Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Reception for Republican Congressional Staff Members

September 24, 1974

Needless to say, I am very grateful for the warm reception, and today we are paying tribute, as I look at it, to the unsung heroes and heroines of our Republican staff organization on Capitol Hill and, I might add, their long-suffering spouses.

Frankly again, nobody has ever been able to really pin down the exact duties, as I see it, of a good staff assistant. But somebody did come up with a pretty good definition the other day as I was talking to someone about this prospective meeting, and he said, and I will quote: A good staff assistant is someone who gets half the pay, a quarter of the office, and all of the blame. [Laughter]

Maybe this is telling tales out of school--and I have been accused of that before--but I once overheard a lady who was trying to get in to see her Senator, without too much success. The administrative assistant was, you know, as they always do, trying to smooth the obviously unhappy constituent. He said, "Madam, perhaps I could help you. I am his AA." She gave him a sympathetic nod and said, "Don't feel bad. If I worked for him, I would drink, too." [Laughter]

Needless to say, in closing, I do want to thank all of you most sincerely for the wonderful job you have done over the years that I had something to do with the Republican Party on Capitol Hill. Your talents, your cooperation, your dedication, the endless hours that all of you have given so freely, I deeply appreciate.

And I have found that words alone don't very adequately express this appreciation, and so I have written a little poem. It is called "A Toast to Congressional Staffers." It goes like this:

A toast to Congressional staffers:

They listen, write and edit.
They work and work and work and work,
And we take all the credit. [Laughter]

So, let me thank all of you again. I have done it on many occasions, but I say it most sincerely tonight, because I know firsthand the effort, the result, and all of the good things that flow from what you have done for me and all others in the Republican leadership and the principles for which we stand.

I thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:49 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a Reception for Republican Congressional Staff Members Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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