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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 12, 2004
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Las Vegas, Nevada
9:55 A.M. PDT
MR. McCLELLAN: This morning the President spoke with some of the senior staff back in Washington and received a briefing on the storms -- Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley. The President wanted to make sure that all the necessary and appropriate federal resources are being deployed and put in place. And then following that, he had his usual briefings.
And upon arrival in Vegas, the Freedom Corps greeter is Mike Peschl, who has been an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Las Vegas since 1996. Then following that, the President will go to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America International Training Facility and participate in a tour. You all would be there to cover that as the pool. I think there are two different parts of the training facility that he will be touring today. And then he will make remarks to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America International Training Facility, or people that are there at the International Training Facility.
Then we leave Las Vegas and go to Los Angeles. The Freedom Corps greeter there will be Lynn Brennan. And for the past year, Lynn has volunteered as a producer and host of Senior Living, a cable television program that airs throughout Southern California and focuses on affirmative aging.
Then the President will participate in a -- President and Mrs. Bush will participate in an interview with "Larry King Live," which will air tonight on, which station, Suzanne?
Q Is that pool coverage?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, but you can -- it will be open press tonight, though, on TV. Then following that, the President makes remarks tonight at a Victory 2004 dinner in Santa Monica. If there are any other stops along the way, we will keep you posted.
Q Do you have an update to the schedule, sir?
MR. McCLELLAN: I do have an update to the schedule. Thank you for reminding me. On Monday, August 16th, in addition to the previously announced remarks in Cincinnati, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, the President will also make remarks at a Traverse City, Michigan rally. And that's all I've got.
Q Back home that night?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I believe we're back in D.C.
MR. DECKARD: Monday night? Yes.
MR. McCLELLAN: Monday night, yes.
Q Can you preview the remarks today, both what he's going to say to the Joiners -- the overarching remarks, and particularly Yucca Mountain?
MR. McCLELLAN: Obviously, he'll talk about our highest priorities, but I expect he'll spend some portion of his remarks talking about job training and the importance of making sure that workers, including those in the skill trades, like construction, are trained to fill the high-paying, high-growth jobs. I think the Labor Department has put out some statistics -- which we'll get you in a fact sheet -- showing that the construction jobs are going to be growing significantly over the next several years. And we need to make sure that workers are trained to fill those jobs. And so I think he'll talk a little bit about that.
Q Yucca --
MR. McCLELLAN: I expect he probably will talk some about Yucca Mountain. The senator from Massachusetts was recently in Vegas, and it was interesting to hear his latest comments about Yucca Mountain. He is someone who has had changing positions on this issue. The senator has said one thing when he's in Nevada, but done another thing when he's in Washington, D.C. And so I expect the President will touch a little bit on the Yucca Mountain issue in his remarks.
Q This union -- has this union endorsed the President, or --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think they've made an endorsement at this point. I'll double check with the campaign, and you might want to, as well. But my understanding was that they have not made an endorsement at this point.
Q So my review of his votes, or my office's review of his votes shows he never directly voted for Yucca Mountain.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the campaign can provide you with some six votes and some other correspondence that might be available where Senator Kerry voted against Nevada and voted in support of the Yucca Mountain site. They can provide you with that information. Again, the senator says one thing when he goes to Nevada to campaign, but he has done another thing while in office in Washington, D.C. I think that's important for the people of Nevada to know. They know where the President stands.
Q Scott, what do you say, though, to the scientific community who say that it's unresolved, still, the issue of -- it's unresolved, the issue of whether or not that was a good idea, to allow that waste facility to --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- spoke to this the other day. I know that Secretary Abraham has spoken to it recently, as well. The President has always said that this is a decision that should be based on science. And that's what this administration has done in the decision-making process. The President is also strongly committed to making sure that all the necessary safety measures are in place to make sure that people in Nevada are safe. And we very much respect Nevada's right to pursue this case with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and pursue it in the courts.
Q So he didn't renege on his 2000 campaign promise?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think that was Senator Kerry trying to divert attention away from the fact that he has acted one way in Washington, D.C., while saying another thing campaigning in Nevada.
