|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 16, 2004
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Tampa, Florida
9:35 A.M. EDT
MR. McCLELLAN: All right, let me go through the President's day. He taped his radio address this morning before we left.
MR. McCLELLAN: It will focus on changing our culture -- it will be a changing the culture message that really focuses on strengthening families and the actions we are taking to help our children make the right choices in life, make healthy, responsible choices. Then he had his usual intelligence briefings.
When we arrive in Tampa, the Freedom Corps greeter is Lan Pham. For the past year, Lan has volunteered five days a week with Catholic Charities in St. Petersburg. Then the President will make remarks at the National Conference -- National Training Conference on Combating Human Trafficking in the United States, Rescuing Women and Children from Slavery. You have the fact sheet on that.
The President will be highlighting our active, ongoing efforts to combat the trafficking in persons. I expect he will talk about the strong action we are taking to put traffickers out of business and behind bars, while reaching out to help the victims who -- most of whom are women and children.
And then from there, we will go to West Virginia, where in Beckley, West Virginia -- well, upon arrival at the airport, the Freedom Corps greeter there is Susan Landis. She's been an active volunteer with the Raleigh County Make it Shine Beautification Project, as well as an active volunteer with the Beckley Presbyterian Church, on the Helping Hands Food Pantry that they have.
And then the President will make remarks at a Beckley, West Virginia rally. And then we arrive back at the White House this evening, where the President will be for the weekend. And remind me, when we get to the end, and we'll do the week ahead.
Q Just two quick logistical things. Speech today in West Virginia -- is it going to echo what we heard Tuesday and Wednesday on the road? Is this a campaign speech?
MR. McCLELLAN: I expect it to be the stump speech. There might be some language in there that talks about some issues of particular importance to the people of West Virginia.
Q Coal mining, natural resources?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q Also, is there any particular reason why the President is at the White House this weekend, as opposed to Camp David?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think -- is Mrs. Bush traveling this weekend, Josh?
MR. DECKARD: I don't know, I'll check.
Q I think she is.
MR. McCLELLAN: But no, not anything --
Q Can I ask you about Allawi's prediction that violence is going to spike in Iraq, and also whether you think his new intelligence service is going to be effective?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've said that as Iraq moves forward on holding elections, that you can expect the terrorists and the Saddam loyalists to continue to seek to derail that transition, because they know it will be a significant blow to their vision. And so that's why we are partnering -- that's why the coalition forces are partnering with the Iraqi people to address these ongoing security threats. The most important step that we're focused on is helping to train and equip the Iraqi security forces, so that they can provide for their security in the long-run. And you're seeing those Iraqi security forces take steps to go after those terrorists that are in their country. And Prime Minister Allawi has made it very clear that they will defeat the terrorists, that the terrorists will not prevail.
Q Does the surge in violence worry you? Does it add weight to your fear? And also, what about this new intelligence service in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've said that -- I think it's important to look at the overall picture of where things are in Iraq. There is tremendous progress being made, as we have seen. We're moving forward on the President's five-point plan for success. The Iraqi interim government is now in place and is taking responsibility for their future. They are determined to build a free and peaceful future, and they are determined to defeating the terrorists who are in their country. And we're there to work with them.
But there are going to be difficulties along the way, particularly as we move forward -- as the Iraqi people move forward to transitioning to democracy. There are still terrorists and remnants of the former regime that want to derail that process. And that's an ongoing challenge. And the international community stands with the Iraqi people in addressing these ongoing security threats.
Q One more try on the intel service -- they started a new intelligence --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's steps -- you're seeing -- I think those questions are best directed to the interim government. They're taking steps to address the ongoing security threats. They're assume -- you're seeing that they're assuming full responsibility for their country's future, and for a brighter future for the Iraqi people. That's what these steps indicate. And they've made it very clear that they have moved beyond the brutal, oppressive regime of the past, and they're now moving to a free and open society. But to do that, they must continue to address the security threats.
Q Are there going to be any consequences to Manila for the troop pull out?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, this question came up yesterday, and I addressed it in the briefing yesterday. I think Steve actually asked about it.
Q Are there going to be any diplomatic --
MR. McCLELLAN: We will continue to work closely with the Filipino government. They are a friend and ally, and we have worked very closely together in the global war on terrorism. You've already heard us express disappointment at the decision that was made. The way to defeat the terrorists is to take the fight to them. You cannot have a separate peace with terrorists.
Reject, Maura says.
Q On the trafficking issue, there's a debate within the policy community over whether there's been too much emphasis on prostitution as opposed to forceful labor practices, which involve men -- whether the administration has had too much of an emphasis on women forced into prostitution. What's your response to those --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're combating all forms of trafficking in persons. And you should look at the initiatives in the fact sheet that -- the President will highlight some of those initiatives. There's some new initiatives I know that the conference is talking about, that they'll be pursuing, as well. But I think people recognize that the vast majority of the problem is focused on -- is related to the trading -- the sex trade. And that is a serious problem, as well, but we're combating all forms of trafficking in persons.
