The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 13, 2007

Press Briefing by Tony Snow and Dan Fisk
Holiday Inn
Mérida, Mexico

     Fact sheet President's Trip to Latin America

Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary
Dan Fisk, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs

5:38 P.M. (Local)

MR. SNOW: Let me give you a quick readout of the President's meeting with Calderón; Dan Fisk, of the National Security Council, also with me. Let me begin with the important stuff, though, and that is color.

His lunch menu included three panuchos. these are corn tortillas filled with refried beans -- actually, sort of layered, not "filled," your flat, round tortillas, not great, big tortillas -- with pork, turkey and roast chicken. Then there was a fresh grouper fillet, with white rice and a Mexican herb called epazote, I think, and refried beans. Also we had the little -- what do you call those, Dan? Was that tortillas we were wrapping them up in?

MR. FISK: Yes, white corn tortillas.

MR. SNOW: And papaya compote ice cream, served with a marquesita, that's a regional crepe, quite good; grated Dutch cheese. There were also served red and white wines; the President did not partake, but staff members who will go unmentioned did.

Q Any blueberries?

MR. SNOW: No blueberries. That's Uruguay.

Q What did you partake -- what?

MR. SNOW: There were red and white wines being served.

Q Oh.

MR. SNOW: The President had detailed and very busy meetings with President Calderón. I'll run through a list of the issues. Dan can brief you in much greater detail also about what's going on -- but a whole series of concerns, they range from economic development, trade, conservation and environment, working together in the drug wars against drug traffickers, organized crime, also against arms trafficking; talked about border and port security, transportation -- I've already mentioned economic development, NAFTA and trade would come under that. Let us see what else we have here.

One of the other things that the Presidents talked about and members of the Mexican Cabinet and certainly the President had the proxy for his own Cabinet, is making sure that the two governments work together at the ministerial level, because in a lot of these issues you end up having more than one Cabinet department involved -- for instance, border security, a perfect example. So it's very important to try to figure out how to integrate all their activities. This would also include the Department of Treasury. There will be Cabinet members from the United States government coming down, I think quite soon. I'm not sure we're ready to announce -- we're not quite ready to announce any of those. But there will be continued presence of U.S. Cabinet members in Mexico discussing some of these issues.

And that basically runs through it. There was a little discussion of education, as well. That's basically it. So a quick run-through, but as you can tell, it was a very brisk and businesslike meeting, but on the other hand, the chemistry between the two leaders was quite good. They seemed relaxed and they got along.

After they finished the meeting we had the luncheon on a balcony, sort of overlooking the back side of the hacienda -- quite pretty. Afterward the Presidents toured the hacienda with just themselves and their translators. And then off we went to the ruins.


Q Tony, I realize you're probably loathe to do this, but it's day six now, we're almost on day seven -- after all these stops through five nations, what do you feel are the President's accomplishments on this mission?

MR. SNOW: Let me put it this way -- I don't want to try to total up accomplishments, but it's been very good in the sense that what you have are close and warm working relations with South and Central American leaders, all of whom share our goals of democracy, all of whom believe in free markets, and all of whom understand and appreciate America's role in the region, and with whom we have a whole wide variety of interests.

Again, we can go back and trot through them again, starting off with the energy visits in Brazil, talking about ethanol and taking a look at the plant; the visit to Uruguay where, really, we've got a very strong ally there and Uruguay having the interesting situation of contributing more people per capita to peacekeeping missions than anybody on the face of the earth.

And Colombia, you have with President Uribe, a leader who really is being very tough in the drug war, which is an enormously difficult and important issue in his country, and is showing not only courage and leadership and steadfastness, a very important ally there.

The stop in Guatemala gave us an opportunity also to take a look at some of the ways in which America's commitment to development and to, really, humanitarian outreach are paying dividends, both on the medical side, and also on the business development side.

And then today in Mexico, here you've got our southern neighbor, a very significant, strategic and economic ally, and the development of a relationship that not only has friendship in it, but also a real capacity to do serious work and roll up their sleeves and talk in practical terms about how to move forward.

Q But do you think he pushed the ball forward on immigration reform, for example? Like, what concrete -- when you say that they're democracies or free markets, they were all those things before the President came to --

MR. SNOW: Well, yes, but you've got to understand, Ed, that when you deal with issues this complex it is not always, you're going to punch out a deliverable. For instance, again, when we were talking with President Calderón today, the President, you had very detailed discussions about how you move forward, but you're not going to have a piece of paper that's a deliverable.

