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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 15, 2008

Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

     Fact sheet In Focus: Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy

3:33 P.M. EST

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good afternoon, everyone. Well, we just completed an extraordinarily successful summit. Very few would have thought four or five weeks ago that in that span of time, leaders this diverse, from 20 different countries, would be able to come together and reach agreement on a five-page leaders statement, which I will describe, as well as a 47-point action plan of quite specific actions, both in the near term and in the longer term.

I think there are really six key takeaways, and I'm going to highlight those takeaways, and then invite my colleague to the podium to go into some of those very specific measures that were agreed today.

First takeaway: A broad agreement on the importance of the countries of the G20 taking and implementing pro-growth investment -- pro-growth policies to stimulate our economies.

Second, the leaders pledged to improve our regulatory regimes so to ensure that all financial markets, all financial products, and all financial market participants are subject to appropriate regulation or oversight. Related to this was a pledge of enhancing international cooperation among regulators and between regulators and international financial institutions.

Third, one of the significant reforms that was agreed on was the need to reform international financial institutions to give greater representation to emerging market and developing economies.

Fourth, there was significantly an affirmation of free market principles. There -- in advance of the summit there have been much discussion, was this going to result in an assault on capitalism or the death of capitalism, or the revamping of the free market system. Quite to the contrary. There was universal recognition by all leaders that the reform efforts they were discussing would only be successful if grounded in -- and here I'm quoting from paragraph 12 of the declaration -- only be successful if grounded in "a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial markets." That's the end of the quote.

There was also an affirmation that it was these very principles that are essential to economic growth and prosperity, and have, in fact, been responsible for lifting millions out of poverty.

Interestingly, there was a recognition -- there was a cautionary note sounded by leaders on not to go overboard. While there was a recognition of the necessity to improve financial sector regulations, there was as well an admonition -- and you can see it in the declaration -- that we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth, and that would exacerbate the contraction of capital flows, in particular to developing countries. This was agreed by the leaders.

Also importantly, the leaders expressly rejected protectionism. And you can find this in paragraph 13 of the declaration. They rejected protectionism, and recorded their desire to conclude a framework agreement or a modalities agreement by the end of the year to lead to a successful Doha Round. And they -- importantly, they stated that the leaders would not impose or raise new barriers to trade and investment during a 12-month period; that is, raising new barriers even if such barriers may be consistent with existing WTO obligations.

The final takeaway was a recognition and commitment to address the needs of the poorest, both by honoring our aid commitments, and by ensuring that the World Bank and IMF are adequately resourced so that they can help developing countries through this crisis. And here note was taken of the new liquidity facilities of the IMF, as well as the recent very large package announced by the World Bank, to support needs for trade finance and promote infrastructure development.

These I think are the key takeaways. In our earlier briefings to you, we had identified the intention of the leaders to try and agree on principles to guide reform. They successfully identified and agreed on those principles, which are: one, strengthening transparency and accountability; two, enhancing sound regulation; three, promoting integrity in financial markets; four, reenforcing international cooperation; and five, reforming international financial institutions.

I'm going to turn to my colleague in a moment to walk us through some of the very concrete steps and measures and decisions that were adopted. And before he takes the podium, let me point out that a number of these may sound very technical or very mundane. I can assure you they are not. These technical changes, these agreements to change practices or enhance rules and regulations, this is the stuff of financial markets reform.

Thank you. Let me turn the podium over.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you. Well, after that description of what I'm going to talk about, I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat. (Laughter.) This is my life. I've been living this stuff. I want you to get all excited about it. Let me try to touch on just a couple things to give you some sense of how we've thought about putting the principles into practice, and some of the specific decisions that have been made and what they imply for our financial markets.

So there was, for a leaders meeting, having sat through some of these in the past, there was probably a more detailed and more substantive discussion of a number of topics than given the nature of this broader subject than you would have expected. And within the context of strengthening transparency and accountability, the leaders had a conversation about the need for better disclosure. And as part of the action plan, there was a specific commitment made that by March 31st of 2009, regulators and accounting standard setters should have required enhanced disclosure of complex instruments by firms to market participants.

