trouble at home was to do something meaningful in Tokyo. Just as the conference opened, we crossed one threshold, when our trade ministers agreed that all of us would lower tariffs to zero on ten different manufacturing sectors, opening markets for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of trade. It was Mickey Kantors first victory as our trade ambassador. He had proved to be a tough, effective negotiator, with skills that eventually would produce more than two hundred agreements, sparking an expansion of trade that would account for almost 30 percent of our economic growth over the next eight years.
After we agreed on a generous aid package, the G-7 meeting also left no doubt that the rich nations were all committed to helping Russia. On the matter of coordinating our economic policies, the results were more ambiguous. I was working to bring the deficit down, and Germanys central bank had just lowered interest rates, but Japans willingness to stimulate its economy and open its borders to more foreign trade and com-petition remained unclear. That was progress Id have to achieve in our bilateral talks with the Japanese, which began right after the G-7 meeting.
In 1993, because Japan was dealing with economic stagnation and political uncertainty, I knew it would be hard to get changes in trade policy, but I had to try. Clearly our large trade deficit with Japan was due in part to protectionism. For example, they wouldnt buy our skis, saying they werent the right width. I had to find a way to push open Japanese markets without damaging our important security partnership, which was essential to building a stable future for Asia. While I was making these points in a speech to Japanese students at Waseda University, Hillary went on her own charm offensive in Japan, finding an especially warm reception among the increasingly large number of young, well-educated working women.
Prime Minister Miyazawa agreed in principle to my suggestion that we achieve a framework agreement committing ourselves to specific measurable steps to improve our trade relationship. So did the Japanese Foreign Ministry, whose senior civil servant, the father of Japans new crown princess, was determined to reach an agreement. The big obstacle was the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), whose leaders felt that their policies had made Japan a great power and saw no reason to change. Late one night, after we finished our talks, representatives of the two ministries were literally screaming their arguments at each other in the lobby of the Hotel Okura. Our staffs got as close as they could to an agreement, with Mickey Kantors deputy, Charlene Barshefsky, driving such a hard bargain the Japanese called her Stonewall. Then Miyazawa and I got together over a traditional Japanese meal at the Hotel Okura to see if we could resolve the remaining differences. We did, in what was later called the Sushi Summit, though Miyazawa always joked that the sake we drank contributed more than the sushi to the final outcome.
The framework agreement committed America to reduce its budget deficit and Japan to take steps over the next year to open its markets in automobile and auto parts, computers, telecommunications, satellites, medical equipment, financial services, and insurance, with objective standards for measuring success on specific timetables. I was convinced that the agreement would be economically beneficial to both the United States and Japan and that it would help Japanese reformers succeed in leading their remarkable nation to its next era of greatness. Like most such agreements, it didnt produce all one could hope for in either country, but it was still a very good thing.
As I left Japan for Korea, the press reports back home said that my first G-7 meeting was a triumph for my personal diplomacy with the other leaders and my outreach to the Japanese people. It was nice to get some positive press coverage, and even better to have met the objectives we set for the G-7 and the Japanese negotiations. I had enjoyed getting to know and work with the other leaders. And after the G-7, I felt more confident in my ability to advance Americas interests in the world and understood why so many Presidents preferred foreign policy to the frustrations they faced on the home front.
In South Korea, I visited our troops along the DMZ, which had divided North and South Korea since the armistice ending the Korean War was signed. I walked out onto the Bridge of No Return, stopping about ten feet from the stripe of white paint dividing the two countries and staring at the young North Korean soldier guarding his side in the last lonely outpost of the Cold War. In Seoul, Hillary and I were the guests of President Kim Yong-Sam in the official guest residence, which had an indoor swimming pool. When I went for a dip, music suddenly filled the air. I found myself swimming to many of my favorite tunes, from Elvis to jazz, a nice example of Koreas famous hospitality. After a meeting with the president and a speech to the parliament, I left South Korea grateful for our long alliance and determined to maintain it.