So if you want something that specific, you're not going to get it. But on the other hand, I think it's very important for the President also to make a statement. For instance, you saw the turnout in Guatemala yesterday as people were lining the streets -- we also heard this in Uruguay, and in Colombia. It's a very important statement for the President of the United States to be at these places and to make it clear that the United States may not have gotten the credit it deserves for the very aggressive action that we continue to take, understanding the importance of our relations with allies in the hemisphere, and also just how good things are when you do have the ability to work together, and you build a basis for a combination of political freedom and also economic growth.

Q Tony, did they specifically talk about the wall? Did President Calderón bring up the wall issue, or --

MR. SNOW: I don't know if they did. They had a restricted bilat, and I don't know if it came up there. But I think President Calderón understands that the President -- the President has made the point that we're committed to border security, and it is also pursuant to an act of Congress. But at the same time, the United States certainly regards Mexico as a friendly country and an important ally. And the President did explain, in some detail, his approach to immigration reform and why it's important. And one of the first steps, really, was building confidence among a lot of members of Congress that we're serious about border security. But that is the first step that is not the last step on immigration reform.

And I think the two leaders really do understand where they're coming from, and they're looking forward to working together on a series of issues. Obviously, Mexico doesn't have a direct role to play in the congressional debate, but on the other hand, what the President did do was to reassure President Calderón, as he has other leaders, was the absolute, non-wavering commitment to working with Democrats and Republicans -- it's not going to be done by one party alone -- and to get both parties working together so that you have comprehensive immigration reform that is going to meet all the various challenges and goals we have.

Q Tony, I know the President has had a really busy day, but he's had some downtime since the DOJ thing sort of became very prominent today. Do you know if he's had a chance to talk to Alberto Gonzales, or plans to this evening?

MR. SNOW: I doubt it. I know he hadn't talked to him -- well, last time I checked he had not talked to him. So I don't think so. And, Kelly, I'll try to get a readout if there's any change; I'll be seeing the President in a few minutes when we head off to this dinner. We'll figure out some way to get an answer. But I seriously doubt it.

Q Were there any discussions about increasing the U.S. role in Mexico in fighting drug trafficking?

MR. SNOW: Well, I think what you're talking about is increased cooperation in trying to fight drug trafficking.

Q Will there be any specifics -- air surveillance has been cut back on the U.S. side --

MR. SNOW: We did -- there was no discussion of specifics, but on the other hand there was -- again, they're talking about -- the two leaders are talking about ways to start dealing -- how do I put this -- a number of particulars were mentioned; that was not one of them, at least in the meeting I was in. But I can't rule it out in the bilat.

But what is -- where we're going to work on this is to have both sides come up with specifics, and then begin working on it at the ministerial level, so that you can figure out how you make the best use of the resources available to you so that you can get the job done.

Drug trafficking, obviously, is a problem that involves Mexico, but other countries in the region, as well, and you need to find a way -- and the President mentioned this the other day

-- to come up with a comprehensive way of dealing with it. We're really at the beginning stages of trying to work through that. And the two governments are going to spend a lot of time I think trying to share their ideas and go back and forth. And this is a classic one of these issues that involves a whole series of departments, agencies and jurisdictions.

Q But did Calderón ask for additional help?

MR. SNOW: Again, I'm not going to characterize.

Q There's a whole bunch of little trade disputes, did they discuss any of them, like the one on trucks, Mexican trucks?

MR. SNOW: Well, I don't know if you're talking about the trade dispute, but the Mexican truck rule goes into effect next month.

Q Did that come up?

MR. SNOW: It came up briefly, taking note of the fact that it does. Transportation -- again, it's an issue where you're going to tie together transportation and border security and finding more effective ways to be able to make sure that you have relatively rapid movement of people across the border, at the same time that you have full security; that you make sure that you not only don't compromise security, but that you enhance it so that you have better ways of monitoring who's coming -- you know, through trucks and cars and by foot and otherwise.

Okay, over here, and then I'll switch over. Peter.

Q Tony, the President said yesterday that the Republicans don't have a coherent position on immigration, and that that has to be the first thing he does, in terms of comprehensive legislation. So what is he going to do when he comes back, exactly, to forge a coherent Republican --

MR. SNOW: Well, I think maybe it's -- well, I won't change the President's word. I think what's going on is Republicans are trying to develop a unified position and there continue to be leadership discussions. Those are ongoing. Our legislative affairs people are in constant contact, and so is the President.

