|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 29, 2007
Press Gaggle by Tony Snow
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Brunswick, Georgia
8:50 A.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: Hello. I'll also be joined by Secretaries Chertoff and Gutierrez to talk about immigration and our trip today.
Let me briefly read out the President's schedule, which you already have. We had the statement on Darfur this morning. When we land the President will participate in a briefing on Georgia and Florida wildfires. That will take place at Airport Fire Station Number Five in Brunswick. Participants will include Secretaries Gutierrez and Chertoff, Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Mel Martinez, and officials from Georgia and Florida.
Then the President will go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco -- I think you've got all the details there -- where he also will make remarks on comprehensive immigration reform. Return to the White House; 2:25 p.m. he'll participate in a photo opportunity with the Houston Dynamo, who won the Major League Soccer crown last year; and he will meet with Vietnamese democracy and human rights activists in the Oval at 3:25 p.m.
Q What was the reason for the timing of the Darfur sanctions decision today? What had happened?
MR. SNOW: Nothing. The President, I thought, laid it out in his remarks. Ban Ki-Moon, upon taking over at the U.N., really wanted to try to work with President Bush here and get results in Darfur. And we continue to support any efforts to do that. But it also became clear that the Sudanese government was not changing its stripes, and therefore it was important to go ahead and follow through on what the President has been talking about for some time, which are significant and strong sanctions against the Sudanese government, and a rededication to trying to deal with the genocide occurring in Darfur.
Q Tony, on immigration, is it the administration's belief that this is simply a matter -- in terms of winning support for the deal in the Senate -- simply a matter of education, that the more you explain the terms, that that will do it, or is there some convincing that also needs to go on?
MR. SNOW: I think the one thing we're discovering is that when people do get walked through the details, in fact the explanation is convincing to a lot of folks. Look, it is a terrific plan, but it's one, also, where some people who were opposed to it were making characterizations without having seen it. So I think it's important -- and I've been saying this from the podium for the last couple of weeks -- you've got to take a look at the details, and you've got to take a look at the way it's put together and how it meets people's concerns about security, how it meets people's concerns about restoring respect for the rule of law, how it reestablishes the notion of citizenship as something that one earns -- it's a privilege that people earn, and therefore, restoring integrity to a system that for the last 20 years has been the subject of a certain amount of failure to follow through, especially when it came to a lot of the border enforcement areas.
Q Are you seeing any tangible signs that the tide is turning, that you're winning over some folks?
MR. SNOW: Again, it's early, but we certainly -- look, I'm not going to get into nose counting right now. It's important, I think, that people do get a sense of what we're really trying to accomplish here, and to take a look at the details. And we have been inviting folks to take a look. And I think the more they hear, the more they're going to be inclined to support it.
Q Tony, can you talk a little bit about Nancy Pelosi -- apparently has taken the stance of not bringing up the bill unless she has a commitment of around 70 or so House Republican votes?
MR. SNOW: No, I'd refer that back to the Speaker. I'm not sure that's the case. That's something that -- again, I would refer it back to the Speaker's office.
Q How much closer is the President to finding a replacement for Mr. Wolfowitz at the World Bank?
MR. SNOW: I think we're getting pretty close.
Q Does he have -- does he have a replacement?
MR. SNOW: As I said, I think we're getting pretty close.
Q Has he gotten the names from the Secretary of Treasury?
MR. SNOW: I think we're getting pretty close.
Q Will it be this week?
MR. SNOW: Likely, yes.
Q Is there a next move on Darfur if this doesn't work?
MR. SNOW: Next move will -- (laughter) -- look, let's -- one thing at a time. I mean, what we're really doing here is we're -- we've announced sanctions, and the other thing that's going to happen is we're going to continue working with our international allies and colleagues to put real pressure on that government. You simply have to address the humanitarian crisis going on in Darfur, and we'll continue doing it.
Q Sorry, when you said "likely this week," are you talking about he will choose somebody this week, or the announcement will be made this week?
MR. SNOW: Yes. (Laughter.)
Q I'm just trying to differentiate, has he actually chosen somebody --
MR. SNOW: I know, and I'm being deliberately vague.
Q You already have a busy schedule today. Do you expect it to be today?
MR. SNOW: Don't expect a formal announcement out of the White House today, no.
Q How about a leak? (Laughter.)
MR. SNOW: Exactly. Not on the back of Air Force One, thank you very much.
All right, well, enjoy your breakfast.
END 8:55 A.M. EDT