Remarks at a Dinner Hosted by Republican Members of the Senate

 

November 29, 1988

 

Thank you, Bob, and thank you all very much. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed dinner tonight. At the White House we're still eating leftover turkey. [Laughter]

 

But really, tonight means a lot to Nancy and me -- to be here with all of you, to think of all we've done. What a team we've been, and what a time this has been. My friends, we need have no regrets; we deserve to be proud. Day in and day out, you faced the opposition and fought the tough battles. In fact, when I told Bob Hope I was coming here tonight, he thought I was to do a U.S.O. show. [Laughter]

 

And I want to also salute the Senate spouses. Between the considerable work that you do and your campaign efforts and the terrible work hours those Senators keep, I think you, the spouses, have been nothing less than valiant.

 

Now, I must say, I wish we could have regained control of this body. I think you all know the difference between a Republican Senate and a Democratic Senate. It's the difference between a super majority and a simple majority. [Laughter] I'd better just let you think about that one. [Laughter]

 

But I believe that it won't be too long before the Republicans win control of the Congress, the same way we keep winning the White House. And sooner or later the other party is going to have to take the hint and put themselves out of their misery.

 

But, no, it's kind of like the story they tell about the great French writer Alexandre Dumas. They say that he and another fellow had a terrible dispute that could only be settled by a duel. The two men were both such good marksmen that they agreed to draw straws and the loser would shoot himself. [Laughter] Well, Dumas drew the short straw, so he took his gun, went into a room, closed the door. And then a single shot rang out. And the people rushed to look into the room. And there was Dumas standing there holding the gun in his hand. ``Gentlemen,'' he said, ``a remarkable thing has just happened. I missed.'' [Laughter]

 

Well, to those just elected to the Senate -- and I worked with most of you in the past -- it was great to see you along the campaign trail. We're so glad you made it, and I know that great things lie in store for you. To those of you who are leaving office, let me say, again, thank you. Life is a book with many chapters. You have written great things in that book which no one can erase, and your greatest chapters still lie ahead. And to all of you who will continue to serve in this great body, the foundation of our great Republic, I know that you will continue to do honor to America and that you will give George Bush the same friendship, support, and solidarity that you gave me.

 

And really, what you've done has been much more than that. Eight years ago, you and I formed a partnership, a partnership dedicated to restoring America to its full greatness. No one of us could have done it alone, and had we been divided, we would have failed. But together, with the leadership, courage, and unity of the Senate Republicans, we have succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. And for what each of you have done, you have my personal gratitude and that of a grateful nation.

 

And I want to say a special thank you to a good friend, Bob Dole, a man who I've come to know so well. He is a man so widely respected and admired that even Senators on the other side of the aisle routinely steal his jokes. [Laughter] But his title of leader is not just a job title; it's a description of the man. And no one has served his country with more loyalty and dedication than he has. I have relied on Bob Dole's help and counsel since I took office, and he's never let me down. Let me just say again, Bob, thank you.

 

And as I prepare to return to California, nothing has meant so much to me as the knowledge that Bob Dole and George Bush and Dan Quayle, each one of you, and our whole Republican team will be working together for the values we share and the future that stands before us.

 

We're counting on you to help secure for our children the brightest future the world has ever known, to help keep a promise that is as old as this land we love and as big as the sky. It's the American vision of creating a new nation of free people, a country that would be a light unto the nations, and a shining city upon a hill. It is that vision that brought each one of us here to Washington, and I know that you each will keep faith with that great American dream that burns within our souls and within the soul of every American.

 

Nancy and I will never forget you and what you have meant to us. You've been good friends. You've served America with honor. You've made me proud of our party. And if you ever find yourself driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, I hope you will come on by, because up at Rancho del Cielo, where the mountains meet the sky, you have a friend.

 

All I can say and mean with all my heart is thank you all and God bless you all.

 

Note: The President spoke at 9:37 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Library of Congress. In his remarks, he referred to Robert Dole, Senate minority leader.