But he feels pretty optimistic that there is going to be the basis to pull something together in the Senate and to be working, Democrats and Republicans, together on a bill. He would like to see one -- as you heard yesterday -- it's going to be important to try to get one passed this year.

Q He has had to give all this as a public, non-time frame, non-deadline --

MR. SNOW: Well, he said it.

Q Does the President see himself as the main player in forging a consensus Republican position on this? Or is he going to deputize somebody else to kind of take that lead?

MR. SNOW: I don't have -- Maura, I'm not even sure how you rank order something like that. The President is really committed --

Q Looking at it this way, there was a sense among some Republicans that the President could have done more last year to get consensus and that was a difficult time, it was an election season. But the question is, now that the election is over, is the President maybe willing to come out more and twist arms to get Republicans on the same --

MR. SNOW: Well, let me back up on that. The President gave a speech last May to the nation on immigration. House Republican leadership at that time said they were not going to move on it, other than a very restrictive way. The President did, in fact, try to work with Republicans last year on it. So I think -- I'd push back a little bit on the premise. But will the President be actively engaged in it? You bet.

Q Tony, on port security, do you have anything specific on that? And, also, what about energy? Did that come up today?

MR. SNOW: Energy did not. At least -- again, I can only -- and I don't know if Dan has a further readout -- I'm not aware that energy came up. Port security only in a kind of a notional way, in the sense that there continues to be talk about how to work together on finding the best technologies available to be able to make sure that we have security as things make their way across the border.


Q Tony, does the President think this is probably his last trip to Latin America? He hasn't gone every year.

MR. SNOW: I don't know. That's --

MR. FISK: We're not going to --

MR. SNOW: Yes, I don't know. It's -- yes. I don't think he sees -- look, the President -- I honestly don't know, Ann. But I also think that it's a President who's deeply committed to the region, and this is -- I think there is real energy, and I think you saw enthusiasm on the part of the leaders we were dealing with, really, to work together and to work very closely on issues that are going to be very good for us. So whether he's going to travel or not, that's something that we'll determine at a future date. But I certainly wouldn't rule it out, but I'm not going to rule it in here, because -- I don't know how you put that on the transcript. Go ahead.

Q Did the President respond to President Calderón's suggestion that the U.S. isn't doing enough on its own side of the border?

MR. SNOW: What the President did is, in the meetings, he explained what our position is and why it is and the actions that we are taking. We have had a very aggressive policy on the border, and we continue to. So I think -- I don't think you had a conversation that quite unfolded in that way, but the President laid out, and I think to the satisfaction of all, at least they understand what our position is, why we pursue the policies we do the way we do.

Q But did you get the sensation in opening statements today, opening remarks --

MR. SNOW: I know, we've heard a lot of that. But they were opening statements that I think were -- the Presidents were laying out issues that were important to them, and they continued to follow up on those issues once they got into the meetings.

Let's go to the back and then we'll work our way back up front again.

Q Tony, to what extent do the future of the relationships with this part of the world hinge on what happens with immigration reform between now and the summer? I mean, the President, you know, he really gave it the big buildup that he'd stop here.

MR. SNOW: Well, that's because he thinks it's important. Look, the United States is a hugely important player in the region. It is the dominant power in the region and, at the same time, is absolutely committed with the leading force in promoting the spread of democracy in the region, and remains the leading force in securing democracy in the region.

So whatever happens on immigration reform, we're still going to be actively involved not only out of sentiment, but also out of national interest. But I don't want to play "what if." I think, again, the President has said he feels pretty confident that we can get something done. And based on conversations that have taken place with Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, I think everybody understands that it is an important national priority and we do need to get it done and get it done right and get it done this year.

So rather than playing "what if," in terms of what if it were not to happen, we're really thinking, how do we get it to happen.

Q What are they going to talk about tomorrow? What's left on the agenda?

MR. SNOW: I'll let Dan -- Dan, you got anything on tomorrow?

MR. FISK: Tomorrow is -- the President is meeting with --

Q We can't hear you.

MR. SNOW: Yes, come on up here, Dan.

MR. FISK: Tomorrow the President is going to meet with a group of young Mexicans who have taken advantage of U.S.-provided scholarships; that will be one event. And then he and President Calderón have their joint press availability.

