Remarks at a White House Barbecue for Members of Congress

 

August 14, 1986

 

The President. Well, thank you all for coming. I'm not going to make a speech tonight, you'll be glad to hear. But I know that we all enjoy these bipartisan, festive events and maybe hope that a little of their spirit will be carried back to our work. After all, we're in this town because we love this country and we want to make it better. But I'd like to say, especially to the spouses and the children who are here tonight, a heartfelt thanks; because I know that you've sacrificed so much -- maybe even more in leaving your homes and coming to Washington -- than do the rest of us.

 

And now I really want to thank this great entertainment that we've had here tonight. The cast of the Hot Mikado showed us that when you're hot, you're hot. [Laughter] And I think that you'd all want to join us, as you have, in expressing your thanks. Frankie Hewitt brought the Hot Mikado to the Ford Theatre for a very successful run, and now they're heading for Broadway. They'll make the lights much brighter there. And I know that we all wish them the very best.

 

And then there was the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. You fellows really know how it's done. There are two members of the band, the Humphrey brothers -- clarinetist Willie and trumpeter Percy -- who are celebrating the 75th anniversary of their first performance. That first performance took place in the year of my birth -- 1911. And Willie and Percy, congratulations. And don't pay any attention to that Mr. President stuff. I'd be happy if you'd just call me Junior. [Laughter] And I'll even show up if you say, ``Hey, kid.'' [Laughter]

 

Well, I think we've all been richly entertained here tonight by these wonderful people who so generously come and spread their talent among us. And, again, thank you all for being here. And, again, a heartfelt thanks to all of you.

 

Q. Mr. President, there are reports that you've approved a fourth shuttle. Is that true?

 

The President. Pardon?

 

Q. There are reports that you've approved a fourth shuttle -- space --  --

 

The President. Wait until Saturday.

 

Note: The President spoke at 8:33 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.