For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 3, 2001
Press Briefing by
President's Upcoming Travel.................................2-4
President's Phone Calls.....................................5-6
Patients' Bill of Rights...................................9-10
Missile Defense/Abm Treaty................................10-11
Purchase of U.S. Telecom Assets by German Company............11
Omb/Cbo Budget Estimates.....................................15
12:15 P.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: A very good
afternoon. I want to begin with a statement by the President
on some action that was just taken in the United States Senate hours
The following is from the President.
"The Senate today took wise and prompt
action to help America's farmers. This vote is a victory for
our nation's farmers at a time when they need it most. I
praise the Senate for agreeing to the House bill and look forward to
signing this helpful measure into law."
That's in reference to a vote the Senate
cast to pass the House level of funding, $5.5 billion, to help our
nation's farmers in need this summer.
On the personnel front --
Q When will the
President signed that, Ari?
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me give you
a couple of announcements. On the personnel front, the
President intends to nominate Kevin Mole to be ambassador to the
European office of the United Nations with the rank of ambassador.
The President intends to nominate the
following six individuals to serve as U.S.
Attorneys. Margaret Chiara for the Western District of
Michigan, Terrell Lee Harris for the Western District of Tennessee, Jim
Ming Greenlee for the Northern District of Mississippi, Gregory Van de
Tatenhove for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Stephen Beville Pence
for the Western District of Kentucky, and Robert Conrad for the Western
District of North Carolina.
We may have additional U.S. Attorney
announcements to make later today; if so, we'll put them out in writing
as soon as they are ready.
As of last night, this brings the total
number of nominations submitted to the Senate, 443. The
Senate has confirmed, as of last night, 243, leaving 211 nominations
pending before the United States Senate.
The 443 nominations made by President Bush
exceed the number of nominations made heading into recess by all the
previous presidents. Clinton, who had nominated 354, former President
Bush, 319, and former President Ronald Reagan had nominated
411. So as we head into the August recess, I think it's fair
to say that even given the shortened transition that this
administration has worked from, the personnel and the nomination
process have worked exceedingly well from the White House end to
The President is pleased with the progress
that the Senate has made on the nominations. He looks
forward to additional action when the Senate returns in September.
And a final travel item. The
President will travel to New York in September, on September 24th to
26th, to participate in the opening of the United Nations General
Assembly. He will attend the opening of the general debate
and address the general assembly on September 24th. And
while in New York, the President will also meet with several foreign
leaders and host a reception for heads of delegations. He'll
be there overnight in New York City for two nights.
With that, I'm pleased to take
Q On the bill, when
will you -- will he sign it today or before the President leaves for
MR. FLEISCHER: It's -- no,
there is no possibility of signing it today. Congress still
has to enroll it. So the decision on when to sign the bill
will be determined in significant part by the timing in which Congress
enrolls it and sends it to him.
Q How significant
do you think the veto threat was here on playing a role in the Senate?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President is
very pleased that the Senate took the action, because it means the
farmers get the help they need. I think it's another
indication that when the President stands by principles that he
believes in and works productively with Democrats and Republicans in
the Congress, he not only can have success in the House, but he has
success in the Senate. And so, he is very pleased that all
parties came together today to enter into this important
agreement. He wants to sign that legislation quickly.
Q Ari, I don't mean
to sound sarcastic when I ask this. (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: It's a Friday,
it's almost recess, don't do it. (Laughter.) I take your
question. Anybody else?
Q Thank you.
Q Why does the
President like to go out to his ranch for the whole month of
August? What does he plan to do? And that's --
MR. FLEISCHER: Will you be
Q Yes, I will.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, that's
why. President Bush is not from here; he is from
Q Was that
Q Did you mean to
sound sarcastic? I'm meaning to use this. Can you
start that again? (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm new in town,
but I don't think the networks could possibly work that way.
President Bush is from
Texas. His home is in Texas. When his presidency
is over, he looks forward to returning to Texas. But he is
not of the Beltway, he is not from Washington, he is from the state of
Texas and he enjoys going home to Texas.
