The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 28, 2001

Remarks by the President at White House Correspondents Dinner
The Hilton Hotel
Washington, D.C.

8:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Arlene. Laura and I are delighted to be here, with all the major leaguers. (Laughter.) Tonight I've decided to do something a little different. See, my mother, over the years, has put together at least 70 scrap books about our life as a family. What I've done is pulled out some of the actual, never-before-seen photos, from these scrapbooks and created a little slide show. (Laughter.)

And so, Gordon, if everybody's cell phones are turned off -- (laughter) -- you can hit the lights. Tonight I present a Bush family album. What you may not realize is that I grew up at a time in Texas history when it was still a rough and tumble frontier. (Laughter.) We were ranchers back then. (Laughter.) This was my favorite horse. He was sure-footed, steady. I trusted that horse totally. And here's the really weird part, his name was Dick Cheney. (Laughter.)

But times were hard back then. (Laughter and applause.) This of course was during the great drought of 1953. (Laughter.) Dad, Neil, Doro, Marvin and Jeb. In my family, with all those kids in the tub, it's not arsenic in the water I'd be worried about. (Laughter and applause.) Personally, I've always preferred a private bath. (Laughter.) This is my actual first grade report card. Up top, it says, George W. Bush. And then notice the final grades on the right. Writing, A; Reading, A; Spelling, A; Arithmetic, A; Music, A; Art, A. So my advice is, don't peak too early. (Laughter and applause.)

Here I am with my 5th grade science project. (Laughter.) Built it myself. And it's still meeting our energy needs. (Laughter.) I went on to college, and graduate school. But somehow, the press has gotten the wrong idea, that I was a smart aleck party guy. (Laughter.) This is an unfair perception. See, in college, I actually did a lot of independent reading. (Laughter.)

After graduation, I joined the Texas Air National Guard. I'm the one who committed the state of Texas to defend Taiwan from attack. (Laughter and applause.) Speaking of pilots, I'm so proud and honored to welcome to our nation's capital, Lieutenant Shane Osborn and crew member Lieutenant j.g. John Comerford. (Applause.) I hope you and your crew will be coming to the White House soon. I think you'll like it there. (Laughter.) I know I've said this to you personally on the phone, but I'm proud to say it publicly, welcome back, Lieutenant. (Applause.)

Some people wondered, and I'm sure there might have been a few out here, how I would handle the recent incident in China. Truth is, I have long been a serious student of the Orient. (Laughter.) My mom and dad, of course, were in China when dad was the U.S. liaison there. People have asked me, is it difficult trying to follow in the footsteps of a man who was President, Vice President, U.N. Ambassador, a man who held so many other important jobs? Is it hard being such a man's son? Not really. (Laughter.)

Most people don't realize it, but dad has had some tough times. (Laughter.) Back in the '50s, he went through a period where he thought aliens were trying to contact him. (Laughter.) So he built this contraption to receive their signals. (Laughter.)

As for my mom, after bearing six children, she herself became a bit stressed. (Laughter.) She took to acting very strangely. (Laughter.) For a while, she thought she was too tall, and walked like this. (Laughter.) As if that weren't strange enough, next she wrote a book with that damn, mangy ill-tempered dog. (Laughter.) I hated that dog. (Laughter.) My mother treated the dog better than she treated me. (Laughter.) She never helped me write my book. (Laughter.)

I will say this, however, my mom always stuck up for us kids. Here's mom replying to a reporter's question about something Barbara Streisand said recently. (Laughter.) Fortunately, I've got great brothers and a great sister. Some people have asked me, however, if the vote recount left any hard feelings between my brother Jeb and me. Not a bit. In fact, here's a picture of the Governor of Florida. (Laughter and applause.)

All this brings me to a serious point. Eventually, I met a woman named Laura Welch. (Applause.) She changed my life. She has given me as an adult, what I enjoyed as a child, and that is a loving family. The defining moments in the Bush family are not when my father was elected President, or when I was elected President. The defining moments have been family moments. Ladies and gentlemen, I've been blessed with a family that is full of love, and I pray the same for you.

Good evening. (Applause.)

END 8:39 P.M. EDT

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