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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 1, 2008
President and Mrs. Bush Attend Ford's Theatre Gala
The National Theatre
MRS. BUSH: Welcome, everyone, to the Ford's Theatre Gala, and thank each and every one of you for your generous friendship to Ford's Theatre.
Tonight, we present the Lincoln Medal, an annual award given by Ford's Theatre. The Lincoln Medal brings Abraham Lincoln's legacy to life by recognizing his wisdom and vision in the work of today's leaders. It honors those who, through their accomplishments or personal attributes, illuminate the character of our most beloved President.
Earlier this year, at a Lincoln birthday celebration at the White House, we honored two Lincoln Medal recipients: Sandra Day O'Connor and Benjamin Carson. A former Supreme Court Justice and a renowned pediatric surgeon, these honorees have upheld Lincoln's ideals of equality and service.
Tonight, we reflect on Lincoln's love of the arts by recognizing two magnificent artists: the poet Maya Angelou and the actress Ruby Dee.
Now, to present the Lincoln Medal to tonight's recipients, the co-vice chairmen of the Ford's Theatre Board: Mr. Rex Tillerson and Mr. Nick Chabraja. (Applause.)
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THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Hal, thanks for the introduction. And I want to thank you all for supporting Ford's Theatre. Laura and I have been coming here now for eight years to the Ford's Theatre Gala, and this is by far the best. (Applause.)
We want to thank our choir and our orchestra and all the fabulous performers for taking time out of your busy schedules to help -- to support this really important part of Washington. And Gatlin is probably saying, of course I said that for the crowd last year. (Laughter.) But, no, it really was fantastic. And it's such an uplifting performance and a reminder of what a great President Abraham Lincoln was.
I do want to thank Paul Tetreault for being a really fabulous director of the Ford's Theatre. (Applause.) And I want to thank the Gala co-chairs and all the people who support the Ford's Theatre. I know you're excited about the opening of the renovated Ford's Theatre in February 2009. Laura and I are excited, too. Just send the pictures down to Crawford. (Laughter.)
Thanks for a fabulous evening, and God bless. (Applause.)