THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY ROBERT RUBIN, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION RICHARD RILEY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS SAMUEL R. BERGER; AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ADMINISTRATOR CAROL BROWNER The Briefing Room
5:31 P.M. EST
MR. MCCURRY: Good evening. I'm going to move briskly through this, since we're not going to give you much substance, anyhow. (Laughter.) The President has just concluded what he has described as a very exciting working session with his Cabinet, new and old, today. He began today's meetings right on the button at 10:00 a.m. this morning in the Jackson Place Conference Room, a large sort of ornate room that's attached to Blair House, that frequently has meetings of this nature and also, obviously, meetings of foreign visitors when they're here in the United States.
The Cabinet and the presidential staff sat around a very large table and engaged in productive dialogue for most of the day. And I've got a lot of people here who will tell you about some of the sessions that they had, some of the things that we did during the course of the day.
A very broad range of issues discussed today, starting with foreign policy in the morning, international economic policy, followed by a working lunch at which the President and the Vice President spoke; I'll tell you a little bit about that in a second. Then afternoon sessions that dealt with budget policy, fiscal policy, building on our economic growth strategy, social policy with a particular focus on education and on some of the things that we're doing to attack problems like teenage pregnancy and drug use, and then we have just concluded with good discussions of natural resource policy and technology.
And we've got briefers here who will cover those areas, although I think you will see that a lot of the work done today is work that prepares the President's unveiling of his second term agenda at the Inaugural Address and the State of the Union message before Congress. For that reason, we are not going to go into any elaborate detail on the specifics of the discussion today.
However, I will give you the menu for the lunch, knowing that you would be interested to know that the President had a lunch with about 80. That was the largest gathering of poobahs during the day. We had about 80 people in the solarium at Blair House for a lunch of black bean roasted red pepper soup, pan roasted breast of chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans and lemon meringue pie with strawberry sauce or sans souci, however you like it.
At the lunch Erskine began with one of the nicest personal moments of the day, a very warm tribute to outgoing Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, and Leon got a very sustained and affectionate standing ovation from everyone present; and he seemed somewhat embarrassed by it and shouted out to Erskine, you still have to take the job -- (laughter) -- which everyone laughed at.
The President then spoke at some length and really tied together the achievements of the first term and cast them in the context of the work that we have to do in the second term. He put a special stress on bipartisanship and the need for us to work closely with Congress and remain engaged with Congress. In fact, I'd say that emerged as a point of discussion throughout the day in each of the areas discussed how important it was to reach out to especially the Republican leadership of Congress and work closely with them. And he also put a stress on teamwork.
He said that, an observation you've heard him make before, that he believes that historians will record that he has had one of loyalist Cabinets in the history of the American presidency. And in part that's because of how well the Cabinet members themselves worked together. He cited as one example of that, drug control strategy and pointed toward General Barry McCaffrey and said that he had been an example of how you could pull together the resources of government with individual Cabinet members in their own domains being willing to work as part of the teamwork strategy and not getting bogged down in some of the traditional institutional bureaucratic turf fights that have characterized government in the past.
The President introduced the Vice President and paid a tribute to the working partnership they have, and the Vice President was a very active participant in all of the discussions today. The Vice President then spoke and talked about ways in which the Cabinet member operationally could maximize their own effectiveness and work with the White House, and he also stressed some of the opportunities that lay ahead in the Reinventing Government area because, of course, that's one of his special focuses.
The President then closed out the lunch with an interesting observation, a personal one, to all of the members of the Cabinet, saying that he hoped that he had appointed them to what they would later feel were the greatest jobs of their life, he said, but he also hoped that they would recognize that they have jobs as husbands and mothers, wives, family members, that they pay some attention to family obligations as well.
And he said, looking at Secretary Bob Reich that, of all the documents and achievements produced during this administration, nothing has made me prouder than the op-ed piece that Bob Reich wrote for The New York Times about why he had to leave the administration. Some of you will recall that was a very personal statement by Secretary Reich about the costs and joy of having a very demanding job like the Secretary of Labor, but a very nice kind of eloquent end point on the lunch.
And, by the way, during the course of the day we took coffee breaks and sat around and ate pastries and drank coffee and that was an opportunity for many people who do not know some of the new members of this team to socialize and get to know the people better.
