print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
  
In Focus
News
News by Date
Appointments
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > January 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 3, 2005

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Play Video  Video (Real)

1:49 P.M. EST

MR. MCCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everybody. The President and Mrs. Bush were honored to visit earlier today four embassies of countries that were most affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean region. As you heard the President reiterate, the United States stands with the people of the region during this time of suffering. We will continue to do all we can to help provide humanitarian relief , as well as support longer-term rebuilding efforts.

The President also looks forward to receiving updates from the delegation headed by Secretary Powell and Governor Bush that he dispatched to the region. They currently are in Thailand , and I believe tomorrow they will be traveling to Jakarta , and then they will be touring part of Aceh on Wednesday, and then going to Jakarta again on Thursday for the ASEAN meeting. And then they will fly back to Sri Lanka , before heading back.

As you also heard today, the President is grateful that former Presidents Clinton and Bush will lead a nationwide charitable fundraising effort to support international organizations on the ground in the region. The President is pleased and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the American people. America will continue to play a leading role in the relief and response efforts, and we will do so for the long road ahead as the people in the region and those countries that were affected rebuild and recover from this grave human tragedy.

And with that, I will be glad to go to your questions.

Q Scott, do you know if the money raised from this private effort will offset the need for any new public financing for the disaster?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, let me go back to what the President talked about earlier again today. We made an initial commitment from the United States government of $350 million in humanitarian aid. When this disaster struck the region, the United States government immediately began acting to help respond to the efforts in the region. Our focus right now is on doing all we can to help lead the way on humanitarian relief as part of the immediate aftermath response efforts that are underway, including working with the international community to coordinate those efforts.

But this is a grave human tragedy, beyond comprehension, and the relief and reconstruction will be a long-term effort. The United States will be in it for the long haul; we'll be in it long after the media attention fades away. That's the way the United States has always risen to the challenges faced by people across the world.

Go ahead, Connie.

Q I know the White House doesn't think much about radio, I realize that, but I just -- was there any thought given to telling the major radio operations around the world -- Voice of America, BBC, Australian Broadcast and so forth -- just telling them something about the earthquake and the tidal waves? Because in some cases, there was two hours' notice, five hours' notice. Is that something that could be done in the future?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about some of the warning system? I think that's something that the President addressed a little bit last week, and it's something the United States government continues to look at. I mean, there are some warning systems that are in place in the Pacific, but we are continuing to look at that in the -- particularly in the aftermath of this human tragedy, to look at ways that we can put in place global warning systems so there is a better warning system.

Q I mean, these organizations are in place now; all you have to do is -- all somebody has to do is pass out --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that would be part of what people could look at as part of making sure that the warning system, we have the appropriate and adequate warning systems in place to try to prevent loss of life.

Q -- tried to canvass the major relief organizations and charities to find out how much money has been raised privately already, and is there any sort of goal for what Presidents Clinton and Bush are going to try to be raising?

MR. McCLELLAN: First, this effort is just getting underway. You heard the President talk about it earlier today, about how America already has shown our compassion and generosity by contributing large amounts of money. And I would say, when I said a large amount is a sum; there are some people that are contributing small amounts, there are others that are able to contribute larger amounts. The President said he wants people to contribute as they're able to do so, and would encourage people to do so. This is a disaster unlike any we have seen in recent history, and the American people are rising to the occasion and showing the world that we are the most compassionate and generous nation around the globe.

And in terms of the outreach efforts here, the President -- the former Presidents will be reaching out to corporations, they'll be reaching out to foundations, they'll be reaching out to the American people. I think you can expect they'll be reaching out to people to give smaller contributions, as well as others that can give bigger contributions to this effort. And, no, not in terms of -- there's not a specific goal at this point, but we want to maximize all the support we can for the international organizations that are in the region.

As you heard the President say, those organizations who are currently operating in the region have a good understanding of what the needs are and how to meet those needs. And that's why he called on people to give cash donations; that's the best way that they can support what is going on now in the region.

