View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 31, 1994
                            PRESS BRIEFING
                           BY DEE DEE MYERS

The Briefing Room

2:28 P.M. EDT

MS. MYERS: Hello. Not a lot of major announcements, but a couple of quick things. As you know, President Clinton spoke with South Korean President Kim by telephone last night. The conversation took place about 7:30 p.m. and the two leaders spoke for 20 minutes. They spoke about the situation in North Korea. They both affirmed their support for the President's Security Council statement yesterday. They believe that that sent a firm message to North Korea and encourages them to return to a path of dialogue. They also discussed President Kim's upcoming trip to Russia and Uzbekistan and President Clinton's trip to Europe.

Q On that subject, Dee Dee, why a week ago did this government decide to resume talks with North Korea despite what the inspectors called their serious violations?

MS. MYERS: Well, at that point, the North Koreans had agreed and followed through on the fulfillment of completing the March inspections. That has now happened. We said at the time we didn't agree to -- we didn't actually begin the third round but we'd agreed to discuss it and said there would be no obstacles to continuing -- or to starting a third round if the North Koreans first completed the March inspections and, second, allowed the reprocessing -- or the refueling to take place in a way that did not break the continuity of safeguards.

We always made clear that if those two conditions were met there would be no obstacles to resuming the third round, which again, the third round is aimed at discussions on nuclear issues, toward maintaining and guaranteeing a nuclear-free peninsula. That second condition is now in question. The IAEA inspectors are still in North Korea. The IAEA will report to the Security Council tomorrow in more detail about its findings.

We're very concerned about the situation, and the IAEA will have to make a determination about whether the continuity of safeguards has been broken in the refueling process.

Q They were very concerned a week ago Wednesday and issued a statement saying that there had been serious violations. The administration, even despite that concern, decided to describe it as merely technical violations.

MS. MYERS: It was, in fact, technical violations. And at that point, the IAEA did not say that there had been any break in the continuity of safeguards, which was the most important point. The inspectors were there on the ground. The North Koreans had agreed to allow the inspectors to monitor the refueling process. There have been additional problems since then, about which we're very concerned, about which President Clinton spoke to President Kim last night. The President of the Security Council issued a statement with the full support of all of the members, and I think that's important. We're watching the situation very closely; we take it very seriously.

Q Dee Dee --

Q What are we going to do about it?

MS. MYERS: It depends on -- the question is, what are the North Koreans going to do about it.

Q Well, if --

Q If the safeguards are broken and --

Q This is not a private briefing.

Q if the continuity of the safeguards are broken, what are we prepared to do?

MS. MYERS: At that point, the question will go back to the Security Council, where we've said we'll work with the other members. We expect to take this step by step. We take it very seriously. The ball is now in North Korea's court. It is up to them to decide whether they want to adhere to their commitments on nuclear issues, whether they want to work with the international community on this, or whether they want to break faith at this point. We're urging them diplomatically. I think the world community is united on this to not allow the continuity of safeguards to be broken.

Q Do you have a reaction to the Rostenkowski indictment?

MS. MYERS: We'll have -- the President will have a brief written statement on that a little bit later. It just happened, as you know. The President's been informed and we have no official statement from him at this point.

Q What is the White House strategy now in dealing with Rostenkowski on the health care reform issue?

MS. MYERS: I think, to a certain degree it's still up to the House to decide how to proceed from here; we'll wait and see what they do.

Q But, presumably, he'll still be a member of the committee. Will the President continue to deal directly with Rostenkowski on health care reform?

MS. MYERS: Again, we'll wait and see exactly what the House decides to do in terms of succession. But we believe that there's momentum toward health care reform, toward getting it done this year. Chairman Rostenkowski certainly had played a major role in that. We'll continue to work with all members of Congress to get health care reform passed this year. And as a member of Congress, Congressman Rostenkowski is included in that.

Q And were there any contacts between the White House and Justice Department prior to today's indictment?

MS. MYERS: Absolutely no.

Q Who informed the President?

MS. MYERS: I believe Mack did.

Q Dee Dee, the Vice President, you, several other members of the administration have used the word "momentum." Did you all have a meeting and sit down and say, okay, this is going to be our strategy? (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: It's just an accurate reading of the situation.

Q That's a reasonable question, Dee Dee. Is that a no?

Q That's not a denial.

Q Is that a no?

