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Special Event

Clinton: Justice Department, INS Had 'Difficult Job to Do With No Easy Choices' in Elian Gonzalez Matter

Aired April 25, 2000 - 2:34 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We have the president in the East Room. He is talking to several folks about hate crimes legislation. But at the top of that meeting -- and we missed those comments because of our piece on the legacy project. We missed some of the president's comments about the Elian Gonzalez affair. Let's listen to that now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... about the reunion of Elian Gonzalez and his father.

After five months, it was long overdue. Now that they have been safely reunited, I believe it's time for all of us, including the media and those of us in public life, to give this family the space it needs to heal its wounds and strengthen its bonds, to work to lessen the pressure on them as the matter goes forward in the courts.

The thing that really matters now is that little boy and his life and his family. And I think at least for the next several days, the less we all say about it and the more time he has to breath the air of a normal life, the better.

I would like to commend the attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Holder, the law enforcement and the INS. They had a very, very difficult job to do with no easy choices, and I am grateful that they were able to safely reunite the young boy with his father.

Thank you.

WATERS: Applauding the attorney general for Saturday's action in taking Elian Gonzalez by force to Washington for the reuniting with his father, the president saying we need now to work to lessen the pressure on the family. And to that end, as you have heard, Elian Gonzalez, his father, Mr. Gonzalez's wife and their infant son have been moved to another location, down the road from the Wye River Plantation to a place known as Carmichael Farm, a place where once the King of Jordan stayed during the Middle East peace talks.

So the president is wishing now for the family to be alone, to have the chance to bond without the pressures of the media, the politicians and the legal community.

And we will have further developments when they become available. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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