For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 11, 2005
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En route Shreveport, Louisiana
11:15 A.M. CST
MR. McCLELLAN: All right, let me begin with the day. The President had his briefings at the hotel, and then taped his radio address. It will be on Social Security.
Also today, regarding Social Security, I want to bring one other issue to your attention, or one other matter. The Treasury Department is launching a Social Security website, strengtheningsocialsecurity.gov. And this is a site that will help with our outreach and education efforts to the American people. It will focus on the problems facing Social Security and the need for a bipartisan solution. The site will also serve as an information center for all the travel that's going on over this 60-day period that we've previously announced. So it will track some of the events by Cabinet officials and the President and White House -- senior White House officials, as well. And it will provide updates on the latest speeches and fact sheets and other materials for people to learn more about our efforts to strengthen Social Security this year.
And one announcement to the schedule in April, and then I'll get to -- remind me at the end, I'll do the week ahead. But the President looks forward to welcoming President Yushchenko of Ukraine to the White House on April 4th. And we'll be putting a statement on that hopefully by the time we land or around the time of landing. And I think that's really al I've got for now. Just remind me and I'll get to the week ahead.
Q Is Karen coming back to the White House?
MR. McCLELLAN: No.
MR. McCLELLAN: I would say that Karen has always been a part of the team, and I'm sure she will continue to be. You asked specifically if she was coming back to the White House, and I was just answering that part of the question, no. But any announcements beyond that, obviously, will be made at an appropriate time. I do expect there's going to be more to say soon on how she will continue to help out as part of the team.
Q But not on the White House staff.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct.
Q With the administration?
MR. McCLELLAN: There will probably be more to say on it soon. But, remember, when she left the White House, she said she was moving back to Austin, but she was going to continue to be helping out, and be part of the team.
Q Isn't she doing a private -- as a private --
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I mean, look -- I expect there's going to be more to say soon. I saw the story today in the Post, and I expect there will be more to say on it soon.
Q I'm just trying to figure out what she's doing right now.
MR. McCLELLAN: What's that?
Q What is her role right this minute? Is it paid, a paid consultant?
MR. McCLELLAN: Advisor. No, I don't think she's on any payroll at this point.
Q What can you tell us on the Iran -- the EU, Iran and U.N.?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, our European partners, I think, released a letter earlier today talking about our efforts to get Iran to live up to its international obligations and abandon any nuclear weapon ambitions. I know that the State Department is going to be releasing a statement soon that follows on some of the discussions we've had recently with our European partners. But we want to do what we can to support our European -- the diplomatic efforts of our European partners. And we have been in discussion with them on our shared objective. I think that the Europeans and the United States are speaking with one voice and working together on a common approach to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.
It's time for Iran to live up to its international obligations. It's time for Iran to fully comply with those obligations and to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. And the letter from the European 3 talks about the importance of objective guarantees to make sure that Iran is meeting that -- meeting their obligations, and it states in the letter that if they do not, then they would have no choice but to support referral to the Security Council.
So all of us are focusing on the same objective, and the focus is on Iran now to come clean.
Q When is Condi due to speak?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think they may be releasing a statement. I know she had some interviews scheduled today, and I think they may be releasing a statement very soon talking about some of this. But it addresses some of what you all have heard recently regarding Iran's WTO application and spare parts for civilian aircrafts, and it addresses some of those issues.
Q So basically you're giving the green light to the European nations to offer the incentives that have been discussed?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, remember when Secretary Rice went to the London conference, and on the sidelines of the London conference she had some discussions with our European partners about how to move forward on our shared objective. And then the President went to Europe, had some good discussions with leaders from those three countries, and coming out of those discussions was a very firm statement from our European partners saying that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. And then some of the discussions continued. I know that Bill Burns was involved in some of the follow-on discussions from that trip. And this has all been about how we worked together to develop a common approach to get to what is our shared objective.
And so that's what -- the statement will talk about how we're -- in order to support the diplomatic efforts of our European partners, that we will not object to Iran's application to the WTO, and that we're wiling to consider permitting spare aircraft being provided to Iran for civilian aircrafts. And that will be discussed in more detail by the Department of State, and then I think they'll be briefing on it -- be briefing on, as well.
But you would also want to look at the letter from the European 3, and what it says. And that's why I was highlighting some of what that letter said. The letter also talks about how they share our concern about Iran's behavior in other areas. It talks about the need to address those concerns, as well, when it comes to their continued support for terrorism and the -- and how that is having a negative -- playing a destabilizing role in the Middle East peace process. And it also talks about Iran's -- the concerns about Iran's record on human rights and democracy. So we're working together, and it's time for Iran to come clean and comply with its international obligations.
Q Is there a new ambassador to Iraq being nominated?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think there's any announcement to be made today. But I do expect an announcement to be made soon.
MR. McCLELLAN: I doubt it would be on the weekend.
Q Let's do that, so we can sit down.
MR. McCLELLAN: Deb is getting sea-sick.
On Monday, the 14th, he's going to participate in the presentation of the National Medals of Science and Technology in the East Room. Then he'll participate in a reception in honor of the diplomatic corps in the Diplomatic Reception Room. Tuesday we already announced that he'll be meeting with the King of Jordan. He'll also be making remarks at the National Republic Congressional Committee Dinner in D.C. On Wednesday he'll meet, as we already announced, with the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch in the Oval Office. And then on Thursday he'll participate in the Shamrock Ceremony in the Roosevelt Room, and then the St. Patrick's Day luncheon at the Capitol.
On Friday, we will be traveling to Florida. We're still finalizing the details on the cities. And we will then overnight in Crawford, and then remain there until we return on Monday, March 28th. The President is also expected to be traveling on Monday the 21st and Tuesday the 22nd. And on Wednesday we've already announced the trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Martin and President Fox in Waco. And that's what I've got on the week ahead.
Q Overnight in Crawford on Monday, the 21st, or elsewhere?
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll overnight in a state, one of the states we're traveling to.
Q So he's coming back Monday, the 28th?
MR. McCLELLAN: Monday, the 28th.
END 11:24 A.M. EST