Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at the Inaugural Luncheon

January 20, 1993

Thank you very much, Senator Ford, Mr. Speaker, Majority Leader Gephardt, Senator Mitchell, Senator Dole, Representative Michel. I'd like to begin by saying I didn't get much sleep last night, and if I get through this it will be tour de force. Al Gore and I stayed up a long time talking last night about this day and this country and what we hoped that we could do.

I want to say first how very grateful I am to the Congress for the exertions here to make this Inaugural Day such a meaningful and wonderful one. I would like to especially thank Senator Ford who worked so hard to make sure everything went off without a hitch. And he did.

I also thank you for the wonderful gift of crystal, the letter opener, which I will treasure always, that proved that we did get enough electoral votes to be here today.

And Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted to have that key. However, with all respect, I can't believe you were fully briefed about my proclivities in lobbying legislators to let me come up here without an invitation. I may be here all the time. [Laughter] Why, just when you said you wished me well in untangling my relationships with Congress, my head, almost as if by magic, tilted in Senator Dole's direction. [Laughter]

I make two serious points. Once in a generation we really are called upon to redefine the public interests and the common ground. I honestly do believe much of what we have to do today is work that knows no necessary partisan label and does not fall easily within the conventional divisions of liberal and conservative or Republican and Democrat.

The second point I wish to make is that I cannot succeed as President unless Congress itself succeeds and the American people like the Congress again, too. For I seek to do, and to do we have to work together and move forward together.

So I would like, in gratitude and respect, to propose a toast to a new partnership in America's Government.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:20 p.m. in Statuary Hall at the Capitol. Prior to his remarks, Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, presented the President with a key to the Capitol.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at the Inaugural Luncheon Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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