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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 5, 1993
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                            The East Room

3:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: It's about time we had somebody with real popularity in here. (Laughter.) I want to say it is a great pleasure and honor for all of us to have the Dallas Cowboys in the East Room. Four years ago they were about one and 15, and four years later they won the Superbowl. In the parlance of Washington we call that deficit reduction. (Laughter.)

I want to say a special word of appreciation to Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones. I watched them win a national championship for Arkansas 30 years ago before most of the players were born. And I've been cheering them on ever since. Most of the people in our state were Cowboy fans even before Arkansas got its hands on the Cowboys.

I also want to say something very serious. I watched this team over the last year win the way I think Americans win best. They hung in there. They were strong, they were dedicated. They started a lot of games slow and they always finished fast. And that's what we have to do as a country. We have to endure. We have to never quit, and we have to finish fast. And I think that the country was very thrilled just to watch the renaissance of the Cowboys over the last couple of years.

Let me also say I had a very great political dilemma because the Superbowl occurred the night I hosted the state dinner for the governors. So, I had the Governor of New York and the Governor of Texas sitting on either side of me in the beginning of the game before it was obvious what the outcome would be. I was tested as never before in trying to maintain a poker face about the game. (Laughter.) But you made it easy for us after a couple of quarters.

Let me say, again, on behalf of the Vice President and myself to you, Jerry, and to you, Jimmy, and to all the Cowboys, we're grateful to have you here.

And I understand that this is Michael Irving's birthday, is that right?

MR. JOHNSON: He probably just made that up. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Is that right? Is that right? Is it your birthday? Come up here. How old are you? (Applause.) I said, how old are you? He said, 27, but tell them 24. (Laughter.) Have you ever considered running for office? (Laughter.) Can you imagine that -- twenty-seven years old and wealthy enough to retire the national debt. (Laughter.) Well, happy birthday. I hope you'll have many more. You may not be able to have any years better than this one, but I hope you have many more at least as good.

MR. JONES: Mr. President, you were an inspiration to all of the young players that we have on the Dallas Cowboys and certainly to all of the coaching staff and the great leadership that Jimmy has provided our team. But just as important, that inspiration that you showed us all about getting down on a knee and then coming back means everything. And that in my mind is what sports is all about; because you see, the Cowboys were something very special, not down and out and on their back, but just needed a little lifting hand to get up off that knee and come on and become great again.

And when you get to start with something like that, then that's a lot easier to do. And everybody in this room behind you are proud to be on a team like that. We're so proud to have your leadership because we know that when you get a lick and get on a knee, you'll come back for this country.

We had a chance to play before over a half a billion people in the Superbowl, the largest crowd to ever watch anything in the history of mankind. It is such a treat to be here today and a wonderful thing for our team and our players to get to be with the leader, in our view, of mankind as it is today.

We're honored to be here. (Applause.)

MR. JOHNSON: Mr. President, it is a tremendous thrill and tremendous honor for all of us to make you an official member of the Dallas Cowboys as a reserve quarterback. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I'm just going to sit around now and wait for my number to be called. (Laughter.) I'm going to start practicing this afternoon. You know, it's never too late.

Thank you very much.

MR. JONES: I will have to say one thing, though. We have been able to observe you jogging. You're going to have to jog a little faster for that reserve quarterback -- (laughter). Again, it is a great honor to be here. Thank you. (Applause.)

END3:26 P.M. EST