Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release May 4, 1996



The Washington Hilton Hotel

Washington, D.C.


10:17 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Carl, Terry, Mr. Vice President and Mrs. Gore, Mr. Speaker, Governor, to distinguished head table guests, to all the honorees tonight, my colleagues in the administration, to all the entertainers that made all the politicians feel that they came out to get a thrill instead of listen to me. (Laughter.)

I apologize for being late tonight, but, as you know, I was at a charity event at Chelsea's school, auctioning off a game of golf. It brought in a few dollars. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Could I ask a follow-up? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I can tell you this, I know I was criticized for putting it up, but it was not bought by the ambassador from Iran. (Laughter.) I was hoping Ralph Reed would buy it, but he didn't even bid. (Laughter and applause.)

Anyway, it got a little money, but the thing thatdisappointed me was that it didn't generate as much as I had hoped. So I was able to generate some serious cash for the Sidwell Friends School -- I auctioned off the shoes I wore the day I shook hands with President Kennedy. (Laughter and applause.)

By the way, if there's anybody here who would be willing to pay $500,000 for a presidential humidor, I'll be happy to go out and buy one for you. (Laughter.)

Even though I was late, my staff kept me apprised of the evening. This may come as a surprise to you, but you're not the only ones who do pool reports. Since not everybody at the White House can be at every public event, we distribute our own pool reports on what the press has been up to.

And so Mike McCurry handed me these notes when I arrived. This is what happened before I got here:

6:02: Helen Thomas arrives at the Hilton. (Laughter.)

In accordance with time-honored tradition, at 6:04 she asked the first question -- (laughter) -- "Mr. Bartender, can you make a wine spritzer?" (Laughter and applause.)

6:22: A van pulls up to the front door. All five members of the McLaughlin Group emerge -- (laughter) -- without a referee bickering loudly. (Laughter.) The topic: Is it Kondracke's turn to sit up front on the way home? (Laughter.)

6:25: Andrea Mitchell arrives on the arm of Alan Greenspan. Greenspan pays the coat room attendant one dollar -- (laughter) -- and mentions that last year it only cost seventy-five cents. (Laughter and applause.) One minute later, five people in the immediate vicinity rush to call their brokers. (Laughter.)

6:52: Jim Miklaszewski discreetly tells Brian Williams he's sitting in Tom Brokaw's chair. (Laughter.)

7:09: Bill Plante arrives at the CBS table and receives many favorable comments about his new George Clooney haircut.

(Laughter and applause.) One CBS executive present, however, suggested he might try a hairstyle from "Chicago Hope" instead.


7:15: Joe Klein introduces the entire Newsweek table to his imaginary friend -- (laughter) -- whom he identifies as "Anonymous." (Laughter.)

7:39: Brian Williams is back in Tom Brokaw's seat.


8:09: Sarah McClendon confronts a man seated at the Vanity Fair table -- demanding to know what he has done with the real Oliver Stone. (Laughter.) Visibly flustered, the man offers up a half-hearted explanation involving Cuban nationalists. (Laughter.)

8:35: Breaking news. Wolf Blitzer breathlessly does a live feed from the front lawn of The Hilton to announce, "CNN has learned the dessert will be mocha puffs and chocolate sauce."

(Laughter and applause.)

9:06: The President finally arrives at the southeast entrance. Running after him is pool reporter Mark Knoller who appears to be wearing the shoes President Clinton wore when he shook hands with President Kennedy. (Laughter and applause.) Paid a pretty good price for them, too. (Laughter.)

Well, that's what happened before I got here. Hillary and I are delighted to be with you tonight. I have only one criticism. I took a look at those ticket prices. They seem pretty high to me. So tonight, by executive order, I am authorizing the release of 1,000 additional tickets. (Laughter and applause.)

You know who I'm really glad to see here tonight?

Howard Fineman -- (laughter) -- where I can keep an eye on him.

(Laughter.) And I mean that -- sincerely. (Laughter.)

I'm glad to be here tonight with our other guest speaker. Now, I make it a policy not to mention inflammatory public figures by name, but I am very pleased to share this podium tonight with the author of -- (laughter) -- What's-His-Name Is a Big, Fat Idiot. (Laughter and applause.)

