THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY DEE DEE MYERS
The Briefing Room
1:15 P.M. EDT
MS. MYERS: Good afternoon. I have no announcements, so if you have any questions --
Q Any update on where the NATO allies stand? Could you clarify the use of unilateral use of U.S. military action if the NATO allies refuse to go along with the U.S. position on Bosnia?
MS. MYERS: Well, as you know, the meeting in Brussels is ongoing. They're still in session there, I believe, and we'll probably have some kind of readout when that meeting is over there in Brussels. We hope to work -- we fully expect to work through with the allies a common position on this. We expect that they will join us in support for stopping any more deterioration in humanitarian conditions there and in helping to move the negotiations forward in Geneva.
Q Is that ruling out acting alone if they don't go along with our plan?
MS. MYERS: We just don't think we're at that point yet. We fully expect that the allies will support us in this. And so that discussion is ongoing in Brussels this afternoon.
Q Can you explain why it was that the State Department spokesman was so unequivocal yesterday?
MS. MYERS: I think his -- and I don't want to speak for him -- but he was making the point that we're determined to take action on this. We fully expect the allies to support us as we move -- and the meeting in Brussels is specifically to look at ways to prevent further erosion in the humanitarian conditions in Bosnia and to further the negotiations ongoing in Geneva. We expect that the allies will support us in that. We've had a number of conversations with them over the course of the past week. But we expect to take additional action in concert with the allies.
Q Given the history of this whole idea, however, why should anyone believe you, particularly in the former Yugoslavia?
MS. MYERS: I think the situation there has gotten worse. I think -- and I think we will do everything we can to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation, not just in Sarajevo, but in other parts of Bosnia. In addition, I think this is a slightly different position.
Q Are you sure you can do everything we can?
MS. MYERS: We will -- we're looking at options of what we can do. We will do what we can to prevent the situation.
Q The reason I ask that is it seems to have been a disconnect -- or maybe not --between the White House and officials at the State Department on this issue. Officials at the State Department are suggesting fairly strongly that something truly new and different is afoot here, and the White House keeps saying, no, no, we're just sticking with what we've always said would be policy. What is the --
MS. MYERS: No, I don't think that's quite what we're saying. I think what -- in terms of how we expect this action to proceed, we're in Brussels now discussing with the allies further steps to take. We fully expect that our allies will be with us on this.
Q And do you fully expect to act within days then?
I think what he meant in that regard was that -- and, again, I don't want to get in the position of speaking for him -- but with respect to Resolution 836, Secretary -- I mean, Boutros-Ghali had said last week he expected that to be -- things to be in position by the beginning of this week. We don't expect that that has changed. So if there is another attack on UNPROFOR forces and if they'd request support, that should be ready in a matter of days. As to additional action, I don't think we have a timetable on that.
Q As part of this, the effect on the peace talks -- apparently now the Serbs have agreed to give up one of their artillery positions outside Sarajevo. Is the effect of all of this talk possibly just to influence those negotiations?
MS. MYERS: Clearly, we've always maintained that what we want is a negotiated settlement toward -- for Bosnia. We've always maintained that. But we need to see actions on the ground, not just words. I mean, we're encouraged, but we're certainly not going to stop at the Serbs' word. We've seen that before. Obviously, our goal here is a negotiated settlement to stop the fighting.
Q Have you changed the policy that no U.S troops will be introduced into Bosnia except as guarantors of a signed peace agreement?
MS. MYERS: There's been no change in that position.
Q So anything that you're proposing to the allies right now does not involve U.S. ground troops?
MS. MYERS: That's right. There's been no change in our position. The only circumstances under which we would contemplate U.S. ground troops is to implement an agreement reached by the parties.
Q To any -- I mean, in any number? Specifically with regard to the ground --
MS. MYERS: There's just been on change --
Q artillery spotters and things like that?
MS. MYERS: No change in our position. There's just been -- there's no change.
Q So the artillery spotters would be Europeans or other allied representatives?
MS. MYERS: There's -- yes, there's just been -- that's correct. There's just been no change there.
