For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 13, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
PRESS BRIEFING BY SCOTT McCLELLAN
President's schedule..................................1-2 Meeting
with congressional members.................1-2, 8 Energy
costs...................................2-4, 15-17 Leader
DeLay/criticism from Republicans...............4-7
oil wells.................................7-8 Social
Afghanistan/permanent military base....................10
efforts on road map.....................12-13 Iran/Israeli
view...................................13-14 President's trip to
Russia.............................14 Saudi Arabia/Crown Prince
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release April 13, 2005
PRESS BRIEFING BY SCOTT McCLELLAN
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:20 P.M. EDT
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon. Good to see you, Terry. All
right, let me begin with the President's morning. And then I've got a
couple of announcements to update you on, on the President's schedule.
The President had a couple of congressional meetings this morning.
The President was pleased to welcome the bipartisan congressional
leadership to the White House for breakfast. The meeting was an
opportunity to discuss a number of important priorities for the
American people. One of the top priorities that the President
discussed at the beginning of the breakfast was the need for a
comprehensive energy plan. The President remains concerned about
rising gas prices, and that's why he outlined a detailed and
comprehensive energy plan four years ago. And we continue to call on
Congress to act on that energy plan and get it passed.
He also talked about his meeting on Monday down in Crawford with
Prime Minister Sharon. Prime Minister Sharon has put forward a bold
initiative to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and the
President talked about the opportunity that this presents to get moving
on his two-state vision of Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in
peace and security. And they talked about the democratic progress
going on in the region, as well, and they talked about the new
government that is taking shape in Iraq and Iraq is on the path to a
brighter and democratic future.
They also talked about the supplemental. The President talked
about the importance of acting quickly to pass the supplemental so that
our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will have all the resources they
need to complete the mission, and that they'll have the resources they
need to help train and equip the Iraqi and Afghan security forces.
There was also a good discussion about the budget. The President
believes it's important that we get a budget resolution passed soon,
one that funds our highest priorities and exercises spending restraint,
so that we can make sure that we meet the President's commitment of
reducing the deficit in half over the next five years.
Then later this morning, the President had a good discussion with
Republican leaders from the House and Senate. This was the Republican
leadership, and that meeting focused on the legislative agenda that is
before us. We have a very full agenda before us in the coming months.
And they spent a considerable amount of time talking about some of the
same issues I just mentioned a minute ago -- the budget, energy, Social
Security. The President talked about the progress that is being made
as we reach out to the American people, and he talked about the need to
move forward and get it done.
Now, a couple of announcements I have. One of them I think you all
are already aware of. The President will welcome Crown Prince Abdullah
of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to his ranch in Crawford on April 25th.
The President looks forward to discussing with -- discussing a wide
range of key bilateral and regional issues with the Crown Prince,
including our efforts to promote democratic reform, achieve peace in
the Middle East, and win the global war on terrorism.
And on April 28th, the President looks forward to welcoming
President Torrijos of the Republic of Panama to the White House. The
President looks forward to discussing with President Torrijos the
common interests Panama and the United States have in improving
security, strengthening democracy, and expanding economic opportunity
in the hemisphere. The meeting is a reflection of the close
cooperation between our nations and the strength of our bilateral
And with that, I am glad to go to your questions.
Q Scott, on the subject of gas prices, what's the President --
can you detail for us the President's concern? Is he worried that high
gas prices are starting to put a strain on family budgets? Or is he
concerned that they've reached the level now where they're starting to
actually negatively impact the economy?
MR. McCLELLAN: He's concerned -- his concern has been something
he's had for his entire administration. This is a concern that the
President has had from day one, when he came into office. We continue
to go through this year after year because we do not have a
comprehensive energy plan. That's why the President outlined a
comprehensive energy plan to reduce our dependence on foreign sources
of energy and make us more energy self-sufficient.
And rising gas prices are a drag on our growing economy. Our
economy is growing strong. We have seen some 3 million jobs created
since March of 2003. Our economic growth is strong. We're seeing
sustained and strong economic growth. But rising gas prices are a drag
on that economy. And it's a concern that the President has about the
impact it has on the American people and on their pocketbook. And
that's why he's calling on Congress to get moving on the energy plan
that he outlined four years ago.
