« Video: Aimee Mann on Letterman | Home | This Looks Like That, or Does It?: Looking for Meaning in a Post-Low Culture World »

October 2, 2006


Transcript of Mark Foley's emotional farewell speech to the Congressional pages, 2002


According to the the NYT today, Mark Foley gave a tear-filled speech to the graduating pages in June, 2002. You can buy the video from C-SPAN for $270. [Update: Or, see much of the video here.] Or just settle for the transcript below, which we tracked down via Googling a few phrases. We boldfaced the interesting parts:

Mr. FOLEY. I warn all of you not to cry in front of me, please, so I can get through this very important day with you without shedding tears as well.

First, I want all of you to salute two people that I know at times were tough on you. They are taskmasters, they are disciplinarians; but they love you in an incredibly personal way.

More after the jump...

I would like all of the pages to clap for Ms. Sampson and Ms. Ivester, your supervisors. Ms. Sampson is on the back rail. She does not like to come too close here because she may cry, too; and she does not want any of the kids before you depart on Saturday to see her being a vulnerable person. It is true.

I hear so much laughter here and I am glad that there is laughter, because this is a wonderful time of your life. Every time we celebrate the departure of a page class, we remember your first day here and, of course, we are here at your last. You came in very shy and meek and very polite and for the most part you have remained polite, but no longer shy and meek. You have taken on your respective roles as junior Members of Congress and oftentimes I get a kick when I walk by the back row, Mr. Foley, please mention the pages so our parents will hear us on C-SPAN. The nice thing about today is you are on C-SPAN. And this is recorded. And you will get to see this replayed. And you will get to see your faces now assembling as if you were Members of Congress.

Some probably cannot wait to leave and get back and see your best friends and loved ones and some are anguishing about your departure. Mary Kate Leonard was on the back row crying. I asked why. She said, "I'm losing my best friend, Rachel.''

I said, "Really? Where's Rachel?" "Oh, Rachel is a Republican page.'' I said, "Oh, you are all bipartisan, too, huh?'' Because Mary Kate is a Democrat, which shows how friendships can cross an aisle and cross ideological divide. So I asked Rachel to come from the cloakroom, and she thought I was kidding, to join her friend who was crying and I said, "I can't let her cry alone. You have to be out here to be part of this.'' Now I have got you both crying and I am starting to well up. I have got a lot of other stories. Of course, Christopher made sure I came out of the cloakroom to see that his mother and family were sitting up in the gallery this morning as I quietly mentioned to him, "Remember, we're not allowed to gesture to the gallery.'' He said, "Oh, just wave to her, so she knows I'm important.'' He is important and she is above us now.

Of course we have got several Jasons, a few Laurens. Adam, thank you for the graduation announcement. I sent you a handwritten note, and I was actually going to put some money in it as a graduation present. Then I realized he would tell all of you, and then I would get hundreds of graduation announcements. So I chose not to. I hope the handwritten note will suffice for your scrapbook.

Patty Mack, of course, also known as Patrick McDonald, when he said, "Mr. Foley, who made you say that?'' I said, "I made it up myself. I'm Irish. I get it.'' Fabulous young man. This is not made to make fun of him or anyone else.

The tag team of Dominic and Hilary. Who will forget their exuberance coming in the room? Bubbly, excited, cheerful. Of course Jordan and Eddie. Eddie's mother I met today. They are from Florida. He is a constituent and hopefully a future voter of mine if I choose to run statewide, so Eddie will be my next best friend.

And, of course, Melanie, and finally John Eunice. John was the highest bidder on lunch with Mark Foley. Maybe you all do not know this story, but John had paid considerable sums to dine with me. I had offered to take the winning bidder to lunch in the Members' dining room. Then I heard how much John Eunice paid. And I said, "John, there is no way in the world after you committed so much money to have lunch with me that I would dare take you downstairs to eat in the Members' dining room.'' I said, "Where do you want to go?'' He says, without reservation, "Morton's.'' I said, "Morton's? Like in Morton's Steakhouse?'' He said, "Oh, would that be too much?'' I said, "Oh, no, we'll go.'' I said, "Call your mother, get permission, make sure she notifies the Clerk and we will go to Morton's.'' And so we proceeded to cruise down in my BMW to Morton's. And all of this story is meant to make you all feel jealous that you were not the high bidders. So we went to Morton's, and I do not know where you all went.

I have a lot of other names here, but I do not want to go through the litany of lists, Nickie and Tim sitting in front and others. This has been an incredible year. This has been a year you will remember for the rest of your lives.

[Weird bit coming up. -ed.] When I was in fourth grade, President John Kennedy was assassinated. I remember kneeling in prayer for our Nation and for our President. I was so scared, because I had never witnessed something so traumatic.

And on the 11th, and I think the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) said this best, we were all scared as Members of Congress. We were frightened for our Nation. And what tenacity you showed and what leadership you proved by staying here in this Capitol. I am afraid if I was your age I may have run home. That speaks volumes about the people you are. That speaks volumes of your parents and your grandparents. It speaks of the kind of love they have given you, the kind of time they spent with you to make you the incredible human beings you are.

God has blessed this Nation more than I can tell you and given us the chance to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. I barely graduated from high school, and I did not go to college. I am a proud Member of this great institution because I kept trying. I never gave up and never gave in to the instincts to be lazy or run for cover. You all have proven without a doubt that you are not only courageous Americans but wonderful young people. Cherish your youth, cherish this experience, but above all cherish your families. Let them know how much you appreciate them giving you this chance. And let them know how much you appreciate their love to make you the people you are. I was not going to do this [cry, apparently. -ed.] because I am on C-SPAN now.

To the Page Board, as well, and to all the people that make up this fine institution, from the police officer you see in the morning and you see at night as you are entering your dorm, to the people that help keep the buildings clean and operating, the elevator operators, the people that serve you in the cafeteria, the people that stand behind us and work countless hours listening to us babble, the people that have made up the core of this program, I salute you and I thank you and I hope you will join me too in saluting everyone in the page program that has made this year a resounding, phenomenal learning experience and success for you.

God bless you all.


categories: Politics
posted by adm at 2:49 PM | #

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)