|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 7, 2006
Press Gaggle by Tony Snow
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
12:38 P.M. EST
MR. SNOW: To begin, some non-election related news out of Iraq. First, there were stories yesterday that Zal Khalilzad would be leaving as ambassador after the elections. Not true. No imminent plans for departure. The President is glad Zal is an effective ambassador.
Second, two important developments as Iraq continues its efforts to develop a stable government. On the reconciliation front, we support and we're happy to see Prime Minister Maliki's efforts on de-Baathification reform, offering a political path for many members of the Baath Party to integrate in the Iraqi democracy. Also, as you may have seen, they've removed 57 members of the Interior Ministry, and are continuing an overhaul in the Interior Ministry in response to death squads and also abuses at Abu Ghraib and in the prison system.
Those are all very important measures to help build confidence in a police authority that can be trusted by all Iraqis. And again, we think these are both very important signs of Prime Minister Maliki asserting the kind of leadership that we've been talking about, and that the Iraqi people deserve.
Q What is the President's mood like today about the election?
MR. SNOW: The President is in a good mood. Let me tell you what will be going on with the President today, because a lot of you are interested in that. No planned public events. He'll be having dinner with Brad Freeman and some members of staff. Karl Rove and a few others will be up in the Residence tonight. The President will be making phone calls.
But we are not anticipating any public statements out of the White House. Look instead for the Republican National Committee or the House or Senate committees in terms of responding to what's going on with elections. They're the ones that will be handling state-by-state, return-by-return, and so on. You can expect to hear from the President tomorrow, details TBD.
Q What do you mean by phone calls? You're talking about to the winner --
MR. SNOW: He'll be talking to candidates, typically what you do on election night.
Q Tony, if the Democrats do take the House control --
MR. SNOW: We don't answer "if control" questions.
Q There would be a phone call from the President, presumably, is that right?
MR. SNOW: The President makes phone calls on election night. I'm just not going to get into hypotheticals, but --
Q Can you quantify how many calls, to how many candidates?
MR. SNOW: No. I think it's -- I think this is something that you sort of play by ear. There is no "to do list" on calls. I'm sure the President is going to talk to a lot of people for whom and with whom he's campaigned. He'll be talking with House leaders. But, no, I don't have any real sense.
Q Will there be any opportunity to see him watching results tonight?
MR. SNOW: I doubt it. No plans for that, no.
Q -- from Karl at all, have they talked anything, numbers wise, what they're hearing, latest news?
MR. SNOW: Karl has sort of briefed him, but, look, you've got -- at this point, it's all up to voters. And the President, I'm sure -- well, I know I'm going to be doing some radio interviews; I know Ken Mehlman is doing some interviews. So there's going to be an effort to keep Republican voters motivated and excited about Election Day.
Q Do you have any reports from the Senate, exit polls at all?
MR. SNOW: I'm not going to talk about exit polls. I'm just not going to tell you what we have in terms of numbers.
Q -- about the integrity of voting, any reports?
MR. SNOW: There are two things. Number one, yes, you want to make sure that you've got integrity of voting, and we hope that everything will work smoothly. We also hope that people will not try, as happened some in 2004, to manufacture complaints with the idea of trying to cast doubts on the efficiency and the efficacy of the system. There have been some reports about attempted voter fraud, and certainly, we hope any and all voter fraud in any way is detected and dealt with before Election Day. It's important to have an election that reflects the will of voters on Election Day.
Q -- hear from Charlie Crist at all yesterday?
MR. SNOW: No.
Q Did anyone from his campaign reach out?
MR. SNOW: Don't know.
Q Tony, when you said the President won't make any sort of statement tonight, you mean either way? He will not be speaking tonight in any way?
MR. SNOW: That is correct.
Q You said tomorrow he'll be speaking. Is there a press conference or something tomorrow?
MR. SNOW: You usually hear from him the day after an election, and you'll be hearing from him tomorrow.
Q -- speculation about a press conference tomorrow.
MR. SNOW: There is? Okay, thanks. I'll take that under advisement.
Q I mean, there's just speculation. Can you rule that out, or --
MR. SNOW: Of course not. Can't rule it in, can't rule it out. It's --
Q Is the President as confident today that you're going to keep the House and the Senate as he has been on the campaign trail?
MR. SNOW: No, he's more confident -- thought you had something there for a minute.
Q Can you tell us if the President voted for your predecessor's mother?
MR. SNOW: I can't tell you who he voted for. It's a secret ballot. I'm sure he voted for Rick Perry for Governor.
Q -- the Vice President, and do we know if the hunting trip has concluded?
MR. SNOW: No, I don't know. I'll refer all those to the Vice President's office.
Q -- where he'll be tonight? I mean, Karl will be, where he'll be?
MR. SNOW: They'll be in the Residence.
Q Be like in some room watching the results come in, and the President --
MR. SNOW: I think -- yes, I think it's probably like that, yes.
Q He's having dinner with Brad Freeman and some others?
MR. SNOW: I think some White House staffers will be there. I'm just not -- I'm not sure who's going to be there.
END 12:44 P.M. EST