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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 10, 2006
Press Briefing by Tony Snow
White House Conference Center Briefing Room
11:50 A.M. EST
MR. SNOW: Hello everybody, and thank you for working on this federal holiday. Let me give you a readout of some schedule matters and then I'll take your questions.
The President is having a meeting right now with the Senate Democratic Leadership -- Senators Reid and Durbin. At 2:00 p.m. there will be a dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Also today, the President is going to recognize Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, with America's highest decoration of valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Let me tell you a little bit about Corporal Dunham. In April of 2004, he was leading a patrol of Marines in an Iraqi town near the Syrian border. When a nearby Marine convoy was ambushed, Corporal Dunham led his squad to the site of the attack, where he and his men stopped a convoy of cars that were attempting to escape. As he moved to search one of the vehicles, an insurgent jumped out and grabbed Corporal Dunham by the throat. The Corporal engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat and, at one point, he shouted to fellow Marines, "No, no, no, watch his hand." Moments later, a grenade rolled out. Corporal Dunham jumped on the grenade to protect his fellow Marines, using his helmet and body to absorb the blast. Corporal Dunham was born 25 years ago today.
The President today spoke with President Uribe of Colombia, they discussed the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement and the extension of the Andean Trade Preferences Act. The President also affirmed his support for the free trade agreement, which will be signed on November 22nd. He also affirmed his support for a continuation of trade preferences.
For the week ahead, events that have not yet been announced -- Steve Hadley yesterday went through the upcoming Asia trip -- but on Monday, President Bush will meet with the Iraq Study Group. The Vice President and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley will join him for the meeting. This is not a presentation of a final report; that is yet to come, on a schedule to be determined by the Study Group, itself.
Later in the day, a number of senior officials also will have separate meetings with the Iraq Study Group, and these will include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, DNI Director John Negroponte and CIA Director General Mike Hayden. They also will speak with Ambassador Zal Khalilzad. And the President is looking to hearing their views and discussing Iraq.
The President will have remarks at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall here in D.C. And he will have a meeting and a working lunch with the Prime Minister of Israel.
On Tuesday, there will be a meeting with automotive CEOs in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. And Tuesday evening we will depart the White House via Marine One en route to Russia and the beginning of the trip to Asia.
Q Tony, the Associated Press just crossed this story from Cairo -- the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is vowing that his fighters will never rest until they have blown up the White House. Have you seen this? Are you familiar with it? And is there any comment?
MR. SNOW: Sure, you want to move back to the other press room? (Laughter.) No, there's no comment on that.
Q Can I ask you about the --
Q Louder. Can't hear --
Q What was the question?
MR. SNOW: I'm sorry. We do have to work on the audio in here, don't we? The question was there's a wire report that a leader of al Qaeda in Iraq has vowed that he and his forces will not cease and there was a threat to blow up the White House, and for that I have no comment.
Q May I ask you about the meeting with Senators Reid and Durbin? Because the President said yesterday he's wide open to hear ideas.
MR. SNOW: Right.
Q Is there anything the Democrats are floating that seems to be resonating with the President?
MR. SNOW: I'm not sure at this point that -- this is not a time for floating ideas. This is a time, really, for both sides to look at each other and say, okay, let's figure out how to work together.
Democrats, especially on Election Day, and certainly since have been talking about the obligations of being in the leadership role in the House and Senate and having something to show for their leadership, in terms of concrete accomplishments. And we certainly want to work with them.
I had an opportunity to talk both with Senators Reid and Durbin; we talked primarily about the war on terror. But everybody is interested in bringing this to a successful conclusion. So at this point I think this is more just an opportunity for both sides to express good will. I don't think that -- and to talk over a series of issues, but it is not a time in which there are concrete proposals being floated.
Now, look, this may be different than yesterday's House meeting, so we'll try to give you a readout afterward.
Q I'm told Senator Reid is going to raise this idea of a bipartisan summit.
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q What do you make of that?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I will let the President make of it what he will. But as we've said, we are eager to be working in a bipartisan way toward accomplishing our goals in Iraq, which is an Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself, that's going to be an ally in the war on terror, that will be able also to be an example in the region that democracy can win in a confrontation with terror. And those are practical discussions, and they're going to be ongoing. The President has already directed the national security team to make sure that Democratic leaders and Republican leaders remain fully briefed on what's going on.
And, so, again, at this point, people may float ideas, but I'll give you a readout, Jim, of what happens after the meeting.
Q Do you consider the John Bolton nomination dead?
