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Clinton thanks New Hampshire for making him the 'Comeback Kid'

Last leg of farewell tour touts domestic policy successes

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton returned Thursday to the city that helped turn around his 1992 presidential campaign when he vowed to stick with the people of New Hampshire "until the last dog dies."

President Clinton  

"After eight years and almost exactly nine days to go, the last dog is still barking," Clinton told the Dover, New Hampshire, crowd. "Don't forget that even though I won't be president, I'll always be with you until the last dog dies."

It was in Dover where Clinton gave a pivotal 1992 campaign speech when, under attack for marital infidelity and avoiding the military draft, he said, "I'll tell you what the real character issue is, who really cares about you."

That speech resulted in his strong second place finish in the New Hampshire primary. News outlets dubbed him the "Comeback Kid," and he went on to win the White House.

"New Hampshire is where it all began for Bill Clinton. Boy, we have come a long way and we are so glad he's back," said New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, reflecting the sentiment of the crowd.

"I came here one last time to New Hampshire to thank you for making me the 'Comeback Kid,' and to thank you for making America the comeback country," an emotional Clinton said Thursday after a minutes-long standing ovation.

CNN's Garrick Utley says Clinton will be remembered as being simply himself

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The president's speech, the third in his "farewell tour," focused on the success of what he called the "third way" political strategy of both cutting the deficit and increasing investment in economic and domestic programs.

"We abandoned a lot of the false choices in Washington," Clinton said. The result, he noted, is that crime rates and welfare rolls are both at all-time lows, and the economic expansion has allowed the administration to provide broader access to health care and higher education, increase the minimum wage, focus improvements in America's inner cities and establish a more "family-friendly" workplace.

"I am very proud of the fact that the first bill I signed as president was the Family and Medical Leave act," he said. "We have to be pro-work and pro-family."

As he did earlier this week during stops in Michigan and Illinois -- two other states that were pivotal to his 1992 victory -- the president said that the economic boom of the last decade is due to his approach to social policy.

"The ideas first touted in New Hampshire, he said, "have taken hold and America is at the top of it's game, and I just hope we will continue the progress and prosperity of the last eight years," Clinton said.


Thursday, January 11, 2001



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