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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Chicago, Illinois)   
For Immediate Release                                     August 29, 1995
                             PRESS BRIEFING
                              MIKE MCCURRY
                         The Press Filing Center
                             Sheraton Hotel
                            Chicago, Illinois         

1:36 P.M. CDT

MR. MCCURRY: That's the best darned warmup act in America. How would you like to begin?

Q How did the President find out about --

MR. MCCURRY: All right, let me start -- I would like to start by reading a statement from the President. I think you've all seen the statement from Mr. Morris. I'm going to read a statement from the President.

It reads as follows: Dick Morris is my friend and he is a superb political strategist. I am and always will be grateful for the great contributions he has made to my campaigns and for the invaluable work he has done for me over the last few years.

I assume you've got several questions on this matter. Who would like to start?


Q How did the President find out? And what did he do immediately afterwards?

MR. MCCURRY: Yesterday afternoon as we were winding up the train trip in Michigan City, the Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Lieberman indicated to the President that we were hearing rumors about a tabloid story that might appear involving Mr. Morris.

Quite frankly, the President had a lot to do at that point because he was getting ready to take off for Chicago, and he addressed a rally when he landed and he also wanted to watch some of the Democratic Convention, which he had not had an opportunity to see. So last night, here at the hotel with his close friends, Vernon Jordan and Erskine Bowles, he watched the convention. He asked Erskine, he said, listen, there's apparently a story about Morris. Could you find out more about that for me.

Q Bowles?

MR. MCCURRY: Erskine -- Erskine Bowles. And he then went to sleep, not thinking much more of it. When he woke up this morning he was briefed by Mr. Panetta and others and told that Mr. Morris had submitted his resignation and was on his way back home.

Q Can you tell us what happened among the officials the President asked to take care of this for him, how the resignation came about, when it occurred and so forth?

MR. MCCURRY: I think it's safe to say it was a private conversation between Mr. Bowles, who is the President's friend -- no longer has an official capacity -- and Mr. Morris.

Q Where did that occur?

MR. MCCURRY: That occurred here in the hotel. Mr. Morris is here -- I believe here with his wife at the hotel. And they left this morning to return home. As a result of that conversation, Mr. Morris has made the statement that you have. He indicates the reasons why he thought it was proper to submit his resignation.

Q Did Mr. Bowles ascertain from Mr. Morris the truth or falsity of the story or any of its details?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't have any information about the truth or veracity of the story. And I caution everyone here, you have to consider the source. I know a number of you have to report on it, but you'll have to make your own judgments as journalists, and your news organizations will have to make judgments how you treat the story that has appeared in the Star and that has appeared in the New York Post.

Q Wasn't he actually --

MR. MCCURRY: Let me stay with Helen for a second. Helen asked was he asked for his resignation. The answer is no, he voluntarily submitted it to the campaign. The campaign accepted it overnight. The President was informed of it this morning. Of course, he accepted the resignation as well since Mr. Morris was working for the President.

Q What was the President's reaction, Mike, once he got this briefing on the details of this story that emerged this morning?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, when he was told about the story his reaction was -- didn't pay much attention to the story because it appears in a tabloid that doesn't have exactly a reputable reputation as a journalistic entity, so he didn't think much of it. I think he was surprised to learn this morning that Mr. Morris had submitted his resignation, but he accepted it. He's made the statement that I've given you.

Q Why would the President would then accept the resignation if he would have doubts about the veracity of the story?

MR. MCCURRY: Mr. Morris makes it very clear in his statement that he does not want to subject his wife, his friends or others to the type of exercise we're going to go through now, and he felt it best to step aside. And the President honored the wishes and intentions of his friend.

Q How does it serve the President's interest to have this resignation take place today, immediately, on the moment when everybody should be, you would hope, focused on the President's speech rather than the furor?

MR. MCCURRY: It gave us all something to do today while we were waiting for the speech tonight. The President has been working on the speech. The most significant thing he has to do tonight is go before the country, lay out his agenda for a second term, make the case about why his vision of change is preferable to those of his opponent's, and he's very much focused on that.

I visited with him a short while ago, and he was writing his speech -- I'll get to that -- writing his speech, focused in on what he must do tonight as he addresses the nation. And that's ultimately what today was going to be about. Would this matter have been preferable on any other day? Of course. But that's --

Q Did the President speak to Mr. Morris, and if not, when last did he speak to him?

MR. MCCURRY: He has not spoken to him yet. He's been very much at work on the speech today. He does plan to call him. By the time he awoke this morning, Mr. Morris was already in transit home, and the President will try to reach him later today.

