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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 8, 2004
Press Gaggle by Trent Duffy
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Dallas, Texas
10:35 A.M. CST
MR. DUFFY: This is a statement by the President on Iraq. That's what you most want, right? Okay. This is a statement by the President. And if I can't read it, you guys won't get it. So I need to be able to see this.
"I congratulate the Iraqi Governing Council and the Iraqi people on completing the Transitional Administrative Law for Iraq. This document is an important step toward the establishment of a sovereign government on June 30th. It lays the foundation for democratic elections and for a new constitution, which will be written by an elected Iraqi assembly, and approved by the Iraqi people.
"This law provides a framework for continued cooperation among Iraq, members of the international coalition and the United Nations as the Iraqi people make progress towards democracy. And it provides the essential freedoms and rights to all Iraqis, regardless of gender, religion, or ethnic origin, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, the right to a fair trial, and the right to choose their own representative.
"The adoption of this law marks an historic milestone in the Iraqi people's long journey from tyranny and violence to liberty and peace. While difficult work remains to establish democracy in Iraq, today's signing is a critical step in that direction."
As far as the schedule -- I don't know if you want some stuff on the Houston livestock show. It's one of the world's largest events of its kind. It draws the top contestants in each event to compete in the world's richest regular season rodeo.
When the President gets there -- before the livestock show, rather, he's got the Bush-Cheney fundraiser -- sorry. Then on to the livestock show. Upon his arrival, he will greet the 2003 Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association champions. The PRCA is the most highly recognized rodeo organization in the country. More than 23 million fans attend PRCA rodeos each year, making rodeo the seventh highest attended sporting event in the country. And when he's there he will review the cattle, take a tour of the event, and will go to one of the venders.
Q When was the last time he was at the Houston rodeo?
MR. DUFFY: I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I think he's been there as Texas governor. I don't know if he's been there as President. But I can check.
Q That statement you read on Iraq going out on paper in Washington?
MR. DUFFY: Yes, it --
Q Before we hit the ground? So we don't have to dictate it in.
MR. DUFFY: I'll check on that. I don't know the answer.
Q If you put it out, that would help us out.
MR. DUFFY: We're going to put it out as soon as we can.
Q Can we get a hard copy also before we land? Is that possible?
MR. DUFFY: Doubtful. We're going to land in about 10 seconds. (Laughter.)
Q -- the arrangement on cost-splitting today? Is this being paid for in greater proportion by the campaign, given that there's no message, no policy event today?
MR. DUFFY: This will follow the normal practice, which is the campaign events are funded by the campaign, official events are funded by official sources. The visit to the livestock show is part of the President's official capacity.
Q Aristide said today from exile that he's calling for a peaceful demonstration against what he calls the occupation, and he's saying that he's still the President of Haiti. Do you have anything on that?
MR. DUFFY: Yes. Mr. Aristide has resigned his office and has left the country. And now the Haitian people are involved with grasping democracy and moving forward on an interim government. And that's where the focus should be right now. And any comments that would stir up more division are not helpful, as the Haitian people move towards a greater democracy.
Q Trent, I've got a question. The world's biggest investor, Warren Buffett, has made a $12-billion bet against the U.S. dollar and four foreign currencies. It's a bet against the dollar. Do you have any reaction to that? Does the administration have any thoughts on that, what that means?
MR. DUFFY: No, I would refer those questions to the Treasury Department.
Q That's it. Thanks.
END 10:39 A.M. CST