At the end of the day the President described this session as being very useful because, it forced me and the staff to go through the discipline of putting together presentations about our goals and objectives. It was a good exercise to bring this new team together, this was literally their first assignment. And, as I say, he described it as being quite excited.
The only other thing more exciting was to see Secretary of State Warren Christopher in a dashing red sweater, depart the lunch wearing a black leather jacket like he was going to go out and climb on a Harley. (Laughter.) A very interesting sight.
Anyhow, with that sort of general overview of the day, I'll turn it over to newly incoming Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles, and he'll tell you a little bit more about the work we did today and then introduce the Cabinet members, who can tell you about some of the respective sessions.
MR. BOWLES: Thank you, Michael. I don't have a lot to add to what Michael said, because he gave you I think a good overview of what we did.
It was, without question, a real working session. The purpose of this retreat was to focus on the President's vision for the 21st century, the vision for national leadership, his vision of meeting the challenges of a 21st century with more limited resources while operating within a balanced budget.
We also focused on the President's priorities for achieving that vision of balancing the budget, of investing in education and training and early childhood programs, of investing in technology, expanding exports. And the other people coming up after this will talk about that.
And we spent a great deal of time talking about how we needed to work together as a team, just as had occurred in the first term of the presidency -- working as a team across agency lines, working through the National Security Council, the National Economic Council and the Domestic Policy Council, making sure that we work together to help the President achieve his goals, and also amplify those goals in the marketplace.
The agenda encompassed foreign policy; international economics; the budget and how you manage with fewer resources; education, with a particular focus on literacy and standards; and then the environment and technology.
Sandy Berger is going to talk to you first about foreign policy, then Bob Rubin will talk about our economic policy and what we discussed there. Secretary Riley will talk about education and our focus on standards, and then Carol Browner will talk about the focus we had on the environment.
MR. BERGER: Thank you, Erskine. The initial meeting this morning with the members of the President's national security team, old and new, lasted for about an hour and a half, about 30 minutes of which were presentations by various members of the national security team to the President, and the remainder of the discussion with the President and the Vice President.
In our opening presentations to the President, we outlined six fundamental strategic objectives which we believe the United States must pursue over the next four years that build upon the cornerstones that have been put in place over the past four years. On each subject we outlined specific objectives and opportunities, as well as the difficult issues inherent in each of those objectives and the risks that we face.
In broad terms, those strategic objectives are the following: One, building an undivided, peaceful democratic Europe, which involves both the cluster of issues surrounding NATO expansion and our relationship and NATO's relationship with Russia itself. Second, cementing America's role as a stabilizing force in a more integrated Asian-Pacific community. We talked about China, we talked about Japan and Korea. Third, helping to bring peace to key regions of the world. We specifically discussed our goals and challenges in Bosnia, Middle East, Northern Ireland and Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Fourth, confronting the range of new security challenges the President has talked about often over the past two years, such as terrorism, international crime, drugs, the environment, rogue states. Fifth, assuring that we maintain a modern and ready military force and that we gain adequate support for the resources that we need for an effective American diplomacy.
Finally, the effort to continue to build an open global economy regionally, such as in Latin America, and there was some considerable discussion of that, as well as globally to create American jobs through exports.
We also specifically discussed and addressed defense intelligence and U.N. reform priorities. No one doubts today that America's armed forces are indispensable and that we have the world's strongest and finest military. General Shalikashvili at one point noted that the difference between the United States and others' military today is greater than any time in his adult life and that our challenge was to maintain that advantage going forward with a new set of challenges, including modernization of forces.
The President made it clear that he wants to build on the foundation that was laid in the first term, that he foresees an active foreign policy agenda, both for our country and for himself. He stressed the need for a close partnership with the Congress on foreign affairs, something he would like to initiate right away; and an ongoing dialogue with the American people about our international interests, not only what, but why we are engaged so actively in the world.
A major theme of the session was the President's eagerness to have the tools to get these tasks done. Madeleine Albright summed that up well, I think, by her statement that right now, less than one percent of our budget -- that is, the foreign affairs budget -- will be used to write 50 percent of the history and legacy of our times. We talked about how we can expand those resources by building a bipartisan consensus for engagement in the world.
