Sometimes I wonder why I spent 2 years running for President, and this morning I know.
Well, this is a delightful occasion for me. We tried to arrange for the crab apple trees in the back to be blooming this morning. They just started. Every morning since I have been President I have come out, sometimes even before daybreak, and watched these trees. And the Japanese magnolias have just gone away, and the crab apples just started blooming yesterday, so you can see what it's done for you.
The cherry blossom occasion every year in our National Capital is a delightful, I think, possibility for us to renew our own spirits and to look to the future of the year with a true springtime attitude.
The choice of a beautiful young American girl to represent us in this celebration is an annual affair that means a lot to us. I understand that the winner will be chosen by lot. I wouldn't mind judging that kind of beauty contest, but I think that's a good way to do it. I think this might be a good thing for some of the primaries to adopt in future Presidential elections--just spin a wheel--and it would be a lot cheaper.
But I think this is a good occasion for us also to remember our friends overseas. Prime Minister Fukuda was in town just recently. And just the fact that the cherry blossoms bloom every year is a true indication of friendship that exists not only among our own people but with our friends in Japan.
And I am very deeply grateful this morning for a chance to meet these lovely young women, to recement my own friendships with, I think, the 49 States represented here today, and to let them know how much I appreciate their coming.
I am very proud of all of you. You are at the age and you have a springtime spirit in your own lives which is encouraging to us all.
I know that we are all trying together, those of us in government, those outside of government, to renew the spirit in our country that has made this a great nation. And as we deal with very serious problems like SALT negotiations, and as we deal with problems involving human rights, and as we try to lessen the danger to human beings around the world and to restore a spirit of friendship and understanding, you represent the kind of ideals that have always made this country great.
I am thankful to you. I have enjoyed meeting you this morning, and I hope that we've formed a friendship that will last for a long time in the future.
Thank you again, and I love all of you.