On December 14, 2000, President Bill Clinton gave one of the last difficult statements of his presidency — remarking on the presidential race that his vice president conceded the night before. The Clinton Presidential Library released a number of the drafts that led up to his remarks, showing how Clinton and his team debated what to say — and how much attention they should draw to the contentious aftermath of the campaign.
The 2000 presidential election was perhaps the hardest fought in American history, settled only when the Supreme Court decided to halt vote counting in Florida, effectively declaring George W. Bush the winner. On December 13, Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, conceded. Clinton, who was in North Aylesbury, England, would comment on the concession the next morning.
We took the various versions of the statement, including updates and edits written in a number of different hands. It appears that the first drafts were composed the evening before. Over the course of the night they were tweaked and edited, until presented the following morning.
The main evolution that occurred over the course of the night was moving away from obvious frustration at the results of the election — "tens of thousands of ballots … were never tallied. But … we are a nation of laws" — and toward the sort of unity that has traditionally marked American transitions of power. "The American people," Clinton said that morning, "however divided they were in this election, overwhelmingly want us to build on that vital center without rancor or personal attack."
The first Presidential election of the 21st century will be remembered for many things. It was among the closest in our nation's history, one of the hardest fought, and certainly the longest. The outcome has now been resolved. As soon as the sun rises in America, I intend to call President-elect George W. Bush to arrange a meeting that will set in motion a smooth transition of power.
I want to congratulate Vice President Gore for his strong campaign and his principled defense of our most fundamental democratic value — the right of every citizen to vote, and to have their that vote count. For the last eight years he has been an extraordinary partner in our efforts to turn America around.
And, together, we have succeeded. But, as long as I have known him, I have never been more impressed with his courage and his character than during these past few weeks. We should never forget — his was a fight for the integrity of American democracy. He was determined to ensure that every American — no matter what their background or belief — should have a voice on election day.
Over the past month, we have passionately debated the outcome of this election. And while many believe the process could and should have been different, we must all now accept the results. It's what the Vice President has asked us to do. And I think we should follow his lead.
I also want to congratulate the American people. They have been amazingly patient over these trying weeks. Now, we should repay their patience with real progress on the pressing challenges facing this nation. We must begin by healing the partisan breach, and restoring public confidence in our electoral system. Every American should have equal access to the ballot box — not just in principle, but in practice. At the end of the day, all of us must have confidence that our voices will be heard.
As the transition begins in earnest, I want to assure President-elect Bush that my Administration will do everything possible to ensure an orderly, efficient process. On behalf of all Americans, we wish him well as he shoulders the responsiblities of the Presidency.
Just as a fabric tom and repaired becomes stronger than before ... so too can our nation emerge stronger if we rededicate ourselves to the basic principles of democracy, working together to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.
Dec. 13, 5:15 p.m., edits
Red text shows things removed from the previous draft; green is things that were added.
The first Presidential election of the 21st century will certainly be remembered for many things. It was among the closest in our nation's history, one of the hardest fought, and certainly the longest. The outcome has now been resolved. As soon as the sun rises in America, I intend towill call President-elect George W. Bush to arrange a meeting that will set in motion a smooth transition of powercongratulate him and invite him to the White House to discuss the transition.
I particularly want to congratulatecommend Vice President Gore for his strong campaign and his principled defense of our most fundamental democratic value — the right of every citizen to vote, and to have their that vote count. For the last eight years he has been an extraordinary partner in our effortsa close friend and a steadfast partner in our work to turn America around.
And, together, we have succeeded. But, as long as I have known him, I have never been more impressed with his courage and his character than during these past few weeks. We should nevernot forget —that his was a fight for the integrity of American democracy. He was determined to ensureto ensure that every American — no matter what their background or belief — should have a voice on election day — not just in principle, but in practice. We can — and we must — do better.
Over the past month, we have passionately debated the outcome of this election. And while many believe the process could and should have been different, we must all of us must now accept the results. It'sThat's what the Vice President has asked us to do. And I think we should follow his lead.
I also want to congratulate the American people have shown remarkable patience and confidence. They have been amazingly patient over these tryinglast weeks. Now, we should repay their patience with real progress on the pressing challenges facing this nationa renewed commitment to doing their business.
We must begin by healing the partisan breach, and restoring public confidence in our electoral system. Every American should have equal access to the ballot box — not just in principle, but in practice. At the end of the day, all of us must have confidence that our voices will be heard.
As the transition begins in earnest, I want to assure President-elect Bush that my Administration will do everything possible to ensure an orderly, efficient processa cooperative and effective transition. The American people deserve our best efforts.. On behalf of all Americans, we I wish him well as he shoulders the responsiblities of the Presidencythis office.
