THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New Orleans, Louisiana) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 28, 1996
PRESS BRIEFING BY DAVE JOHNSON The Riverside Hilton Hotel New Orleans, Louisiana
2:55 P.M. CDT
MR. JOHNSON: There was one event today that the President held privately that he asked me to tell you a little bit about, and that's the reason for this briefing. And I'll try to answer any questions you have afterwards, if you'd like.
He met for about 10 or 15 minutes, before his remarks, with the families of these two police officers who were mentioned in his remarks -- Chris McCormick and Joseph Thomas, both of whom were killed last week here in New Orleans in the line of duty.
Included in that meeting were the widows, Mrs. Deneen McCormick, the late Mr. McCormick's -- or Officer McCormick's children -- Hassey, Chris, Timothy, Morgen and Lance Mitchell; and the late Mr. McCormick's parents, Howard and Shirley McCormick. Also there were the widow of the late Joseph Thomas -- Mrs. Yolanda Thomas and her daughter, Ashli. I'd also note that Mrs. Thomas is expecting a child in February. And the mother of the late Mr. Thomas, Emma Thomas, as well as his brother, who was also a police officer, John Thomas.
The President asked me to tell you that this was a -- these were two very fine families. These were obviously very strong families and these two gentlemen were strong family men. And it was a tough time. But he felt like here in New Orleans, given what those families had been through and what the city had been through, it was a good opportunity for him to stop for just a few minutes and tell them personally how much he, as President, on behalf of the nation, appreciated the sacrifice that those families had made and wanted to give them the nation's condolences during this time of grief.
And that's all I have for you on that. If you have any questions, I'll attempt to answer them.
Q Did the President always plan to make this announcement today, David, on the anti-terrorism measures, or was it moved up because of Gingrich's comments earlier today?
MR. JOHNSON: I don't think it was moved up necessarily because of that, but it was something which was inserted during the course of the weekend.
Q Any more on the White House meeting tomorrow the President spoke about? Time or anything?
MR. JOHNSON: At this point we do not have a fixed time for it.
Q But he did confirm their attendance?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, we expect the Speaker, the Majority Leader and the two Democratic leaders, as well as the FBI director, of course, to be there along with the President to sit down and talk about these two measures and how we can get them worked into law promptly.
Q Basically, the White House will ask Congress for these two measures, the wiretapping and the tagging of explosives. That's the two things you want?
MR. JOHNSON: Those are the two things we're planning on meeting about tomorrow. But, as the President has said on numerous occasions, he would take whatever measures that were appropriate and it if required legislative action he would work those out with the Congress. The Gore Commission, of course, will be meeting over the course of the next few days and they may come up with additional recommendations. So I wouldn't say that these were exclusive, but that's what they're going to be working on tomorrow.
Q The two things are wiretapping and taggings?
MR. JOHNSON: Wiretapping and taggings.
Q Has the President spoken with Mr. Gingrich?
MR. JOHNSON: He spoke with him yesterday, after he gave his remarks to the nation, to brief him then. I believe he has a call into Mr. Gingrich, but has not actually spoken with him yet.
Q So that's the extent of the agenda, David, those two things tomorrow?
MR. JOHNSON: That's what is principally on the agenda. I would not exclude, you know, when they get together them talking about other things that they think are important. But that's what they plan to focus on, that's what this meeting is about.
END 2:58 P.M. CDT