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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 7, 2006
Press Gaggle by Tony Snow
Aboard Air Force One
En route Atlanta, Georgia
9:35 A.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: All right, let me give you a quick look at the President's day. It began with the normal briefings. He is now on his way to Atlanta, where he will make the fourth in a series of speeches on the global war on terror. He's speaking the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Guests in attendance will include the Cobb County Chamber, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Georgia, Georgia Tech High School. Governor Sonny Perdue will be giving the introduction. The President also, just a few minutes ago, did an interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC. Later on there will be a Max Burns for Congress reception in Savannah. Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal will interview the President aboard Air Force One on the way home.
Let me give you a sense of the President's speech today. This speech is going to focus -- it's going to be a progress report on the reforms that the government has undertaken since September 11th to try to fight the war on terror more effectively, and will concentrate on a lot of the changes that we need to do at home.
We learned on September 11th that there were -- that it was too easy for terrorists to get into our country and to commit acts of terror against innocent American citizens, and that we needed to respond as quickly as possible. The President will give a progress report on many of those efforts. He'll also look ahead; further action items will include a call for Congress to go ahead and work with the White House to pass legislation on the terrorist surveillance program, and also for much needed reforms in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The war on terror is an ongoing effort and will continue to be, and each and every day we try to be as vigilant as possible in figuring out how we can improve what we do.
Q Is he proposing specific legislation for the terrorist surveillance program?
MR. SNOW: There has been -- there have been ongoing conversations. As you know, Senator Specter is working on it, so there are legislative proposals, the same thing with FISA.
Q But the President, himself, is not putting --
MR. SNOW: I don't that we're submitting legislation directly today; I'll double-check -- because we did yesterday.
Q Can you update us on what's going on with that legislation? Have you gotten any commitments from Senator Frist to get it on the floor?
MR. SNOW: I think Senator Frist announced yesterday he was going to try to get it on the floor as early as next week.
Q How big of a loss is it for the President if Tony Blair steps down in less than --
MR. SNOW: Well, number one, don't count Tony Blair out. Tony Blair will have to make decisions about if and when he steps down.
The second thing is, Tony Blair and the President have a lot of work to do. He's still the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he's a valuable ally. He is somebody whose counsel the President much values and cooperation with the President depends upon. And at this point we're not sitting around writing encomia for Tony Blair; we're instead busy working with him.
Q What about the idea of Ahmadinejad -- speaking at the General Assembly on the 19th? Has the President heard about that? What does he think of that idea?
MR. SNOW: Well, you may recall, President Ahmadinejad spoke last year at the U.N. General Assembly. I believe that's where he thought people perceived a halo. And it was standard practice at the General Assembly to have heads of state attend and, if they wish, speak. So it's standard procedure.
Q Is he at all concerned about any kind of debate that might be -- pursuant to that? It's something that, obviously, Ahmadinejad is interested in.
MR. SNOW: There's not going to be a steel cage grudge match between the President and Ahmadinejad. The President will deliver his speech and at some other juncture, President Amhadinejad, if the General Assembly so decides, will speak. This is not going to be a U.N. version of "Crossfire."
Q Will the President be there when he speaks?
MR. SNOW: I have no idea.
All right. Well, thank you.
END 9:39 A.M. EDT