While in Texas, he will have a working
vacation there. I was going to do this at the end of the
briefing. Let me give you some information now. But the
President will travel for approximately two days a week each week
during his visit to Texas. The upcoming week, he will travel
one day to build a house in nearby Waco, Texas, to participate in a
Habitat for Humanity event.
The following week, the President will
travel to Colorado and New Mexico. The week following that,
the President will travel roughly three days to Wisconsin and other
locations TBD. He'll also travel to Pennsylvania that week.
The following week, the President will
have an event in nearby San Antonio, and you can also anticipate travel
over Labor Day weekend to some unnamed cities as of this point.
But to get back to the probe, the
President enjoys getting out of the Beltway. The President
enjoys being in the country. He is looking forward to what
he calls his "home to the heartland" visit, where he will be based in
Crawford, Texas but will, from there, travel to the rest of America to
meet with a wide variety of Americans, to listen to their concerns,
including union workers, including people concerned about our nation's
defense, including people who are fighting for social justice through
Habitat for Humanity. And that will be the essence of what
the President does.
He's also enjoying a little down time and
a little running, and a little cedar clearing.
Q But does he
recreate beyond that on the ranch? I don't think he ever
has. I mean, he runs, he takes walks.
MR. FLEISCHER: He'll do a
little fishing on the ranch. I'm sure he'll have friends and
family over to the ranch. He'll do a little policy, he'll
keep up with events. Travel, as I indicated. But
it's going to be a working vacation that's going to include parts work
and parts vacation.
Q Will there be a
national security conference call --
MR. FLEISCHER: He'll have
intelligence briefings every day. Every day but Sundays.
Q Live, or by
MR. FLEISCHER: They're always
Q Ari, the American
people sent him here to the White House. He's going to set a
modern record for not being here. Is there something about
it he doesn't like?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think when the
American people sent him here to the White House, they enjoy the times
that Congress is in recess, and they understand that the President also
doesn't have to live 365 days a year in the White House.
Q Does he find it
like confining or something? He feels the need to get out?
MR. FLEISCHER: He just finds
his ranch in Texas welcoming, as well as finding the White House
Q Ari, the
President has billed this trip, too, as going home to the heartland, a
place where he says the values are superior or what they should
be. And I'm wondering, what exact region does he ascribe
these values to? Where is the heartland?
MR. FLEISCHER: He's never said
that he finds the values superior. The President has never said
anything like that.
Q Well, he says
he's found them correct, or what, you know, America stands for.
MR. FLEISCHER: But he's never
said anything about superior, because that implies it's superior to
someone else's. And the President has never discussed it
like that. But what the President believes is, first of all,
he has a home in Texas. That is his home.
Secondly, he was sent to Washington to
work on the people's business, and that's particularly true when
Congress is in session. He will be leaving for his home in
Texas on a very good note, on a very positive note for the American
people, noting the strong action in the House of Representatives this
week to give America energy policy, to pass a patients' bill of rights
that can be signed into law, on the conclusion of a Senate action to
help our nation's farmers in accordance with the President's desire.
So he leaves Washington on a very strong
note, at a very good time, to return home to the heartland to talk to
the American people in their communities about issues that are on their
Washington, D.C. is an important part of
the American community. It's not the only
part. And the President looks forward to going home for a
working vacation and he looks forward to traveling throughout the
country and throughout the heartland as part of that working vacation.
Q Nice segue,
Q I wasn't here
this morning, but you spoke about President Bush receiving calls from
Prime Minister Tony Blair and the President of the Spanish government,
Jose Maria Aznar, on the Argentine crisis.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q And I would also
like to ask a follow-up. Deputy Treasury Secretary John
Taylor is in Argentina. Can you also comment on what the
purpose of his visit is?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
spoke with three foreign leaders this morning. Each call
lasted approximately 10 minutes. He called Japanese Prime
Minister Koizumi to congratulate him on his upper house electoral
victory. The President said it was a sign of Japanese public
support for the Prime Minister's reform agenda.