This is an issue that goes straight to the heart of human dignity. And the President is strongly committed to promoting human dignity. And any trafficking in persons is wrong, and all nations have a responsibility to confront it. And the United States is leading the way in that effort. But this is -- the trafficking in persons is a serious problem. The sex trade is one part of that, and other aspects -- there are other aspects of it, as well, that you highlighted.
Q Scott, is there a political component to this, as well? Does this play well with the President's conservative base?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this is a high priority for the President that he has focused on for quite some time. You go back and look at what the President said at the United Nations, and look back at what he's talked about during the course of this administration. This is a serious problem. And the President is committed to making sure that the United States leads the way in combating the trafficking in persons at home and abroad, and that means going after the traffickers, and it means providing compassionate outreach to the victims. And that's what we are doing. It's about doing what is right.
Q It could also be a dual element, though, rallying the conservative base, wouldn't it?
MR. McCLELLAN: You all can do all the political analysis you want. I'll leave that to the pundits. The President is focused on doing what is right. And this has been a high priority for him throughout his administration. And you can look at his record to see his commitment to this issue.
Q Scott, as you probably know, Charles Jenkins --
MR. McCLELLAN: The fact that it is a serious problem across the world and here in the United States.
Q Charles Jenkins, who deserted the Army in 1965 and now lives in North Korea, is going to Japan for medical treatment this weekend. Boucher said yesterday that, "We intend to request custody when we have the legal opportunity to do so." Does the President believe he should be --
MR. McCLELLAN: I believe he was talking about if he goes to Japan. That's the administration's position. He said, I mean, this is also a military issue, and he pointed that out in his remarks yesterday in his briefing.
Q That means you will try to extradite him?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll leave it where Ambassador Boucher left it yesterday in the State Department briefing. That's our position.
Q I'm interpreting that to mean --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he addressed this yesterday in his briefing, and that's our -- that's our position.
Q -- came from. Do you know how this process will work? Do you request via a piece of paper to Japan --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think -- I think Ambassador Baker has talked about it, as well. They've expressed our views. I don't have anything to add to what they've said at this point.
Q Doesn't it matter that the President -- that the President is addressed personally, or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll see if there has been any -- you mean if there have been Presidential contacts with --
Q Yes, on this matter.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't -- he has not talked to Prime Minister Koizumi recently.
Q Just a few weeks ago, he talked to Koizumi about it.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll check -- I'll check on that to see if there's anything to add to -- well, you're talking about when they were -- I guess, NATO Summit, or -- no, he wasn't -- or G8?
Q Yes, they met a few weeks ago, and Koizumi pressed him on it. And Bush stood his ground and said, we want this guy.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think there's any update to -- I mean, our position has been stated by Ambassador Baker in Japan and by Ambassador Boucher in the State Department briefing. That's our position.
Q Safe to assume the administration wants to prosecute him, then?
MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, Scott, and you can keep asking the question, but it's where Ambassador Baker and Ambassador Boucher have left it. I don't have anything to add to what they've said, in terms of what our -- what our position is.
Q -- legalistic, that's why I'm looking for interpretation.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's our position.
Q At the NAACP yesterday, Senator Kerry criticized the administration's approach to Darfur, saying it wasn't aggressive enough. He said there should be humanitarian intervention, and there should be a clearer label of genocide. He says you're equivocating.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's nice that he's decided to talk about it in an election year, and -- because this administration has been acting on this humanitarian and security crisis. We have been -- we have been -- for quite some time, we have been -- the United States is leading the way when it comes to addressing this situation and bringing the international community's attention to it.
Secretary Powell went to the Darfur region to see, first hand, for himself, the situation there. We've seen some mixed results from the government. We have urged the government to take action to address the security situation and to help allow for the aid to get to the people who need it. And we are continuing to lead the way for the international community in addressing this issue. We are pursuing a resolution at the United Nations that will continue to focus attention on this issue and make sure that the -- that it is addressed.
We welcome -- we welcome him, all of a sudden talking about it in an election year. But we've been acting on this for quite some time, and the United States is leading the way to address this situation.
Q He says you're equivocating on the question of whether it's genocide.
MR. McCLELLAN: He's saying a lot of things in an election year, but look at the actions that we are taking.
Q Well, do you believe that it's genocide in Sudan?
MR. McCLELLAN: We've addressed that issue previously. Secretary Powell has talked about it, I've talked about it in briefings. Regardless of what you want to call it, it is a humanitarian crisis and a security crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. And that's why Secretary Powell visited the region at the direction of the President to bring attention to this issue, as well as to urge the government of Sudan to follow through on what they have committed to doing.
Q But it's not genocide?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just addressed that, Maura.
Q In an interview today with the Wall Street Journal, Kerry says that he wouldn't be surprised if the President drew down troops in Iraq before the election. He says that he's heard a lot of talk about the White House perhaps gearing up for a troop withdrawal. Is the President considering drawing down the troops before the election?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, he says a lot of things during -- he's saying a lot of things during this campaign season. The President, as you have heard him say, looks to his commanders in the theater and his military leaders to make the determinations about what resources are needed and what troop levels are needed to complete the mission in Iraq. And that's what he will continue to do.
