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Transcript of Clinton on divorce waiting periods & counseling, politics of divorce prevention

From; [It Takes a Village] - C-SPAN Video Library.

00:37:40 CLINTON: [If I were no longer First Lady] I would like to do full-time what I did for 25 years part time, which is to be a voice for children, and to do it in a way that tries to bring people together,  to build a consensus. I think if you scrape away the far ends of the political debate, you find most people clustered around the middle: worrying about their children’s future, trying to figure out how to make their schools more effective, trying to think about how to control television and these other things we've discussed. And I really believe there is an opportunity now for people to get beyond partisan arguments and ideology to say, “What works for kids?”

CLINTON: The divorce debate: For a long time I’ve been advocating that divorce should be more difficult when you have children. That’s not a conservative or a liberal or a Republican or Democratic issue. We now know that divorce hurts kids. So what can we do as adults either to slow it down, or if it is going to occur, to make its impact as limited as possible on the well being of children? That’s the kind of discussion I would like to be in a role of helping to bring about in our country.

00:38:45    LAMB: How do you change the divorce laws? How do you slow that down?

00:38:51    CLINTON: I talk about perhaps a braking mechanism. Making it a little harder, a little longer for people with children to divorce. Requiring mandatory counseling and education so that parents – if they can’t get back together and work out their own differences — perhaps can understand more clearly why using children as pawns in debates over property and support is terrible for kids and coming to some understanding about how they can together help raise their children even after a divorce.

00:39:18    LAMB: You talk about both the French and the Germans as having some things that are better than what we do here?

00:39:24    CLINTON: And other cultures as well.

00:39:26 LAMB: Now, how about the Germans?

00:39:29    CLINTON: Well, I am a fan of a lot of the social policies that you find in Europe. I know that they too are going through a rethinking about how to afford some of their policies. In my conversations with people like Chancellor Kohl or President Chirac, they are not talking about cutting back on their support for families to the extent that they are talking about doing some other things that would free up some dollars for the economy. That’s because they see raising children as a social obligation, not just a parental obligation even though parents have the primary responsibility so that the kind of leave policies that goes on in foreign places, particularly young babies that are taking care of babies. The health care policy in Germany that is a private-public mixture is something that I think is worth looking at. The visiting nurses program in England where people come into the home to try to make sure the parents know what they are doing. And that’s for everybody from Princess Di down to a single teenage mother. There’s just more of a recognition that the entire society has at stake in making sure parents do as good a job as they can.
. . .
CLINTON: I've seen things in cultures as far away as Indonesia and Chile that I think would be useful here in our own country. I know Americans often believe we don’t have much to learn from other cultures. But I would like to see that change so that we at least evaluate what other cultures have done and look at the results. We have such a high level of divorce, we have a high level of violence within the home and outside the home. Clearly there are some things we could be doing better and maybe some lessons we could learn.

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