For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 25, 2008
Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En route Peoria, Illinois
11:40 A.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: Okay, we're on our way to Peoria, Illinois. The President taped his radio address this morning before his briefings, and in it he will thank Congress for passing PEPFAR, which is the largest international health initiative dedicated to fighting a single disease in history. He will sign the bill on Wednesday at the White House, at an event. We'll get you details on that soon.
The President also in the radio address will discuss how America is using our foreign assistance to promote democracy and good government through the Millennium Challenge Account. And he will discuss how America is leading the fight against global hunger and for human rights.
As I said, he had his briefings and then we are going to attend -- he is going to attend the Schock for Congress and Congressional Trust 2008 Luncheon, and then we'll be back at the White House at 4:50 p.m.
I've got a week ahead -- do you want me to do it now or later?
Q Go ahead.
MS. PERINO: Okay. He'll be at the White House this weekend. On Monday at 11:15 a.m. he meets with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister Gillani. At 3:20 p.m. he will participate in a photo opportunity with members of the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program in the East Room. That will be open to still photographers.
Then on Tuesday the President will travel to Cleveland, Ohio, to participate in a tour of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Incorporated. He will make remarks on energy and the economy there. And then he will also participate in another one of these Congressional Trust 2008 receptions, and that will be in Gates Mills, Ohio.
Then on Wednesday there will be a Cabinet meeting --
Q Did you say coverage on the economy thing? Open?
MS. PERINO: Well, for the tour? To be determined; probably pool. And then for the remarks, open. I just don't know how large the space is.
Wednesday, the 30th, he will have a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room -- all right, no laughing? I said the Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room and I got no laughs, nothing. (Laughter.)
Q We're so busy writing down what you said. We're being diligent.
MS. PERINO: Then that afternoon at 3:05 p.m. he will sign the PEPFAR bill. Then on Thursday he will have a photo opportunity with the Scouts in Action -- I'm sorry, with the recipients of the Scouts in Action Commendation on the North Portico for still photographers. And then at 10:25 a.m. he will make remarks at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association; that's in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Then he will travel to Kennebunkport, Maine, then return -- well, then go to Camp David on the Sunday. So between Friday, August 1st, and Sunday we have no planned public events.
There's your schedule.
Q He leaves Monday, right?
MS. PERINO: Yes, they will leave Monday the 4th for the Asia trip, first going to South Korea, then Thailand, and then China for the Olympics. Two week aheads for the price of one. And then probably to the ranch later that week; date to be determined.
Q Dana, Obama cancelled a planned visit to a military hospital in Germany based on recommendations from the Pentagon. It would be deemed as campaigning or electioneering. Did the White House have any role in persuading that to be cancelled, or did McCain? Or, how did that all come about?
MS. PERINO: I have no idea. I'd refer you to the Pentagon. I don't think we had anything to do it with it, no. I'd refer you to the Pentagon.
Q And anything to say about the status of the World Trade Organization talks in Geneva; whether they're on the brink of collapse at this stage?
MS. PERINO: Well, you know, look, I think that for a couple of years now, people have thought that these talks were going to collapse, and they've kept going because leaders have -- enough leaders have recognized that -- how important it is to try to help these developing and very poor nations through free trade. So I have not heard that, Matt.
Earlier this week -- it was Tuesday that we put a new offer on the table to reduce our subsidies in exchange for market access. And as you heard, the President called Prime Minister Singh yesterday to encourage the process along. And so let me find out if there's anything more I can get from the U.S. Trade Representative's office. But right now we still are plugging along, trying to get it done.
Q Can I ask kind of a process question about that. When you guys put an offer on the table about subsidies, do you have some sort of tacit or preliminary agreement from members of Congress that they would go along? I mean, obviously that's such a difficult thing to get through Congress.
MS. PERINO: I'm not exactly sure how Ambassador Schwab runs that process, but I do know that they have a very robust legislative affairs shop. And so in order to make sure we bring people along to know that we would -- bring people along with our position, I'm sure they have outreached to them. I know that certainly with the groups -- like the farming industry, the manufacturing goods, all those different types of industries -- have regular contact with the U.S. Trade Representative, because if you don't have them with you, then it's even harder.
So -- and I think all of the groups have been generally supportive. And typically if they're okay, then the members of Congress will be okay. So I'll see if there's anything more they can add.
Q Dana, there's been a lot of talk this week about closed fundraisers. We're on our way to another closed fundraiser today. Can you give us some idea of whether or not we'll see the President in more open fundraisers, or preview what his campaigning will look like as the election draws closer?
MS. PERINO: Sure. I think that Scott Stanzel talked to you a lot about this story this morning, but I'll repeat it for you here. Yes, there have been a couple of closed press fundraisers. There have been many. One of the things the President has done over time is helped to build up capacity in the committees, like the RNC and the NRCC and the NRSC, the victory committees, these congressional trusts, in ways that he can maximize the use of his time raising money for several clients -- not "clients" -- candidates, excuse me -- several candidates all at once.
I remind you that for the first time in 14 years, the President is not on the ballot. He is not running for office, nor is he going to be serving with anybody that he is helping to elect. And so you will see the President out. There's more demand than supply can meet. The President could be out doing -- you know, out on the road almost every day doing fundraisers, but he also has responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief.
And so you'll see him do -- he'll be out on the road doing some, but remember he's not on the ballot. Senator John McCain aspires to be the leader of this party and we intend to make sure that the light can fully shine on him, as it should, as he heads into the last 90 days before the election.
Q Can I ask another just kind of related question about that. In previous election years, whether it be midterm or presidential, he -- a lot of times when he goes out to do fundraisers for campaign events he pairs an official event on the same trip, and we've seen a little bit less of that, it seems, in recent weeks or so. (Inaudible) given you numbers --
MS. PERINO: It varies. It varies. I mean, some --
Q Do you think that will stick or is that part of helping the spotlight shine more on McCain?
MS. PERINO: I think it varies. I know of instances where we are planning to be at -- in an area for an official event and then somebody there, maybe the state party or the victory committee or RNC or one of the candidates, will say, while you're here would you mind also doing a fundraiser. But sometimes there's not an official event to do at the same time. So sometimes you just have days like today where you just have a fundraiser.
Q Can I ask an unrelated question?
MS. PERINO: Sure.
Q We saw Tony's family getting a tour of the plane. I know this question -- I just wondered, did they have a moment with the President? They're not on board --
MS. PERINO: Yes, they're here. They're on board. They're on board. The President invited them to come on a trip with him if they ever wanted to and the family decided that they would like to, so they're on board. They got a tour of the plane and they're up with the President now, and they'll be coming with -- just coming along for the ride, for the event. And hopefully we'll be able to show them a little bit about what Tony Snow did on a trip like this, and hopefully give them a little bit of comfort along the way if we can.
END 11:50 A.M. EDT