I feel a certain kinship with Al Franken. We, frankly, had a terrible 1994. I had Speaker Gingrich's victory in the midterm elections -- and he had "Stuart Saves His Family." (Laughter.) He asked me to tell that.

But we have rebounded pretty well. I mean, after all, I am still here, and he made a gazillion dollars on that book. As much as I enjoyed Al's book, shortly after buying it, I came to regret my purchase. The very week I bought the book, it replaced Hillary's as the number one bestseller. (Laughter.)

We have another noted author here, Speaker Gingrich. He's right over there. He's the fellow next to the baby racoon and the iguana. (Laughter and applause.)

Mr. Speaker, as long as you're here, I think, out in public, in front of everybody, we ought to do a little work on the budget negotiations. You give me my Medicare plan, and you can have my mocha puff and chocolate sauce. (Laughter and applause.)

It's too bad Senator Dole couldn' t join us tonight, but thank goodness one of us is free to watch the kids. (Laughter.) I must say, seriously now, that was a very interesting assertion he put forth. I sort of thought most kids would rather stay with me than Bob Dole. I mean, after all, they'd get to play Nintendo in the Situation Room. (Laughter.) Leon promises to let me know whenever "Barney" comes on. (Laughter.)

But this babysitter debate raises only one of many pertinent questions that voters have to ask themselves before they choose the next president. An interesting line -- for example, let's say you were going on vacation for a couple of weeks. Who do you trust to water your plants? (Laughter.) Bob Dole or Bill Clinton? (Laughter and applause.)

And suppose you were too busy shaking hands tonight and you didn't get to eat. And you go home tonight and you decide to order a pizza. Who do you trust to select the toppings? (Laughter and applause). Bob Dole or Bill Clinton? (Laughter.)

Or what about this scenario? Bob Dole is on a train headed toward Spring Valley at 65 miles an hour. (Laughter.) Bill Clinton is traveling by car from the opposite direction at 35 miles an hour. Given the fact that the train has twice as far to travel as the car, who do you trust to arrive in Spring Valley first? Bob Dole or Bill Clinton? (Laughter.)

Now, if you don't think these questions are relevant -- they may not seem relevant. I ask you, who are we to question the wisdom of Senator Dole's focus groups? (Laughter.)

Let me say this, too. This is a serious comment. I think Senator Dole made a mistake not keeping Mary Matalin on his team. And Mary, I saw you up here earlier. (Applause.) Where are you? You are welcome on my team, and I don't care who you're married to. (Laughter and applause.) Any bald-headed Cajun knows we're right and they're wrong. (Laughter.)

As you know, this is the very first time in our nation's history a sitting president is facing a sitting majority leader in the fall campaign. To be fair to all concerned, it's a difficult situation. Just imagine trying to do the job you were hired to do with an adversary breathing down your neck, questioning your every move, waiting for your next misstep. Trent Lott ought to just cut it out. (Laughter.)

Now many of you have been writing about my so-called "stealth campaign" for re-election. We hit our first major setback this week when the RNC broke the code on our press releases. But I want you to know I'm holding firm to my strategy. And my strategy is working. In fact, according to The New York Times, my vice president is closer to formally announcing his candidacy than I am. (Laughter and applause.)

By the way, I want to congratulate The Times on that "Al Gore Wants to be president" scoop. (Laughter and applause.) Pulitzer's in the bag. (Laughter.)

Some of you have been asking for six months now, when is this announcement speech? In keeping with the stealth campaign strategy, Mike McCurry had this idea that instead of the traditional announcement speech, tonight I should just give an off-the-record announcement on what he calls -- he calls -- "psych background." (Laughter.) As if we didn't have enough trouble. So that way I could give you some insight into my truly secret, private thoughts about this election.

