Remarks by the President During Special Olympics Dinner (12/14/00)

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                    December 14, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                          The South Lawn Pavilion
                              The White House

12:11 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Senator.  (Applause.)  Trying to get in
practice, guys.  I want to thank Victor and Katy and Barry, and all the
Special Olympics global messengers.  Let's give them all a big hand again.
(Applause.)  Actually, I don't know whether I want to thank Victor or not.
I understand that the very first time you played golf, you hit a ball 250
yards.  (Applause.)  And I want to know the secret before we go any further
with this friendship of ours.

     I also want to thank our friend, Jamie Lee Curtis, who has been a
great master of ceremonies and has walked us all through this tonight.
Let's give her a big hand.  (Applause.)  And all the wonderful performers
who have graced this stage tonight because they believe in Special
Olympics.  Hillary and I have been proud supporters of Special Olympics for
many, many years.  And we're proud to be part of this very special evening.
     Special Olympics is a program of sports, training and competition, but
ultimately it's a strong statement of optimism about human life.  It says
that every human being can learn and grow and contribute to the society we
all share.  It casts a spotlight on the dignity of human life and the
beauty of the human soul.

     Special Olympics teaches us that when people with disabilities gain
skill and confidence, we all win from their abilities.  When Special
Olympic athletes from America meet their counterparts from places like
China and Botswana, people all over the world are enriched.  And in this
century, we have just begun.  If we help Special Olympics establish global
networks for families, create new health programs for athletes, and open
new opportunity for 2 million athletes around the world, every one of us
will be better off.

     Special Olympics began as a small flicker in the heart of one
remarkable women, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  (Applause.)  We miss her
tonight, and we thank Sarge and her whole family for being here.  Special
Olympics enters a new century, not a small flicker, but a bursting flame of
pride and a beacon of inspiration for every one of us.

     So, tonight, we celebrate what has been accomplished, and even more,
we look forward to the future with determination and confidence.  And now,
I want all of our artists to get a big hand.  They're back on the stage and
they're going to sing us -- you know, I only have just a few days left --
(laughter) -- so I'm going to take every opportunity I can to ask for
everything I can.  I want one more song.  (Applause.)  Merry Christmas,
everybody.  (Applause.)

                         END        12:15 P.M. EST

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