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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 26, 1996
                           PRESS BRIEFING
                           BY MIKE MCCURRY

The Briefing Room

1:27 P.M. EST

MR. MCCURRY: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House Press Briefing Room for our last daily briefing of this week.

Q Are you sure? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: I'm positive because if someone briefs on Saturday it won't be me. I guess it's my last one.

Let me start with the following: The President of the United States had a very cordial 40-minute conversation with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation earlier today. It's clear that both Presidents continue their very close working relationship that began when they first met in Vancouver in 1993. It's also clear that President Yeltsin is fully back at work, in charge, and as he told President Clinton, "in good shape."

The President began the conversation by congratulating President Yeltsin on his return to work, noted his strengths, that he sounded good. President Yeltsin congratulated President Clinton on his State of the Union address. Thanks to you, it was all apparently covered in Moscow and beyond. President Yeltsin told President Clinton, in fact, the address had been well received by the Russian people. (Laughter.)

Q What did he think of Dole? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: I'll have to find out whether the Republican response was carried live there. (Laughter.) Certainly we're interested --

Q Who initiated the call?

MR. MCCURRY: President Clinton had initiated this call. He had wanted an opportunity to touch base with President Yeltsin when he was back at work and has been looking for a time -- proper time when they could touch base. The proximate call, one of the subjects -- proximate reason for the call and one of the subjects they discussed is the upcoming meeting of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. Vice-President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin will continue their regular series -- working series of meetings, beginning next week, right?

He arrives -- the Prime Minister arrives on Sunday, and then they will be meeting next week. They discussed -- I won't do the full readout unless there's some particular subject. They obviously discussed the direction of reform in Russia. President Clinton welcomed President Yeltsin's recent public statements that asserted that the Russian commitment to progress on reform is irreversible. President Yeltsin did assure President Clinton that he was not only firmly committed to economic reform, but also to a continuing strong U.S.-Russian partnership and relationship.

President Yeltsin noted that while the new Duma has changed the antireform forces elected to the Duma do not have a majority and would not dictate policy. They review START II, which, as you know, is pending in the Senate now. The President briefed President Yeltsin on the prospects for ratification of START II, certainly said we hoped that would happen. And, as you know, we've been encouraging the Senate to take that up and ratify START II promptly. The President suggested that that should help further action in the Duma for approval of the START II Treaty.

President Yeltsin assured President Clinton that they would work hard in Russia to secure approval of the START II Treaty prior to the meeting in April that President Clinton will attend, the meeting, the summit meeting on nuclear safety issues. And they reviewed the situation in Chechnya and they talked about Bosnia. The President noted that the Russian brigade which is attached to Task Force Eagle, the U.S. component of the International Force, has been working very well with U.S. forces in Bosnia.

And they reviewed, as I said earlier, both the upcoming meetings of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, where the Vice President will lead a discussion with the Prime Minister about economic issues, reform, technology, all the things that have been in the basket and that the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission has reviewed.

They also reviewed -- actually, President Clinton responded to a suggestion by President Yeltsin that they remain in closer contact by phone and also exchange meetings by foreign ministers. And some of you probably know that the State Department has announced that Secretary Christopher will be meeting with Foreign Minister Primakov in Helsinki the 10th and 11th of February, right?

That's it.

Q Did the conversation include an explanation on the part of President Yeltsin as to why economic reformers are biting the dust when he's assuring the President of the United States that the economic reforms are well?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, they reviewed the progress towards reform; they did not discuss specifically any personnel changes, either the change in foreign ministers or the change in the Deputy Prime Minister for Economics position, the appointment of Mr. Kadannikov, which was announced, I believe, yesterday. But they did generally review the subject of both Russia's foreign policy and its domestic policy related to economic and political reform . And as I said, President Clinton was encouraged that in both cases President Yeltsin pledged continuity and maintenance of the direction of Russian policy aimed at market economic reforms and political reforms, and commitment to democracy. And the President was satisfied that President Yeltsin's commitment remains the same.

It's clear at the same time that we understand that there is a very complex political environment in Russia, that President Yeltsin is dealing with all the many forces that exist in his political culture, and that there will be different turns and twists along the pathway towards reform. The direction towards reform, however, as President Yeltsin indicated, is irreversible.

Q Has the President spent any time with the First Lady in advance of her grand jury testimony?

