BootLeg Betty

BetteBack March 4, 1995: Bette Midler Visits The White House For NPR

Sandusky Register
March 4, 1995

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Bette Midler and Taj Mahal wowed the crowd with song, and actors from Kathleen Turner to Jason Robards lent their soothing speaking voices.

But it was President Clinton who delivered the most welcome words of all Friday night at a White House reception and performance for National Public Radio.

“ What call I tell you? I’m just an NPR kinda president,” the tuxedoed Clinton confessed to wild applause. “ It’s a good deal.”

Pushing aside for a night the threatening words from Capitol Hill against federal funding for public broadcasting, a starstudded crowd gathered in the East Room to celebrate NPR’s 25th anniversary.

Headliners from Midler to Robards lent their talents to tape a special production of “ NPR Playhouse, Live!” about life in the White House that will be broadcast later.

Actors who offered the words of presidents and their spouses from over the years included Robards, Turner, Edward James Olmos, Charles Dutton, Robert Klein, Blythe Danner, Roscoe Lee Brown, Lolita Davidovich and Martin Sheen.

Even the irrepressible stars of NPR’s popular “ Car Talk,” brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, got in on the act with a special presidential
edition of their show.

They proffered advice on everything from Eleanor Roosevelt’s bad cooking to Dwight Eisenhower’s golf cart and Thomas Jefferson’s complaints about the transformation of George Washington’s birthday into an annual mattress sale.

Their advice to Mrs. Roosevelt included a tip from their own mother, also renowned for her poor cooking. When making lasagna, “ she grinds up the Rolaids right in it,” the brothers said.

The two also inquired asked Clinton about his prized 1967 Mustang convertible. “ I can’t drive it because the Secret Service won’t let me,” the president lamented.

Midler told the crowd it was her dream to come to the White House — “ and I didn’t have to spend a dime to get here. Take that, Dan Quayle.”

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