Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I especialy want to welcome those viewers watching this speech live on C-SPAN and CBS.....
Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. There, I think thats everybody.
I know that calling the White House press corps together in one room in these days of an ambitious Republican Congress raises the relevant question: is the President funny? You bet I am. The Constitution makes me funny. The power of the presidency makes me funny. If any of you dont believe me, dont laugh at my jokes. And have a nice audit.
Most of you also know that Mike McCurry and his wife Debra just gave birth to their third child, Christopher, last Friday. So it wont be long before young Chris is old enough to work in the press office.
Mike has served me well and I trust hes done the same for you. I particularly liked his new policy, instructing the press office staff to send him a note each day chronicling a good deed theyve done for the press corps -- or kick in a dollar to a pizza fund.
This of course was an expansion of my idea, where each day everyone at the White House kicks in a dollar and we just order pizzas.
By and large, Mikes plan has really had some great results. Id like to share with you tonight some of the notes the press staff has sent to Mike in the past few months:
?To Mike from Ginny: I told Wolf that -- Ito or no Ito -- hes still got the best looking beard on CNN.
?To Mike from Kathy: I added Brit Hume to my Friends & Family calling circle.
?To Mike from Mary Ellen: I whispered the Presidents statement on the peso into Connie Chungs ear and she repeated it verbatim on the news.
?To Mike from Laura: I administered CPR to Jack Germond after he jogged with the President.
?To Mike from George: I snubbed Eleanor Clift in public, just like she asked me to.
?To Mike from Rica: I told Brian Williams that when the Klieg lights hit him in a certain way, he looks just like Tom Brokaw.
?To Mike from Julie: I told Lois Romano what kind of hair conditioner George uses.
?To Mike from Laurie: I told Rita Braver that Andrea Mitchell was a milquetoast by comparison.
?To Mike from Ginny: I took Diane Sawyer to lunch. Note: she likes the honey mustard sauce on her McNuggets.
?(So do I, Diane.)
?To Mike from Rahm: I held the door open for Elizabeth Drew............She still wouldnt leave my office.
However, because not every person was able to meet Mikes challenge every day, there was about twenty bucks in the pizza fund. The First Lady offered to manage the fund. She has invested it wisely and Im pleased to announce well be serving surf and turf instead.
It was just two weeks ago when I announced the new government policy for declassifying what were once closely guarded government secrets. I know it will benefit all Americans but members of the press corps especially. Because now you wont have to make stuff up.
This whole initiative began when I personally lobbied the FDA to release the recipe for McDonalds "secret sauce."
Among the documents and disclosures that now can be released:
?Henry Kissingers little black book
A revelation from NASA that Apollo 11 took off with 4 men and came back with 5. The fifth was James Carville.
J. Edgar Hoovers 10 tips for a fabulous summer look.
Joseph McCarthys secret interrogation of all 25 players on the Cincinnati Reds.
The certificate that proves that Douglas MacArthur didnt fade away. He just died.
A recording of a 1957 cabinet meeting where Eisenhower staffers repeatedly mispronounced the word "Shiite."
Al Smiths prescription for Prozac dated only weeks before he was first referred to as the "Happy Warrior."
Secret communications between Eisenhower and Kruschev exchanging tips for maintaining a healthy scalp.
Francis Gary Powers frequent flier number.
A secret CIA plan to destabilize the government of the District of Columbia. (Thank God that one was nipped in the bud!)
Woodrow Wilsons secret involvement in the establishment of the International House of Pancakes.
John Kennedys first draft of his inaugural speech with the words:"What can you do for your country? Dont ask."
Although John Kennedys advisors have come to be known as the "best and the brightest," in his private papers, he referred to them as the "Chowderheads."
Disturbing photographs of LBJ picking up his own grandchildren by the ears.
Gerald Fords plans for his own controversial military personnel policy that reads: No shirts, no shoes, no service.
Never before revealed testimony of Ollie North telling the truth under oath.
And the most recent: The National Security Council's plan to keep Kato Kaelin out of the Lincoln bedroom.
Id like to conclude by introducing a fascinating young man. Consider Conan OBrien for a moment. Here is a young man who came from obscurity, given a sidekick with more inside experience and despite the successes hes so proud of and mentions to anyone who will listen, 248 million Americans never see him in prime time. Conan, believe me, I feel your pain.