Clinton takes to road with security message

October 13, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Trying to put the world's hot spots of Haiti and Somalia behind him, President Clinton traveled outside Washington yesterday to promote his ambitious domestic agenda of anti-crime measures, a free-trade agreement and health care reform.

Mr. Clinton said he is trying to offer security in tumultuous times -- "health security, economic security and personal security."

"The security I seek for America is like a rope for a rock climber, to lift those who will take responsibility for their own lives to greater and greater pinnacles," Mr. Clinton said at the bicentennial convocation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We are living in a time of profound change."

Speaking on a chilly evening before a crowd of about 45,000 in Kenan Stadium, Mr. Clinton said most Americans reject change, rather than embrace it, because they are insecure in three important areas: their jobs, their health care and their personal safety.

In his speech, Mr. Clinton clearly wanted to focus on domestic nTC issues, rather than recent woes in Haiti, where he plans to press the United Nations Security Council to reimpose economic sanctions because army-backed thugs have blocked U.S. troops from landing as part of the U.N. peace mission.

"We cannot lead the world if we are not strong at home," Mr. Clinton said.

The president said people need to feel secure to cope with difficult changes in a chaotic post-Cold War world, where the danger is not war between superpowers but the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Mr. Clinton expressed sympathy for the families of six servicemen from Fort Bragg, N.C., who were killed in Somalia.

As for economic security, Mr. Clinton urged passage of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement, which would eliminate most trade barriers among the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Mr. Clinton also pressed for his health care reform plan, which would offer health insurance to all Americans, including the 37 million people the government says are uninsured.

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