For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 13, 2001
Remarks by the President
in Photo Opportunity
at Mary Chocolatier
6:24 P.M. (Local)
Q Sir, how would you
sum up the trip so far?
BUSH: Great. Very happy with it. And
pleased with the progress made on key issues. Pleased that
we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with fellow
leaders. One thing is for certain -- European leaders now
know that our administration is committed to a strong NATO and a free
Europe. And that was important for them to
hear. And I'm real pleased.
Q I understand, sir,
that Charles Norwood has signed on to the McCain-Kennedy bill.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. I
haven't had a chance to talk, but I'm confident we'll get a bill that I
can live with if we don't. I made a speech in Florida that
laid out the principles. And if those principles are not
met, I met what I said -- I said I can't live with the
bill. And so --
Q Does that mean you'd
PRESIDENT BUSH: Can't living with
the bill means it won't become law. And I'm hopeful we can work out
our differences. We're working hard to do so. And
I believe we can. I believe we can have a good patients'
bill of rights. I support a patients' bill of
rights. I just don't support one that will encourage
lawsuits, that will hurt consumers and hurt people trying to find
quality health care.
Q So your red line is
the ability to sue in state court, sir?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, my red lines
are what I laid out in the speech. And as you remember, I'm sure you
remember the speech? (Laughter.) I'll get you a
copy of it. (Laughter.)
MR. JOHNDROE: Will let the
President and First Lady buy some chocolate now.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm not having much
of a selection here. I am willing to share the chocolate,
however, with whoever -- of the stories. (Laughter.) So who
would like some?
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's
right. Changing positions. It didn't take me
long. (Laughter.) I want you to note this was
made by the proprietor, the castle. Here on location, who is
right here. Here's the artist. It's amazing, he
looks so skinny. Must not eat his own product, I guess.
MR. JOHNDROE: All right, you all,
we're going to step outside.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I will fulfill my
promise, for those of you who would like a piece of chocolate.
Q Are you enjoying your
MRS. BUSH: I'm enjoying my trip a
lot. I've had a really great time. I've loved
it. I've loved having an opportunity to meet my counterparts
here, which I have. Today I had lunch with all the NATO --
the spouses of NATO ambassadors.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The First Lady is
holding a press conference, Ron. You're missing it.
MRS. BUSH: And that was
PRESIDENT BUSH: Just as she was
getting to EU expansion. (Laughter.) I told you to leave the
missiles secret. (Laughter.)
MRS. BUSH: Ron, actually, I was
talking about meeting my counterparts here in Europe --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Here's what they
want -- an action shot. (Laughter.) I like a man with a
Houston Astros hat, though. I picked him out.
* * * * *
Q Mr. President, you
seemed pretty pumped up at the press conference. Did it go
better than you expected, the meeting?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I was very
pleased. I was. I was -- as you know, part of the
kind of the code is not to name names. But the folks I
quoted were true quotes, and I was very pleased with the reception.
Q It sounds like your
strongest support came from Eastern Europe or former Soviet bloc.
PRESIDENT BUSH: As I said, I'm not
going to break the code, and you're fishing for the
code. But it was widespread support. It was not
confined to one area of Europe. It was a good meeting, very
positive meeting that gave us a chance to have a good
exchange. I was very pleased with the reception and the
willingness for countries to think differently and to listen to
different points of view.
Q How does it feel for
you -- we just asked the First Lady -- but this is your first -- I know
you've been to Mexico and Canada, but this is --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, this is a
trip that was a very important trip because of the -- the Alliance is
very important. And as I said the other day, a prosperous
and peaceful NATO and Europe -- a prosperous Europe because of NATO is
important for America. And there were some people -- there
was a lot of talk about unilateralism and the U.S. going it alone, and
it was just very important for me to dispel those
notions. And the leaders here now know that we are committed
to NATO, we're committed to NATO enlargement. And tomorrow
I'll have an opportunity to talk about the EU, and we'll have -- after
the -- at the press conference you can ask me questions about how it
But there will be, you know, the tendency for,
obviously, in your business to focus on where we differ. The
truth of the matter is, the meeting today, the focus was on where we
agree. And that was the very thing that encouraged me about
So I felt great walking into the press
conference because I felt great after the meeting.
Q Sir, what's the big
theme you're going to hit on Friday in Warsaw?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Europe, whole,
Q Bring up your father
BUSH: No. Well, I mean, when they say, President
Bush, it will be brought up. But -- (laughter.)
Q I'm just thinking
about his Europe policy.
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, that's
right. No, it's a -- kind of same values. The values
haven't changed. The issues are different, but the goal of a
free and united Europe is not. I'm looking forward to giving
this speech because it will be given on the soil of a country that has
really emerged as a result of its NATO membership and its adherence to
free markets. And I'm not going to tell you any more about
it because I want you to listen.
MR. JOHNDROE: We've got to get in
PRESIDENT BUSH: I can only have one
press conference a day. It's unbelievable how accessible I
am these days. (Laughter.)
Q Every President has
European friends. Who are your European friends?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Tony Blair, clearly
a friend. But by not naming somebody, they'll assume that
they're not a friend -- they're all friends, to begin
with. Jose Maria Aznar and I get along great. We
had a wonderful visit yesterday. He's a very interesting
man. If there were kind of objective observers, they would
have said the body language was very strong between
us. Prime Minister Blair and I get along well.
I will get along with every
leader. I haven't had a chance to nurture a relationship
beyond some casual conversations with some of the leaders. But I
suspect we'll have very close relations with all the
leaders. But those two initially are people that I feel very
comfortable in singling out. Havel is a very interesting guy
who I admire a lot. I've read some of his writings, and he's
a legend in many ways in Eastern Europe. And I have a great
relationship with him.
Q Is he one of your
strongest allies on missile defense?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, as I said,
there's kind of a code of silence. But I appreciate his friendship.
Okay, get out of
here. (Laughter.) We've got to pay for this.