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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 22, 1993
                                  PRESS BRIEFING
                           BY DEE DEE MYERS

                          The Briefing Room

5:45 P.M. EST

MS. MYERS: The President is currently visiting a friend in Little Rock, a man by the name of Maurice Smith who is the former chief of staff and former head of the Arkansas Highway Commission who is sick. He will go from there to the airport and fly back to Washington. He should be back here sometime later this evening.

Tomorrow's schedule. At 1:00 p.m. we'll have the next in our series of press conferences. That will be in the East Room at 1:00 p.m. At 2:00 p.m. he will meet with Democratic governors in the State Dining Room in the Residence.

Those are the only public events on tomorrow's schedule.

Q At this press conference you mean we're going to sit down and have an open-ended real, no kidding --

MS. MYERS: Sure. East Room just as we always do. The President takes lots of questions. Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

Q We don't believe you. (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: We're going to have somebody who can translate from Arkansan to standard English.

Q Is that live? Will there be mikes, mults and the whole deal?

MS. MYERS: The whole thing. It will be available for live coverage. It will be at 1:00 p.m. in the East Room.

Q Dee Dee, you said series of press conferences.

MS. MYERS: Absolutely. This is our seventh or eighth press conference.

Q First in a series.

MS. MYERS: This is our seventh or eighth in a series.

Q Might this be a good time to start having reserve seats for the regulars who go to all of them?

MS. MYERS: Yes. We'll have reserved seats at tomorrow's press conference.

Q Helen's off tomorrow.

MS. MYERS: You think she'll still be off?

Q No.

MS. MYERS: We could take bets.

Anything else. Thank you very much.

Q Any approximate arrival time?

MS. MYERS: He's expected to go from Maurice Smith's where he is now as soon as he's done there and then it's roughly a two hour flight time back.

Q What's the prognosis on his father-in-law and the odds of him having to return?

MS. MYERS: I can't speak to that other than to say, as you know, the hospital upgraded his condition -- or downgraded I guess -- from serious to critical.

Q Any change in the Yeltsin summit?

MS. MYERS: No, we're still proceeding on track and as you know Prime Minister Kozyrev said today they're still proceeding on track.

Q The President still has not talked to Yeltsin?


Q Any particular reason the President's having a news conference tomorrow?

MS. MYERS: It just seemed like a good opportunity tomorrow.

Q He has nothing he wants to say?

MS. MYERS: No, there is no major announcement. He may have some comments at the top of it, I'm sure he will just generally, but there's no particular announcement.

This is too easy. I should do this more often whenever I think it's going to be a problem.

Q A number of people today seemed to stress the fact that Yeltsin wasn't the only reformer in Russia that you could deal with. Is this a deliberate attempt to sort of hedge your bets in case he doesn't make it?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think our position, the White House position has been clear that we support President Yeltsin as the leader of the reform movement and all the reformists in Russia. And will continue to support President Yeltsin.

Q Who are some of these other informers that you can work with?

MS. MYERS: Kozyrev. But I, again, am not going to get into naming names.

Q You just did.

MS. MYERS: I named one.

Q But there aren't a whole lot of them, are there?

MS. MYERS: I think there are a number, including the Russian people, who seem to be -- obviously voted for President Yeltsin in the first time they had a chance to democratically elect a president in their thousand year history. There's continues to be a sentiment for reform in that country, and we support that. And I think Secretary Christopher outlined a lot of the reasons today and some of the specific details about how and why.

THE PRESS: Thank you.