Q Does he have some kind of an idea where the tipping point is
here, where a drag on the economy could become fully slamming on the
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, keep in mind that we've already been acting
on a number of initiatives that the President developed as part of the
comprehensive energy strategy that we developed back in 2001. There
are some steps that we can take from the executive branch and we have
taken those steps; we will continue to do so. But what we need to do
is continue to work closely with Congress and get Congress to get this
legislation passed so that this problem doesn't recur.
But in terms of the assessment, obviously, it remains a concern
that we have these rising gas prices. What we have is -- and you have
to take into account the world economy -- what we have now is two
nations that have been developing, China and India, who are consuming
much more oil. And the supply is tight. And that's -- the President
recognized the problem that we faced when he first came into office.
That's why we need to act on the plan that he outlined.
Q Will there be any immediate impact, if Congress approved the
energy package right now, on gasoline prices, the rising gasoline
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there are steps that we need to look at now
that we can look at and that we are looking at. This is something that
is a high priority for this administration. We meet regularly on these
issues, and we will continue to do so.
The President next week is going to give a major speech talking
about our energy situation and about rising energy prices and the need
to address this issue. It's something that he has talked about at
length for four years now. And it's something that he has put forward
a proposal to address. And Congress needs to follow up on that
But there are steps that we can look at now to address some of
these issues. We've got to make sure that there's no price gouging
going on. We've got to continue to move forward on cleaner, more
efficient technologies, and that's exactly what we're doing. We've
taken some action when it comes to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy
standards for SUVs and trucks. We helped improve those standards. And
as a result, by 2007, you're going to see some -- see us save some
340,000 barrels of oil a day.
We also have taken steps on diesel regulations to enable clean
diesel vehicles to -- or to have clean diesel vehicles. And our budget
in 2006 has $2 billion in tax incentives for energy-efficient hybrid
vehicles. And we want to see continued funding for the hydrogen fuel
initiative. So there are steps we're taking. But what needs to happen
is Congress needs to act on the comprehensive strategy that we
Q And if they do that, will there be any immediate impact on
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've got to make ourselves more energy
self-sufficient. That's one of the things the President, I expect,
will talk about in his remarks, and you'll hear more from the President
in his remarks next week, talking about this matter.
Q Scott, the President met at least twice today with House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay. As you know, he's come --
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me back up, Terry, one other thing I want to
make, and I think it's a point I've made before, we've got to have
comprehensive solutions. We can't have patchwork crisis management
year after year. And that's what we're seeing it comes to, and that's
why we need to act on a comprehensive solution.
Q The President, at least twice, has met with House Majority Tom
DeLay today. And in light of some of the criticism from fellow
Republicans -- Chris Shays, as well as Newt Gingrich -- Shays saying
that he believes he should step down; at best, he says, this is a
distraction, these questions over his ethics; at worst, that it's
bogging down the potential for other congressional Republican
candidates for 2006. Is it still the President's feeling that he
believes that he can effectively lead the Republican Party? And, if
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, the President previously made his views known,
and that remains his view. He has confidence in Leader DeLay. We have
worked with him on a number of important priorities, as well as other
congressional leaders, and the President intends to continue working
with congressional leaders -- like Speaker Hastert and Leader DeLay --
to get things done for the American people.
Q Do you believe that the criticism from other fellow
Republicans erodes his ability to effectively lead the Republican
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's why we're focused on working with
congressional leaders like Leader DeLay to move forward on the
important priorities facing the American people. The meetings you
brought up, the two meetings that he attended were focused on the
important priorities before the American people. The American people
want us to focus on getting things done on their behalf -- on important
issues like Social Security, like a comprehensive energy plan. That's
where our focus is. And the President has made his views known on
I know that there's going to be a tendency to get us to react to
every comment that's made day in and day out, and I think the
President's views are well-known. We're not going to get into
commenting on everything that is said each day.
