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Jokes Are On Gop At Presidential Gala

Mon., Nov. 13, 1995

If you can’t beat ‘em, laugh at them. Capping a rancorous weekend of partisan finger-pointing and posturing over the Republican budget bill, the president and Mrs. Clinton sat down with Republicans Sunday evening at the annual Ford’s Theatre presidential gala.

It was supposed to be a bipartisan night at the theater, honoring the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. But the joke was mostly on the GOP.

“Mr. Lincoln once walked a mile in the snow to return a book. Newt Gingrich walked a mile in the snow to cut funding for the small-town public library,” quipped comedienne Brett Butler.

As Butler, host of the two-hour performance, returned to the stage in yet another lavish floor-length gown, she took another jab: “Three dresses, I MUST be a Republican.”

The audience, which also included Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia and GOP Sens. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, John Warner of Virginia and Larry Pressler of South Dakota, chuckled self-consciously. Clinton appeared more amused, doubling over in laughter several times.

Later Davis said, “I hope this is going to put the president in a good mood tomorrow to sign the spending agreement, but I doubt it.”

“A Festival at Ford’s,” a fund-raiser for the theater where President Lincoln was killed, is scheduled to air Nov. 18 on ABC.

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