From: Alex Leary [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:35 PM
To: Rutherford, Sarah D. EOP/WHO
Subject: In-town print pool No. 6 (Obama toast)
POTUS, FLOTUS, PM Matteo Renzi and Mrs. Agnese Landini were introduced at 9:20 p.m.
POTUS toast highlights:
“Welcome to the final state dinner of my presidency.” (applause) “But in the immortal words of a great Italian American, Yogi Berra, ‘It ain’t over 'till it’s over.’ " (applause).
“I will confess that at first I was a little nervous about this dinner. After all, Matteo is called the “Il Rottamatore” – The Scrapper, the demolition man.
"And Roberto Benigni is here as well and he’s promised not to jump on the tables.” (laughter).
“Tonight we’re reminded that American democracy is embraced by a touch of Italy,” POTUS said, noting that ‘All men are created equal’ is a concept with Italian roots, that The Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol bears the work of Italians.
“And some days,” he added, “our presidential campaigns can seem like Dante’s Inferno.” (laughter)
“Most of all we see the spirit of Italy and the friendships between our people in so many proud Italian Americans. I suspect that many of you here tonight are thinking of your own families, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents who left the old country and toiled and sacrificed and gave everything they had so that the next generation could succeed.”
POTUS said it symbolized America, a place where “no matter what you look like, what your last name is, how many vowels you have in your name, you can make it if you try. And even if we are not Italian American, or Mets fans, we can celebrate that Mike Piazza is finally in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
POTUS praised his “great friend Matteo,” and from their first meeting he could see “that he represented the energy, the optimism, the vision and the values that can carry Italy and Europe forward.”
He thanked Renzi for his “excellent partnership as we’ve worked to advance the security and prosperity of our citizens and the dignity of people around the world.”
POTUS joked how Renzi early on wore big sweaters and suits (“there’s video”) and added: “Giorgio Armani is here and he would be ashamed to know that the Italian prime minister used to wear things like this.”
He said both he and Renzi “married up and because of our wives, we eat better, we dress better, we are better and we thank you both.”
In closing, POTUS reminisced about his last visit to Rome and the Colosseum.
“As I walked across those ancient stones, worn by the history of 2,000 years, it was a humbling reminder of our place here on earth. In the grand sweep of time, each of us is here only for a brief moment. So many of the things that we focus on each day, the political ups and downs, the successes and the setbacks, those things are fleeting.
“What matters in the end is what we built, what matters is what we leave behind, the things that will endure long after we are gone. As the poet Virgil reminded us, 'Fortune favors the bold.' So I want to propose a toast to the enduring alliance between the United States and Italy, to our friends Matteo and Agnese and to the friendship between the Americans and the Italians, in pursuit of the world we can build for future generations. May we always be bold. May fortune smile upon us.
Another pool report will carry Renzi's toast.
Tampa Bay Times
Washington Bureau Chief
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