Q So -- on DeLay and on one other subject -- so just on the
record, then, the President has reviewed the allegations against Leader
DeLay and he's completely confident that Tom DeLay is clean and can
lead the Republican Party?
MR. McCLELLAN: He was asked this question in a press conference
just a couple of weeks ago; he made his views known when it comes to
Leader DeLay. That remains his view. And in terms of those matters, I
mean, I think I previously talked about that those are issues that will
be addressed by the congressional leaders and by Leader DeLay.
Q On the budget -- you mentioned that the President talked about
the budget -- when the President rolled out his budget there was a
great deal made of how tough it was. One of the areas was agriculture,
where the President had proposed cutting subsidies primarily to very
large corporate agri business operations. It sounds as if the
administration has now retreated on that. Why?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't think that's the case and I think you
might want to follow up. I think you're referring to some comments by
Secretary Johanns, and you ought to look at his testimony from his
hearing yesterday and I think you'll see that in his comments. But I'm
sure his office will be glad to follow up on that.
That is an important part of our deficit reduction plan. These
proposals are common sense, reasonable ones that we believe Congress
should act on. We're continuing to work closely with Congress on the
budget that the President put forward. And it's important that they
move forward on a budget that is responsible and funds our highest
priorities, but also holds the line on spending elsewhere. And that's
one of the areas where it's important for Congress to act, to find
savings. We should move forward on those proposals and that's what we
believe. And we'll continue working closely with Congress on those
Q So the report that the administration has given up trying to
cap subsidies at $250,000 -- that's incorrect?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's an accurate description at
Q Scott, you said a couple days ago that, as the President said,
he considers Tom Delay a friend. I actually went back -- I never saw
the President say that anywhere. He said he had confidence in Tom
DeLay. And I also noticed that Tom DeLay said when the President was
running for President in 2000 -- or 1999 -- that Bush was not a social
friend of his. So does Bush consider --
MR. McCLELLAN: There are a number of congressional leaders that he
works closely with on the Hill and he considers a friend, sure.
Q And he considers Tom DeLay a friend?
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. I mean, I think there are different levels
of friendship with anybody, so -- (laughter.) Well, no, you referred
to social friends and -- but, no, he certainly is a friend.
Q What level of friendship are you referring to here?
MR. McCLELLAN: A friend. The President considers him such. And
we support his efforts, along with the efforts of other congressional
leaders, to move forward on the agenda that the American people want us
Q Scott, back on the energy plan, some critics are saying that
the ANWR situation is long-term and whatever that would yield, it does
not yield enough to make a substantial difference in any gas price that
is set at the time. With the ANWR situation, is this administration,
with the new plan, thinking of possibly uncapping some of the capped
oil wells in this country that were capped because of environmental
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think, one -- one, and this is something
the President talked about earlier today, is we do need to diversify
our supply of energy in the United States. That's part of the plan
that he outlined to Congress, and that's part of our efforts, is
diversifying our supply. And that means looking at alternative sources
of energy. It also -- the comprehensive plan that he outlined also
calls for expanding conservation. There are certain lifestyles that
we've become accustomed to. And the President believes it's important
to expand conservation to promote energy efficiency, and to look at
alternative sources for energy.
And in terms of the issue you bring up, we need to look at ways we
can use new technologies. New technologies is an important component
of our energy plan to drill in environmentally responsible ways. And
you can go back and look at the plan that we outlined. There was a
very detailed lengthy book that we put forward in terms of what we're
Q So are you saying that you're looking toward new technology to
find -- to go into these oil wells that are capped because of
environmental concerns -- are you coming back to --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know, I mean, I think there are some
probably private companies that look at ways they can go ahead and do
that. But in terms of our plan, I would go back and look at it. I
don't know specifically, I can't recall specifically what it says on
that matter. But one area where we can make a difference and reduce
our dependence on foreign sources of energy is ANWR and expanding our
domestic production capabilities, and making use of the new
technologies that do it in an environmentally responsible way. When
we're talking about ANWR we're talking about a very small footprint on
the land there.