In addition, the President received two
phone calls: One from Prime Minister Blair and one from
President Aznar of Spain. They both called to discuss the financial
situation in Argentina. The leaders agree that they are
behind President de la Rua's policy, and they all agreed that the focus
should remain on implementation of the current IMF package for
As for Secretary Taylor's visit to
Argentina, I think you need to talk to the Department of the Treasury
Q When you say
focus on the current IMF package, you mean no additional aid is
necessary at this point?
MR. FLEISCHER: They all agreed
to focus on the current -- on the package that is currently before them
on the implementation of the current IMF package, and the Department of
Treasury may have anything additional to add.
Q Will the
President continue his deliberations on the stem cell issue while he's
at his ranch, or has the decision essentially been made and you're just
waiting for a better time to announce it?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
has not made a decision at this time, and I think he is going to think
about it while he is at the ranch. And for reporters
traveling there, an announcement is possible at any time while he is
there. So I advise you of that, and -- but he is still
deliberating and he has not made a decision.
Q Where is he in
this long, drawn-out process?
MR. FLEISCHER: He's continuing
to think about it. He continues to talk to people, to meet
with people. And he continues to listen to various sides of
the issue, and then I think you will see him stop, ponder, think and
Q Has he had any
meetings with any groups this week on this, do you know?
MR. FLEISCHER: He has.
Q Do you know --
ethicists, scientists? Who has me met with this week?
MR. FLEISCHER: Kelly, I think
what we'll do is when the President is ready to announce it, the
President's going to share a lot of the information about who he's
talked to, what arguments people made influenced him, why he came to
that determination. And the White House will also be happy
at that time to provide you with who he's talked to entirely.
Q You have
previously, like the night he met with ethicists in the Oval Office,
you all told us the next day that meeting had taken place. And you
can't say what meetings he's had --
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me see if I
can get any additional information today.
Q Let me just
follow up, too. Is he expected to make the decision this
month? Is a decision expected the month when he's at the
ranch in August?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think that's a
Q Vice President
Cheney suggested in an interview yesterday, in the context of explosion
of violence in the Middle East, that there is some justification for
Israel taking the actions it has. Does the President agree?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I don't
know if you've looked at the entire transcript of what the Vice
President said. But what the Vice President said is that, as
he's put it, at the very top of that remarks -- it was a 25 --
20-minute interview. His remarks on this topic lasted
several minutes. And right at the top of it, he said that in
some cases, I suppose, by their lights, referring to Israel, it is
justified. So he began his remarks by indicating that Israel
views this as justified, which is obviously why Israel has taken the
steps it has.
Q So he does not
agree with the Israelis that they have --
MR. FLEISCHER: The Vice
President, the President, Secretary of State are all in unison about
the need to stop the violence in Israel. And what the Vice
President was reflecting on -- and when I say violence in Israel, that
includes the region -- what the Vice President was reflecting on is how
both parties see justification in the actions they take. It
is the policy of the United States to oppose these
killings. And what the Vice President was suggesting is,
Israel sees a justification for their actions. The Palestinians see a
justification for their actions --
Q You're putting
words in his mouth. He didn't say the Palestinians.
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me put words
in his mouth because they're the words he said. And I
suppose, in some cases, I suppose, by their lights, it is
justified. Those are the Vice President's words himself.
Q But if you read
down, Ari, he said that in his own words, too.
MR. FLEISCHER: And let me
continue. And if you read on, the Vice President said
clearly, it would be better if they could work with the Palestinians,
and the Palestinian Authorities -- "they" meaning Israel -- and the
terrorists of whatever stripe could be headed off and imprisoned and
tried, rather than having them actually assassinated, which is a
statement by the Vice President of what he thinks is best, which of
course is completely in United States policy.
Q He also said that
-- I believe the -- sometime they might be justified.
