Excerpts from Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer, November 3, 2002 (Full transcript)
(Begins with Ari but then switches to Sr. Admin. Official)
QUESTION: Listen, can you tell us what these races mean for the President's agenda in the next two years of the Bush administration?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Look, this is a President who came into office seeking to advance an agenda, to achieve goals, to cut the taxes, to pass an education reform package, to expand trade, to encourage economic growth, to change our government health system so it more effective serves the needs of patients and communities. And he wants to advance his agenda.
So the reason that he's out lending a hand wherever he is asked and where he can make a difference, hopefully, for the good is because he wants to help elect people who will help advance his agenda, people who he thinks are in sympathy with his values and his vision. And that's the responsibility of any leader.
And we also know that if the President -- if the President advocates an agenda, it not only wins the support of Republicans, it also wins the support of Democrats and Independent voters and Democrat office holders. I would remind you, the tax cut passed the U.S. Senate with the support of, I think, 12 or 13 Democrats. The education bill passed the House and the Senate with the support of a good many Democrats. The trade promotion authority bill, while it passed with fewer Democrat votes than it garnered when Clinton was in office, nonetheless garnered a substantial number of Democrat votes in passing.
And so if the President, by campaigning around the country, helps articulate a public support for his agenda that makes it easy for Democrats who agree with him to vote for him -- because there are Democrats who cross pressure between the demands of their caucus and the demands of the electorate, would like to go with the demands of the electorate if they're given an opportunity. And by advocating his message and demonstrating its popularity, he helps provide that.