White House Daily Briefing, August 7, 2003
THE WHITE HOUSE
PRESS GAGGLE BY CLAIRE BUCHAN
Crawford Middle School
11:59 A.M. CDT
MS. BUCHAN: Good morning, everybody. Let me just give you a little bit on the President's day today. He had his usual intelligence and national security briefings.
QUESTION: We can't hear you.
MS. BUCHAN: Okay. Now I'm sure you can hear me. And we're going to turn down the air conditioning here, so hopefully you can hear a little better. I was giving you an update on the President's day today. He began the day with his usual intelligence and national security briefings. He also met with staff on a number of issues. Then he cleared cedar and is going for a run.
MS. BUCHAN: Now. On tomorrow, just to give you an update there, Secretary Rumsfeld, General Myers and some of their key staff who will traditionally come to Crawford in August to brief the President on defense transformation will be coming down again tomorrow. The Vice President will arrive tonight and we'll have open press of his arrival -- actually this afternoon, at 3:05 p.m. at TSTC. Secretary Rumsfeld will arrive tomorrow. They'll have discussions and then the President will make remarks to the pool at around 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at the ranch.
And with that, I'm happy to take your questions.
Q: You saw that Mr. Schwarzenegger said he's getting in the race in California. Will President Bush be campaigning for him, or any other Republican, or can you definitively say whether there will be any campaigning for a candidate -- a Republican candidate in California?
MS. BUCHAN: The President believes that this is an issue for the people of California. And that's where it stands.
Q: That means he will not -- you can say he will not be, for sure, campaigning for any Republican in California?
MS. BUCHAN: I'm saying that the President believes that this is an issue for the people of California.
Q: So basically you have no reaction to Schwarzenegger running.
MS. BUCHAN: The people of California will decide.
Q: Arnold campaigned with his father. Does he think that he would make a good governor?
MS. BUCHAN: The people of California will decide whether he will make a good governor.
Q: Taylor said he's leaving on Monday?
MS. BUCHAN: He has said this before. Charles Taylor needs to leave Liberia. We need to see actions, not words.
Q: Former Vice President Gore said some very harsh comments about the President today, saying the administration routinely shows disrespect for the truth. Do you have any reaction to the speech?
MS. BUCHAN: I just dismiss it. I think the American people know that the President's commitment to security of the United States and to winning the war on terror and to securing our economic security -- and I think the American people well know the President's commitment to them.
Q: And what about Vice President Gore? What do you think of him at this point?
MS. BUCHAN: As I said, I dismiss the comments that he made.
Q: I just want to make clear, Claire. When you say the President believes that is an issue for California, you're not saying one way or the other whether the President would campaign, you're simply saying he believes it's an issue for Californians. But you're not flatly ruling out that he would campaign. Is that correct?
MS. BUCHAN: Obviously, if there's anything to update you on, we would, of course, do that. But the President believes that the people of California will decide this is an issue for them, and we have not gone beyond that at this point.
Q: So does that mean the President is just staying out of the recall matter entirely? Is that what you're conveying?
MS. BUCHAN: The White House has not been involved in the recall matter. We have said on several occasions that this is a matter for the people of California.
Q: Comments on the car bombing in Iraq this morning at the Jordanian embassy?
MS. BUCHAN: We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There are remnants of the former regime in Iraq, and there are foreign terrorists in Iraq, both of whom who are enemies of the Iraqi people. And we will continue to pursue them and to rout them out.
Q: Do you have any sense at all -- any sense at this time whether it's the former regime or foreign terrorists?
MS. BUCHAN: I don't have -- I don't have information on that. You might want to touch base with the coalition provisional authority, who is leading this effort at this point.
Q: Just a logistical question. You said 3:05 p.m. for the Vice President?
MS. BUCHAN: Right.
Q: For tomorrow, do we know if there will be questions? Is it expanded pool?
MS. BUCHAN: We'll look into the expanded pool. I think at this point, it's scheduled as a pool. The President will make remarks, and we'll see on questions. It will be up to him.
Q: Can we ask about an expanded pool -- look how there's so few of us. Can we --
MS. BUCHAN: Sure, we'll take it under consideration. Nothing else?
Q: The hearty few of us who are here deserve that, yes.
MS. BUCHAN: And Roo.
Q: Well if --
MS. BUCHAN: That's right. Only if Roo can be a part of the expanded pool, yes.
Q: Is there anything new out of Jakarta? Any new information on what was involved, who was involved, what the reaction will be as far as the administration?
MS. BUCHAN: We continue to stand ready to assist the Megawati administration in any way possible.
Q: About the flight in Colombia, the flight in Colombia. Anything new?
MS. BUCHAN: No updates on that, no. It continues to be under review.
Q: Can you tell us what the event is in Arizona on Monday?
MS. BUCHAN: The President will be focusing on his Healthy Forests Initiative, and I believe touring an area previously devastated by wildfires.
Q: What about Denver?
MS. BUCHAN: I believe the Denver event is a Bush-Cheney event.
Q: What are some of the topics for tomorrow, the meeting they're having?
MS. BUCHAN: Tomorrow? They will be talking about the administration's ongoing commitment to transform the military to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I think it will give the leadership an opportunity to review broad strategies and priorities for the military. I would expect they would talk about the global war on terrorism, the overseas basing issues, international peacekeeping and also talk about lessons of the Iraqi Freedom operation.
Q: Saturday he's doing this, not exactly fundraiser, but thanking people. What sort of coverage do you --
MS. BUCHAN: It's closed press.
Q: Will the pool follow him and be outside?
MS. BUCHAN: I think so, I think typically he's done these things in the past and I think that's what happens, because it's at an adjacent ranch, if I'm not mistaken.
Q: But a lot of Bush-Cheney fundraising events are now open press.
MS. BUCHAN: If something changes on that, I'll let you know. This is not a fundraising event and I don't believe it's -- I don't believe that there is coverage of it.
Q: Could you let us know the guests?
MS. BUCHAN: You might talk to the campaign. I don't know if they anticipate releasing that.
Q: And, Claire, do you think everybody is leaving tomorrow -- Cheney, along with Rumsfeld and Myers, everybody?
MS. BUCHAN: Josh, we confirmed that, right, that the Vice President and the Secretary are both leaving tomorrow afternoon?
MR. DECKARD: That is correct.
Q: You explained this, but I want to make sure I'm clear on it. Tomorrow, what kind of access will there be? You said there is going to be some kind of pool? And what exactly is it going to be? The President is going to make some comments and there might be some questions?
MS. BUCHAN: Right.
Q: And do you know what time, roughly, that --
MS. BUCHAN: Eleven thirty-five a.m. Anything else? Okay, thank you.
* * * * *
MS. BUCHAN: I'm sorry, I've just been corrected here. The Vice President arrives tonight at 7:55 p.m. I'm sorry, I told you he arrived at 3:05 p.m. That's when he departs tomorrow. I apologize. The Vice President arrives, and it's open press arrival at TSTC Airport at 7:55 p.m. tonight. Thank you.
END 12:09 P.M. CDT
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