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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 25, 2007
Press Briefing by Tony Snow
James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:43 P.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: Hello, everybody. As you probably know, the House Judiciary Committee has just voted along partisan lines to have a criminal contempt of Congress referral against White House legal counsel and the White House Chief of Staff. For our view, this is pathetic. What you have right now is partisanship on Capitol Hill that quite often boils down to insults, insinuations, inquisitions and investigations rather than pursuing the normal business of trying to pass major pieces of legislation, such as appropriations bills, and to try to work in such a way as to demonstrate to the American people that Congress and the White House can work together.
I want to remind people that this White House, on a number of occasions, has reached out to the House Judiciary Committee and offered accommodations: First, we offered anybody at the Department of Justice who was of interest to testify under oath and on Capitol Hill, which many did. We supplied 8,500 pages of documents, including some between the Justice Department and the White House. The Attorney General, himself, and senior members of his team also went up to testify on Capitol Hill.
In addition, we offered further that we would make available any persons of interest at the White House for full interviews by members of the committees -- they'd be able to ask whatever questions they wanted to do. In each and every one of these cases, the efforts of the White House were rebuffed.
And so now we have a situation where there is an attempt to do something that's never been done in American history, which is to assail the concept of executive privilege, which hails back to the administration of George Washington, and in particular, to use criminal contempt charges against a White House chief of staff and the White House legal counsel. Ironically, this comes as the very same committee is marking up the attorney-client privilege protection act, apparently not believing that attorney-client privilege applies to the President and his own lawyer.
In any event, it's worth putting this in perspective in terms of the accomplishments of the present Congress. If you take a look at the 110th Congress right now, which had promised to have all of its appropriations bills done this month, here's what we have seen since the beginning of the Congress: More than 300 executive branch investigations or inquiries; 400 requests for documents, interviews, or testimony; we've had more than 550 officials testify; we've had more than 600 oversight hearings; 87,000-plus hours spent responding to oversight requests; and 430,000 pages made available to Congress for oversight. That's pretty significant.
In fact, the 87,000 hours that we mentioned that have been used in document production -- that's equal to more than nine-and-a-half years -- and here's your graphic of the day, ladies and gentlemen -- if you took those 430,000 pages and stack them on top of each other, they would reach a height twice that of the executive mansion, itself.
Now, this White House remains committed to the principle that we are willing to accommodate members of Congress. They have legitimate oversight interest, and we have made available any individuals and any facts that would be necessary for them to conduct their deliberations. Interestingly enough, nobody has cited or recited anything that they think they've been denied. Instead, there has been constantly, and it seems, a desire to provoke a confrontation.
We think a confrontation of this sort is neither constructive, nor necessary. As I said, we maintain our position of accommodation toward the House of Representatives. But make no mistake, based on legal precedent this is something that the drafters of this particular referral know has very little chance of going anywhere. And so the question is, why are they doing this rather than the people's business?
Q Tony, how can you cite as a sign of cooperation sending the Attorney General to Capitol Hill, when every time he seems to go there he contradicts what he said before, to the point that you have Republicans like Arlen Specter saying they don't think he can effectively serve any more?
MR. SNOW: I will let you do the characterizations. In point of fact --
Q That's what Arlen Specter said.
MR. SNOW: I understand what Arlen Specter said --
Q These are not my characterization.
MR. SNOW: Well, your characterization was, he contradicts himself every time, I think is what you said.
Q But he has contradicted himself repeatedly.
MR. SNOW: Well, no -- I don't want to parse too much here, and I'm not going to serve as the fact witness, so we're not going to get too deep into what he said, when and where. But I will remind you that when one is being called in an open session to talk about classified matters, it becomes very difficult to walk the line about what is permissible and what is not permissible to say in public. We continue to believe that the Attorney General has testified truthfully. He has also testified behind closed doors in considerably greater detail. Neither you nor I have heard that.
Q -- he testify under oath last year, under oath, and say that there was no disagreement within the Bush administration over the terrorist surveillance program, and yet, James Comey, who was the acting Attorney General, come out and say, actually there was a major disagreement.
MR. SNOW: James Comey did not mention the terrorist surveillance program.
Q But has it reached the point, Tony, where --
MR. SNOW: We'll go here, then -- go ahead, Jennifer.
Q On the citations, rhetoric aside, you all will have to choose a response. And so is that response going to be to enforce them, or to go to court?
