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Special Event

Millennium 2000: President and First Lady Deliver New Year's Address to the Nation

Aired January 1, 2000 - 10:05 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: A rare event: President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton delivering a New Year's message to the nation together. The radio address will be broadcast on television and then simultaneously video-cast on the Internet.

We understand that the first lady, at least, we expect that some of the message is going to be about community, global community. We also understand President Clinton is, of course, taken up the issue of what he terms the "digital divide," between those who have access to technology, and how they may somehow have advantage in lives in the future compared to those who don't have access to technology like the Internet and other things.

Let's listen to in what their message is.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning, and happy new year -- or we should say happy new millennium.

Last night, Hillary and I joined thousands of Americans in the National Mall to bid farewell to the remarkable century just passed, and to welcome the new millennium. The feelings of goodwill and hope that overcame us all will be among our most treasured memories, and we are deeply grateful that celebrations were both jubilant and peaceful, here and all around the world.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY: But our celebration didn't just begin at the stroke of midnight, nor will it end today. Two years ago the president and I launched the White House Millennium Project, to inspire all Americans to reflect on where we have been as a nation, who we are and what we want to be. A project to honor the past and imagine the future.

I have traveled all across our country encouraging citizens and communities to think of the gifts that America can give to the future, whether it is savings our historic treasures -- such as the Declaration of Independence, or Thomas Edison's invention factory, or the pueblos of the American Southwest -- opening trails and planting millions of trees for future generations to enjoy, or teaching our school children to value their own families and America's immigrant past.

The president and I invite you to join these and so many other efforts to extend our celebration far into the new year and the new century.

W. CLINTON: What is perhaps most remarkable about last night's celebration is the way it was shared all around the world. Millions of Americans and billions of others across the globe watched on television as midnight broke, first in Asia, then in Europe, then Africa, South America, finally here in North America.

That people all over the planet could experience the same events at the same time would have been impossible for anyone to imagine 1,000 years ago, even 100. Yet the growing inter-connectiveness of the world today, thanks to a global economy and technologies like the Internet, is more than just a mark of how far we have come. It is the key to understanding where we are going and what we must do in the new millennium.

It is clear that our fate in America increasingly will be tied to the fate of other nations and other people around the world. We must have prosperous partners to trade with, secure democracies to share the burdens of peace keeping, and mutual effort to combat challenges that know no borders, from terrorism to environmental destruction.

To advance our interest and protect our values in this new, interconnected world, America clearly must remain engaged. We must help to shape events, and not be shaped by them.

H. CLINTON: Yet it is not just by our exertions abroad, but by the example we set here at home, that we can influence the world for the better. For in the new millennium, the world will be looking to America for leadership and meeting our great common challenges. If we in America can extend prosperity to people and places in this country that have not yet felt it, then perhaps the global economy can bring a better life to the 1.4 billion people who live on less $1 a day.

If we in America can provide all of our children with a world- class education, then perhaps it will be possible in the not-too- distant future for every child in the world to have a good education. And if we can build one America and make our diversity our greatest strength, then perhaps other nations will see the advantage of working to overcome their own ethnic and religious tensions.

W. CLINTON: We begin the 21st century well poised to be that guiding light. Seldom in our history, and never in my lifetime, has our nation enjoyed such a combination of widespread economic success, social solidarity and national self confidence, without an internal crisis or an overarching external threat. Never has the openness and dynamism of our society been more emulated by other countries. Never have our values, the freedom, democracy and opportunity, been more ascendant in the world.

Nearly 55 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt said that we cannot live alone at peace. Our own wellbeing is dependent on the wellbeing of other nations far away, and therefore, that we must be citizens of the world, members of the human community. I believe his words will prove even truer in the 21st century.

With America fulfilling our ideals and responsibilities, we can make this new century a time of unprecedented peace, freedom, and prosperity for our people, and for all of the citizens of the world.

Thank you. Happy new year, and God bless America.

MANN: Well, there the president and the first lady delivering their millennium address, an address aimed mostly at the people within the United States, but we heard the president there stressing the global themes.

Mrs. Clinton obviously involved in a political race in New York for the Senate. There might be some criticism of her appearance in this, but her message was basically one that is well known to the American people and anyone else who has followed her -- a message about peace, a message about children and the environment.

But that -- there the view from the head of the United States and the White House, President Clinton, this millennium day.

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