At the end of the session, I noted -- recounted a similar somewhat smaller scene in Little Rock in 1992 during the transition, when a number of us were briefing the President on the daunting challenges of Haiti, including the fact that a million Haitians were building -- tearing off their roofs and building boats, heading for the United States. It was a very sobering briefing. The Vice President leaned back at that point and said, that's a worthy challenge.
And I think that as we went through the challenges that we face today, we both did so with generally an energized sense of excitement, as well as a sober sense that there are serious challenges that we must face, but with a clear sense that the opportunities do outweigh the problems that we face and this is an extraordinarily exciting time over the next four years.
SECRETARY RUBIN: Thank you, Sandy. We discussed economic strategy in two components. As you know, the President from the very beginning of the administration has talked about the integral relationship between economics and foreign policy, and in that respect we had a discussion led by Dan Tarullo, Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy on international economics.
We discussed the integral role of economics to foreign policy on the traditional areas of foreign policy -- China, Russia, other subjects. We established the extreme importance of continuing momentum with respect to opening markets around the world. We talked about the remarkable establishment over the last five or so years of consensus around the developing and transitional countries about approaching economic development through market-based policies -- deepening capital markets, privatization, sound macroeconomic policy and the like -- and the importance of continuing to support this through the World Bank and at sister banks and having adequate funding for those institutions.
We then turned to a discussion of the domestic part of economic policy and the focus there was particularly on building on the deficit reduction that we began in 1993 by now going to a balanced budget. It was a general view in the discussion this really is an historic opportunity to reach a balanced budget, partly because of the enormous progress we've made, partly because of the public environment that exists, and partly because the differences in economic assumptions between ourselves, the OMB, that is, the administration and the Congressional Budget Office have narrowed -- for all of these reasons, it was extremely important to once again reach out to Congress and try to find common ground to reach a balanced budget, and the President recommitted himself to that objective.
He also said, and I wrote the words down so I'll read them to you, if I may -- that finishing the job is, and I quote, "critical to the administration's credibility," on all other issues. So, clearly he made balancing the budget central to his strategy for the second term.
There was also a very good discussion led by Deputy Secretary Larry Summers with respect to retirement security and savings that focused on pension reform and similar measures the administration has taken or will be proposing to help enhance retirement security and savings.
We then turned to education which obviously is central to any economic agenda. With that, I'll turn the podium over to Dick Riley.
Q Mr. Rubin, could you say that quote again where it ended, just --
SECRETARY RUBIN: Oh, where did it start? Yes, sure. I'll just read the quoted word, if I may. Quote, "critical to the administration's credibility," unquote, on all other issues.
Q Accomplishing a balanced budget is critical?
SECRETARY RUBIN: Accomplishing a balanced budget is, quote -- you've got it, okay.
SECRETARY RILEY: Thank you. We spent a good part of this afternoon on domestic matters, and primarily education. We had some discussions on reducing crime, the criminal issue. Janet Reno participated, of course, in that. Some discussions on drugs. General McCaffrey and Donna Shalala and I and others talked about that issue. The Domestic Policy Council, with Bruce Reed chairing it, really conducted the discussions, and it's going to be very clear that we're going to have a strong emphasis with the councils here in the White House working effectively with the pertinent Cabinet people to shape these policies.
I feel very good about the domestic policy and the way it's shaping up, especially in education. I think, as all of you know, the President's background for years has been one where he's been very much interested in education himself. He knows education. I think his first term was very successful in dealing with education and getting the American people to seize on the importance of education.
We talked about that, then we got into the next term, had some discussions on the Hope Scholarship, the other higher education issues -- the $10,000 tax deduction for tuition that was discussed, of course, a lot in the campaign; the issue of the reading initiative which also was discussed in the campaign. Carol Rasco, who is coming with the Department of Education and will head up that initiative, and we're all very excited about that -- she, of course, spoke on that and its relationship to standards. The access to higher education of course being a very important part of that package.
But the large issue that was discussed was standards. All of these issues relate to standards. Goals 2000 of course is the framework, really, for state and local control, but national priority of high standards and assessment linked to standards and state goals for reaching high standards. And we were so pleased to be able to say that Virginia, which was the only state that had not yet come into Goals 2000 informed me yesterday through Governor George Allen, that they plan to file an application. So we were very pleased at that, that's all 50 states working on this matter of developing standards, developing assessment to those standards and then getting the standards down to the classroom.
