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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 20, 2000
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT


9:18 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I will be brief. I said what I had to say this afternoon. I loved it. I hope all of you did. I can hardly believe this is the eighth and last event like this that I will have a chance to preside over. But I want all of you to know, it has been a great honor.

And one of the things that I have prized most about being President is the opportunity to highlight the good that others do -- many times famous and powerful people, many times people who would otherwise have been completely unknown. But I have a special feeling about the arts and humanities because in politics, we are always concerned with the moment, and trying to win the moment for the American people. But in the end, those things that are timeless matter more. And that is what all of you have given us.

I want to thank those who sponsored these events today and made them possible. I want to thank the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bill Ferris and Bill Ivey and all those who work with them. Since we're celebrating the arts tonight, I want to thank the magnificent musicians of the United States Marine Corps, who have made my life so wonderful these last eight years. (Applause.) And Maestro Slatkin and our hometown symphony here, who will be playing later. And my friend Thomas Hampson, thank you all very much.

I would like to ask all of you just to begin this evening by joining me in a toast to our honorees. They are an amazing assemblage of creative people, each unique, sharing the common fact that they have given us more than we ever could have imagined. Please join me in a toast to the 2000 honorees to the National Medal of the Arts and the National Medal of the Humanities.

(A toast was offered.)

Enjoy the evening, thank you. (Applause.)

END 9:21 P.M. EST