MR. SNOW: No. Think of it this way: I know a lot of people had positions and old views about John Bolton, but in the spirit of trying to take a fresh look at things and trying to be fair-minded, it's probably worth reviewing his record as United Nations Ambassador, which has been highly successful.
John Bolton, in his tenure at the United Nations, has shepherded through two U.N. Security Council resolutions with regard to North Korea. He has been working aggressively and actively with our allies on the issue of Iran. He has put together a U.N. Security Council resolution on Lebanon. And I think he has demonstrated an ability to work effectively with other members and other U.N. delegations to move forward and show a leadership role in important business.
So, again, the President believes that John Bolton has done an exemplary job, and if people fairly will examine his record -- his real accomplishments, his record at the United Nations -- that he not only will have earned confirmation, but will receive it.
Q You went through this list with me yesterday, and a lot of people didn't find it persuasive, and the Democrats and Senator Chafee say they're still against him. So why do you think there's any reason for optimism?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I keep hearing all this talk that people want to sort of have fresh starts, and I think it's -- look, we think it's worth the public having a look at John Bolton's record. This is a guy who's been a terrific U.N. Ambassador. He deserves an opportunity to stay.
Q Is there any discussion of, if he's not confirmed, going around, giving him an appointment -- using some other name than U.N. Ambassador to keep him there?
MR. SNOW: I am not aware of that, but I'm not going to rule anything in or out.
Q You talk about common ground that could be reached. Could you just go over the top issues? Is minimum wage on the top of the list?
MR. SNOW: The top of the list, if you start taking a look at the lame duck session, we've already laid out a series of things on which both sides could work right now -- the India civil nuclear deal; a free trade agreement with Vietnam. We've got the list of issues that I read them out to you yesterday.
Q What about with Democrats? Once they take --
MR. SNOW: Well, the President has talked about education and energy. The issue of minimum wage makes sense if you've got some way to make sure that it does not injure small businesses, which are the primary engine of economic growth in the United States. And the President had that position before the election, and he maintains the position now.
Q And immigration?
MR. SNOW: And immigration reform -- you need comprehensive immigration reform. The President remains committed to border security and understanding that for a lot of people, Democrats and Republicans, that border security is a special and sensitive issue. We're aware of that and are dedicated to bringing the resources necessary to the borders to make sure that we enhance border security to the largest extent practicable.
But the President also understands that there are other concerns. There are concerns about finding out who is here illegally, who are these people. We need to know. And, therefore, he's talked about a tamper-proof ID card. There is concern that employers may be knowingly hiring illegal aliens. In recent years, this administration has upgraded the punishment for knowingly hiring an illegal from a civil fine to a criminal punishment and asset forfeiture.
Now there's going to be no place for employers to hide, because if you have a tamper-proof ID, and they have to have access to that, they're not going to be able to make excuses if somebody goes to a convenience store or some other place and gets a fake ID. That's not going to be good enough. That I think is something people on both sides agree upon.
You also have to ask yourself what do we do to relieve pressure at the border so that illegal immigration ceases to be a concern, not only for us but for some of our neighbors? Yesterday, in the discussion with President-elect Calderon, they talked about the importance of enhancing economic growth within Mexico and bringing up the standard of living. And that was a very good discussion.
At the same time, the President believes a temporary guest worker program, where you will know if you're in or you're out, is going to relieve pressure on the border and also reduce the incentive for people to travel from Central America through Mexico in search of such jobs. And, finally, you've got the issue of 11 million to 12 million people here illegally. How do you do it? How do you figure out who stays and who goes? And there are a number of metrics that have been discussed. If you break the law according to some proposals, you got to leave. You're deported. If you don't stay continuously employed, that becomes a problem.
Certainly the President has always said that in that population, you have to acknowledge that you broke the law. So you're going to have to pay a fine, you're going to have to pay taxes. You are going to have to pay for the crime. And at the same time, you don't get rewarded by getting ahead of the line. You go to the very back of the line, and you wait, so that the people who will have done that will have waited longer, paid more, and really demonstrated their bona fides as good citizens and good actors within the American community. All those are worth discussing.
But the fact is, if you think, Bret, about the issues that have been of most concern when people talk about it -- people here illegally not knowing who you are, the President wants to address that; figuring out who the criminals are and getting them out, the President wants to address that; the issue of illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans, the President wants to address that; going after employers who knowingly hire illegals, the President wants to address that; and, finally, with the issue of 11 to 12 million, you have to address that, and the President is certainly here to talk about that with members of both parties.
