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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release October 17, 2000
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                        TO PRESIDENT'S CUP DINNER

                        National Building Museum
                            Washington, D.C.

8:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I'm sorry to be the only person here who is not properly dressed. (Laughter.) But as Tim said, I just got off the airplane and I wanted to come by and welcome you to Washington and say how thrilled I am to be the Honorary Chair of the President's Cup this year. I'm pleased we're going back to RTJ, and that my friend and golfing partner, Vernon Jordan, is the president of the club, so he'll let me on to walk around a little and watch you.

I want to thank Ken Venturi and Peter Thompson for serving as the captains of the team. And I want to thank Tim Finchem, who, like Vernon, has been a friend of mine for well over 20 years, for the outstanding leadership he provides the PGA.

I'm delighted to have you here and I want to say a special word of appreciation for the work the President's Cup does -- first, to raise money for worthy charities. When you finish this year you will have raised over $6 million in the last four Cups for worthy causes, and I'm very grateful for that and you should be proud of it. (Applause.)

You know, like all ardent golfers, I sometimes go over the top in explaining to people why golf is like life or why life ought to be more like golf. But I would like to say, as you know, I just went to Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt, to try to reach an agreement to end the violence that we've seen in the Palestinian territories and Israel for the last couple of weeks.

I don't know if any of you have ever been there, but it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it is exploding in development because the climate is so perfect. And I sat there for a day and a half, didn't sleep, and all our meetings were conducted on the edge of one of the most beautiful golf courses I've ever seen in my life. (Laughter.) So I thought to myself, why am I being punished for the fact that I can't solve this problem here?

But what it made me think of coming back here is that we all come from countries which at one time or another had significant internal strife, where people had to overcome their differences. I was very moved when I saw Greg at the closing ceremony of the Olympics by the incredible way that Australia not only welcomed the Olympics, but used the Olympics to show the healing process that has gone one between the Aboriginal people and the other citizens of Australia.

Everybody knows now that America is becoming the great melting pot of the world. And it's well to remember that the kind of understanding that you have, the idea that people play by certain rules and if you do, everybody is treated with equal respect is really the way the world ought to work and the kind of idea we're trying to bring to all the troubled places in the world, but most importantly, to the Middle East -- which, ironically, is the home to all three of the world's great monotheistic religions and is still one of the most bedeviled places on the planet.

I hope you have a great time over the next several days. I hope that no matter who wins or who loses, that you'll show the world one more example of how our common humanity is more important than our interesting diversity. I'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow at the opening ceremony.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 8:54 P.M. EDT