So, if we can all agree on the ground rules -- (laughter) -- I'd like to give you a sense of the musings of my inner candidate. (Laughter.) You can attribute these remarks to a source inside the President's suit. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I had occasion to give this topic considerable thought last weekend as I was going through the Sunday classified ads. (Laughter.) Gosh, there must have been eight and a half million listings -- all of them at good wages. (Laughter.) But I couldn't find a single job I'd prefer to this one. So, in lieu of a formal announcement speech, you can report on "psych background" that Bill Clinton is under the strong impression that America is a great country, and that we are living in an age of possibility. Bill Clinton suspects that America is moving in the right direction, but we have to keep working together to find common ground. Bill Clinton is inclined to think he can help us meet America's challenges with just one more term.

Now, I'd like to go back on the record to say thank you and good night. (Laughter.) So you may report that Bill Clinton said, "Thank you and good night." (Applause.)

END 10:30 P.M. EDT

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Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release April 10, 1997


The Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, DC

8:28 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress, members of the press, fellow sufferers. (Laughter.)

I would like to thank the Radio and Television Correspondents Association for inviting me this evening. I want to give Terry Murphy a special thanks for the kind introduction and, also, given my condition, I'd like to give a special thank-you to the Ridgewell Catering Company for bringing me here tonight. (Laughter.) Enough laughs.

I have come here tonight to speak about a topic of perennial concern in Washington, something we never get around to doing anything about. And that is the close, some would even say cozy relationship, between the rarefied elite who make public policy and those who report on it. And on that topic, just let me say this: Congratulations, Andrea. (Laughter and applause.)

You know, that fella standing next to you in the newspaper photos a few days ago -- (laughter) -- he looked exactly like Alan Greenspan, only exuberant. (Laughter and applause.)

I want all of you to know that, until recently, I had planned out a really dramatic entrance to this dinner. (Laughter.) And then, George Bush stole my thunder. (Laughter.) I mean, look at this -- this guy is 72 years old, he jumps out of a plane at 12,000 feet, he lands without a scratch. (Laughter.) I fall six inches, and I'm crippled up for six months. It's ridiculous. (Applause.)

Now, as you might imagine, my injured knee adds complications to my schedule. In fact, you know, just when I was on the way over here tonight -- (laughter) -- as you have seen, my press secretary, Mike McCurry, just handed me a note.

According to wire reports, former President Bush has just bungee jumped off the Seattle Space Needle. (Laughter.)

That reminds me -- I was supposed to make another announcement tonight. Mr. Murphy has asked me to tell you that the Radio and Television Correspondents Association has decided to adopt the practices of the Democratic National Committee. (Laughter.) That means you can all pick up your $1,000 refund checks on the way out tonight. (Laughter and applause.)

You know, I'm getting a little sick of these fundraising stories. (Laughter.) But here I am, I'm doing the best to do the job the American people sent me here to do. But with all this ruckus in Washington these days, we have to work harder and harder to sort of be heard through the din. So my staff worked up a few new ideas that we thought might break through. I want you to be the judge. After all, it's your din. (Laughter.)

Here are the suggestions: Take a cue from the TV show, "Ellen." Start a rumor that in the last presidential press conference of the season, my character will become a libertarian. (Laughter.)

Announce that we've discovered signs of life on Mars. We already tried that, and some of you bought it; I couldn't believe it. (Laughter and applause.)

Announce that I will fight Evander Holyfield. (Laughter.) Anytime, anyplace. (Laughter.)

Here's the Vice President's suggestion. Sign an executive order hiring people on welfare to install computers in our nation's classrooms, to e-mail messages to neighborhood watch volunteers, to use their cell phones to call 100,000 community police officers, to remind the 1 million literacy tutors to show up for work. (Laughter and applause.)

If all else fails, push myself down a flight of stairs. (Laughter.)

As you know, that's the one we decided to go with. (Laughter.) It worked for a while and I would do it again. I may have to. (Laughter.) ......Thank you very much, Mike. (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, you will be pleased to learn that former President Bush -- (laughter) -- has just successfully jumped the Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, he's just taunting me. (Laughter.)

You know, one of the results of being bummed up for while is that I've gotten to watch a lot more television than normal, and I spent a day in the hospital just sort of channel-flipping, "surfing," that's what you call it now. And I was amazed at the way all these different channels struggled to accurately but uniquely cover my surgery. (Laughter.)

