THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
PRESS BRIEFING BY DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF HAROLD ICKES
Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5:38 P.M. EDT
MR. ICKES: I just wanted to spend a couple of minutes sort of outlining what we see as the week ahead and then open it up to questions. This trip has two components which you all have figured out. One is fundraising, and the other is -- which we will be doing a fair amount. We expect to raise approximately $5 million in the series of fundraisers beginning with tonight going down to Miami, then over to Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. When you couple that with the match, we expect about a quarter of that, maybe a little less, to be matchable. And I'll get into the details of the fundraising in a moment.
The second part of this, and as important if not more important, is it's permitting the President, as he was doing earlier today and as he is doing right now, getting a briefing on the Philadelphia shipyard conversion, is to talk to various groups and people around the country about issues that are before the Congress. Basically, I think the President is going to be framing these issues in terms of overall values and talking about specific programs as they relate to overall values, and basically those values -- responsibility, obligations, working together, providing the means for families to stay together and to pull together and focusing especially on children.
He'll talk a lot about that in terms of his education programs, so he'll be fighting for over the next few weeks as well as our obligation to elderly and people who have helped build this country. So basically that's the framework for the upcoming three, four, five days.
In terms of the campaign itself, we see this basically, as I said, a fundraising tour. It has been long in the planning. Those of you who have spoken to Terry McAuliffe understand that this is a record-breaking effort that he and Laura Hardigan have put together. We expect that by the end of the year we will have raised well in excess of $20 million. We expect to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million to $14 million in matching funds. I think that by the end of January, by the middle of February at the very latest, we will have raised our complement of about $43 million, which takes care of the $31 million or $32 million we can spend on campaign activities, plus about $6.5 million for fundraising expenses. And then the lawyers and accountants always have to be paid. So we raise a little extra for them.
We have started relatively early on our fundraising. We do not expect a primary. That is not to say we won't get one. But we don't expect one. If one comes down the pike, we are perfectly prepared to take on any opponent. We think we are in a very strong position, both from a substantive and issue point of view, and certainly from a financial point of view. I don't think that there's been any -- in my memory -- no presidential campaign has raised this much money this quickly and it comes from a broad base of contributors. Our average contribution is ranging about $143 -- anywhere between $125 and $140 as I recall. We have a very aggressive direct mail program which has been bringing in a substantial amount of money which I think is a testament to the support this President has.
Obviously, the budget fight that is going on now on the Hill presents this with an opportunity to define where its core values are and to fight for education, the elderly and investing in America, which has been the President's program since he was elected, and also keeping the economic -- keeping the economy on course.
So that's sort of where we are in broad brush. I think tonight's speech, as I said, will frame -- somewhat differently I think that the frame will be less on specific issues and more on overarching values and how those issues relate to those values.
I'll take any questions.
Q Harold, how are you divvying up the costs of this trip between what the campaign pays for and what the government and taxpayers pay for?
MR. ICKES: We have several lawyers who we have sought their guidance on this. Basically, those events that are official events are paid for by the government. The fundraising events tonight are campaign events and prorate costs will be paid by the campaign. We are -- will have a full accounting of those, they will be submitted, as you know, to the FEC for audit. We intend to be very, very careful on how this is done.
Q Did you know the shipyard deal was in trouble when you scheduled this trip? And did it complicate the schedule at all to have this deal fall apart with the German shipbuilder --
MR. ICKES: We knew that there was some problems. I don't know all the details about the problems. And hopefully --I don't know if it's fallen through completely yet. I think there's still some hope on this one. It did not complicate the trip. But basically, the President wanted to get a briefing as to what has gone on as far as this military conversion program that he's been instrumental in implementing.
Q Harold, when you say that no other presidential campaign has raised money this quickly, when do most of them usually end their fundraising -- how much ahead of them are you?
MR. ICKES: Do that again?
Q You said that no other presidential campaign --
MR. ICKES: Let me qualify that. I don't think any other presidential campaign -- I don't want you to come back and hoist me on my own petard.
Q Well, when do you think most other presidential campaigns has ended their fundraising and how much ahead of that schedule are you?
MR. ICKES: Well, in terms of -- I was talking about in terms of the amount of money that we've raised. We did not open our doors until April 14th. And by the time we file our FEC reports we will have raised in the neighborhood of $19 million to $20 million in the bank. That is that has come in. We've spent some of that. In addition, there will be matching funds for which we will be eligible and for which we will apply in January.
The total break -- we expect to raise about $43 million between the 14th of April of this year and probably the middle of -- no later than the middle of February in '96. Of that $43 million, in the neighborhood of $13 million to $14 million will be federal matching funds.
Q Harold, can you talk about the discussion over whether or not to not apply for the matching funds? Apparently, there's some serious consideration given within the White House to not -- not seeking federal matching funds so you wouldn't have to abide by the limits.
MR. ICKES: I think the best way to characterize it is to say that there are a lot of thought that are mulled over in the White House. I think that there was some discussion about that, but I don't think that any serious consideration was given to it.
Q Was it a bad idea?
MR. ICKES: Oh, I'm not saying it's a good or bad idea. I'm just saying that this President, whose campaign finance reform is -- there was obviously -- there was discussion about and it's been elucidated in several newspapers. But I don't think there was serious consideration given to it.
Q Harold, what do you think the chances are at this point that there will be a challenger either within the Democratic Party for the nomination or a Democrat running as an independent and challenge President Clinton?
MR. ICKES: I think within the Democratic Party it is, I would say, unlikely. I don't want to rule it out. Obviously, there are people who have their -- will make up their mind as they see fit. And I'm not going to speculate on that. I think it's unlikely. I don't -- quite frankly, I don't see a basis for a challenge to this President as far as the issues are concerned. I'm not sure what basis he would be challenged on. And, again, I point out that we are ready to take on any challengers. As far as a Democrat challenging him as an independent -- I don't know, do you have any names handy?