MS. MYERS: Did we all have a meeting? We have meetings every morning, as you know, where we discuss what we think the situation is with respect to a number of issues in Congress and throughout.

Q Well, was there a meeting at which the phrasing which she mentioned was agreed upon?

MS. MYERS: No. But, again, it was -- certainly the progress of health care is something that's discussed every morning at our senior staff meetings. I think everybody sort of listens to the various members of the staff who are deeply involved in that, what their view is. And I think the general feeling -- it's something that was discussed -- was that there is momentum in Congress toward health reform.

Q What about the phrase about health care being bigger than one person, that Rita would have mentioned but didn't happen to?

MS. MYERS: Well, no, I think that was something the First Lady said on Thursday, and I think certainly other members of the staff take their cue from the President and the First Lady and from people like Pat Griffin who deal with Congress every day in describing how things --

Q So there's been no attempt by members of the team here at the White House to sort of get together on a message about this to repeat, is that correct, or not?

MS. MYERS: Again, we talk every day about issues, and I think people take their cue from meetings -- from discussions about how things will be discussed. I think that's common practice.

Q Roscoe Bartlett says that he wants all the documents on the flight records and the helicopter. Is the White House going to make all those manifests, flight records available to Congress?

MS. MYERS: We have a couple of things that we're going to make public today. One is, we have gone back through this -- a couple of updates on this -- gone back through and looked at the use of HMX white-top and green-top helicopters. And we have a memo from Cheryl Mills, who is one of the associate counsels to Phil Lader, describing each of the uses of the HMX helicopters that are not either presidential use or for military training. And there is a number of them which are listed by date, and it gives specifically who the passengers were and what sort of origin and destination were. We will make that document public as soon as --

Q Well, Dee Dee --

Q We're there other instances involving David Watkins?

Q any misuse?

MS. MYERS: There are no other instances of misuse.

Q Would that have covered this, the light of the fact that this was, I believe, booked as a military training mission?

MS. MYERS: We've gone back through and looked at exactly what happened on those.

Q On the military training missions?

MS. MYERS: Well, no, who the passengers were, because it certainly would have showed who the passengers were on this particular trip. And so we'll make that public.

The other thing is that Chief of Staff Mack McLarty has gone through and issued a memo to all staff which I think tightens up policy for using military aircraft. It now requires that the Chief of Staff or the Deputy Chief of Staff sign off on any military aircraft for nonreimbursable military aircraft use, and that if the passengers are the Chief of Staff or the Deputy Chief of Staff, use has to be signed off on by the Counsel or the Deputy Counsel.

Q How did Mr. Watkins come finally to see the light and to decide that he would make the payments himself after all?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think he's commenting on that himself so I won't attempt to put words in his mouth. But I think what he said was, upon further reflection he thought that was the best course of action. That's something that clearly we support.

Q Was he assisted in that reflection by any members of the team here who might have had a word with him perhaps?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think originally Chief of Staff Mack McLarty made clear that he thought it would be best if Mr. Watkins paid that himself. He declined. But upon --

Q Did he decline outright, or just decline to pay all of it?

MS. MYERS: He declined to pay all of it. He agreed to pay some of it. It was unclear how much.

Q Did he talk to the President?

MS. MYERS: He talked to the President on Thursday. I don't know if he's talked to him since. This was something that happened in a conversation between Mack and David yesterday. David Watkins telephoned Mack and said that he thought about it. It was not something that was prodded by Mack, but he talked to him -- well, he called Mack and said he would pay the entire cost.

Q Was he prodded by anyone else on behalf of the White House?

MS. MYERS: Not that I know of, no. I don't believe so.

Q Did he call yesterday?

MS. MYERS: He called yesterday.

Q And the President didn't weigh in on this? I mean, there wasn't any threat against him of charges?

MS. MYERS: He didn't -- no, no.

Q Did the First Lady weigh in on this?

MS. MYERS: Not that I know of, no.

Q Last week Mr. Gearan said that there did not need to be a reevaluation of White House policy on use of presidential helicopters. He said that the policy was fine, it was just an aberration. What was the cause for this sudden change and now this new memo by Mr. McLarty?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think it's just to make absolutely clear and to make -- to put, I think, the decision-making process beyond even a shadow of a doubt. Clearly, this is an incident that we are very concerned about. The President made that clear on Thursday. He said not one red cent of taxpayer money would go to this. Mr. McLarty talked to Mr. Watkins that day --

Q I understand that, but why the flip-flop? I mean, one day the policy is good, the next day --

MS. MYERS: I don't think it's a flip-flop. It is a good policy and these are our, I think, clarifications and minor changes. This policy goes further than any previous White House. And I think that we're working hard to make sure that there are no questions about it.

