PRIME MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Mr. President; First Lady; dear colleagues from my neighboring countries; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Once I was seven years old, my mama told me, go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely. (Laughter.) Those lyrics are from the Danish singer, Lukas Graham’s number one hit song here in the U.S. (Applause.) And I'm a lucky guy because my predecessors didn’t wait for the song to be released before they actually followed this advice.
And therefore, I'm so privileged and happy to be here tonight, surrounded by friends from the Nordic countries, but first and foremost, you, Mr. President, and your fantastic and dedicated wife, Michelle, and all of your fellow Americans. The United States is truly one of Denmark’s closest friends.
The first time you invited me into the Oval Office, Mr. President, you said that Denmark is punching above our weight. It made me proud. It made us Danes feel a little special. Now, some six years later, I understand that not only Denmark, but all the Nordic countries punch above our weight. (Laughter.) But, nevertheless, I'm still proud. (Laughter and applause.)
And I truly believe the same goes for my colleagues. So you can count on us. And you know that. And that's probably why we are all invited here tonight, because we punch above our weight. And we will continue to do so. And after tonight’s splendid dinner, we will definitely step up into a whole new weight class. (Laughter.)
The ties between the United States and the Nordics are strong and go way back. As you said, Nordic Vikings cross the Atlantic centuries ago and discovered amazing America. And ever since, millions left our rainy and windy countries looking for a new start in America -- many of them settled in Minnesota. (Applause.) I guess the weather there made them feel right at home. (Laughter.) And the Nordic settlers took part in making America bright and beautiful.
Scarlett Johansson is just a living proof of that. (Laughter.) And the Swedes and the Finns and the Icelanders did their part, too, contributing to the gene pool that gave you Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Uma Thurman. And the Norwegians -- well, they gave you Karl Rove. (Laughter and applause.) Among many other things. (Laughter.)
So I guess it's true to say that we have had a certain impact on America. (Laughter.) In many different ways. So the quick question is, can we Nordics still contribute to America? And the answer is a simple as it is famous -- Yes, we can! (Applause.)
Nordic architects like Bjarke Engels contributed to transforming American cities with projects like the New York skyline and the redesign of the Smithsonian here in Washington, based on a vision of making urban areas more livable, smart and sustainable. Both the U.S. and the Nordic countries try to set positive standards for the world of tomorrow, taking the lead, so to speak.
And speaking of taking the lead, speaking of leadership, it is easy to see the importance and value of your leadership, Mr. President. So without interfering in American politics, I can truly and without a doubt say that you have been the best President you have ever had. (Applause.)