Q During the last -- Secretary Christopher's last trip to Europe, the White House made quite clear that it would only act multilaterally. Are you prepared to restate that or has there been a change in that position?
MS. MYERS: The negotiations in Brussels are ongoing. We just don't see any -- it's just premature. We don't expect there's any need for anything else. We expect that the allies will be with us on this and we expect to go forward in concert with them.
Q But was it premature to say that last time? In other words, you made it quite clear prior to the Secretary's mission that you contemplated only multilateral action.
MS. MYERS: I think that we fully expect the allies to be with us on this. We fully expect to go forward in concert with them.
Q But isn't a change of policy when now we're now willing to -- is it not a change of policy when now you're not willing to say like you were before that we're only going to act multilaterally?
MS. MYERS: We're just not there yet. The conversations in Brussels are ongoing.
Q What -- you were there a couple of months ago and you're not there now?
MS. MYERS: We're in the midst of discussions were we fully expect our allies to work with us to solve this problem.
Q But you're not ruling out -- you won't rule out unilateral action?
MS. MYERS: We're just not there. We fully expect the allies to work with us on this.
Q But when you say you're not there, what does that mean? What do you mean you're not there? Not where?
MS. MYERS: In the respect to the action being contemplated and what they're discussing now in Brussels, we fully expect the allies to be with us. So there's no need to discuss anything --
Q I understand that, but when you say you're not there --
MS. MYERS: We're not to a point where that would even be discussed.
Q But the operative phrase is always "fully expect." What if you don't get what we're looking for? What if they chicken out?
MS. MYERS: That's hypothetical. I'm not going to --
Q But you fully expected the allies to be supportive the last time Secretary Christopher went on a mission and they were not. And, in fact, it was somewhat of an embarrassment to this administration to have been talking very explicitly about military action that was contemplated which then could not take place.
MS. MYERS: Well, I think the circumstances have changed somewhat. This is, as you know, a different proposal than we contemplated in May. We've had a number of discussions over the course of the past week or so, more than a week, with our allies and we expect them to move forward with us on this. We have every expectation that they support this.
Q Did you deliberately intend to send the signal that Mike McCurry did last night? That you would act with or without the allies -- that the U.S. government would act with or without the allies?
MS. MYERS: I think that our position continues to be that we fully expect this action to be multilateral, that --
Q Was he out in front of the curve?
MS. MYERS: It's not for me to say.
Q Sure it is. (Laughter.)
Q Well, somebody's got to speak for the administration.
MS. MYERS: Well, Secretary Christopher -- no, Secretary Christopher spoke to that a little while ago, and he spoke directly to Mike McCurry and I think I will let his comments on that stand. And I'd be happy to try to make those available.
Q A few minutes ago you said it would be premature to talk about anything beyond the collaborative process. Are you saying that any statements to the contrary were then premature?
MS. MYERS: I think I'll let my statements on that stand. The administration's position is that we're moving forward. The talks in Brussels are ongoing. We fully expect the allies to be with us on this, and beyond that we have nothing more to say.
Q Did the Secretary clarify this?
MS. MYERS: Yes, he spoke to it.
Q The President said that those stories were exaggerated, that they had gone beyond the pale. Are you retreating from that position or was the State Department off base?
MS. MYERS: I think I've clarified what the U.S. position is and Secretary Christopher spoke to it.
Q Well, then it doesn't match what was said yesterday.
MS. MYERS: It doesn't match what was reported yesterday, that's correct.
Q Everyone reported the same briefing --
MS. MYERS: I understand.
Q Well, were they misquoted?
MS. MYERS: I understand. Again, Secretary Christopher spoke to Mike's comments and I will let the Secretary's response to that stand. We'll have a transcript, and I'd be happy to make that available for you all.
Q Mike didn't say what he was reported to have said?
MS. MYERS: I'm just saying I'm not going to comment on Mike's comments other than to clarify what the administration's position is.
Q So the administration has not said that he was wrong and you're still not saying that he was wrong?
MS. MYERS: I've clarified what the administration's position is, I think, and I think I will let Secretary Christopher go beyond that. I don't think it's my role.
