For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 21, 2006
Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Aurora, Colorado
11:27 A.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: Good morning, everyone. We're on our way to the beautiful state of Colorado, my home. And then we're going to Crawford, and I know you're all looking forward to it. Let's do the schedule today, and then I want to do the week ahead before I get to questions.
The President taped his radio address this morning; it is on the Middle East. He had his regular briefings. When we arrive in Denver -- or, actually, Colorado -- he will participate in a meeting with recently returned military service personnel. That will be in Aurora, Colorado. And then he will go to Englewood, Colorado, where he will give remarks at the O'Donnell for Congress Reception. Then we will head to Crawford, where the President will remain until Sunday.
An update to the President's schedule on Sunday: Upon returning to the White House, the President and Dr. Rice -- Secretary Rice will meet with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and the Secretary General of the Saudi National Security Council. The names are Saud al-Faisal and Prince Bandar. This is part of the President's broader diplomatic outreach on the developing situation in the Middle East. This will provide the President and Dr. Rice a chance to continue to strategize with a key partner in the region on a diplomatic solution that will address the root causes of violence and terror in the region.
Q What will be the coverage of that?
MS. PERINO: Stills at the top.
On Monday, the President will make remarks at a naturalization ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. And then he will attend an RNC reception at Evermay.
Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Iraq will be here, and there will also be a joint availability, in addition to the meeting in the Oval. So you all will be able to attend that.
Wednesday, he and Prime Minister Maliki will travel to Fort Belvoir, where they will have lunch with military personnel and their families. And that afternoon, he will go to Charleston, West Virginia, to attend a Capito for Congress reception.
Thursday, the President meets with the President of Romania, Oval Office. That will be pool at the bottom. He will then make remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers later that day.
Friday -- we announced this update this morning -- the President will meet with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair. They will also have a joint press availability.
And then, the moment you all have been waiting for, he will participate in a photo opportunity with the Top Ten American Idol Finalists, and then a photo opportunity with the 2006 Boys and Girls Nation delegates.
Sunday, there will be another White House tee-ball game. Let me tell you the names of the teams. They are both from the Challenger League, which allows disabled children to enjoy tee-ball. The teams are Thurmont Little League Civitan Club of Frederick Challengers, from Thurmont, Maryland; and Shady Spring Little League Challenger Braves, from Shady Spring, West Virginia.
And an update to the President's travel to Crawford in
August: He will depart Thursday, August 3rd, and return Sunday, August 14th. The change there was that we were going to leave August 4th.
Q The picture with the American Idols is on Saturday?
MS. PERINO: Friday.
Q And where is he going with Maliki, again?
MS. PERINO: Fort Belvoir.
Q And is there a press availability, as well?
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q That's on -- Tuesday?
MS. PERINO: Tuesday.
Q At the White House or at Fort Belvoir?
MS. PERINO: Yes -- on Tuesday, they will meet in the Oval and then they'll have the joint press availability. Working on location. I encouraged them to have it outside in the Rose Garden, especially if it will be 100 degrees, so you all will have to sit out there. Just kidding. It probably will be inside, in the East Room.
Q Is the White House planning to actively push the Bolton nomination now that Voinovich has removed his opposition?
MS. PERINO: I think the best way to characterize it is that we have always believed that John Bolton deserves a vote in the Senate. When the President recess-appointed him in September -- or August or September of 2005, we also sent up the nomination again, on September 19, 2005. And so John Bolton's nomination has been pending in the committee. And we have been having talks with Chairman Lugar about moving forward because the recess appointment would expire at the end of this calendar year.
So I wouldn't characterize it as a renewed push because it's been pending, we've been working to make it happen. Certainly, though, the comments by Senator Voinovich about being willing to take another look and changing his position are welcome, and we hope that if there are other senators who were inclined to vote against him the last time, that they would be willing to take another look, as well. So we look forward to continue working with Chairman Lugar on that.
Q Do you think that there is a renewed urgency because of what's happening in the Middle East?
MS. PERINO: I think, actually, what you're finding is that people have seen the fruits of John Bolton's labor at the United Nations. He's doing a tremendous job for the United States representing our nation's interests at the United Nations. And so, with that visibility and those results comes a desire to get that vote taken place sooner than later.
Q The Sunday afternoon meeting with the Saudis, are they in town anyway, or is this a -- did they come especially for this meeting? In other words, is it a sort of crisis meeting or -- I mean, are they already here and he's taking advantage of that, or did they come especially for it?
MS. PERINO: I'm not positive of how the meeting got set up. I can see if I can try to find out. But I know that there was a mutual agreement that a meeting would be a good thing to have at this point, since we are all trying to move forward to find a diplomatic solution that will address these root causes of the violence in the region. Secretary Rice met with Kofi Annan last night, and she'll be back in Washington today, and I expect you'll probably hear from her later this afternoon.
Q Any word on when she's going to the Middle East, other than next week?
MS. PERINO: I'll let her announce it, but I think you'll hear from her later this afternoon.
Q How would you characterize the meeting with Kofi Annan last night with Secretary Rice?
MS. PERINO: I don't know, but Secretary Rice is going to
-- I think she's going to be available to talk to reporters this afternoon.
Q Has the President phoned the Israeli Prime Minister yet, or does he have any plans to?
MS. PERINO: The only update to the President's outreach in terms of foreign leader calls was to -- he called Angela Merkel this morning. Fred Jones was going to be calling the wires to let you all know that. I don't have the points with me, but that's the only update I have in terms of foreign leader calls.
Q -- announce this Sunday meeting in Washington?
MS. PERINO: I'm announcing it here.
Q Does the President have any plans for this weekend that may involve us?
MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of. But, of course, we'll be getting there late this afternoon, the President will be on the ranch on Saturday, and then we leave relatively early on Sunday in order to get back in time -- I think we arrive 2:40 p.m.
Q What time is the meeting on Sunday?
MS. PERINO: It's at 3:00 p.m. I think we arrive 2:40 p.m., and the meeting is either immediately upon arrival or at 3:00 p.m.
Q Did he cut the weekend short at the ranch to hold this meeting? I mean, he was originally going to come back on Monday.
MS. PERINO: The schedule had been in flux for a little while. I don't know if it was exactly because of this meeting that he was coming back early. I couldn't say that for sure.
Q One question about today. You added the pool at the top coverage of the meeting at the airbase -- will the President make some remarks? Can you give us a head's up? Is that why we're having coverage?
MR. DECKARD: You're probably going to hear something brief from him.
MS. PERINO: I would characterize it as the President -- you'll hear from the President, but it's not anything -- there's no prepared remarks, it won't be lengthy. But you'll hear from him quickly at the top.
Q Thank you.
END 11:35 A.M. EDT