Q And is there some plan for how they're going to go about doing this? In other words, you know, is somebody going to divide up a list of who they're going to call? How is this going to work?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you heard the President talk earlier today about how USA Freedom Corps will be assisting them in their efforts. The two leaders are now private citizens. They volunteered, at the request of the President, to spearhead this effort. They are very distinguished individuals who enjoy wide respect, and we're confident the they'll be able to help build even greater support from the United States for the relief efforts that are underway and for the longer-term reconstruction. Like I said, this is -- there is the immediate response, there is the near-term response and then there's the longer-term response. This is going to be a long process as the people of that region work to rebuild their lives and recover from this great tragedy.

Q Scott, is there any role -- was any role contemplated for the other former Presidents? Why these two?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the reason that the President stated in his remarks, is why these two: these are two very distinguished individuals and he was grateful that they agreed to lead this effort and reach out to the American people. I think you could ask that about any number of efforts that people undertake. But the President is grateful that these two leaders agreed to do this and they are two individuals that were more than willing to answer the President's request.

Q And can you give any elaboration on President Bush's assertion today that he plans to visit India sometime this year? What would the goal of that visit be and when are we looking at?

MR. McCLELLAN: There's no update on the President's schedule. Obviously, if there are things to update -- if there are updates to give you, we will talk about it at that point. But I think we've talked previously about our relationship with India and we continue to have strong relations with India and we'll continue to build upon those relations -- but there's no update on his schedule to announce.

Q Scott, to follow up on this. As you know, the President has been criticized for not taking to the airwaves for three days after the disaster. There are also those who believe the President is missing an opportunity by not going to Jakarta for the major donor's conference on Thursday, that it would solidify his relationship with Muslims in a part of the world we are now weak. What was the President's rationale for not going on Thursday?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me point out a couple of things. One, when this disaster struck, as I pointed out earlier, the United States immediately went into an action mode to help respond to the crisis and the situation in the Indian Ocean region. The military immediately began moving assets to the region to support delivery of humanitarian aid and to assess what the needs were. USAID immediately went into action mode; our embassies did, as well. And the President established the regional core group of India , Japan and Australia to make sure that we were moving as quickly as we could to get relief flowing to the region, because those countries were able to come together and do that. We have built strong relations over the last few years with those countries and we were able to get relief flowing very quickly to the region. If you look at the time that has elapsed, it's been a very short period of time and that core group went into action.

Now, Secretary Powell talked yesterday about how it's his desire that eventually this core group will go out of business, I think is the phrase that he used yesterday, because we're coordinating very closely with the United Nations, as this core group is. In fact, they're based in Thailand , and the United Nations has also based their response efforts out of Thailand , as well, working with this core group. And we'll continue to work with the international community --

Q The criticism isn't personal, Scott. The criticism is that the President could have gone on and addressed the world, if you will, despite the fact that all these things were going on, before the three days had elapsed. And now you have another opportunity to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me point out -- I was trying to point out what we're doing. The President also sent a delegation to the region, as I mentioned earlier, headed by Secretary Powell and Governor Bush. That shows the priority that he places on what we're working to do to help those who are suffering in the region. And those two leaders will report back to the President after they've assessed what some of the shorter-term needs are, as well as what some of the longer-term needs may be. They're in the region; Secretary Powell is someone who has very good relations with leaders in the region, as well as his counterparts; Governor Bush is someone who has a lot of experience in working on disaster relief and response efforts, in his own state of Florida . So that shows and demonstrates, I think, the priority the President places on this.

But the President immediately began acting on this. And I think you also have to keep in mind that we're still in this immediate phase, immediate response phase, where we're focused on providing humanitarian relief. We don't want to do anything to divert resources or attention away from the humanitarian relief efforts that are underway. We want our military and our USAID officials who are in the areas focused on getting relief to those who need it. And so I think this is the best way to approach this at this point.

Q Scott, just to follow up on a couple of earlier questions. One, does the White House know how much has been raised by individuals in this country, and by corporations? And was former President Carter asked to participate in this fundraising?

MR. McCLELLAN: These were the two leaders that were asked to participate in this effort, for the reasons the President stated earlier in his remarks in the Roosevelt Room. What was the first part of your question?