Q He said I think,
I think, I think. He said I think there is some
justification, and they're trying to protect themselves, by
MR. FLEISCHER: And that
statement immediately followed -- you are literally reading his words
correctly -- that statement immediately followed the Vice President's
introduction of these remarks by saying, by their lights, referring to
Israel, it is justified. He followed that up by saying, I
think there's some justification, and they're trying to protect
themselves by the preempting. And then he continued --
clearly it would be better if they could work with the Palestinians and
head off -- imprison and try, rather than have them actually
Q Does the Vice
President still think -- does the Vice President still think there is
justification, as he said in that sentence, or is he backing off that
MR. FLEISCHER: The Vice
President, as he said -- by their lights, there is
justification. What he's reflecting on --
Q I'm asking you
about that sentence. Does he still stand by that sentence,
MR. FLEISCHER: You have to take
a look at his statement in its entirety.
Q We all have read
Q Do we have to
Q It's pretty
MR. FLEISCHER: The entirety of
his statement, when you look at all three sentences in his statement,
in this one area of his statement, it's perfectly clear that he said
this is by Israel's lights, and he said clearly, himself, that it would
be preferable for -- if they could work with the Palestinians and
Palestinian authorities of whatever stripe, to be headed off into
prison and tried, rather than having them actually
assassinated. So I think he's clearly stating his
Q He also said very
clearly, I think there is justification. Is he backing off
MR. FLEISCHER: I've talked to
the Vice President about that, and what he is referring to is how both
parties seek justification in their actions.
Q Did he tell you,
you know, I think I misspoke there, I should have qualified that
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I think he
has addressed it throughout the context of his statement. I
don't think you can pull out one sentence of a statement; I think you
have to look at all three parts of the statement in context.
Q He didn't qualify
MR. FLEISCHER: You're focusing
on one sentence, and there are three key sentences in it, which put it
in, I think, a very detailed context.
Q Do you stand by
your statement when you said that the administration at all levels
deplore the violence there and that includes the targeted killings?
MR. FLEISCHER: There is no
doubt. That is the position of the administration and is
shared by all members of it.
Q On the patients'
bill of rights, Indian American medical community all over the U.S. is
praising President Bush for his efforts to -- pass a bill, number
one. Number two, now Democrats are calling for the
administration for the immigration reform bill are concerned, and
should apply to all the immigrants, no matter where they come
from. So -- having to --
MR. FLEISCHER: The second
question applied which issue? Immigration?
Q To all the
FLEISCHER: Okay. One the first question you asked
about the patients' bill of rights, I think that's just another sign of
how there are a lot of groups in America who want Congress to work
together this fall to get a patients' bill of rights
done. And if the Conference Committee is willing to work in
the same cooperative, productive manner that the House of
Representatives has, our nation will indeed have a patients' bill of
rights that gets signed into law.
On the question of immigration, the
President is looking forward to the visit of President
Fox. The President believes the United States must be a
nation that welcomes immigrants to our shores. And he'll
have more to say on that matter later.
Q Ari, can I ask
you about missile defense? Is it the White House's view that
the building of these silos at Ft. Greeley in Alaska, which are due to
start next month, will be in breach of the ABM Treaty?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think you want
to ask that to the Department of Defense. My understanding
is that is not a breach of the treaty.
Q And will America,
if you fail to get agreement from Russia on leaving the ABM Treaty,
will America still press ahead and leave the treaty on its own?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
has made crystal clear on numerous occasions that he is going to
continue to work with President Putin, and he has been doing so very
productively. But he is prepared to move beyond the ABM
Treaty, because it is the responsibility of the President to protect
the American people, and in this case the threat would be posed by a
rogue missile launch from a hostile nation that does not share
America's interests or America's values. So the President
has been very clear about his determination to lead the world in
bringing about consensus on the need to move beyond the ABM Treaty.
Q At the end of the
day, he's prepared move beyond it alone?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
has said at the end of the day, he is prepared to move beyond the
treaty. I think by every indication he has received from
many of our ally nations in the world, he will not be doing so alone,
if it comes to that step.
