For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 28, 2001
Press Briefing by
By Ari Fleischer
President's Schedule 1
Meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan
Meeting with Domestic Consequence Committee
Worker Relief/Economic Stimulus Package 2;5-10;14-15
Airline Security Package 2-3;12;15-17
Reagan National Airport Reopening 3-5
Operational Detail Policy 6-7
Reverend Jackson 8-11
Bill Maher's Comments 11-14
Un Sanctions/Sudan 11-12
the Week Ahead 17
the White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release September 28, 2001
the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:08 P.M. EDT
FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. I want to report to
you on the President's day. The President, earlier this
morning, called Prime Minister Howard of Australia and thanked him for
the strong expressions of sympathy and support from the Australian
people and from the Australian government. The President
thanked the Prime Minister for Australia's actions to to freeze the
assets of terrorist organizations, and the two said they were looking
forward to working together in other areas of bilateral cooperation in
the counterterrorist effort.
President also called President Arroyo of the Philippines this morning
and thanked the Philippines for their immediate and strong support in
the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. They discussed the
Philippine government's ongoing struggle against terrorism within the
Philippines, and President Arroyo noted the government's determination
to secure the release of American hostages who have been held in the
discussed cooperation in the counterterrorist effort, and they also
said they were looking forward to seeing each other at the upcoming
meeting of the President with other APEC allies in Shanghai.
his phone calls, the President convened a meeting earlier this morning
of the National Security Council. Following the meeting, he
met with the King of Jordan where the two discussed ways to cooperate
in the war against terrorism. They discussed the importance
of moving forward with the peace process in the Middle East, and they
also discussed the importance of the strong bilateral relations that
exist between the United States and Jordan. And, of course,
earlier this morning, the President signed into law the Jordanian Free
President will have a meeting midafternoon of his Domestic Consequence
Committee to discuss various proposals to help people who have been hit
by all of the layoffs in the economy, and to help with the possibility
of a worker relief package. And then he will depart for Camp
David late this afternoon, and he will be in Camp David through the
weekend, where he will participate again in a meeting of the National
Security Council via teleconference.
final note for you and then I'll be pleased to take
questions. Secretary Powell and the Foreign Minister of
Spain will be available at 4:15 p.m. this afternoon at a stakeout
following their meeting at State. With that, I'm happy to
Q You mentioned the worker relief
package. Is that the same thing as what others call a
FLEISCHER: The President has had a series of meetings on a
stimulus package. A component that is also being explored is
a worker relief component to a stimulus package.
Q Does that include such things as extending
unemployment benefits? Is that one of the options?
FLEISCHER: The President is very concerned about the rising
unemployment that's taking place in the country prior to September
11th, but also in the wake of the attacks, with all the layoffs that
have hit various communities across the country. The
President wants to address that by working with the Congress, in a
bipartisan way, on an economic stimulus package. He's going
to discuss a variety of ideas, that many people, including many leading
Democrats have offered, about how to help workers who have lost their
Q Would that be ready as early as next week?
FLEISCHER: You know, I'm just not going to get into guesses
about the timing of it. It will be ready when the President
and the Congress have reached sufficient agreement about it and the
President thinks that it's right.
Q Is that something that you want to --
following up on Ron, and then I have a separate question -- but would
you want to attach that or -- as some people on the Hill have talked
about -- to the airline security package, or is that something you
would want to do separately? Would you rather do it with the
FLEISCHER: Well, yesterday in Chicago, the President made a
series of announcements designed to help protect the traveling public,
so when they travel, for example cockpit doors are reinforced, the
federal government takes a much more aggressive role in background
checks of airport workers and setting federal standards on the
screening operations that people go through when they board airplanes.
President has viewed this as a way to send a signal that safety of the
traveling public has got to come first, that safety is terribly
important and that he's going to address that. There are a
variety of other ideas that the President wants to review, dealing with
the impact of the layoffs on workers. But the President
announced yesterday a separate safety package. And he wants
to make certain that the safety package is able to move through the
Q So how it's affecting the airline industry
isn't necessarily a part -- you view that as something different?
