For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 10, 2008
Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En route Miami, Florida
12:15 P.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: Okay. We're on our way to Florida; wanted to give you an update on a couple of things. You have the President's schedule today -- we'll hit the fundraiser and then he will have the meeting with the Cuban American community. This meeting will reinforce the administration's commitment to Cuba, to a free Cuba; and it commemorates the Grito de Yara, which is "the cry of the Yara," which was Cuba's declaration of independence from Spain on October 10, 1868 -- and we'll have a backgrounder that we release later today.
At 6:15 p.m. the President and Mrs. Bush will meet back up and they'll have a photo opportunity with the 2008 Little League Softball World Series Champions at Charleston Air Force Base. And at 7:45 p.m. they will be at Kiawah Island for a fundraiser, and we'll get back to the White House tonight at 10:45 p.m.
The President taped his radio address right after the speech today -- I'm sorry, after his remarks in the Rose Garden. And the topic is going to be on the economy.
An update for you on the specific schedule for tomorrow morning. The President will meet with the G7 finance ministers and heads of international finance institutions in the Roosevelt Room, which will be at 7:15 a.m. -- stills at the top. And then at 8:05 a.m. the President will make a statement with the ministers there, in the Rose Garden. And again, 8:05 a.m., and that will be pool for cameras and open for correspondents, just like today.
A little bit --
Q The statement is in the Roosevelt Room or the Rose Garden?
MS. PERINO: Yes. So they'll have the meeting in the Roosevelt Room. We'll let the stills come in and get a shot of that, but then the statement will be outside.
Just a couple of things on the week ahead -- I'm not going to go through the whole thing, and I don't have the whole week for you because things are very dynamic and changing and so we'll update you as we are able.
On Monday, there's a whole slate of activities with Prime Minister Berlusconi, including an arrival ceremony, his meeting, their joint statement, the greeting and the dinner. So I'll let you look at those details as you need them later today, when we release them.
Q -- the week ahead, is there anything additional --
MS. PERINO: I don't think so; shouldn't be -- might just have updates on the coverage part of it. And then --
Q I'm sorry, do you plan to do a briefing on Monday? It's Columbus Day.
MS. PERINO: I don't think so. We'll do the statement, though. Tony or I will be around on Monday -- well, maybe half a day on Monday we'll be available, as always.
On Tuesday, at 10:30 a.m. the President is going to sign S.3001, which was the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act -- it was the DOD authorization bill. He will sign that on Tuesday morning. And then he will participate in a briefing at the Department of Defense in the Tank; that will be closed press. And then the President will participate in a photo op that afternoon with the Detroit Red Wings, and that will be in the East Room and open press.
So that's all that I have for you in terms of the week ahead.
Q Dana, that's at the Pentagon; is that what you said?
MS. PERINO: Tuesday -- yes, he's going to sign the bill at the White House and then he'll go over to the Pentagon for the briefings in the Tank.
Q Should we start with the economy here? Do you guys want to start?
Q What is -- what's the President hoping to achieve with the ministers' meeting tomorrow, with the G7 meeting?
MS. PERINO: Well, we have been keeping you regularly updated on all the calls and coordination amongst the G7 countries and beyond, because as we said this morning, the President spoke to Prime Minister Rudd, I expect he spoke to President Lula earlier this week, amongst others.
The G7 has been working together on a variety of things: sharing information, finding common areas where they can work together on instituting rescues that will address their individual nation's needs, as well as what we need to do as a whole, since we are all so interconnected. So today's meeting at the Treasury Department will allow them to meet face to face, maybe dot some "I's," cross some "T's," and then tomorrow morning the President will have a chance to meet with them.
I'm going to let that meeting take place, but I will tell you that the goal of the meeting overall is to continue the good communication and cooperative spirit of trying to find common solutions, while respecting the fact that each nation has individual problems and challenges and needs and ways to address them.
Q Dana, has anyone at the White House spoken to Berlusconi or any of his aides about his proposal to close global markets?
MS. PERINO: I don't know if you saw an update, but it was retracted.
Q Did you guys talk to him about retracting --
MS. PERINO: No, I don't think so. I think that it all happened so fast it was --
Q It wasn't like the White House asked him to retract that or anything like that?
MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of. I just saw a news report as it came across. I don't know of any of us -- I wasn't involved at all.
Q What about the idea of guaranteeing some of the bad debt at the banks?
MS. PERINO: This is one of the ideas that Gordon Brown has put forward. What we have said is that with any proposal that's put forward by one of our global partners, that we'll take a look at it and we will review it, but beyond that I don't have any comment on it.
Q What about insuring all deposits temporarily at U.S. banks?
MS. PERINO: All of those things are questions that the policymakers can take up and think about, discuss. And then once we have -- if we have a decision about moving forward on any of those issues, it will either come out of the Treasury Department or we'll keep you updated.
Q What about a G8 meeting?
MS. PERINO: As I've said, we are open to the idea of a G8 meeting at some point, but we don't have -- no, I have no update for you on it.
Q I have one more, sorry. What's the communications strategy for the President on this crisis? I mean, we've heard from him almost every single day since the bailout was announced, yet the Dow -- every time he talks the Dow goes down. I mean, is it --
MS. PERINO: That's not true, Deb, and I think you should go back and look at every time the President talks. But, granted, the Dow has gone down every day for several days in a row. He's the President of the United States and the purpose of his remarks this morning and what he will continue to do is to tell Americans that the full backing of the federal government is behind solving this problem, and that Americans should be assured that we have the broad authorities and the tools that we need in order to be robust in solving it.
