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Bush Announces Support for the Arts

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Since this article is short enough to be within the fair use guidelines, I'm posting it here in its entirety (courtesy AP).

Sunday June 10 10:15 PM ET

Bush Affirms Support for the Arts

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush affirmed his support for public funding of the arts Sunday night as he headlined an annual gala held to benefit a historic theater.

The president, first lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney sat front and center through a two-hour show featuring a ventriloquist, a comedian, a tap dancer and music from country, hip-hop and opera performers.

The gala benefited Ford's Theatre, which is a few blocks from the White House. It is a venue where President Lincoln attended performances during the Civil War, and where he was assassinated. The flag-draped box where Lincoln was shot sat empty Sunday night, as it always does.

Bush noted that corporate sponsors helped pay for the event, and that the building is now maintained by the Interior Department.

``This theater also reminds us that history lives on to be enjoyed by the people of each generation,'' he said. ``When audiences come to Ford's Theatre, they experience America's history and culture. And it is right for our government to support such causes.''

Spending on the National Endowment for the Arts in Bush's proposed budget was at the same level at this year.

Bush quoted Lincoln, who observed of his visits to the theater: ``A hearty laugh relieves me, and I seem better able after it to bear my cross.''

``I think the elected officials in this audience would agree with me that we all need hearty laughs in Washington, D.C.,'' Bush said, as incoming Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat, and just-deposed Senate leader Trent Lott, a Republican, looked on.

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The cynic in me agrees with dirac, the hostess in me says, please remember that there are probably Bush fans who read this board :)

I posted this (really truly) not to support or oppose Bush, but because I think it's important to keep track of what politicians, especially presidents, say about the arts. If this goes uncontradicted, we can hold him to it. If he makes a speech somewhere next Thursday and says, "Hell, I'm not going to support the arts. What do they think we are, Europe?" [not trying to imply that he'd do that, this is just a forinstance] then we can clog their email machine :)

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I think declining support for the arts is a bipartisan thing. No one on either side of the aisle wants to vote more money to an arts program only to have some opponent discover that one of the artists spit on a crucifix in 1978 or whatever. I'd make the same demand of any president. Words of support are nice, but.

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Ford's Theatre is in need of the money. There have been only a few interesting performances there, lately. But, I do wish he would support a theatre that holds performances of ballet and opera (or operetta, and heavier musical theatre), as you don't really see any of that type of thing at Ford's. I don't think it'll last, however, with Bush being pressed for better environmental standards. He'll probably forget about the arts. (And perhaps it's better that way.) :)

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