Q Can I go back to Iraq? General Casey this morning in an interview defined winning in Iraq as keeping the terrorist activity at a manageable level. Is the administration now trying to redefine the terms of victory?
MR. SNOW: No, I think what he was talking about is security objectives, but victory still is an Iraq that can sustain, defend and govern itself.
Q But in that view, it's looking -- you're saying he's just looking at the military objective there.
MR. SNOW: Yes, and what he's saying is, if it's manageable. You know, different people have -- again, if it's manageable, you can sustain and defend yourself, so it does fit in with the overall desire to have a freestanding Iraq.
Q Yesterday, former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin said that you cannot solve the nation's fiscal problems without increased revenues. I'm sure you'll be happy to share with us the administration's objections to tax increases, but would you also explain, is the President at all concerned about the ballooning deficit, and what does he propose to do about it?
MR. SNOW: Well, the deficit is down, Jessica, and revenues are up. So I think maybe I should read that as a note of congratulation from Secretary Rubin.
Q The deficit is down from what?
MR. SNOW: Well, the deficit has been cut in half. The President had proposed to do it by 2009, and here is it 2006, and you look at the trends, and you look at also the fiscal discipline that this administration intends to impose, and you're going to have a falling deficit. And you're going to have increased revenues.
Also, look at the revenue path, because you will find the revenues have been increasing at a double-digit pace. So what our view is, is that economic growth -- and you saw this in the Clinton years -- economic growth creates a burst of revenue that will enable you to close the deficit. You put that together with fiscal discipline. And Democratic leaders have talked about fiscal discipline, as well. So our objection to tax increases is, number one, they're bad for the economy. And, number two, they're unnecessary from a revenue standpoint.
Q So the President is happy with the state of the deficit?
MR. SNOW: The President -- no. The President has already talked about reducing the deficit. Did you not hear that he is happy that we have cut the deficit in half, in far shorter than we thought we could? But on the other hand, he wants to continue fighting the deficit.
And I would point you -- I tell you what, you can look back at last year's economic message from the President, or look forward after the State of the Union this year, where you will see benchmarks for the deficit, and they go down.
Q Tony, can I ask another question on a different topic?
MR. SNOW: Please.
Q Whatever -- you're on the record on that, so it's fine. We'll go on.
MR. SNOW: Well, I'm -- well, tell me -- wait, wait -- what on Earth did that mean? That was a little catty. (Laughter.) I'm on the record because it's true. Revenues are up and the deficit is down. Do you deny that?
Q It's down from perhaps your projections, but it's not down --
MR. SNOW: Is it down from last year?
Q The deficit continues to grow out of control in a way that --
MR. SNOW: I think you're talking about national debt. There's a difference. The deficit has been declining and will continue generally to decline.
Q And you think that Bob Rubin has no -- there's no merit in his comments?
MR. SNOW: I think Bob Rubin is right. You want enhanced revenues and you want lower deficits, and we pursue the same goal.
Q But, wait -- you want enhanced revenues and lower deficits, but not through tax increases?
MR. SNOW: Correct. You don't need them.
Q Okay. My other question is the "U.S. Will Train Latin American Militaries" is the headline on USA Today. Can you confirm that this is true? And why have you guys --
MR. SNOW: No, I don't know anything about it, and I'd push that to the Pentagon. I really don't.
Q You just told Terry, in answer to his question, that you wouldn't rule anything in or out when it comes to your effort to try to get John Bolton confirmed. Would that include coming up with a new --
MR. SNOW: I'm not going to comment. I think what we ought to do right now is simply allow senators in a lame duck session to see if they will give John Bolton a fair shake. After that, we'll talk about possibilities.
The reason I said that is I don't want to get into the hypotheticals game because the thing we want is for John to be confirmed by the Senate. We think that that would be a good thing for the country. The President wants it. And John's record certainly provides the kind of support necessary. He's earned the right to remain our U.N. Ambassador, and I'm just not going to speculate on anything further.
Q But were the comments that were made yesterday by Senator Chafee and the Democrats -- isn't there a plan B? What about coming up with a new candidate?
MR. SNOW: Like I said, I am not going to comment further. John Bolton deserves fair consideration. He ought to remain the U.N. Ambassador. You know, in this country I thought you were rewarded for success, and he's been highly successful. And, again, if people take a look at the record, it's going to be awfully hard to poke holes in it.
Q Can I ask you a process question?
MR. SNOW: Oh, please. (Laughter.)