Q You don't think it's --
MS. MYERS: I don't think anybody's saying that. All's I'm saying is it's not for me to comment on Mike's comments. I've done -- I've laid out what the administration's position is and I think that's all we need to say about it.
Q What exactly is the administration's position with regard to additional action beyond protecting U.N. forces? If the Serbians were to stop firing on Sarajevo, would that be enough? Would you also ask them to retreat from positions around Sarajevo as a condition for not activating your plan? You keep saying that you're in talks in Brussels about this. What exactly is "this"?
MS. MYERS: This is action within existing U.N. resolutions to stop further deterioration of humanitarian conditions, to prevent the strangulation of Sarajevo, and to do what we can to support the negotiations, move toward a negotiated settlement in Geneva.
Q Military action?
Q As long as relief convoys, for instance, were permitted to reprovision Sarajevo and the shelling ceased, would that satisfy you?
MS. MYERS: Well, there are two sets of actions we're talking about, the first one within the context of 836. If UNPROFOR forces are attacked and request assistance, that will be the context for action there. The context for action -- additional air strikes, other things, or specifically additional air strikes are what's being discussed today in Brussels.
Q To what purpose? What is the objective of the administration on the very point you just mentioned? What do you want to see on the ground?
MS. MYERS: We would like to see an end to the erosion of humanitarian conditions there and we would like to support negotiations toward a settlement in Geneva. Ultimately, we'd like to see negotiated settlement and a cessation of hostilities in Bosnia. That's the ultimate goal.
Q I'm just wondering what the trigger would be for air attacks under this additional plan.
MS. MYERS: And that's what's being discussed now. It's part of the conversation in Brussels, working out the specifics about how this would work operationally.
Q But it's your plan so you ought to be able to tell us what is in your plan.
MS. MYERS: I am not going to tell you. The plan -- conversations about this are ongoing and no final decisions have been made. So I'm not going to get into the specifics.
Q Does your plan fall -- does command and control of your plan fall under the auspices of NATO or the United Nations? Boutros Ghali is saying any response under 836 is his call.
MS. MYERS: Well, 836 -- exactly.
Q You agree with that. But then for the additional action that may be contemplated, whose call is that?
MS. MYERS: Well, as you know, NATO is meeting about it today and they will work out exactly how that will be triggered. But that is something that is being handled at the North Atlantic Council today.
Q Would that be Boutros Ghali's decision or the U.N.'s decision, or is it something that NATO and the United States would determine?
MS. MYERS: It's something that NATO is looking at now and exactly how it's structured will be worked out. But it's something that is, we believe, permissible under existing U.N. resolutions, particularly 770.
Q unilateral or multilateral -- do you have a timetable?
MS. MYERS: No. Again, that's something that they're discussing.
Q Do you have a range?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q A period?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q At risk of getting the same answer that you've been throwing at us time and again, are the NATO forces today discussing not whether to do this, but how to do it?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think you'd establish -- they'll establish a set of criteria that would trigger action. And I think that's something we'll have to wait and see how it's structured. I mean, I think that the United States is determined to move forward with its allies to, again, prevent the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and to further negotiations in Geneva. And so I think there will be -- that plan will be worked out.
Q On a non-Bosnia subject?
Q Oh, good.
Q The President talked to David Boren today and can you give us an idea of who he has talked to in terms of rounding up votes, other than what we know about already in the public schedule?
MS. MYERS: Yes. As you know, he met with the Progressive Caucus this morning --
MS. MYERS: To continue to press for support for the economic package.
Q Is he concerned about support from any members of the Progressive Caucus?
MS. MYERS: I think that we're not taking a single vote for granted on this. As you know, it's very close in the House. It will be close again --
Q Can we get the answer to my questions first and then you can follow?
Q I'm sorry. Sure.
MS. MYERS: I'll have to take that because I don't know that he's talked to any member of the Senate today. In the House --
Q Including Senator Boren?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe so, but let me take that.
Q Is the confidence expressed by Vice President Gore yesterday diminished in any way by the apparent defection of Senator Boren?
MS. MYERS: No. As you know, the Vice President made those comments after Senator Boren announced his intentions. I think that we always expected this would be close, but we do expect that in the end the President's plan will pass.
