WASHINGTON -- President Bush lauded Baltimore and nine other cities today for giving the country reason for optimism as he officially designated them "All-America Cities."
"Often people ask why we ought to be optimistic about our nation's future," Bush said at a presentation ceremony in the White House's Rose Garden. "But I think there is reason to be optimistic -- look at any of the 10 cities that are appropriately being honored here today."
Afterward, Mayor Kurt Schmoke said he was "very excited for the city" and said it was an award for the citizens.
"There are a number of citizen action projects that are under way and we're just pleased to see the president recognize that there are some good things going on in cities," Schmoke said.
All-America City awards are a program of the Nation Civic League and are presented to communities that show collaborative approaches to problem solving -- successful community action involving the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
The 10 cities honored today were named June 8 in San Antonio from a field of 30 finalists. They range in population from 3,232 in Gothenburg, Neb., to 736,014 in Baltimore.
Others are Gadsden, Ala; Greencastle, Ind.; Newark, N.J.; Albany, N.Y.; Greensboro, N.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Austin, Texas; and Winchester-Frederick County, Va.
"Hear their stories and you'll hear the heartbeat of this country and you'll share our unshakeable optimism in the future," Bush said.