Barack Obama photo

Remarks at the National Governors Association Dinner

February 22, 2015

The President. It's wonderful to see you all here tonight. Harry Truman once called the Presidency an "enlarged Governorship." [Laughter] Of course, a few of you are hoping that he was right. [Laughter] But Michelle and I are thrilled to host our Nation's Governors and your loved ones here tonight. If it's your first visit, then welcome to the White House. We promise a good time. The only thing we can't conjure up from the past is Governor Schwarzenegger on the dance floor. [Laughter] And it was something.

We are glad that the weather held up after yesterday's storm. And we've been thinking about you Governors from New England and everything that your citizens have been through this winter. I want to make sure we're working with each other to get what you need. It is a good thing that you are not coming on a snowstorm like there was during the dinner of 1987. Now, hours into the dinner, the food was gone. Everybody was standing around. The snow seemed to keep falling harder and harder. And President Reagan looked out the window and turned to the First Lady and said, "Honey, do we have enough cots?" [Laughter] To which Nancy replied, "We have a few spare bedrooms." [Laughter]

But it looks like the weather has cleared up enough that there will not be a pajama party here in the Blue Room tonight. [Laughter] We are looking forward, though, to spending time with one another in fellowship and good food and good entertainment, and undoubtedly, we'll find that we have more in common than sometimes is assumed. And I—hopefully, that will inform the business that we do together tomorrow.

Our economy keeps improving. And I hope that we can seize on that momentum to keep improving the circumstances for every one of our citizens: keep building a country where every citizen can look around and see cause for optimism about the future, not only for themselves, but also for their children and their grandchildren; feel good about their own prospects and the country's prospects.

Within this room, we're not going to agree on everything, but I am committed to working with each and every one of you over the next 2 years to keep making progress. And we'll talk more about that tomorrow. Tonight I just want to express my appreciation to all of you, all of the hard work that you bring to bear. And I want to say thank you to the spouses as well, because I know that's a particularly difficult job, trying to keep us in line.

So let me propose a toast: To our citizens, to our spouses, to our families, and to what Thomas Jefferson once described as our country's precious blessings, "its soil, its climate, its equality, liberty, laws, people, and manners . . . which no other people on Earth enjoy."


Audience members. Cheers.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:17 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to former Gov. Arnold A. Schwarzenegger of California; and former First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan.

Barack Obama, Remarks at the National Governors Association Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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