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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 5, 2005
President and Mrs. Bush Host Children's Holiday Reception
10:30 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming. Welcome. We're glad you're here. This is Laura; I'm George W. (Laughter.) We hope you've had some fun here. I hope nobody pinched Rudolph on the nose. (Laughter.) Nobody did, that's good -- Rudolph is happy about that, too. (Laughter.)
We welcome the students from Stratford Landing Elementary School in Alexandria, and Glen Haven Elementary School in Silver Spring. We're glad you all are here. We want to welcome your teachers and your parents. Thanks for coming; we're glad you're at the White House.
I particularly want to welcome those of you here who have got a mom or dad serving our country in the United States military. (Applause.) I know it's hard when they're away; this has got to be a difficult time for you. But we really want you to know that they're doing important work. They're not only protecting the country, but they're helping other boys and girls live in freedom like we do here in the United States, and that's important.
So one message I want to give you is we're really proud of your mom or dad, and you tell them thanks -- thanks on behalf of a grateful nation.
And now I get to introduce somebody I'm grateful for, and that's the First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush. (Applause.)
MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Mr. President. And thank you to each one of you. We're so thrilled that you're here. This is a traditional party at the White House. For years, the President has invited children -- the President, whoever it has been, has invited children to come to the White House at Christmastime, and I'm so glad that you all are the ones that are here with us today.
I know that you got to see Santa earlier. And you might have noticed that Santa's elves have already been here and they've already decorated all of our Christmas trees and help make those Christmas cookies that you've already had, and that you're going to also be able to take home when you finish.
But one of the special treats we have today is the American Ballet Theatre is going to dance a few parts of The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker, as you all know, is one of the most famous holiday performances of all time. And we're so happy that the American Ballet Theater, which is one of the premiere ballet troops in the United States, is here to perform scenes from The Nutcraker, right here at the White House.
We'll start in just a minute, but I wanted to ask Kevin McKenzie, who's with the American Ballet Theatre -- he's their artistic director -- to come up and tell us about what we're going to see.
* * * * *
MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much; that was so terrific. Thanks everybody -- want to give them one more hand? (Applause.) You all are great, really wonderful. Thank you all so much.
The American Ballet Theatre, and they were so great in The Nutcracker. So I hope when you go back to your schools you'll ask your teacher to get the Hoffman Book, The Nutcracker, and read it to you, and then listen to the music from The Nutcracker, as well, and you'll remember each one of these characters -- the sugarplum fairy and the nutcracker and the unicorn and all the rest of them that are in the ballet.
Santa Claus is waiting at the door and he's going to lead you all out to get your cookies, your White House Christmas cookies to take home, and your art kit -- everybody is going to get an art kit, as well.
So have a very, very happy holiday to everybody. Have fun. (Applause.)
END 11:00 A.M. EST