THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
The Briefing Room
1:20 P.M. EST
MR. MCCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the White House and to our daily briefing. I would like to start with welfare reform, although I don't have much to add to the President because the President spoke for himself and sufficiently that you have all your questions answered I would imagine. If anyone has any follow-up -- we had a couple of questions earlier today, but we did provide a lot of paper and background materials. Is there any follow up? I've got Mr. Reed here, too, who can coach me if I-m -- okay?
Q The President said he wanted to give waivers to all the states?
MR. MCCURRY: We would like flexibility to be a hallmark of efforts to reform welfare. The fact that we've got almost 42 percent of the welfare caseload in America now over six million people participating in experiments that are designed to help move people from welfare to work is encouraging. And there are other states that might want to take advantage of the opportunity for experimentation. So we would like to see that happen.
Q It sounds like he wants to give up the federal government role.
MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's not true. There are still aspects of welfare reform that must be federal because it's -- there are ways in which in the past we've seen welfare reform become a problem, that states, state boundaries, don't lend themselves to solutions. And one state may approach a problem -- people, welfare caseloads will move to another state. So there are aspects of welfare reform that should remain federal responsibility, but those can be worked out, I think as the President indicated today, in the spirit of cooperation between Congress and the President.
Q In the past the President always insisted that you couldn't really reform welfare until you did a nationwide, sweeping reform of the health care system. What changed his mind?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's principally a question of cost. If you're looking at the federal budget, the fastest growing component part of federal spending was health care costs. Now, that's ameliorated somewhat over the last year I would suggest in part because of the great focus on health care reform last year, but that still remains. The resources necessary to reform welfare to take a look at all of our social insurance programs, make them more effective, would have been greatly enhanced by reform of our health care system as well.
But he has now determined you've got to move ahead as you can move ahead to deal with health care in a step-by-step process and to do it with welfare reform by working with this Congress to give states the flexibility they need to move people away from welfare and into work situations.
Q But, Mike, on tort reform, could you outline what the objection of the White House is to loser pays --
MR. MCCURRY: I can. Let's finish up on welfare reform.
Q He used to say that having no guaranteed health benefits is what kept people on welfare. Certainly that hasn't changed even though the health care costs have gone down.
MR. MCCURRY: No, that has not changed, but that is -- there are perhaps some ways that you could begin to deal with that incrementally as you look at health care reform step by step.
Q But that is not included in his welfare reform.
MR. MCCURRY: That is not included in the narrow context of welfare reform as it was submitted in the last Congress, nor, to my knowledge, is it under consideration by this Congress. But we'll have to take -- we have to address these problems in the way that the opportunities to solve these problems are presented by the Congress as it deliberates on questions like welfare reform. Hopefully, later in this year, we might get an opportunity to begin the work on health care reform that the President is anxious to proceed with.
Q Mike, he said during the speech that he thought that the federal government should abolish the waiver system and allow all states to basically do what they want with welfare. Is there a concrete proposal that would do just that? And is this the first time that he's actually gone that far to say that?
MR. MCCURRY: He has suggested in the past that waiver process does present some problems to individual governors. In fact, he's heard from the governors when they met at Blair House on that. To my knowledge, Bruce, he has not --
MR. REED: It is not the first time, actually. He said it to the governors when they met with him in January.
MR. MCCURRY: When he met at Blair House with the governors --
Q Was that over here at the Blair House event?
MR. MCCURRY: Right.
MR. REED: In Blair House and when he met in the East Room with them.
Q Did he ever say that in public other than --
MR. REED: I think he said it in his public statement with the governors in front of the East Room.
MR. MCCURRY: Do you guys mind if I have Bruce take a few questions on this? My backstop.
Q Just to follow up, is there a concrete proposal from the President to do just that? Is there anything on the table, either in legislative language or in any other forum --
MR. REED: Just as he articulated it today.
Q Does eliminating the waiver --
Q Do I get my question, or do I not? I started to ask it --
Q Is it about welfare?
Q but somebody interrupted. (Laughter.) I'm very ignorant on this subject, but I want to know what are you doing about trying to create an atmosphere or a situation or a condition that will discourage teenage pregnancy? There doesn't seem to be much talk about how you prevent this.
