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For Immediate Release - Office of the Press Secretary - August 17, 2002 - 1:09 P.M. (EST)

Remarks by the President

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Thank you very much. Please be seated. We'll be opening the buffet immediately after my remarks.

Today, it is Laura's and my great pleasure to welcome all 214 members of my "Pioneer Club" here to our humble 1,600-acre adobestead. We know that each of you took time out of your busy schedules to raise $100,000 each in contributions for my 2000 presidential campaign, and so we figured the least we could do was invite you folks down here two years later for some prairie dog fritters and a follow-up raid on your checkbooks and Rolodexes.


Yeah, you're laughing now. Just wait until you try to leave.


OK, before I proceed, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge one of the founding members of the Pioneer Club. He's been through a lot this year, and he came all the way from Houston to be with us today. Ladies and gentlemen - please put your pinkies in the corners of your mouths and help Laura and me give a big Crawford-style welcome to Mr. Big Spender himself, a dear family friend - the former CEO of Enron Corporation and godfather to my Scottish Terrier Barney: Mister Kenneth Lay!

(Hoots, Hollers and Applause.)

We sure appreciate you coming, Ken - and agreeing to wear that paper bag over your head as the limo passed through the throngs of reporters out at the electrified gate. Nobody here can hold a candle to your fundraising. And one day, I'll be able to admit that publicly.

Moving on to business, I know I don't have to remind any of you folks that we're coming up on the mid-term Congressional elections. And that means just one thing - we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to cement our hold on the House. Because God knows, we all have ski villas and Gulfstream jets to maintain properly, and if those baby-killing Democrats have their way, we'll all be laying off our colored servants and picking up feather dusters ourselves.


You know, too many Americans don't realize the invaluable contribution to democracy that you good folks of the Pioneer Club make. Too many Americans discount your selfless and tireless work - denouncing your heartfelt efforts as "big business influence," "special interest lobbying," and "payola." In short, too many Americans are probably closet Marxists, and really need to be ignored - no matter how loud they bellyache.


I for one know how important your contributions are. Why, if it weren't for your ideas, your influence, and your cold, hard cash - I'd probably still be drilling empty oil wells and wearing off-the-rack slacks to my N.A. meetings. And that's why today, I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge my profound debt of gratitude to every last one of your - and to assure you that I am here for you. If you ever need anything - anything other than what's already on the 200-page, single-spaced list you all co-wrote and Fed-Ex'ed over last month - please don't hesitate to call Karl on the red phone. He'll get you taken care of lickety split - providing, of course, that you remain a Pioneer Club member in good standing. To that end, Karl wanted me to remind all of you that any inquiries regarding the status of your account - including current balance on your annual fundraising quota - need to be directed to the White House Pioneer Club Affairs Office. That's extension #302.

Now, I see many of you reaching for your wallets. Please don't. Remember - this is a social gathering. Laura and I wanted to thank you all - to have a day that's all about YOU. So please - no donations today. Just enjoy the barbecue buffet. And when you finish your meals, don't forget to pick up your hand-numbered, poster-sized velvet lithograph depicting my stirring 90-second speech delivered atop the still-smoldering rubble of Ground Zero on September 15th. Autographed by me in silver sparkle pen and framed in handsome carved Sequoia, this cherished keepsake will serve as a tasteful and patriotic reminder of the sacred bond that exists between your family's financial interests and my administration's legislative agenda.


Please accept this small gift from us to you at no charge. We ask only that each of you cover the modest processing fee of $7,000 - payable in large denomination bills at the courtesy kiosk outside the electric bull room.

And on that note, I'll wrap it up. Thank you again - and God bless you all. Now start stuffing those pie holes.

(Applause and Laughter.)


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