This is a strong and a resilient people.Just as a fabric tom and repaired becomes stronger than before ... so too can our nation can emerge stronger still if we rededicate ourselves to the basic principles of democracy, working together to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.
Dec. 14, 2:45 a.m.
This draft appears to have been distributed more widely for feedback. Multiple edits from different people ensued.
Good morning. Last night President-elect Bush and Vice President Gore showed what is best about America. In this election, the American people were closely divided. The outcome was decided by a Supreme Court that was closely divided. But the essential unity of our Nation was reflected in the words and values of those who fought this great contest. I was proud of both men.
I pledged to President-elect Bush my efforts and the best efforts of every member of our administration for a smooth and successful transition.
I want to say I am profoundly grateful to Vice President Gore for eight extraordinary years of partnership. Without his leadership, we could not have made the progress or reached the prosperity we now enjoy and pass on to the next administration.
I am also profoundly grateful to him for putting into words last night the feelings of all of us who disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision, but accepted it. And as he said, all of us have a responsibility to support Presidentelect Bush and to unite our country in the search for common ground.
I wish President-elect Bush well. Like him, I came to Washington as a Governor, eager to work with both Republicans and Democrats. And when we reached across party lines to forge a vital center, America was stronger at home and abroad.
The American people, however divided they were in this election, overwhelmingly want us to build on that vital center without rancor or personal attack.
I thank the Members of Congress from both parties who have pledged to work with the President-elect. They have also pledged to elect commonsense bipartisan election reforms so that the votes of all citizens can be easily cast and easily counted in future elections.
Finally, I want to thank the American people for their patience, passion, and patriotism throughout this extended election season. In the days of service left to me, I will do all I can to finish our remaining work with Congress and to help President-elect Bush get off to a good start.
As I've said so many times over the last year, our country has never before enjoyed so much peace and prosperity with so few internal crises and so little external threat. We have the opportunity to build the future of our dreams for our children, and every one of us has an obligation to work together to achieve it.
Thank you very much.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
On Tuesday, the late-night host once again devoted his show to the politics of American health care. This time, though, he offered indignation rather than tears.
“By the way, before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I’m politicizing my son’s health problems, I want you to know: I am politicizing my son’s health problems.”
That was Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday evening, in a monologue reacting to the introduction of Graham-Cassidy, the (latest) bill that seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act. Kimmel had talked about health care on his show before, in May—when, after his newborn son had undergone open-heart surgery to repair the damage of a congenital heart defect, he delivered a tearfully personal monologue sharing the experience of going through that—and acknowledging that he and his family were lucky: They could afford the surgery, whatever it might cost. Kimmel concluded his speech by, yes, politicizing his son’s health problems: He emphasized how important it is for lower- and middle-class families to have comprehensive insurance coverage, with protections for people with preexisting conditions. “No parent,” he said, speaking through tears, “should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It shouldn’t happen.”
The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.
It is insufficient to statethe obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.
Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.
J.G. is a lawyer in his early 30s. He’s a fast talker and has the lean, sinewy build of a distance runner. His choice of profession seems preordained, as he speaks in fully formed paragraphs, his thoughts organized by topic sentences. He’s also a worrier—a big one—who for years used alcohol to soothe his anxiety.
J.G. started drinking at 15, when he and a friend experimented in his parents’ liquor cabinet. He favored gin and whiskey but drank whatever he thought his parents would miss the least. He discovered beer, too, and loved the earthy, bitter taste on his tongue when he took his first cold sip.
His drinking increased through college and into law school. He could, and occasionally did, pull back, going cold turkey for weeks at a time. But nothing quieted his anxious mind like booze, and when he didn’t drink, he didn’t sleep. After four or six weeks dry, he’d be back at the liquor store.
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”
Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
Trump’s bellicosity undermines his ability to deter the Kim regime’s nuclear weapons and missiles programs.
How are we to make sense of the president of the United States—a man with unitary launch authority for over a thousand nuclear weapons—going before the United Nations General Assembly and threatening to annihilate a sovereign state? That’s exactly what President Donald Trump did on Tuesday, halfway into a long, winding speech on everything from sovereignty to UN funding. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump read carefully from his teleprompter. In one breath, he touted the virtues of the nation-state and sovereignty and, in another, promised the utter destruction of a sovereign state.
“If the world’s major powers can’t agree on what the UN is for, what does that mean for its future?”