We had some discussion about TIMS, the Third International Math and Science study, which is very, very interesting and informative. TIMS study clearly says internationally, in terms of math and science and 8th grade, that standards matter, standards work. However, you've got to get them down into the classroom and that is very, very important and very difficult. And that's the job we have to do over the next four years. Again, that's a state and local responsibility, but a federal government, a national priority and the President made it very clear the it was going to be certainly one of his top priorities over the next four years.
Carol Browner on the environment.
ADMINISTRATOR BROWNER: The final discussion of the day focused on our work to strengthen public health and environmental protections for the people of this country. This discussion focused initially on the fact that we have really changed the system, that we have sought to develop partnerships with business, state, local governments with citizens, to find the cost-effective, common-sense solutions that will allow us to provide the strongest possible protections.
We talked about making sure we were protecting the very best of what's left -- the work the administration has done at Yellowstone, the San Francisco Bay Delta, the work we're doing in the Florida Everglades -- how can we continue to build those kinds of partnerships so we can leave for our children pristine areas where they can enjoy an afternoon outdoors, they can enjoy a wonderful trip with their families.
We talked about the need to continue our work to clean up the toxic waste sites of this country, both the large sites and the smaller sites -- we refer to them as the Brownfield sites -- the work that we can do across government agencies and departments to address the very real concerns of those communities where these small areas continue to be a blight on that community, fenced off, unavailable for redevelopment, unavailable to that community for jobs, for a sense of hope.
We talked about continuing to involve the public in the work that we do. The President has done an awful lot in the last four years to expand the public's right to know about the release of toxic chemicals into their air, their water, the environmental legislation he signed, the drinking water bill, the food safety bill -- both of those, because of the President's leadership for the first time ever, give the American people a right to know what's found in their drinking water, what's on their food, so they can become a part of helping us find new solutions to the environmental and public health challenges we face.
We recognized that the work that we do in terms of public health and environmental protection must continue to focus on our children, that when we set a standard, whether it be an air, a water, a food safety standard, that it should be about protecting the most vulnerable among us, and we looked at how we could build that, how we could move beyond the work we're doing, what kind of science might be helpful to finding those answers to setting those standards to guaranteeing those protections.
I want to say that I think one of the most important things that happened today is something that I believe has been one of the most important things of my experience as a part of this administration over the last four years, and that is the willingness to work across agency and department lines.
There are stories that EPA, going back seven, eight years ago, that EPA wouldn't talk to the department of this or that on any individual issue or vice versa, that they certainly wouldn't go up to the Hill and testify together, they wouldn't lend support to each other.
Well, in this administration, we worked with the Department of Agriculture to craft a food safety bill, the first in 25 years. We've worked with the Department of Commerce to look at issues involving the economy and the environment, and so on and so forth. And I think, if I could say one thing about today, what characterized today was that ongoing commitment to teamwork, that recognition that by working together, setting aside perhaps historical differences, we would find far better answers for the people of this country.
MR. MCCURRY: We'll take some questions. Just one last point. The very last discussion of the day dealt with the role that technology policy plays, an especially important area as we make the transition from an industrial society to the age of global information flows. Greg Simon from the Vice President's staff led that, along with Jack Gibbons from the Office of Science Technology Policy. There was a real key stress on the need for continued investments in research and development, in technology and those things that will be a premise for building a stronger foundation for the bridge to the 21st century, and obviously a lot of discussion about the work of the last four years when it comes to telecommunications policy, the V-chip, those things that we are doing to more effectively use resources like the Internet as we take advantage of higher technologies in preparing for the 21st century.
Q Mike, was there any discussion of anything that might be done differently in a second term, any mistakes or lessons? And also, Mrs. Clinton, we understand, was there as was Tipper Gore.
MR. MCCURRY: Let me have Erskine talk a little bit about maybe some of the things that suggest themselves as different practices or how things might be different. I mean, largely, as you've heard the President say in the past, this is a matter of building on a record of success as we look ahead. Things have worked very well in the first term and we want to build on that success, so there was no contemplated major changes in either operational plans, but a renewed focus on policy as we craft a policy agenda for the second term.
