WASHINGTON – President Bush quoted Ben Franklin, the man of honor at a White House dinner Thursday night, to stay on his bedtime schedule.
"I think you said `Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,"' Bush said, standing next to Ralph Archbold of Philadelphia, who did an impersonation of Franklin in honor of the founding father's 300th birthday.
"Some of us want to take you at your word," Bush said before heading off, with first lady Laura Bush, to the residence.
The social dinner was a belated celebration. Franklin, a businessman, inventor, revolutionary, diplomat, publisher, humorist, sage and regular guy known for his plain talk, was actually born on Jan. 17, 1706.
Archbold, who has been portraying Benjamin Franklin since 1973 throughout America and overseas, makes more than 600 presentations a year. The round-faced, bespectacled man with thin hair that falls to his shoulders entertained guests with a tall tale about having a horse that could shuck oysters, yarns about working on the Declaration of Independence and his trip to Paris to get the French to aid the colonies in their fight against the British.
Among the guests were CNN's Larry King; Walter Isaacson, president of The Aspen Institute; Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania; Richard Dunn, co-executive officer of the American Philosophical Society; officials from the Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Franklin biographers.