THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Teton Village, Wyoming) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 17, 1995
PRESS BRIEFING BY GINNY TERZANO
Sojourner Inn Teton Village, Wyoming
11:40 A.M. MDT
Q This better be good. (Laughter.)
Q Is there a lot of McCurry's mind? Is that why you were on the phone for so long?
MS. TERZANO: No, I wanted to see the first tee-off over at the golf course.
Q How was it?
MS. TERZANO: I think he did a nice job. I told you yesterday I'm not the golf expert.
Q Either is he.
MS. TERZANO: Mr. Clinton? Mark Knoller, why are you so surly this morning? I'm sorry for being so late.
We have just a couple things. As you all know, hopefully, we put out a statement on China this morning that you all should have received, and it's in the back in the press office.
In addition, I'd just like to point out that Secretary Shalala today is sending a letter to all the governors, Democrat and Republican, on the fast-track welfare reform demonstration application process. When the President spoke to the National Governors in Burlington a couple of weeks ago, he announced the new fast track demonstration initiative, and she is releasing a simplified application process that will allow the states to submit welfare demonstrations and obtain the approval within 30 days. This is something that the President, as you know, has a lot of interest in and has made this a high priority on his check list.
We will have a statement by the President about welfare where he urges Congress when they return after their recess to put welfare reform on the top of their agenda and to send the President a tough bipartisan bill that builds on the progress that we've made already. There is still a lot of work to do before we get a final welfare bill passed. It is important to the American public and he encourages Congress to take this up right away.
Q When exactly --
MS. TERZANO: As soon as this briefing is over. Also, HHS -- Melissa Skofield, who is the Public Affairs Director over at HHS and is quite an expert on this issue, is available for your reporters back in Washington on all of the technical aspects. We will give you a fact sheet on it as well if you need guidance, but this is pretty much ready to go out.
And that's it. I'll take any questions.
Q Ginny, can I ask about China? The list of the U.S. problems with China seems to be growing and growing -- the latest example, of course, the test today. Does this screw the pooch, so to say, on the Hillary Clinton trip?
MS. TERZANO: Does it what? (Laughter.)
Q And what does it say about U.S. influence in any way with China so far?
Q It was an animal metaphor he used. (Laughter.)
MS. TERZANO: As the statement indicated, we regret the test that took place that the Chinese made yesterday. However, it does not have any impact on the decision-making process as to whether Mrs. Clinton will travel to China as honorary chair of the women's conference. There are a number of issues that are being looked at as the decision is being weighed, but this does not have a -- this will not have an impact on that decision-making process.
Q Why is that a factor, Ginny?
MS. TERZANO: As you know, Mr. Tarnoff is in China -- or is representing the United States on China. We have diplomatic measures that are moving forward, and there are a number of issues that are being discussed on Mrs. Clinton's possible trip as honorary chair to the conference. And those are issues that are being weighed internally through the appropriate officials, and once a decision is made we will announce it.
Q What are some of those factors, Ginny?
MS. TERZANO: There are several issues and they are internal discussions, they are delicate issues in many cases and it would not be appropriate to elaborate on them publicly.
Q -- yesterday were saying that the internal of a humanitarian thing was not necessarily connected to this trip. Now the testing is not necessarily -- what is connected to the trip, anything?
MS. TERZANO: There are -- Mike is right on that, and there are various concerns and issues that the White House and State Department and other officials are discussing and talking about, and we are doing so in a very measured manner and will continue to do so.
Q What are the arguments in favor of having her go to China?
MS. TERZANO: I think that that is something that once a decision is made, the White House will be more than willing to discuss publicly. This is an important conference that has taken place annually, that addresses women's issues on a global level, and Mrs. Clinton, who has a genuine and personal interest in these issues, is someone who has been asked to travel to China as the honorary chair. And this is something that we are still discussing and deciding on.
Q Is she dealing with this in any way by phone with people in Washington?
MS. TERZANO: Is who dealing --
Q Is she involved in the discussions by phone?
MS. TERZANO: I don't know the answer to that.
Q Has she been, do you know, previously?
MS. TERZANO: She has had meetings and discussions with officials about a possible trip to China, yes.
Q Do you know when a decision might come?
MS. TERZANO: No, I don't. I think, as Mike has said on several occasions, before the conference begins.
Q Back to the test, they tested on May 16th, and the White House issued a similar statement expressing regret. Later, I think in June or so, they tested a road mobile ICBM; now this test. Each time the administration has expressed regret. What influence does the administration have on their arms program?