Q When did he last speak to him?

MR. MCCURRY: He probably last spoke to him -- I know they had some conversations during the course of the train trip, but I don't know when he last spoke to him.

Q -- take his place yet?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President is in the good position he's in politically because of the very effective work of the campaign team and a White House staff that has worked hard to support his efforts. And his role was probably never as great as many of you believed it to be, but I would never diminish the contributions he's made because they were absolutely invaluable. He was the chief strategist, but we've got people who are not so bad at political strategy and part of this campaign. They'll be hard at work in the 68 days ahead to ensure that the President's campaign message gets through.

But, look, any campaign for President, as a number of people in this room know, is ultimately about what's in the heart and soul of the candidate and how he articulates that message to the country. No staff person, no advisor, no guru, no Svengali makes up for what's in the heart and soul of the candidate running for President, because that's what the American people measure. And that's what their choice will come down to, and that's Bill Clinton and not anybody else who works for him.

Q Mike, what do you think of the timing of the story, and do you expect any political motive involved with any of this?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, look, I don't know how a publication like that makes editorial decisions. It probably is not -- it probably distinguishes it too much to say that it's even an editorial decision. They do their business, they're in the business -- and you know what kind of business it is -- and probably not a surprise that if they were going to print something like this they'd do it on a day like today.

             Q  Mike, doesn't this play into the Republican --
             Q    Mike, does the resignation terminate --
             MR. MCCURRY:  We've got plenty of time, just hold on.
             Q  Doesn't this play into the Republican -- play right into

the hands of the Republican strategy to question the character of the Clinton White House?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know what the Republican strategy is. I think the American people measure the character of the candidates running and they'll make their judgments based on what they believe is in the heart and soul of the candidate. And I don't believe that they make their judgments based on what they think of advisors, staff members, press secretaries, or any number of other people who work on behalf of the President. They're making a choice of people. They probably don't even make that choice based on running mates. And that's what matters most to the American people, and they will be the judge.

Q Is it embarrassing to the White House that secrets were allegedly leaked to --

MR. MCCURRY: Well, you see, you're doing something that you need, all in this room, to stop and think about. You're accepting the premise of an allegation that appears in a publication that I think you need to do some thinking about. We've been here before and you all need to think about how you report on something that's been reported in a publication such as this.

Q You did not answer the question. I said allegedly and are you and is the White House embarrassed at these allegations.

MR. MCCURRY: These allegations are not worthy of any comment beyond what you have from Mr. Morris and the statement I made on behalf of the President.

Q Mike, what about Morris's deal with the campaign?

Q Is there any investigation going on to follow through to see if unauthorized conversations or leaks of that nature occurred?

MR. MCCURRY: That would not -- there are suggestions here that some of you are looking at in this publication. That's not a decision that would be made at a White House. That is a matter that local law enforcement or other law enforcement entities would examine, and you'll have to ask them whether an article in the publication, the Star, is a basis upon which they would make investigative decisions. I rather suspect not, but I'll leave it to them to say.

Q Mike, how politically damaging is the totality of this incident to the President?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, the President has had an enormously successful campaign week. The American people, I think it's fair to say, have been excited, enthusiastic about that. The train trip he took -- those of you who were on that trip saw that. He has an opportunity tonight at this convention to talk directly to the American people, to get them excited about his vision for the 21st century. And that's what they're going to pay attention to, I suspect. They will make the judge of whether this is important to them, or not.

I know it's important to all of you today, and so be it. But ultimately, I tend to imagine that Americans will pay attention to what he says about the future or our country and what specific plans he has for the future, and will be more interested in that than other issues.

Q The firms that came in with Morris -- will they all be staying on without him?

MR. MCCURRY: They are doing very valuable work, and I'm not aware of any changes. It's really more appropriate -- Joe Lockhart is here and those specific campaign questions you really should direct to him. And he's on standby here for things like that.

Q Has the President actually had a chance to sit down with his advisors and discuss where they go from here or any plans --

MR. MCCURRY: It's not a moment that requires that type of conversation. The President has been sitting down with his speech text, which, by the way, we hope to have to you not too long from now. And what he is doing is working on his message for the American people tonight. Now, he's obviously been briefed about what has happened. I talked to him a short while ago and he dictated the statement that I read to you. But he's got to concentrate on his own message to the American people and what he wants to say and not be diverted by what we're handling here today on his behalf.

Q Mike, is anyone from the White House called the publication to determine the truth -- and if you haven't, do you plan to?