Q Okay, but are you talking about as an option, possibly making
a footprint on some of these capped wells, as well?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, go back and look at our energy plan.
There's a lengthy book.
Q Can you tell me, without looking --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't recall specifically, April. But there are
examples where I know companies have gone back and looked at ways they
can explore again where wells have been capped.
Q Scott, a minor point, and I don't mean to sound facetious, but
you said the President had two meetings with members of Congress, the
first was bipartisan.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's right.
Q Did the second one take place immediately thereafter, and did
somebody say, all the Democrats out?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. (Laughter.)
Q What happened there? How did it --
MR. McCLELLAN: The meeting this morning was at breakfast. It was
at 7:00 a.m., it was about an hour, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. this
morning. The meeting with the Republican leadership from the House and
Senate was a little bit after 11:00 a.m. this morning, and it took
place in the Cabinet Room. In fact, the first thing the President did
was walk in with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and introduce them to
the members of Congress. They were here for the President's Cup team
captain photo with the President.
Q Scott, you said that -- in talking about Social Security with
the leaders this morning, the President talked about progress that's
been made and that it's time to move forward. What progress does the
President think has been made, and what does he want in terms of the
MR. McCLELLAN: I think if you look at survey after survey, it
shows that more and more Americans understand that there are serious
problems facing Social Security, and you continue to see in survey
after survey that there is strong support, majority support for the
idea of giving younger workers the ability to invest in personal
retirement accounts. That is a voluntary effort that the President has
put forward. And the first phase of our push on Social Security has
been to reach out to the American people and educate them about the
challenges facing Social Security.
And we continue to reach out to the American people and talk about
the problems facing Social Security, and I think that that's the
progress that is being made. That is an important part of moving
forward on legislation, because the first step is everybody -- for
everybody to have a common understanding of the problems facing Social
Security, recognize that it is something that needs to be addressed and
needs to be addressed now. And I think more and more Americans are
Q So when you say the President told the legislative leaders
it's time to move forward, what does he expect of them in the
MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of -- well, in both this morning and with
members of Congress -- I mean, right now we continue to reach out to
the American people and talk about the challenges facing Social
Security. And the President is talking about some of the ideas and
he's saying, I want to listen to all ideas that are out there; I
welcome all ideas; come forward with your ideas for solving this
problem; we need to have a bipartisan solution to get this done, but
it's important that we get it done this year.
And in terms of how we move forward, that's what we're discussing
with members of Congress -- how do we move forward in a bipartisan way
to get it done this year. Because the American people, when they see
problems, they expect their leaders to address those problems. And --
go ahead, I'm sorry.
Q Just one more, then. So the 60-in-60 trip is up in two weeks,
and if this is part of what comprises phase one, does phase two start
in two weeks, and what does it entail?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not putting -- if you're asking for a time
line, we continue -- I mean, we've been on a 60-day push to educate the
American people about the problems facing Social Security. We continue
in that outreach to the American people right now. We will at some
point enter a different phase where we'll be focusing much more on the
solutions. But for now, we need to continue to talk about the problems
and the challenges facing Social Security, and the need to find a
permanent solution, and not only a permanent -- a solution that
permanently fixes Social Security, but one that makes it a better deal
for younger Americans, and for future generations. Nothing is going to
change for seniors.
Those who are now retired or near retirement aren't going to see
any changes. But at some point, we'll move into another phase where we
focus more on the solutions. And those are discussions that we
continue to have with congressional leaders. We're going to work in
concert with congressional leaders as we move forward. And we want to
continue to hear from them about how we can move forward in a
bipartisan way to get this done.
Q Scott, can I follow up on that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead. I'll come to you in a minute. Go ahead,
Q There are several stories --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll come to you. I'll come to you. Go ahead.
Q Thank you. Just two quickly, one on Israel, one on
Afghanistan. Would the administration withdraw support for Prime
Minister Sharon's plans if he continues to extend settlements? And on
Afghanistan, what do you think about the proposal for a permanent U.S.