Q So they don't have any more bilateral talks, then, tomorrow?

MR. FISK: No, today -- the substance of the talks were today.

MR. SNOW: Yes, I mean, to the extent that there's any more bilateralizing, it will be on a social basis tonight.

Q We all know that both Presidents want immigration reform from the U.S. Congress. What has the U.S. President asked the Mexican Congress to do? I mean, what does the U.S. want from Mexico at this point in time?

MR. SNOW: Well, I think what -- there were no demands made of the Mexican Congress because that would be -- for instance, what we're talking about is working with the Calderón government, and to the extent that there are congressional relations involved, I'm sure President Calderón can handle that.

Instead, what we're really talking about is working more effectively with departments and agencies and getting Cabinet-level ministers involved -- because, let's face it, they can force the action a little more effectively -- and rolling up their sleeves and coming up with very specific suggestions, and then going back and forth and debating them through about how we can be most effective in dealing with this host of important and shared issues.

Q Tony, you said comprehensive immigration reform this year. The President said he feels it needs to be done by August -- not a deadline, a goal --

MR. SNOW: Gooooaal! (Laughter.)

Q Yes, goal. At what point do you think that the presidential race will overtake this -- (laughter) -- the issue? No, no, as far as presidential candidates trying to use the issue in the race for the White House?

MR. SNOW: Actually, that is -- it's a great kind of political question, not appropriate for me to answer. We're not playing pundit-in-chief because that starts getting you into the juxtapositions of what does this candidate say, and what does this candidate say?

Q I mean, is there pressure -- is there pressure that this race is going to absorb this issue and --

MR. SNOW: I don't know, but I think the President does understand that the political landscape is such that it's going to be a lot more -- I think you've got a lot more opportunities for constructive action before both parties, especially next year, get themselves into the throes of the primary season.

Q On the DOJ thing, this afternoon Senators Leahy and Specter sent a letter to the White House saying they'd like to see Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, I think one other official, Mr. Kelley, I think, come in and voluntarily testify and just sort of clear this up, rather than forcing a subpoena showdown. Do you think there's any benefit, does the White House see any benefit in just kind of voluntarily coming up there?

MR. SNOW: Well, as you know, Ed, it has been traditional in all White Houses not to have staffers testify on Capitol Hill. So I think what we have been trying to do is to work in a way to be as forthcoming with members of Congress -- you saw all the emails coming out today -- give them all the information so that they can make a fair judgment about it.

Q On the drug issue again, can we press Mexico in any way to address its southern border? By their own admission, the new government says it's a porous border that they haven't -- (inaudible) -- cross it. Is that why -- when you say "regional security," is that one of the things you were talking of?

MR. SNOW: Well, regional security -- if you think about it, you've got a drug problem that in many ways -- not in "many ways" -- primarily emanates out of South America, and then you have various modes of transit. And what you're trying to do is to figure out ways to be aggressive at every stage, trying to deal with extermination -- crop extermination, trying to deal with intercepting the transportation of the drugs to try to break up drug rings and narco-terrorists, to try to come up with economic alternatives for people for whom that is their method of subsistence.

So, again, it really wasn't -- you know, the President was not pushing on a border issue. But on the other hand, there's widespread recognition that the movement of drugs to its -- the largest market, the United States, is important. The President also talked about the fact that demand in the United States is a problem.

Q Did he say anything about how to -- any new ideas? Did he or anyone else offer any new ideas about how to reduce that demand? He keeps talking about that.

MR. SNOW: Well, they didn't go into detail about it, but it continues to be something that we think about.

Q You say he didn't go into --

MR. SNOW: Did not go into detail, no.

Q In the way the trip was sort of planned, with the President doing a little more sightseeing than he normally does and being in places where he's had a lot more contact with people than -- compared to some trips, where it's much more formal. Was that a part of trying to counter these perception issues we've talked about in each country, of concerns about U.S. attention to this region?

MR. SNOW: I think it's safe to say that part of it was to demonstrate the fact that the United States is committed in a real way and with real resources. For instance, yesterday, some of the meetings in the highlands, where we went to a medical facility where the United States Army, on a fairly regular basis, brings in regular -- as well as National Guard and Reserves -- they do an immense amount of health care on a regular basis. You know, we had everything from just regular exams to prenatal and post-natal care, people getting their teeth pulled, the whole bit. You also saw how free trade ends up working. Mr. Can -- Mariano Can , who has come up with this amazing little business, where he's doing a lot of export in the region with produce. We went up there and saw that.

