February 5, 1988

The President. And I used to think I wanted an Oscar. [Laughter] Oh, believe it or not, I am speechless. [Laughter] Oh, I knew that she got away with making the deal with the Soviets for the arms thing and so forth -- [laughter] -- but I never believed that she could accomplish anything like this. [Laughter] Incidentally, when was it that you were doing all that stuff with the Russians that I read about? [Laughter]

Well, all of you here -- and to think that I kept trying to get Howard [Baker] to drop the packages and let me bring them over here. I didn't know why he was going to all that trouble. [Laughter] But, yes, it was a surprise, but I don't know of a happier surprise -- all of you here, so many of you so dear to both of us. And I couldn't have imagined this in my wildest times. A matter of fact, I had it figured that we'd be just about getting into the helicopter now to go to Camp David, and I'm glad we're not.

But I don't know how to thank you, and Marvin -- a song of my very own. [Laughter]

Mr. Hamlisch. That's yours.

The President. I've got to take singing lessons. [Laughter] But thank you all very much for all that you've done.

Mr. Hamlisch. We're all going to now sing one song that I didn't write, but I think it's the appropriate song.

Note: The President spoke at 1:54 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. Prior to the President's remarks, Marvin Hamlisch, accompanied by members of the Army Band and singer Donna Marie Elio, performed a song he had written entitled ``He's Our Man (The Ronald Reagan March)'' and presented a framed copy of the score to the President. Following Mr. Hamlisch's remarks, the guests sang ``Happy Birthday.''