Released by White House Media Affairs Office:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, everyone. Please -- thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Good evening, all of you. On behalf of Michelle and myself, I just want to welcome everybody to the White House. We scheduled this dinner a few weeks ago because I thought it would be a good opportunity for leaders of both parties and their spouses to spend some time together outside of politics. And tonight seems like an especially fitting occasion to do this.
Obviously we've all had disagreements and differences in the past. I suspect we'll have them again in the future. But last night, as Americans learned that the United States had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, we -- (applause) -- you know, I think we experienced the same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. We were reminded again that there is a pride in what this nation stands for, and what we can achieve, that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics.
I want to again recognize the heroes who carried out this incredibly dangerous mission, as well as all the military and counter-terrorism professionals who made the mission possible. I also want to thank the members of Congress from both parties who have given extraordinary support to our military and our intelligence officials. Without your support, they could not do what they do.
I know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulties of the debates that we'll have to be engaged in, in the weeks and months to come. But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family, whether it was the tragedy in Tucson or, most recently, our unified response to the terrible storms that have taken place in the South.