Let's go to someone new. Have
you asked a question yet today? Everybody gets one first policy,
unless people get one twice.
Q Ari, the
President of Mexico has just said yesterday, I think, the government is
planning to close the border to the American trucks. Two
questions: One, what is the President of the United States
thinking to do about it and, second, do you think that action will be
bad for the bilateral relations, especially when President Fox is
planning to visit President Bush?
MR. FLEISCHER: The statements
made by President Fox of Mexico, that Mexico will respond if the
Congress tries to shut down America's borders to Mexican long-haul
trucks, is a reflection about why the action the Congress is
considering taking is so troublesome, and it's why the President is
going to work very hard this fall to reverse Congress's potential
The Congress has to expect that if they
take an action that is unfair to one of America's neighbors, America's
neighbors will respond. So the President shares President
Fox's concerns. And he is going to work very hard to correct
this matter. And I think it's also notable that there is so
much misleading information used by those who would oppose the
President of the United States on helping our neighbors to the south
and on enforcing a trade agreement called NAFTA, which has been good
for both countries.
Most of the statistics used by the
opponents of Mexico trucking focus on short-haul trucks, which have a
very different safety record from the long-haul trucks. If
Congress allows Mexican trucks to come into this country, it won't be
the short-haul trucks that the critics are worried about. It
will be the long-haul trucks. And the President is very
concerned about making sure that anybody who operates on America's
roads operates their trucks safely. And that's why it's
important to have an agreement with Mexico so their long-haul trucks
can operate on our roads, rather than the long-haul trucks.
Q So only people
along the border have to worry?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, there's
been a longstanding policy in both nations of the short-haul trucks
going back and forth. The President wants to increase
inspection money for agencies along the border to make sure that any
vehicle that's operated in America is operated in accordance with the
safety regimes and the insurance regimes.
Q Ari, but the
President's planning to call --
MR. FLEISCHER: Wait, it's our
one -- you just benefited from the one question policy.
Q Ari, the
administration's top tobacco -- international tobacco control
negotiator has resigned, and there's some implication that there may be
a disagreement with the administration's policy. Had the
Bush administration softened its stance on international tobacco
control from the previous administration?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, and I would
refer you to Mr. Novotny's words himself, when he said that on some
areas of the subject, the administration has stronger positions than
the previous administration had. This is a quote, "The basic
core commitment from the U.S. is the same," said Mr. Novotny, who was
leaving on the 23rd anniversary with his agency. He said,
"We've made progress. There's an awful lot more work to
do." The administration agrees with
that. Progress has been made. There is a lot more
work to do, and that's why the President is committed to continuing the
efforts on fighting children using tobacco worldwide.
Q But what is the
explanation for the specific changes that the administration has
pursued in softening some areas, such as secondhand smoke, and changing
positions from the previous administration? Are you saying
the position is exactly the same as the previous?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, obviously
Mr. Novotny has said in some instances the administration's position is
stronger. And incidentally, he advised HHS that he was
leaving back in May. So this was no surprise, and nothing
new. But in some areas -- talks are continuing, by the way,
in Geneva. And HHS is going to provide routine updates on it.
Q Will fast track
be a focus of the President's outreach to Union officials during his
MR. FLEISCHER: That meeting is
coming up in about three or four weeks, and I haven't seen the text of
the President's remarks on it yet. So I can't indicate that
yet. But clearly, this fall the President will be making a
major effort to secure trade promotion authority.
The President thinks it's very, very
important. It shows the United States can compete and win
around the world, and the President is now having a series of meetings
in preparation for that, and I think you can expect a lot on that topic
Q Do you know which
unions he'll be meeting with, though?
MR. FLEISCHER: We will be
announcing that shortly, closer to the visit.