MR. MCCURRY: The President has. The President, Chelsea, and Mrs. Clinton had time together this morning, and then I believe the President is over in the Residence now with her before she departs for her testimony.

Q Was he briefing --

Q Was that breakfast?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, they had -- they usually have -- they often have breakfast early in the morning before they all start up on their schedules.

Q Was he discussing her testimony?

MR. MCCURRY: No, they don't have any need to discuss the testimony. The President knows what her answers are and they're the same answers she's been giving to the American people.

Q Well, what was he doing? Holding hands?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's not likely to be a very pleasant encounter. It's not a picnic. And so the President was there just to reassure her and tell her that he loves her and that she'll do a good job and the grand jury will see that she is telling the truth, just as she has been telling the truth.

Q What did she say?

Q That's all we need.

Q Yes, right.

MR. MCCURRY: Anything else?

Q Do you have any plans to have Kendall or anyone run through what she was asked and what she might have said?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't -- can't speak for the First Lady or her attorney's plan, but I have heard that she plans to make a statement herself either before or after the testimony. So you may want to direct your many, many, many colleagues who are already very interested in this event.

Q Do you have a reading for the Senate as to when they might finish and, therefore, when the President might sign the CR?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the Senate is fully engaged in the debate on the continuing resolution now. Our understanding from the Democratic caucus that just broke up a shot while ago is that they will be concentrating on two amendments; one that Senator Kennedy is offering that would restore education funding.

There's a great deal of concern both in the House and Senate among Democrats about the level of education funding. There are a lot of school districts depending on allocations of federal resources, and they're right now in a very real bind because they are not certain what level of funding they're going to get. And Senator Kennedy is going to make a good effort to try to restore, I believe, FY'95 levels of funding at their full funding levels, rather than taking the hit that they would otherwise take in this continuing resolution.

And then they also expect to debate an amendment by Senator Moynihan which would provide a straightforward, one-year extension of the debt ceiling, which is something the administration strongly favors, as you know. That debate will go on during the day and we'll see where we are.

The President, on his part, he's monitoring the debate carefully and getting reports from our folks who are talking to various people in the Senate. We certainly hope that by the end of the day today, one way or another, both Houses have passed the satisfactory continuing resolution so we avoid any necessity to begin shutting down parts of our government tomorrow. We don't believe that's going to happen. We think they will --

Q He doesn't approve of this upsetting the apple cart, the deal he made, does he?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we've got -- we reached an agreement with the House on a continuing resolution, but by no means was it a perfect piece of legislation, and by no means, is it unwarranted that some senators would try to fix aspects that they think is wrong. They're going to debate it, and at the end of the day, by the time midnight rolls around tonight, we hope that action has been complete and the President's been in a position to sign a continuing resolution. We expect that will happen, one way or another. But we understand the desire of Senate Democrats to address two critical issues -- levels of funding for education, which is one of the President's priorities, and extending the debt ceiling, which is a necessary piece of business that has to be done right away. And it's good that they're making that attempt to do it right away.

Q Does he feel abandoned by the -- I mean, don't the Democrats feel abandoned by the President?

MR. MCCURRY: We've had no indication of that in my own contacts and contacts others have had. We can certainly understand why Senate Democrats are pressing those two issues.

Q If these amendments are adopted, the CR will have to go back to the House for further action. Doesn't that risk complicating the situation?

MR. MCCURRY: I certainly would not believe that it should. The White House believes that in both cases there would be reasons why the House might want to accept those measures. Certainly, on the question of the debt ceiling, adoption of that debt ceiling motion would likely be a pretty persuasive argument to the House that they should do likewise and provide the clean, straightforward one-year extension that's necessary.

The education funding, admittedly, might raise a more difficult debate, but we'll just have to see. Senator Daschle has given an assessment of what they think the likelihood of passage are of the two amendments; we'll just have to see how the day develops.

Q If and when he does sign this, Mike, what --

Q When did he say that?

MR. MCCURRY: He had a press conference, a while back.

Q Will there be any ceremony, or what are your plans?

MR. MCCURRY: That will depend on the time of the day. If it's late in the day, as I expect, I think it's more likely that the President will either say something in his remarks this evening at the Hispanic National Convention, or alternatively, we'll have some written statement available depending on what time final action occurs and what time the enrolled bill actually arrives here at the White House.