MR. MCCURRY: It wouldn't -- that would be an exercise in futility, given the kinds of stories that appear in that, and it's not worth our time, quite frankly.

Q -- reports all this week that Morris's influence in the campaign has been waning. Given that, have you had any sense that some bombshell was about to explode here? Is that a reason for the waning influence?

MR. MCCURRY: No. Look, I'll make it very clear. There's been a lot that you all have written about his role. He had a very significant role in this campaign and did up to this morning when he submitted his resignation. He is someone who helped the President articulate and formulate the strategy he has for the future. He's someone that gave very good advice to the President, that the President is grateful for, as he said in his statement.

But he is among a team of people who have worked on behalf of this President, and if you think about the contributions others within the President's orbit have made -- Mr. Panetta, who has helped meld a political organization and White House staff together; Mr. Ickes, who I think, arguably, put the President -- helped put the President in the strong position he's in today by making sure that he did not face opportunity within our Democratic Party as he sought renomination; all the people who have contributed to the President's efforts to articulate and define his vision for the future. It's a very strong team of people. And I think it's a team that worked very well together.

He had a very important -- a leading role on that team, but life will go on. And we will do very good work on behalf of this President and he will be doing very hard and good work and effective work as a campaigner.

Q Did you have any sense that something ugly was going to --

MR. MCCURRY: I certainly didn't know about it until Dick told me yesterday afternoon. And the President certainly didn't know anything about it until yesterday. And I'm not aware that anyone had any specific information about it. But all we're talking about here is a story that we would not have tended to put a lot of stock in to begin with. A publication in a tabloid like this -- or a story in a publication like this is not something that routinely we worry about. It kind of falls in space alien category.

Q Might he continue to offer the President unofficial advise?

MR. MCCURRY: He is not going to play any official or unofficial role in the campaign. He has resigned from the campaign. But as the President says in his statement, he's a friend. And I suspect the President will continue to talk to his friend. But he's not going to play any official or unofficial role in the campaign.

Q When you talked to him in the afternoon did he say to you that this was not a true story or did he comment --

MR. MCCURRY: In my conversation with him I was careful not to be in a position where I would have to untruthfully say to you that he said whether it was true or untrue. I very carefully said -- focused my conversation on how he wanted to proceed and what he was going to do. He did not indicate to me whether the charges were true or untrue.

Q -- to others whether this was true, or not?

MR. MCCURRY: Not to my knowledge.

Q How is it the President's could be in the position of letting himself lose a valued advisor for a story you say is in the space alien category?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, look, there are changes that occur in campaigns all the time. If I'm not mistaken, the Dole campaign has just had a couple major changes. So you can contend with changes in campaign structures, and that's not a problem.

What Mr. Morris says very clearly in in his statement is that he does not want to put his family through what he would go through if he stayed with the campaign. And we accept that statement. The President honors the intentions of his friend who decides to resign from the campaign.

Q Aside from the President's statement concerning Mr. Morris, did he have any personal reflections? What was his demeanor when he learned of this --

MR. MCCURRY: I must say that the President is entirely focused on the speech he's going to give tonight. And he is disciplined enough to kind of keep his eye on that ball because that is the one that's most important to him, most important to the work we're doing here in Chicago. And I imagine he'll have a conversation with Mr. Morris later and they will talk about it, but that probably won't happen until after the President has his opportunity tonight to deliver this address to the nation.

Q Mike, so you're saying that the resignation of Dick Morris, as far as the White House is concerned, is case closed, no questions, no investigation, no checking on things?

MR. MCCURRY: There are apparently -- and I have not read the Star story or the New York Post story -- but there are apparently some things alleged there that I believe fall in the province of local and perhaps federal law enforcement authorities. I don't know whether they will pursue that, but that would be, in any event, their province and not the province of the White House.

Q Mike, what sorts of things did he talk about?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to repeat -- Mick, it's not a fair question to ask because I'm not going to repeat allegations that appear in those things.

Q Did he have a national security --

MR. MCCURRY: And it's related to the question, does he have a national security clearance. Not to my knowledge. I don't believe he did and I'm trying to check right now. He is not cleared for national security information, and he was not a hard pass holder.

Q The President and Dick Morris have known each other for decades. Are you saying that the President was totally surprised by the nature of these allegations, putting aside the specific acts alleged?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, he was surprised at the allegations, but was very quick to underscore to everyone that we should consider the source. And that's exactly what we've done.