Q Ari, going back
to the vacation, the President says he is going to talk about the
values. What are some of the values he is going to talk
about? And is this connected to this communities of
character, this planned approach to take in the fall to have the
President use sort of executive power to take leadership on moral
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me suspend
on that. I think you are going to get a little bit of a
better fill-in on Monday down in Crawford about the upcoming
events. And today is a day that the President is really
going to focus on legislation that was just enacted in the House and
the Senate and upcoming fall agenda, but we will have additional
announcements in Crawford next week.
Q But for all those
people who work on the weekends and want to do stories -- I mean,
really, though, it's fair to ask today about what are some of the
values? Is it, you know, families, teen pregnancy, gang
violence? And is this a rolling out of the President on a
MR. FLEISCHER: I'd be happy
to. When the President talks about going home to the
heartland, in his mind, that reflects the values of hard work, of
family, of honesty, of people playing by the rules, working hard to
make a living in the United States and being treated fairly and being
treated compassionately. That is what the
President thinks about when he thinks about the values of the
Q Ari, in July '96,
then-Prime Minister Netanyahu told a joint session of Congress that he
wanted to begin to wean Israel off of what he called "generous American
assistance," $1.2 billion economic aid at that point in time.
Since then, we continue to send military
equipment and economic aid to Israel. Yesterday, you said
that the administration is being proactive in the Middle
East. Is part of proactive strategy to consider cutting off
aid to Israel to pressure them to stop the war on the Palestinians?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
supports a package of aid to the nations in the region. That
includes Israel, that includes Egypt. It has been a
longstanding part of American foreign policy to help try to achieve
stability in the region and to provide assistance to our friends
there. And the President will continue to provide that.
Q Would there be
any consideration -- there is war talk in the Middle
East. And if there was a war, would there be any
consideration to consider -- to look at the question of scaling back or
cutting off aid to Israel?
MR. FLEISCHER: This is a
hypothetical follow-up to a hypothetical that arose
yesterday. And as I indicated yesterday, I am not going to
Q The President is
having his physical tomorrow. What kind of a specimen are
the doctors going to find? (Laughter.) You can fill in the
blank with some other words.
MR. FLEISCHER: Is there another
Q The question is,
what kind of the health is the President in? That's what he meant.
MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.
The President tomorrow will have his
annual physical up at Bethesda and we will be providing reporters with
information following it. The President feels in excellent
physical health. As you know, he is an athlete, he
runs. We will have information tomorrow. And that
will be an appropriate question tomorrow for full
information. But the President feels great and he is looking
forward to the physical.
Q Are they going to
do it up there at Bethesda or down here?
MR. FLEISCHER: Oh, it will be
Q Does he still run
every day, Ari?
MR. FLEISCHER: Almost.
Q Has he had annual
physicals? And for how long?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's
been annual for -- I only went back with him in Texas for a number of
Q He's 55 --
MR. FLEISCHER: That's
correct. He's the speed limit -- in some states.
Q He runs on a
treadmill in the Residence; is that right?
MR. FLEISCHER: He runs on a
treadmill in the Residence. He tries to run about three,
four times a week. He will run outside on occasion.
Q On the track?
MR. FLEISCHER: As I heard him
say to a group of senators earlier this week, the daytime/nighttime
average temperature in Crawford right now is about 98 degrees and he is
looking forward to running in it.
Q Senator Conrad
met with a few reporters this morning and he said that it's been a
great week for the President but that in a couple of weeks there is
going to be some very bad news coming out of OMB and CBO when the new
budget estimates come out. He said it is going to be a
fiasco and that the American people are going to be upset to find that
the non-Social Security surplus is practically gone. Any
response to that?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think there
have been a number of senators who previously voted to raise taxes on
the American people who see a surplus that is the second-largest in
American history and don't think it's big enough. And their
previous reaction to economic news was to raise taxes. We'll see what
the exact numbers are from the Office of Management and Budget and the
Congressional Budget Office in approximately three to four weeks.
All indications are that, not only will
the surplus be the second-largest in American history, but that this
year the United States will have paid down more than $100 billion in
debt. So, while the economy has weakened, the economic big
picture continues to look strong on the budget front. Social
Security has been protected.
