Bill Clinton in Eisenach
Clinton Tells Germans of U.S. Achievements and Goals
By JAMES BENNET
EISENACH, Germany - President Clinton, speaking to a group of auto workers here, said Thursday that his most urgent foreign policy goal before leaving office was to secure a peace agreement in the Middle East that will last for a long time.
Foreign travel - which usually, as it did Thursday, produces adoring crowds and splendid backdrops - often puts Clinton in an expansive and even philosophical mood, as it frees him from sticky legal and political travails at home.
On the second of two cloudless days in Germany in the company of his friend Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Clinton spent Thursday reflecting on U.S. accomplishments in Europe and reaping the gratitude of Germans.
Thursday morning, he celebrated the U.S. role in the Berlin airlift at the start of the Cold War, then came to Eisenach in the afternoon to tour a General Motors plant and salute the U.S. role in helping rebuild Germany once the Cold War ended.
Asked by one German auto worker at a forum beside the plant about his aspirations and achievements, Clinton reeled off a list of each.
He named "turning the American economy around in ways that benefit ordinary Americans" as his top domestic accomplishment. Abroad, he said, "I hope that putting America in the center of the future after the Cold War will be a lasting achievement." He also described that achievement as "not letting America withdraw from the world."
As his top domestic goals, the president named helping the inner cities and securing the entitlement system.
Later, before a crowd of thousands packed into the cobbled square here, in the former East Germany, Clinton seemed to revel in his role as a spokesman for democracy. "On this beautiful Thuringian day in the spring," the president said, we are bathed in the light and the warmth of freedom."
Clinton acknowledged that Germany was still struggling to rebuild, but said: "Do not underestimate what you can do with your dreams as free people." To Clinton's slow, stately wave, the crowd responded with whistles and a blur of thousands of waving hands.