Q How much -- does the White House know how much has been donated by individuals in this country --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have the latest estimate on what's been donated by Americans, but I think you have seen -- and the President pointed to some examples of some of the smaller contributions and some of the bigger efforts that are underway. But the American people are showing their generosity through the contributions they are making. There has been a tremendous outpouring of support, and the President heralded that outpouring of support by the American people earlier today in his remarks.

Q Did you find out anything about a prison for detainees --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll come back to that. Let me stay on Indonesia , or the Indian Ocean situation, and then I'll come back to that.

Q Scott, you indicated earlier that you would let us know how this came about. How did it come about? When did the President call Clinton and his father and ask them to come --

MR. McCLELLAN: This was something that we discussed over the last week. The President discussed it with staff, this idea. We wanted to make sure that as part of -- that we were doing everything we could to support efforts in the region. And this is one part of doing that, given the severity of the disaster that occurred.

And the President reached out to these two distinguished individuals over the last few days through White House staff. Dr. Rice, I know, was in touch with President Clinton on a couple of occasions about this effort, and I believe Andy Card also spoke with President Clinton. And I know White House staff was in touch with former President Bush's staff about these efforts, too. And that is how we reached out to those individuals. And then former President Bush spent the night here last night, so I know he and the President were able to talk about this over the course of the last day, as well.

Q Just to update, are there any plans for the former Presidents to travel anywhere together, or this is -- we'll see them and they do their media interviews, and the work -- will sort of work on behind the scenes?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that you can expect that there will be some travel. Like I said, USA Freedom Corps will help with some of the coordination side of this. The two leaders are going to be the ones that are doing the outreach and the soliciting of donations from corporations and individuals, and from foundations. But the USA Freedom Corps will assist with some of the travel and assist with some of the travel and assist with some of the logistical and staff support for those efforts. And today is just the beginning. I think you will see and hear more from these two leaders over the course of the coming weeks, as they work on this effort.

Q What kind of travel are you talking about, international or domestic travel to raise money?

MR. McCLELLAN: The focus of this is here in America , so that's where their focus is.

Q You described the U.S. as the most compassionate nation, and we've seen these lists of which country's government has given the most and which citizenry has given the most. Is there a concern on the part of the White House that the U.S. be seen as topping that list in the end?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, this is not an effort that stops one weekend into it. This is -- the initial commitment from the United States government was $350 million. The President said we will continue to assess what the needs are and we will make sure that we are doing our part to help meet those needs.

He's also encouraging other nations to do their part, and we've seen an outpouring of support from the international community to help those who are suffering in the Indian Ocean region. So we will continue to look at what the needs are in this immediate response phase that we're in right now. We'll also continue to look at what the longer-term needs are, and the United States is going to be there throughout all phases of this relief and reconstruction and rebuilding effort.

Q Do you see it as unfortunate, in a way, that this is becoming some sort of a competition among nations -- who can give the most?

MR. McCLELLAN: "Unfortunate"? I think it's good that nations are contributing as they're able to do so, as much as they can. That's based on what the needs are on the ground. There are also a lot of private contributions coming into this effort. You have to continue to assess what the needs are on the ground. There's only so much that you can do in the immediate response efforts, in terms of providing funding. Secretary Powell talked about this earlier today, and he said that our initial commitment for right now is where it should be, but we're continuing to assess the needs and the President made it clear that we will be there to provide more as needed, based on the assessment on the ground.

And the American people can be a big help in these efforts by providing their own private donations to these international organizations like the Red Cross or the Red Crescent Society or CARE, or some of the other groups that the President mentioned earlier today.

Q Do you anticipate the former Presidents are going to be -- aside from traveling around the country and doing media interviews to encourage donations, will they be sort of campaigning-style, working the phones to corporations, Wall Street --

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, yes, I expect they'll be either working the phones or meeting with people in person. They certainly have a lot of contacts that they can reach out to, to help build support for this effort.