Q When the President meets with the Iraq Study Group next week, Bob Gates, then, will not be part of that? Or he will be? Or how does that work? And his nomination has, or has not been submitted yet?
MR. SNOW: Oh, my goodness. I'll get back to you on all the process. Those are all process questions and --
Q What was the question?
MR. SNOW: There were several process questions, I'm sorry. Number one, Iraq Study Group, when they come, will Bob Gates resign? If so, when? Has his nomination --
MS. PERINO: Yes.
MR. SNOW: So, yes, he will resign. So I think it's still a matter of just getting the paperwork done, the letter submitted and all that.
The second thing is, will his nomination be submitted. Again, you have to get the paperwork in good order. We are hoping to have the nomination ready for consideration and approval by the Senate in the lame duck session.
MR. SNOW: Coverage?
Q Of this Iraq Study Group meeting?
MR. SNOW: Oh, no, the -- basically, we'll have photos, stills. This is one where they want to come in and they want to speak with the President. I think it's important to let the Iraq Study Group maintain its independence. There will not be --
Q Will Gates be at the meeting Monday?
MR. SNOW: I doubt it, but I don't know. I'll find out.
Q So you're saying --
MR. SNOW: I'm saying -- no, there will be photo/stills, but there will be no pooler coverage.
Q Two questions, one foreign and one domestic. On the Iraq Study Group, you said this is not the presentation of the final recommendations, but does the President expect a discussion of the kinds of recommendations that they're weighing? Does he want to use this meeting to lay the groundwork for his thinking?
MR. SNOW: Sheryl, that I don't know, and I think we will have some firmer guidelines as we get closer to the meeting, and I'll provide them. But at this point, we know it's scheduled, and I think you're just going to have to be patient while this -- we'll give you some firmer --
Q And what is the reason, then, for them also briefing Secretary Rice, Rumsfeld and --
MR. SNOW: Well, they're meeting with them each, as you know --
Q Is that collective or individual?
MR. SNOW: It's individual. Those are individual meetings. And, secondly, each and every one of those individuals has been supplying information and cooperating with the Iraq Study Group. I honestly -- again, I'll give you readouts, but I can't tell you in advance how the meetings are going to go.
Q Okay. And then my second question, in this new, sort of, spirit of bipartisanship, how will the President react if Democrats during the lame duck session try to block or do succeed in blocking the Bolton confirmation, or legislation, for instance, on the domestic wiretapping?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I just think -- I think you owe it to everybody to see what happens in the lame duck. Rather than my giving you a reaction to something that hasn't happened, I will tell you what we hope happens, not only that John Bolton is confirmed, but -- look, what the President wants with the terrorist surveillance program is the ability, in a swift and effective manner, to be able to monitor conversations or communications between al Qaeda terror masters and al Qaeda members in the United States, or terrorists in the United States, especially fearing that if you have an ongoing operation, you're going to need the ability to move swiftly and effectively to get information and to move it into the hands of law enforcement or proper authorities. And --
Q Does the --
MR. SNOW: Well, I'll finish. And we believe the Democrats certainly would share that interest.
And, again, one of the things now is the Democrats are going to be sharing responsibility and they'll be able to share credit for getting these things done in the right way. So let's see what happens.
Q But does the President feel that this is a good way to start off his new efforts at bipartisanship, by asking Democrats to approve these things to which they have objected in the past?
MR. SNOW: Well, I think what the President understands -- you see, bipartisanship works both ways. What you're assuming is that neither side has -- that somehow Democrats have no interest in trying to find the best practical way of staying on top and getting vital real-time communication and information about possible terrorist activity in the United States. Let's see how it works out.
But the President also understands -- and part of bipartisanship now is people have shared responsibility, and it is absolutely vital to make sure we're defending the homeland. I don't know if you saw the reports out of MI5 yesterday in London, but they were talking about 30 ongoing plots that they've interrupted, and a wide number of cells active. You have to keep in mind that the war on terror not only is in Iraq and not only in Afghanistan, but there is a significant portion that is being conducted in this country, and we need the very best tools available to protect our people, and also to empower law enforcement and other officials to make it safe for Americans.
And I think Democrats have a shared interest in that, so let's see how they react --
Q Is he testing Democrats, in a way?
MR. SNOW: No, he's asking -- no, this is not a test. This is an acknowledgment of a very important practical reality, which is, you got to know what they're doing, and you have to be able to get it quickly, and you have to get it into the hands of people who can make effective use of that intelligence as rapidly as possible.