Q Mike, you said in your conversation with Dick that you didn't want to be in this position of not knowing -- you didn't want to know the truth, you weren't in a position --

MR. MCCURRY: No, I did not want to be in a position to have to respond on his behalf as to the specific allegations. I'm not in a position to describe them.

Q Did Erskine -- did he also --

MR. MCCURRY: Erskine had a private conversation with Mr. Morris, the outcome of which is the one that we've now reported to you.

Q You questioned the credibility of a supermarket tabloid. Did Erskine at any time tell Morris if this is yellow journalism ride out the story for a couple of days, at least get the President through the convention?

MR. MCCURRY: The conversation they had was private. The outcome of that we have reported to you. Mr. Morris has stated very clearly in his statement the reasons for his resignation.

Q I'm not clear whether -- does the White House believe this story to be untrue -- is that the position you're taking? Because if you're not, then isn't there any concern about --

MR. MCCURRY: We do not have a basis for making judgments on the allegations.

Q But isn't the White House interested that this was the chief political consultant and trying to find out whether it's true or not? I mean, there must be --

MR. MCCURRY: If there are reasons to be concerned about aspects of the story, that will develop in coming days. But what we have right now is the statement from Mr. Morris and we have the expression that the President has made, and that's where the matter stands at this moment.

Q -- to whether there are reasons to --

MR. MCCURRY: I've been asked and answered I think. It's not our position to look into specific things.

Q I don't mean law enforcement, but politically. He was a political strategist. If any of this was true, this is certainly something that I think Clinton would be interested in.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I'm not going to make a judgment standing here about whether or not any of this is true. I don't think that's fair to Mr. Morris and it's not consistent with what his statement says.

Q Did Mr. Bowles tell you everything that took place in his conversation with Morris?

MR. MCCURRY: No, he has not repeated that private conversation to anybody, nor to the President, as far as I know.

Q Not to the President?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. He's not spoken to the President about it. He briefed the Chief of Staff and others about it and they briefed the President this morning.

Q Are you saying the President did not know what was said in this conversation that led to the resignation of his principal political strategist?

MR. MCCURRY: That's correct. I mean, he knows the outcome of it --

Q Why not?

MR. MCCURRY: Because the President is busy at work on a matter he deems more important, which is making the speech he's going to give tonight.

Q -- of what happened, but didn't tell him what specifically Morris said?

MR. MCCURRY: They didn't go into the specifics of the conversation. He said here's the conversation -- the outcome of the conversation is the one that we've now reported to you. The President accepted the resignation, indicated that we should make the statement I've now made on his behalf, and he went back to working on the speech that he's working on.

Q Mike, can you tell us whether his contract is being terminated, his contract -- political contract?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, he's resigned from the campaign so the contract would no longer be in effect. I don't -- Joe can tell you more about the structure of whatever the arrangements were.

Q You said the President might still talk with his friend, Dick, on the phone. How often might they talk and if they talk often, in a sense, wouldn't he still be a kind of --

MR. MCCURRY: Look, that's a private matter between the President and a friend. As I said to you, he's not going to have any official or unofficial role in the campaign.

Q -- did he have any curiosity whether these allegations are true? I mean, this is serious stuff if it is true. Does the President have any interest in finding out?

MR. MCCURRY: If there's anything that is serious enough here to pursue, in due course it will be pursued. But part of that is judgments that we would not make at the White House but others might make.

Q I'm talking about the President's curiosity. I'm talking about is the President interested in finding out whether --

MR. MCCURRY: I think the President right now is concentrating on giving his speech tonight. Whether he becomes curious about this in coming days I'll have to report to you at a later date.

Q Since Morris did not had any security clearance that he was not given any sensitive information like --

MR. MCCURRY: He was not cleared for national security information, to my knowledge. If he was given that information that would be a violation of federal law. And to my knowledge, he's never indicated that he has any national security information available to him at his disposal.

Q Have you all approached anyone yet to take his place -- or are you just going to be keeping --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't want to -- look, as you can tell, the President has focused on what he's focused on right now. We've got a good and effective team. We have a lot of people who are good at political strategy currently working on that team. We've got a number of people who would be joining the campaign as we go into the fall in any event, as the campaign takes on greater pace, as the momentum builds. And we'll see what happens.

Q (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCURRY: I have not had an opportunity to talk to her.

