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For Immediate Release
October 21, 2004
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One En Route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12:23 P.M. EDT
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon. Let me begin with the President's day. He had his usual briefings this morning, back at the White House. Then he had the signing of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, aimed at preventing teen suicide. You all are aware of that.
Then he had some interviews with some Hispanic television networks, Telemundo and Univision. I think he did two interviews with two different Univision programs. And then he also had the Telemundo one. And then he had some tapings at the White House.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me try and get you that information. Let me just double check that. I think one of the programs was Sabado, which airs on, I think, Saturday nights.
And then we've got the first event in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where the focus will be on health care. I expect the President will talk about the practical reforms he is proposing for his second term to make health care more affordable and accessible. And I expect he will contrast his agenda with Senator Kerry's views, and talk about the stark differences there, both in terms of the ideas, as well as the philosophy behind those ideas. And then we go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he'll make remarks this afternoon, as well. Oh, Archbishophe's got the meeting with the Archbishop of Philadelphia, as well, in Downingtown.
Q What's that? Why is he doing that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he often meets with religious leaders both in Washington as well as when he travels across the United States. I can try to get you an update on the different meetings he's had with Catholic bishops.
Q Is he reaching out to Catholic voters?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me get you a readout of the meeting after it occurs, and we'll get you more information on that.
Q Does the President have any take on some Catholic officials feeling that John Kerry should be denied communion and sacraments?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, those are questions you ought to direct to those religious leaders.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you continue to see indications that the economy is moving forward and continuing to create jobs. You look at the four week average, as well, it signals we should be able to -- we should expect continued job growth. The economy is moving forward because of the pro-growth policies the President has worked to implement. The last thing we need to do is turn back from those policies by raising taxes. That would bring the economy to a screeching halt.
Q The President was once quoted as saying, anybody but the Yankees. Did he watch last night?
MR. McCLELLAN: He caught some of both games. I know we were kind of on our way home last night, and I know he caught some of the Astros-Cardinals game, and I know he caught some of the Yankees-Red Sox last night, as well.
Q Apart from watching, what's his reaction, what's his hope?
MR. McCLELLAN: He hopes for a great game tonight and he hopes for a great World Series. It's been an exciting playoff series to watch.
Q Some karma in a Massachusetts-Texas World Series?
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll see what -- see what happens tonight.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that issue was addressed yesterday. I think Karen talked about it yesterday, and I think I'll leave it where Karen left it.
Q Pat Robertson is sticking by his story. I know you spoke on this yesterday, but --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think what I -- what I said yesterday still stands. You know, the -- what I said yesterday still stands.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that those are discussions that were had between the multinational force commanders. It's really military to military contacts. We appreciate the contributions of all the 30-some coalition forces in Iraq, including the British forces. The British, like the other 30 nations who are contributing troops, are making tremendous sacrifices to help the Iraqi people build a free and peaceful future. And the coalition forces are there to partner with the interim government to continue to address the ongoing security challenges in the country.
Q In the wake of the kidnapping of the head of CARE in Iraq, a number of non-governmental organizations, NGOs, have been reassessing whether they want to stay in the country. Is the President doing anything to urge them to stay?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the I don't know about the number. I know what CARE said, as well. I think that the international community recognizes the importance of what we're working to achieve in Iraq. And we're all there to help the Iraqi people build a brighter future and help them move forward on free and fair elections. And that's what we're working to achieve. So, obviously, people have to make their own decisions about -- related to their own circumstances.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q -- closed roundtable when we get to Downington?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. I think he does before the -- before the first event.
Sunday, October 24th, this Sunday, we will depart from the ranch and go to Alamogordo, New Mexico for a Victory 2004 rally. That'll be in the afternoon on Sunday. Then we return back to the ranch that evening.
Then on Monday, the 25th, the President will make remarks at a Greeley, Colorado Victory 2004 rally. And then he'll make remarks at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, Victory 2004 rally. And then remarks at a Davenport, Iowa Victory 2004 rally. We will overnight in La Crosse on Monday -- La Crosse, Wisconsin, that is.
And then on Tuesday, the 26th, it is a bus tour day. The President will make remarks in La Crosse. Then he will participate in a Focus on the Economy with President Bush event in Richland Center, Wisconsin. And then he'll make remarks at a Cuba City, Wisconsin Victory 2004 rally. And then he'll make remarks --
Q Cuba City -- what state?
MR. McCLELLAN: Wisconsin. Then he'll make remarks at a Dubuque, Iowa Victory rally, and we will be back at the White House Tuesday night.
Q Wow. What else, anything?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's all I've got for now.
Q You're still not able to say when the leaving the White House, not coming back day is going to be?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'll try to get -- I'll try to get you all that information as soon as everything is finalized. At this point, we may have one other night back at the White House.
Q In addition to the one you just --
MR. McCLELLAN: In addition to the one I just said. But, again, things are still a little bit flexible at this point. But in the next day or so, hopefully I can get you that information for your planning purposes.
All right. Thanks.
END 12:30 P.M. EDT