Q Are the changes that have been made in the Social Security provision today -- do you think that's enough to get you the votes that you need in the Senate, or do you expect that there's going to have to be some more fiddling around the margins before you can seal this deal?
MS. MYERS: I mean, I think -- they haven't finished. They haven't produced a conference report yet. We'll see what they produce by the end of the day.
Q Are you thinking that they're going to be able to produce by the end of the day, or are you --
MS. MYERS: Their guidance to us was that they thought they would be able to. I haven't heard anything to the contrary, though I don't know what -- I certainly wouldn't place any bets as to what time they'll get done.
Q The President still planning to address the nation tomorrow?
MS. MYERS: Tentatively.
Q Has that been more tentative given the timing of the conference?
MS. MYERS: No, it was always tentative based on the timing of the conference which is why we didn't put out -- make a formal announcement about it. But we're hopeful that we can go forward tomorrow night.
Q If it is tomorrow, what time?
MS. MYERS: Probably 8:00 p.m.
Q It's been reported that in his conversation Boren that he's -- I don't know -- very laid back, that he didn't pressure Boren, that he didn't twist any arms, that he thanked Boren lavishly for supporting him on campaign finance reform and other issues. Does the President think that there's some value in being tougher with some of these people? Or is this the mode of his meetings?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think --
Q Did he hug him? (Laughter.)
Q Or did he refuse to hug him?
MS. MYERS: That's classified. He sends a lot of subtle messages.
Q How would you describe his --
MS. MYERS: Oh, I think like anybody else, he has different relationships with different individuals and chooses to work and talk with them differently. I'm not sure we ever expected Senator Boren's vote on the final package.
Q Does he feel disappointed and in any way --
Q betrayed is the right word -- thank you. Does he feel betrayed by Senator Boren"s performance on this?
MS. MYERS: No. I think -- I mean, as you pointed out, and Senator Boren pointed out, he's certainly voted with the President on a number of tough votes. And I expect he'll continue to do so over the years. We didn't ever count him as a yes on the conference portion of this package. Obviously, the President would like to have every member of the Senate he can get and particularly every Democrat, but that's not realistic. This is a good package, but it's a tough package and ultimately we think it will get if passed. But we're going to lose some folks.
Q What about Bob Dole's invitation to a summit?
MS. MYERS: As you know, there have been a number of summits in the past, and I think five out of six have actually resulted in higher, not lower deficits. We've been working on this package now for the past five or six months. The President believes it's a very good package, it meets his objectives that will bring the deficit down and get the economy moving in the right direction again. And this will pass.
Q Has the President called today, or does he plan today, or did he call over the weekend any of those six Democrats who voted no against --
MS. MYERS: I took that question. I don't think he -- I don't know if he has any plans to call them today.
Q Who did he call over the weekend?
MS. MYERS: I believe he spoke with Mitchell and Foley, and perhaps Moynihan. But I can take that --
Q Those are tough votes. (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: Well, I think just -- they worked very hard --
Q Did he hug them?
MS. MYERS: It was a phone call so it was kind of hard. It was a very -- they worked very hard last week to try to maintain the President's principles in this package.
Q Did he call any fence sitters over the weekend?
Q What are those principles?
MS. MYERS: I don't -- you asked for it.
Q my question about the meeting with Progressive Caucus. What was the purpose of it? And given Senator Boren's defection and the meeting with the Progressive Caucus, did the President feel that maybe a lot of the compromises he made at Boren's insistence were wasted?
MS. MYERS: No, I think that, as you know, the Senate Finance Committee, that was probably the toughest part of this -- one of the toughest parts of this process. And I think that it was clear we weren't going to have the votes in Senate Finance for Btu tax from early on. That was something we said at the time.
He met with the Progressive Caucus because he's met with all of the caucuses to urge them to support the plan and to urge them to urge their colleagues to support the plan. I think we're going to do very well among members of the Progressive Caucus, but we're certainly not taking their votes for granted.
Q At this point he needs votes and not from the Progressive Caucus, however.