Q Does the President think that the dismissal of these people who have positively -- been advised of having HIV positive -- does he think the dismissal of all those people from the military will cripple the Defense Department?

MR. MCCURRY: No, he doesn't believe that that will jeopardize our national security. At the same time, the President thinks that's a very unfortunate decision by the Congress to discharge those who are HIV-positive.

I'd like to correct one thing because there have been some erroneous reporting on this. Those who are discharged will receive their full medical and dental benefits. They won't face any lack of support. They'll be in a situation similar to other military retirees. And our Director of AIDS Policy, Patsy Fleming, is meeting with people from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs today to talk about how they can protect those who might otherwise have their medical care in jeopardy.

Q Following up, does the President think that the fact we have not insisted on testing people before we sell blood at these blood points over the years -- does he think that's increased the number of people who have HIV?

MR. MCCURRY: I would have to check into that. I'm not aware -- I don't know, myself, here what policies for blood-testing that we've got.

Q On the other hand, we recently had a general, a very prominent general die here of AIDS. And I wonder how that category of people listed in the paper today who have HIV-positive in the Pentagon, I wonder if that was an influence on the President in asking for inclusion of people who are gays and lesbians in the service.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President's concern, as he stated in his initial veto message on this, that it would be particularly cruel to deny those who are suffering from this disease access to adequate health care. There's at least some improvement in this bill that they've addressed that situation by making sure health care is available to those who are HIV-positive. At the same time, the administration had very deep reservations about the provision of the bill itself which discharged those who were HIV-positive.

Q Well, Mike, what was the extent of the debate within the White House on this issue? I mean, was there a serious debate about whether or not the President would veto it just on the basis of the HIV provision alone?

MR. MCCURRY: There was strong consideration given to that issue, but it had to be weighed -- there are other aspects of the bill that, frankly, we were not wild about either, but we had to weigh that against the very important advances in national security, the need to have a defense authorization bill that would fund military programs for the year, all the different programs and activities of the Department of Defense which are covered under this authorization act.

They had to be weighed in the balance and, as you might expect, with a Republican Congress, there are times when we just have to, on balance, accept some things that otherwise we wouldn't want to do, but are necessary if we are going to have a strong Defense Authorization Act, which is what we did in this case. But the reservations we had about the provision which I stated yesterday stand. The one thing I am intent on correcting today is the fact that people do have access to medical and dental care.

Q Just as a follow-up, is the White House going to try to push any legislation or try to correct that aspect later on in this congressional term? I mean, is there any --

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. One of the things we do intend to do is work closely with a group of House and Senate members that we are already in contact with to pursue legislation that would reverse this policy and do so, we hope, within the six-month period before it takes effect.

Q Mike, on another subject, what's the White House analysis of Farrakhan's meeting with Gadhafi?

MR. MCCURRY: I didn't -- I actually forgot to look at that, Peter. I mean, we continue to feel very strongly that Mr. Gadhafi needs to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions. He very often uses the opportunity of visiting foreign visitors to advance his own views about Libya's role in the world, but they remain repugnant because of their support of violence and terrorism, and they remain repugnant because he has still failed in fundamental obligation he has to the international community, which is to turn over the two Pan AM 103 terrorist suspects for proper justice in either Scotland or the United States.

He can have as many foreign visitors as he wants. That doesn't change the equation when it comes to his obligation to comply with those U.N. Security Council resolutions that he is clearly in violation of.

Q Mike, assuming the Congress today will not solve the debt limit problem and you'll have to work on separate legislation on that, where are you with regard to the Speaker's down payment idea? And has the Speaker or the Republican leadership responded to your contention which is go well beyond the down payment; you can do the whole ball of wax, the $700 billion in savings? Where is all this in --

MR. MCCURRY: The response that we've gotten -- the President continues to believe firmly we can get over $700 billion of savings based on the proposals that are now on the table and we ought to do that, and we ought to balance the budget and get it done now.

Increasingly we hear folks on the Hill express skepticism about the prospects for doing it piecemeal over time. The initial idea, which looked like it might be a way to move towards savings, has begun to erode somewhat as we learn that Republicans really intend to use this device as a way to do a tax cut and then take the money in funding from programs that are very necessary for the poor. So it doesn't look like it's coming together.

