Meeting with the President

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written July 20, 1997
My journey to Washington started out on Monday evening, July 14, when I boarded the Delta shuttle. It was a harrowing trip that had to be restarted the next morning. I arrived at the National Press Club where IBM was hosting a planning meeting for all of those meeting with the President and the Vice President. This club is a venerable Washington institution, where presidents, would-be presidents, prime ministers, kings, and the like hold press briefings and press conferences. It was amusing to note on a flyer in the elevator that the special Club event that week was a training program on how to use the Internet!

The “pre-meeting” was hosted by Jerry Berman of the Center for Democracy & TechnologyRoger Cochetti, IBM’s Washington-based Program Director for Internet Policy & Business Planning, reviewed the schedule and we spent some time sharing our view points on the important issues to be discussed in the meeting withVice President Gore. There was amazing consensus. It was a great opportunity to renew some old friendships and make some new ones.

We went as a group (about 25 of us) over to the Old Executive Office Building, the ornate 19th century office building located next to the White House that houses the White House staff. After going through a thorough security check, we went to the Vice President’s office, where we were led into a Baroque like conference room that the Vice President uses for his official meetings. Soon, Commerce Secretary Daleyand Vice President Gore arrived and our discussion began in earnest. A little later, the President arrived and we got into a broader discussion about the Internet and its role in our society. All three officials showed a significant depth in their understanding and support for the role of the Internet in making our society better.
Following the group meeting with the President and Vice President , we all went to a small auditorium in the same building where there was a large group of reporters and members of Congress. In this public and highly publicized event, the President and the Vice-president both reported favorably on the dialogue that we’d had and the heads of the National PTA and of America OnLine both addressed the important issues facing all of us as we deal with the question of how to make the Internet more friendly to children.

Resulting press coverage


Official White House Coverage:

“Family-Friendly Internet” Links

First Amendment

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