MS. TERZANO: We have diplomatic measures that are in place and are moving forward in our discussions with Chinese officials. We issued a statement earlier today, as you know, by Mr. McCurry, and that is all that we are going to say on these tests at this time. I have nothing else to elaborate on.
Q Yes, but the President's remarks of last Friday in hoping, in trying to get everyone to accept the zero option, doesn't this sort of fly in his face?
MS. TERZANO: The statement today that was issued is very clear. We regret the test, and we have serious concerns about it. But this is -- but as I've already indicated, we have diplomatic measures that are in place and that are moving forward, and we are working in a measured manner as we not only look at the test that took place by the Chinese government yesterday -- today -- but with other issues as well.
Q Ginny, how are they moving forward?
MS. TERZANO: With Mr. Tarnoff, who is representing the United States.
Q If they continue to do this a week after the President called for zero program and for a ratification of the treaty, it's clearly a snub. So how can diplomatic relations be moving forward if they seem to be kicking the administration?
MS. TERZANO: We were very clear in our statement today what the United States' position is on the Chinese government doing these tests. It was a well-prepared test; I think it was not completely unexpected by the United States government. And our position and our concerns about this test were stated earlier today.
Q Ginny, what is Tarnoff doing? You mentioned him twice now. Is he there or talking to Chinese officials or --
MS. TERZANO: No, no, he's not in China, but he is working with -- he is our diplomatic liaison, my understanding, with the Chinese.
Q So then, talking about something moving forward, what exactly are you talking about? You said moving forward -- you're giving the impression that progress is being made and we don't see any indication of that at all.
MS. TERZANO: Sometimes there are discussions that need to be had that are not public, and as we look at the women's conference and Mrs. Clinton possibly attending the conference as honorary chair, there are certain issues that are being discussed and weighed, as we have reiterated on several occasions. We have nothing else to say or further more to say at this time.
Q Do you know if the First Lady's going to China is actually being raised directly with the Chinese as part of this entire --
MS. TERZANO: I don't know the answer to that. I will try to find out for you, but I don't know the answer.
Q Doesn't this whole nuclear testing question beg the point that if everyone conducts all the tests they want and then they sign up with the zero option, why bother with the zero option? If everyone -- the French are conducting their tests, the Chinese are conducting their tests. Why doesn't everybody do all they want and then go for a zero option? Because that looks like what they're doing.
MS. TERZANO: The President in his statement -- I believe it was on Friday of last week, he talked about nuclear test ban -- he made very clear what the United States' position is on this, and I've nothing further to elaborate on at this time.
Q We're just out there by ourselves right now.
MS. TERZANO: Any other questions?
Q Ginny, on Iraq, anything -- what movements are there that we know about and what do we think about them?
MS. TERZANO: There's been no change with Iraq at this time. The Pentagon gave an informational briefing earlier today, but to point out something that they said -- the United States has not put U.S. troops on alert and there is no imminent deployment expected. But there's no new information or nothing further to report on the situation.
Q Is the administration trying to convince Jordan to break its relations towards Iraq?
MS. TERZANO: To break its relations?
Q With Iraq -- as The Washington Post reports today.
MS. TERZANO: If you don't mind if I can get back to you on that. I don't know the answer, I'd like to just double-check that for you.
Q Is the President being kept up to date on --
MS. TERZANO: Oh, certainly. Yes. He has, as I told you yesterday, he has an NSC advisor who is here; he receives a daily briefing; and he also talks to senior officials back in Washington. And he is fully updated.
Q Does he have anything on either the China thing or the latest Iraq --
MS. TERZANO: We issued a statement on China earlier this morning by the Press Secretary.
Q I know, but did you talk to him earlier today?
MS. TERZANO: I did, and we have nothing further to add on China.
Q What about Iraq?
MS. TERZANO: We have nothing further to add on -- the President addressed this in his news conference last week that he had with you all, and we have nothing further to add from his comments of last Thursday. There is no new information and we have not put U.S. troops on alert.
Q Okay, well, what's he doing, what does he plan to do, and what is Hillary doing while he's doing golfing?
MS. TERZANO: The President is thoroughly enjoying himself. He is, as he said, trying to indulge as much as possible in golf prior to Chelsea arriving tomorrow. He is working very hard at improving his golf game, as you all know. And he's out on the course again today. We don't know how many holes he is going to play, but he's slotted for 18 at this time and is having a good time out there.
He commented about how magnificent the view is from not only the residence, but from the golf course, and how fresh the air is. And you can already tell that after being here just 48 hours, he is much more relaxed and rested since leaving Washington. But he very much is focusing his attention on golf over the next day.
Q What's the First Lady doing?
