For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 8, 2007
Press Gaggle by Dan Bartlett
Kempinski Grand Hotel
9:11 A.M. (Local)
MR. BARTLETT: Well, the President woke up this morning and wasn't feeling very well. He's not sure if it was something he ate last night, or just -- or this morning, for that matter -- but not feeling completely up to snuff. So instead of coming over to the bilateral room, President Sarkozy was gracious enough to come see the President in his private quarters, in which they were able to conduct a very wide-ranging conversation on all the issues of the day, and felt -- the President felt that they established a real personal rapport.
They discussed issues regarding bilateral relations between the United States and France, as well as with the United States and Europe. President Sarkozy was very eloquent about the need for strong European leadership which includes a strong transatlantic alliance with -- in partnership with the United States. They talked about the obvious issues of the day when it comes to the Middle East, whether it be Iran and Syria and Lebanon crisis, as well as Iraq. They talked about Afghanistan, the commitment that President Sarkozy has made with additional forces to go to Afghanistan. The President thanked him for his leadership in that regard. They discussed Darfur, issues such as Doha.
They really touched on all the issues you would expect. And despite the fact that the President is feeling very much under the weather, they were able to conduct a very substantive meeting. But, unfortunately, as I said, the President, right now, is resting, is going to recuperate a bit, and join the leaders for the remaining agenda today as quickly as possible. And we'll just have to keep you apprised. Obviously he has his doctors here and there is no concern for any -- of any matter such as that, that Dr. Tubb is completely monitoring the situation, and it's just more of your typical -- I'm not sure if it's a stomach virus yet, or something like that, but is not feeling well to the stomach. And I guess he didn't want to follow in the footsteps of his father in Asia. (Laughter.)
Q Any chance that the President's schedule will be changed, that he won't go to Poland, or anything like that, that maybe he can't fly --
MR. BARTLETT: There are no changes to schedule at this point. We'll just keep you apprised. And like I said, his intent is to rejoin the G8 meetings as quickly as possible with the leaders. He has sent his regrets to Chancellor Merkel. And like I said, his intention is to rejoin them as quickly as possible and resume his schedule.
Q How seriously would you characterize what he has right now?
MR. BARTLETT: Not serious. I mean, like I said, just being very -- taking a precautionary step by allowing himself to rest and recuperate a bit. Like I said, he was up this morning at about -- fully dressed, but kind of was settling in on him about, oh, about a half hour before his meeting with President Sarkozy. And he was -- thought it was, out of abundance of caution, to dial it back a bit. And that's why the meeting took place in the private quarters.
MS. PERINO: And he taped his radio address.
MR. BARTLETT: Oh, sure, he taped his radio address this morning. I think that's an indication of how he feels.
Q Who will be the U.S.'s point person, then, in today's sessions?
MR. BARTLETT: I'll have to check on that. Obviously we have a sherpa, and the sherpas monitor each session and are accessible. And David McCormick, who has been performing that role, I'm sure is still preforming that role. If there is any other sort of update of representation, we'll let you know.
Q Dan, the immigration bill went down on the Senate floor last night. Republicans refused to end debate. What's the President's reaction?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, we were obviously monitoring this very closely overnight. The President -- I'm told that there are still talks going on between the leadership about bringing the bill back and resuming debate. The President strongly believes that Senator Reid ought to allow for this bill to continue to be debated, and to, at the appropriate time, go for a vote on the substance of this bill, because he thinks it's incredibly important that comprehensive immigration will move forward. So he's obviously disappointed by the setback, but based on the latest information we have, there still is a good chance that this will move forward.
Q Did he make any calls?
MR. BARTLETT: No.
Q Dan, did Sarkozy offer any advice, any thoughts on Iraq? How extensive was that discussion?
MR. BARTLETT: He was more interested in the President's thoughts about current developments, as well as vis-a-vis the broader Middle East.
Q Did they discuss the missile plan?
MR. BARTLETT: In the generalist terms.
Q So Sarkozy didn't give any reaction to Putin's proposal?
MR. BARTLETT: He was interested in what the President described to him. But nothing beyond really what we've told you yesterday.
Q Can I ask you how the President is going to talk to the Polish leaders about this proposal? Does he see it as something that's actually a feasible possible way out of the impasse? And how would he frame it when he goes to Poland?
MR. BARTLETT: This proposal was just put on the table yesterday by President Putin. There are a lot of very complicated technical aspects to not only the proposal we have put forward, but also this idea that President Putin has offered. This is very timely that the President will be able to discuss this with -- later today with the Polish government, because obviously they play an integral role in the original proposal, so it will be an important consultation. But don't expect to have definitive answers to a very complicated set of issues. This is going to be a continuing dialogue with all interested parties, and the President's meeting with the Polish government, like I said, is very timely.
Q What's the state of any sort of deal on the Kosovo situation today?
MR. BARTLETT: I don't have anything to report on that. I know they -- (inaudible) -- discussions last night. There was not much discussion this morning. They touched on it very briefly. And I'll just have to leave that for the sherpa readout.
END 9:17 A.M. EDT