Remarks at a White House Barbecue for Members of Congress

September 18, 1985

The President. Thank you very much, and welcome to the White House. I'm glad you could all make it here this evening. And Mickey, as a sometime cowboy to an urban cowboy, that was just wonderful, and thank you very much. You know, we have a music hall here in Washington, too. It's up there on a hill; it's called the Capitol. [Laughter] And we got lots of vocal talent, but -- [laughter] -- but we're not always so good when it comes to carrying the harmony. [Laughter] That's why I always enjoy these get-togethers with Congress. Rest of the year we have our differences, but times like these allow us just a moment to stop being Republicans and Democrats and just eat -- [laughter] -- and enjoy.

Now, you won't mind, will you, if I tell them a little thing here that I understand happened at Mickey Gilley's restaurant?

Q. Did we lose the mike?

The President.Did we?

That one sounds better than this one, or maybe I'll get a feedback if I get to use them all? [Laughter]

Well, anyway, I understand that a real tough young cowboy came in one night and said to one of your waiters there, ``I want a real rare steak.'' In about 3 minutes, the waiter was back with a platter and a steak on it, and the kid took one look at it and says, ``Take it back.'' And he said, ``You said you wanted a real rare steak.'' And the kid said, ``I've seen cows hurt worse than this get up and walk away.'' [Laughter]

Now, I only did that as an excuse to just tell a little something that I saw in the Milwaukee Journal not too long ago that actually might -- you could stretch it, and it might apply to the activities of all of us -- our friends out here and myself and things we go through. This was a woman that's been reading about all the crime and the violence and so forth and became frightened enough that she started studying judo. And she really did; she studied and she went through all the stages of that till she was a master of the art all the way to the very top. And then one night, the thing she dreaded happened. She was walking down the street -- it was about 9:30 -- and a fellow stepped out of a doorway and grabbed her, this judo expert. She hit him over the head with her umbrella. [Laughter]

So, again, I just want to say that, because although the executive branch may complain about the legislative branch a lot and vice versa, the U.S. Congress remains the greatest invention in self-government this world has ever seen, and all of you in the Senate and the House do it proud. Maybe it's natural that in the heat of legislative combat we focus on our differences, but this season let's also try to remember how much we have in common -- the great love we have for this blessed land of ours and our desire that comes before all else to do what's best for America. As I said, we've got a lot of work to do this fall.

Speaking for Nancy and myself, let me just say again what a great pleasure it is to have all of you here. And now, once again, and I think speaking for all of you -- and this time you won't mind if I speak for you -- and that is, Mickey and all of your talented artists here, God bless you, and thank you very much for the generous and warm way you've entertained us.

Note: The President spoke at 7:59 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. The entertainment for the barbecue was provided by country singer Mickey Gilley.