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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 9, 2000
                        200TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER

                             The East Room

8:20 P.M. EST*

THE PRESIDENT: Mrs. Johnson, President and Mrs. Ford, President and Mrs. Carter, President and Mrs. Bush, distinguished guests. It has been said that an invitation to the White House to dinner is one of the highest compliments a President can bestow on anyone. Tonight, Hillary and I would amend that to say that an even higher compliment has been bestowed on us by your distinguished presence this evening. In the entire 200 years of the White House history, never before have this many former Presidents and First Ladies gathered in this great room. (Applause.)

Hillary and I are grateful beyond words to have served as temporary stewards of the People's House these last eight years, an honor exceeded only by the privilege of service that comes with the key to the front door.

In the short span of 200 years, those whom the wings of history have brought to this place have shaped not only their own times, but have also left behind a living legacy for our own. In ways both large and small, each and every one of you has cast your light upon this house, and left it and our country brighter for it. For that, Hillary and I and all Americans owe you a great debt of gratitude.

I salute you and all those yet to grace these halls with the words of the very first occupant of the White House, John Adams, who said: I pray to heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but the honest and wise rule under this roof.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join me in a toast to Mrs. Johnson, President and Mrs. Ford, President and Mrs. Carter, President and Mrs. Bush for their honest and wise service to the people while they inhabited this house. (A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 8:30 P.M. EST