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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 2, 2003
Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan Aboard Air Force One En Route Santa Clara, California
8:28 A.M. PDT
MR. MCCLELLAN: All right, let's get started. Ari gave you a little bit, I think, before he left, but I want to put some of this on the record for the transcript. The President went to the flight deck this morning, around 5:55 a.m., and he proceeded to watch two Hornets depart the USS Lincoln. Then he had breakfast with some senior officers before departing.
And let me run through -- oh, on this flight on the way to Santa Clara, the President is having his usual intelligence briefings. And he'll be looking over his remarks and working on those for the speech coming up.
Q -- phone calls?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Phone calls on the plane? No. No, no phone calls. I don't expect any today.
Upon arrival in Santa Clara, he's got a Freedom Corps greeter, Steve Houck, Vice President of Finance for Salesforce.com. And he has completed more than 125 hours since August in 2002 doing company-supported volunteer service.
Moving on to Santa Clara. The President will tour the United Defense Industries Defense Research, Development, and Engineering facility. Let me give you a little bit of background on United Defense Industries. There's a lot of this, but I think it will be useful to everybody else in press corps.
United Defense is a leader in the design, development and production of combat vehicles, artillery naval guns, missile launchers, and precision munitions used by the Department of Defense and U.S. allies. It has produced more than 100,000 combat vehicles and 100,000 weapons systems used by the U.S. and coalition members. It is the -- United Defense is the sole source prime contractor and systems integrator for many key Department of Defense programs, including variations of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and the M7 Bradley Fire Support Team Vehicle.
Other vehicles built by United Defense -- they've been playing a major role in the war on terrorism, including the M88A2 HERCULES, which stands for Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System. It's a tank recovery vehicle. The M109A6 Paladin, 155 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer Artillery Vehicle; the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier; the M106A Standard Integration Manpost Vehicle; and the Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle; and the Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicle.
And United Defense has 13 employees stationed in the Gulf region for Operation Iraqi Freedom to assist with maintenance and technical support for the company's vehicles.
Now, a little background on Santa Clara -- the Santa Clara Ground Systems Division Facility. It's the site of United Defense's high-tech center. And the plant's connection to the military dates back to World War II, when it built amphibious vehicles for armed forces fighting in the Pacific. Through the years it's built most of the combat vehicles the Army and Marine Corps have used, including the Bradley that fought in both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At the height of production, nearly 8,000 employees were producing 60 to 75 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 50 Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and 50 to 75 Armored Personnel Carriers per month. It now has roughly 750 employees at the Santa Clara division. And it has changed from focusing on manufacturing to focusing on research development and engineering. It now has laboratories for software, electronics integration, hybrid electric drive, composite armor, and prototype shop. The cutting-edge laboratories include the combat simulation, the integration laboratory, and the combat hybrid power systems laboratory.
The President, when he gets there, will tour three stations -- two of which the pool will cover. The first station being the Combat System Integration Laboratory -- CSIL -- Dome Simulator of a future combat system crew cockpit. And then the other station that you all will see is the Vehicle Assembly Area, where he'll view Future Combat System Tracked prototype -- FSC-W -- and the USM -- the Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicle -- the AAV7, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle -- the M7A3 Bradley.
Q What's the briefing that we won't see?
MR. MCCLELLAN: It's a briefing on active protection, followed by participation in a computer-assisted simulator.
The remarks -- the President will be making remarks to approximately 1,800 people, including the employees of United Defense, family members, military personnel, and local community leaders. In his remarks, the President will talk about national security and economic security. He'll touch on some of the themes from last night. He'll talk about how proud America is of our military -- of our men and women in the military for a job well done, and how our nation is more secure because of them. And he'll talk about -- oh, let me add one bit of interesting color here, he will also note in his remarks that when the citizens of Baghdad needed help removing a certain statue, the help arrived in the form of a HERCULES tank recovery vehicle built by United Defense. This is the one that pulled the statue of Saddam Hussein to the ground.
MR. MCCLELLAN: HERCULES tank recovery vehicle. The President will also talk about -- spend a good bit of his remarks talking about the job that the employees of United Defense have done to help make our nation more secure.
