THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY WITH SECRETARY GENERAL OF NATO MANFRED WOERNER The Oval Office
4:25 P.M. EST
Q Mr. President, the incident in Waco appears to be ending. Do you have any misgivings at all about how that was executed?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think now is the time to discuss that. I think that -- I'm pleased that it's ending. I think it's ending in a way that's very consistent with a similar incident that occurred in my state -- very similar -- when I was governor there many years ago --
Q Are you satisfied that the appropriate action was taken in the first place?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think this is the time for me to comment on that. It's not appropriate at this time for me to comment on it.
Q Are you having any second thoughts about your criticism of George Bush's Haiti policy during the campaign, given that today you went to court to essentially support his position?
THE PRESIDENT: But our position is different. Our position now is that there's a difference if there are extreme circumstances, and I think there are. You know, maybe I was too harsh in my criticism of him, but I still think there's a big difference between what we're doing in Haiti and what they were doing in Haiti. And there's a big difference between the kinds of problems that are created by the Haitian circumstance. I mean, something that was never brought up before, but is now painfully apparent, is that if we did what the plaintiffs in the court case want, we would be consigning a very large number of Haitians, in all probability, to some sort of death warrant. I mean, if you look at how many people have been lost at sea, look at the number of people who died not even trying to come to the United States in a much shorter trip recently, given the kinds of -- the means they had to get here, the kinds of boats they have and all of that. We have now cut from two months down to one week the amount of time it takes to process people who want to be considered to be refugees in Haiti. When we bring people back, we meet them there now. We don't just let them get dispersed into the country. We're going out in to the country and doing the refugee handling. So it's a very different set of circumstances than it was.
END4:28 P.M. EST