Q How long do you anticipate this effort to last?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that we've put a time frame on it at this point, but we appreciate the efforts they're undertaking. And they'll continue to work to reach out to the American people on these efforts. I don't think we've put a specific time frame on it. Right now we want to encourage as much giving as possible, in the immediate aftermath here. This is when the American people are most focused on this, and this is a good time to go to them and say, here's ways you can help, here's organizations you can support -- organizations that have a proven record of success in helping people rebuild and recover from disasters in these areas. And these organizations have a good, clear understanding of where those resources need to be directed to meet the needs on the ground. And so that's what they'll continue to do.

Q Just a real quick follow up. When you said the $350 million was the initial commitment, I read from that that you expect more will be coming from the U.S. government --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we've indicated that based on the assessments that are currently underway, that we would be prepared to provide more help if needed -- as needed, I should say.

Go ahead, Les.

Q Scott, a new subject --

MR. McCLELLAN: Are we staying on this? Who else has -- on this? Let me stay on this --

Q Sure. And you'll come back?

MR. McCLELLAN: Deb, go ahead.

Q Two questions. One, given the abysmal performance of the U.N. in the Iraqi oil-for-food program, its last big relief effort, is there a concern about how well the U.N. will do this particular relief effort? And can you describe our current view of the relationships between this sort of group of four and the U.N. –

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and that group is actually expanding now, the core group that you're referring to. It actually includes Canada and the Netherlands , in addition to the United States , Japan , Australia , and India . And I think the President indicated that it would expand over time -- or Secretary Powell indicated that previously. And, again, this group is working very closely with the United Nations and working very closely with the international community, working very closely with those non-governmental organizations who are providing humanitarian relief to people in the region, as well.

And the first part of your question?

Q The first question was, is there concern that, given the U.N.'s lousy performance on the oil-for-food program that maybe we shouldn't be trusting this vast amount of money to the U.N.?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's a separate matter. They're working to address that matter. We've talked about the importance of that being an open and transparent process so that they can get to the bottom of it and let all the facts be known. In terms of this, we work very closely -- in terms of this current tragedy that has taken place, we work very closely with the United Nations in a number of different ways. And we have on humanitarian relief efforts around the world, and we appreciate all the United Nations is doing and will continue to work very closely with them. So, no.

Q Is there a reason why Jimmy Carter wasn't asked?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think, again, I would refer back to what the President said earlier today. He appreciates these two individuals undertaking this effort. And --

Q -- but not why --

MR. McCLELLAN: It's not why someone wasn't, it's why these people were.

Q Scott, is there any federal effort in tandem with this to guard against scams, Internet scams and other come-ons that --

MR. McCLELLAN: There are authorities that are always looking at those issues and taking action as needed. I haven't heard of anything at this point, but, yes, there are authorities in place at a number of agencies that --

Q Nothing specific --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- that oversee those efforts. I can try and get you more information, or you might talk directly to the agencies that would be responsible for that, as well.

Q Scott --

MR. McCLELLAN: Are we done with this? Do we want to jump subjects?

Q I have the next question.

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen had the next question, so she's right.

Q Are we going to set up a prison for permanent detainees for whom we have no evidence to even charge or try?

MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, let me back up and talk about the situation that we're in. We are fighting a different kind of war, as you have heard us talk about. The enemy is unlike any we have ever seen before. They have no regard for the rule of law; they have no regard for innocent civilians.

Q But we have a regard for law.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me walk back through this. We do. The President has -- his most solemn obligation is the safety and security of the American people. The war on terrorism is a war that continues. The people you are talking about are unlawful enemy combatants who were picked up on the battlefield, and we have a responsibility to --

Q Why are they unlawful if they were defending their own country?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish. We have a responsibility to protect the American people, and that includes preventing enemy combatants from returning to the battlefield or rejoining the fight once they have been captured. We also expect those detainees to be treated humanely and in accordance with our laws. So this is a new situation that we've been working to address. And maintaining security and making sure detainees continue to be treated humanely are priorities that the Pentagon continues to work to address.

And in terms of steps that they're taking to make the living conditions of those at Guantanamo Bay more suitable for longer-term detention, you should talk to the Department of Defense. But that's why I reiterated that this is a war that continues and we're talking about enemy combatants.