MS. MYERS: I disagree with that. He very much needs the votes of the Progressive Caucus and we don't want to lose any of those by taking their votes for granted.
Q Show me where he might be concerned about --
MS. MYERS: I'm not --
Q some votes of the Progressive Caucus.
MS. MYERS: If we -- if the President is effective at this, we won't have to be concerned. But he's not taking any votes for granted.
Q about the executive order on entitlement cuts? The President said he might have one of those ready for conservative Democrats in the House Wednesday or Thursday. Is that still the schedule or is he just going to send maybe a letter over outlining some things he's going to do because there are some concerns about the wording?
MS. MYERS: Yes. As you know, he said he'd be willing to either consider additional legislation or an executive order to codify the review that was passed in the House plan. I don't believe any final decisions have been made about that yet. But he'd certainly be willing to consider it.
Q What's the rest of the week look like? And is he going to go up to the Hill on Wednesday morning?
MS. MYERS: It's unclear. He will continue to meet with opinion leaders from around the country and with regional media. I think he's leaving a lot of flexibility in his schedule for the rest of the week in order to deal with what comes up in the budget process. The only thing that's on in addition to sort of regional meeting of opinion leaders is -- what is it? The Urban League? Urban League on Wednesday at the Washington Hilton. And I believe it's around noontime.
Q Ross Perot was in town today. He said he'd meet with the President or talk to him on the budget, that he'd be willing to talk with him. Does the President have any plans to talk with him?
MS. MYERS: The President has no plans to meet with Mr. Perot.
Q Did he see him last Friday?
MS. MYERS: Did the President? No.
Q Is the President doing a trip next week before he goes to see the Pope in Denver?
MS. MYERS: I think that there's a good chance that he will travel at the early part of next week and then --
Q Is that flood related?
MS. MYERS: Not necessarily. I wouldn't rule out that there will be a flood stop. But there are no specific plans at this point, but I would leave open the possibility that we would travel Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week before the President goes to Denver on Thursday to see the Pope.
Q Would we come back here before going to Denver, or might this be an overnight?
MS. MYERS: It could -- I think anything is possible. I think it's possible we could go out Wednesday and not come back.
Q One more time on the budget. When you say you fully expect that the budget will pass, what do you base those expectations on? On people who have told the President privately that they're open to being talked into it? On --
MS. MYERS: Sure.
Q a vibe?
MS. MYERS: No, no, no. On -- we've had -- as you know, we've had a number of conversations with all of these folks. They've been -- we've had a lot of conversations and I think -- this is based on our hope, based on what we know where various senators stand on the package.
Q Dee Dee, on Boren, if you could --
MS. MYERS: This is based on conversations. I wouldn't say that it's completely done at this point, but I think our expectation is that it will be.
Q Wishful thinking?
MS. MYERS: Well, I wouldn't say that. I think it's based on an expectation -- based on a number of conversations that when the time comes the votes will be there.
Q As far as Boren is concerned, Dee Dee, he voted for the President's package the last time around. So much of the HouseSenate conference compromise was designed to satisfy him and his needs, and now he's gone ahead and announced that he's not going to support the President's plan. How could you not feel betrayed by Boren?
MS. MYERS: Ultimately, the President believes this plan will pass. I think this is not a neat and clean process. I don't think -- again, we didn't ever count on Senator Boren's support for this phase of the process. We're going to get the votes someplace else. So, we'll see.
Q Does the administration object to the inclusion in the package of things that aren't in there now that would go to benefit individual member states or districts in exchange for their agreeing to vote for the package? Would you object to an agreement like that?
MS. MYERS: That's an open-ended question which I'm not going to answer. I think it would depend on what it was. If there was something that was beneficial -- I mean, first of all, the conferees are working out the final details. I think in broad strokes we know what the package is going to look like, and the President believes that it meets his principles.
Q Right, but would you object to an appropriation for federal money that is not in there now being put in between now and the time it's voted on?
MS. MYERS: That's a blanket question. I haven't seen it. Show me a specific and perhaps we'll comment on it.
Q Are you open to negotiation on that point?