On the First Lady's role and then also Mrs. Gore's role -- Mrs. Gore was at the lunch -- the First Lady participated -- I guess I'd say "listened" to most of the discussion today, beginning with the first session this morning. She'll be an enormously important part of the work that lies ahead during the next four years as the President's partner, as the First Lady of the United States, as a goodwill ambassador around the world. She's been asked by the State Department to continue in that capacity and then continue to visit foreign countries in the next four years. So she was very keenly interested in the discussions today. She did not directly participate, but was very interested in the deliberations.
Q Was she there all day, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: She was there all day, and as I say, Mrs. Gore was present for lunch. Did Mrs. Gore stay for any of the afternoon sessions? I think she may have been there for a little while.
Q Mike, you said that the President's stressed bipartisanship and that this appeared again during the day. Now that we've heard summaries from each of these people, where does that show up at various --
MR. MCCURRY: Most keenly, as Sandy said, and I think it was reflected in other conversations too, the need to really work cooperatively with this Congress was a key focus that we recognize -- the President recognizes that a large part of the agenda that we are going to address involves cooperation with the Legislative Branch, which is dominated by the other party.
But I'd also stress something the President said in one of his remarks, too. He said one -- for him, personally, one of the lessons of the first term is that there are a number of tools that are available to the President, and they're important to the conduct of the presidency, and they go beyond just the crafting of the legislative agenda. They are also the tool of the bully pulpit and how the President articulates policies, they're the role the President can play, lifting up examples of success in the private sector, in communities, success by state and local governments, places other than the federal government, and that is a role that he would be stressing himself. And then a third, there are areas in which the executive acts through executive directives or executive orders. The Executive Branch has the capacity to shape the agenda of the country.
But I would say specifically in that area in which we need to work cooperatively with Congress, whether it's balancing the budget, whether it's crafting a national education strategy, whether it's fighting drugs, whether it's protecting Medicare, whether it's reforming welfare, whether it's conducting or fulfilling the very ambitious foreign policy agenda that Sandy laid out, we're going to have to work very closely with Congress and we have to consult with them and have to put a focus very early on reaching out to the Republican congressional leadership to keep them apprised of their plans.
Q Where's Erskine?
MR. MCCURRY: I was boring him to tears, so he left.
Q Mike, did any specific role for Mrs. Clinton emerge from this discussion?
MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely. She's the First Lady and that's her role.
Q I'm sorry, I meant --
Q -- in the next four years, any projects. Did anything come up like that --
MR. MCCURRY: No, to my recollection there was not any focus at all specifically on her role. She was really watching this and interested in how all the work across the administration would be addressed over the next four years. But she herself has talked about some of the things she's doing and she's most specifically said she will continue addressing those things that are of interest to her as First Lady.
Q Mike, Sandy mentioned the increasing resources for foreign policy. Does that mean paying off the U.N. debt, or what else do you have in mind?
MR. BERGER: I think it's across the board. First of all, we need to, as you know, there is a defense review that follows from the bottom-up review we're now engaged in, which takes our defense plans forward into the next century. So the first issue is adequately funding the defense needs of the next decade. Second, there's the 150 account generally, an account that has been shrinking rather dramatically over the last several years to the point where I think many people believe that there simply are not adequate resources -- less than one percent of the budget being spent on all the range of diplomatic activities, whether it is fighting terrorism or the economic activities of our embassies or the diplomatic activities. We spent $1.7 billion, for example, assisting the Guatemalan government in the '80s in the war in Guatemala; we only have $27 million to help the Guatemalan government build a peace.
So, generally, I think there is a feeling here that we need a strong bipartisan push to fund generally the 150 account, specifically with respect to U.N. arrears. There will be some ideas in the budget and we will be engaged in consultations with the leadership about some ideas that will link paying U.N. arrears to specific and concrete reforms that take place in the U.N.
We now have a new Secretary General who we're very excited about. We believe he's a man who shares our vision of reform. We have a new, if confirmed, ambassador there who considers this to be a high priority. So it's not only U.N. and the international institutions, it's the overall international budget.
Q Sandy, the 150 account is what Secretary Albright meant when she meant one percent of the budget --
MR. BERGER: That's correct. Her quote was, I have it written down here, but something to the effect that about one percent of the budget will determine 50 percent of our legacy. Obviously, she wasn't trying to quantify this in a highly mathematical sense, but I think it was a very powerful way of making the point here that we're spending very little money on America's role in the world, which will have an enormous impact on peace, prosperity, and the extent to which the world shares our values over the next decade.