Q I asked you if we're going to have a permanent prison for detainees, into eternity, without any charges, without any trial. And if they are picked up from the battlefield, why don't you call them prisoners of war?

MR. McCLELLAN: For the reasons that we've previously stated, they're referred to as unlawful enemy combatants. We've been through this --

Q Why are they unlawful?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- on a number of occasions, Helen. And there have been --

Q So you are going to have a prison, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- in some instances. There is currently a detention facility. Like I said, if you want to talk about how the Department of Defense is working to address these issues, you can direct those questions to the Department of Defense.

Q This is a matter of justice. Keeping people permanently, without any charge or any trial --

MR. McCLELLAN: In some instances we've taken an extraordinary step of releasing enemy combatants before the end of this conflict, after we assessed they were no longer a threat to the United States or to the American people. There have been a few instances, unfortunately, where individuals have returned to the battlefield.

We've also transferred a number of detainees to their home countries, after working out agreements that address some of the security concerns. We will continue to do so, because other countries also have a shared responsibility in waging this war on terrorism. But this is a war on terrorism that continues and we will continue to wage it on all fronts. But as we capture people on the battlefield, we will make sure that they are treated humanely and we'll make sure that they're afforded reviews as we have set up.

There are detainees that -- the detainees at Guantanamo Bay receive reviews of their status, to make sure that they're --

Q But we are going to keep them permanently?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the reasons they're being detained are valid reasons.

Q Scott, a two-part. The Arizona Republic reports that the Mexican government's foreign ministry is distributing a guide to assist border-crossing illegal aliens. It's entitled, "The Guide for the Mexican Migrant." And my question: Since the President surely opposes this, what will he do about it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Who is providing this guide?

Q The foreign ministry of the government of Mexico .

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I will look into it. I'm not familiar with it.

Q All right. California State Senator Gloria Romero, Los Angeles , reports that the 28,600 foreigners in California prisons cost the taxpayers $600 million to $800 million a year, but Mexico , in 2003, took back only 109 of the 17,500 Mexican illegal prisoners. And my question: How is the President as concerned about this as this Hispanic American state senator who is a Democrat?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you've heard the President state his views when it comes to our immigration laws , which I think is what you're referring to in your question. We've taken a number of steps to strengthen our border security and to improve our immigration laws to prevent those who come here for the wrong reason from entering the country in the first place. The President has also outlined a temporary worker proposal that he would like Congress to act on to address a situation that we are currently in. And I think you've heard me talk about that, as well. This would show our compassionate side, as well as address an economic need. And the President has talked about that.

Q What about exchanging prisoners? This is done all over the world. If we have a foreign national, we ship them over, and they ship ours over here. But the Mexican government will not accept, except 209.

MR. McCLELLAN: This specific question might be best directed to the State Department. I'll be glad to look into it, as well. But I'm not familiar with the details of it.

Q Can I just follow up, one question --

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure.

Q Is there a reason that you're keeping these people indefinitely in Guantanamo because of --

MR. McCLELLAN: That we're treating them what?

Q You are keeping them indefinitely because of lack of evidence against them. Is that --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't agree with that. These were people that were picked up on the battlefield seeking to do harm to America .

Q Okay, but is the premise right to say that you are going to keep them without trial --

MR. McCLELLAN: And part of this -- the Department of Defense talked about this -- some of the initial phase was to seek to get information from these individuals so that we could prevent attacks from happening in the first place. And now you're moving into a different phase where there will be some longer-term detention, because we continue to be at war on terrorism.

Q But so you agree with them that they're going to be locked up for a longer time because of lack of evidence against them, and therefore, you can't bring them to trial --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't agree with that. What I agree with is that the war on terrorism continues, and we're referring to unlawful enemy combatants who were picked up on the battlefield or who were otherwise seeking to do harm to Americans.

Q So you presume they are guilty until you've proven that they are innocent; is that the case?

MR. McCLELLAN: They go through a review process at Guantanamo Bay to determine whether or not they should continue to be held. That's something that the military implemented.

