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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 30, 2004

Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Springfield, Missouri

9:10 A.M. EDT

MR. McCLELLAN: All right, let me go over the schedule first, and then I'll be happy to take your questions. En route, the President had his intelligence briefing. He als0 -- the President also called President Hu of China. This was a follow up to Dr. Rice's recent trip there. The President reaffirmed our One China policy, based on the three communiqus and the Taiwan Relations Act. The President made clear that our cross strait policy remains the same. The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to work together on the issue of North Korea and their nuclear weapons program. And they talked about the importance of relations -- of our relationship with China -- the President talked about the importance of our relationship with China, as well.

Upon arrival in Springfield, the Freedom Corps greeter is Charlie Graas, who has volunteered with the Stone County Food Pantry -- who currently volunteers with the Stone County Food Pantry. And then the President will make remarks in Springfield. And I'll be glad to talk to you more about that if you have questions about it. He will be delivering a new stump speech today, as you all have heard.

And then from there, we go to Grand Rapids, and the Freedom Corps greeter there is Cal Steele, who has been a mentor for the Journey Youth Mentoring Program since 2002. And then the President will make remarks in Grand Rapids. Also, he'll be taping his radio address there, and the topic of that will be on the economy.

And then we depart Grand Rapids for Cleveland, and the Freedom Corps greeter there is Julia Singer, who for the past three years has volunteered with Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Writing Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where she helps handicapped children ages three to 18 who are taking part in the therapy-based programs.

And then the President will make remarks to the athletes of the International Children's Game and Cultural Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. And following that, he will make remarks at a Victory 2004 dinner. And then we overnight in Cleveland before continuing on the trip tomorrow.

And that's what I've got for his schedule today.

Q Did he call China on the plane, or before that?

MR. McCLELLAN: On the plane. That was all on the plane.

Q What's he going to say?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you've seen some of it in the coverage. Today kicks off the President's "Heart and Soul of America" tour. The President will deliver a new stump speech that focuses on his optimistic vision for moving America forward. The President will begin outlining in more detail his agenda for helping families and workers succeed in a changing economy. He will talk about the importance of building an ownership society. The President will begin outlining his plan for making America safer in a changing world, and he will begin laying out more of his agenda to strengthen America's families and communities.

This will be a month-long focus on the challenges we face as a nation and the President's vision for meeting those challenges. I expect the President will talk about the significant progress that we are making and how we are turning the corner and we are not going to turn back, and while there has been significant progress over the last three years, there is more to do. And the President will be reaching out to voters across America during this time period with his optimistic vision and talking about how the best days lie ahead. You've heard him talk about that, and he will continue to talk about that as part of his optimistic vision. And I expect the President will talk about how results do matter. He is outlining an optimistic vision for America that is based on a record of results.

And so that's what he will be talking about today and over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the convention.

Q What is his response to Senator Kerry's speech last night?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one, he didn't see the speech. He read some of the coverage of it this morning. And I think in terms of our views of the speech, part of that was addressed last night by Chairman Racicot. I think it was a nicely crafted speech that appeared to be well received from -- by most people in the audience.

But there was really nothing new, in terms of a vision. And there are still a lot of questions that remain unanswered. There was a 20-year gap -- it's called his public record. His election-year rhetoric runs counter to his 20-year public record. And I think that is the ultimate makeover. While he was frank about his own complexities, he failed to provide any straight talk about his inconsistent and contradictory statements on Iraq. He is a walking contradiction. He offered to elevate the debate, while at the same time launching negative attacks against the President. So I think that the senator from Massachusetts is a walking contradiction.

Q Is this now a race, though, to who can present the most optimistic agenda? That seems to be what the President is doing this month. Kerry certainly --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and that's why I talked about one of the things that the President will talk about today is that results do matter. And then -- the President has a record of results. The Senator from Massachusetts also has a record. And --

Q What is it a record of?

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think that you're seeing that he is running as fast and as far as he can from that record. But the American people will make judgments based on the candidate's records and their vision going forward. But last night in the speech, I saw nothing new in terms of a vision being offered by the Senator from Massachusetts.

Q But does the President have to present himself as not quite the, you know, kind of, trigger happy, tough, shoot him from the hip cowboy, and sort of fill out that image a little more?

MR. McCLELLAN: What he's going to do is continue to focus on -- we are in a period where the stakes are high, the challenges are big challenges that we face. And the President has been leading in a strong and decisive way to meet those challenges. And he'll be talking about how we've made significant progress to meet these challenges that we face when it comes to the war on terrorism and the economy and other priorities. And he will talk about how there is more to do. But we are turning the corner and there is no turning back. And he will talk about that in his remarks today and he will continue talking about that leading up to the convention.

Q Scott, can you talk about the budget deficit? Are those numbers going to come out today? And what are they going to say?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't want to preempt our Budget Director. I believe it's at noon, or sometime around there, that OMB will be having a press availability with Director Bolten and he will talk more about that. But I think that you will see that we are continuing to make progress to meet the President's commitment to cutting the deficit in half over the next five years. We are -- through the priorities that the President has outlined, we are -- we are meeting our nation's priorities and by holding -- or showing spending restraint elsewhere in the budget, we are on track to meet the President's commitment to cut the deficit in half. The economy has shown continued strength because of the actions that this President has taken. And I think the OMB Director will talk about how the revenues that are coming in are higher than expected. But I'll leave it to him to talk more about that later today.