Q Tony, since we're talking about intelligence, does the President have any concerns about the new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee being a person who was impeached and convicted as a judge for extorting a bribe?
MR. SNOW: The President at this point -- Democrats are the ones who are going to be selecting their party chairmen. I would direct that question to Democratic leadership. The President understands that the intelligence committees are going to play a very important role, and he hopes to work with one and all responsibly toward improving our intelligence capabilities and making us more effective here and abroad in fighting the war on terror.
Q Can you talk a little bit about what the President hopes to accomplish Tuesday in the meeting with automakers?
MR. SNOW: Well, a little bit, and we'll give you a further readout. But one thing he wants to do is to sort of reaffirm his support for the American auto industry, and his support for its growth and success, and at the same time, also thank them for some innovative activities such as looking for -- creating flex-fuel vehicles and hybrids that enable us to find new ways to power our large and always growing automotive fleet in this country in such a way as that it gives us a little better ability to try to wean ourselves from an addition to oil, especially foreign oil.
Q Tony, two quick questions. One, since 2004, we haven't heard from Osama bin Laden as far as video is concerned, but has sent audios only. And his attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan is on the rise, including a number of military people died in Afghanistan. During the new Congress, how you think the President will work on this, as far as terrorism is concerned?
MR. SNOW: The President has always made it clear that we continue to hunt vigorously for bin Laden, and furthermore, our allies in the region continue to do so, as well. That's not going to change. I mean, the war -- Goyal, it's not that you fight one challenge at a time -- you have to fight a lot of challenges all at once, and you have to use a lot of different means and methods, and you have to use everything from the military to intelligence. You have economic resources that you use. The Treasury Department has been involved in trying to intercept finances.
In other words, you certainly devote assets to bin Laden, but you also have to devote assets to all the other challenges out there, knowing that you have an ongoing terror threat, and you have to deal with recruitment, you have to deal with the sustenance of those forces, and you have to deal with fielded forces that are actively trying to commit terror, and you have to work with their support networks to deal with their support networks. All of those are part of a comprehensive approach to dealing with terror. Bin Laden is just one part of that.
Q Second on Iran. Iran is still buying missiles or (inaudible) can carry a nuclear (inaudible) from North Korea, they are working there (inaudible) and President Bush not to (inaudible). Do you think these two issues will be discussed during his meeting there, as far as Iran and North Korea and missile --
MR. SNOW: I suspect they will both come up, yes.
Q Yes, Tony, two questions. The New York Times quotes Congressman Charles Rangel -- the potential chairman of House Ways and Means -- as saying, "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" Question: Does the President of all the United States agree with Mississippi's Republican Congressman Pickering, that Rangel should apologize, or will the President refuse to support Pickering?
MR. SNOW: The President will allow members of the House to conduct their own disagreements, Les.
Q WorldNetDaily's columnist, Dr. Jerome Corsi, asks does the President's selection of Robert Gates mean our accepting of a nuclear Iran?
MR. SNOW: No. Absolutely not. April.
Q Tony, in the last couple of days I asked you about change in the makeup of the White House. Now there are reports saying that Alphonso Jackson is slated to be removed (inaudible) someone else (inaudible) --
Q Could you talk to me about that, please?
MR. SNOW: The question is whether -- there are rumors that Alphonso Jackson is going to be removed as HUD Secretary; they're absolutely false.
Q So has the President talked to Alphonso Jackson to tell him he has every confidence in him?
MR. SNOW: Alphonso has been reassured that he is going to remain the HUD Secretary.
Q Hold on, Tony, I'm not finished, I'm sorry. With -- I hate to say --
MR. SNOW: So I -- well, let me -- but this is important because this is a rumor that is utterly baseless, it was making the rounds, a lot of people were chasing it around, and it has no foundation in fact.
Q But, Tony, I hate to say this, but the credibility about position changes is kind of suspect. So --
MR. SNOW: I don't think so.
Q Well --
MR. SNOW: It's still -- look, I have made direct inquiries about this to the people who would be responsible, and the answer is, no change.
Q Okay, and also, back to the issue of Tuesday, the automakers, U.S. automakers, a new study just came out saying that Asian cars are faring better in this country, and that is you have automaker companies that are bound to this country, basically, like Ford, who are seeing stocks of $8 and some change. What is the President going to do to help these ailing domestic --
MR. SNOW: Again, I think he'll express his support for their continued success, and we'll give you a readout of any particulars in the conversation after they take -- after --
Q I there concerns this administration has about the fact that American companies, domestic cars, are just not faring well anymore?