Q Also about Iraq . The Iraq Defense Minister just said that basically they are considering postponement of the election, or delaying it, if they can guarantee that the Sunni parties are going to participate at a later date. What's your reaction to that? Do you think that's an option?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President, as you've heard him say, has been in touch with leaders in Iraq about the importance of moving forward on the date that was set by the Independent Iraqi Election Commission. That's what we're continuing to do. They set the date for the end of January. We want to see as broad a participation as possible in those elections. We're also working to address some of the security concerns that remain, and some of the security challenges that remain in the country. You heard Secretary Powell talk about this yesterday on some of the Sunday shows, where he talked about on many areas were secure enough for those elections to proceed, and some of the areas where it remains dangerous. We're continuing to work to address those issues, partnering with Iraqi security forces.

Q But if you get a guarantee from the Sunni parties they will participate, would you consider postponing?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, Prime Minister Allawi and Iraqi leaders are reaching out to the Sunni population to encourage them to participate in the elections. That's the best way for them to play an important role in the future of Iraq , is to participate in democracy and freedom. And that's what we're working to do. The Iraqi Election Commission is the one who set the deadline for January 30th. We support that, and we're continuing to work with the interim Iraqi government to move forward on the elections for the transitional government.

Q Scott, is the delay in announcing the tax reform panel a reflection at all of the priority in which the President plans to address Social Security and the tax reform issue? There are reports that as far as pushing legislation, tax reform will not be addressed until 2006.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's -- I think that's more of a reflection of working closely with members of Congress, in terms of how you prioritize the legislative timetable. But both are high priorities for the President. You heard him state that repeatedly over the course of the last year that we need to save and strengthen Social Security. And we also need to reform our outdated tax code in order to continue to encourage as strong a growth as possible and make sure that America remains the best place in the world to do business.

Q So what is the cause for the delay? The President set a four-month deadline. Why wasn't that long enough to establish a panel?

MR. McCLELLAN: We're very close to naming the panel. We are in the final stages of establishing who will be on that bipartisan advisory panel. The President believes it's an important part of the process. They will come back to the Secretary of Treasury's recommendations after they've have a time to look -- after they have had a period of time to look at what needs to be done to make our tax code simpler, fairer, and to continue to make sure it is a code that encourages growth and job creation.

Q And how long a period of time?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I expect that there'll be an executive order that will be released when the bipartisan advisory panel is announced. And you might have some more details on that at that point.

Q Scott, could you explain what is humane about detaining somebody who's not been charged with anything for the rest of their life? What is humane about that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I never said that that was the case. I said that we are at war on terrorism. And the war on terrorism continues. And as that war continues, we continue to go after those who seek to do harm to the American people. We continue to pick people up off the battlefield in the war on terrorism. These are people that have no regard for the rule of law. They have no regard for innocent civilians. They have no regard for the values we hold so dearly in the United States . We are a nation of laws and values, and we adhere to our laws and values.

But we are also at war on terrorism. It is a different kind of war. It is a different kind of enemy, one that we have never faced before. And the American people [sic] has a responsibility first and foremost to the American people to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect them from terrorist attacks. And he will continue to carry out that responsibility in a way that adheres to our values and adheres to our laws. And that's what he expects.

But I did not agree with the premise of the way you've stated your question. I think you should talk to the Department of Defense to get more information on the steps that they are taking to address some of these issues.

Q So if you're a nation of laws and values, and yet the war on terrorism is a different kind of war, does it mean then that our law is not necessarily applicable within the war on terrorism? That's what I'm hearing.

MR. McCLELLAN: I just -- and we've said repeatedly that we expect detainees to be treated humanely and in accordance with our laws, and that remains our policy and that remains the position of the United States government. And that's what we expect to be followed by these organizations.

Go ahead, April.

Q Shirley Chisholm died. Any comment on Shirley Chisholm's death, and her life, the first black woman in Congress --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we express our condolences to her family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time. She was someone who had a notable career in public service and accomplished many great things. And our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.

END 2:21 P.M. EST