So a very specific -- one of many of the 47 -- but a very specific request that kind of makes sense as you think about some of the challenges we have had over the last year and how they've been driven by the lack of transparency and the complexity of a number of these products.

A second thing that was discussed and that the President specifically mentioned was the importance of bringing greater transparency, and strengthening the underlying infrastructure in the over-the-counter credit derivatives market to reduce the risk in the system. This is something that, if you follow the markets closely, has been something I think most market participants have recognized as a real issue.

There was an earlier announcement this week of the President's Working Group and the leadership that it's taking on the specific issue, but you had the G20 leaders call upon supervisors and regulators, building up on that work that's already been done in some countries to speed and put in place efforts to reduce the systemic risk associated with the credit default swaps and over-the-counter derivatives, insist on exchange-traded or electronic trading platforms, expand -- have required expansion and transparency of the OTC derivatives, and ensure that the infrastructure, the necessary infrastructure is in place.

So, again, a very specific thing. But if you step back and look at systemic vulnerabilities and how we should think about addressing some of the challenges we see in our market, this jumped out as something that was a very important step forward, also within the context of an immediate and near-term action plan.

A third area that certainly was talked about in great depth in preparation for the meeting was the importance of regulators from various countries sitting down together on a regular basis with internationally active banks. These are banks that cut across borders, and banks that ultimately may have systemic implications as a consequence of that. This is something that a small group of countries have been talking about for some time in terms of creating a body by institution -- a group of regulators that would come together by institution and talk about potential vulnerabilities in the institution to make sure that the regulatory path and the regulatory oversight was coordinated across countries, given these different regulators. This was something that the G20 leaders highlighted as an important deliverable, and something that all of the G20 would commit themselves to and challenge supervisors to commit themselves to, going forward.

As my colleague mentioned, there was also a discussion, a very detailed discussion, and people have spent a lot of time talking about this -- the importance of greater representation within the international financial institutions. We've just gone through in both the World Bank and the IMF a renegotiation of representation through the quota process, but I think there is a recognition that that needed to be an urgent priority going forward.

And as an example of that, there was an explicit commitment made to urgently expand the membership of the Financial Stability Forum to include emerging markets -- now, not a body that maybe is on the front page of the news every day, but this has been a crucial group in terms of crisis response over the last 12 months, and a group that will be critical going forward in terms of the standard setting that needs to come out as a consequence of the lessons learned, and to ensure that many of these challenges we've seen don't happen again.

And then, finally, something that I would highlight was the emphasis that was placed on credit rating agencies, and the need for worldwide registration requirements, as already done in the United States. That was something that clearly jumped out as a deliverable.

This isn't the only -- these aren't the only things, but these are things that I would just pull out for your attention, because they were, within the context of the market, very high profile. These are things that leaders put a great deal of emphasis on, and they are specific items that there is a time line around and a commitment among the G20 to implement immediately.

We also spent time within the context -- and recognizing this is a journey, not a destination -- there were a number of specific action items that are in a time line for the next three to four months, but there was also recognition that there were probably a lot of other things that needed to be done in the future, and we needed to set up a mechanism to ensure that there was implementation of the commitments that were made, as well as an ongoing process for identifying additional recommendations and ensuring they were implemented.

And so in paragraph 10 of the draft -- or the declaration, it talks about that process going forward. Essentially, the leaders charged the ministers to take responsibility for the implementation process, for reporting back to leaders at a future meeting. That future meeting -- there was a commitment made that that future meeting would happen before April 30th. And there was also recognition that ministers, calling upon expert bodies, calling upon the different international bodies, would pull together additional recommendations, consistent with those five principles. And the leaders also identified specific areas where they challenged, tasked the ministers to come back with specific recommendations. These were issues that clearly are significant ones.

So one was around mitigating against procyclicality and regulatory policy. Another was the credit derivatives market, which I mentioned earlier. A third was reviewing compensation practices as they relate to incentives for risk-taking and innovation. So not only a specific set of actions that will be implemented immediately, but also a path going forward for identifying additional recommendations and making sure that they're followed up on closely.