MS. MYERS: The conference committee certainly is open to negotiation on it. They're going to --
Q You wouldn't object if someone convinced the conference of the inclusion of something that benefitted --
MS. MYERS: No, I'm saying I'm not going to answer that question in its sort of blind, charging horse form. (Laughter.)
Q Well, if that's the way you feel about it.
Q angry at any member of Congress at all for any vote?
Q Ever? (Laughter.)
Q Does the President get angry?
MS. MYERS: Sure.
Q At Brit.
Q How about on the budget?
MS. MYERS: No, he loves Brit. I think he's expressed his sentiments to a number of members and worked very hard to get them to support the package, made sure that they know what's in it.
Q How does he express his anger? (Laughter.)
Q Take it out on you, Dee Dee? (Laughter.)
Q By jogging.
MS. MYERS: Yes --
Q A week ago in Chicago, right? Speech, remember? Was that an expression of his anger when he complained about gridlock?
MS. MYERS: I don't know if that was anger, but I think he certainly feels strongly about that.
Q What was that if it wasn't anger?
MS. MYERS: Passion. (Laughter.)
Q Oh, boy.
Q Speaking of passion, how committed is the President to the meals and entertainment deduction, given that would be very beneficial to Nevada and you need Bryan's vote?
MS. MYERS: As you know, in the original package we proposed a reduction in that deduction and I think the President feels that that was a good proposal, but we'll see what comes out in the final package.
Q Is the President meeting this afternoon with some Californians in regard to the budget?
MS. MYERS: Yes, there's a group of opinion leaders in from California. We've done this with a number of states.
Q Is Willie Brown --
Q Who is that?
Q Can you give us a few samples?
MS. MYERS: I don't have a list -- I don't have a list, but, yes, Willie Brown -- it is --
Q Tommy Lasorda?
MS. MYERS: I could only hope, but I think that that's not going to happen.
Q Ronald Reagan?
MS. MYERS: That's okay.
Q What's the purpose of the meeting with the Californians? Hasn't he got the two senators yet?
MS. MYERS: Yes, but one of the things that we're trying to do is to help make sure that the public understands the components of the plan. And we found it very effective over the course of the last few weeks to meet with groups of opinion leaders from various states to talk to them -- different people, not just the President, but various members of the administration -- the economic team have gone in there and answered these folks questions about what's in the package, how it will affect them, how it will affect small business -- as much as we'd know about the final details, which has been very helpful. Then those individuals can go back to their states and talk to other people and try to make sure that there is an accurate perception of this plan. For example, 80 percent of the new taxes in this plan are on people making over $200,000 a year. I do not know that that is yet a widely held perception, but we're making headway.
Q We've been watching Americans in the Midwest for over a month now filling sandbags and trying to prevent flooding of their cities and farmlands. And the question is beginning to come from the Midwest: Where's the Army? Why aren't there tens of thousands of troops out there filling sandbags and helping create these levies and fight the floods, bringing sanitation equipment, water purification equipment?
MS. MYERS: The governors have not requested it.
Q Has it been offered?
MS. MYERS: I think that the understanding is if they requested, it was something that we would consider. But I think -- and I will double-check this, but I believe Governor Branstad and others said that they didn't think it was necessary. I don't believe they've changed that perception.
Q Do you expect a final report on Mr. Foster's death to come out this week?
MS. MYERS: To the best of our knowledge, the Park Police are still operating on a timetable that they'll finish it by the end of the week or toward the end of the week. And then I think they'll have to make a decision about what to do with it.
Q Dee Dee, you mentioned the other day that Vince Foster advised the Clintons on private legal matters as well as counsel. Was he separately remunerated for that?
MS. MYERS: Before coming to the White House, it was done through the Rose firm, I believe. And once he came here, no, I don't believe so. And I will --
Q Does that mean it was it done on a pro bono basis, or what?
MS. MYERS: No, it was part of -- it's part of the legitimate function of the Counsel's Office.
Q Has it ever been done that way before?
MS. MYERS: I believe -- I don't know the answer to that. I will take it.
Q Would you? I'd appreciate it.
Also, was he -- what is the status of the blind trust -- the Clinton blind trust? Was that something he was drafting? It was, wasn't it?
