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Special Event

Hatch: 'I Will No Longer Seek the Republican Nomination for President of the United States'

Aired January 26, 2000 - 10:04 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to go to the nation's capital, where Senator Orrin Hatch is about to announce he is dropping out of the run for the presidential race in 2000.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I told my campaign manager to act like we were spending our own money. Well, last week Kevin said, "Orrin, I don't know how to tell you this, but we are spending our own money."

(LAUGHTER)

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the White House.

Last July I announced that I was a candidate for president of the United States. I entered the race because I believe our nation is at a miracle moment. We are prosperous, we're at peace.

The seeds for these fortuitous days were sown by Ronald Reagan, in my opinion. They were nurtured under a responsible Republican Congress that gave us an unprecedented budget surplus. They have now blossomed, giving us a unique moment in our history.

Today, because of these accomplishments, we have the opportunity to finally stop talking -- to just stop talking about the serious problems challenging our nation, problems with health care and education, with taxes, with a national defense and crime, with the dangers of terrorism and the failures of counterintelligence. We can just stop talking about it. We can now start solving those problems, and we have to do it.

To seize this moment, the next president of the United States must bring to the White House integrity beyond reproach and the principles, ideals and values that we so cherish in my own homestate of Utah.

To seize this moment, the next president must bring to the presidency a common sense conservative agenda, an agenda that can be accomplished and not abandoned after the election.

To seize this moment, the next president must have a proven record of success of bringing people with diverse beliefs and attitudes together to get things done.

The next president must be a person who's been tested by the rigors and realities of public service and who knows what it means to stand on principle and not to be swayed by the clamor of Washington.

To seize this moment, the next president must understand the judicial selection process. The next president may very well appoint up to half of the federal judiciary or judges in this country and up to five members of the Supreme Court, thereby determining whether our federal judiciary is governed by the rule of law or becomes a non- elected legislature immune from recall or censure by the public.

This, in my opinion, will be and will prove to be the most important single issue of this next election.

And to seize this moment, the next president must understand that we will not realize the promise of our future unless we have the courage to repudiate the dangerous political legacy of our immediate past: the destructive, cynical philosophy of the Clinton-Gore administration that you can do no wrong if you can talk your way out of it. This is why I entered the race.

I also believe people the American people want honesty in and about their president. I believe they are tired of campaigns dominated by vague promises and slogans. They want to hear how we intend to accomplish what we are promising to do. I believe Americans want their candidates who speak their own ideas, who avoid trafficking in slogans, sound bites and endless repetition of canned statements.

They want to have a chance to vote for a person because of what he believes. They are tired of these permanent campaigns.

And I believe that Americans want a candidate who will address the unspoken sense of our needs that is abroad in our land, a questioning after the Clinton administration whether those in politics have the same regard for truth and for the trust that unites us for the simple hardy virtues that brought us to where we are today.

America's economic success is not the real measure of greatness, as you know. It isn't instead the principles, the values, the aspirations, that we share. These are the reasons that I decided to run. These are the issues that I have tried to raise over the course of this campaign. I've campaigned hard and the results were immediate. Within a month of my announcement, I moved to number nine. A few weeks later I was number eight, then I inched up to number seven. And then within a month, I was number six.

Now some nitpickers may say that this was because Lamar, Dan, Liddy and Pat dropped out.

(LAUGHTER)

But I kind of like the trend.

(LAUGHTER)

Unfortunately, the other -- the other candidates are not doing their part to keep this trend going.

(LAUGHTER)

The remaining Republican candidates are all good people -- each one of them. I'm really proud that I stood with them. And the ones who went before are really good people as well. I was disappointed when they had to drop out.

I think each of them would be a dramatic improvement over the current occupant of the White House as well as those running in the other party. They should be commended for their courage, their conviction, and their self-sacrifice.

And I hope they will continue to campaign with the objective of not diminishing one another, but closing the book on the Clinton-Gore presidency.

It is now clear that there will not be time to build sufficient support for my candidacy, therefore I am announcing today that I will no longer seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

I leave this race with no regrets for having tried. I knew that by getting in late, by raising money from small donors, by refusing public funds, that I was defying conventional wisdom and the odds were extremely long. I knew that I would be criticized. I knew it would be far more comfortable not to run.

But the goal of public life is service. In a democracy, each of us has an obligation to step forward, if we believe we can make a difference for the better. This is an obligation that I take seriously.

Our campaign, I think, has made a difference. We have forced the debate to address issues and concerns that would otherwise not have been discussed or would not be discussed in the future. I have also run my campaign as I would govern: in a frugal, open and candid way.

And I believe that we have succeeded in injecting more substantial issues into the national dialogue. But like an army, a campaign travels on stomach, it has to be fed. I could have kept going by taking a million dollars in federal matching funds -- which we qualified for -- relying on taxpayers subsidies, but I didn't think that would be right thing to do under the circumstances.

Some say that in politics, if you want a friend, get a dog. Well, they are wrong. I can never thank enough the thousands and thousands of friends and supporters I have in Utah and around this nation who have had the courage to stand with me, who have helped me in so many countless ways. They come from every walk of life, from every conceivable background, from every political perspective.

Yet we have one thing in common: We share a belief in the promise of this nation and a fervent conviction that the best days lie ahead. To these wonderful people let me simply say this: God bless you. I pray our friendship has brought me as much joy and pride as it has brought to me.

And finally, let me thank my family, my six children, my 19 grandchildren -- I have four of them behind me here today -- and two children and my son's wife.

But above all let me thank the one person who has made this possible, who has sacrificed so much, endured more than should ever have been expected and yet has expected so little in return.

And I want to thank you, Elaine. You're great.

(APPLAUSE)

KAGAN: We've been listening to Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah as he ends his bid for the presidency. The senator had a disappointing finish in the Iowa caucus on Monday, coming in sixth with only one percent of support in that caucus. This, though, is hardly the last we will hear from the senator in politics. He's running for a fifth Senate term in his home state of Utah, and the competition does not look stiff. So, Senator Hatch will probably be a figure in Washington for more years to come.

One note: He did not -- the senator did not mention who he might endorse for the Republican nomination for president.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll monitor that, see if that changes.

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