|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 2, 2003
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Crawford, Texas
2:15 P.M. CDT
MR. McCLELLAN: Sorry, we would have come back sooner, but we were finishing up the medical history, medical summary. We have copies coming momentarily, Josh is copying them right now so you should have copies of this momentarily. Let me go through a couple things.
The President underwent his third annual physical examination as President today, at the National Naval Medical Center. Dr. Cooper and Dr. Tubb again performed and supervised the examination this year, with the specialty consultation as noted in the document that you will receive momentarily.
This year's examination targeted health care maintenance, screening and prevention, reviewed issues noted on last year's exam and addressed issues identified and evaluated over the interim. With the consent of the President, we are releasing this detailed and comprehensive summary of his medical history. And the examination was from approximately from 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. this morning. There was an additional approximately an hour earlier in the week for his eyes and ears. Those examinations were done in the White House Medical Unit on Wednesday evening.
A couple of quick things. In the report you'll see the President's exercise routine. You'll see that the summary notes - his doctors note that the President remains in excellent health and "fit for duty." All data suggests that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency. And Dr. Cooper also assessed that the President remains in the "superior fitness category for men his age."
And then at the end you have all of the doctors that were involved in the examination have signed a statement saying that they have interviewed and examined the President and have reviewed his medical record and within the scope of their specialty, they find him to be fit for duty and have every reasonable expectation he will remain fit for duty for the duration of his presidency.
So you will have that momentarily. The President also, following his examination, visited with six troops that were injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their families were also - many of them had families present. The President thanked them for their service and sacrifice and expressed his gratitude on behalf of the nation. The President also thanked a number of doctors and nurses and hospital staff members that were present as he visited with the troop members individually.
Q Were they recently wounded? Are these recent - or have they been in here a while?
MR. McCLELLAN: I would talk to Bethesda to find out more. I would leave it to Bethesda to check with those injured and their families, if they want any more information released.
Q Any surprises from his health exam?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that you will have the summary here momentarily and you'll see that he remains -
Q The $64,000 question: what's his pulse rate?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's in the summary.
Q Well, I know, but just tell us.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me see, 45 - resting heart rate 45 BPM.
Q Oh, he's put on weight.
MR McCLELLAN: Yes, and actually it summarizes that at the end. IF you look at his body fat, it remains the same. So what they summarized at the end was that - it says the biometrics confirmed that the weight gain most likely represents muscle mass consistent with strength training.
Q So he put on from weight lifting?
MR. McCLELLAN: Most likely, is what the doctors say.
Q That's what they all say. (Laughter.)
Q Have they measured his waist? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: You'll have it all here. Anything else?
Q The New York Times story about the Saudi Arabia report, is that true, what they're saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think the President - well, the President has been very firm in his belief that all parties have a responsibility to end terrorism and to dismantle terrorist organizations. Violence and terrorism has been reduced in recent weeks, but the road map spells out very clearly that terrorist organizations need to be dismantled. That's the President's view, he made it very clear in his visits with Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon.
Q Is he willing to give Prime Minister Abbas more time to dismantle the organization?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has made it clear that Prime Minster Abbas is taking some important steps to reduce violence and end terrorism, and progress is being made. The President's view, though, is very clear, that everybody must work to end terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations.
Q So are you saying the story is flat wrong in the New York Times?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm saying that the President has been very clear in his views that, you know - we appreciate the progress that's been made in the security situation and ending terrorism, but our view remains the same, that these terrorist organizations need to be dismantled. (*Our policy on the Middle East has not changed.)
Q On Liberia, I understand that a date was set that Charles Taylor said he would leave. Have you got any information on that, that he said a date, like, August, I think it was 11th?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw the reports. I mean, there have been differing reports recently. Charles Taylor needs to leave and we need to see it in his actions, not only words. The President has made it clear that Charles Taylor needs to leave, there needs to be a cease-fire in place and that the United States stands ready to support ECOWAS in going in to Liberia and providing needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Liberia.
Q What about the report from Senator Warner that he was not happy with the level of briefing of Congress and -
MR. McCLELLAN: The Department of Defense addressed that in the article, you might want to check with them.
Q The New York Times story about the classified report on Saudi Arabia, is that report true?
MR. McCLELLAN: You're getting into classified information is what you're asking about. The classified information relates to sensitive national security matters involving, among other things, ongoing investigations. We will pursue those investigations wherever they may lead. These are ongoing investigations related to the September 11th attacks and we intend to pursue them fully. And the reason that those sections are classified is because of ongoing investigations and we don't want to jeopardize those ongoing investigations.
Q Are you going to ask the Saudis for access to some of the nationals and officials mentioned in -
MR. McCLELLAN: There have been some discussions and Saudi Arabia has been very cooperative in our efforts to win the war on terrorism, and we're pleased with the progress we're making and that cooperation.
Q Is there a team from the National Security Council going to Saudi Arabia to consult with them? The story says that -
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any update for you on that. We obviously stay in close consultation with Saudi Arabia in our efforts on the war on terrorism and that's where I'll leave it.
Q The story on Mr. Rave's taxes, I realize that was something that he wasn't directly involved with. Are you familiar with that?
MR. McCLELLAN: There was a statement put out by his mortgage company, because Karl did pay his taxes into an escrow - in escrow to his mortgage company. And as soon as he became aware that the mortgage company had not paid those taxes, he worked with them to ensure the situation resolved immediately. And I would encourage you to get a copy of the statement from Wells Fargo, which says that "we have recently identified that Mr. Karl Rove, who as a result of an inadvertent administrative error by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, did not have the required property taxes due March 31, 2003 paid to the Washington, D.C. treasurer. Wells Fargo regrets this error." And then they went on to say that, "the issue will be resolved today, Friday, August 1, 2003, and a check sent by overnight," and so forth. So I think that they addressed that.
Q Are you actively pursuing a new U.N. resolution for Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: On Iraq? Again, 1483 we believe provides sufficient authority for countries to participate and help with reconstruction and stabilization in Iraq. In fact, a number of countries already are participating under that resolution. There have been some countries that have expressed some concerns that they may need - that they feel they may need some additional authority. There have been some preliminary discussions with those countries, but we believe that 1483 provides sufficient authority for countries to participate, as a number are currently doing.
Q What's your schedule going to be while we're down there?
MR. McCLELLAN: Nothing on Sunday, don't expect anything from me on Sunday, barring breaking news. I'm there through Wednesday afternoon, this first tour of duty - I will be back the following week. But I expect that I'll do the usual gaggle in the 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. range each day.
Q You don't expect to do one tomorrow, unless there's something going on?
MR. McCLELLAN: Unless there's a need. No, enjoy your weekend.
Q Who's spelling you on Wednesday?
MR. McCLELLAN: Claire will be here Wednesday afternoon, so she'll be starting that evening.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCLELLAN: Josh Deckard is always available, too. (Laughter.)
END 2:25 pm CDT