FLEISCHER: Well, there are two real issues
here. One is the safety of travelers, an ongoing concern
that the President wants to move quickly to address. The
other is restoring strength to the economy and helping people who have
-- who are suffering, who have lost their jobs.
Q Don't want to ask about a timetable here,
though I understand it's a matter of some urgency. But can
you say that Reagan National Airport will be reopened?
FLEISCHER: That's going to be a determination that's ongoing
to be made by the appropriate security people, working with the
Department of Transportation and the National Security Council, the
Secret Service, in consultation with officials here. The
President is keenly aware of the impact of leaving Ronald Reagan
Airport closed. He's very concerned about the impact it has
on the people who work there, their families, the economy of Northern
Virginia, on US Air and its ability to maintain its obligations to its
are, of course, unique security considerations that come into play
having an airport located so close to Washington and to the Congress,
to the White House, to the other institutions of
government. So it's a real question of balancing some
crucial needs that affect people's lives and livelihoods with
security. Now, those issues are all being reviewed as we
speak. No final determinations have been made.
Q Is it his personal desire to see it reopened?
FLEISCHER: The President has authorized the appropriate
people to work on the issue and to bring him their
recommendations. He's very aware, as I said, about the
implications of leaving it closed, and he's very concerned about
that. So the review is underway and there's nothing further
I can say until the review is complete and then shared.
Q Do you think they'll have a decision next
FLEISCHER: I don't want to guess on the timing,
Helen. But the President is aware the need to move with
dispatch because it's affecting people's lives.
Q One of those appropriate people is Secretary
Mineta, who said this morning it will reopen. Was he wrong?
FLEISCHER: The Secretary, I think, did four interviews this
morning, on four different morning shows, and on three of them he
indicated exactly what I just indicated, and that's the answer.
Q So he was off-message on
FLEISCHER: I would never comment about any one particular
Q In that interview, he was not stating the
FLEISCHER: Let me just say that I paid careful attention to
all his interviews, I refer you to the three that I reference.
Q But he also said a decision could come as
early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Is that --
FLEISCHER: That's all possible.
Q Ari, on the same issue, it's not only the
economic impact that has happened to the whole region, the livelihood
of people, it's also a symbol, National Airport is the main airport of
Washington. The President is speaking of people getting on
the air again and flying, and flying is safe again. So this
is like going against the message as long as it stays closed.
FLEISCHER: You know, you're right, it is a
symbol. And, unfortunately, in the aftermath of the attack
on September 11th, many Americans are taking a look at things symbolic
and things real and saying, things are changing. And it's an
unfortunate reality of what's happened since September 11th.
the same time, the President is doing everything in his power to help
Americans to resume their lives across the country. There
are going to be issues that are also, for the first time in so many of
our lives that are touched by security considerations for the first
time. And the question of National Airport is directly one
Q Ari, there are press reports that say that
special forces from the United States and Great Britain are on the
ground in Afghanistan. Has the military war against terrorism begun?
FLEISCHER: Ivan, let me lay out one rule now and for the
future. I will never comment on any military operations that
may or may not be underway.
Q I wanted to follow up on the National
Airport. Dulles Airport is very close to Washington as well,
about 20 miles or something like that. The planes involved
in the incidents here on September 11th, or the incident here on
September 11th, I believe were traveling something like 400 miles an
hour. That's also only a couple of minutes away by air from
downtown Washington if somebody suddenly decides to divert from their
aren't there special measures in place at Dulles unique to deal with
the Washington area, and why is National of so much greater concern?
FLEISCHER: Again, those are the all of the issues that the
security experts are taking a look at. Sometimes, the
difference between minutes and seconds is a big difference, and so they
are looking at exactly those types of issues.
Q I have two questions. Did Secretary
Mineta jump the gun on ABC this morning? Is that what you're
FLEISCHER: I think I have addressed it.
