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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 4, 2006

President and Mrs. Bush Host Children's Holiday Reception at the White House
East Room

  Video (Real)
  Presidential Remarks

      Holidays at the White House 2006

10:40 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming. Laura and I want to welcome you all to the White House. We're really happy you're here. I think you're going to really enjoy this special occasion. My job is to introduce my wife, Laura Bush. (Laughter.) Before I do so, though, I want to say something about your moms and dads. Thank you very much for supporting your mom and dad as they're on a very important mission for our country. I want you to know that they love you dearly and the American people love and respect those who wear our uniform a lot.

I know it's tough to have your mom or dad overseas, and we wish you all the best. But it's really important work. And so we wanted to welcome you here to the White House to, first of all, thank you for your strength, and so that you would do me a favor and email your mom or dad who is overseas how much the Commander-in-Chief respects them, admires them and supports them.

So welcome to the White House, we're glad you're here. And now I'm going to introduce my wife, Laura Bush. (Applause.)

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much. Thanks to each and every one of you for coming today. As President Bush said, I know that many of you have parents in the military, and your mom or your dad is deployed and I know that's hard for you, especially during this time of year.

President Bush and I are proud of each and every one of you. I know that you all support your moms and dads and you're always there for them when they need your help, and I want to thank you all, each one of you, for doing that.

Every year, children come to the White House for a special children's party at Christmas. And this year, I'm so excited that each one of you are the ones that are here with us. Today, we have a very fun performance for you. And can you guess what it is by looking at that? Willy Wonka. It's "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." This is a play that will be at the Kennedy Center, will be opening at the Kennedy Center.

Some of you may have read the book by Roald Dahl. Have you ever read it, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"? After you see these parts of the play, you can go home and check that book out of your library and read it.

This is a new production that will premiere at the Kennedy Center Family Theater, which performs plays and concerts for children. Michael Kaiser, the president of the Kennedy Center; the director and the composer of Willy Wonka, Graham Whitehead; and Leslie Bricusse, are all with us today. So let's give them a big round of applause. They're right here. (Applause.)

And now I want to introduce to you Harrison Chad, who is one of the young actors at the Kennedy Center. He's going to come up and tell you about what you're going to see. And then we'll have our special performers perform some of the scenes from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Are you ready? Okay.

* * * * *

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much; that was so much fun. You were terrific. Should we give another big hand? (Applause.) Remember that Willy Wonka is going to open at the Kennedy Center on December 23rd -- is that right -- and it will be there for two weeks, so if you want to go and see the whole play, go to the Kennedy Center and see Willy Wonka there.

Thank you all for coming. President Bush and I wish you a very, very happy Christmas. I think we have somebody right here waiting to say something to you -- who is it? Santa, that's right.

END 11:10 A.M. EST

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