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George Bush Receives New York Yankees at White House

Aired May 4, 2001 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now to the lighter side of government. When you're president, you get to do things like invite the world champion baseball team to the White House.

Now, of course, we're showing you a picture of a tree. For some reason, our camera just panned to the side. But trust me -- if you could just go a little bit to the right -- there you go -- you would see the world champion New York Yankees paying a visit to the White House.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: Tree branch, "Branch" Rickey -- baseball.

KAGAN: OK, you're helping me there.

The Yankees are in town. They're in a series with the Baltimore Orioles. They beat Baltimore 7-5 yesterday. But of course, the reason for this celebration, to come here to the White House, is the 2000 World Championship. Of course, remember, this was the subway series last year: In five games, they beat the New York Mets.

And there's that darn tree.

We're going to go back to them when the president makes a presentation to the New York Yankees.

Meanwhile, this is a president who clearly has shown that he is a big sports fan. He, of course, is a former owner in baseball, partly owning the Texas Rangers, and he has been sponsoring many baseball and sporting events at the White House. This is just one part of how he's carving out his image and his niche in the White House and also among the American people.

Are we going to go to the piece, or are we going to go to the White House? OK, I get it: We're waiting 30 seconds until the president makes his presentation to the New York Yankees.

Once again, this was the 26th world championship for the New York Yankees when they beat the Mets last year in five games in the best of seven.

Let's go to the White House and listen in to the president as he makes the presentation honors to the New York Yankees.

Well, maybe it isn't in 10 seconds -- perhaps we're getting some bad information from the White House today.

Here we go. Here comes the president.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

KAGAN: The president and number one baseball fan in America feels very comfortable among this crowd. It's not just a baseball team, but an American League team. The president is very familiar and friendly with many of the people in this crowd. Let's go ahead and listen to the president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Please sit down.

Well, it's my honor to welcome the mighty Yanks to the Rose Garden, a team that broke my heart many a time as the owner of the Texas Rangers.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm so glad that you all are here, and I appreciate the mayor being here, the Yankee's number one fan, and members of the congressional delegation, who are here as well. Thank you all for coming.

It's good to see my old fellow owner, the Boss.

(LAUGHTER)

What a record you've had, a man who demands excellence and oftentimes gets it. But thank you for coming, George.

I know the real boss of the Yankees is here too, Arthur Richmond.

(LAUGHTER)

How are you, Arthur? Good to see you.

I told you one of these days we'd get to the White House.

(LAUGHTER)

Just don't take any silverware, Arthur.

(LAUGHTER)

It's good to see Randy and Brian Cashman.

Thank you all for coming.

I understand something about baseball, and it not only takes great players to win a championship, it takes a great manager too. And I know all sports fans are impressed by the class of Joe Torre, what a heck of a man he is.

And, Don Zimmer, you're not so bad either.

(LAUGHTER)

But one of the things everybody forgets about Joe is that he's a pretty darn good player himself. Thirty years ago, he led the National League with a .363 batting average, 137 RBIs.

And it's sure good to welcome you back here, Joe. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

And there are fellow Texans on this team, and around here that counts for something.

(LAUGHTER)

So it's good to see The Rocket, a friend of my family's, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch.

It's something about the Yankees. It's one of the greatest names in sport. It's a tradition, a powerful tradition. I mean, you put on a uniform, it's just not work clothes, it's the uniform that Ruth wore or Gehrig wore.

And you all have kept up that tradition. And for that, you need to be congratulated.

It's interesting that we're hosting the great Yanks here in the Rose Garden, and then this Sunday, there's a little different celebration taking place. It's a baseball celebration.

But on the other side of the driveway down there, we've set up a T-ball park. And it's a chance for moms and dads to bring T-ball teams to celebrate the great sport of baseball right here on the hallowed grounds of the White House. Yankee Stadium is hallowed grounds, so is the White House.

What's going to be interesting about that day, is there's going to be some little kid trying to adjust his batting glove just like Jeter does; or somebody trying to look like Mariano Rivera ; or somebody trying to, you know, emulate the swing of Tino Martinez. That's what's going to happen.

And it's a reminder to those who are on the field that a lot of kids look at you, they really do. And there's a lot of parents pulling for the Yanks to be champs, not only on the field, but off the field. And there's no question in my mind that these Yanks will rise to both occasions.

Welcome to the White House.

Ready, man?

JOE TORRE, NEW YORK YANKEES MANAGER: How have you been? (CROSSTALK)

BUSH: It looks like you're staying in good shape.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

TORRE: Mr. President, on behalf of the New York Yankees and George Steinbrenner, I want to thank you for the honor and the privilege of being invited to the White House. It's not our first trip, I'm happy to say...

BUSH: That's right.

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