The other thing that happened, as you know, the President issued an executive order last year that called for an administration-wide accounting of use of military aircraft. We're in the process of doing that for fixed-wing aircraft, as are other agencies and departments. And by the end of June we'll have a full report of how military aircraft have been used by officials administration-wide.

Q If I may follow, Dee Dee, on Brit's question -- did you check the manifest for all the military training flights and assure yourself that nothing like this could have happened under the guise of a training flight?

MS. MYERS: I believe we checked the manifest for all those, and the ones -- and I'll double-check this, but we checked the manifests for all of the flights and the flights where there were no White House personnel, where there were only military personnel on for training were then sort of taken off. And the ones that we go through and account for are the ones where there were White House staff.

Q The ones that had no White House staff are the ones that were designated military training flights?

MS. MYERS: Correct.

Q Are all the flights on your list that you'll be giving us later, were those approved by David Watkins himself in his role as being the one who approves it?

MS. MYERS: I don't know if he affirmatively approved them, or not. I'll have to take that. It was within his purview to do that. Generally that is something that is handled by the White House Military Office, but I think for White House staff it was approved by Watkins. But I want to take that to make sure.

Q Why is Al Maldon not paying any part of this? What is the reason for that?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think as the person who authorized the flight -- in that instance, David Watkins -- it was thought that David Watkins would be the best person to take responsibility.

Q On Korea, do we think they've crossed the point of no return? What is our best thinking on that?

MS. MYERS: That is something that the IAEA has to certify that the continuity of safeguards has been broken. The IAEA has not

Q But do we have our own --

MS. MYERS: No. I think the IAEA is there, still there. There are still inspectors there. It is up to them to make that determination, as we've always said.

Q And if we can't ge the Security Council to go along with it, would we consider unilateral sanctions?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think we'll wait and see what happens. I'm not going to speculate about what might happen. I think it is our intention to work with the international community. The international community's been united on this through a statement in March which urged them to complete the inspections, which they've now done, and through this statement.

Q Do we have any commitment from China?

MS. MYERS: Well, they were -- signed on to the statement yesterday. And I think that they've been working on this and we expect that they will continue.

Q Dee Dee, has the White House experienced any bad fallout as a result of the golfing outing in terms of political standing, fall in the polls?

MS. MYERS: I don't know that we have any qualitative data or quantitative data on that at this time.

Q And what did you say the role of counsel would be?

MS. MYERS: If the Chief of Staff -- all nonreimbursable travel now on military aircraft has to be approved by the Chief of Staff or the Deputy Chief of Staff. If the Chief or the Deputy Chief are the ones traveling, then the Counsel's Office would have to approve it to put even another layer of check on it.

Q When you say the Deputy Chief of Staff, do you mean Ickes or Lader?

MS. MYERS: Phil Lader.

Q In terms of making all of the manifests available to Congress, is this the stuff that you are going to be releasing today? Every fixed-wing or helicopter?

MS. MYERS: No. Today we're releasing just the helicopter travel that included White House staff, which I think there's 14 incidents.

Q Over the past 16 months?

MS. MYERS: Yes, since the Clinton administration has been in place. Later, we will release the fixed-wing aircraft, but some of that will probably be redacted, because some of it is classified. And I don't know how that's been handled in the past, but what we'll do is do a full administration-wide accounting and release what's not classified.

Q And the classified stuff you'll make available to Congress on a classified basis?

MS. MYERS: I don't know what the plans are. It certainly would be available to them upon request, and I don't know if we're going to do anything beyond that.

Q Why not release all the flights? I mean, you're releasing the only ones from the White House staff. And since these are essentially presidential helicopters, why not release all the flights, because you leave open the possibility, for example, that someone from Congress or another agency might have used the helicopters?

MS. MYERS: No, I think this includes people from other agencies on the helicopters. The only ones that aren't included are the President's travel -- which you can get by going back through records if you're interested -- and ones that didn't include anything other than military personnel for training exercises. So anything -- you'll see from this list that there are a couple of people who are not White House personnel who are also listed.