MR. REED: Well, the President said in his State of the Union that we need a national campaign against teen pregnancy. There have been discussions about creating a nonprofit that would help to coordinate that campaign. There are also aspects of the welfare reform plan that the President sent up last year that would directly address this, some of which he mentioned today, including requiring teen mothers to live at home and stay in school, not get a separate check and move out on their own as a way to discourage teen pregnancy.
Certainly, the whole idea of ending welfare and requiring work and putting in place time limits is meant to end welfare as a way of life and discourage births outside marriage over the long-term.
Q I have another question. If you give this to each of the states that -- to use a very terribly overused word that the Hill calls "flexibility" -- if you give this to all of the states, you're going to have 50 different plans, and a woman living in one state may have a terrible, hard time getting any help at all, and she may move to another state and get luxury. But, now, please tell us, what are you going to do -- you're going to have 50 different nations out there setting up their standards for this?
MR. REED: Well, the President has said that as a former governor he's a big believer in giving states more flexibility in order to promote common national values, but that we also have a national interest in requiring work, in requiring absent parents to pay child support, in reducing teen pregnancy, and that any welfare reform ought to have those national standards.
Q Is the idea of eliminating the waiver process, a, a part of welfare reform legislation the President would like to see from this Congress; b, is it supported by the Republican leadership; and c, does it not also require you to codify those things that you say need federal protections?
MR. REED: Well, the welfare reform bill that the President sent up last year would have given states the flexibility to do a number of things that currently require waivers entirely on their own without coming to Washington to ask permission; such things as state option to impose a family cap, state option to extend benefits to two-parent families, and a number of other state options.
And basically, what the President has told the governors and what he told the counties today was that we ought to make it possible for states to do the kinds of things they've asked waivers to do without having to come to Washington and beg for those waivers.
Q But isn't that -- if I can follow -- that's not eliminating the waiver requirement. Are you proposing that now? Can you not get Republican agreement for that?
MR. REED: Oh, I think there's bipartisan support for that.
Q Then are you attempting to make it part of the current welfare reform legislation?
MR. REED: Oh, I think it will be part of the current debate, and there's no disagreement between the two parties on the need for it, and the governors are pushing very hard for it to be included.
Q Does the President still believe that to reform the welfare system in a satisfactory way will require the federal government to spend more money, at least initially, as it did in the bill he submitted last year?
MR. REED: Well, remember,the bill that we put forward last year was revenue neutral. We put forward offsets that would pay -- that would completely offset the costs of the welfare reform plan that we put forward. And that's what -- the law would require that any kind of welfare or any new initiative needs to be paid for with offsetting spending. What the President said today is that we need to do deficit reduction, we need to do welfare reform, but we shouldn't pretend that welfare reform and deficit reduction are the same thing. We shouldn't confuse the two in trying to do them.
Q So he still believes taxpayers ought to spend more, at least initially, on the welfare system in order to reform it?
MR. REED: No, I think that he believes that welfare reform will save money over the long run, and many aspects of it will save money in the short run. But he does not believe that welfare reform should be used as an avenue to solve all the problems of the federal budget deficit.
Q Just to follow up on that, though, isn't what the President says is his basic disagreement over work, doesn't that have a lot to do with the fact that the work proposals that the President is pushing would cost more than some of the things that the Republicans want in getting people off welfare rolls? What they say is we're sorry, but we really can't afford new, big work and training programs as part of people getting off of welfare.
MR. REED: No, the truth is that the welfare reform proposals in the Republican Contract would have added at least as much in new spending, would have cost as much as the President's welfare reform proposal last year, and as the Democratic substitute that was offered in the House Ways and Means Committee last week.
Since the campaign -- since the Contract, the Republicans have put forward a number of different variations on welfare reform, and their latest involves substantial cuts and cost shifts to the states. But 162 House Republicans out of 175 last year, including Speaker Gingrich, cosponsored a bill that spent more money on creating and promoting work than the President's bill.
MR. MCCURRY: Thank you, Bruce.
One other point on that, too -- the President's proposal today, for example, on revocation of licenses is the kind of thing that can help a state save on welfare costs; as you track down more deadbeats to pay on what they owe, that could, over time, generate some savings for individual states. So we are looking for ways to adjust some of the states so that you can generate additional savings.
Q On that point, Mike, did you ever nail down whether that is an unfunded mandate?
MR. MCCURRY: It's not, precisely because of that. We think that the states -- if you look at the experience of the State of Maine, for example, I think, in just the first three months of their own license revocation program, they've generated some $3 million in savings which, in a sense, helps pay for what ever administrative costs there is to get the computers to match up their child support enforcement caseload with drivers license renewals or professional license renewals. So it could, again, probably generate savings for individual states.