Q And number two, what did the President mean by
FLEISCHER: I'll leave that to others to guess at.
Q I assume by your answer earlier, there's no
longer any debate here about whether there will be an economic stimulus
package. The White House agrees that there will definitely
be one, and there's a need for one?
FLEISCHER: I think until the President says something, you
can rest assured that it's a matter that's under review. I
wouldn't reach any conclusions until the President, himself, says
something. But the President has indicated, of course, that
he remains very concerned about the economy and he's taking a look at a
series of possible actions that can be taken to help people, and he's
going to do that in concert with the Congress.
Q And is there anything about if there is a
stimulus package, how large that should be?
FLEISCHER: There is no final determinations on that.
Q Ari, just following up on your answer to those
other questions, the fact that you're not going to comment about any
operational details from the podium, so is it fair that the American
people should -- have to expect that some things could be happening
right now on the military front that they just won't be told about?
FLEISCHER: As the President said, there are going to be
elements to this war that everybody will know about, that people will
be able to see and know about for themselves, that will be publicly
discussed. But it is also the nature of this first war against
terrorism that there may be areas that people do not know
about. And I'm just not going to go beyond that in
discussing anything that is operational like that.
Q A general policy question on
this. Do you have any assessments whether it was proper to
publish the article about alleged covert actions, and would the White
House like to see the press exercise greater restraint, even if
official wartime powers have not been invoked?
FLEISCHER: You know, this is always a balance of democracy.
But the fact of the matter is, our democracy seems to typically get it
right, and it's one of the reasons we win wars, is because we have a
free people and a free press.
that interesting, historical and delicate balance, people do their
part; they understand the implications about what they do, they say,
they write, they publish. And history, I think, is a good
guide. I think there are some challenges today in the modern
communications era that didn't exist in World War II, for example,
where things said today are instantly heard and can be heard by enemies
around the world.
it's an interesting question of delicacy and balance. I've
made some concerns known to the media, which I'll continue to make
known on a private level about things that are done or said, and I
think we're all going to work our way forward on this together.
Q Was the article, was the paper wrong to
publish that kind of article? Did it put the American forces
in danger if they, indeed, are there?
FLEISCHER: That's not a judgment for me to make and
answering that question would be giving an indication whether it was
accurate or not, and I won't do that.
Q My impression was that you had been saying
that you wanted to wait several more days, in keeping with Greenspan's
advice, to see whether or not some stimulus was actually
needed. The sense I get from you now is that judgment has
been made and that you were deeply involved in preparations, looking at
all of the options and that you've actually decided that, in fact, some
stimulus will be necessary.
FLEISCHER: Well, the President is looking at
options. He's reviewing with his staff and with Cabinet
Secretaries a series of possible steps to take. And he also
has been discussing it with leaders on the Hill, with Senator Lott,
Speaker Hastert, Congressman Gephardt, Senator Daschle, and he's going
to continue to do that. So it's a process. He
hasn't reached any conclusions yet, but he is reviewing a series of
actions that may be taken.
the reason is, is because there are a lot of people in this country who
are hurting, who are out of jobs and who need help. And
there is an economy that the President is always going to focus on in
times of war or peace, that he wants to make certain is strong.
Q So, in a sense, you have rolled, then, all the
concerns on Capitol Hill about finding some sort of relief for laid off
workers -- that has now become part of your thinking on an economic
FLEISCHER: Well, you say we've rolled in all the concerns.
The President is taking a look at a lot of options.
Q But, I mean, action on that front is now seen
as part of any stimulus package?
FLEISCHER: I think it's all possible.
Q Now, the Senate was talking about $21 billion
in assistance for laid off workers. Is that somewhere in the
realm of anything the White House could contemplate?
FLEISCHER: I'm not going to speculate about any numbers.
The President is going to continue to explore these options and see
where -- see what determinations he makes.
Q You had indicated, I think, earlier in the
week that you thought in the $100 billion that was identified by
Greenspan and others as the amount needed for any stimulus, that you
thought about $50 billion, $55 billion had already been spent, in terms
of emergency spending in the airline bill.
that your thinking, that there's another $40 billion or so that would
come and no package should really exceed that amount?