In any event, we haven't had any authoritative description from the Republican side and what they intend. It's not clear they even know how they would accomplish this down payment package that they are talking about. The work that has been opportunity to share information with them at the staff level which we will do because much of the same staff working on the continuing resolution is fully occupied on that subject, as well they should be today. But we'll try to continue to see if we can explore and see if there's any common ground on this.

But the fact remains that the best thing to do when it comes to the debt ceiling is not to get bogged down in some type of ornamental exercise, dressing up a bill with new adornments. The best thing is just to pass a straight, clean, straightforward extension of the debt limit and, indeed, the Senate will apparently have an opportunity to do that very shortly.

Q Does the White House have any understanding at this point, after all the contacts you've had at various levels with the Republicans, as to why they haven't responded favorably to the notion of going for the seven-year balanced --

MR. MCCURRY: No. It is an utter mystery to the White House why the Republicans don't declare a victory, join with the President in celebrating a balanced budget agreement that will get us to the goal that they have professed over and over this year that they want -- a seven-year balanced budget agreement as evaluated by the economists of the Congressional Budget Office. It's there. The President told them on Tuesday night, let's do it; let's get it done. And it just doesn't seem to happen. And it's unfortunate. It's a mystery why they haven't taken the President up on his offer.

Q It isn't a mystery.

MR. MCCURRY: It's not a mystery? Why? Because they want the big tax cut. They keep going for the big tax cut. And then they get the big tax cut, they've got to go and take the savings out of Medicare by unwarranted cuts in the rate of spending for Medicare.

Q Mike, were senior White House economic team -- they were meeting on this very topic this noontide, as we speak, sort of, aren't they? And was there any plan, anything happening this weekend about it, or are they just reviewing the bidding, kind of talking about what's going on?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we continue to have contacts both with moderate and sensible members on the Hill who want to get this work done, with their staffs, and we continue to work the issues here to see if we can develop approaches that would inject some energy into the discussions. But there has to be a willingness on the part of the Republican leadership to balance the budget. And they've apparently just given on up on that. That's unfortunate.

Q Is the President going to say something tomorrow in his radio address about this, try to move the ball forward?

MR. MCCURRY: I haven't seen it. I think he will be very concerned if Congress leaves town without completing work on the debt ceiling. I imagine he'll have something to say about that, and I think he will continue to press the case for a balanced budget agreement now. We can do it. We should get on with it.

Q Mike, Senator Domenici said this morning the key offer was not cheered by the House GOP approach, and that he had had a talk with Gingrich last night about it, and that he was eager to move with moderate Democrats as well as Republicans in the Senate to try to get a balanced budget overall package on track. I was wondering if Domenici had talked with Panetta and whether there's an effort now to try to get some higher level talks going.

MR. MCCURRY: Hurray for Senator Domenici. I'm not certain that they have talked. I'm not -- Leon hasn't mentioned anything to me about having conversation with Senator Domenici, but that comment -- I haven't seen his full comment, but it sounds like it's a response to the President's admonition that we ought to get on with it and do it.

And our understanding, based on just informal staff-level contacts, is there's a great deal of sentiment, both among Republicans and Democrats, to take the President up on the offer and get the balanced budget done. It's a little hard to understand why we can't do it.

Q So why don't you send up a package and try to do it?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we've got -- they've got one. We stood here -- the President stood here and talked to you about it, and we've got --

Q Michael, that is the broadest possible outline. I mean, it barely even justifies the word "package." I'm saying, why don't you send them something in legislative language and try to get the votes?

MR. MCCURRY: We will. We'll send a -- as the Office of Management and Budget has indicated, we'll send a detailed outline of a bill on February 5th, and then during the course of February and early March, as OMB has indicated, they'll present a budget. It will be consistent with what -- seven-year balanced budget, CBO, based on our last offer during the discussions, as Mr. Panetta indicated the other day.

Q When you say hurray for Domenici, does your hurray embrace his contention that your balanced budget will only bring about a balanced budget for about a second in the year 2002?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, look, he knows that we've got our little letter that we can wave around from the Congressional Budget Office that says it gets you to balance. Now, his plan is open to the same charge because at the end of the seven years, the year eight, nine and ten, under the Republican budget the deficits balloon because of the giant size of their tax cut. And everyone knows that, and so there's no secret there, nothing new.

Q Did the President get to Dole, speak to Dole?

MR. MCCURRY: I forgot to ask him. I meant to ask him, and I don't believe they did it. No one here at the White House believes that they've had contact, and Senator Dole's been out on the campaign trail, obviously.