MS. MYERS: The question was what is the status of the Clinton blind trust. And I believe he was and I'll have to take that as well. I believe it's been set up.
Q It was our understanding that it had not yet been set up. Can you check that?
MS. MYERS: Yes.
Q Also, there was a fund in which Mrs. Clinton had $50,000 or $100,000 invested that -- some percentage of which was medical stocks. Was Vince Foster a co-investor with her in that?
MS. MYERS: There was one fund that was reported on their tax returns, and I'll have to take that as well. I don't know the details of it.
Q Does she still hold that stock, do you know?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe so. But, again, I think it -- I don't know if it was stock or a mutual fund. I think it might have been a mutual fund.
Q Yes, it was a mutual fund, I believe. Also, how would you characterize the nature of the advice she got from him on health care matters?
MS. MYERS: Legal.
MS. MYERS: What was the nature of the advice that Vince Foster --
Q Wasn't also policy?
MS. MYERS: No, it was largely legal. It might have been exclusively legal. But, for example, he was the --
Q But it wasn't legal just about her status, it was about --
MS. MYERS: Well, that was a big part of it. I mean, he was the person that advised -- he was the lawyer in the Counsel's Office who handled the FACA suit.
MS. MYERS: So that did have a great deal to do with her status.
Q Did that suit, by the way, specify that she would be considered a public official only for purposes of that kind of thing and not for certain other purposes?
MS. MYERS: I don't think it was that narrow.
Q I'm talking about the White House pleadings.
MS. MYERS: No, I understand that. I don't think that the pleading was that narrow, that I think it went to her status generally. But, you know, I will -- in fact, what I'll -- I'll take that, but there's -- other lawyers in the counsel's office that can certainly speak to the details of that. I can talk to you about it afterwards.
Q Dee Dee, as far as you know, he discontinued, or -- I'm sorry -- he was not paid for any service he provided to the Clintons personally?
MS. MYERS: I'll take the question, but not that I know of.
Q When and how does the President plan to tell the American people what his Bosnia plan is? Usually when you have some sort of a military action or imminent action, he does something like an Oval Office address. But if you're going to use that for the budget address, would you be wanting to do two of them back-to-back like that? Or would we possibly see something tomorrow night --
MS. MYERS: In the commercial break.
Q Segue --
MS. MYERS: No. I think that tomorrow's Oval address, should it go forward, will focus on the budget. Once a final decision has been made per the meeting in Brussels and other things, I think we'll make a decision about how to go forward with that, both in terms of policy and in terms of talking to the American people about it. I don't think we're there yet.
Q One question on next week's schedule. What's your expectation at this point when he goes off to Denver, will he be coming back here after that or will he be staying out, or do we not know yet?
MS. MYERS: Expect that he'll stay out through the 26th.
Q So he'll go out, he'll go to Tulsa for the governors and he'll just stay out?
Q And the 12th, wait, did you say the 12th to the 26th?
MS. MYERS: The 12th to the 26th. They'll be back in Washington on the 27th.
Q And do we know where he's going to be going in the meantime?
MS. MYERS: For planning purposes only, and this could change, but the tentative schedule as of now is: Denver on the 12th to see the Pope. There's a possibility that he'll go to California on the 13th.
Q Vacation or business?
MS. MYERS: Business, just to sort of do a couple events. We don't know where and we don't know exactly what yet. On the weekend, which would be the 14th and 15th --
Q Isn't he doing a Denver fundraiser?
MS. MYERS: Coming back to Denver on Friday night, the 13th.
Q What's the California event again? I'm sorry.
MS. MYERS: In California we don't know. Back to Denver to do something for Governor Romer on the night of the 13th. So it will be a day trip to California, back to Denver, an event for Governor Romer. Then he'll go to Vail for the weekend, which is the 14th and 15th, vacation. Then he goes to Tulsa on Monday the 16th for the Governors Association, NGA.
Q What kind of speech is that?
MS. MYERS: I don't know the details of that yet.
Q Is it likely to be health care or is that --
MS. MYERS: We just haven't finally resolved that yet. Then I think he'll go to Fayetteville for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. And then to Wyoming through the 26th.