MR. SNOW: No, we don't choose a response. The Department of Justice will handle the referral. If you take a look at opinions that have been handed out by prior Departments of Justice, and including the quote that I used last week from Senator Leahy, who seemed to believe that it would be a fruitless endeavor, given separation of powers doctrines and opinions that had been written by Democratic and Republican administrations in the past, that this is not likely to go anywhere -- but nevertheless, that is a decision to be made by the Department of Justice and will do so.
Q The Department of Justice works for the President, so that decision will involve him and will involve the White House.
MR. SNOW: No, it does not. No, in this particular case --
Q What is the preference, going to court or enforcing them?
MR. SNOW: -- the decision-making authority in this falls to the Department of Justice. They'll make the decision.
Q With absolutely no input from the White House? We can hold you to that, when that decision is made, that the White House will have zero input into it?
MR. SNOW: Well, at this point it's being done out of the Department of Justice.
Q Tony, the White House has already informed the committee, the Judiciary Committee, that it would perhaps instruct federal prosecutors not to prosecute contempt citations if they're issued.
MR. SNOW: No, what it did was recite -- what was provided was an opinion written by Ted Olson that explained why it would be inappropriate to do such referrals -- this was a 1984 opinion -- and also some opinions written by Walter Dellinger during the Clinton administration.
Q But has it reached the point, Tony, for the Attorney General to -- he's lost his effectiveness and his credibility?
MR. SNOW: Well, what's interesting is that there have been all these hearings on the Attorney General and yet nobody has really laid a glove on him. What you do is you have complaints, but there is yet to be any specific allegation. Instead what you have is a demand for more and more intrusive looks into the internal workings of the White House. Again, look at all the pages here, look at all the hearings. It is as if they keep throwing mud against the wall, hoping something is going to stick.
Frankly, if you have something solid and you think you do, invite the people up, ask the questions. Everybody has been made available. You have not been denied a shred of information. I've yet to hear anybody say any piece of information that they have been denied. Instead, this looks like an attempt to provoke something that falls more into the area of political theater than respectful, good governance and trying to do oversight.
Q If Justice is going to be determining the course, what kind of time frame are we talking about?
MR. SNOW: That I don't know.
Q Is it the kind of thing where they just may kind of let the clock run out on the administration?
MR. SNOW: No, I -- no, no, no. I mean, again, you look at past precedent; they will be putting together -- but I would refer you to Justice. But, no, this is not something where somebody is going to say, hmmm, can I stretch this out for 18 months? Nobody would stand for that and that would be an improper way to proceed.
Q What's the President's objection to taking the oath? He has taken the oath, himself.
MR. SNOW: The President's objection in this particular case is going in and trying to open up the issue of executive privilege. You may recall that in this administration, the first time we went to bat for executive privilege it was on behalf of executive privilege for the Clinton administration. It is very important to be able to protect the confidentiality of conversations.
I guarantee you if somebody went before any member of the Senate and said, we want to know everything anybody said in this deliberative process, they wouldn't stand for it for a minute, nor should they. If you did the same thing to the judicial branch, nobody would stand for it. This is, in fact, a central principle of our government and it has been held since the administration of George Washington. And we have done -- I listed a whole series of accommodations, which have not been met at any juncture by reaching out by members of the House or the Senate, in terms of saying, we're giving you everything you could possibly need to render a decision; what more do you want? And the answer seems to be --
Q They want them to take an oath and they want transcription. You also said --
MR. SNOW: I'm sorry, the second word?
Q Having a transcript.
MR. SNOW: Oh, a transcript. Okay.
Q The whole thing is you also said, on this question of classified information -- the President had no trouble yesterday in declassifying anything he wanted to, selectively.
MR. SNOW: Well, but when you -- no, what the President was doing was declassifying the names of some of the people who have been involved in killing Americans. That's a far different thing than talking operationally about ongoing efforts to try to save Americans.
April, first of all --
Q How about declassifying more to save America?
MR. SNOW: We will classify as is appropriate. We will not declassify in such a --
Q As you wish.
MR. SNOW: Well, no, there is, I think, Helen, a pretty sensible way of going about this. We are certainly not going to declassify things that say, hey, al Qaeda, here's what we're doing; hey, al Qaeda, here's what we're working with; here are the people going out, please go and kill them.