Q Mike, back on defense reauthorization just for a moment, some within the gay community who were greatly disappointed when the President reversed himself on gays in the military, and they're expressing some of those same concerns now. They feel that, going into the election year, that the President of the White House just is not as concerned with their issue.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President is very concerned if their issue -- and I think it would be unfortunate for anyone to suggest the only thing the gay community cares about is HIV medical treatment for medical retirees. They also care about a strong national defense; they also want to make sure that we've got the ability to protect ourselves and to lead in the world as we need to, and I think many in the gay community will say, look, on balance, the President had to take this bill because it's a very large piece of our nation's business every year -- the defense authorization bill. They will understand that the President finds this an objectionable portion of that bill, they'll understand that the President improved the bill from its original draft, which would have denied medical benefits to those who are suffering from HIV, and they'll say, all right, he couldn't get everything he wanted, but he did try to improve the bill.

Now, if some people find that unsatisfactory -- and I've seen some folks from ACT UP and others that say that they are dissatisfied, you know, we'll just have to take the lump.

Q What about this -- I mean, coming after gays in the military? Has the military been thrown into --

MR. MCCURRY: Gays in the military was a long time ago, and the administration has done an enormous amount of work, has reached out to the gay and lesbian community and has had a very successful record, I think, of addressing concerns of that community. But I'd like to say again, it is not a monochromatic community; they have a lot of concerns and they are concerned about our national defense and they're concerned about the balanced budget, and they know that the President has been fighting a good fight.

Q I'm curious about something that arose this morning earlier -- the story on the Speaker and the Iranian operation, alleged. You were reluctant to discuss that. My curiosity is whether, in your experience, it's been common for any Speaker of the House to direct a federal intelligence agency to conduct any particular mission.

MR. MCCURRY: I, a, don't know the answer; b, if I knew the answer would not comment on, because it would require me to break the law and comment on things that are properly classified by our government. Intelligence matters are matters that we don't discuss either here or at an open microphone, or even, hopefully, in private, because it's against the law to do so.

Obviously, as is suggested in this article, if, in fact, there is any aspect of this article that borders anywhere near truth, the one thing that is true is that any such program is no longer covert. And I'm concerned and others are concerned about suggestions in this article that there may have been people punished by death as the result of the occurrence of some of these rumors, stories, allegations, whatever you want to call them. But in any event, I'm not commenting because I can't.

Q Is there any sort of curiosity in the administration as to how these things became overt in the first place? This is supposed to be the secret part of a piece of legislation.

MR. MCCURRY: We are not curious when federal laws violating classified material appears when it's not supposed to appear, and that becomes a law enforcement matter.

Q Is it now a law enforcement matter, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: I would refer you to the proper law enforcement authorities to answer that question.

Q To the best of your knowledge, is anybody looking into that?

MR. MCCURRY: I'd prefer that you refer that to proper law enforcement authorities.

Q In this case, who would that be?

MR. MCCURRY: You can find out very quickly when it comes to national security issues or classification issues, you can contact the FBI and find out who has jurisdiction for looking at issues like that.

Q Gadhafi again has said that he would put $1 billion into trying to influence American elections. Does the White House take that seriously? Would that be legal if he did it?

MR. MCCURRY: Given his judgment on matters and the skill he has demonstrated, I doubt that he would find that money well spent. It would be better for him to use that money, to, a, deliver two terrorist suspects to justice, and, b, do something about the miserable condition that his people face as the result of his leadership in that country.

Q Mike, a question about the conversation with Yeltsin. What did the President say to Mr. Yeltsin about Chechnya? Did he express concern --

MR. MCCURRY: He obviously restated our strong views that we need to find a peaceful negotiated in Chechnya. The President did condemn the recent taking of terrorists in Dagestan. President Yeltsin told President Clinton that they would push forward to a peaceful solution to the Chechen crisis based on peaceful dialogue. Certainly that was taken as a hopeful suggestion by President Clinton. The thrust of the conversation was that President Yeltsin hoped there would be a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Q The President didn't tell Yeltsin what a hard time he was having in getting START II ratified?

