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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 4, 2002
Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer
Aboard Air Force One
En route Boston, Massachusetts
11:13 A.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: Good morning. The President began the day with his usual intelligence briefings, followed by FBI briefing, intelligence briefing. He has taped the radio address, which will be focused on the situation concerning Iraq.
The President will arrive at the Seaport Boston Hotel, where he will give remarks at the Mitt Romney For Governor Reception, and he is expected to raise $1 million for Massachusetts Victory Tour 2002 Committee. And then he will depart for Kennebunkport. And of course, tomorrow he will go to Manchester, New Hampshire.
I want to make two announcements for you, and then give you the week ahead, as well.
One, let me just give you a situation, a personnel report. It is with great sadness, but also happiness that I have to announce that Anne Womack will be leaving the press office, where she has done an outstanding job for the President, to begin a new job at the Security and Exchange Commission, where she will be a senior advisor and counselor to the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Anne I think has served the press very well and she has done such a superb job for the President and I'm going to miss her very much. But the Securities and Exchange Commission is going to be very fortunate to have somebody as talented and qualified as Anne.
In addition, I want to announce that Suzy DeFrancis will be joining the White House communications staff as a deputy assistant to the President for communications, where she will assist in general communications strategy, planning and execution of the President's agenda.
Suzy currently is a vice president with Porter Novelli, and is a former top aide at the Republican National Committee.
Q How do you spell it?
MR. FLEISCHER: I was speaking off memory. S-u-z-y, D-e-F-r-a-n-c-i-s. We'll get that verified, and if there's a change we'll correct it in the transcript.
Q Where does she fit in the hierarchy? Bartlett, Fleischer?
MR. FLEISCHER: She will -- technically she works -- she will work in the communications office under Dan. She'll work in the office Dan used to occupy.
Q She came from Porter Novelli?
MR. FLEISCHER: She's currently a vice president of Porter Novelli.
Final announcement, and then I have the week ahead, we can do that whenever you want to. As Congress begins an important week in which it is expected to vote on the President's proposed resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq, the President will speak to the nation Monday night in Cincinnati about the threat of Saddam Hussein and Iraq present to world peace.
The President thinks the nation and the Congress will benefit from a discussion of the issues involved and the important moment our nation faces. The speech will be at 8:00 p.m., at the Cincinnati Museum Center. And that will be Monday, Cincinnati.
Q Does he plan to have any new information about Iraq, any new argument?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, let me put it this way, I think it's going to be a newsworthy speech. Obviously, you all will be there and you can make your own judgements about what is new, etc. But I think it will be a notable and newsworthy speech.
Q Is it a forum where he'll be taking questions? I mean, why Cincinnati? Why not do it from the Oval?
MR. FLEISCHER: It's a speech to a seated audience, it's going to be some 400 to 500 people. It's hosted by the Chamber of Congress, in conjunction with the United Way and the World Affairs Council of Cincinnati.
And the President looks at the debate that is about to begin in the Congress and the vote that is about to take place in the Congress as a part of the great tradition of America's democracy, in which the people's elected representatives speak from their heart, speak on the basis of principle. And whether they agree or disagree with the President, they inform the public about their views and why they hold those views.
And the President sees this as his role as President to similarly speak to the country through this audience in a way that is thoughtful, that is deliberative, so that the issues that the country is asking itself can be addressed by its elected leaders, including the President.
We are not asking the networks for time. We are doing this at 8:00 p.m. at night because the President wants people to know what he is saying. But, again, I think it will be a newsworthy speech. But just so you understand the levels in which Presidents give speeches, it is not a speech in which he is asking the networks for time.
Q Can this be prepared to the speech he made in Atlanta, remember, on -- what was that, on homeland security at the time?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think that's a very good comparison.
Q It's obviously, the, we're not looking for any announcement on war, whether or not we're committing American troops. It's not that level of an Oval Office asking for time speech?
MR. FLEISCHER: This is not an Oval Office address to the nation.
Q Ari, should we expect to hear in that speech any arguments that those of us who have been traveling with the President, hearing him day in and day out have not heard before?
MR. FLEISCHER: Again, I'll just say I think it will be a notable, newsworthy speech and you'll make your own judgments at the time.
Q Primarily, he'd like to influence the debate in Congress; is that correct?
MR. FLEISCHER: well, the President thinks that, as Congress begins the debate and as they're about to vote, that it's important and it's helpful to members of Congress in both parties for them to hear what the President thinks in the full fashion that a speech like this affords. So I think it is fair to say that the President views this as a way to communicate to members of Congress and to communicate to the country.
Q Ari, how about Lindsey meeting with some of the agricultural and manufacturing groups about this port dispute today?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I don't have Larry's schedule. I don't know.
Q Do you know who's meeting with them at 3:30 p.m.? There's a meeting at 3:30 p.m.
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I don't know.
Q Have you reached an agreement with Daschle on legal liability in the terrorism insurance bill?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, the talks are continuing up on the Hill, and the President remains hopeful that it can be achieved. It's very close and a lot of people on both sides are working hard to get it done. But it's not done yet.
Q Any reaction to Pakistan test firing a ballistic missile?
MR. FLEISCHER: I've noted the reports about India and Pakistan's tests and have no comment on them.
Q No comment on India and Pakistan? Why's that?
MR. FLEISCHER: We noted the tests, we noted the nature of the tests. And we have no comment.
Week ahead. On Monday, as I indicated, the President will travel to Cincinnati.
MR. FLEISCHER: Late afternoon.
On Tuesday, the President will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he will make remarks at a Tennessee Welcome and attend a Van Hilleary for Governor reception.
Wednesday, the President will make --
Q Lunch or dinner?
MR. FLEISCHER: Tuesday? Lunch. Well, is it lunch or just mid-day? It's mid-day; it's not evening, I know that. There's a Welcome Reception.
On Wednesday, the President will make remarks at a White House reception for Hispanic Heritage Month.
And, on Friday, the President will make remarks on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the Rose Garden. That afternoon, the President and Mrs. Bush will attend the second annual National Book Festival in Washington.
Q Ari, back to the speech, I've been asking about the speech for a couple days now. And people have been cautioning against describing it as a major speech. Would you still --
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I used the words I used because that's how I think it's best to describe them, as a -- notable speech.
Q But as opposed to a policy-making speech? I mean, it's newsworthy and notable because of the subject matter, because it coincides with the debate in Congress. But we should not expect the story to be moved ahead appreciably, should we?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, again, I'm going to hesitate in terms of exactly how to describe something to you beyond what I have said, because I think that different reporters may come to different conclusions. But certainly, from the point of view for the American people, I think it's a speech that they're going to want to watch. I think that it's important for the --
Q Can't hear you.
MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's a speech that the American people are going to want to watch. I think that, as the country thinks through what is involved in protecting ourselves from the threat that Saddam Hussein poses, the country has legitimate questions, the country, I think, has some very strong feelings about this. And I think the country will benefit from an opportunity to hear the President reflect on the reasons that Saddam Hussein is such a clear threat to the United States.
Whether reporters here will hear anything new, I think it is fair to say that you will hear from the President a description of the threat in a way that is pulled together for a speech of this nature.
Q Will there be new evidence against Saddam Hussein specifically with regard to his -- his stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to go beyond what I've said.
Q Is the President in town next weekend?
MR. FLEISCHER: What?
Q Is the President going to be in town next weekend?
MR. FLEISCHER: Next weekend? We'll get that closer to the end of next weekend.
Okay, thanks, everybody.
END 11:23 A.M. EDT