For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 26, 2004
President's Remarks to the Press Pool
12:30 P.M. CST
THE PRESIDENT: I just had a great Thanksgiving with our daughters and my mother and dad and my mother-in-law. It's good to be back in Texas. I wish the Crawford Pirates all the best in their state playoff football game tonight. I know you agree with me. I'll take a couple of questions.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. If I could ask you about a couple news developments today. Seventeen political parties in Iraq demanded postponement of the January 30th elections for at least six months. I wonder about your reaction to that. And there's a tentative deal on Iran's nuclear weapons, but I wonder whether you think Iran should be trusted given their history.
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I appreciate the nations of Great Britain and Germany and France who are working to try to convince Iran to honor their international treaty obligations. And the only good deal is one that's verifiable. And I look forward to talking to the leaders of those countries, if they can get Iran to agree to a deal, to make sure that it's verifiable. I know that the Prime Minister of Great Britain wants a verifiable deal because I've talked to him personally about it.
In terms of Iraq, the Iraq election commission has scheduled elections in January, and I would hope they would go forward in January.
Q Mr. President, what are the consequences if Ukraine does not comply with international pressure and demands on the elections? And do you think that President Putin overstepped his bounds?
THE PRESIDENT: There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that placed their election -- the validity of their elections in doubt. The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this, and hopefully it will be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government.
Q Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: Identify yourself, please.
Q I'm with Bloomberg News. I'm Jay Newton-Small.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, welcome.
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know Scott? (Laughter.)
Q Very well.
Q We ride in a lot of vans together.
THE PRESIDENT: You might ask him why he didn't shave. But go ahead.
THE PRESS: Awww .
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I was just curious. (Laughter.)
Q Don't ask me.
THE PRESIDENT: It looks like it's contagious, as a matter of fact.
Q Left the razor at home.
THE PRESIDENT: Please, sorry to interrupt.
Q Today the World Trade Organization finalized or approved sanctions the European Union will have against the United States, $150 million worth of sanctions for the Byrd amendment. Do you have any comments on that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've worked hard to comply with the WTO. I think it's important that all nations comply with WTO rulings. I'll work with Congress to get into compliance. As you might remember, we worked on the FISC/ETI bill because of the WTO ruling. We expect the WTO, as well, to treat our trading partners as they treat us. And that's why, for example, I filed complaint on the Airbus situation. We believe that the subsidies for Airbus are unfair for U.S. companies, such as Boeing.
Yes, Mark, hi.
THE PRESIDENT: Hi. Sir, you said you're going to sign the big OMNIBUS appropriations bill, but are you bothered by all the examples of pork-barrel spending that are in that bill?
THE PRESIDENT: Mark, it's -- first, the bill conforms to the budget that I worked out with the Congress, and I appreciate that. In other words, the size of the bill is a number that we agreed to early on -- earlier this year. And I appreciate that, because part of making sure we cut the deficit in half is to work together on the overall size of our spending bills.
Now, secondly, obviously, there's going to be things in these big bills that I don't particularly care for, and that's why I've asked Congress to give me a line-item veto. And the only way a President can affect that which is inside the bill, other than vetoing the entire bill, is to be able to pick out parts of a bill and express displeasure about it through a line-item veto. I hope the Congress will give me a line-item veto.
Listen, it's great to see everybody.
Q Anything on Northern Ireland?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I talked to -- evidently the word's out that I made a phone call this morning, and I did so. And I was just trying to be a part of the process of getting both Ian Paisley's group -- Dr. Paisley's group and Gerry Adams' group to the table, to get a deal done.
Q To get --
THE PRESIDENT: To get a deal done. In other words, to close the agreement that they've been working on for quite a while. Hopefully it will help. Of course the primary movers are Prime Minister Blair and Bertie Ahern of Ireland, who have been working very diligently on this. I appreciate their efforts, and anything I can do to help keep the process moving forward, I'm more than willing to do so.
Listen, I've got to go eat a burger. Thank you all.
END 12:35 P.M. CST