Q No, no, no -- tell the American people why they attacked us in the first place on 9/11, and what we know about bin Laden.
MR. SNOW: Are you arguing that we were somehow responsible for being attacked on September 11th?
Q No, no, no. Don't twist that. I'm asking you why --
MR. SNOW: Okay, then the answer, why did they attack us on September 11th, it goes back to a fatwah --
Q -- and what information have you gotten through your harsh interrogations.
MR. SNOW: Well, we will not talk about -- number one, there's no -- you are characterizing an interrogation; those are interrogations that are conducted by --
Q No, torture is on the record.
MR. SNOW: No, torture is not on the record. It's against the law. I'm just not going to get into spin cycle.
Go ahead, April.
Q Tony, this country -- if I'm correct from out history books, wasn't this country based on the system of checks and balances? You say they're not doing the people's business, but isn't that the people's business? If there is something in question -- granted, there might have been 400 investigations, but if there was something in question, isn't that the people's business?
MR. SNOW: That's a very good question. But what if there isn't anything in question and somebody is going on a --
Q There are things in question.
MR. SNOW: April, at this point, we have hundreds of hearings that have produced bupkis. And what has happened is that there is generated this idea of, let's go on a fishing expedition and let's haul somebody up, and let's make insinuations without having firm proof. And what that does is it creates a toxic atmosphere.
Let me mention to you that a system of checks and balances also has checks. And part of the checks are that branches of government may not raid the powers or the principles and authorities of other branches of government. They need to remain separate and equal. What we're talking about here is an attempt to take the principle of confidentiality and strip it away from the executive branch while maintaining it for the legislative and the judicial branches. That hardly qualifies as checks and balances.
Q But, Tony, can you concede when there is not transparency under oath, there leads -- it's not innuendos, it leads to the fact that something is not right --
MR. SNOW: Well, wait a minute. You've already had all the key members under oath from the Justice Department. You've had 8,500 pages of documents. You've also had an offer to bring people up under --
Q The White House even said that if it's under oath it could be a problem with perjury. Your White House has said this.
MR. SNOW: No, what we have said is that we don't think it's appropriate. But furthermore, you do have, in fact, you have laws that deny anybody the right to lie before Congress; that applies to anybody who testifies before them. There is, in fact, a guarantee that people go up and testify truthfully.
What we have been trying to avoid appears to be the one thing that is most devoutly sought by some on Capitol Hill, which is an entertainment event, rather than a calm, deliberative and respectful attempt to take a look at things that may be of concern to members of Congress.
Q A couple on different topics, if I can. First, the Italian Foreign Minister said it was time to wrap up Enduring Freedom and wrap it under ISAF in Afghanistan. Is the United States open to that? And second, the Iraqi Ambassador is complaining about the pace of U.S. arms transfers to the government in Baghdad.
MR. SNOW: Well, I will back up on the second one. We continue to work with the Iraqis to try to make sure that we make all arms and equipment available, and in fact have been doing that as rapidly as possible. It is in many ways -- those are the kinds of signs that you want to see, which is an Iraqi government saying, we want to be fully equipped and trained. We're doing it as rapidly as we can. We understand the frustrations. We continue to have frustrations. We have a Congress who can't even get through a defense appropriations bill at a time when we're looking at things like MRAPs for our own forces.
So the point is we do understand that and we continue to work with it. These are matters that the President discusses regularly with the Prime Minister and obviously are discussed on a regular basis with others.
As for Afghan operations, I really don't have anything for you at this juncture on the recommendation.
Q Tony, can I go back to the intel that the President was talking about yesterday?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q Can we assume there is other intelligence analysis that does not see such a strong connection? Or is he quoting analysis that shows a definite connection between al Qaeda central and local?
MR. SNOW: No, I think it's pretty clear -- if you take a look at "al Qaeda central" and "local," for one thing you have --
Q No, just the question -- is there a variety of intelligence, or did the President choose the intelligence that showed the strongest connection?