C-SPAN, of course, provided live, uninterrupted coverage of my injured knee -- (laughter) -- while C-SPAN 2 devoted full coverage to my other knee. (Laughter and applause.)

Within an hour of the accident, CNN had composed ominous theme music -- (laughter) -- and put up a graphic, "Breaking News, Breaking Knees." (Laughter and applause.)

I knew it was going to be a major story when their "Headline News" devoted a full five seconds to it. (Laughter.)

MSNBC immediately proclaimed itself the state-of-the-art global interactive command center for all leg-related news. (Laughter.)

ESPN broke into the North Carolina-Colorado basketball game with a breathless bulletin that Greg Norman was just fine. (Laughter and applause.)

PBS kept interrupting coverage of my knee for pledge drives. (Laughter.) For every $100 donation, you got a commemorative X-ray of my leg. (Laughter.)

Bob Novak went on "Crossfire" to argue the positive aspects of debilitating knee injuries for Democrats. (Laughter.)

And then, there was MTV. All they wanted to know was, did I wear a hospital gown or pajamas. (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: Another one.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mike. (Laughter.) Ladies and gentlemen, President Bush has just had himself manacled, placed inside a padlocked trunk -- (laughter) -- and submerged off the coast of Kennebunkport. (Laughter.) The clock is ticking. (Laughter.) Our prayers are with him. (Laughter.)

Anyway, I'm back on my feet and I'm working for the American people. Congress is back in session this week. That came as a surprise to people in Washington who didn't know it was away. (Laughter.) Things have been so slow this year, C-SPAN is actually showing reruns of the 104th Congress. (Laughter and applause.)

We can't get agreement to change the consumer price index; that's the hang-up on this whole budget deal. And there are Democrats and Republicans in the House; they're scared to death of it. But, you know, a small change in the CPI could shave billions of dollars from the deficit, add years and years to the life of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Now, I know this is a complicated issue for some people, and I've been looking for some simple way to explain it. And so, consider how we might re-index some other statistics. For example, a report said last month that we Americans are the heaviest people in the world. Working together, reaching across party lines, we can change all that. (Laughter.) Instead of 16 ounces to a pound, we'll say there's 20 ounces. (Laughter.) That way, a person who weighs 200 pounds would way 160 pounds. Think about it: overnight, Democrats and Republicans can make America the thinnest nation in the world. (Laughter.)

Let me tell you, I'm doing the best I can, but actually I'm kind of hurting. The worst thing about this injury is, it's hard to stand for long periods of time, and about this time I start to get tired. So I'm going to sort of sit down with a confession. When I signed that executive order banning cloning research, it was too late to do anything about an experiment or two that had already been started. (Laughter.) But one of them has come in handy in moments like this.

Bill, would you mind? (Laughter.) ("Ruffles and Flourishes" is played. ) (Darrell Hammond, Clinton impersonator from Saturday Night Live, arrives at podium.) (Applause.)

"CLONE": Mr. President, have a seat. (Laughter and applause.) By the way, I'd appreciate it if you would refer to me as Mr. President. (Laughter.) I think you've earned it. (Laughter.)

Mr. President, members of the House and Senate, ladies and gentlemen. As you can see, I'm also Bill Clinton. (Laughter.) Typically, when I come in to mop up at the end of an event like this, I'll just finish reading from some prepared text and say things like "we must find common ground." (Laughter.)

"We're going to build a bridge to the 21st century." (Laughter.)

"I'll have to refer you to Lanny Davis on that one." (Laughter.)

"Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da." (Laughter.)

.....Thank you, Mike. This is odd. Evidently, George Bush has successfully escaped and has been spotted swimming toward the coast of Maine. (Laughter.) What the hell does that mean? (Laughter and applause.)

Well, where was I? Oh, yeah. You know what I would like to tell you all about tonight? How much I -- (laughter) -- how much I hate waiting around to see if I'm going to pinch-hit for him today. It's demeaning, it's
dehumanizing. I don't know how Al Gore's put up with it all these years.