Q When does he fly to Wyoming?
MS. MYERS: Unclear. It would be either --
Q Where in Wyoming?
MS. MYERS: Somewhere near Jackson. Is that where you're going to go on vacation? (Laughter.) Your worst nightmare: All of these guys are staying in your hotel. (Laughter.)
Q All the --
MS. MYERS: I wouldn't rule that out.
Q Will he be in one of these places where he is out of the way and we can't get near him?
MS. MYERS: Yes, large property, large, expansive --
Q And he doesn't come off and there's no speech --
MS. MYERS: He will do things like play golf but --which would probably be off the premises, but I think he expects to spend as much time as possible --
Q Family pool?
MS. MYERS: Family pool, although there's certainly been a request to take a press plane so that everybody can share in the fun. But I think, on a day-to-day basis, it would certainly be family pool.
Q Can I reinforce the request that we have a press plane and the normal travel arrangements with hotel?
MS. MYERS: I think we're moving in that direction. We'll try to work it out.
Q Especially this time of the year.
Q I missed it because I was so excited about Wyoming. What day are we going to Jackson?
MS. MYERS: The 18th through the 26th.
Q Dee Dee, on the Oval Office --
MS. MYERS: If this is in print, you guys, I'm dead.
Q On the Oval Office speech tomorrow night, has there been -- given what happened last time, has there been discussions in advance with the networks about their willingness to air this?
MS. MYERS: We've certainly let them know about our desire to go forward with it, but we haven't -- I don't think we've secured commitments. We haven't said for sure whether we're going to go ahead with it. But they are aware that this is something that is likely.
Q What are your plans today if the conferees wrap up?
MS. MYERS: I think we'll do some kind of a statement.
Q By him in person?
MS. MYERS: Yes.
Q In the Rose Garden?
MS. MYERS: Probably. We've haven't made a -- we'll see what time -- it will depend a lot on the timing of it. But I would expect if that happens in reasonable time.
Q You said last week you were dealing with Lisa Foster through the family lawyer. Is that still the case? And do other officials here at the White House deal with the family indirectly through a lawyer? What's the reason for that?
MS. MYERS: Yes, they have a lawyer who is serving as a point of contact for a number of things.
Q Jim Hamilton?
MS. MYERS: Yes, Jim Hamilton. And I have no reason to go beyond that.
Q Is that at all related to what is a rather slow decision on suicide that seemed open and shut at the beginning?
MS. MYERS: The family's wishes.
Q The family's wishes. But is any of that related to why this decision from the Park Police hasn't been forthcoming?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe so.
Q It's been almost two weeks, and as you know, right from the start the question was why it was so clear-cut rather than the other way around.
MS. MYERS: I think the Park Police is proceeding. As you know, they've spoken with Mrs. Foster now. They've spoken with a number of other folks and I think they feel that they've gotten adequate -- good cooperation from the White House and other folks to wrap this up.
Q One more question. The letter which you say you're familiar with -- was there any aspects -- you've stressed the workrelated aspects -- are there any aspects of that letter that are not work-related?
MS. MYERS: No, it focuses on work.
Q To the exclusion of -- no personal problems that are outside the office?
MS. MYERS: No, it sort of shows his state of mind as per work.
Q Is there going to be a background briefing on the budget?
MS. MYERS: If it gets done?
MS. MYERS: Our expectation is it will depend as to when. I mean, if it gets done at 9:00 p.m. I don't think we'll do it tonight. If it gets done at 3:00 p.m. I think you can expect that we'll try to do something.
Q What happens, Dee Dee, if they don't reach a conference agreement today and they delay it until tomorrow? Would that be good or bad for the White House?
MS. MYERS: We'll see what happens if they --
Q What's the cut-off, Dee Dee? If they make by, what -- 7:00 p.m, we still get a statement; 6:00 p.m. we still get a statement?
MS. MYERS: I don't think we have a cut-off. The last time -- the only thing I can do is point back to the previous one. When the House vote passed we did it about 9:00 p.m
Q So it could be that late?
MS. MYERS: It could be. We'll just see what we expect.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 1:49 P.M. EDT