MS. TERZANO: She has spent most of her time at the residence writing. As you know, she writes a column and she has a book coming out. And so she is working on that.
Q Ginny, has the President had any more conversations with Senator Bradley? And how does the White House view the prospect of a Bradley independent candidacy?
MS. TERZANO: Has he talked to Senator Bradley? Oh, has he talked to him further?
MS. TERZANO: No. He talked to him, as you all know, yesterday morning prior to the Senator's announcement. The President called Senator Bradley. They had a good conversation. They did not talk about an independent presidential run. They primarily talked about Senator Bradley's decision and about the Democratic Party and Senator Bradley's announcement and his frustration with -- overall with politics that he expressed in his press conference.
I think what we are seeing in Senator Bradley's comments from this morning from news interviews, and even in his remarks yesterday, this is just a general frustration with politics in this day and age, and I think that that frustration tends to be felt by a lot of people inside and outside of politics. And he's conveying that frustration.
He is a good Democrat and a strong leader within this party. He is in line with the Democratic Party on important issues, such as crime and trade and a balanced budget. And I think in the end you are going to see Senator Bradley remain a good, strong Democrat and a leader within this party.
Q Ginny, though, has he had -- has this prompted any renewed discussions within the White House political apparatus between the President, say, Morris or Panetta or anybody else about what this means for 1996?
MS. TERZANO: No. As we look towards 1996 --
Q About New Jersey, about anything.
MS. TERZANO: As we look towards 1996, we are prepared for a primary challenge. We don't expect anyone is going to challenge the President in the primaries, and we are geared up for an independent candidate in the general election. And it is too far away to say whether anyone, whether it be -- it is too far to say whether any independent candidate will get into the race. But these are two issues that the political folks back at the White House and at the campaign office are working on and have been addressing over the last couple of months.
But, as I said, we don't expect a primary challenge, and it's too far away for the general election. But I think Senator Bradley is merely conveying his frustration that he noted yesterday in his remarks.
And I think, in the end, you are going to see him actively campaigning on behalf of other Democrats across this country because his core values are the values of this party which is helping working class Americans get more economic opportunity, providing more tax fairness.
Q Ginny, how do you know he's going to campaign for Democrats when he today he's leaving open a possible independent bid?
MS. TERZANO: What I just said is, in the end, I think you will see Senator Bradley campaigning on behalf of the party and Democratic candidates.
Q Do you have knowledge of that? Has he said something to the President or did this come up in their talk yesterday?
MS. TERZANO: No. This is my gut instincts from someone who has worked in politics for a little bit in Washington and as someone who has greatly admired Senator Bradley. I mean, he is someone who has very strong convictions on a number of important issues that directly impact working people.
And if you look at his voting record over his time in the Congress and during the last two and a half years when the President has been in office, he is very much in line with the President on key votes. And as I said, I think in the end you are going to see him actively campaigning for Democrats and the party.
But I'll tell you, the general election is far away. I think he's just merely conveying his general frustration as we all do now and then.
Q He seems to be more than frustrated. He is talking about -- or he is leaving the door open to an independent candidacy and has gone so far as to say that he's talked to Colin Powell. About what, no one knows, but presumably that's --
MS. TERZANO: I would assume -- I cannot speak for Senator Bradley on this and I defer you to his office -- I would assume Senator Bradley has spoken to many people over the last couple of days. I think this was a big personal decision for him and his family,and I think that that's normal for him to talk to many people.
Q Ginny, did the President try to talk him out of it?
MS. TERZANO: No. Not that I'm -- I mean, it was a good conversation just where Senator Bradley told him what he was doing, and the President expressed his personal thoughts about how this would be a loss to the Senate and to the party -- losing him at this time.
Q Is the President going to participate in any way by phone or in any other manner with the DNC summer meeting in New Orleans this week?
MS. TERZANO: He is not. He did a video -- well, he is, but he's not doing it while he's in Jackson Hole. He did a video speech that he taped -- I believe, on the morning we left for Jackson Hole or the day before -- that will be played to the DNC members while they're down there in New Orleans. We have White House officials who have attended the meeting, and so there is a lot of participation among the White House as they gather in New Orleans.
Q Ginny, what's he going to do tonight? Do we know? Have you talked to him about it?
MS. TERZANO: Yes, I did. I don't think he's decided. He said that he, as I told you, planned on golfing today because he wanted to get in as much golf as he could before Chelsea arrived where, afterwards, once she arrives, I think they're going to do more of the outdoor activities like hiking and attend a rodeo.