Q I know that he's on the road today, but is he working on the intelligence reform with his staff today, as well?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the task force is meeting again today. Secretary Card is holding a meeting of the task force again, this morning, I believe. The President has continued to stay in touch with Secretary Card and Dr. Rice and other members of the staff about these reforms. But I would point out to you --

Q How close are we?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we're moving closer. We're nearing -- we are nearing completion of the review of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. But I think it's important to point out that this President has been committed to intelligence reform for quite some time. And I think you should look at this as continuing to build upon the reforms that we are already implementing, that this President has worked to move forward on significant intelligence reforms over the last three years. We have moved forward to improve intelligence sharing between law enforcement and the intelligence community and within the intelligence community itself. We created a Terrorist Threat Integration Center; we created the Department of Homeland Security; we have worked to transform the mission of the FBI.

So there are significant -- there is significant strides that we have made already on intelligence reform. And the work of this task force and the 9/11 Commission will help us continue to build upon those reforms.

Q Are we looking at Monday?

MR. McCLELLAN: We will keep you posted. I don't have any update to his schedule at this point. I've got the week ahead here for you, though, at the end of this Q and A, and if there are any updates beyond that week ahead to the schedule, we will let you know. But I'm not ready to -- to announce the timing of anything at this point. We are continuing to move forward on a fast track. And the commission -- and the task force is making important progress.

Q Should we assume, though, that any initial progress that's been made is going to be limited to dealing with things that could be dealt with through executive order, as opposed to the questions of the NIB --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think as Trent pointed out yesterday, the task force has been preparing some directives for the President to consider. I think, obviously, yes, there are steps that the President could take on his own, and there are steps that you have to look at that would require congressional action, as well. And so these are all things that the task force is looking at. The President is deeply involved in the work of the task force. And when we have more to say, we will let you know.

Q But will he present all of these things as one package, even if it requires congressional action? Or would we be looking for multiple announcements --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, he'll talk more about all those issues once the -- once the review is complete and the decisions have been made.

Q But we shouldn't understand that what announcements may come soon aren't going -- he could still throw support behind proposals that need congressional approval? He won't just restrict himself to the things he can do by executive order?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's why I said, one, let's let -- let's let the review -- I mean, these are all issues that are getting ahead of the review right now. Let's let the review by the task force be completed and decisions be made and then we'll have more to say at that point. Obviously, we're -- the President made it very clear that he is seriously looking at all the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission because he looks at them in the context that they build upon the reforms that we are already implementing over the past three years. And so I don't want to jump ahead of what he may or may not say in the near future. But again, we've already indicated that it would be -- that he would be talking about some of these reforms in a matter of days. And that still stands.

Q Why didn't the President watch last night?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he -- he went to sleep last night. That was a late speech, obviously, but he did read some of the coverage of it this morning, like I said.

Q He had checked in -- he had checked in on the TV coverage earlier in the week off and on.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and whether or not he watched the actual speech at the time, he's obviously seen some of the coverage or read some of the coverage of the convention itself.

Q Did Karl stay up to watch it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I believe he did. And you -- and by the way, there are campaign officials onboard the plane. You've got Nicole, and then you've also got Matthew Dowd, and they'll be on the ground. And so I'm sure they'll be available to talk to you if you all need more.

Q Week ahead?

MR. McCLELLAN: Week ahead. Week ahead, on Monday, the President will meet with his Cabinet at the White House.

On Tuesday, the President will sign the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the Rose Garden at the White House. And then we will go to Dallas where the President will attend a Victory 2004 reception, and the President will make remarks to the 122nd Annual Knights of Columbus Convention in Dallas. We will overnight in Crawford. For those of you who missed this last week, there's an opportunity to go back there.

And Wednesday, the President will participate in an "Ask President Bush" event in Davenport, Iowa. And then he will make remarks on conservation -- on Conservation Reserve in Mankato, Minnesota. Then the President will make remarks at a Mankato, Minnesota rally following that. We'll be back at the White House that night.

On Thursday, the President will sign the Department of Defense Appropriations Act at the White House. And then the President will go to Columbus, Ohio to participate in an "Ask President Bush." And then he will make remarks at Saginaw, Michigan rally.

And on Friday, the President will make remarks to the Unity: Journalists of Color Convention.

Q Where will he sleep that day?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, we're back in D.C. on Thursday. And then on Friday morning, the President will make remarks to the Unity: Journalists of Color Convention at the Washington Convention Center. And then he will make remarks at a Stratham, New Hampshire picnic. And then we will be overnighting in Kennebunkport, Maine and returning to the White House early afternoon, I expect, on Sunday, August 8th. And as I said, if there are any other updates to the schedule we will keep you all posted.

Q Saturday and Sunday is the family event at Kennebunkport? Closed?

Q He's going to a wedding.

MR. McCLELLAN: Nothing else to announce on that at this time. But that's -- we'll be in Kennebunkport.

Q Thanks.

END 9:27 A.M. EDT