MR. SNOW: I'm sure the President -- I don't know what all the intelligence is so I can't answer your question. Do you --
Q That would go to people wondering whether he just cherry-picked, or whether there's other intelligence out there, saying --
MR. SNOW: As you know also -- let me put it this way: When a speech like that gets put together, it is vetted by, among other things, the CIA, the DNI, and other agencies. And they are loath to have people cherry-picking and trying to misrepresent the overall consensus. So I can --
Q So that would be overall consensus --
MR. SNOW: I'm just telling you, Martha, that that is the way the vetting process works, and if there were concerns about cherry-picking, they would have been known during the vetting process. If you have -- what you're doing is you're putting together an insinuation. If you have a specific charge that you would like me to respond to, I will do this. But to do this in a hypothetical way doesn't serve much of a purpose.
Q The National Intelligence Estimate said there was an affiliation between the two. The President was much harder on this, saying it was public enemy number one, that there was a connection, that these are the same people who want to attack us here.
MR. SNOW: Right. Well, let's take a look at what the President talked about, and these are things that have been made available both in Baghdad and in public. If you take a look at senior leadership in al Qaeda in Iraq, it is not Iraqi, and it hasn't been. The highest we have had, at this point, was Mr. Mashadani, who was essentially the minister of propaganda. But if you take a look at what was the case under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, or al-Masri, an Egyptian, what you have is a cadre of people who come from places like Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. So what you have are folks who are hand-picked. And in some cases, there is evidence that they were, in fact, dispatched by the center al Qaeda core to go fight in Iraq to try to assist in the efforts.
That seems to me to set up a pretty clear operational tie. Also, you go back to some of the communications -- and I've mentioned this many times -- communications directly between Zarqawi, who had pledged his loyalty to bin Laden -- had been named the "prince of Iraq," I believe, by bin Laden -- his conversations with Zawahiri, the number two -- Zawahiri was unhappy with beheadings, at the same time he was asking for a $100,000 in aid from Zarqawi. That gives you a pretty clear sense of some operational ties between the two.
So the idea that they're completely separate and distinct and operating on completely different agendas seems to be belied by the fact -- furthermore, if you go back and even take a look at the Zawahiri videos that --
Q I'm not saying completely separate, and I don't think people are saying completely separate, there's clearly some ties there, Tony. But to say -- to tie them in as the same sort of threat to the United States -- do you have evidence that there are kind of attacks being planned out of Iraq right now?
MR. SNOW: Well, what you do have evidence of is that the one place that it said that it would be willing to try to be mounting attacks on the United States, at the encouragement of al Qaeda core, was what? Was al Qaeda in Iraq. That intelligence has been available. That wasn't declassified just for yesterday's speech.
Q Okay, membership, Tony, membership in al Qaeda in Iraq, is that Iraqi?
MR. SNOW: There is considerable al Qaeda membership in Iraq. Also, it does seem to be eroding. If you take a look, for instance, again at the comments that were made by Mr. Mashadani, there seems to be a lot of chafing at this point, because the foreigners are apparently not terribly respectful. Also, if you take a look at some of the data that have been coming out, not only from Anbar and elsewhere, it seems that not merely the presence, but also the methods that have been adopted by al Qaeda have turned considerably unpopular. Yes, there are Iraqis involved.
Q But the majority membership is Iraqi?
MR. SNOW: Yes, I think that's -- I will double-check, but I think that's probably accurate to say. Having said that, you do have the leadership and the cadres, and furthermore, the most lethal activities are being done not by Iraqis, but by foreign fighters, many of whom are making their way through Syria, through the Damascus airport in particular.
So the point here is, yes, you've got a lot of Iraqis, but the guys who are mounting the high-value threats, the guys who are working the big actions, especially the most deadly ones, they tend not to be -- they in fact, as a general rule, are not Iraqis. And furthermore, again, what you're seeing -- and this is a significant development -- is that the Iraqis are beginning to get fed up by them. Are there Iraqis in al Qaeda in Iraq? Absolutely.
Q But there's no real evidence now that anyone in Iraq is trying to stage an Iraq on the United States?
MR. SNOW: I don't know -- I don't want to get into that intelligence. And again, I want to remind you that --
Q Do you know the intelligence?
MR. SNOW: No, I don't. And furthermore, if I did, I wouldn't tell you, because it would be totally inappropriate. But let me just put it this way: Again, if you take a look at what had been discussed, in terms of the means, methods --
Q Even though the President said it was a threat?
MR. SNOW: The President says it's a threat because the NIE, itself, mentions the fact that al Qaeda in Iraq, itself, said it wanted to kill Americans, and that it wanted to be involved in mounting attacks on American soil. That creates a heightened threat environment. Whether they've got cells or activities going on, that's the sort of thing for our intelligence people to know, and I certainly hope to foil, as well.
