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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 22, 2008

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En Route New York

12:15 P.M. EDT

MS. PERINO: Bear with me for a moment. A couple of things. Obviously we are en route to New York, and then he will travel to Colts Neck, New Jersey, where he has the Lance-Myers New Jersey Trust Reception. Then at 8:10 p.m., he will attend the United States Reception at the Waldorf-Astoria.

A couple of announcements. One, just a scheduling thing for you. In August, we announced that the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy will be held October 1 through -- the 1st through the 3rd in Reno, Nevada. I just want to remind you of that. As you remember, this conference will bring together leaders and professionals within the wildlife conservation community to discuss issues related to Executive Order 13443, which facilitates the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. And the President will deliver the keynote address at that conference on October 3rd.

Also we noted today Mohamed ElBaradei's comments that, unfortunately, his agency, the IAEA, has not been able to make what he called "substantive progress" on the alleged studies regarding Iran's nuclear program and the suggestions of a nuclear program. He said that he remains seriously concerned, and so do we.

Secretary Rice will be meeting with her counterparts in the P5-plus-1 up here at this meeting, and we would echo what the IAEA said today, which is that Iran needs to give the agency substantial information and access if they are going to be proven correct in their claims. And meanwhile, we will continue on with our path of negative consequences for their inaction in response.

Finally, obviously, the big story of the day and over the weekend was the economy. We continue to work with members of Congress to get a bill done quickly and cleanly this week. We've had some good responses so far that everyone understands the gravity of the situation, the urgency of the situation. And I don't have a lot of details for you because those are still being worked out, but you have the President's statement from this morning. I don't think you'll have another one today, but I'll let you know if that changes.

Q Dana, you say you've had good responses so far to the -- what I presume is the Treasury proposal. The Democrats have put forth their ideas, which include limiting executive compensation, some oversight, et cetera. What is the White House reaction to that?

MS. PERINO: Well, a lot of these issues are going to be discussed and worked out over the next week. One of the things that we're most -- that we're primarily concerned about, and what Secretary Paulson discussed yesterday in all of the Sunday shows, is the need to get this done quickly. In our experience, the quickest way to get something done is to do it cleanly. And I would point you back to the President's statement and also -- of this morning, and Hank Paulson's statements of yesterday, in which he talked about the necessity to move quickly.

And there will be issues such as those ones that you mentioned. Should they be dealt with on this particular bill, that's to be seen. And I think that what we're looking for is something that would help us immediately help stabilize the markets. And those issues of transparency and others will be ones that I think will be debated. Whether or not it's on this bill I think remains to be seen.

Q But does -- where does the White House come down on that? Should it be a part of this bill or not?

MS. PERINO: Well, I think our -- I'm going to decline to comment specifically because we are in negotiations, but what I would say to you is that from our perspective, the cleaner the better and the quicker the better, and the way that you get a clean and quick bill is to make sure that it is clearly, narrowly targeted to giving the Treasury these authorities in order to help stabilize the market.

Q So you're not ruling out working with them on these other issues later?

MS. PERINO: I think that I would like to let the negotiations take place and not do it in the press, because I think that's the best way for us to make sure that we move forward and protect the taxpayer the most if we can get this done quickly.

Q Is he going to be -- is Bush going to be meeting with any financial people up in New York and Wall Street to talk about this at all --

MS. PERINO: I don't have an update for you yet, but I'll keep you updated. He has talked to Secretary Paulson several times. In fact, I can't keep up with all the times they talk on the phone to let you guys know about that. So I will try to let you know key phone calls. He did speak to Secretary Paulson last night.

Q I mean, financial leaders --

MS. PERINO: -- anybody here up in New York?

Q Yes.

MS. PERINO: At this point, I don't know. He has a very full schedule. As you know, UNGA is always chock full, but I will -- I'll let you know if that changes. Tonight we have about 350 or 400 attendees at the reception -- that's the head of the state reception. He's got a full day tomorrow, and then if there are scheduling changes I'll update you.

Q Is Governor Palin, by the way, going to be there tonight?

MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of, no.

Q Steve Hadley last week said that the economy might be one paragraph in the speech tomorrow. Is that still the plan, I guess?

MS. PERINO: The speech is not locked down; it's still being drafted, and the President is still looking at it. And I'll keep you updated on that one, as well.

Q Is he going up there to reassure foreign leaders about the U.S. economy and the global markets?