But I could speculate -- I think there's a good chance that they stay at home and have dinner again -- the President and Mrs. Clinton. After all, it's their vacation.
Q Have they had anybody in?
MS. TERZANO: No. He's golfing today, as a matter of fact, with Jim Wolfensohn who is with the World Bank. And he is going to have one of your colleagues golf with him shortly.
Q Who's that?
MS. TERZANO: Gotcha.
Q He had a Clinton-Gore T-shirt on yesterday, so --
Q What does that mean to be geared up for an independent candidacy?
Q Wait, is he golfing with him or caddying for him? Which is it? (Laughter.)
MS. TERZANO: I think Mr. Nichols is a good golfer, isn't he? He's been telling me all about it.
Q I think Mr. Nichols has just crossed the line. (Laughter.)
Q Ginny, will there be any coverage of the birthday celebration?
Q We need to have a serious discussion with Mr. Bill.
MS. TERZANO: What birthday celebration? It's a surprise.
Q He doesn't know there's going to be a birthday --
MS. TERZANO: No.
Q Now, is this pooled? Is Bill pooled? Does he understand his obligations to the rest of us?
MS. TERZANO: I didn't have that conversation with him.
Q Get him on the phone. We'll have that conversation with him. (Laughter.)
Q Can you give us any details on how this golf game with Bill came about? What's the quid pro quo here?
Q Like did Bill ask?
MS. TERZANO: No, the President asked. The President said, "Are there any reporters out there who play golf?" And I laughed and said, "Oh, yes." He said, "Do you think they would like to play?" And I said, "I think they would love to."
Q You should have taken a poll to see how many of us actually play golf.
MS. TERZANO: I did a quick name on the top of my head. And we are here for a long time so I think there will be more opportunities.
Q Ginny, John was asking, what does it mean to be geared up for an independent candidacy? I mean, you're sort of prepared if it happens?
MS. TERZANO: Certainly. I think any time you run for office, whether it is on the local level or the nation level, you have to have a game plan and a strategy. And that is the case with the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign for 1996. You have to look at where you can best spend your resources. And as we begin to gear up for the 1996 campaign, we are looking at all of the fault lines that we may have to cross between now and November of 1996 and look at how best we can wage a national campaign to see the President and the Vice President reelected.
Q Do you think it would help you if there was an independent candidate? Would it help the President's chances?
MS. TERZANO: I think what would -- I really don't have an answer to that. I mean, the President has a very strong record to run on in 1996, which he will do, in addressing the American public on what he has done over the last two and a half years on a number of issues, such as creating more jobs, lowering the deficit, trying to balance the budget, and get political reform and welfare reform passed. And his eye is very much on focusing on the issues that are important to the American people, and he will try to convey that throughout the 1996 campaign.
Q Ginny, the Jackson Hole focus group on Medicare is going to meet on the 24th, which I think is next Thursday. Would Mrs. Clinton attend that, an issues she's involved in?
MS. TERZANO: I don't believe there are any plans for that, and I will double check for you.
Someone yesterday asked me about -- I think a couple of you asked me yesterday about books the President was reading, and he said that he brought several books with him. He has not had a lot of time to do reading. As you know, he had a very strenuous day yesterday where he was focused on other issues.
But some of the books he has brought along with him are Pat Conroy's new book, Beach Music; William Manchester, Goodbye Darkness; Stein and, I want to say, Fast, New Illustrated Guide to the American Economy --
Q Good summertime reading. (Laughter.)
Q Are there good pictures?
Q That's to prop the door open with, right?
MS. TERZANO: I'm going to spell this last name as best as I can. Skowronek -- that's the last name.
Q Can you repeat that?
MS. TERZANO: Skowronek, and the book is The Politics Presidents Make; Hamisch McRae, The World in 2020; Varmus Weinberg, Genes and the Biology of Cancer. And he also said he had a couple of detective novels as well, which I don't have the names of.
Q But the other stuff is such light reading.
MS. TERZANO: Excuse me. And he hopes to read these books on his vacation, but --
Q If it rains.
MS. TERZANO: Well.
Q Could you repeat the authors of The New Illustrated Guide?
MS. TERZANO: Stein and, it looks like Fast. It's something you may have to look up.
Q Have you read that book yourself, Ginny?
MS. TERZANO: No, but Leon has.
Q Thanks, Ginny.
MS. TERZANO: The radio address, for your planning purposes, is most likely going to be pre-taped tomorrow morning which we will then have an embargoed text for you all.
MS. TERZANO: I do not have a subject for you yet.
Q Will be have an audience?
MS. TERZANO: No.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 12:08 P.M. MDT