[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 8, 1998]
[Page 196]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at the Festival at Ford's Theatre
February 8, 1998

    Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. First let me say that 
Hillary and I, as always, have had a wonderful evening. We look forward 
to this every year.
    I want to thank my special friend Whoopi Goldberg. God's Property was wonderful. I thank all the other 
magnificent performers who were here tonight. I thank Tricia Lott and Peatsy Hollings, for the work that they do, and all the other 
sponsors of this extraordinary evening. And a special thanks to you, 
Frankie, for giving 30 years of your life to 
a worthy and great American cause.
    I also want to thank you for honoring the First Lady tonight. She has worked very hard for the last 
5 years and continues to work for the arts and for the preservation of 
our national treasures, like Ford's Theatre. That's a special focus of 
our millennium project. And she convinced me that it's something all 
Americans should do for the 21st century.
    President Kennedy once wrote that art is the great unifying and 
humanizing experience. We are here in Ford's Theatre in the shadow of 
President Lincoln's memory, a President who gave his life for the unity 
and the fundamental humanity of our Nation. And these wonderful young 
people have just sung a song that, for everyone my age, will live 
forever. John Kennedy was killed when I was a senior in high school; 
Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy when I was a senior here at 
Georgetown. Those of us who grew up as children in a time when our 
national life meant unity and humanity will be forever grateful for the 
spirit of Abraham Lincoln and what is embodied in this magnificent 
    Thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 8:45 p.m. In his remarks, he 
referred to comedienne Whoopi Goldberg; gospel music group God's 
Property; event cochairs Tricia Lott, wife of Senator Trent Lott, and 
Rita L. (Peatsy) Hollings, wife of Senator Ernest F. Hollings; and 
Frankie Hewitt, producing artistic director, Ford's Theatre Society. The 
festival was videotaped for later broadcast on the ABC Television 
Network as ``A Gala for the President.''