I think those are important ways, also, of getting a real sense of how these programs work on the ground. A lot of times you hear people discussing in fairly abstract terms how trade is good, or how this particular program or that particular program works. And I think you got just a lot more detailed feel for it. And, furthermore, you got a sense of the enthusiasm, and in some cases, gratitude and optimism of the people involved.

I sat next to Mariano Can last night at dinner -- fortunately, other people spoke Spanish so we could have a conversation. This is a guy who has figured out that he can really build a business and he's exporting around the region. And it's really interesting to see something like that in operation. And I think it strengthens not only the President's commitment to the issues of freedom and to markets, but also I think makes a real point to the people in the region.

You can put faces with programs; you can demonstrate some real results. And I think it is probable -- and, yes, I think it's good for the President, too, in the sense that he was very enthusiastic and very much enjoyed the meetings he's been able to have with people outside the highest levels of government.

Q The comments by President Calderón this morning were really quite sharp. Did that surprise the President? Do you think that President Calderón was doing that mainly for --

MR. SNOW: I'll let others try to assess why or what, but the fact is the meetings that they had were very productive, and the chemistry was good. So, certainly, there was no sense on either side that either leader had any personal difficulties with the other. And I think that what you saw were -- I mean, I've been in a lot of these meetings; this really was a lot more detail, going through lists of things that people cared about, than most.

Q Mr. Fisk, how do you read Calderón's statement this morning, how would you interpret that? And what does it mean for the larger relationship, apart from the few hours they spent today together?

MR. FISK: Well, remember this is their second meeting. And I think the important point on that is this is the first meeting that President Bush had with President Calderón. And so one of the dynamics is clearly the President wanted to get a sense, now that Calderón has been in office for about a hundred days -- it's one thing to be a President-elect and another thing to be President.

We recognize that President Calderón has a domestic constituency, he has domestic issues that he's got to deal with. I think what the President -- what President Bush appreciates is the fact that President Calderón is candid with him. This is not a case of saying something in public, and then saying something behind closed doors. This is a case of where two Presidents can have, to use an overused phrase, but it's true in this case, a frank conversation, and can be very direct with each other in terms of what's the issues that are on their mind, and can also then talk about with equal frankness how we move forward.

And so one part of this goes the respective governments understanding that there's a relationship at the leader level, and that the bureaucracies need to respond to that. It's not just institutional relationships that count, because we have a number of relationships with Mexico now, kind of ministry-to-ministry, but also making sure that people understand that the two Presidents are paying attention to issues and wanting to move the agenda forward.

So the fact that there were direct with each other in public and direct with each other behind closed doors in the meetings, I think is a comment on the maturity of the relationship, and the fact that both Presidents want to treat this as a partnership. To me I think that's the fundamental way to look at this. It's not just a matter of geographic neighbors or the fact that there's a number -- a large Mexican population in the United States. It's the fact that we're partners and that we have a shared responsibility and we have to move various agenda items forward, but also realizing we both have domestic dynamics that neither President is going to deny.

MR. SNOW: Jim.

Q Tony, did the President see any of the protests outside the window of his motorcade? And did he remark upon the protests? And what do you all think the protests represent or say about --

MR. SNOW: Which protests are you talking about? Are you talking about on this trip?

Q Yes.

MR. SNOW: Well, the fact is, yes, what we also saw, for instance, in Guatemala was that the protestors -- maybe 1 percent, if you really take a look at what happened on the roadside, and furthermore, apparently, according to locals, some of the protestors weren't even local. So it's -- he understands that you can have protests, and that's -- but the other thing he understands is that as a leader in the region, it's important to work together with the governments on issues that matter. And at least the clear sense we've gotten is if you're taking a look at whether the people on balance were happy or sad that the President came, they're happy.

Q Does it say anything about work that would need to be done, still, in the region, by the United States? And does it represent at any level a real discontent --

MR. SNOW: Well, look, you got democracies now. And so you're going to have protests everywhere. I don't think the President is going to -- he understands that in any vigorous democracy, you're going to have people protesting, and that certainly has been the case in this region for a very long time. On the other hand, is there a way to go? Yes. One of the reasons we're here is that there are a lot of action items that we think the United States and its partners can work together on more effectively.