Q Tony, you said you've made everybody available and everything available, when it comes to the intelligence. But you haven't made everybody available. You've made them available if they go without the oath, if they go without the transcript, and if they go in private. But you haven't even made the documents available; you've only made the documents available that aren't the documents that they want. You won't make the documents available that they do want.
MR. SNOW: Wait, because the documents they do want violate executive privilege. You're absolutely right, those that violate the privilege we're not going to share with them.
Q You say that they're the ones that violate executive privilege, but that's not what the executive branch says -- that's what the executive branch says, that's not what the legislative branch says.
MR. SNOW: Well, the legislative branch is making characterizations of documents it has not seen. On the other hand, it has had plenty of opportunities to review documents. And as you know, there have been a number of cases where people are called up to the Hill, and people say, wow, this is going to be the big one. And it turns out, nothing. They get a new tranche of documents -- man, I bet I'm going to see all sorts of names in here, and it turns out to be a bunch of nothing.
So what you're saying is that on the basis of suspicion, rather than fact, some people think that there may be smoking guns in items that in fact pass for executive privilege. I will tell you that this White House looks very carefully at documents to try to figure out which ones properly qualify as being covered by executive privilege. It is something that we take seriously, because we understand that the way in which these things are handled -- and not just for us, but subsequent White Houses -- you have to preserve the privilege, you have to preserve it in a credible way.
Back to what you said originally -- there is no fact that the would not have access to, and furthermore, there is no situation under which somebody testifying before members of Congress would not be compelled to tell the truth. If there was no transcript, they could ask the same question 48 times; they could tell them to slow down and write it on the wall in crayon if they so decided. But the fact is that you would have the opportunity to get a full hearing of what anybody said; you could vet it, you could cross-reference it against other statements. You could do a completely full investigation. And what's being deprived is a little bit of political theater.
What we've been trying to do is to create a little air of dignity in this town, where at the very beginning of this Congress there was a lot of talk about getting work done, setting a new tone. And instead what have we gotten? We have got insults, insinuations, investigations and inquisitions. This is not the kind of thing --
Q They're trying to find out why these prosecutors were fired. It's a simple --
MR. SNOW: Actually, the real question is, does the President have the authority to do it? Yes. And was anything improperly done? The answer is, no.
Q The lack of a transcript seems to be the one area in which you could all agree. It seems to be one thing that is, frankly, just silly. Everybody knows that the lack of a transcript is something that --
MR. SNOW: You know what's silly, Victoria, is after we have made all these offers, Congress doesn't step forward with anything. That's silly.
Q -- that leads to this question --
Q Conyers says he has something.
MR. SNOW: Well, he has something -- would you characterize "something"?
Q Conyers says he has uncovered serious evidence of wrongdoing by retaliation for the improper firings. What do you have to say about that -- other than a pregnant pause?
MR. SNOW: Look forward to hearing what he has -- (laughter.) Let me ask you, how credible do you consider that? Do you consider that a credible reasoned argument, or an attempt to roll a grenade down the aisle?
Q It's not for me to say.
MR. SNOW: Okay, well, it's not for me to say, either.
Q You said the Democrats seem to want confrontation --
MR. SNOW: Seem?
Q Well, I'm paraphrasing, obviously. They say the same thing about the White House, of course.
MR. SNOW: But wait a minute. I cannot let them get away with that. We have talked about -- we've talked about a whole series of things where we have reached out and we have had a series of escalating proffers in terms of making people and information available. You simply cannot say that that is stubbornness on the part of the White House when we have made available all these documents, when we've made the people available, and the Congress itself has said, nope, we're just going to push this story to confrontation.
I think that the attitudes and approaches are significantly different. Proceed.
Q Well, that leads me to this question: How much negotiation went on, and do you think it was in good faith?
MR. SNOW: Yes, it was absolutely in good faith on our part. I mean, Fred Fielding went up --
Q On their part.
MR. SNOW: I don't know. I'm not going to characterize on their part. But I'll tell you what has happened is that there has been no demonstration that they've been willing to say -- to take up the offer, to get access to all the facts.
