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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 8, 2001

Remarks by the President at Cinco de Mayo Celebration
The South Lawn

Listen to the President's Remarks

3:23 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Speaks Spanish.) We welcome you to this Cinco de Mayo celebration, even though it's on the quatro de Mayo. (Laughter.) But it's such an important holiday, we decided to start early.

I really appreciate El Ambassador de Mexico, Juan Jose Bremer. Thank you for your kind words, thank you for your leadership, and welcome. (Applause.)

I appreciate so very much Thalia for being here. (Applause.) I am thankful that she did not ask me to dance. (Laughter.) But I loved her voice and loved her music. Pablo Montero. Thank you very much, Pablo, for coming. (Applause.) We will treasure that beautiful gift you gave to Laura, via me. (Laughter.)

It is a pleasure to see my friend, Don Francisco. (Applause.) I had the honor of interviewing with Don Francisco before. (Applause.) (Speaks Spanish.) He's a good man. And, finally -- (speaks Spanish) -- Emilio Estefan. Emilio, thank you very much for coming. (Applause.)

He's lucky we didn't let him in without Gloria. (Laughter.) I know you join me in thanking the fantastic dancers and the mariachis. It's such beautiful music, and the White House is blessed by your presence. (Applause.)

Some in my administration are here that I must introduce. Hector Barreto. He's going to make fine leader of the Small Business Administration. (Applause.) Eduardo Aguirre, who is going to be a senior official at the Export-Import Bank. Eduardo. (Applause.) (Speaks Spanish.) Rosario Marin is here. She is going to be the Treasurer of the United States. (Applause.) We could go on all day long, but there's one other fellow I want to introduce. He's a friend of Mexico. He's a great United States Senator. The Senator from the state of New Mexico, Pete Domenici. (Applause.)

Is Ed Pastor here? I don't see Ed. Today, we remember a proud moment for the people of Mexico, when Mexican soldiers won the battle of Puebla. When the news of that victory reached this house, it was recognized and recorded by Abraham Lincoln.

Then, and for many years afterwards, the United States and Mexico lived two very different histories, often divided by misperceptions and mistrust. (Speaking Spanish.) It's changed. (Applause.)

The United States and Mexico now share ties of history, familia, values, commerce and culture. We are more united in friendship and common purpose than ever before. Just yesterday, I had yet another visit with my friend, El Presidente Vicente Fox. (Applause.) This is the third time my friend and I have had a chance to dialogue about the incredibly important relationship between the United States and Mexico. And I hope people take note that in a few months he'll come back as the honored guest of the first State Dinner I will have as President of the United States. (Applause.)

We have worked together as governors; we will work together as Presidents. And we'll always work in the spirit of mutual respect. Cinco de Mayo is a day for special pride and remembrance for people on (speaking Spanish.) It's a reminder of the pride -- of the proud heritage of many Americans and the warm and growing friendship between two great nations. It's a day worth celebrating. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank you all for coming. Laura and I welcome you, so pleased so many folks came.

Again, I want to thank the fantastic artists who are here. Mi Casa Blanca es su Casa Blanca. Adios. (Applause.)

Thank you all.

END 3:30 P.M. EDT

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