MR. McCLELLAN: The proposal? Okay, on -- first of all, on
Afghanistan, our focus is on making sure that Afghan forces are trained
and equipped and able to provide for their own defense and security.
We want to make sure Afghan forces are able to combat the threats from
terrorism within their own country, and from others who seek to derail
the transition to democracy in Afghanistan. And so that's where our
focus has been.
We've been working very closely with the government in Afghanistan
on -- and having ongoing discussions about how we move forward. We
will continue to discuss future security arrangements with officials in
Afghanistan and how we move forward. I wouldn't want to speculate on
it at this point.
In terms of the question you asked about Prime Minister Sharon, I
think it's important to go back and focus on what the President talked
about in his press avail the other day with Prime Minister Sharon.
Much of the focus of the meeting the other day in Crawford was on the
withdrawal plan that Prime Minister Sharon has outlined. The meeting
focused on how do we move forward on this bold initiative, this
disengagement plan that Prime Minister Sharon has outlined. And that's
why the President focused on the importance of the Palestinian
leadership taking Israel up on its offer to coordinate closely on the
withdrawal from the Gaza.
It provides a real opportunity for us. If we are successful there
in the Gaza, it provides a real opportunity to move forward on the road
map and to move forward on the President's two-state vision. But we've
got to make sure that there is -- and the world has a responsibility to
help in those efforts to make sure that the Palestinians are able to
move in and self-govern that area, and begin moving forward on
additional measures to have institutions in place for a viable
democracy to emerge. And so that's really where the focus was.
In terms of the settlement issue, all parties have obligations
under the road map. I talked about this the other day. I know this
was a question you all followed up with me on after the press
conference, as well. We recognize that Israel has certain views that
they're going to take into the final status discussions. Our view on
the final status discussions were reiterated the other day by the
President. He talked about them a year ago here at the White House; he
reiterated them the other day -- where the focus needs to be right now,
it is on seizing this opportunity before us, this opportunity that has
been put before the parties in the region by Prime Minister Sharon.
And we want to see both parties meet their obligations under the road
Go ahead. I'll come to you. No, no, go ahead. I'll come to you,
Keith. Go ahead, did you have something?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q Oh, thank you. On North Korea, it is reported that North
Korea had requested the closure of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Office
MR. McCLELLAN: That they have requested the what? The closure --
Q Closure of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Office in Pyongyang.
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't seen those reports.
Q You didn't see --
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you asking me for a reaction, or --
Q Yes, what is your comment?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll take a look at those reports.
Q It was reported by Korean Broadcasting.
MR. McCLELLAN: This morning?
Q No, weeks ago.
MR. McCLELLAN: Okay. (Laughter.) I'll take a look at it.
Q Scott, on the road map, can you identify even one Palestinian
terrorist group that has been disarmed by the Palestinian Authority in
accordance with the Bush administration's own road map? And I have a
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's important to look at some of the steps
that have been taken. And the President talked about President Abbas
the other day in the news conference. We look forward to having
President Abbas visit Washington again so the President can talk to him
about what we can do to support them in their efforts to move forward
on the two-state vision that he outlined. But there have been some
steps taken to address the security situation.
It's important that they have a unified security structure.
General Ward has been in the region working closely with the
Palestinians to help put those security forces in place and have a
unified structure to address some of these issues. But the road map is
very clear in what it says. We've been very clear in what our views
are, as well. And it's important that the parties meet their
Q In the event that Hamas, a terrorist organization not yet
disarmed by the PA, wins a majority in the legislative PA, will the
Bush administration still send $350 million U.S. taxpayer dollars to
the PA, or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, it's -- the one thing that you see when people
have elections that are free and fair is that they tend to choose
people who are committed to improving their livelihood, not people who
are committed to terrorist acts. And I think if you look back at the
previous Palestinian elections, the people that were elected, while
they might have been members of Hamas, they were business
professionals. They were people that ran on talking about improving
the quality of life for the Palestinian people and addressing their
economic needs and addressing other needs that are important to them --
Q Scott, Senator Graham said yesterday that he would like the
administration to put forth some ideas for addressing the solvency of
Social Security and not just the private accounts issue that the
President has said doesn't address solvency. When can we expect to see
some ideas from the administration that -- like raising the retirement
age and others that have been put forth that address the solvency
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, some of them you brought up. The President
has said all those ideas are on the table. The President has said all
ideas are on the table with the exception of increasing the payroll tax
rate. That's what he has made clear: I welcome all ideas, and it's
important for others to come forward and present ideas. If they
recognize that there is a problem, then they need to come forward and
present ideas for solving that problem. That's what the American
people expect. And the President has said, our door is open. We want
to see Democratic leaders start to come to the table and present their
ideas for solving this problem, so then we can move forward in a
bipartisan way to get something done.