And under the President's budget,
education will receive an increase in spending, as well as a
reform. The Defense budget will be increased. The President
believes there is sufficient room in the budget to fund vital
government priorities such as education and defense while protecting
Social Security. And I anticipate that that's what these
reports will show.
Q Ari, on July
17th, on his way to the G8 meeting, did President Bush misspeak when he
said that our government will not artificially enter the markets
regarding the dollar, or is that a new policy?
MR. FLEISCHER: I don't remember
the President using the word artificially. Is that a
verbatim quote that you have there?
Q This is a quote
that was picked up by Reuters.
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, well, I'd
want to look at the entire quote.
Q During the
telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of Japan, did they
discuss the Kyoto Protocol, also the appointment of new Japanese
Ambassador to the United States?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's the only
information I have on the call. So if there's anything
additional, we'll try to get it for you.
Q Are they going to
talk about baseball again?
MR. FLEISCHER: All the
information that I have is what I read out.
Q Ari, one more on
the physical. Is this going to be all military doctors that
will be running the tests for the President?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think we're
going to give you the list of the doctors who are running the
tests. But I just don't know off the top of my head if all
of them are military.
Q Will the doctor
be available tomorrow, do you know?
MR. FLEISCHER: We're going to
put out a news release following the procedures -- following the exam.
Q No one on camera,
though, for any interview?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct,
no one on camera.
Q The FCC --
Q As far as
Chinese-Americans are concerned, one is released, another one is
arrested and many are in jail and many from here are afraid of
traveling to China because they will be arrested on spying for the
United States. So if President Bush is going to meet with
Chinese leaders in the UN, before he visit to China?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
already made clear to the Chinese Foreign Minister when they met in the
Oval Office that the United States has a great number of concerns about
the human rights situation in China, the arrest of people who are
allegedly dissident. And it remains a point of division
between the United States and China. The President will not
hesitate to bring up that matter when he meets with Chinese officials.
Q Ari, the
President saw the --
MR. FLEISCHER: Wait, I promised
Q Ari, the Federal
Communication Commission requires that if you're going to have a
broadcast license you have to be of sound moral character. So when you
make the application, you have to answer whether you've ever been
convicted of a felony.
They are now going after a gentleman in
Missouri who's been convicted of a felony --
MR. FLEISCHER: Be careful,
there are many broadcasters in this room.
Q I understand,
that's why I'm raising the question. This gentleman was
convicted of a felony, child molestation, and they're trying to strip
him of five radio licenses. On the other hand, General
Electric, which owns NBC, has been convicted of felonies, and they're
not being stripped of their license. Why the double
MR. FLEISCHER: I think you
need to talk to the FCC about their standards. That's their
jurisdiction to deal with licensing. Ron?
Q I understand, but
generally, does the President have a position on --
Q Have you guys
determined yet whether or not the President or the White House has the
authority to strip Ann Brown of her Chairmanship?
MR. FLEISCHER: The White House
is looking into that matter. And as I said to Kelly
yesterday, I took that question, I'm going to try to get an answer for
everybody before they leave today.
Q Republicans on
the Hill seem to think that power was available to the White House.
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm aware that
some Republicans think that.
Q Ari, has the
President saw the video about the missionary plane shot down in Peru,
and if he saw it, what he thinks about it?
MR. FLEISCHER: I know the
President has been briefed on it. He is very familiar of it,
aware of it. The State Department released the report
yesterday and there is a separate -- that is a separate issue from
whether or not this program will be continued. And all the
information from the State Department will be evaluated in any
determination about whether this program, which has been successful in
helping combat the war on drugs, will continue.
Q Thank you.
MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.
Let me make one final -- before everybody
goes, I just would like to say this is Mary Ellen Countryman's last day
here at the White House before she takes on her next
post. So we just want to thank Mary Ellen. (Applause.)
12:51 P.M. EDT