George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a State Dinner Honoring Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy

October 13, 2008

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Vice President, Mrs. Cheney, Madam Speaker, Members of Congress, Justices of the Supreme Court, members of my Cabinet, honored guests: Laura and I are so pleased to welcome you to the White House.

Every year on Columbus Day, we remember the remarkable history that unites America and Italy. That history began more than five centuries ago when an Italian explorer sighted land after a long ocean voyage. Many believed Christopher Columbus had reached the Far East, but another Italian explorer helped show otherwise. Amerigo Vespucci's journeys revealed that the land was a new world, and America will always be proud to carry his name.

Through the years, generations of Italian immigrants have made their own voyage to the New World. They brought with them a vibrant culture and a strong sense of family. And today, their children and grandchildren have risen to some of the highest offices in our land. Among our guests tonight is the first Italian American Speaker of the House, and first woman, Nancy Pelosi. And we're also honored to be joined by the first Italian American Justices of the United States Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito.

The ties between the people of America and the people of Italy run deep, and the friendship between our countries has never been stronger. The United States and Italy are standing together against the forces of tyranny and terror. We're partnering to meet the challenges in our economies and expand trade and prosperity. And we share a vision of a future of freedom and hope for all the people.

Mr. Prime Minister, you're a strong leader. I admire your enterprising spirit, your visionary leadership, and your commitment to your word. I've enjoyed serving with you on the world stage. I'm honored to call you a close friend.

And it is now my privilege to offer a toast to the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:06 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Prime Minister Berlusconi.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a State Dinner Honoring Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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