THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release November 28, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
"AN INVITATION TO THE WHITE HOUSE"
BOOK PARTY RECEPTION
The East Room
6:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, and good evening. Hillary and I
are delighted to welcome all of you here. And I want to especially thank
Carter Brown and Carl Anthony, who I will recognize shortly. I also want
to thank Neil Horstman, the White House Historical Association, and the
White House Curator, Betty Monkman, for their work to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of the White House; and to recognize the members of the
Committee for the Preservation of the White House for the renovation and
the refurbishment which they have made possible.
I hope that you've all had the opportunity to go on the short tour
just before we started -- I understand you have -- and to see again what an
extraordinary place the American people's house really is.
For two centuries now, the American people have looked at the White
House as a symbol of our nation's leadership, strength and continuity; also
a symbol of progress and change. The White House wears its history
proudly, but is forever growing and changing, along with America. If you
think about the history of this room, it's illustrative.
The East Room began life as Abigail Adams' laundry room, when she
moved in to the half-finished house in 1801. A few years later, Thomas
Jefferson laid out maps and books with Meriwether Lewis to plot the
expedition that forever changed the map of America. In this room Abraham
Lincoln lay in state. In this room, a century later, President Lyndon
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
Hillary and I have had our own opportunities to add to the history of
this room. For here we hosted the state dinner for Nelson Mandela, the
first President of a free, multiracial South Africa. Appropriately, as we
enter the new century, the East Room also hosted the first ever White House
cybercast. And just today we held here another in a series of White House
conferences, this one on culture and diplomacy. The others have ranged in
topics from the new economy to early childhood development in the brain.
Hillary has led the way in meeting our responsibility during these
years to preserve and enhance the White House and its collections. As over
1.5 million people come here every year, Hillary has taken extraordinary
steps to ensure that they experience the best of our past and the promise
of our shared future.
She personally oversaw the restoration of several of the public rooms,
and helped to build and diversify the collection of American art. She
established the beautiful sculpture garden in the Jackie Kennedy Garden
downstairs, and worked with the White House Historical Association to raise
a lasting endowment to preserve the White House and its collections. And
as we now know, she somehow found the time to chronicle our lives here and
how the White House works and makes our lives possible in "An Invitation to
the White House."
I hope her book will give millions of our fellow Americans who may
never come here a better sense of what is so special about the house, what
history tells us about the strength of our nation, and about the remarkable
people who actually make this place work, day in and day out, year in and
The history of this house is the history of brave men and women, from
John and Abigail Adams, and the men and women who served them, down to the
present day. As the White House enters its third century, I hope that all
of those who come after us will find, as Hillary and I have, enormous
sustenance and strength in the power of this great place.
I must say, it has been an honor to live here, and I can honestly say
that there is never a time when the helicopter lands on the South Lawn that
I still don't feel the thrill of just being here, of being able to walk in
this place, visit the rooms, and re-live, as I have so often, the history
of our country and what happened in various places in this grand old house.
So I thank you all for that.
Now let me welcome J. Carter Brown, who has been a valued artistic
advisor to us, and indeed to every first family since the Kennedy
administration. Thank you.
END 6:15 P.M. EST