FLEISCHER: Well, that was actually what the Federal Reserve
said in a statement they issued. There was some confusion
about what some people interpreted Chairman Greenspan to have said when
he went up to the Hill. And some people were suggesting this
$100 billion figure. The Federal Reserve subsequently put
out a clarification to correct any of the misinterpretations others
Q Do you share that view?
FLEISCHER: I think you'll get the number when the President
is ready to report a number.
Q Is there any ongoing discussion with Reverend
Jackson on going to Afghanistan and getting the Americans
out? I don't think he feels designated to negotiate, but you
people keep saying no negotiations. I don't think that's the
problem. Would you be very unhappy if he went?
FLEISCHER: Reverend Jackson has talked to Secretary Powell
and to Condoleezza Rice. And the administration's position
is clear. The United States government is not going to
negotiate or to have any discussions with the Taliban.
Q We know that. We heard that in
Iran-Contra, too, about ten times -- thousand times, before --
FLEISCHER: Helen, you can come to conclusions about what
you're hearing today, and I'm sure you will. But I repeat,
the government is not going to negotiate with the Taliban or enter into
negotiations with him.
Q But that isn't the point of the --
FLEISCHER: And Reverend Jackson can be very helpful in
reminding the world about the importance of fighting terrorism.
Q Can I just follow on that? When you
say that the U.S. government is not going to negotiate, does that mean
that there's no diplomat -- no room for diplomacy here?
FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q No room for diplomacy?
FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Okay, so no additional delegations from
Pakistan to go to talk to the Taliban? You wouldn't support
FLEISCHER: The President could not have said it any plainer
in his speech to the nation. It's time for actions, not
words. And the Taliban is harboring
terrorists. And the President has said that he will protect
this country after it's been attacked by those who engage in terrorism
and those who harbor terrorists. And he meant it.
Q Would you object if Jackson went and got the
young people who've been -- and the people who've been jailed, got them
FLEISCHER: Helen, I've addressed the question.
Q That isn't the question.
Q Do you think the worker relief package should
include a --
FLEISCHER: Should include a what?
Q I wasn't sure if Helen was
speaking. Do you feel that the worker relief program should
include a component that involves job training as well as health
FLEISCHER: Again, there are a series of things the
President's looking at that's under review. And until the
President makes those determinations, I'm not going to speculate.
Q And also, on the stimulus package, there's a
school of thought that if you're going to do anything, it should
provide relief for corporate as well as for
individuals. Specifically on individuals, payroll cuts,
because many people were not eligible for the first round of rebates.
Is that something the President is open-minded about?
FLEISCHER: That's another idea that has been floated around
on the Hill, and the President's aware of that. But again,
these are all good attempts to get me to speculate about the specifics
of what the President's reviewing, and I just won't.
Q Ari, you won't talk about the
specifics. What prism of principles is the President
applying to all these good ideas that are coming into the White House?
FLEISCHER: The President is taking a look at it in the
context of what will be real and meaningful to help the economy and to
help workers get jobs. That's the first principle that the
President is applying. And of course, in war and peace, it's
always important, the President believes, to keep an eye on wise use of
Q Ari, a follow-up to Helen's
question. When President Clinton was President, Jesse
Jackson went to Kosovo, got the three soldiers out. The
administration was very upset with him. What are the
thoughts of a civilian dealing with a government to government, a
higher level government to government situation now than just leaving
FLEISCHER: Yes, I really -- I think we've exhausted the
topic. I've said what the administration has to say about
the possible visit.
Q Reverend Jackson now is putting out a
statement -- a written statement to try to prove that the Taliban did
get a hold of him. And he's still thinking it could be his
moral obligation to go there. Could he be a fly in the
ointment in this situation?
FLEISCHER: I've addressed the question, and I think he'll
figure out what he does.