Here's the interesting thing. Suppose you do get these people in and we're writing on crayon or we're taking the notes and we're doing whatever we can to record each and every syllable that has been given in testimony, and somebody finds something that looks like a smoking gun -- well, what does Congress do? They go in and ask for more. That's perfectly possible. The kind of offer we have made does not serve as an endpoint, it serves as an opportunity for Congress to do a full investigation and if they have other questions, to ask us whether, in fact, we have other items that might come to bear on this.
We have made it possible for them to proceed down the road to gather information and to try to assess the situation, and they've just basically rebuffed it.
Q With so many contempt possibilities out there now in the House and in the Senate, where there's actually bipartisan discussion of contempt citations --
MR. SNOW: Right.
Q -- don't you feel like you're kind of rolling the dice on what is, as you say, an important constitutional principle?
MR. SNOW: You don't roll a dice on a constitutional principle, you stand by it. And you do it for the sake of the institution. Keep in mind, again, the first assertion of executive privilege in this White House was on behalf of the Clinton administration. This is an administration that believes it is important to maintain that kind of confidentiality. Normally, if you lose it you lose the ability to recruit the kind of people you need, to bring folks in who are going to be able to give their best advice and counsel to a President. And let me repeat, if you did the same thing to Congress, they would consider that completely crippling; and if you did it in the court system, it would be even more crippling because it would profoundly compromise their independence.
So I will repeat, it is not rolling the dice, and in fact, is an acknowledgment that no matter how much political heat people may want to try to generate, or how many colorful statements they may have to make, this is about preserving the institution so it can work effectively and, in fact, have checks against the other branches of government so that they remain separate and co-equal.
Q Can I follow up? If the Senate Judiciary Committee decides to do a contempt proceeding on its own, what they call I think, inherent contempt, would the White House participate? Would you have lawyers --
MR. SNOW: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm not going to get into procedures. Let's just see what goes on. We still hope, because the House is not going to have a full vote on contempt at least until next week, we still hope cooler heads may prevail and people will think, okay, we'll take up an offer, we'll look at what you've got. I mean, that would make sense. That would show that, in fact, the real purpose here is not to try to create a big public furor, but to get at the facts and find out whether there was anything wrong in the President doing what Presidents may do, which is to fire people who serve at their privilege.
Q What do you mean when you say that nobody has really laid a glove on Gonzales? Isn't the President troubled by senators questioning his truthfulness and by Specter saying that he doesn't think he has any credibility?
MR. SNOW: Well, what's happened on a number of occasions is that people have hauled him up and there have been insinuations and, yet, in the end, what is the specific charge? What is the specific charge of malfeasance?
Q Well, for one thing, his truthfulness has been questioned.
MR. SNOW: But again, the President stands --
Q Isn't the President bothered by that?
MR. SNOW: The President is bothered sometimes by the tone of debate in Washington. He understands it can be bruising and he stands by the Attorney General.
Q Thank you, Tony. Two questions. The AP reports that Sydney, Australia's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, is leading a campaign urging all residents to pack an emergency survival kit in preparation for any terrorist attack or other disaster in Australia's largest city. And my question -- does the White House believe that this is a campaign U.S. cities should be launching, or not?
MR. SNOW: That would be something that I would not be privy to comment on. And, Les, let me just -- before we get back into a situation where it will be more difficult to get called on, let me just point out that you need to ask questions that bear on the President's responsibilities. I saw the piece you wrote the other day, that has been thoroughly twisting out of context the answer I gave you when I told you that the President, in fact, was --
Q That's what --
MR. SNOW: I don't care. What you did --
Q They wrote it out there.
MR. SNOW: You know what, I don't care, okay, because the fact is, if somebody is going to take questions about things that do not fall under the President's purview -- and I answered that question -- and it gets twisted, that is a disservice to this White House and to the craft of journalism. So if I were you, I'd pick up the phone and tell them to start cleaning up or writing corrections.
What's your next question?
Q Since Article II, Section III of the Constitution says that the President may or on extraordinary occasions convene both houses or either of them, my question is, is the President considering so convening a lame duck session after next year's election to try to have them pass his comprehensive immigration reform legislation?
MR. SNOW: Oh my goodness. It is way, way, way too early to start talking about after the election of 2008. I think what the President would like is in the year 2007 for members of Congress who had promised to get all their appropriations bills done at this time to get cracking and get them done.
Q Thank you.
MR. SNOW: Thank you.
END 1:12 P.M. EDT