We know that people are very anxious about what has been happening, as they see the stock market fall day after day. It has to be very anxiety-producing. The President shares it. But what he does know is that just one week ago today -- even though for some of us it might feel about a month or a year ago -- the Congress finally passed the rescue package. The Treasury Department is moving with all deliberate speed to implement those regulations. And they have moved forward to find the right people to be able to handle it.
They have been given the authority to work with 700 billion taxpayer dollars, so they need to move prudently and as quickly as possible, and I can assure you that's what they're doing. It's going to take a little bit of time for them to do it so that they do it right. And Secretary Paulson has been looking at the array of tools that were given to him in that legislation to find out what is the right tool to use at this time on this particular problem.
The problems that we're seeing are changing by -- sometimes by the day. Just last quarter, many of these companies that are now facing a lot of trouble reported good profits, and they -- so they -- our companies are of good value. And the federal government is going to do what it takes, and we're going to work with our allies around the world, and our partners, to make sure that because we are so interconnected that the actions that we're taking are ones that can have the full effect that we intend it to. And you heard from the President today, is we have a big enough package and a package that is intended to work, and that it will work.
Q So you think it helps if he is talking about it all the time?
MS. PERINO: Let me tell you something, if he wasn't talking all the time, I can guarantee you the questions from the media would be to me, why is the President not talking; the markets have gone down everyday; the President needs to get out there. We're trying to strike the best possible balance that we can. President Bush recognizes that as the leader of this country, when the -- Americans are facing probably more anxiety than they've ever felt in their lives, that it is important that they know that the leader of the free world has his full attention focused on helping solve this problem. That's the purpose of our communications.
And it's also to remind people that we're not going to be able to snap our fingers and get our way out of this problem. The remarks this morning were never billed as a panacea to make the markets go up. We don't try to affect daily market movements. What we're trying to do is stop the bleeding, strengthen the markets, return it to -- return people's confidence. Because what happens is we have a vicious cycle -- there's anxiety, which is causing the uncertainty, which causes the market to go down, which produces further anxiety.
Q Which is why I asked. And the question is --
MS. PERINO: So the nervousness is begetting nervousness. What the President did today, if you look at his words, he was reassuring, realistic and pragmatic, but he was also robust in his comments about how big this package is, and how it has the ability to work. But remember, everyone, it was just one week ago today that we finally got the legislation. And I would submit to you that every taxpayer -- yes, they want us to move quickly, but they don't want us to make mistakes. So that's what we're going to continue to do.
Q My question, really, was the same -- Rose Garden this morning, Rose Garden tomorrow. Some of the television commentary after his address this morning was along the lines of, look, even as he was standing there, in 10 minutes the Dow went down another how many points.
MS. PERINO: Look, on Monday when he spoke in Columbus*, the Dow went up while he was speaking, then it went down at the end of the day. I think that this constant 24/7, every minutia that you can imagine, looking at these markets, is just something that I can't worry about, okay. I will make sure that the President is able to talk to the American people as often as he thinks is responsible in order to let them know what we are doing to make sure that we help solve this problem.
And I can guarantee that if we weren't out there, that those same people who on Tuesday tell you, "Mr. President, we need you to get out more," on Wednesday, "Oh, my gosh, well, maybe not" -- "Oh, well, maybe you should go out" -- it's erratic. And what we are trying to do is be measured, responsible, innovative and push -- and pushing very hard to make sure that the Treasury does it right, does it fast -- does both of those things at the same time -- but that we don't waste a single taxpayer dollar as we try to implement this huge package.
Q Any idea how much time before Treasury action? Are we looking at a month or --
MS. PERINO: They said that it's going to take them two to several weeks, and I just think that I need to leave it at that because they're trying to get the right people in the right places in those positions. They have a lot of people to hire, but they've made some good progress. They've put out requests for proposals, and things like that over this past week. Remember, it's only been seven days. They don't take weekends, they're working all night. I mean, they are working very hard to make sure that we're doing what we need to do.
Q Has the President signed off on the de-listing of North Korea from the terrorism list?
MS. PERINO: No.
Q No? Decision not made?
MS. PERINO: My same -- the answer that I gave you last time remains. There has been no decision. We are continuing to work on a verification protocol so that we can take the next steps so that North Korea would then start the third phase of the agreement, which would be disarmament. And we're continuing to work with our six-party partners. But I don't expect anything else today on that.
Q No announcement today.
MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of. There has been no decision made yet, so therefore there could be no announcement.
Q I have a couple of other little ones. Do you have anything else? Are you guys having -- is there a meeting today about the status of forces agreement? Is there a deputies-level meeting or a --
MS. PERINO: At the deputies' level and the principals' level, we meet regularly about that issue, so I don't know.
Q Anything special today that you know of?
MS. PERINO: No, we've been meeting and we're trying to bring this to a conclusion, and we're -- every day you get a little bit closer, but in a negotiation it's one step forward, half a step back, and then you try to get there. There could -- people meet on it all the time, so I don't know if there's a specific meeting today you're referring to.
Q Dana, has the President voiced any concern about what appears to be happening to John McCain's fortunes in the last week or two?
MS. PERINO: The President is convinced that John McCain has still time to close up this race. And remember -- he remembers when he was running in 2000 and how far he was down before the election, and he came back to win.
Q Thank you.
END 12:28 P.M. EDT