Remarks by the President and First Lady at Arts and Humanities Dinner
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                          Office of the Secretary
Immediate Release                         December 20, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                            AND THE FIRST LADY


9:15 P.M. EST

     MRS.  CLINTON:   Please  be seated and welcome once again to the White
House.  We are so honored and delighted to have you join us for this dinner
in  celebration  and  recognition and absolute delight in the honorees that
were  recognized  this morning, who represent not only the best of the arts
and  humanities,  but truly the best that America has to offer and the best
that comes from within the human spirit.

     This  is  a wonderful evening for Bill and for Chelsea and me, because
we  also have here so many of our friends and people who have supported the
work and goals and aspirations of the President and this administration for
eight years.  (Applause.)
     And  so it is a night of celebration in many, many ways, and one which
we  are  so  pleased  you  can share with us.  We are, as we have said this
morning  and  on  public occasions in the past weeks, marking each day with
memories  and  extraordinary  opportunities  like  this  to  think back and
reflect  on  what  has  occurred  and  how grateful we are to have been the
temporary occupants of the White House over these years.

     And  the  work that has been done on behalf of the arts and humanities
is something that we feel so personally committed to and grateful for.  And
none  of  it  would  have been possible without a President who came to the
White  House already as a devotee and lover of the arts and of all that the
humanities had to offer.  And it has continued thus for these years.

     So  please  join  me  in welcoming the President of the United States.

     THE  PRESIDENT:  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.  I will be brief.  I
said what I had to say this afternoon.  I loved it.  I hope all of you did.
I  can  hardly  believe  this is the eighth and last event like this that I
will  have a chance to preside over.  But I want all of you to know, it has
been a great honor.

     And one of the things that I have prized most about being President is
the  opportunity  to highlight the good that others do -- many times famous
and  powerful  people,  many  times  people  who  would otherwise have been
completely  unknown.   But  I  have  a  special  feeling about the arts and
humanities  because  in  politics, we are always concerned with the moment,
and  trying  to  win  the  moment for the American people.  But in the end,
those  things  that  are timeless matter more.  And that is what all of you
have given us.

     I  want  to thank those who sponsored these events today and made them
possible.   I  want  to  thank  the National Endowment for the Arts and the
National  Endowment  for  the Humanities, Bill Ferris and Bill Ivey and all
those who work with them.  Since we're celebrating the arts tonight, I want
to  thank  the magnificent musicians of the United States Marine Corps, who
have  made  my  life so wonderful these last eight years.  (Applause.)  And
Maestro  Slatkin and our hometown symphony here, who will be playing later.
And my friend Thomas Hampson, thank you all very much.

     I  would  like to ask all of you just to begin this evening by joining
me  in a toast to our honorees.  They are an amazing assemblage of creative
people,  each  unique, sharing the common fact that they have given us more
than  we  ever  could have imagined.  Please join me in a toast to the 2000
honorees  to  the  National Medal of the Arts and the National Medal of the

     (A toast was offered.)

     Enjoy the evening, thank you.  (Applause.)

                           END                   9:21 P.M. EST

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