Why don't I stop there and we can open it up for any questions you might have. Thank you. Yes, please.

Q Regarding fiscal stimulus and actions to get the economies going back again, were there any specific actions that the countries pledged to take, either in terms of interest rates or spending targets -- things like that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, there was a great deal of discussion around this within the context of a lot of fiscal action has been taken by a number of countries just in the last two weeks. And what became very clear in the course of the discussion is, despite the fact that we're all coming together and all being affected by this crisis in very significant ways, everybody is at a different stage in terms of what they're dealing with in the slowdown in their respective economies and the appropriate actions to be taken.

There was a recognition that fiscal measures are -- and pro-growth policies as a general proposition are a very important part of the response, and a number of countries are in different stages of thinking about how to do that. And there was an emphasis placed on ensuring that stimulus was true stimulus, in the sense that it had a near-term impact. So that was a discussion and that was within the context of some very specific things that countries are either doing already or are contemplating.

Q Three things, if I may. One, since the leaders agreed to meet again before the end of April, does it mean that the G20 is now a standing mechanism of the leaders summit? Two, you mentioned the invitation to new members to the Financial Stability Forum. Does this extend to all G20 members? I'm from Russia; I'm mostly interested in Russia -- is Russia invited? Three, was there any specific pledges made to support the IMF in the crisis relief programs?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This was the first time the G20 had met at the level of leaders. The President thought, after consultations with other leaders, that these were the appropriate leaders to gather around the table for this initial discussion.

There will be another meeting of leaders by the end of April. In the meantime, ministers have been tasked with a series of work streams and recommendations to report back. There was no discussion about who would be attending the next meeting; the assumption, of course, that the same leaders who are around the table -- that is the leaders of the G20 -- would be there, but whether there would be additional leaders, that would be open for discussion. That's something that the leaders and ministers would need to address.

But if I could I think address perhaps an underlying question, there was no discussion or -- well, there was no discussion about the G20 either replacing or substituting for any existing groupings of countries or informal fora.

Oh, sorry, there were two other pieces.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Can I just answer those questions -- is this related to that first question? Okay, let me answer your other two questions very quickly. FSF -- the new members were not specified. What was agreed upon was that there is an absolute urgent need to do that and do it very quickly. This was something that was discussed in some detail in São Paulo last weekend, and we've taken a pretty significant step forward in the course of a week in terms of having leaders call upon the FSF to move, and move very quickly. So I would expect that will happen in the not too distant future, but who it will include is to be determined.

On resource requirements, the statement is quite explicit that the leaders have committed themselves and their countries to coming forward with the necessary resources to help the IMF, the World Bank, the MDBs fulfill their mandates in light of the crisis and to mitigate the impact of the ongoing crisis. So there was complete agreement on that point. And there was a lot of discussion on what the actual needs are.

And in the case of the IMF, as I think we've said publicly before, they have a $200 billion credit line; they've drawn down on less than a fourth of it, but there's a recognition that we're in the middle of a situation where its resource needs may grow quite quickly. And so, as a consequence, there's a commitment to making sure the institutions have what they need.

Q You said earlier this week it sounded like it was adequately resourced without any question. Have you kind of softened on that in any way?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, I think what I said last week was consistent with what I just said, which is that they have a $200 billion credit line; they've drawn on less than a fourth of it, but in the midst of a crisis there may be additional needs, and the leaders are committed to providing the needs -- I didn't say the leaders were committed because it hadn't happened yet. But I can say now the leaders are committed to providing the resources they need in the future.

Whether the current resources are adequate or not is to be determined, based on the case that the IMF leadership and other MDBs are able to make.

You were next.

Q You maybe just spoke to specifically the U.S. economy, but did any discussion come out about some of the troubles going on in the auto industry here? I mean, did any of the leaders discuss that at all?


Q You've been in close consultation with the Obama team throughout. I'm wondering, did you give the Obama team a copy of the declaration before you signed off, or in any way consult with them either before or after?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There were extensive consultations with their designated representative before, and very, very detailed discussions on what was likely to come out in the declaration. So I have not yet had a chance to brief that person, but I'm going to seek to do that this afternoon.

