In a message aimed both at the world’s leading industrial powers and at his critics in Congress, President Clinton on Thursday served up a vigorous defense of White House policies that he said have helped make America’s economy “the healthiest in a generation and the strongest in the world.”
Clinton spoke on the eve of an international summit in Denver, where he will host the leaders of seven major nations. The president, asserting U.S. leadership of the summit, described America’s economic experience as an example for other nations that wish for greater prosperity even as they cut back on government bureaucracy.
He offered almost a pep-rally pitch for the U.S. model in the world, pointing to policies aimed at cutting the federal budget deficit, eliminating trade barriers and targeting spending on education and other human needs as the key to greater prosperity.
“All the countries in the world face the same choices we do,” Clinton said on a steamy afternoon in the community of Littleton, about 15 miles south of Denver. “Can they still grow their economy and reduce spending? You bet they can,” he said, adding that countries have to go beyond “old myths and old ideas” to achieve that goal.
But as a procession of world leaders began arriving at this city in the Rocky Mountains, Clinton also focused on his domestic challenges. He appealed for passage of his budget plan--parts of which are running into congressional resistance--and took issue with those who would deny him authority to expedite new trade agreements.
“If we try to close up our economy, we will only hurt ourselves,” the president said, describing globalization as an irreversible process. “It seems difficult to imagine that this is even a serious debate now.”