MS. PERINO: Well, I certainly think that the economy and the way that we are so intricately -- I'm sorry, let me -- the way that we are so intertwined with other economies around the world in our increasingly global economy, that of course the United States economy is going to be a topic; and that the President, as I -- as we mentioned this morning, spoke last night to President Hu of China to talk about what the President's plan was, what the administration was proposing, and how quickly we want to work with Congress to get this done to restabilize the market for the good of America and for the protection of American people on Main Street, but also for other economies who are obviously very concerned.

Q And what is his message to the other world leaders who are concerned about the stability of the economy?

MS. PERINO: I think what the President can do is lay out what our proposal is, what we are -- that we are taking bold, aggressive, decisive action; that this was not the President's first instinct; that he would not have wanted to take this action to help these companies if he wasn't convinced by the considered judgment of his senior economic team that it was critical in order to protect the American taxpayers and the American economy as a whole.

Q But on one hand isn't that more concerning for these world leaders -- the drasticness of this step that had to be taken?

MS. PERINO: Actually, I think that the response -- if you look at the G7 ministers' response this morning, they were very supportive and backed the action. So I think I would look to that as -- in terms of -- for response from the world leaders. The G7 statement came out this morning.

Q One other thing -- are you going on the same thing -- are you changing? Okay, change of topic real quickly. Is he going to raise the FBI's attempts to get into Pakistan in his meeting tomorrow with the Pakistani President?

MS. PERINO: Well, let's let the meeting take place. Obviously, this meeting with President Zardari is very important. It's his first meeting with the new President. We have extensive coordination and cooperation that is ongoing with Pakistan, and for good reason. And it showed again -- and the terrorists showed again this weekend why we need to make sure that we are helping train up their forces, that we are sharing information, and that we can work together to try to protect innocent people.

The terrorists are trying to kill innocent people to advance their political objectives. And we will remain committed to working with Pakistan, and President Zardari has said the same, that he wants to work with us, as well. So I think we'll have a good meeting. I'll provide you a readout after it takes place.

Q Dana, the President said on Today Show that if U.S. troops cross its borders, they're going to be escorted out. I mean, that's not a very -- that's a difficult beginning, isn't it, in terms of this first meeting?

Q They were shooting at -- I think they were shooting at U.S. forces this morning, weren't they?

MS. PERINO: I would question -- I question that report, and I would refer you to the Department of Defense for the veracity of that report, because that has been debunked by the department.

But let me say this: President Zardari, based on his comments from when he was elected, understands the serious situation that they're in. Innocent people here in America, in the West, and in Pakistan itself are at risk because of these terrorists, and they know that they need to do more and do a better job, and that we're going to be there to support them. But we also recognize their sovereignty. And that is why the coordination and cooperation, not just on that border region but also within the cities between our forces -- or our services like our intelligence services, our military, and also our law enforcement services -- are working closely with them to prevent -- to try to prevent attacks, but also to investigate attacks after they occur.

Q To clarify, there was reports overnight of another clash. Is it -- you're saying that has been debunked, as well, as opposed to the one from last week on Pakistan --

MS. PERINO: I've been referring to suggestions that our -- that helicopters were shot at this morning.

Q Right, okay. What time was it last night --

Q Could have been time change.

MS. PERINO: I would caution you to be skeptical of some of these claims.

Q What are you guys going to do about this speech? Are you going to give out excerpts or --

MS. PERINO: I don't think so. It's not locked down yet, and so I'm not in a position to be able to even think about doing excerpts. We've obviously been very preoccupied with -- from a communications standpoint -- press office standpoint on the activities over the weekend. So if we can lock it down and get to a point where we can do excerpts, I would, but at this point I don't know.

Q Is the speech changing dramatically because of the --

MS. PERINO: Not dramatically, no. He'll -- I think I would refer you to Hadley's -- I should say, Mr. Hadley's -- briefing from Saturday morning in which he describes the speech for you. Largely, we'll be -- that will be the topics. And whether or not we add some pieces on the economy and -- I'll let you know. There's already portions of the speech that was dedicated to economic issues such as trade, and so let me just see if I can lock that down. It's only noon.

Q And one final thing on the Democrats' proposal. Is the White House ruling out those kinds of ideas, or are you willing to listen to them?

MS. PERINO: What I'm going to do is refer you to Secretary Paulson's statements from yesterday and the President's written statement this morning. And then I'm going to let our teams continue to work together, because it's very important that we get this right and that we get it done quickly and cleanly. And the best way to do that is to not negotiate in the press.

Okay? Okay, see you around soon.

END 12:25 P.M. EDT

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