George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a Presidential Luncheon in Little Rock

November 18, 2004

Thank you all. Mr. President, thank you very much, sir. Senator Clinton and Chelsea, Mother and Dad—it works every time when I say "Mother," you know? [Laughter] President Zedillo and Prime Minister Peres and distinguished guests: Laura and I are really pleased to be with you this afternoon. Thanks for such gracious hospitality. It is our honor to join in dedicating this magnificent library. The tour was fantastic. The people of Arkansas are going to love having the library here. The people of America are going to love coming here. It's really well done.

I know many here today were involved in creating this impressive library. I want to thank you for contributing and helping. And I know many here who served in the administration that is chronicled here. All of you were drawn to the talent and the vision and the energy of President Bill Clinton.

Today we recognize the first person from Arkansas to serve as the Chief Executive of our country, the first in his party to win reelection since Franklin Roosevelt, and a leader who filled the White House with energy and with joy.

During 8 eventful years, Bill Clinton applied tremendous gifts to the service of this country and for the cause of peace, and we're grateful for his service. Americans trusted their future to a man who deeply believed in our future. And Americans continued to like the man that he so clearly liked.

One man's journey from Hope, Arkansas, to the White House, the story told in this library, is an American story. It's a story of talent recognized early and lifelong friendships and hard work that was rewarded. The boy who shook the hand of John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden has shaken the hands of many young people and inspired them with his idealism. And this library will carry that message into the future.

Americans look to our former Presidents as elder statesmen. In the case of President Clinton, the elder statesman is about one month younger than I am. [Laughter] His public service came early, and his service to America has not ended. So on this special afternoon I ask you to join me in a toast: To the past and to the future of our Nation's 42d President.

God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:20 p.m. in a pavilion at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. In his remarks, he referred to former President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico; and former Foreign Minister Shimon Peres of Israel. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a Presidential Luncheon in Little Rock Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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