Q You seem to be saying that his very close friend, intimate political advisor, runs into this kind of trouble and asks to resign and it's not a distraction for the President?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, look, I'm not saying that. I'm saying, of course, it's a distraction. You're all distracted yourselves by it. But the President knows that he's got a very important assignment tonight and he's got to go out and keep his focus on giving the speech that he's going to give tonight and being welcomed by a convention that's going to be very happy to renominate him for a second term. I mean, that's the business we're doing today. And he's smart enough and disciplined enough to keep focused on that challenge.

Q Mike, let me see if I've got this straight. The President asked Mr. Bowles to find out what the situation was with Mr. Morris, and then immediately went to sleep and did not stay up to find out what Mr. Bowles found out?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, they were watching the convention. And as you know, he watched him be renominated. And he asked Erskine -- frankly, they were celebrating the President's renomination. Vernon was there and Erskine was there, they were enjoying the moment. And the President did say, look, check into this thing for me, we need to find out what's going on.

I don't believe -- when the President heard about this rumor, we didn't know exactly what the timing of any likely publication was going to be. We got some sense that it might be appearing today, but we didn't know precisely what the timing was.

Q But didn't you say that you spoke to Mr. Morris before Mr. Bowles about this? You said you spoke in the afternoon to Mr. Morris.

MR. MCCURRY: I talked to Mr. Morris myself, yes. And then the President indicated that there was that -- I mean, he was briefed on the fact that the story was going to appear at some point.

Q When he was arriving in Michigan City or --

MR. MCCURRY: Just as we were getting ready to leave Michigan City.

Q Mike, how do you describe the role of Erskine Bowles now? What exactly --

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, he's a friend and advisor to the President. I think he was going to volunteer to help out with some things during the fall including, perhaps, debate preparation. So he's someone that the President dearly admires. He did a very effective job as Deputy Chief of Staff and someone who we had planned to have playing a role during the fall campaign.

Q Was this the first time anyone at the White House with the campaign has heard these kind of allegations about Mr. Morris?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm sorry, say again?

Q Is this the first time anyone at the White House or with the campaign has heard these kind of allegations about Mr. Morris?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I mean, it's the first time I knew specifically of it was yesterday. I believe that's the first that anyone in the White House knew actually that there was going to be a story of this nature.

Now, you all are fascinated with Mr. Morris and there are rumors about Mr. Morris all the time and all kinds of allegations about him made from time to time. So it's kind of an ongoing part of life.

Q (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: No, I mean, I handled all that about half an hour ago.

Q Was the meeting with Erskine last night or this morning? When was the meeting with Erskine?

MR. MCCURRY: All I know is they talked very, very late last night and Mr. Morris' decision to -- I mean, Erskine called Mr. Panetta and informed him of Dick's decision around 3:00 this morning. So it really kind of developed overnight and then Dick left this morning.

Q Was this statement negotiated? Did anybody at the White House work on --

MR. MCCURRY: The statement is the one that was provided by Mr. Morris voluntarily by him. And we saw it and then I asked the President to give me a line I could share with you.

Q Is the White House going to ask the FBI to look into this, or is the FBI already looking into it?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, step back from that question, all of you, and think about what you're asking. Based on a article in a publication called the Star, which has the reputation you know well of, you're asking a question whether we would do something as serious as that? I think that's something you all need to think about as you face the challenge of reporting the story.

Q Did either you or people from the White House or the campaign clear Dick's statement or help redraft it or was it the first draft?

MR. MCCURRY: No, he has been in contact with people from the campaign. He provided it to people in the campaign and the campaign issued it a short while ago, as you know.

Q Has the President ordered an investigation into how this story came about, whether it was strictly an opposition research issue by the other party, or whether there's someone in the Democratic Party or the White House that may have had something to do with it? Does he care, does he want to know?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I mean, again, we have to consider carefully the source of these allegations. I don't think there's anything about the source of these allegations that would indicate that that kind of step is necessary.

Q -- trusted advisor to the President, close friend, key player in the campaign going down and when Leon Panetta explains this, the President doesn't ask any questions, doesn't even talk to Morris?

MR. MCCURRY: I couldn't hear your question, but I think it was asked and answered a couple of time already. Anything else?

Q What problems does this create, though, for you happening at this time?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, it creates one and only one problem that I'm aware of, which is that all of you are preoccupied with this matter. We're trying not to be preoccupied with it. Some of us have had to deal with this this morning, and the President is dealing with the speech he's going to give. In a short while we're going to give you the text for that speech and then you'll be, hopefully, preoccupied with the President's speech.

In fact, we're going to have -- Mr. Sperling is going to start some of the substantive briefings on details of the speech if you want to hear it while you're all here, we'll do that next up in the order here.