Q And, Sandy, is this foreign aid? Is that what this account is?
MR. BERGER: No, this is not foreign aid; this is everything. This is our diplomacy. This is our embassies. These are the people who are representing America abroad, that are stamping visas, that are helping countries work on drug strategies, that are working with countries on terrorism, that are helping American business sell products abroad, that are engaged in the peace process in the Middle East. This is -- all of our international account is about 1 percent of our budget.
Most Americans, polls indicate, think that it's 15 percent of our budget, and a University of Maryland poll indicated that most people think it ought to be about 5 percent of the budget. In fact, it's about 1 percent of the budget.
Q Sandy, as long as you're here, there have been some developments in Bosnia -- I'm sorry, in Serbia -- reports that Milosevic may be recognizing or willing to recognize some opposition victories in the election, and also the possibility of even maybe a coalition government. Are you up on that?
MR. BERGER: Well, I haven't seen reports today. Our view continues to be that President Milosevic needs to respect the results of the election, the conclusions that have been drawn by the OSCE team that went there, which found a number of the elections to be deficient, and to honor the democratic process.
And we will continue to press him to do that. He has made some -- taken some steps in the past few days in terms of, for example, perhaps re-running some of the elections in Nis, one of the cities, but that doesn't solve the entire problem -- for example, the fundamental problem in the city of Belgrade, where the OSCE concluded that the elections -- and other international observers -- were deficient.
Q Sandy, perhaps one of the most dramatic developments in the last couple of days was this 10 percent drop in the Japanese markets. I was wondering if there was any discussion about that, in particular, or more generally, about how to deal with these kind of turbulences on the financial markets which have systemic --
MR. BERGER: I don't believe -- Bob, tell me if I'm wrong -- in the session -- I didn't stay for the afternoon session -- (laughter) -- it may have come up in the education section --(laughter) -- or as part of balancing the budget. But it did not specifically come up in the sessions today.
Q Can you say anything more about the conditions you're going to be putting on for making the back payments to the U.N.?
MR. BERGER: Well, we've talked very consistently over the last two years about the things that we believe the U.N. needs to do to streamline, to maintain a budget that is going down rather than going up. And we will be presenting additional ideas to the U.N. and working very closely with Secretary General Annan on an agenda. Some of these are unilateral; they go to our assessment. We believe that in some respects in some areas our own assessment has been too large and needs to be scaled down.
So there is a series of steps but we need to enter -- this goes back to the bipartisanship point. This is -- we need to sit down with the Congressional Leadership. Now that we have taken the step here that the President was somewhat criticized for, which was to say that we did not think that the previous Secretary General was up to this task or was dedicated to this task, we stood out there alone, we effected a change in the leadership of the United Nations, we now have a new generation of leadership that has a different kind of a vision. And if we now as a country don't step up to this and say, we have ideas, we're prepared to pay our share of this burden if the U.N. changes, I think what will have come before will have appeared to be rather hypocritical.
MR. MCCURRY: Last question.
MR. BERGER: There are a lot of other very talented people here.
Q You have taken into account the importance of the increased linguistic capability in order to compete in the global market. I think that only English not correct. We can't -- it no good -- we have to speak all the language like all the people in Europe do. And they make a penetration in the market. It's going to help -- the national -- different market, create jobs for the people, but they cannot compete because they don't speak the language --
MR. BERGER: Let me say, I agree with you and it's a good example of the resources point that I'm making because one of the things, for example, that's being cut by virtue of the budget squeeze is the capacity in the State Department, the Voice of America and others, to have multi-lingual experts that are able to interpret and speak and deal with other countries.
MR. MCCURRY: Thank you.
Q Random House read a statement challenging you to either specify the charges of inaccuracy in the Dick Morris book or to retract a statement they said --
MR. MCCURRY: What does their statement say?
Q They say that they invite you to either specify your charges of inaccuracy or to retract your statements questioning the veracity --
MR. MCCURRY: I haven't made any -- I haven't made any such charges. I reported on the President's reaction to the book so I don't have any comment.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 6:10 P.M. EST