Q Ari, on that, following that, actually the
Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan has denied his country is making any
such offer. And the Reverend, Mr. Jackson now says, it doesn't matter
who initiated this. Does the President want the Secretary of
State to take any more time to meet with such a storyteller when it
should be the Attorney General meeting with Jesse for questioning about
the mistress money? And I have a follow-up.
Q I did not put him up to that,
okay? I have nothing --
FLEISCHER: I think I'll leave this to the two of you to
figure out. (Laughter.) Campbell.
Q Ari, I have a follow-up. My other
one, my second one, Ari --
FLEISCHER: How can you follow up when I didn't answer your
first question? (Laughter.)
Q With another. I'm trying
again. The Washington Post reports this morning that
Washington's Channel 7, an ABC affiliate, has reversed its decision to
bring back Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect," and, quote, "the
decision follows criticism by a White House spokesmen of Maher's
comments that our Armed Forces missile people are cowards and the
question is, has anyone blamed you for your effective comment, or have
all reactions been positive, as they should be?
FLEISCHER: Oh, Les, I get blamed every day for things I did
or did not do or say.
Q But you weren't blamed for this.
FLEISCHER: Not in this building, I
wasn't. (Laughter.) At least not by people on the
federal payroll with whom I work. (Laughter.)
Q But you had a resolute refusal on Wednesday to
dignify this Jackson statement.
FLEISCHER: You only get two. (Laughter.)
Q What's the White House reaction to the UN
lifting of sanctions on the Sudan and -- the United States deciding not
to block sanctions in Sudan?
FLEISCHER: The United Nations Security Council voted this
morning to lift the UN sanctions on Sudan, which was an action taken in
discussions the UN had in support of Egypt. The sanctions
that were imposed by the United Nations on the Sudan were taken as a
result of Sudanese efforts in an assassination attempt on President
lifting of the sanctions was done in agreement with Egypt. The United
States continues to maintain its bilateral sanctions against
Sudan. The two are not related. So I note that
it's been supported, it was a unanimous vote in the Security Council --
Q But, in the past, we've blocked U.N. attempts
to lift the sanctions. So why this time, given how critical
the President has been in the past?
FLEISCHER: Well, again, I think that the Egyptian support
for lifting the sanctions played a role in the actions the United
States took. And given the fact that the United States'
bilateral sanctions against Sudan remain in place allowed us to be at
the position we are.
note, of course, that the President named Senator Danforth as a special
envoy to the Sudan because of his concern about the human rights
violations that are taking place in the Sudan, and those concerns
Q Ari, can I just follow on that,
though? Isn't it also sending a message to those countries
that might help in this campaign against terrorism about certain
actions that could be taken, such as the U.S. not blocking these
FLEISCHER: You know, I don't know that, Kelly. I
know that these set of sanctions were set to expire, which is also why
the vote took place at the time it took place.
Q Yesterday, after the President's announcement
on security at airline checkpoints, we saw the first cracks in what had
been the extraordinary unity on Capitol Hill; a lot of lawmakers want
the President to go the extra mile, federalize the whole work
force. Is he willing to go that extra mile, to preserve that
extraordinary unity at this difficult time?
FLEISCHER: Well, the President made the announcement
yesterday he made because he believes it's the right
policy. The President believes that there can be a
substantial strengthening, a very significant strengthening of the
safety for the traveling public by federalizing the background checks,
the standards that the security workers operate under, and that it can
be done in a way that really is very different from the way airports
operated in the past -- particularly ending low-bid contracts with
screeners and setting a new set of standards.
that's why the President did it. He'll always have an eye to
working with Congress, but I'm not prepared to guess where this is
going to end up.
Q Ari, following Les, which I hoped never to do
-- (laughter) --
FLEISCHER: Well, he just walked out the door.
Q On the Bill Maher issue, we talked about this
morning. But now, today, this afternoon, in relation to the
USA Today story on the special ops, this is the second time from this
podium that you have essentially cautioned the media and people to
watch what they say, as you put it with Bill Maher. That has
triggered a lot of comment and concern. Do you believe it is
appropriate, as the President's spokesmen, exercising that authority,
to issue that kind of warning?