Q Can I do a follow?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yes.
Q Is that the big statue that we saw pulled down?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yes, that's correct.
And then the President will spend a good portion of the speech talking about the importance of creating new jobs, about how everyone who wants work -- to make sure that everyone who wants work can find a job. He'll talk about how our economy is growing, but it's not growing fast enough. And he'll talk about the progress we're making in Congress on his jobs and growth plan. Specifically, he'll talk about the efforts in the House and how that's a positive step forward. It includes all elements of what he outlined. He will continue to talk about the need to end the unfair double-taxation of dividends. And then he'll talk about how he continues to look forward to working with House and Senate for a robust jobs and growth plan that is good for America.
And following the remarks, Prime Minister Howard and Mrs. Howard will join us on Air Force One.
Q At the plane?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q Howard will not be at the event --
MR. MCCLELLAN: At the plane, that's correct -- and will fly back with us to Crawford, where tonight the only scheduled event is a social dinner. Then tomorrow, they'll have meetings, followed by a joint press availability, followed by lunch, before the Prime Minister and Mrs. Howard depart Crawford.
Q Can you check menus for us?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yes.
Q On the speech today, will the President say $550 billion -- will he again demand $550 billion?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I expect he will continue to say we need a jobs and growth package of at least $550 billion.
Q Is the speech going to be tailored at all to the unique economic situation in Silicon Valley?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I think he'll talk -- well, let's let him make his remarks. But he'll talk -- I think he'll talk more probably about how the jobs and growth plan -- it will be good for California; it will be good for America.
Q You mentioned that he's going to point the House and some progress is being made there. Is he specifically referring to Bill Thomas' proposal?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I think he's talking about how with where the House has moved it, that that's a positive step forward; that he wants to continue working with them to get a jobs and growth plan that is as robust as possible so that we can create even more jobs; and the importance of having everything he outlined in the plan from the accelerated tax cuts, to the child credit, to the marriage penalty relief to the small business expensing, to ending the unfair double-taxation of dividends.
Q Is the President starting to worry that with the 6- percent unemployment rate now, is he starting to worry that the economy is going to slip back into recession?
MR. MCCLELLAN: No, I think -- listen to his remarks, obviously, but today's numbers underscore the need for Congress to act quickly on a jobs and growth plan, a plan that will create new jobs for Americans. The President is concerned anytime there are people who want work, cannot find a job. And he'll talk about them in his remarks.
Q We were supposed to visit Chretien on Monday. Instead we're going to Little Rock. What's that speech about? Is it pure economy?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Let me try to get a week-ahead for you guys. Probably on the -- you'll probably have to wait until the flight to Crawford, but I might get you guys a week-ahead by then. I don't have all the details for next week yet. But, yes, we will be going to Arkansas to talk about his jobs and growth plan.
Q It's going to be all economy? It's not a --
MR. MCCLELLAN: Let me give you more of a readout on the way to Crawford so everybody will have that.
Q Thank you.
* * * * *
MR. MCCLELLAN: Before the President's remarks -- this is your week-ahead, brought to you by Lucky Duck.
On Monday, the President will depart his ranch and travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he will participate in a roundtable discussion with small business owners and employees. Following the roundtable, the President will make remarks on his jobs and growth plan.
Tuesday, the President will make remarks to the Tax Relief Coalition at the United States Chamber of Commerce. That afternoon he'll meet with the Prime Minister of Singapore in the Oval, and sign the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
Thursday the President will meet with seven Central European foreign ministers in the Roosevelt, and then make remarks in the Rose Garden.
Friday the President will deliver the commencement address at the University of South Carolina.
And that's the week ahead.
Q Remarks in the Rose Garden on Europe?
MR. MCCLELLAN: We'll have a little bit more on that I think later today, a little bit more detail. It's after the meeting with the Central European leaders. We'll have a little bit more out on that, put a statement out --
Q -- Wednesday at this point?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Nothing to announce at this point, no. Obviously, other events that are added, we'll announce it at the appropriate time. That's your week-ahead for now. Thank you.
END 10:04 A.M. PDT