Q Mike, considering your -- remarks about the publication and what you know about Dick Morris, is it the opinion of the --

MR. MCCURRY: As I've said a couple of times already, I don't make any judgment as to the truth or untruth of the specific allegations.

Q (Inaudible) -- What's the President's reaction to what the delegates are now saying --

MR. MCCURRY: He knows -- I mean, he knows that this is a diversion and he knows that he's got an important assignment tonight, which is to lift up the spirits of the convention if they're momentarily occupied with this matter, and get them excited and energetic about the work that lies ahead in the campaign. That would be true in any event, but it's especially true now that we're dealing with this matter today. So he's got a great opportunity tonight, in a sense, of really getting the party and the convention excited about the work that lies ahead.

Q -- is saying is that this raises the character issue all over again --

MR. MCCURRY: I fail to see that -- how it does that, because this is a story not about the President of the United States.

Q Does the President feel any obligation to make a statement to the delegates tonight --

MR. MCCURRY: We will ensure that the delegates are aware of the statement Mr. Morris has made and the statement the President has made.

Q Mike, do you see this -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't see it as a coincidence and I don't have enough information to know the answer to that.

Q Mike, was this one conversation that Erskine had with Mr. Morris or did they break and Erskine talked to other advisors of the President --

MR. MCCURRY: No, I -- Erskine talked to Mr. Morris -- my understanding is they had one or two conversations and the outcome of that is the one that I've reported and Mr. Morris made the statement that you've now got.

Q -- Erskine talk to other advisors of the President and then come back and talk to Dick?

MR. MCCURRY: No, no, not at 3:00 a.m. in the morning; most of us were asleep. He gave Mr. Panetta a call after Dick had decided to make the statement that he made today.

Q -- this morning or last night?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think he made the decision --I think it's fair to say he made the decision very late last night and then he worked at making the -- or, you know, he worked at writing the statement that he has now issued and that happened earlier in the morning.

Q So, Mike, what would you say the President's -- way you described it, he had a brief conversation with Erskine Bowles, went to bed, got up in the morning, had another brief conversation with Erskine Bowles and that was the end of it? What, five minutes, four minutes?

MR. MCCURRY: That's just about right.

Q Less than five minutes?

MR. MCCURRY: Probably less than five, ten minutes. You know, Brit, I mean, whether he's thought about it more than that or whether -- I don't have any indication of that. I can tell you, when I talked to him earlier he was working on this. I gave him -- I said, well, here's basically how we're going to handle the announcement of this. And he said, fine, just do it. I asked him for the statement, which he wrote out.

Q -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: Look, at any convention you have an extensive operation, make sure people have gotten well briefed on what's going on and of course we're doing that.

Q -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: Homeownership, capital gains, a brand new exciting program to make the transition from welfare to work real and new breaking news about the President's speech tonight.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I bring to the podium Gene Sperling.

Let me do a little housekeeping first. What we're going to do, Gene is going to -- we've got paper that we're going to distribute. The two substantive elements of the President's speech that are most newsworthy -- or, at least, you've indicated to us are most newsworthy -- are the capital gains proposal and the President's economic plans related to jobs and making the transition from welfare to work.

Gene's going to brief on those two matters now. We've got a fact sheet that's out. The President is still working on his speech and we expect him to take a break around 4:00, and at that point I'm going to see how close we are to a text that is -- at least -- will stand by as a prepared for delivery text. And we'll make that available to you and see where we go.

Q -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: No, he's been working this afternoon. We asked him, we said, do you need a -- are you interested in going over and taking a look at the podium. He said, it's a convention podium, right? And the cameras are all out there? And we said, right. And he goes, I'll take a pass on that.

Yes, I don't think he plans to go over there.

Q -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: We're going to work on it later in the day. Okay. We need -- can we kind of clear this area because we need to get -- Gene's got to walk through some materials, so if we could kind of clear the area, you guys have been snapping away for a while.

Q -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCCURRY: No, he's -- well, he doesn't plan to go out. I don't know whether -- I'll go double-check again, make sure he doesn't got out and take a jog or something like that when he's got a break. He's got a break period scheduled between 4:00 and 6:00 and we'll stay alert just in case he wants to go out and get some fresh air.

Q They'll be no shots --

MR. MCCURRY: We may. I don't know. I'll check in whether we might work out an opportunity for stills or others to go up. Maybe we can do that. I'll go work on that now.

Q -- local news stands --

MR. MCCURRY: I'll check into that, see if I can do something.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 2:12 P.M. CDT