MR. MCCURRY: No, they reviewed -- as I said, they reviewed arms control issues and START II in particular. And we remain confident that the Senate will ratify the START II Treaty. If we're lucky, it might even happen today. And they talked then about what the situation would be in the Duma and how they could move forward on their arms control agenda, which is an impressive one, and the benefits of START II the President talks about often, and the arms reductions that would occur, and the reduction of the threat while maintaining our national security is very impressive. The level of reduction -- I think there are a total of 14,000 warheads that would be put out of commission as a result of ratification and coming into a force of START II. That would be a very impressive achievement, something very important to leave behind for our children.

Q Did Yeltsin discuss his own political plans with the President, whether he's going to seek reelection?

MR. MCCURRY: He did not make a request to send James Carville to Moscow in the coming year. No, they did -- I don't believe -- they didn't have a direct discussion of that. They discussed a little bit about State of the Union. It was clear there was some familiarity on the part of President Yeltsin for the politics here just as there was vice versa.

Q Is it fair to assume that the reason President Clinton placed the call is that he was concerned with some of the recent personnel changes in Moscow?

MR. MCCURRY: I believe you can accurately say the President wanted to review the direction of reform, the progress towards market economics and democracy in Russia. We certainly have noted some of the changes, and the President felt it was important to both reaffirm our interest and the progress the Russian Federation makes towards economic reform and political reform and also to hear from President Yeltsin the commitment that he gave President Clinton that that pathway is irreversible.

Q Did the President at all tell President Yeltsin that the Russian handling of the hostage situation in Dagestan too harsh, too brutal?

MR. MCCURRY: The President, nor anyone in our government, attempts to second-guess the actions of a foreign government in an incident like that. We've regretted the loss of life and said that it was unfortunate and certainly lent our voice to those around the world that encourage a peaceful solution.

Q What time was that call, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: About 10:45 a.m., just before 11:00 a.m. Late morning.

Do you guys want to do week ahead now?

Q Yes.

MR. MCCURRY: Ms. Glynn, you're on.

Hey, Brit, I'll come down, sit down with you.

MS. GLYNN: Tomorrow the President will do his weekly radio address at 10:06 a.m., and then he'll attend the Alfalfa Club Dinner at 7:45 p.m.. That's closed press. On Sunday he'll make a call to the Super Bowl winners, whoever they are.

Q Do you know what the radio address is about?

MS. GLYNN: Not yet. We'll keep you informed on that.

Q Do you know who won the Super Bowl?

MS. GLYNN: Who's going to win the Super Bowl? I don't know.

Q Who is he rooting for?

MS. GLYNN: I don't know.

Q He's rooting for all of America's --

Q She might not want to give this by the time we get through it. (Laughter.)

MS. GLYNN: Monday, Monday. At 11:00 a.m., he has a meeting with the Organizers of the National Campaign to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. As you know he mentioned this in his State of the Union address, and he will announce the names of some of the people who will serve on the board. And then at 12:15 p.m. -- that's in-house pool coverage. At 12:15 p.m., he will have another meeting with a group of women to release a report on the status of women entrepreneurs. That's stills only. And then there is a DNC reception that evening.

Q Where is that?

MS. GLYNN: The Hay Adams, closed press.

At 2:00 p.m., he meets with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin as part of the ongoing Gore-Chernomyrdin talks. And we'll let you know what the coverage of that is on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he doesn't have a public schedule, but that evening he'll have dinner with the Commander in Chiefs. He meets with them regularly, as you know, a couple of times a year. And this is one of those dinners.

On Thursday morning, he goes to the National Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.; pool coverage. And then he comes back here to prepare for the arrival of President Chirac of France. At 10:30 a.m., there's the state arrival ceremony; open press. At 3:15 p.m. is his bilateral meeting. And then, at 5:00 p.m. there will be a joint press conference with President Chirac over in the OEOB, and at 7:00 p.m. a state dinner.

On Friday morning, the President goes to my favorite state, the Granite State. And I'll let you know later in the week exactly what he's going to be doing, but his stops include Concord, Nashua, Salem, and then overnight at the Sheraton Wayfarer -- "Concerd," sorry. Concord, the Sheraton Wayfarer in Manchester.

On Saturday morning, he'll probably have an event in Manchester and then be home by mid-day.

Q When does he leave in the morning? Do you have the time?

MS. GLYNN: I don't yet. I think it will be mid-morning on Friday.

Q Is he supposed to meet with the National Governors Association Tuesday?

MS. GLYNN: I'll check on it. We don't have it on our public schedule at this point.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 2:03 P.M. EST