Q And it will be a listing of all flights that had people other than military personnel?

MS. MYERS: Yes. And let me see if it's helpful --

Q What time will we get that, by the way?

MS. MYERS: Probably as soon as it's over. This is how it's described in the memo. The list is a comprehensive accounting of all white-top flights in which White House officials were on board. The list excludes flights for the President and missions that involved only military personnel conducting training exercises.

Q How would you characterize the flights that you're presenting us? You say there was no other misuse involved.

MS. MYERS: Correct. They're all -- well, for example, Captain M. Rogers, Military Aide Orientation and Training, flew from Anacostia to Quantico. He came in as the new head of the Military Office. One of the things that they do is take them through and show them what the HMX does, where the facilities are, how the whole thing works. That's the kind of thing that you'll see reflected in this memo.

Q Who made the judgment whether they were appropriate or not?

MS. MYERS: The memo was signed by -- or it was cleared by Major Stuart Noll, who is the executive officer of the HMX and somebody who's worked with us. And then it was something that was looked at by the Counsel's Office.

Q Did you know this morning that he had agreed to pay it all?

MS. MYERS: We were in the process of confirming that, but, yes, I was fairly certain about it. But it was not ready to be released yet.

Q On the trip to Europe, have there any arrangements made to prevent Clinton from shaking hands with the new neo-Fascist members of Italy's Parliament? And has he been to France or Italy before?

MS. MYERS: The first question -- not that I know of. The second question is, yes, I think both as a student and subsequently.

Q Another question on the helicopter. I don't have any numbers to show this, but it seems to me that Clinton travels, personally travels on helicopters a lot less than his two predecessors and that's sort of an ironic part of this whole story. Have you ever heard him talk about -- does he not like to fly on helicopters?

MS. MYERS: No, I think he does like to, actually. I think he -- it's a very -- I think he's grateful for the use of the helicopters. It saves him a lot of time both traveling between Andrews and here and often on the road. I think he's very conscious of not using helicopters for things that he thinks he could reach by motorcade if that doesn't interfere too much with traffic.

Q I'm thinking about a trip to Ohio where we flew into Columbus and there was a speech like 45 miles away -- and he drove there where, you know, a lot of his predecessors would have choppered, and this lead to some speculation that maybe he just doesn't like to fly on them.

MS. MYERS: No, I think a number of factors go into it. One, is that it takes a while to move the helicopters sometimes because they all originate from here from Quantico. Sometimes, given that occasionally our plans change at the last minute, that they don't always have time to get the helicopters there. Other times I think it's a cost factor. If it's something the President feels can be done efficiently and save the taxpayers some money, I think that's a factor, something that he considers. So there's a number of factors that go into that decision. I think he likes the helicopters a lot and is grateful for their use, but doesn't want to take advantage of that.

Q The President traveled to Chicago as you know and spoke on behalf of Danny Rostenkowski during his campaign. Now would he consider being a character witness if this thing came to trial?

MS. MYERS: I don't think that's an issue.

Q He made it an issue by asking the question.

MS. MYERS: And I decline to answer it. I'm not going to answer it.

Q Well, that's different from not -- belittling it.

MS. MYERS: I didn't mean to belittle him, I just don't --

Q No, belittling the question.

MS. MYERS: I apologize. If any offense was taken, please know that it was not intended.

Q Did World Cup officials ask the President to intervene so that fences wouldn't be erected around stadiums in D.C. and Dallas?

MS. MYERS: I don't know. I'll take that question.

Q Could you give us any readout on that meeting?

MS. MYERS: No, I don't have anything on it. I didn't --

Q Q? Could you maybe put something out on it?

MS. MYERS: Sure.

Q There's an editorial in The Washington Post today suggesting that the President should tell anybody who has a White House pass to make public their client, list and this presumably means Carville, Begala, Grunwald and Greenberg. Does the President feel that's an appropriate thing to do? And if not, why not?

MS. MYERS: The Counsel's Office is looking at it, I think particularly with reference to Congressman Wolf's request on that. The consultants, who I think are particularly sort of concerned with this, made a commitment at the beginning of this administration that they would not lobby while they were working for the President. That is a commitment that they have kept. I think they are all -- well, the four political consultants are currently undergoing FBI background investigations. And they also will go through the usual White House ethics briefing process which is something that I think they feel, and that the White House feels is appropriate. The questions asked to complete financial disclosure are under review.