FLEISCHER: Terry, on two points. One, on special
ops, what I indicated is there has always been an historical and
delicate balance and our nation has been well served by the country and
everybody, including the press, finding its way through
that. So my characterization is not quite as you described
the other question about answering questions posed to me by reporters,
when individual Americans say things that may not meet with the
approval of people in government. You know, I've been asked
from this podium, I've been asked about discrimination against Muslims;
I've been asked about discrimination against Sikhs and whether the
White House would speak out; I've been asked about statements made by
Republican congressmen that were intolerant toward Muslims and
minorities in this country. And I've never hesitated to
comment or speak my mind about those issues. I was asked
about what Bill Maher said and I didn't hesitate to talk about that.
always the right, and forever will be, of an American to speak
out. It is always the right of an American to be
wrong. But that won't stop me from saying, when asked by the
press, if something is not met with approval from the White House as
far as statements of intolerance or some of the statements you
often, when you ask the question and the White House does not answer
it, the press interprets that as a wink and a nod, saying that the
White House tacitly approves it. So when you ask the
question, I think you're entitled to an answer.
Q So you stand by what you said?
FLEISCHER: I stand by what I said about what he said, was
unfortunate and should not have been said. But I understand,
of course, in all times, it's everybody's right to say things, no
matter how wrong they can be.
Q So you then don't believe what you said, that
Americans ought to at this time watch what they say? Do you
stand by that specific part of your statement?
FLEISCHER: Keith, I think that everybody always has to be
thoughtful. I think everybody has to think through the
repercussions, the implications of what they say. And I
shared this morning, as well, but I had a message on my answering
machine from somebody, a citizen who called up and said that the United
States needs to round up all the Muslims, the good ones and the bad
ones, because you can't tell the difference. And that's the
type of thing -- people have to think carefully about the things that
they do and they say.
our nation, as it goes into an increased wartime footing, is going to
be confronting issues that typically, thankfully, have not come up in
the past, that make people think more carefully about what they're
doing. And so that's the answer to the question.
Q Ari, can I ask you then about some statements
that have been made by guests that the President has had here in the
last couple days? He invited folks from the Muslim Public
Affairs Council in -- at the time of the missile strikes on Afghanistan
in '98, that group described those strikes as "illegal and
immoral." And in particular, Mr. al Marayati, who was one of
the gentlemen in the Roosevelt Room, I think it was, with the
President, said that on the day of these most recent attacks, "if we're
going to look at suspects we should put the state of Israel on the
suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what is
happening in the Palestinian territories so they can go on with their
aggression and occupation and apartheid policies."
would the President's view on those comments be? Would he
agree with them?
FLEISCHER: I don't think it would surprise anybody that the
President often has meetings to discuss a whole host of issues with
people who he doesn't agree with everything they may have said in the
course of their lives or careers.
Q What about on this particular
text? Does the President believe the state of Israel is a
reasonable suspect for what took place in New York or at the Pentagon?
FLEISCHER: No, he does not.
Q Ari, to follow up on Jim's question about the
statements that you made earlier this week about the Federal Reserve, I
wanted to ask you why you felt compelled to comment on the Fed's
statement, which you normally don't make any comments on the
Fed. And if they gave you any clarification that it was $40
billion to $50 billion, because their statement actually was
characteristically more vague than that. It just said that
it was recent spending measures, and didn't actually put a number to
FLEISCHER: Right. The question was, people
attributed $100 billion to his statement. And that's what I
was asked about by the press, the $100 billion figure. And I
wanted to make certain that nobody thought the $100 billion was
Q -- talking about the remaining figures would
be $40 billion to $50 billion.
FLEISCHER: I was walking everybody through the existing
stimulus that has been put into place, which is the $40 billion in
spending, plus the $15 billion in the airline package.
Q But Senator Daschle says it's at $95 billion.
FLEISCHER: It's $95 billion?