Q And is it your understanding that they're comfortable with what's in it and, in particular, the commitment that there be another meeting essentially a hundred days after the new President is sworn in?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: As I said, I gave a very detailed briefing of all of the aspects. I don't want to characterize their understanding or reaction of it. That will be for them to do.

Q I have a couple. Was there anything that you'd hoped to get done at this particular meeting that you weren't able to agree on and has to be taken up at the next one? Secondly, is there anything that we can tell the American people about what was achieved today that's actually going to affect their lives on a daily basis, something that I hoped we could have asked the President today, but -- we're kind of trying to get the message to the people here, and most of them are not financial whizzes.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right. Let me take -- what was the first part of your question?

Q The first was, was there anything that you didn't get done that you'd hoped to get done in this particular meeting?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: On that, as I said, we thought that this was a remarkably successful summit.

Q But did you get everything done that you'd hoped to get done?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: -- document reflects a level of consensus and convergence on not only critically important principles, but also actions. So --

Q I'm not minimizing what you've done. I'm just saying, was there anything that --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Our priorities were certainly addressed. So I would say, from our perspective, we certainly achieved our objectives for the summit. And in fact, I think -- and I think this was a general feeling in the room, that we were able to go farther, both in terms of principles and in terms of actions, than anyone would have thought possible.

And this leads me to the second part of your question: Why should one take comfort from what happened today? Two reasons. One, the appreciation by these leaders of the depth of economic problems, the seriousness of the crisis, and the urgent need to pull together to coordinate policies -- macro policies, micro policies, regulatory policies -- in an unprecedented way, was truly extraordinary. So, one, take comfort because it's not a bunch of disconnected countries acting alone, only worried about what's going on in their country. It was a recognition that we've got to look at things system-wide, we've got to look at these global financial systems horizontally. So that was very, very important.

Two, the commitment to ensure that the developing countries are able to weather this crisis so that neither the financial market crisis, nor the general global economic slowdown spill over and are unaddressed in the most vulnerable, which in turn would feed back into other countries. So that's the second aspect.

The third aspect is the -- again, not so much the content of the actions, because people don't follow valuation of securities and FASB and accounting standards so closely -- but how detailed and concrete and immersed in the detail these leaders were. They weren't talking at this level and saying, oh, experts will deal with this. This was a very detailed discussion by the leaders themselves about what needed to be done, both at the most specific level and also, stepping back, the affirmation of these core principles.

Q Was there a discussion of currencies and the dangers of competitive devaluation, or was that sort of implicit under what you're talking about in section 13? And also, if there's another meeting coming up in the spring of leaders, does that mean there's an upcoming G20 sherpas meeting of some kind?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Why don't you take the currency point, and then let's talk about the interim meetings. I mean, I think there's going to be a G20 finance ministers meeting, and -- well, let me answer your prep point.

If leaders are going to be getting together, sherpas will be involved. And the way this was prepared is that the G20 finance deputies, to my left, or -- the G20 finance deputies and the leaders' representatives worked in close coordination to prepare the summit. We anticipate that that is the process that will be followed in preparation from the -- for the next summit. We will, of course, have another G20 finance ministers meeting before that. And the finance ministers were tasked with very, very significant work streams, and you can be assured that the G20 finance ministers and finance deputies will be working very intensively between now and the next leaders meeting.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There was a lot of talk about macroeconomic policy and making sure it was aligned. There wasn't specific conversations about currency, but there was, I think, a widespread acknowledgment, recognition, a commitment, that the G20 countries and other countries need to take great care not to embrace beggar-thy-neighbor policies that ultimately undermine the competitiveness or have economic disadvantages for other countries. So I'd say that was the context.