Q Is that actually savings, or was that money generated for the children who had not earlier been receiving it?
MR. REED: I think it was for the latter.
MR. MCCURRY: It was the latter. That was money -- but those are cost savings generated for the state and the state welfare payment otherwise would have been welfare payments, presumably, to offset the costs of child support enforcement.
Q It's not a dollar for dollar match, is it?
MR. MCCURRY: No, no, no.
MR. REED: Child support isn't just a welfare issue; it cuts across class lines. But as the President said today, nearly 10 percent of women and children who are on welfare are there solely because they are unable to collect child support from an absent parent. So provisions like a crackdown on drivers and occupational licenses will be enormously effective in moving people off of welfare, which will save money in the short and the long term.
Q Mike, the President's used a lot of terms today that seemed aimed toward compromise with Republicans on this issue. Is there more of an effort in the White House right now, an increased effort to sort of tone down some of the political rhetoric that has arisen over welfare reform?
MR. MCCURRY: No, this is consistent with the thinking of the President. As we have outlined for you, there will be areas in which we see opportunities to cooperate with this Republican Congress, and we want to move forward. Certainly, ending welfare as we know it is a key objective of the President, and we believe there are avenues of cooperation available with this Congress to achieve that end. There are other areas in which you've seen us draw some distinctions, lay down some markers, make it clear that we expect to see modifications in the approaches being pursued by Congress, and then there are some areas, so far a very small number, and specifically the 100,000 cops proposal, where the President has made it very clear that there will be a veto.
We're using all of the tools available to us, all of these arrows in the quiver, in order to try to get Congress to sharpen up its approach and to produce legislation more in keeping with the wishes of the President.
Q Welfare's not one of them?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, welfare is an area, as the President suggested today, in which there is a great opportunity to cooperate, because in a broad sense, there is a lot of agreement between the Republican majority in the Congress and the President about how we could tackle the job of reforming welfare.
Q There is nothing in their plans that he would consider unacceptable?
MR. MCCURRY: He made very clear today there are some specific things that he doesn't like about the bill, but the bill has to go through the Senate an we've got a ways to go yet.
Q Mike, what plans do you have to carry this welfare reform message forward now? Is this a speech and then it's over, or are you going to take this out to the country? Is he going to talk to --
MR. MCCURRY: The President has been finding a lot of ways to reinforce some of the basic premise of his approach to the role of government to what we believe we need to do across a wide range of things, whether it's providing relief for the middle income, whether it's rewarding work and those who do work, whether it's moving people from welfare dependency and into work. These have been sort of a regular feature of what the President has been talking about so far this year, and he will look for opportunities around the country, he will look for opportunities as we move into a program of regional economic conferences later this year to put a spotlight on some of these types of issues as we gather with other opinion leaders and economic leaders around the country.
Let me do -- before we move on to another subject, let me do a fast readout on the President's meeting that's just concluded with Secretary General Willy Claes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They met for just over a half an hour. The President and the Secretary General exchanged views on three principal areas. The first, NATO expansion and the Partnership for Peace program, the progress that's being made by the individual partners as they work through their individual partnership programs and some of the training exercises and other efforts that have been undertaken so far this year.
They talked second about NATO expansion as it relates to Russia and the need for a parallel track that develops Russian participation in the Partnership for Peace program and approaches correctly the question of Russian involvement with the NATO partnership planning.
Third, they then talked about the conflict in Bosnia, the recent efforts of the Contact Group, and reviewed the question of contingency planning in the event that there is any extraction of UNPROFOR that suggests that all areas that you would likely expect the President to review with the Secretary General.
In attendance were the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Chief of Staff and the National Security Advisor.
Q Do you have any date for when American troops might have to go over there to Croatia?
MR. MCCURRY: No, of course not, because the contingency planning is still underway at NATO and there's been no decision submitted to the President pursuant to that contingency planning.
Q On Cuba, what happened, if anything, that gave White House aides the idea that this was a good time to loosen sanctions?
MR. MCCURRY: Nothing, to my knowledge. There's been an ongoing discussion pursuant to the Cuban Democracy Act of how we might promote and nurture economic and political change in Cuba. We're required by law to look at ways that we might do that -- by the Congress pursuant to the Cuban Democracy Act. And the President's foreign affairs advisors fulfill that responsibility. But as I indicated earlier today, the President has not been presented any of these matters for a decision, so it's premature to speculate on what type of work we might do pursuant to the Cuban Democracy Act to continue to encourage political and economic change in Cuba.
