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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 31, 2004
Press Gaggle by
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Nashville, Tennessee
9:45 A.M. EDT
MR. MCCLELLAN: All right. The President had his usual briefings this morning at the hotel. He will be making remarks at the 86th Annual American Legion National Convention in Tennessee. Then this afternoon when we get to Des Moines, the President is going to participate in a radio interview, via phone, with Rush Limbaugh -- that will be about 10 minutes. And following that, in Iowa, he will make remarks at the 2004 Farm Progress Show. This is an annual farm machinery and equipment show that began -- I think it begins today and runs through September 2nd.
Then the President will, this evening in Pennsylvania, attend a family-style picnic and softball game. I think the softball game is, I believe, between the Pennsylvania Young Republicans and Pennsylvania College Republicans.
Q Is he playing?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think he's playing; I don't think he's participating in it.
Q Does he have money on the game? Is he betting on the game at all? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Next question. That was Ken Herman. I think they can figure it out, who -- (laughter.)
Q Is Rush Limbaugh live? Is Rush live?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I believe so. Yes.
Q Do you know what time it airs? Do you know what time he talks to Rush?
MR. McCLELLAN: It is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Q East coast time?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's in Iowa, yes. No, no, I'm sorry, that's Central. Iowa, yes. That's Iowa time.
Q The interview is at 2:05 p.m. live, so --
MR. McCLELLAN: So I guess 3:05 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.*
Q Are you going to move a transcript of that?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I mean, it will air, so you can get the transcript from the show.
Q Is Mrs. Bush flying directly to New York from there? Flying directly to New York?
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, she doesn't have a stop on the way. Yes, she went straight to New York. Yes, leaving that last site.
Q Is Mr. McCain on board?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, he will meet us -- thank you for bringing that up. Senator McCain will be traveling with us all day. He will meet us in Nashville, when we get there.
Q Last night on the floor of the convention some delegates were wearing Purple Heart band-aids that the Kerry campaign said is a show of disrespect for Purple Heart winners. What does the President think of behavior like that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know anything about it. I don't think he's seen -- I don't think he knows anything about it.
Q Would you think that's appropriate behavior on a convention floor?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know anything about it. I'm sure it's not something condoned by the convention or the campaign.
Q Speech preparation, is that a daily exercise for the President?
MR. McCLELLAN: He continues to work on it. I expect he'll do some more preparation tomorrow, back at the White House -- teleprompter practice.
Q American Legion speech, something new we haven't heard before?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think some of his remarks will be similar to what you have -- what you heard at the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I expect there will be some new language in the remarks and some contrasts. I also expect the President will talk about winning the war on terrorism. We are winning the war on terrorism and we will win the war on terrorism. The President will make that crystal clear in his remarks, as he has many times before. And that the way -- you know, we will win the war on terrorism by continuing to take the fight to the enemy, and we will win the war on terrorism by continuing to spread freedom. And I expect he'll make that crystal clear in his remarks.
Q Do you feel like his remarks yesterday to NBC got blown out of proportion, or why does he feel the need to make it crystal clear?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he's done it many times before. There are some out there that are intent on trying to create a false perception.
Q Are these remarks, then, a response to that?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that it's the President making it crystal clear that not only are we winning it, but we will win it. And if you look at the progress we've made, you hear him talk about it. You hear him talk about how we have liberated 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq; Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists; and Iraq -- a brutal regime has been removed from power in Iraq. You've seen Libya change its behavior and turn from its past. Pakistan is now fighting with us in the war on terrorism. Saudi Arabia is now cracking down on terrorists within their own country.
So we're winning the war on terrorism, we're dismantling the al Qaeda network, and we will win it.
Q How much of last night's convention session did the President watch?
MR. McCLELLAN: He watched -- the President and Mrs. Bush watched Senator McCain's remarks, and then this morning, I believe -- the President had his usual briefings, and he also was working out this morning in his room and he caught some of the coverage of the remarks last night. So he was able to catch some of the replay of Senator McCain's remarks and Mayor Giuliani's remarks. But last night he watched Senator McCain's remarks.
Q He went to sleep before Giuliani?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q He saw a replay of those this morning?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, he saw some replay of those remarks this morning.
Q Is it true the President thinks the American --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President really appreciates Senator McCain's and Mayor Giuliani's strong words of support for his leadership in the war on terrorism. These are two individuals who have, in an up-close and personal way, seen the President's steady leadership in challenging times.
Q Is the President going to lay out a plan for the next four years on the war on terrorism?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about his convention remarks?
Q Convention remarks.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you will hear the President talk about his robust agenda for the future. And that includes talking about winning the war on terrorism and strengthening our economy and extending prosperity here at home.
Q Is he going to address an exit strategy for Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President will continue to talk about the importance of what we are working to achieve in Iraq. I think you heard from Senator McCain last night, talk about how it was necessary, achievable and noble. We have an important mission to complete in Iraq. That mission is -- not only in Iraq, but Afghanistan, we're still working to complete both those missions. A free and self-governing and peaceful Afghanistan in Iraq will help transform the world for the better. It will help make the world a safer place and make America more secure. And I expect he will talk about the importance of what we are working to achieve.
Q Is it true the President thinks the American Legion is the one with the designated hitter? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Ken Herman again.
Q Thank you very much.
MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.
Q Do we expect anything --
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, he was briefed, too, on the suicide bombings in Israel this morning. There were some bus bombings in Israel this morning. We condemn these kinds of terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms. There is simply no justification for the killing of innocent civilians.
Q Do we expect anything -- any sort of attacks tailored to Iowa listeners or Pennsylvania listeners later -- ethanol, perhaps, in Iowa?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me see what I can do for you later. I'll try to keep you posted.
END 9:52 A.M. EDT
*The interview will take place at approximately 1:45 P.M. EDT.