Q May I ask you on three specific issues that you raised? First, could you just clarify exactly what you agreed on the CDS market, in terms of will it now be mandatory that all such trading is conducted via exchanges and through a central clearinghouse? Or if not, could you just specify exactly what you agreed on that? Secondly, the review of accounting practices and procyclicality, is there anything there that could open the door to a suspension of market-to-market accounting? And thirdly, can you talk a little bit about how you interpret the language on supervision of private pools of capital in the future?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. Let me take the second question first. There was certainly, I think, no expectation or any discussion around anything in this document suggesting a walk away from the principles of mark-to-market accounting. I think there has been a recognition, an active discussion for many months -- and certainly the SEC has taken an active role in this -- on the need to refine accounting principles based on the learnings of the last 12 months, and to do so in a way that is very consistent with the principles of mark-to-market.

On the commitment that was made in the CDS area, I would just refer you to the very specific language -- immediate actions by March 31st, 2009, under potential oversight. And it says that -- it calls upon supervisors and regulators to speed efforts to reduce a systemic risk, insist that there is the use of exchange-traded or electronic-trading platforms, and expand transparency, and ensure there's necessary infrastructure.

Now, how that manifests itself exactly I think remains to be seen, but I -- what I do know for certain is that in less than 100 days there will be a discussion leading up to this at the leaders' level and whether there's been work done to fulfill that commitment and the intent of that commitment.

What was the other --

Q The final question is that there is a lot of language about supervision of private pools of capital on account of the unregulated entities. Can you talk a little bit about how you interpret that language?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, let me just find the exact language because I think it was actually an important point and described in a bit more --

Q There are two references -- at one point you talk about the principle that all products, markets, and participants should be appropriately regulated --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Have regulation or appropriate oversight.

Q Yes.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Or appropriate oversight -- yes. This point came really based on two things. There have been a number of efforts, both in the area of hedge funds and private equity, to develop best practices. This first request of ministers was to do an assessment of how those best practices fit together, the consistency across them, and whether they are useful and can be integrated in a way that lays a foundation. And then ministers will be in a position to determine how those best practices could best be used in a way to address the issue -- the issue being, how can we ensure that these private pools of capital are operating in a consistent way that is both systemically stable and consistent with the other principles we've outlined here.

Q President Sarkozy suggested that the issue of bank compensation and that it was raised here represented something of a change of mind on the part of United States. Is that correct? Have you sort of shifted your position by including that here? And are you recognizing that the way we compensate bank executives and financial executives played a role in this crisis?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Why don't you lead off, I'll follow.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think there's been a recognition that Secretary Paulson and others have highlighted in the past, which is I think a bit of a broader point which this point would fit under, which is the need to ensure that incentive structures within financial institutions do not contribute to excessive risk-taking. And so I think what you saw in this declaration and in any discussion was that universal recognition and that universal encouragement for firms to address this issue.

Q Could you just, specifically on this, could you envisage the G20 dictating to the financial services industry what appropriate forms or structures of compensation --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. I don't think that was certainly the tone of the discussion and I don't -- just let me pause for a minute -- I don't think there was ever an actual proposal along the lines of what you just described.

Q It's fairly widely accepted that most of the countries around the table today are going to be heading into a recession in the next few months, and just wondering, if all the countries live up to the commitments and the pledges that they made today, where do you assess the world economy to be in April when they next meet? Will this meeting have an impact on the world economy over the next six months? And secondly, Japan yesterday was suggesting that they might be interested in hosting the next summit. Did they bring that up? Was that discussed -- who would host the next summit?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me take the last piece first. The leaders did not have a discussion about the location of the next summit. They agreed on when it would be held. It was not really discussed where it would be held. There are -- a number of countries had expressed interest in hosting and those countries who had expressed an interest in hosting were kind of talking among themselves to try and work out where the next one would be.

Q But there was no agreement on that -- talking amongst themselves?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There was no agreement among the leaders as to where it would be. There were discussions, as I said, among those who were interested in hosting to try and work that out.

Q The second part -- the first part of my question, which was about where we might be --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. On that, I think your point is an accurate one, which is that most of these countries are feeling a significant slowdown. I think what's been identified today was what the leaders have committed, is to be very proactive, very forward-leaning, in trying to ensure that that slowdown is as short and shallow as possible, with all the activities that are outlined in part 7 or paragraph 7 here, but also the added commitment to take extra efforts to ensure that emerging markets and developing countries, poor countries that are affected by this are also addressed in a very focused way. And then finally, a very specific commitment to take a whole series of ambitious efforts -- some identified, some for the future -- which will ensure this doesn't happen again.

