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 Home > News & Policies > June 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2006

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
James S. Brady Briefing Room

10:06 A.M. EDT

MS. PERINO: I thought we'd go ahead and get started, given that we've waited 35 minutes, but there is still this issue out front, so --

Q What is the issue?

MS. PERINO: I'm not sure exactly what the issue is. There is some sort of suspicious item. That tends to happen in the summertime, as you know, so we'll refer those calls to the Secret Service. What we'll do is, for your colleagues that weren't able to get in the building, we will release the transcript of this, what will probably be a very short, gaggle.

Before we begin, I just want to take a moment -- I know not all of our colleagues are here today, but I know they would join us in spirit, they're out there, in wishing Erin Healy well, this is her last day. (Applause.) She started work on the 2000 campaign, so she has been with the President for so long. She joined the campaign in 2000; she first worked in the communications office and she coordinated all the events that you had here on the 18 acres, so a lot of you knew her before she even came to the press office as Assistant Press Secretary. On a personal note, I will miss her; she's a good friend and a dear colleague and we wish her well. (Applause.)

On the President's schedule, he had his briefings this morning. The arrival of Prime Minister Rasmussen and Mrs. Rasmussen happened this morning. They are meeting now. There is a joint press availability at 10:50 a.m., that is press pool coverage. And then the President will be biking with Prime Minister Rasmussen at 11:30 a.m., and we will have a photo release of that. And then he will have a closed press lunch with them before they depart Camp David.

And I have the week ahead for later -- or now?

Q Now.

MS. PERINO: This is going to be a short gaggle. (Laughter.)

All right. Sunday, the President will remain overnight here in D.C. For Monday and Tuesday, the two days that the President will be at Camp David there will be a morning meeting with the interagency team on Iraq, there will be pool at the bottom of that meeting. There is also an afternoon session with the same team -- actually, I'm not sure if the exact same people will be in that meeting; we'll work on finalizing those details to provide to you later.

Q Will there be pool at the end of that meeting?

MS. PERINO: Pool at the end of both of those meetings on Monday.

Tuesday, the President will have a video teleconference with the Iraqi cabinet and the folks there that are with him at Camp David. There will be pool at the bottom of that, as well.

In addition, logistically we thought this would be the easiest thing, is if the President returns to D.C., where he can sum up the meeting for you. So you will see him on Tuesday.

Q What do you mean? Will we have a news conference?

MS. PERINO: We'll get back to you on questions, on whether or not there will be questions. But the President will at least make a statement.

Q But the pool is going to go to Camp David on Tuesday, as well?


Q Any idea Tuesday what time he'll be back here?

MS. PERINO: I don't, but I think it will -- probably by midday or so.

Wednesday the President is meeting with the President of Colombia. There will be pool coverage. Then a meeting with the members of the Iraq Study Group. Then the congressional picnic, annual congressional picnic -- pool for a portion of that, probably the remarks and possibly entertainment. We'll get back to you on that, as well.

Thursday he will make remarks at the Initiative for Global Development's 2006 National Summit.

Q Where is that?

MS. PERINO: It's here in D.C. And then remarks on the proposed designation of the 14th National Marine Sanctuary. That will be here at the White House.

And on Friday he travels to Washington state and New Mexico for political events, and then will remain overnight on Friday in Crawford.

Q Is he there the whole weekend?

MS. PERINO: Returning Sunday.

Q Washington and where?

MS. PERINO: New Mexico.

Q When does he go back to Camp -- when does he return from Camp David?

MS. PERINO: He'll be back here on Sunday night.

Q He'll come back Sunday?

MS. PERINO: Here Sunday.

Q And then he'll go back up Monday morning?

MS. PERINO: Go back on Monday.

Q For Camp David on Monday, Dana, are you going to do any kind of briefings or any kind of -- anything up there? Or are you going to gaggle here?

MS. PERINO: We're working on it, and we're trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do. Tony will be there -- he's there now, and he'll be there on Monday and Tuesday, as well. We're trying to find out what would be the best thing for everybody. So we'll keep you updated.

Q Open coverage. (Laughter.)

MS. PERINO: Open coverage of the whole thing? I'll put in that request, on behalf of Terry Hunt.

Q What is the President hoping will come out of these two days of meetings up there?

MS. PERINO: Well, I think that one of the reasons that the President wanted to go up to Camp David is because it provides an opportunity to get out of the Beltway and draw people away from the daily distractions that you have in the city and in D.C., and to be able to spend time to really drill down on issues, to spend substantial time on a range of issues -- the economic, political and security issues that are facing the new government in Iraq. And Camp David is a place for those in-depth discussions.

The President has said that we want to see the new Iraqi government succeed. We are going to align the expertise of our government and bring to bear the expertise of many of our different Cabinet agencies, not just on defense matters and security matters, but the examples that I could give you are agriculture, energy, commerce, where we can align our expertise and our efforts with the priorities of the Iraqi government.