Q I don't know -- I mean, do you think it could happen?
MR. ICKES: Do I think it could happen? Most anything could happen.
Q Are you hoping for a third party challenge, a third party candidate?
MR. ICKES: We're prepared -- we're not hoping for anything. We're prepared to take on whatever challengers step forward. We would like to see a nice, clean debate, but if that debate involves two rather than three candidates, we're prepared for it.
Q Do you intend to spend all $43 million? How do you intend to spend it? And if he faces no primary challenge, why would you spend it?
MR. ICKES: Well, I think that we -- first of all, I'm not going to lay out how we intend to spend it. It's a little difficult at this point to know until we know whether we have a challenger. My own view is, as I've said to a number of you before, that it may well be, given how front-loaded the primary systems are on both Democratic and Republican -- under their rules, that we could well know the putative Republican nominee by the first of April. So it strikes me that we could be in a position where, although we're still in a primary mode basically running -- knowing who at least our Republican opponent is going to be.
Filing for independent candidacy carries on a bit longer, and so they have a little more latitude if somebody is going to run as an independent. But, essentially, we will be able to -- hopefully, we will be able to spend as much of our money as possible on media, getting the President's message out, and in terms of what he wants to do for the country, where he wants to take the country, and what this administration has done in terms of accomplishments, which some of us think are considerable.
Q The fact that you probably will know a Republican challenger so early, is that one of the driving factors in why you're so aggressively raising funds now?
MR. ICKES: No. We want to raise funds -- we want to aggressively raise funds, to use your phrase, for two reasons. One is to get it done, get it over with, so that other candidates could raise money next year. And there are going to be a lot of candidates up raising money. Number two is -- and there are various committees -- the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, et cetera, also have to raise money as well as individual candidates.
And two, it is -- I think it puts people on notice that we're prepared if they want to step into the ring.
Q The President was talking about urban issues today. Is the President going to participate in the City Vote, which is a project to raise urban issues, kind of straw poll that's going to happen on November 7th, Election Day, 1995, or is he actually trying to get his name off the ballot in those cities?
MR. ICKES: I don't anticipate that he will participate.
Q Is he trying to get his name off the ballot?
MR. ICKES: I don't anticipate he'll participate.
Q Will the President participate in a lot of fundraising next year as well for senatorial and House candidates, too?
MR. ICKES: I think the record -- well, we haven't made a final decision on that, and it will depend upon how the schedule shakes out and what both the primary and general election look like. I think this President and Vice President, this administration in general -- if you look back at 1993, 1994 -- have participated very fully in fundraising for other candidates. So we expect them to be doing a fair amount of fundraising within the limits of the schedule and their time, et cetera.
Q How much of that money do you think he'll spend this fall, if any, on advertising?
MR. ICKES: I don't know, Claire. We haven't given that a whole lot of thought yet.
MR. ICKES: We have spent $2.5 million, as you know -- $2.4 million, to be accurate -- out of the campaign and another $.9 million out of the DNC. We may do some additional advertising, but nothing is under discussion at this point.
Q Are you saying there's nothing in the pipeline other than the crime commercials that you ran a few months ago?
MR. ICKES: Depending on how you define pipeline, what I'm saying is there's nothing under serious discussion at this point.
Q Was that earlier advertising a success in your view?
MR. ICKES: Oh, I think it was. As you know, it ran in limited markets. It was not a national buy. It ran in targeted states, and our research indicates that it was successful.
Q We've read recently of competing strategic advice from within the campaign on whether you go for so-called --
MR. ICKES: No, there's no competing advice. We have one, you know, just right down the line here. (Laughter.) Was there a question to that, or was that just a statement?
Q Upscale or downscale?
MR. ICKES: Upscale or downscale? I don't know. My view is, we've got to win 270 votes, so we'll take all the scales.
Q When is the President going to announce for reelection?
MR. ICKES: Haven't made a decision on that; been no serious discussion. He's busy being President. At this point, I see no need for him to make any early announcement.
Q -- when that will be?
MR. ICKES: When will it be? It will certainly be in '96 or before. Okay?
Q What's this stop costing the party? And which party -- is it the Pennsylvania Democratic Party that this stop is charged to, the political part, and what does that come to?
MR. ICKES: I don't know the exact number and won't know it until we get back and turn it over to the lawyers and accountants. But, basically -- first of all, the reelect campaign is paying for the political part of this whole trip, all the fundraising part as well as the travel associated with that that's allocable to the campaign, the campaign will be reimbursing the government for it. I can't give you a precise -- seriously, I just can't -- it would just be a finger in the air. I will find out for you tonight and give you a precise figure tomorrow. I just don't want to throw a number out. It's useless to you and me.
Q Can you address the travel? Every plane ride we're taking seems to go from one official event to one official event. So the only travel involved in this trip, isn't it, is just getting in and out of hotels.
MR. ICKES: There's more than that involved. There are a number of people who are traveling with the President whose allocable travel costs will be reimbursed by the campaign to the federal government under the rules of the Federal Election Commission.
Q The cost of Air Force One, for example, will that be charged to the campaign?
MR. ICKES: Will the cost of Air Force One? As far as I know, the answer is no. But certain of the people who travel on Air Force One, their air fares, computed at the rates required by the Federal Election Commission, are reimbursed to the federal government.
Have I completely clarified it?
Q Quite clear. (Laughter.)
MR. ICKES: Okay, good.
Q How much does it cost to fly Air Force One?
MR. ICKES: I don't have the foggiest idea, but we will get that for you. Thank you very much.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 5:55 P.M. EDT