So we're in the middle of a capital markets credit crunch married with a significant slowdown. How those two interrelate in terms of the pace of slowdown, I think many people are projecting but there's a lot of uncertainly on it. What is clear, that if they didn't do all these things as aggressively as they've committed to do them, the situation would be more challenging. So this certainly will dampen -- certainly have a dampening effect.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right, and I can say that as veterans of a number of multilateral gatherings, I think we were both struck by the energy, intensity, and sense of commitment in that room among all of the leaders.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let's take two last questions.

Q Fear is a great motivator, right? Could you guys just -- this process that you've worked on very intensively and devoted a lot of your time to will now be out of your hands on January 21st. As you guys leave, what specific -- and the President has also talked about the fact that there are temptations, strong temptations, to protectionism and closing down markets and all these sort of anti-free market measures. Can you guys talk about, in light of that, what you will be watching when you leave, broadly or specifically, that might turn either way -- any possible concerns about things that would go in the opposite direction from the way that you've described today?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm going to disappoint you. I'm not going to talk about what I'll be thinking about when I leave. We've still got a lot to do between now and then. The leaders of the G20 have charted a course here; they have affirmed certain principles and made some very specific commitments, including in the area of protectionism. So it's not just the usual statement that we want to get the Doha Round done. I encourage you to read it. It is different in quality and character than prior statements because it contemplates the possible direct involvement of leaders, number one; and number two, it is coupled with the commitment not to raise new trade barriers.

So -- please.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Can I add to that just two things that I would say really struck me here. One was I don't know if it was universal but just about every single leader at some point in the course of the last day made the specific point about their concerns over protectionism, their commitment to pushing back on that, and I think it was grounded not in the feeling or need to say it, but in a genuine concern that as the anxiety around the world grows that that may be the response, and a need for leadership, political leadership at the highest levels across the major economies to push back on that.

The second thing that was said a number of times and I think with a level of commitment and intensity that really stood out was the belief that rhetorical flourishes, saying big sweeping things, was not going to do it, and that there needed to be a very focused set of actions both to deal with the crisis and on the reform agenda, and a process for going forward to ensure implementation that would make the efforts of this group credible, lasting and meaningful.

And so that's why, as you look through this, you have an enormous amount of specificity around the path ahead and the specific actions taken, because this was not meant to be the most elegant, poetic two-page document; this was meant to be a very specific set of actions and a plan for making sure they happen.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I just want to add just one last thing on the Doha point also is that -- the irony was not lost on us that we are here in this town where we are talking very pointedly about the importance of continued trade liberalization, other leaders in this town talking about continued trade liberalization, and today we are still waiting on Congress to pass very advantageous trade deals for the United States of America. And that's something that we recognize, and it did come up on some side discussions.

Q Is that on the record or --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, senior administration official, Jon, but I can maybe give you something later.

One last question.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Maybe somebody who hadn't asked a question.

Q Can I -- could we go back a little bit to the -- how you'll be cooperating, working with the folks from the Obama team? One, as you -- just in preparing for this, as you've phrased it, it sounds like a consultation and then you all fill in his people on what you're doing and your point of view is. Has there -- any of that process up until today been a place where their views were reflected, or you changed what you did because of the views that were presenting back to you?

And then going forward, as you prepare for the next meeting and that gets closer to when they are taking over, can you talk at all about whether there's been any discussion or thought about how that process will go, given that, presumably, at some points they might have different views on what to do going forward than you all do?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as I said, we have consulted very closely and at length with the representative on their team in very, very detailed discussions, and we intend to sit down with members of their team to give a debrief on the summit and share our thoughts on some of the process issues, and share our experiences with them of what we did to prepare this summit.

Thank you.


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you. And just as a reminder to everyone that the sourcing for this is senior administration officials. Thanks.

END 4:19 P.M. EST