MR. SNOW: Again, I don't want to get into discussions or even characterizations of the American auto industry, other than to say that we are committed to its success.
Q The new Democratic leadership (inaudible) Iran?
MR. SNOW: I believe so, yes. John.
Q Thank you, Tony. Two brief questions. First, in September, after the National Republican Senatorial Committee deployed $2 million to help save Senator Lincoln Chafee, you defended that as a zesty campaign, even though there was some criticism of it. Do you believe now, with Senator Chafee still opposing the Bolton nomination, that it was a mistake for national Republicans to rescue him?
MR. SNOW: I'm not going to look backward, and I believe that Senator Chafee soon will be a private citizen. He can answer any questions about the positions he takes.
Q The other thing, will you comment on the published reports that Lieutenant Governor Steele has been offered the position of Republican National Chair?
MR. SNOW: That I don't know. We do know that Ken Mehlman is not going to seek reelection when the Republican National Committee has its annual meeting in January. I don't have any good information on who may have been approached as his successor. I don't -- I mean, I know the same thing. I've put in a call to Michael. I haven't heard from him today. I've put in calls also to the RNC, haven't heard back from them. So I just -- this is a classic, cannot confirm or deny.
Q Who would it -- that's an elected position, who would offer him?
MR. SNOW: You know, ultimately, you have to be elected by the delegates. That's sort of how that works. You know the deal.
Q Back to the lame duck for a second, there are six weeks -- five weeks, or so, more that Republicans are still in the majority on the Hill. Does the President see this period as a time when he should be pushing things like the surveillance measure and the Bolton nomination --
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q -- given that it's the last chance that Republicans have to set the agenda and actually --
MR. SNOW: Look, again, I don't think you should look at these as necessarily provocative. I know that there is an attempt to do so. But, again, you've got -- look at John Bolton's record. And the real question is, what complaint do you have with a man who has been so successful in pushing through vital National Security Council resolutions through the United Nations and has been awfully effective?
When it comes to the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the President doesn't think that we ought to wait in terms of developing a system that has congressional support for being able to conduct surveillance on terrorists in the United States talking with their terror masters overseas. We need that, and we need the ability to get intelligence as quickly as possible into the hands of people who can help save American lives here and abroad
So, again, I think those are goals of an effective U.N. Ambassador, and also an effective way of going after terrorists -- those are both constructive and important goals. And we'll see how the lame duck works through it.
Q Tony, does he view this as the last opportunity that he may have to get some of this stuff done?
MR. SNOW: No, we are going to continue to talk about these things. As I've said a number of times, the challenges that awaited us the day before the election still await us. And what we've seen on the part of Democratic leaders is a willingness to work together on these things. We've been encouraged by the tone of the conversations.
Q Thank you.
Q Tony --
MR. SNOW: One more.
Q We talked before about the President's campaign, speaking about a win for Democrats could be a boost for America's enemies. Today we hear from Iran's supreme leader praising the Democrats' win; al Qaeda in Iraq's leader praising the Democrats' win. Does the President see any validation in his remarks?
MR. SNOW: No, I think what we're going to see is we've had Democratic leaders saying, don't count on it. Our enemies should never view our democratic system as a system that makes us weak. What it does is it enhances responsibilities on both sides, and I think will give us bipartisan resolve in dealing with these issues in a way that is going to be practical, effective, and is going to enable us to take the fight to the enemy as swiftly and effectively as possible.
So if foreign leaders are celebrating, I think the underestimate the American democratic system.
Trudy's got one. Do you have a question, or do you want to ask me afterward?
Q The Iraq Study Group, did you say that Lee Hamilton and Baker and the whole group --
MR. SNOW: The entire Study Group will be meeting with the individuals I mentioned.
Q All of them?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q Because you mentioned the local (inaudible).
MR. SNOW: The other ones that will be in the meetings will be the President, the Vice President and the National Security Advisor.
Q Okay. So the whole Baker group --
MR. SNOW: The whole commission will be meeting with those three in the White House, and then individually with the Secretaries of State, Defense, DNI, our Ambassador to Iraq and so on.
Q What time is that?
MR. SNOW: They'll be on the schedule. I don't know the exact time.
Q In the afternoon --
MR. SNOW: Trudy, I don't know the exact time. We'll have that available. We'll give you --
MR. SNOW: Yes, absolutely closed.
Q Is President Bush making remarks for the MLK memorial?
MR. SNOW: Yes, he is.
END 1:22 P.M. EST
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