Q Your response then to Speaker Gingrich who said this is the time when the administration should be doing precisely the opposite, turning the screws to hasten the topple of the Castro regime?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's exactly what the United States does with bipartisan support of the Congress and the President by pursuing the economic embargo of Cuba, which is the centerpiece of our strategy for bringing pressure on the Castro regime to change its ways, to get on the right side of history, and to allow its citizens the benefits of market democracy and market economics that we believe they are entitled to enjoy.
Q On Cuba also, what are the specific steps or areas that the U.S. apparently wants Castro to respond to with -- if I could say -- I was thinking in Spanish. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: Unfortunately, I can't answer in Spanish. (Laughter.)
Q What are the steps that the U.S. is talking about suggesting that Castro take in order to show that he's serious?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, they're not -- to my knowledge, we have not spelled out specific things, but they are -- in some sense, they are obvious: to allow his citizens the benefits of democratic freedom of choice when it comes to electing leaders, to allow them the benefits and fruits of market economics, to allow human rights observers to witness conditions in Cuba.
There are a range of things that Castro could do if he wanted to, as I say, move onto the right side of history and join everyone else in this hemisphere which has moved away from authoritarianism and into democratic reforms of government and freedom of expression. There are just a host of things he could do to liberate the people of Cuba. And they are not complicated and they are probably well-known to Castro. The point is that he has not yet moved in that direction which is what makes necessary the economic embargo that the United States has in place on Cuba to prevent -- or to continue to build pressure on him to make those necessary changes.
Q But is this a longstanding thing or is it a new thing by the administration?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, our views on the embargo and our strong support for the Cuban Democracy Act are well-known and have existed for some time, dating back through previous administrations, in fact.
Q Does the United States have any objection to this oil deal between Iran and a subsidiary of DuPont?
MR. MCCURRY: Are we -- anyone have anything further on Cuba before we move on?
Q I do. Let me follow Sarah's track. Maybe I'm ignorant, but I didn't understand your answer to Brian. Are we continuing to put the screws to Cuba, or aren't we?
MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely. We have got an economic embargo in place. There's no suggestion that I am aware of anywhere in this government that that be relaxed, and that remains the centerpiece of a strategy designed to pressure Castro to make the necessary changes to allow his people the benefit of democracy and market economics.
Q Is the story right or wrong in the Post?
Q If you relax any sanctions, aren't you sending a contradictory message then?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the principal sanction that is available is the economic embargo. And there's no suggestion that that be relaxed. At the same time, as Secretary Christopher suggested earlier today, there are, in fact, even within the structure of the Cuban Democracy Act there are provisions that allow people-to-people contact, there are cases in which you would think that that type of contact between citizens of the United States and citizens of Cuba might help the people of Cuba understand better what opportunities they are missing by the reluctance of their leadership to allow democratic freedom of expression and market economics.
So some of those types of things, but I would suggest that they are at the margin of a policy that is premised on the need for strong economic measures that isolate Cuba, bring pressure to bear on the leadership of Cuba which has, for far too long, held in captivity the citizens of its own country.
Q After 30 years, are there any advocates to at least take the -- there must be some -- it didn't just has come up out of the air because you're going to review the law. Sure there are some advocates in this administration who want to take off the last August sanctions?
MR. MCCURRY: Oh, I think on -- there has been an ongoing discussion about the sanctions specifically tightened in August that had to do with restrictions on contact between the people of Cuban Americans here in the United States and their relatives back home. I think some other travel-type restrictions and things like that, those have been under review. But, as I say, don't miss the point that those are sort of at the point of a margin of a policy that is premised on the fundamental principles of the Cuban Democracy Act.
Q Well, there is some sentiment then in this administration to do that, right?
MR. MCCURRY: There have been discussions of that from time to time, and those are the types of things that might, at some point, be presented to the President.
Q And also, easing restrictions of sending money?
MR. MCCURRY: Remittances -- the specific things that have been talked about are travel restrictions, remittances. I believe some of your news organizations have had an interest in setting up news bureaus in Cuba from time to time. Those are the types of things that have been discussed at various levels within the government --
Q Isn't it a bereft policy? Hasn't it reached the end of the road?