But I shouldn't complain. I mean, if you're going to be a clone, you're not going to do a whole lot better than being a clone of the President of the United States. The key to being a clone is making sure you're the clone of somebody cool. (Laughter.) Let's face it -- this gig could be a whole lot worse. Imagine waking up and finding out you're a Bob Dornan clone -- (laughter) -- sitting up all night, counting votes. (Laughter.)

I did get some work done. I had a meeting with some members of Congress about some chemical weapons -- some treaty-type thing. (Laughter.) Mr. President, remind me -- are we for that or against it? We're for it. (Laughter.)

I'll tell you what -- I do love that red phone. (Laughter.) Oh, by the way, maybe you ought to be the one to call Yeltsin back and apologize. (Laughter.) If I call him again, I'll just make it worse. (Laughter and applause.)

Want to come back up here, Mr. President of the United States? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I have to take this over before it gets out of hand. (Laughter.) God knows, I can't afford to jeopardize my relationship with the press corps. (Laughter.) But I want to thank you, Bill, or "Mr. President." By the way, I wrote up a to-do list for you for the next couple of days.

As usual, there's the morning jog; you have to do that now. (Laughter.) Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. I have a conflict. I have a root canal appointment and a press conference in the East Room. I know it's going to hurt, but would you mind doing the press conference? (Laughter.)

No, wait a minute. I couldn't ask anybody else to do that, even me. Actually, I enjoy these press conferences and I enjoy coming here every year. I thank you all for what you've done to sustain our democracy for nearly 225 years. Our country is still a work in progress and I look forward to building on that progress with you. I even look forward to these dinners, and I really wouldn't want to send anyone else in my place. So I want to thank all of you for having Hillary, me, and me here this evening. (Laughter.)

In closing, let me say we must find common ground. (Laughter.) We are going to build that bridge to the 21st century. (Laughter.) I do have to refer you to Lanny Davis on that one. (Laughter.)

Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. (Laughter.)

Good night, and thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 8:45 P.M. EDT

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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate
April 26, 1997


THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mr. Hunt, thank you so much
for reading the notes that I wrote you. (Laughter.) Just like every other journalist, you make all my memos public. (Laughter.) To Larry McQuillan, Arlene Dillon, Jon Stewart, who will make us glad we came in a few moments, to all the distinguished head table guests, and ladies and gentlemen.

I tried to fulfill Terry Hunt's agenda as President. Those are
real notes I wrote him. And I will try to fulfill Larry's agenda. I think it's terrible the conditions in which the White House press corps labor. It really is. It reminds me of Nurse Cratchet's office in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. (Laughter.) And it's really a tribute to the futility of a politician pandering to the press, because that used to be an indoor swimming pool that brought joy to FDR and JFK and presidents in between. Richard Nixon gave it to you. (Laughter.) And he got such press in return. (Laughter.)

Maybe this is his final revenge -- the miserable conditions of it. We could uncover it but let you keep it. (Laughter.) I could build a cabana. Well, you think about it.

Before I get into my jokes, I have some important, serious news. (Laughter.) Senator Lott and I have broken the gridlock over the budget. A deal now appears imminent. Miraculously, the $56 billion -- (applause) -- thank you -- the $56 billion gap that has separated Democrats and Republicans has been bridged. And, ladies and gentlemen, we owe Senator Dole a huge debt of gratitude. (Laughter and applause.) And the best part is, we don't have to start paying it back until 2005. (Laughter.) And that's outside the budget window. Bigger tax cuts, more money for the Justice Department, whatever --just sign up, you can have it. (Laughter.)

You know, if I had known Bob Dole was that generous, I'd have invited him over for coffee. (Laughter and applause.)

I want to congratulate awardees tonight -- Byron Akoheda (phonetic), who has come from so far away and did such good work; and then there are the local winners, Ron Fournier, Mara Liasson, Todd Purdum. Of course, I'm not familiar with any of your work, but I'm sure it's very good. (Applause.) But this Purdum guy's name sounds familiar -- Purdum, Purdum, I think I read it in the engagement announcements recently. Hillary and I congratulate Todd and Dee Dee on their marriage next month. (Applause.)