But in terms of timing, those are discussions that we continue to
have with congressional leaders to talk about how we move forward. And
we will do that in concert with those congressional leaders.
Q One more question on the Sharon meeting and his meetings
yesterday with the Vice President. I guess I'm looking for a way to
sum up the Iran question and whether it's our -- the U.S. government's
belief that the Israelis have given us new reason for alarm about what
Iran is up to.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of our public assessments of the
threat from Iran and their ability to develop nuclear weapons --
Admiral Jacoby gave our current public assessment of what the threat
is. And that's what it remains. So you might want to go back and look
at his remarks from last month where he talked about it.
But in terms of the whole issue, Iran and the development of
nuclear weapons, I think that our view has been stated very clearly,
and that is that we support the efforts of the Europeans to get Iran to
abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. We all have a shared goal of
making sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And the Europeans
stressed the importance of Iran providing objective guarantees. We
want to see this resolved through the diplomatic efforts of the
Europeans. We want to see it resolved in a peaceful way, and that's
what we're pursuing.
Now, the President and the Prime Minister discussed this issue over
lunch the other day in Crawford. They talked about Iran's nuclear
programs and our view that Iran's civilian nuclear program is a guise
for which they're using to develop nuclear weapons. And that's why
it's important that Iran come clean, cooperate fully with the
International Atomic Energy Agency and that they abide by their other
international obligations. And so we'll continue supporting the
efforts of the Europeans.
And they did have some discussion about our concerns. We have
concerns about Iran's intentions, and we have talked about that with
Israel previously. Those are ongoing discussions that we have with
Q Are we more concerned after what Sharon said to him?
MR. McCLELLAN: We remain concerned about Iran's intentions.
That's the way I would describe it.
Q Scott, the bulk of Western Europe celebrates the end of the
European theater of World War II on May 8th. The President is
celebrating it on May 9th, which is when the Russians mark it. Why?
MR. McCLELLAN: Why is he celebrating --
Q What's the message being sent by doing it with President
Putin, rather than doing it with the rest --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President looks forward to going to
Russia to mark this occasion. This is something that President Putin
has talked about for quite some time. As we get closer to that
meeting, then I think we can focus more on the visit and talk more
about what we're going there for.
Q Can you say whether he will mark it also on May 8th, do
something on May 8th, some proclamation --
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll keep you posted on the schedule.
Q On the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince, there's some rumors
running around the market that some oil deals will be discussed,
specifically whether the Saudi sour crudes will be swapped into the SPR
to release perhaps some light sweet crudes. Will the discussions -- do
you expect the discussions at the ranch to be that detailed? And does
this mark a point where the President is willing to jawbone OPEC about
production levels? Because he has not been so far this year.
MR. McCLELLAN: I gave you a general sense of the agenda. As we
get closer to the meeting, then we can talk more about the agenda at
Q And on the speech next week on oil issues, should we expect a
major new initiative to come out of that speech, or will it be more of
what we've heard already?
MR. McCLELLAN: Same thing. Again, this is a week away. The
President hasn't even worked on the speech at this point.
Q -- we can concentrate that long.
MR. McCLELLAN: The President -- you'll hear more from the
President next week. But as we get closer to it, we can talk more
about it at that point.
Q What day is the speech?
MR. McCLELLAN: I expect it will be next Wednesday. We're still
Q Here? There?