MR. MCCURRY: I would remind you all that none of that has been presented to the President.
Q Are you going to get this question any time this week, or is there a --
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware of any plans to present this to the President in the near future, but I'll keep you apprised. There seems to be some level of interest.
Q Out in the Balkans, NATO is preparing contingency plans for a force to withdraw the troops from Bosnia.
MR. MCCURRY: Hold on for a second. I promised Terry we would go to this subject, and then we'll come back.
The agreement, at least what we know of it at this point, does not appear to be illegal or prohibited under U.S law at this time. But this type of cooperation with Iran is inconsistent with the policy that we've maintained of bringing pressure to bear on Iran both politically and economically to get them to change many things that we consider objectionable and contrary to the interests of the international community.
There is no requirement that Conoco seek any U.S. government approval prior to entering into that type of agreement. They didn't choose to. But as a general thrust of our policy, which is designed to bring pressure to bear on Iran and get them to behave in the world community, this is not a helpful development.
Q Have you presented that view to the company executives? Was there any contact before the deal was signed between --
MR. MCCURRY: All I am told is that there was no legal requirement for Conoco to seek U.S. government approval prior to entering into the arrangement, and they did not choose to seek that approval. As far as whether they were contacted I'd have to check the question. I don't know.
Q You don't know if --
MR. MCCURRY: I don't know whether they've had -- I just don't know. But I imagine that they were going to have further discussion on this over at the State Department.
Q Was there any thought given by the White House to try to embargo against Iran, as Senator D'Amato proposed last month?
MR. MCCURRY: We do have our own form of economic pressures in place. I'm not aware that there's been any suggestion that we change those. There are prohibitions on certain aspects of commerce that result from Iran's listing as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Q Mike, can we return to the question a while ago that I asked about tort reform?
MR. MCCURRY: -- the air traffic patrol officer has got you next, and then we'll come back to you, Jill. (Laughter.)
Q I wanted to ask on the process the Hill used to weigh policy decisions in Bosnia and Croatia. NATO is working contingency plans to withdraw troops from Bosnia, but the President has, in principle, agreed to U.S participation, and there are also working contingency plans to withdraw from Croatia where the President has not agreed in principle to U.S. participation. Given that this thing --
MR. MCCURRY: Let me correct the question. The President has felt that it's very important to engage President Tudjman to see if there could be any change in his view that UNPROFOR would need to leave Croatia by a date certain, specifically, March 31st. And Assistant Secretary Holbrooke has just been in Croatia, has met in Zagreb with President Tudjman. Suggestions from the State Department have been that his mission left the United States and Croatia something to talk about, so we really need to get a full report from Assistant Secretary Holbrooke.
Q And he didn't strike out?
MR. MCCURRY: The State Department has indicated he did not.
Q So, in any case, the President has not agreed in principle to participate in a withdrawal from Croatia should that be necessary. Given that this thing will unfold very quickly, when the decision has to be made, what process will we use at this end to get involved in the NATO operation that may or may not --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the premise of the question is a little bit off. The President has always indicated that as a leader within the North Atlantic Alliance, we would certainly be supportive of and participate in NATO-related activities as they might be in assistance of UNPROFOR. We have not defined what the parameters for that participation might be, absent any type of final contingency planning from NATO. That is, as I just suggested, exactly the topic of the discussion between Secretary General Claes and the President earlier today. So I wouldn't want to suggest that has necessarily been ruled out. It's just not at a point that it has reached the President for a decision yet, absent any final contingency planning by NATO.
Q What is the position here on this plan or consideration of a plan for a deterrent force to be in position offshore or in Italy or wherever to intervene if necessary for the withdrawal to take place?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not familiar with that type of planning. I'd have to check around on that. What we have suggested, which we are currently undertaking, are the deployment of U.S. forces in places like Macedonia to prevent spillover of the conflict. And that remains a firm view of the United States that the effort to contain this conflict so it does not spill over into other parts of the Balkans is a fundamental commitment of the United States. It has been stated back through the Bush administration.
Q Tort reform. Could you explain the objections of the --
Q In Spanish.
MR. MCCURRY: I'd be better talking about tort reform in Spanish because it would come out just as comprehensible -- since I neither speak the language of legalese. (Laughter.)
Q Well, you speak bureaucratese.