You know, Dee Dee and I started together on a little plane in New Hampshire, and we made it all the way to the White House. Then she sort of strayed over to your side for a while and I was kind of disappointed. Now she's getting on a 747, going to Beverly Hills. They grow up so fast, don't they? (Laughter.)

Oh, I got another serious thing I want to talk about. Something that I know -- really, you all are on me about all the time. Many of you are distressed that you're not notified in a timely fashion about breaking news, like my knee breaking. And that's valid, and I've been doing some work to make sure it never happens again. In fact, in the spirit of reinventing government that the Vice President has so indoctrinated me with, starting tonight we have decided to give you advance notice of upcoming mishaps. (Laughter.)

Mike McCurry has asked me to inform you of the following. While engaging in some volunteer work tomorrow in Philadelphia, I will be on the receiving end of a painful encounter with a ball-peen hammer. (Laughter.) And I will do my best to do it before your filing deadline at 5:00. On May 22nd, I will be visiting the home of Tiger Woods to celebrate his recent victory in the Masters. Please be advised: There is a loose brick on the patio. (Laughter.) On July 8, during the fifth inning of the All Star game in Cleveland, I will attempt to catch a foul ball from Rafael Palmeiro. Stay tuned. (Laughter.) Look, Mark Knoller is running out to call his editor right now. (Laughter.)

I know we're here to honor you tonight because of the work you do, but this dinner is a pittance compared to the testament to your profession last week which opened its doors, called the Newseum -- the Newseum, the Newseum. (Applause.) What really surprised me, for any event in Washington, this opening actually got a lot of favorable press coverage. (Laughter.) Evidently, you journalists have a lot of friends in the media. (Laughter.)

But there are a bunch of exhibits I'm dying to see. I want to see
the Portrait Gallery of Unnamed Sources. (Laughter and applause.) The Gergen and Shields Retrospective. (Laughter.) The museum's crown jewel, the Hall of Pundits. (Laughter.) Modeled after the Hall of Presidents at Disney Land, it features mechanized mannequins mouthing contentious blather. No wait -- that's the McLaughlin Group. (Laughter and applause.)

There is also an absolutely amazing collection of historical artifacts: CSPAN's gavel-to-gavel etchings of the Constitutional Convention; CNN's very first Cross-Fire -- from the left Alexander Hamilton, from the right Aaron Burr, topic gun control. (Laughter.) There is an actual press corps travel manifest from Stage Coach One. Guess what -- the film they showed was Fargo. (Laughter.) The 30 people in the White House press corps are laughing at that. (Applause.)

There are artifacts of contemporary Washington journalism as well. There is the stack of Bibles upon which Joe Klein swore. (Laughter.) There is Johnny Apple's expense reports. (Laughter.) A transcript of Ann Rice's interview with Bob Novak. (Laughter.) The contract where Bob Woodward insists on Robert Redford being cast as him. (Laughter.) There is a haunting photograph from the 1961 White House Correspondents Dinner of young Brian Williams shaking hands adoringly with Chet Huntley.

And then there is a whole wing dedicated to historic scoops. For example, did you know that Helen Thomas broke the story about the Lincoln Bedroom -- while Lincoln was still sleeping in it.

However, the most important part of the museum is an exhibit with poses an utterly fascinating question, both contemporary and historical: How would current White House correspondents and columnists have covered past presidential administrations? Have you seen this? I mean, this is an incredible thing. In the exhibit, everyone in the current press corps is making fun of Millard Fillmore's name -- that's everyone except Wolf Blitzer. (Laughter.) David Letterman keeps calling William Howard Taft "Tubby" and Teddy Roosevelt "Old Four Eyes." (Laughter.) Maureen Dowd writes a column dismissing the first presidential election as politics as usual. (Laughter and applause.)

Sam Donaldson makes fun of George Washington's wooden teeth but completely ignores the obvious fact that he's wearing a wig. (Laughter and applause.)