Q What was --
MR. McCLELLAN: The President always said that this is a decision that should be based on the science, and not politics.
Q Critics say that he made --
MR. McCLELLAN: The President made it very clear. And, well, the Department of Energy has provided all the scientific evidence that the decision has been based on, and they can provide you with that information. But this is a decision that has been based on science. And I think the Senator now has taken a politically expedient position that runs counter to the actions he has taken in Washington, D.C.
Q Scott, do you know anything about the attack in Najaf, on Sadr's home -- that he wasn't there -- U.S. forces stormed the house, and he's holed up in another area?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think that those are questions best directed to the interim government. I think that the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior are having a news conference in Iraq on the latest developments in Najaf. We are there to partner with Iraqi forces to help bring about security in Iraq. And Prime Minister Allawi has stated very strongly that he is determined to improve the security situation and bring stability to Najaf, and we're there to work with the Iraqi security forces. But they'll be having a news conference -- if they're not already -- later today.
Q Scott, Vice President Cheney said today that Kerry views the world as if the September 11th attacks never happened. Is that the President's view?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one, I haven't seen exactly what the Vice President said. I'll be glad to take a look at it. But the Vice President is speaking as a member of this administration, obviously. And, you know, there are some clear differences when it comes to the war on terrorism. I think that there has been a clear misunderstanding of how we go about that war on terrorism, shown by Senator Kerry's comments and actions. This President recognizes that we must confront threats before it's too late, and that we must stay on the offensive to win the war on terrorism and defeat the terrorists and protect the American people. And that's what he's continuing to do.
Q Are we going to expect him to say anything about the sensitivity issue, running a sensitive war -- Kerry's remarks?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the Vice President talked very clearly about that earlier today.
Q Do you think Bush will say it, as well?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't expect so. I know it's what the Vice President said yesterday on Iraq, too, that the Senator continues to be all over the map when it comes to Iraq. The campaign -- his statements and the campaign's latest statements are just another in a series of contradictions and inconsistencies on his position -- about his position on Iraq.
Q Are these lines we might get from Bush?
MR. McCLELLAN: You'll be there to cover him today. You heard him talk about what Senator Kerry had said about troops. Of course, we know a while back he had said that he would look to the commanders to make those decisions, and then he changed his position and said that he would significantly reduce troops, but he wouldn't tell us what his plan to do that was. And now he's saying, well, it's a goal. And his campaign then had to try to clarify that further and said, well, it depends on circumstances on the ground. So he's been all over the map on Iraq on a number of issues. And then his campaign tried to clarify his position when he said that: let me answer the President's questions directly. And he said: yes, that's the answer to the question. And then they tried to clarify his position even further and said, well, it may not have been a vote to go to war. Well, in 1991, when the vote was going on for the authorization of force in the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry then said: this isn't about sending a message, this is about going to war.
So there continues to be a series of inconsistencies and contradictions on Iraq.
Q Should we expect an Urban League-style speech today, where he makes a pitch to a union and asks these people the question why the Democrats are in their interest?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you'll be there to cover the remarks, but he is competing hard for their votes. And he has a strong record when it comes to standing on the side of workers and working families. And he'll be talking about that record and his agenda going forward.
Q Is Arnold going to be at the thing tonight?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yes.
Q Is he going to introduce him or --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he is scheduled to be there. I'm not going to give any more specifics of all the introductions and things, but you'll be there to cover it. We're pleased to have him helping on the Bush-Cheney team in California.
Q Are you counting on him to help deliver the state for you?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President is going to continue competing to win the state of California. And, again, we'll keep you posted. You'll be traveling with us. Stay tuned for some updates to the schedule later today in California. But this President is going to work hard to win the state of California, because he has a proven record of results and achievement that --
Q Are we -- go ahead, sorry.
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Are we adding some stops in California? Or what are you --
MR. McCLELLAN: I said we'll keep you posted.
Q You're dropping a pretty good hint here.
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll keep you posted.
END 10:08 A.M. PDT