Q Dee Dee, will David Watkins get to keep his pass, or is he being required to give it up? (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: I think Mr. Watkins has already turned in his pass and his pager.

Q Can we pursue this a little bit more? These are people who come in and out, and have passes but are not on the payroll, right? Like Carville and Begala and --

MS. MYERS: Right. Just something Congressman Wolf has raised as an issue.

Q But they would have to submit to the restrictions on ethics and so forth?

MS. MYERS: No, no. I don't think anybody is suggesting that. I think what has been suggested is full financial disclosure, and I think what they've already done is, they've gone further than previous political consultants who have been associated with the White House in that they have said they would not lobby while they work for the President, which is a commitment that they have kept. Most of the -- I'm particularly concerned here with the four political consultants; you all know who they are. Most of their clients are either candidates for public office or political committees who are already subject to FEC disclosure. And there may be some additional information, I think, but we're reviewing that.

Q Didn't Stan Greenberg do some polling in South Africa?

MS. MYERS: Yes, he did, for the ANC. Yes.

Q Well, that would be something that --

MS. MYERS: And that is one of the questions that is being reviewed. But, again, they've already said they won't lobby, they're already going through FBI background checks. They've agreed to go through this sort of ethics briefing process.

Q But doesn't he have to register as a foreign agent when he does work for a foreign entity like that?

MS. MYERS: No, he's not working -- at the time he was working for the ANC, which is not a foreign government.

Q It's not a foreign government, it's a foreign entity. You still have to register as a foreign agent.

MS. MYERS: No, only with a foreign government.

Q Wrong.

MS. MYERS: I'll check. I don't know. I'll look.

Q You mean lobby the White House? What do you mean "lobby"?

MS. MYERS: They're not lobbying the White House and they're not lobbying the Congress. They're not lobbying.

Q Dee Dee, is it your feeling that Betsey Wright has not lobbied the White House and has not used her access in any way to benefit her clients?

MS. MYERS: She doesn't have a White House pass.

Q But, nevertheless, she would be covered by --

MS. MYERS: She works for a lobbying firm. I'm talking about the political consultants when I say who's agreed -- and there's a broader category here, but I think what we're particularly focused on and what The Washington Post editorial today particularly focused on was people who have influence and access to the President. And I think that's the political consultants.

Q If they give out this financial disclosure that wouldn't necessarily mean disclosing your clients, would it? It would mean disclosing your assets.

MS. MYERS: Well, if your assets come -- if you have clients that aren't paying you, I guess it wouldn't. But if you are disclosing your sources of income -- that's what's being discussed. And I know decisions have been made, but it's being reviewed by counsel.

Q Is David Watkins getting any severance pay?

MS. MYERS: I'll take that. I don't believe so. I'll double-check.

Q Do you know, is he going to just write one big check for this, or has he already done that?

MS. MYERS: To my knowledge, he has not done it yet. I don't know how he plans -- what form, but he'll reimburse the government in some form.

Q On Friday we were led to believe there were two other flights, not 14 or however many you said there were.

MS. MYERS: Two other flights --

Q That David Watkins had taken a flight and the advance team had taken a flight.

MS. MYERS: You'll see from the list what kinds of things are on here. I mean, some of it is -- again, Mark Rogers, Captain Mark Rogers, who is the head of the -- deputy head of the White House Military Office -- things like that. It's fairly comprehensive.

Q Are there more than two flights on the list that don't have to do with familiarizing themselves with the operations of the --

MS. MYERS: Well, you can look at the list. Yes, they have to do with a number of things. That's one example, but they're related to specific duties with reference to the White House and-or the military.

Q And were all those flights, in the opinion of the Counsel, appropriate?


Q None was similar in nature to the Watkins golfing?


Q Nothing at all comparable to that?


Q So that was an isolated incident?


Q What can you tell us about Watkins --

MS. MYERS: I've heard that's leading the witness, but it's okay. (Laughter.)

Q It's an old trick.

MS. MYERS: Right. (Laughter.)

Q What can you tell us about Watkins' meeting with the President? And what about the discussion with Mack where he declined to pay the full cost?

