|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 29, 2004
Press Gaggle by Trent Duffy
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Andrews Air Force Base
3:54 P.M. EDT
MR. DUFFY: b>Today the President had his normal intelligence briefings. And then he held a video-teleconference with the members of his task force that are reviewing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The President is pleased with the progress of the commission at this point. It was his third conference call that he participated in. As was noted in some of the news reports today, there was a principals meeting yesterday at the White House with members of the task force. But, again, the President is pleased with the progress that is being made. He wants them to fast-track their work and the pace is one that reflects his desire to have action quickly.
He then taped an interview, television interview with Dr. Phil, which will air later in September, I believe. For more details on that, you can connect with Gordon Johndroe in the First Lady's Office. And then he had an interview with Field and Stream Magazine.
Q When will that be published?
MR. DUFFY: Not clear.
Q Was the First Lady part of the Dr. Phil interview?
MR. DUFFY: She was, which is why for further details you can talk with the Honorable Gordon Johndroe -- I don't have his phone number handy, but I can get that for you.
And that's what I have on his day.
Q Is there a second meeting tonight? Is there a principals meeting this evening?
MR. DUFFY: If we have anything more on the pace of the meetings, we'll let you know.
Q I think that answers my second question -- whether there is one or two a day? Is there any steady rhythm?
MR. DUFFY: If we have more on that, we'll let you know. We're keeping you apprised of all the developments, as we have for the past -- since Friday, when the task force was established.
Q Can I just ask you, too, whether he's any closer to receiving executive orders now?
MR. DUFFY: I'll just leave it the way I described it. He's very pleased with the progress. They're moving at a pace that reflects his desire to have this fast-tracked, and he's pleased with the progress that's being made.
Q When you say, principals meetings, are you talking about the task force minus the President?
MR. DUFFY: That's correct. That's correct.
Q You said they've met how many times?
MR. DUFFY: He's the Principal-in-Chief, of course. There are activities, obviously, that the task force is doing on its own, I think the way the President had envisioned the task force to work.
Q How many times did you say the principals have met?
MR. DUFFY: I don't have that. I'll see what we can do on that.
Q They met today, though, right?
MR. DUFFY: No. Yesterday.
MR. DUFFY: Yesterday, as was in the news reports.
Q Trent, would your best guidance be that an announcement wouldn't come until next week, rather than this week?
MR. DUFFY: My best guidance is that the President wants this task force to work quickly. He's pleased with the progress and I just would hesitate to put any sort of time line on it one way or another.
Q Did he watch the convention last night? Will he watch tonight?
MR. DUFFY: He watched a little bit of it and he's been keeping an eye on some of the coverage. He's been briefed by aides on the convention. And I will let you know about tonight.
Q Do you know whether he watched Edwards last night?
MR. DUFFY: I think he saw some of the coverage.
Q Trent, has he been in touch with Denny Hastert or Mr. Frist up on the Hill about legislation, or anything sort of suggesting that we may need some?
MR. DUFFY: I don't have anything on that. If we have anything further on the President's communications, we'll let you know.
Q Should we describe Bush an anxious to get back on the campaign trail tomorrow, after a week in which the Democrats have dominated the spotlight? At the risk of leading the witness. (Laughter.)
MR. DUFFY: I think that's a question best posed to the campaign.
Q He looked in an awfully good mood when he got off the helicopter. Is he in a good mood? Did he have fun on the ranch?
MR. DUFFY: I think the President is pleased with the work that was accomplished this week at the ranch and in Washington on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. You know he always loves going to the ranch, but this was very much a working period down here, as you all have reported. And so I think he's pleased, obviously, to spend time on the ranch, but, again, he's pleased with the progress that's going on.
His most solemn priority is to protect the American people. He wants to put those initiatives into place that will make America safer. He has done a lot, this administration has done a lot already. We have had internal reforms at the CIA. We've tripled funding for homeland security. We are reforming the FBI. We are dropping the wall between foreign and domestic intelligence.
So this is the latest in a series of actions that this administration is taking to make America safer.
Q Are we hearing a whole new speech tomorrow? Can you preview that at all?
MR. DUFFY: I'll see what I can get for you on that. You ought to be in touch with the campaign, as well.
Q Is one of the options under review a decision on whether to extend the life of the commission?
MR. DUFFY: I don't have anything further on that, than what I said yesterday, Mark.
Q Is he going to watch Kerry's speech tonight?
MR. DUFFY: We'll let you know on that.
Q To follow up on Mark's question, is the question of a new CIA Director and intel czar all wrapped up in this process, as well, this deliberative process?
MR. DUFFY: I answered that yesterday. I don't have anything further on that.
Q I'm just asking whether they're all being tackled by this working group?
MR. DUFFY: Well, I think it's very safe to say that the personnel and the CIA Director is very much a part of their discussions.
Q Is this week pretty much it? Will there be any more vacation coming up before the election?
MR. DUFFY: Well, I wouldn't call it a vacation. The President had a very -- he got a lot of work done, but he's always the President wherever he goes. And when we have updates to the President's schedule, you know we will make sure that you get those immediately.
END 4:00 P.M. EDT