MR. MCCURRY: Bureaucratese? What are the objections that we have to loser pay? That it comes from a system which justices wear powdered wigs and, you know, it doesn't come from a system of jurisprudence that is consistent with what we view as our own experience with tort claims. It sort of reverses a great deal of American jurisprudence. It relies more, as some of you know, on a British model for settling tort claims, and it might very well disrupt the ability of middle-income, indigent, elderly people who need to have access to the courts in order to seek justice and remedies. It might deny them that type of access because it would be financially prohibitive.
Now, you know, the President and the Speaker of the House said identical things yesterday about the need to reduce frivolous litigation. But you can't do that by denying access to courts where people can get the justice that they deserve.
Q Yesterday I asked you about what the President wanted in a rescissions package. He made reference to that on Friday. And you said you were going to research this.
MR. MCCURRY: I'm reaching out for the piece of paper that my loyal staff should have given me, and I don't have it. But there are some things in there. And I didn't get a chance to ask him. I will -- I failed you. I confess. But I'll find some things, and I'll ask the President about it. And I'll do better either tomorrow or later today.
Q At the NATO meeting today were there any discussions about the future of Mr. Claes --
MR. MCCURRY: No, I don't believe there would be a need for that. I think the Vice President addressed himself to that question when he visited with the Secretary General in Brussels not long ago.
Q You can take some practice with your Spanish some more. The peso continues to drop. Today it was dropping more than yesterday. Is the administration worried? I mean, it seems to be affecting also the drop of the dollar.
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to speculate here on what makes things happen in the currency markets. I don't think that's wise to do, because I'm not sure that -- I certainly know I'm no expert. And I don't believe anybody who even is an expert can even find an adequate explanation.
What I can tell you is that the United States remains fundamentally committed to the program of support that we have outlined. We believe that the international community and the international financial institution s, like the IMF, remain committed to that program of support. We are now implementing that program and moving forward.
As to the dollar, the strong dollar, as the Secretary of the Treasury has indicated, is in the national interest of the United States.
Q appreciate generally his editorial?
MR. MCCURRY: It was constructive in some elements. (Laughter.)
Q Mike, some of the Republican think-tank groups, two of them, anyway, are suggesting today that the protestors yesterday that disrupted Speaker Gingrich's address are at least partially or some are National Service Corps volunteers to ACORN, noting that ACORN gets a million and a half from national service and has 42 people paid here. Do you know whether national service volunteers are engaged in protesting budget cuts or --
MR. MCCURRY: I have no idea whether they are or not, and I will attempt to find out. I know that if there was any involvement by anyone in preventing the Speaker of the House to have the opportunity to address NACO, as he deserved, it would severely disappoint the President of the United States, who felt that the Speaker deserved an opportunity to be heard by NACO; he so stated this morning, and he felt it objectionable that others would deny him that right to engage in free debate.
Q Two new polls out of New York show Clinton sort of struggling against Dole in that state, which you know was his strongest outside of Arkansas. One of them shows Dole actually beating Clinton. Is that a worry to the White House?
MR. MCCURRY: That will be a good question to ask me about a year from now.
Anybody else have anything?
Q What's he doing today?
MR. MCCURRY: What's he doing today? He's doing a lot of work, as I indicated. He's meeting, I believe, with Bradley now, if Senator Bradley hasn't left already.
Q On what?
MR. MCCURRY: He finds Senator Bradley an engaging, creative, thoughtful, political voice and someone who's counsel he will enjoy receiving today.
Q It's not about trying to get Bradley's car fixed, is it?
MR. MCCURRY: Senator Bradley?
Q Have you seen his car?
MR. MCCURRY: His car's not working?
Q His car is a heap out in the driveway.
Q It probably wouldn't pass inspection even in my home state of New Jersey.
MR. MCCURRY: Certainly consistent with Senator Bradley's --
Q Careful. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: No, you know what I was thinking -- automatically I leapt to thinking about John McVee's great book, Life on the Run. Those of you who it, he was always being chided by his New York Nicks teammates for not having a dollar in his pocket; hence, the name Dollar Bill, for those of you -- a bit of trivia.
Q What's up for tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: But if he needs a dollar to fix his car, I'll go out and offer it to him. I've got a few extra that are due to me today. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: Tomorrow is kind of a work -- quiet work day here. There's one thing that might constitute news in your opinion and I'll tell you about it tomorrow. So we can kind of keep the magical mystery tour going.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 1:55 P.M. EST