A couple other examples to flesh that out a little bit: for example, the Department of Agricultural will be able to provide input and advice on crop rotation conservation; the Energy Department can advise on pipeline safety, electricity grid integrity, and of course, oil development; and then the Commerce Department can help advise on fostering small businesses. There is a clear and evident entrepreneurial spirit in Iraq. And so those are just a few examples of what will be brought to bear out of Camp David.

Q They haven't already been doing that?

MS. PERINO: Yes, on some level, I think that they have. But this week, as of yesterday, we have the full Iraqi cabinet set up. And so this meeting -- the President had been planning this for a while, to bring folks together at Camp David once the full cabinet in Iraq was announced.

Q But this is more help than they've been before?

MS. PERINO: Yes, I think that what we want to do is we want to hear -- we'll have the, not only the meeting here internally, but meeting with the corresponding secretaries and cabinet of the Iraqi government in that video conference where we can exchange ideas and figure out how we can best help align our resources and expertise with their priorities.

Q But it's something you haven't done before or --

MS. PERINO: No, I do think that there --

Q What changes?

MS. PERINO: I think there has been some before. I don't have -- I know that there has been input from the Agriculture Department, I think, on some level. But I don't know to the extent of how much. This will help bring to bear more ideas and help learn from the Iraqis what they think that we could help them with.

Q Camp David also gives you a setting where we can't see who is coming to meet with the President. Who is coming to meet with the President, aside from his Cabinet Secretaries? Who's going to be there?

MS. PERINO: You mean outside experts? They are finalizing -- we'll try to get you a list; I asked this morning, but they are finalizing details, and we'll be able to provide them as soon as we have them.

Q Are we talking about people from business and industry? Are we talking about NGOs --

MS. PERINO: I really don't know.

Q -- are we talking about --

MS. PERINO: I really don't know. So as soon as I can get something for you, I'll give it to you. I can't make it up.

Q Dana, how in-depth of a briefing has the President received on the Zarqawi strike, including the fact that he was alive when U.S. forces got there?

MS. PERINO: Well, I know that the President received his regular briefing this morning. I don't know -- of course, I wasn't there, I don't know the extent of that. But he's been being kept up to date, as we went through the extensive tick-tock with you on the Thursday activities -- Wednesday activities, I'm sorry. We went over those with you yesterday.

But this morning he had his regular briefing. I don't know how much they were able to go into it.

Q Did it come as a surprise to people here that Zarqawi was alive when he was -- when they came upon him?

MS. PERINO: I haven't heard anyone express it either way. He's dead now, so --

Q Will the President veto the $94 billion supplemental because it's above the $92 billion that he asked for?

MS. PERINO: Well, I understand that they've reached an agreement. We have not seen the details of the agreement. We're going to take a look at it. What the President had said was that there was the $92.2 billion limit, plus avian money. So we need to take a look at what the details are, and we'll hopefully be able to get you more this afternoon.

Q But the agreement is not for $92.2 billion?

MS. PERINO: Plus avian, which is what we need to look at it.

Q So there's a chance that he will accept the $94 billion?

MS. PERINO: If it fits those parameters of the avian money, we'll have to take a look at it, yes.

Q Is American troop deployment on the agenda for these meetings --

MS. PERINO: I think it will be on the range of the discussions -- troop deployment? Do you mean troop levels?

Q Yes, troop levels.

MS. PERINO: I think what they said yesterday was that while it might be within the range of issues discussed, it's a much broader meeting, as all the issues that I talked to you about before. Troops always are going to be decided by commanders on the ground. And, remember, that we also said we would consult with our Iraqi counterparts and, just yesterday, they announced their Secretary of Defense. So it's a little premature.

Q Did the President have any other foreign leader calls, other than Bush [sic] and Maliki, on Zarqawi's death?

Q Blair.

Q Blair and Maliki, right?

MS. PERINO: Two. There's Olmert -- hold on, I have that. One moment, just give me a second. The President spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan yesterday, and they discussed the removal of al Zarqawi and noted the significance of it. They also discussed the regional political and security issues. And the second call, in addition to the ones you mentioned, is Prime Minister Olmert. The Prime Minister congratulated the President on the removal of Zarqawi and noted that he understands such achievements are not easy, and that it was difficult and complex. Both of those calls lasted about five minutes.


Q What issues do you think there will be decisions on? There won't be decisions on troop levels or troop withdrawals. Do you see any issues up there that there will be concrete decisions out of these meetings?

MS. PERINO: I don't know. I think that the way it's been described is more of a fostering of a discussion and aligning those priorities where our expertise can bring to bear some help and resources. There might be ideas generated from it, and agreement to move forward on those, but we'll see if we can get you any specifics. And you'll have an opportunity -- you'll have three opportunities to hear from them on Monday and Tuesday.

Okay? Thank you.

END 10:20 A.M. EDT