George W. Bush photo

Remarks at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

April 28, 2001

Thank you, Arlene. Laura and I are delighted to be here with all the major leaguers. [Laughter] Tonight I've decided to do something a little different. See, my mother, over the years, has put together at least 70 scrapbooks about our life as a family. What I've done is pull out some of the actual, never-before-seen photos from these scrapbooks and create a little slide show. [Laughter] And so, Gordon, if everybody's cell phones are turned off— [laughter]—you can hit the lights.

Tonight I present a Bush family album. What you may not realize is that I grew up at a time in Texas history when it was still a rough and tumble frontier. [Laughter] We were ranchers back then. [Laughter] This was my favorite horse. He was sure-footed, steady. I trusted that horse totally. And here's the really weird part: His name was Dick Cheney. [Laughter]

But times were hard back then. [Laughter] This, of course, was during the great drought of 1953. [Laughter] Dad, Neil, Doro, Marvin, and Jeb—in my family, with all those kids in the tub, it's not arsenic in the water I'd be worried about. [Laughter] Personally, I've always preferred a private bath. [Laughter]

This is my actual first-grade report card. Up top, it says, "George W. Bush." And then notice the final grades on the right: Writing, A; Reading, A; Spelling, A; Arithmetic, A; Music, A; Art, A. So my advice is, don't peak too early. [Laughter]

Here, I am with my fifth-grade science project. [Laughter] Built it myself. And it's still meeting our energy needs. [Laughter]

I went on to college and graduate school, but somehow, the press has gotten the wrong idea, that I was a smart aleck party guy. [Laughter] This is an unfair perception. See, in college, I actually did a lot of independent reading. [Laughter]

After graduation I joined the Texas Air National Guard. I'm the one who committed the State of Texas to defend Taiwan from attack. [Laughter]

Speaking of pilots, I'm so proud and honored to welcome to our Nation's Capital Lieutenant Shane Osborn and crewmember Lieutenant j.g. John Comerford. I hope you and your crew will be coming to the White House soon. I think you'll like it there. [Laughter] I know I've said this to you personally on the phone, but I'm proud to say it publicly: Welcome back, Lieutenant.

Some people wondered—and I'm sure there might have been a few out here— how I would handle the recent incident in China. Truth is, I have long been a serious student of the Orient. [Laughter] My mom and dad, of course, were in China when Dad was the U.S. liaison there. People have asked me, "Is it difficult trying to follow in the footsteps of a man who was President, Vice President, U.N. Ambassador, a man who held so many other important jobs? Is it hard being such a man's son?" Not really. [Laughter]

Most people don't realize it, but Dad has had some tough times. [Laughter] Back in the fifties, he went through a period where he thought aliens were trying to contact him. [Laughter] So he built this contraption to receive their signals. [Laughter]

As for my mom, after bearing six children she herself became a bit stressed. [Laughter] She took to acting very strangely. [Laughter] For a while, she thought she was too tall and walked like this. [Laughter] As if that weren't strange enough, next she wrote a book with that damn, mangy, illtempered dog. [Laughter] I hated that dog. [Laughter] My mother treated the dog better than she treated me. [Laughter] She never helped me write my book. [Laughter]

I will say this, however, my mom always stuck up for us kids. Here's Mom replying to a reporter's question about something Barbra Streisand said recently. [Laughter]

Fortunately, I've got great brothers and a great sister. Some people have asked me, however, if the vote recount left any hard feelings between my brother Jeb and me? Not a bit. In fact, here's a picture of the Governor of Florida. [Laughter]

All this brings me to a seriouser point. [Laughter] Eventually, I met a woman named Laura Welch. She changed my life. She has given me as an adult what I enjoyed as a child, and that is a loving family. The defining moments in the Bush family are not when my father was elected President or when I was elected President. The defining moments have been family moments. Ladies and gentlemen, I've been blessed with a family that is full of love, and I pray the same for you.

Good evening.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:30 p.m. in the Ballroom at the Washington Hilton. In his remarks, he referred to his parents, former First Lady Barbara Bush and former President George Bush, brothers Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, and sister, Dorothy Bush Koch; Arlene Dillon, president, White House Correspondents' Association; Assistant Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe; Lt. Shane Osborn, USN, and Lt. (jg.) John Comerford, USN, pilot and crewmember of the U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II electronic surveillance aircraft held by the Government of China after the aircraft made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island due to a mid-air collision with a Chinese F-8 fighter jet over the South China Sea on March 31; and entertainer Barbra Streisand.

George W. Bush, Remarks at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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