Q Week ahead?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let's see, on Monday, the President will meet the President of Chile in the Oval Office. Then he will meet with the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He will also participate in a photo opportunity with the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner on the South Portico.
On Tuesday, the President will participate in some campaign events. He'll make remarks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And he'll make remarks at a St. Charles, Missouri rally.
And then on Wednesday, July 21st, the President will make remarks at the 2004 President's Dinner in Washington. This is the NRS -- National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee event.
Then on Thursday --
Q That's D.C.? Sorry.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's right. The Convention Center. Then on Thursday, July 22nd, the President will sign into law the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 at the White House. Then he will go to Glenview, Illinois, where he'll tour the Northeastern Illinois Public Training Academy. Then he will make remarks at Homeland Security in Glenview, Illinois. And then he will attend a Victory 2004 dinner in Winnetka, Illinois.
Q Did you say, Cleveland, Illinois?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, Glenview. Not projecting.
Q Yes, you're not projecting, Scott --
MR. McCLELLAN: That's Maura who's criticizing me for not projecting. (Laughter.) In a very lighthearted -- in a very lighthearted way. I want the full press corps to feel like they're part of this gaggle.
Q They'll be roaring.
Q No laughter.
MR. McCLELLAN: Then on Friday, July 23rd, the President will make remarks at the 2004 Urban League Conference in Detroit. Then he will make remarks at a Victory 2004 dinner, Crawford, Texas. And the President will remain in Crawford, Texas until he returns to Washington on July 29th.
Q Twenty-ninth. Travel on the way back, that day, the 29th?
MR. McCLELLAN: Nothing. No, in fact, when he's in Crawford, there are no public events scheduled at this time. I expect him to spend that time in Crawford tending to Presidential business, as well as having some down time.
Q You don't expect any short day trips or anything during that period?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, as I said, there are no public events scheduled.
Q That fundraiser in Crawford, is that closed?
Q Where is that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's at --
Q What was the question?
Q The fundraiser in Crawford --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's at --
Q -- Broken Spoke Ranch, I think.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's someone's residence? Okay.
Q We went there last year.
Q Yes, we've been there a couple of times.
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll check on it. You might want to check with the campaign, too.
Q Can you tell me the event, again, Thursday, the Glenview event at -- the Homeland Security event, he tours what?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Northeastern Illinois Public Training Academy.
Q What is that?
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll get you all those details as we get closer to that. But the remarks are focused on homeland security.
Q And the Victory 2004 dinner that night is a private residence?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's what they were just asking about, and Josh shook his head --
Q The Winnetka event.
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, I'll have to check. We'll check. We'll get you that information.
Q Scott, we noticed that the Tour de France is on the video monitors. Is the President taking any time during the flight to watch Lance Armstrong --
MR. McCLELLAN: He has been trying to follow the Tour de France, and he certainly is pulling for Lance Armstrong to capture his sixth title. And so he has been watching it with great interest.
Q Lance was on this plane a couple -- I should say the bigger Air Force One --
MR. McCLELLAN: He went down to Crawford in August --
Q I think it was --
MR. McCLELLAN: 2001?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q Do you now, is it possible for the President to communicate with Lance during this race and cheer him on at all?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't -- I don't think there's -- no, there haven't been any communications with him. But the President is certainly wishing him well and hoping that he will be able to accomplish his sixth straight victory.
Q Do you happen to know whether the President ever rides or ever has had occasion to ride the Trek road bike that Lance gave him after that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not -- well, I'll have to check on that. I'll have to check on that. I'm not sure that that's the bike -- that's not the bike he's been using.
Q Correct. It's a road bike.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure if he's ridden that in the past or not. I'm not sure what happened to that. It might have been -- it might have been something that's -- that's been sent to -- something that's donated, maybe, to a future Presidential library or something of that nature.
Q He's watching on this flight, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, because what you see on is also on in his cabin.
Q He's got a couple of hours of down time this afternoon. I don't suppose he's taking a bike ride?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think we're at the -- where are we during that downtime, at --
Q In West Virginia.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, the Courtyard by Marriott.
Q Scott, do you expect that Barbara will introduce her father at the rally in West Virginia today?**
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you'll be at all these events. There -- she just went on her first campaign trip the other day, and I think she really -- is really enjoying it, as is her sister, Jenna. And I suspect they'll continue to get more and more involved in the campaign as time goes by. But the President is pleased to have her -- have Barbara traveling with him again today.
MR. McCLELLAN: I expect he may recognize her. I don't know that -- I'll check and see if there's any update to that.
Q Well, there's been a lot of talk about Barbara --
Q I'll see if -- I'll see if there's any update to that.
Q Okay, well, we'll see, I suppose.
MR. McCLELLAN: You'll be there to cover it, too.
Q All right.
Q Thanks, Scott.
END 9:55 A.M. EDT
** She is not expected to introduce him.