It's not a perfect world. That's one of the reasons why you get together with leaders and try to take a cold look at what the problems are, and a creative look on how to solve them.

Q When you say some of the protestors were not local, do you mean they came in from out of the country? Or do you just mean from out of the --

MR. SNOW: No, no, no, no, no. They came from outside the area. They were in country.

Q Mexico has been concerned about U.S. policy towards Cuba, post-Castro Cuba -- I suspect that came up in the meetings. Can you share a little, Dan, on what they might have asked of our policy, with respect to Cuba?

MR. FISK: Well, there is, I think, on Cuba, at a certain level, an agreement to disagree. But where I think that -- where the two Presidents focused the discussion was on the need for the international community to support the Cuban people and to support their aspirations, and that what we ought -- what the international community should see in Cuba is a transition, not just simply one autocrat handing off power to another autocrat, but in terms of being prepared at the right time. And each country is going to have to define when that time is, to stand up for things like free and fair multi-party competitive elections.

And so that is part of the President's message on Cuba throughout, that the Western Hemisphere, in particular, has a unique responsibility to support the Cuban people.

Q What did they ask of you? Did they ask you to ease the embargo? To think about a post-reaching out to Raul?


Q Can I ask a question about North Korea and nuclear weapon issue, if you don't mind?

MR. SNOW: Sure.

Q I came from Korea. I'm from Chosun Daily Newspaper. This week there will be a couple of meeting in Beijing regarding North Korea nuclear weapon issue between some of the concerned countries. And next week there will be next round of six-party talks, including in addition, Mr. ElBaradei of IAEA answering to North Korea -- today or tomorrow maybe. My question is what do you, United States, expect from these meetings for the potential progress of North Korea's nuclear --

MR. SNOW: Well, as you know, there are a whole series of things going on. You've got a number of working groups. The United States has already had working group talks with the North Koreans, as have the Japanese, and you've got the other business items. What we've said all along is, you've got a window now.

The first thing you've got to do is to seize operations, to shut Yongbyon and let the IAEA in. And so what you have in many ways is simply following through on the letter of the earlier agreement, which was that the IAEA would come in within 60 days and begin inspections.

So I think what we expect is, at every juncture we have been prepared, and the other parties in the six-party talks, to offer things to the North Koreans, but in exchange, the North Koreans first have to demonstrate their goodwill throughout action.

And so there will be -- undoubtedly, there will be continued attempts to try to test the resolve of the six parties, but they pretty well demonstrated it. So at this point, what we now have is a process in place where there will be further discussions about what the North Koreans need to do, in terms of the nuclear issue, so that you can proceed along the track toward some of the other issues of interest to them, including alternative ways of producing energy in the future, economic aid, and so on. But again, you don't get to that trigger until they have met the early -- the primary conditions on the nuclear front.

Q Can I come back to the U.S. attorneys for a second. Kyle Sampson sent an email to Harriet Miers in March '05, ranked all these U.S. attorneys. And one of the factors was that strong performers exhibited loyalty. I wonder if you could talk about what role does loyalty play in evaluating prosecutors who are charged with enforcing the law and investigating corruption --

MR. SNOW: Peter, since that was -- we're putting these things out so people can take a look at it. The most important thing that you have U.S. attorneys is that they perform their jobs well.

Q But how does loyalty figure into that?

MR. SNOW: Again, I don't have an answer for you. I mean, what you're really talking -- you're going to have to ask Kyle Sampson what that is.

Q Well, you've gotten rid of him, so -- (laughter) -- he's no longer --

MR. SNOW: Well, I know, but you know what, that's -- I'm just telling you that the metric that's being used are effective, and for trying to figure out what Kyle Sampson meant, you've got to ask him.

Q Well, how about now?

MR. SNOW: How about now? Again, what we've talked about is being effective in going ahead and enforcing the law.

Q Is part of "effective" currently loyalty to the administration?

MR. SNOW: Look, these are political appointees, so these are people who certainly have the support of the administration. But are we having loyalty tests? No.

Thank you.

Q It's the last night of the trip, would you like to say anything about the Venezuelan President? (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: I am actually looking forward to tomorrow, when the valiant Davidson Wildcats take on the Maryland Terrapins. That is of keen interest.

Q -- no Chavez? (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: But thank you for trying.

END 6:12 P.M. (Local)

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