The New York Times calls for a special counsel to look into George Washington's winning campaign in the Revolutionary War -- because Lafayette was French. And Barbara Walters asks the Father of our Country, if you could chop down a tree -- any tree at all -- what kind of tree would it be? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: All right, now we're going to tell some stuff on us. I know you give me grief from time to time, but really we work around the clock trying to help you do your job. I mean, really, what other administration would make thousands and thousands of internal memos and official documents available for your daily enjoyment? (Laughter.)

But you did miss a couple of good stories. Roll it in, boys, come here. Where are they? Where are my documents? (Laughter.) Come here. I hope no one is in contempt for ignoring these. This is just a representative sample. You'll have them all tomorrow. (Laughter.)

Here's a memo from Harold Ickes to Leon Panetta: Leon, FYI, Maxwell House coffee is on sale this week for $3.49 a pound. (Laughter.)

Here's a copy of a check we mistakenly thought was a small campaign contribution from AT&T. It turns out that by cashing it we authorized
a switch in our long distance service. (Laughter.)

Here's a memo outlining the DNC's high donor program. It's pretty embarrassing. Business class upgrades for Air Force One. Mr. Speaker, it could have been you. (Laughter.)

And let's see, here's one: For $10,000, you can have a private meeting with Vice President Gore to discuss reinventing government. And for $20,000, you don't have to go. (Laughter.)

And this is the most embarrassing one of all, from the White House
visitor log last year. I can't believe any of you missed this. It seems that during the period of time when the First Lady was recording her Grammy Award winning album Milli Vanilli came to the White House 32 times. (Laughter.).

Now, I don't know how this got in here. This is a letter of acceptance to Chelsea, saying that she will -- from Chelsea, saying that she will attend -- no, that's privileged. (Laughter.) But, look, the bad news is, our only child is going off to college. The good news is, it opens up another bedroom. (Laughter and applause.)

But now look, you all know I want to bridge to the future, not the
past. I'm interested in the future, so I want you to just forget about the documents. (Laughter.)

Now, we know how important technology is to our future, and the
White House has always been the center of new technological developments, ever since John Adams occupied it. There was the electric lights, the telephone, the telegraph, the tape recorder -- (laughter) -- and the Clapper -- (laughter) -- and, most recently, the computer.

Now, just last week the Vice President and I used a computer in the Oval Office. I felt like a kid who first got to drive; he actually let me do some things on it. (Laughter.) And it's clear that we are once again at the threshold of a new era that will forever change the way presidents conduct matters at home and abroad. As of this week, I have been working around the clock trying to balance the budget with Quicken. (Laughter.) And I want you to consider this. In the post-Cold War era, the introduction of the computer has raised a profound question: Whose finger do you want on the control-alt-delete button? (Laughter.)

You know what my favorite button is? F-2. (Laughter.) Search and replace. (Laughter.) I have enjoyed the daily press clips so much more since I discovered F-2. (Laughter.) I read them on-line now, and then I search and replace. Thanks for showing me that, Al. I mean, after all, look, your news reports are just the first rough draft of history anyway, and I'm just doing the F-2 thing to do a little editing.

Let's take some of the news stories you've written just in the last month. F-2; search for "budget standstill"; replace with "prosperity at home and peace abroad." (Laughter.) It's better, isn't it? It is.

Search for "beleaguered"; replace with "Lincolnesque." (Laughter.)

Search for "independent counsel"; replace with "the ice cream
man." (Laughter.)

I'll never forget how I found about this incredible device, search and replace. I walked into the Vice President's office not very long ago and he was there working on his computer --F2; search for Bill Clinton -- (laughter and applause.) I got there just in time.

James Thurber said that humor is one of our greatest and earliest national resources that has to be preserved at all cost. Well, I hope we've saved a little up tonight and enriched it.

I thank you and come here to honor your indispensable part in our lively 225-year-old experiment in democracy. May we work together so that it continues to light and lead the world.

Tomorrow I'm going to Philadelphia, where this great experiment began, to open the President's Summit for America's Future. We'll gather there to renew the spirit of service that built this country. Each of us must serve -- you in your way, me in mine. You can start right now -- by busing your own tables and helping with the dishes. (Laughter.) Now, when Jon finishes, I'm going home.

Thanks and good night. (Laughter.)

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