MR. McCLELLAN: We'll get you details later this week, once we
Q Practicing in the theater yet?
Q Scott, on energy again, I understand the President believes a
comprehensive energy plan is the long-term solution. Does he believe
Congress, or anybody, can do anything about a short-term solution and
the currently spiraling prices?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I talked about what we're doing now. Maybe
you weren't paying attention at the beginning, when Terry was asking
his questions, but --
Q Well, you never really gave much of an answer on something
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think I did. We are constantly looking at
these issues. That's why I said that it is a high priority for this
administration, it has been from day one. We need to make sure that
there's no price-gouging going on. We also need to move forward on
those other initiatives -- which we are -- that I outlined at the
Q But those are long-term solutions. Currently, gas prices --
MR. McCLELLAN: Those are steps that we can take now to reduce our
dependence on foreign sources of energy. And in terms of
price-gouging, that's not -- that's something we do now.
Q Will the high price be on his mind when he speaks with
Abdullah at the ranch?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let's wait for the meeting -- let's wait until we
get a little bit closer to the meeting; then we'll talk about it at
Q Does he have to fill up the pickup truck, himself?
Q Actually, on the pickup truck, the photograph --
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. Hang on.
Q -- the President's position to have a high-level regular
meetings with China? And will energy and military, those aspects be
included in these kind of talks?
MR. McCLELLAN: They are -- they're included in those kinds of
talks. What do you mean? I'm sorry, you asked about meetings with
Q The administration has decided to have some mechanism to talk
to China --
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure, we have a number of different working groups
that we have with China on different issues and different areas, and we
continue to have ongoing dialogue with China on a number of issues.
Q This is a new thing that will be headed by Deputy Secretary
Zoellick, that some paper reported, that maybe they were going to start
in the summer, they will have regular high-level exchanges, and why.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I think we talked about that previously, about
some different working groups that will continue to focus on different
areas with China. That's something we've talked about previously. You
can go back and talk to State Department about some of the specifics of
what they're moving forward on now.
Q Will they talk with China about energy? Are there going to be
MR. McCLELLAN: We've had discussions with them about it. I'm sure
we'll continue to in the future.
Q Scott, you know the President is throwing out the first pitch
at RFK tomorrow. Can you give us -- can you give me, at least, any
idea of kind of what his schedule for the day is? Is he going to meet
with the team? Is he going to warm up in the bullpen? Is he going to
stay for much of the game? That sort of thing.
MR. McCLELLAN: He's loosening up and getting ready. The President
looks forward to throwing out the first pitch tomorrow at the first
home game for the Washington Nationals. And in terms of -- I'm sure
that he will visit with both teams beforehand and talk with them. And
then I'm sure that he will have some time to do a little warm-up before
going out on the mound. But he looks forward to throwing out the first
pitch. And as an avid baseball fan, he welcomes baseball coming back
Q Is he going to watch much of the game? Are there any security
concerns about that?
MR. McCLELLAN: He will watch some of the game.
Q Does he have a position on whether it should be called
National Guard Field?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Scott, at what level are you concerned about price gouging,
and just what are you doing about it?
MR. McCLELLAN: What's that? Well, Department of Energy and
Justice Department, they stay focused on those issues to make sure that
that isn't happening.
Q I mean, is this at the refiner level, at the service station
MR. McCLELLAN: It's something we're always staying on top of,
Q What, if anything, can you point to that the administration
tried to do, ever, to keep gas prices from getting to the point where
they are now?
MR. McCLELLAN: What can I point to? The comprehensive energy plan
we outlined at the very beginning of our first term and called on
Congress to pass.
Q I'm asking what's been done to try to keep gas prices from
getting to where they are now. Whatever it was --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's why I pointed out that what happens is
that we see this problem recur year after year -- the prices go down,
but then they come back up, and they continue to rise. That's why we
need a comprehensive solution to this issue. That's why the President
put forward a comprehensive solution to the issue. And now it's time
for Congress to act on that comprehensive energy plan.
END 1:56 P.M. EDT