Since the Second World War, American presidents have repeatedly gone before the United Nations General Assembly and made a similar argument: The United States has national interests just like any other country, but in the modern era those interests are increasingly international in scope and shared by people around the world, requiring more of the multilateral cooperation that the UN was founded to foster.
John F. Kennedy argued that nuclear weapons necessitated “one world and one human race, with one common destiny” guarded by one “world security system,” since “absolute sovereignty no longer assures us of absolute security.” Richard Nixon spoke of a “world interest” in reducing economic inequality, protecting the environment, and upholding international law, declaring that the “profoundest national interest of our time” is the “preservation of peace” through international structures like the UN. In rejecting tribalism and the walling-off of nations, Barack Obama asserted that “giving up some freedom of action—not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests, but binding ourselves to international rules over the long term—enhances our security.” These presidents practiced what they preached to varying degrees, and there’s long been a debate in the United States about the extent to which America’s sovereign powers should be ceded to international organizations, but in broad strokes the case for global engagement was consistent.
Today’s young children are working more, but they’re learning less.
Step into an American preschool classroom today and you are likely to be bombarded with what we educators call a print-rich environment, every surface festooned with alphabet charts, bar graphs, word walls, instructional posters, classroom rules, calendars, schedules, and motivational platitudes—few of which a 4-year-old can “decode,” the contemporary word for what used to be known as reading.
Because so few adults can remember the pertinent details of their own preschool or kindergarten years, it can be hard to appreciate just how much the early-education landscape has been transformed over the past two decades. The changes are not restricted to the confusing pastiche on classroom walls. Pedagogy and curricula have changed too, most recently in response to the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s kindergarten guidelines. Much greater portions of the day are now spent on what’s called “seat work” (a term that probably doesn’t need any exposition) and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction, formerly used mainly in the older grades, in which a teacher carefully controls the content and pacing of what a child is supposed to learn.
The bill would take funding from governments facing public-health crises to provide a short-term boon to a smaller number of states that have refused to expand Medicaid.
“Obamacare, for whatever reason, favors four blue states against the rest of us.” So South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, in a floor speech on Monday, defended the central rationale of his Obamacare replacement, the Graham-Cassidy bill. In that speech and other statements, Graham has cast his bill as a redistribution, taking federal Obamacare money poured into the liberal bastions of California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and giving some of it to cash-strapped red states that have been left out, and whose sicker populations have languished. In this telling, Graham is Robin Hood, and his co-sponsors Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are his merry men.
Donald Trump used his first address at the United Nations to redefine the idea of sovereignty.
Donald Trump’s first speech to the United Nations can best be understood as a response to his predecessor’s final one. On September 20, 2016, Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that “at this moment we all face a choice. We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration. Or we can retreat into a world sharply divided, and ultimately in conflict, along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.”
Three hundred and sixty-four days later, Trump delivered America’s answer: Option number two. His speech on Tuesday turned Obama’s on its head. Obama focused on overcoming the various challenges—poverty, economic dislocation, bigotry, extremism—that impede global “integration,” a term he used nine times. Trump didn’t use the term once. Obama used the word “international” 14 times, always positively (“international norms,” “international cooperation,” “international rules,” “international community”). Trump used it three times, in each case negatively (“unaccountable international tribunals,” “international criminal networks,” “the assassination of the dictator's brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport”) Obama warned of a world “sharply divided… along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.” Trump replied by praising “sovereignty” or invoking “sovereign” no fewer than 19 times. And while he didn’t explicitly defend divisions of “tribe and race and religion,” he talked about the importance of nations “preserving the cultures,” which is a more polite way of saying the same thing.
A new book by the economist Tim Harford on history’s greatest breakthroughs explains why barbed wire was a revolution, paper money was an accident, and HVACs were a productivity booster.
In the beginning, it wasn’t the heat, but the humidity. In 1902, the workers at Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing & Printing Company in New York City were fed up with the muggy summer air, which kept morphing their paper and ruining their prints. To fix the problem, they needed a humidity-control system. The challenge fell to a young engineer named Willis Carrier. He devised a system to circulate air over coils that were cooled by compressed ammonia. The machine worked beautifully, alleviating the humidity and allowing New York’s lithographers to print without fear of sweaty pages and runny ink.
But Carrier had a bigger idea. He recognized that a weather-making device to control humidity had even more potential to control heat. He went on to mass-manufacture the first modern air-conditioning unit at the Carrier Corporation (yes, that Carrier Corporation), which is still one of the largest HVAC manufacturers in the world. Air-conditioning went on to change far more than modern printing—it shaped global productivity, migration, and even politics.