- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

In the first state dinner since the September 11 attacks, President Bush yesterday warmly welcomed Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and celebrated a close and deepening friendship between the two allies.
In his dinner toast, Mr. Bush thanked the Poles for attending and toasted his guests "for your freedom and ours."
"Just as Poles keep contributing to America's vitality, Poland keeps contributing to the vitality of the entire world," Mr. Bush said.
In his return toast, over an American sauvignon blanc wine, Mr. Kwasniewski sounded a similar theme.
"Perhaps our sense of community is so strong because we are children of freedom because we have never failed each other," he said.
Speaking after the traditional arrival ceremony on the South Lawn earlier yesterday, Mr. Bush called the rare state visit a reward for Poland that "symbolizes the high importance America places on our friendship with Poland."
"This friendship is rooted in our common history and common values," said Mr. Bush, who noted that Polish soldiers helped America win its independence.
The last state dinner for Poland was held in 1991 when the current president's father, President George Bush, honored Polish President Lech Walesa.
During the dinner, 130 guests feasted in the State Dining Room on 13 tables covered with cream damask tablecloths set with the red and gold Reagan china surrounded by cream candles, red roses and daisies decoration in honor of the red-and-white Polish flag.
Guests dined on a menu that White House chef Walter Scheib III described as "strictly American," each course paired with an American wine.
Guests dined on lemon-basil striped bass, pepper-smoked beef filet and an orange-and-avocado salad. White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier created a light concoction of peaches and cherries and ginger almond ice cream for dessert.
First lady Laura Bush wore a blush-colored two-piece Oscar de la Renta gown with gold threadwork and multistone embroidery. After dinner, guests listened to jazz singer Vanessa Rubin.
Seated on either side of Mr. Bush were Polish first lady Jolanta Kwasniewska, who wowed the crowd in a black dress with a velvet low-cut bodice, sheer sleeves and flowing skirt, and Debbie Francis, a longtime Bush family friend from Texas. The president also shared his table with Chicago's Democratic mayor, Richard M. Daley, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Mrs. Bush selected as her immediate dinner companions Mr. Kwasniewski and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
One piece of the enormous undertaking went embarrassingly wrong for the White House. As the two couples descended from the residence to the join the party, the announcer mispronounced the last names of the Polish leader and his wife.
The guest list was heavy on politics and light on celebrity and included Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans, former Secretary of State George Shultz and Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat.
Peppered in were businessmen such as American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault and journalists such as CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
The White House also kept key constituencies in mind by setting places for people such as Catholic Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, and Alex Machaskee, president and publisher of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
Mrs. Bush joked that her famously early-to-bed husband might be persuaded by the occasion and their fond relations with Mr. Kwasniewski and his wife to partake in the later-evening festivities in the East Room.
"I think we'll probably dance at least one, or maybe I should say only one," Mrs. Bush said with a laugh.
Mr. Kwasniewski arrived in Washington on Tuesday for just the second state visit in the 18 months of the Bush presidency the first being Mexican President Vicente Fox.
It is also the second time the two leaders have met, the first during Mr. Bush's first European trip last year, which included a visit to Poland. Since then, Mr. Kwasniewski has emerged as one of Mr. Bush's staunchest allies defending U.S. foreign policy while other European leaders complain of "unilateralism."
For the remainder of his visit, Mr. Kwasniewski will speak further with Mr. Bush about fighting organized crime, Poland's upcoming purchase of combat planes and fighting terrorism. He then will travel to Michigan aboard Air Force One with Mr. Bush for meetings with Polish-American leaders in two Detroit suburbs.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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