Q It's $95 billion.
FLEISCHER: That what's $95 billion.
Q It's $40 billion plus $15 billion plus the $40
billion spent for the tax cut earlier this year.
FLEISCHER: That's why I -- when I was asked earlier about
what the size of the stimulus the President thinks is appropriate, I
said, you'll hear it from the President when he decides what it should
Q Ari, on the airline security package, you
mentioned ending the low bid system. I'm not quite clear how
the President's proposals would end the low bid system.
FLEISCHER: Because the standards that the President will put
into place, as far as the hiring of contractors, will make clear that
contracts should not be accepted on the basis of low
bid. They will be accepted on the basis of a variety of
factors. They'll put safety first.
Q Everybody will have the same standards, but
you still have low bid.
FLEISCHER: But the focus is going to be on the standards, as
opposed to the price.
Q Ari, do you know where this security -- the
aviation security agency is going to be? There was a lot of
questions yesterday, and it was kind of unclear. One
administration official was calling it an authority, he was calling it
an agency. It sounds like it might be under the Homeland
Security Office. But do you know any more now?
FLEISCHER: Yes, that still is under review about precisely
where it will be. I don't think it's going to be under the
Homeland Office, I can tell you that much. But it's being
Q Will it be a new agency?
FLEISCHER: That's a possibility, Kelly, but they're taking a
look for where the most appropriate place is, so its actions can be the
Q Could it stay under FAA?
FLEISCHER: We'll know soon enough. I mean, those
are kind of the details about where it's going to be.
Q That's a yes, though?
FLEISCHER: No, I'm not indicating yes or no. I'm
saying we'll know soon enough.
Q But it hasn't been ruled out?
FLEISCHER: On FAA, I'll have to check and see if it's been
ruled in or out.
Q It will not be under the Homeland Office?
FLEISCHER: I'm sorry?
Q It will not be under the Homeland Office?
FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Al Gore tomorrow is going to offer a keynoter
to the JJ Day dinner in Iowa. We're told that it's going to
be sort of basically a message of bipartisanship. My
question is, has he been in touch with the President? Has
the President talked to former Vice President Gore since September
FLEISCHER: I'll have to ask. I don't have that
off the top of my head. I'll have to
ask. Appropriations question?
Q Besides having a deal on the overall number,
the -- billion, is there an agreement that the President will
officially, formally request the extra education money by letter or
FLEISCHER: As I indicated this morning, I don't have an
answer for you about any additional funding, and the talks
continue. We are very, very close on it. And
while they're getting very close on the level of funding, as I
indicated, there are going to be additional talks going on that are
still underway. So we're very close to an agreement.
a tad forward-leaning this morning when I said that there is an
agreement. But there has been a lot of progress made and
we're really making good progress in getting there.
Q Ari, Robert Rubin was, I think most people
agreed, did a very good as Secretary of Treasury and he faced, too, a
very large international crisis -- the Mexican peso devaluation, the
Haitian financial crisis -- and he's testified in Congress two or three
times already. Has President Bush had any conversation with
FLEISCHER: I'll have to go back and take a look, couldn't
Q Do you have a week ahead, Ari?
FLEISCHER: We have the week ahead, let me get that for you.
week, the President will continue to meet with his National Security
Council on a regular basis, and also with his Domestic Consequences
Monday, the President will visit the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, FEMA, headquarters, to thank the employees there for the work
they have been doing, and he will tour their command center.
Tuesday, the President will have a bipartisan breakfast with the joint
congressional leadership. And on Thursday, the President
will meet with the Emir of Qatar. And on Friday, he will
meet with the President of Georgia, as he continues to discuss the
international coalition against terrorism.
Q Any travel next week?
FLEISCHER: No word on travel at this point.
Q When is the Emir of Qatar?
FLEISCHER: Emir of Qatar is on Thursday.
Q Any pool events this weekend?
FLEISCHER: No pool events this
weekend. Okay. Thank you.
END 1:37 P.M. EDT