MS. MYERS: Well, I don't want to get into the details of those conversations, but I will say that Mr. Watkins spoke with the President for about 20 minutes on Thursday. It was just the two of them in the room, and I don't have any details on that conversation.

Mack spoke, as you know, earlier on that day, on Thursday, to David and spoke to him again, I think, over the course of the next day where the appropriate means of reimbursement was discussed. And I think Mr. McLarty urged him -- or said he thought it would be best if David paid it himself. David declined to pay the entire cost himself, initially. But he called Mack back yesterday and said that he'd changed his mind.

Q What do you think made him change his mind?

MS. MYERS: That is something you'll have to take up with him. He's quoted on the wires.

Q Did he express financial concern about paying it back, or just the principle that he didn't think he did anything wrong --

MS. MYERS: I don't think he'd expressed financial concern.

Q Dee Dee, on North Korea, there's some Asia experts who say that the reason things have gotten sour again with North Korea is because the President, after threatening China with trade sanctions status had abandoned the cause of sanctions, so that North Korea was emboldened to, in effect, thumb its nose at IAEA without worrying about the U.S. and the U.N. imposing sanctions. Is there a concern that North Korea may be looking at what happened in China and reaching the conclusion, right or wrong, that they have nothing to fear?

MS. MYERS: No, I don't believe that that's something that we're concerned about. In fact, China has been one of the --has been, along with all the other countries, a member of the Security Council pressing North Korea to follow through with inspections, and now to guarantee that the continuity of safeguards is not broken. And I think that North Korea will find that it is isolated in the world community. I don't think that their posture has changed. We've been going along this path for quite some time.

Q The administration's ace in the hole all along with regard to North Korea has been the ultimate move to go to the U.N. Security Council and get economic sanctions. Now, China's never been all that supportive of going that route, and even Japan's been lukewarm --

MS. MYERS: China has reported both of the presidential statements; one urging them to complete the March inspections, which they have now done, and the one yesterday, last night, urging them not to break the continuity of safeguards with respect to refueling. China has been consistent with other members of the Security Council on this.

Q I know that, but are you confident that China, if it came to imposing sanctions, would go along?

MS. MYERS: Well, we'll have to see. I think China has continued to work with the world community on this, with the international community, and we expect that they'll continue to do that.

Q A logistical question on the trip -- is there going to be a final schedule put out here today? And have there been changes at all in the schedule?

MS. MYERS: We'll check. I don't think that there have been any changes. There may have been a few details that weren't available before that will be added. And I think as the trip goes on, if there's any changes or additions, just in terms of additional information, we'll try to keep that updated.

Q But is there going to be a final schedule distributed here today?

MS. MYERS: Ginny -- we'll take that question and we'll see if there's any update.

Q Dee Dee, Mike Espy's criticism on Canada -- did he overstep his authority?

MS. MYERS: I'll have to take that; I'm not familiar with it.

Q Dee Dee, a travel-related question -- can you tell us how many aircraft the White House has authorized to shuttle people to the Normandy anniversary? And how many people are expected to go?

MS. MYERS: I don't have a full head count. We'll be taking Air Force One and the backup plane. The military -- this is certainly something that goes much beyond the White House, and this is something that the Department of Defense has been working on, as you know, for two years. There are other military aircraft going over there in conjunction with that. And, finally, members of Congress are going over there on their own. I believe there's somewhere between 60 and 70 members of Congress who have arranged their own travel.

Q So these aren't aircraft that you all have to authorize, like the 89th, for example?

MS. MYERS: Like the --

Q The 89th Air Wing, for example, or anything like that? They don't require you to authorize --

MS. MYERS: I don't believe so. No. I'll check, but I think in terms of what we have authorized as travel for us -- we will have a schedule, a complete, final schedule for your trip by 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Q Rome time. (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: Rome time. (Laughter.) We missed that.

Q Did the staff bump us out of the Excelsior Hotel, where we have a press room and scatter us all over Rome?

MS. MYERS: No changes in the manifest. We put up some tents in the Piazza Novona.

Q On getting hotel rooms in places like the Excelsior, is there a greater need for advance notice than, say, 50 years -- (laughter) -- which is the case here? Is that the problem?

MS. MYERS: Yes, exactly. (Laughter.)

Q Are you going to put an early lid on?

MS. MYERS: We're going to try.

Q I think it's too late for an early lid.

END 2:56 P.M. EDT