View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 25, 1997
                           PRESS BRIEFING BY
                              MIKE MCCURRY

The Briefing Room

1:43 P.M. EST

MR. MCCURRY: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our daily briefing. I have an announcement. On Sunday, April 28th, and Monday, April 29th, the President of the United States will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for his service conference, the Summit for America's Future -- the summit that you're well aware of, but one we had not officially announced. So now that you know the dates you can plan accordingly.

The President, on the way to Philadelphia, will stop by Germantown, Pennsylvania, to participate in a clean-up day, so actually doing some volunteer service in a local community. We're going to clean up some graffiti and spruce up some playgrounds and participating with him will be other people who are participating in the summit and some AmeriCorps volunteers and other citizens of the community.

On Monday -- that would be April 29th -- the President will open the summit by speaking at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, followed by a day-long discussion of service. I think --

Q I think Sunday is the 27th.

MR. MCCURRY: Mary Ellen Glynn will go check it since this information comes from her.

The themes of the -- there will be several thousand people at the conference from all around the country. They are developing individual themes now around some of the component parts of the summit and it's been a very gratifying response. There are service organizations and volunteer organizations from around the country that are planning to be in Philadelphia and really devoting a lot of time to this effort. It really is seen now within the volunteer and service community as a way to chart the future of volunteerism in America and really talk about how we can stimulate a response especially from young people who are interested in giving something back to their nation.

Q It is April --

MR. MCCURRY: April -- what are the dates? Sunday, April 27th, and then Monday, April 28th.

Q Wasn't it supposed to be a three-day conference?

MR. MCCURRY: The conference will be going on, I believe, through Wednesday -- correct? It goes on for three days. There will be additional people from the administration participating in --

Q Will the former Presidents help clean up the playgrounds?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not sure of the participation of the former Presidents in Germantown, but I know that they plan to be in Philadelphia. The Vice President and Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Gore will also participate. How about that?

All right. Any other subjects?

Q Does the President still have full confidence in Louis Freeh?


Q Why would the President have confidence in an FBI Director who refuses a request from the White House Counsel to make sure that the Secretary of State has all the information available to the U.S. government on these allegations involving China in advance of her trip to Beijing?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know if the supposition in that question is accurate.

Q Well, what isn't accurate?

Q We made a request through the White House Legal Counsel to the Justice Department; the Justice Department responded to the request. We're not certain of what information was included or not included in that request. You'd have to ask the Justice Department or the FBI to get more clarity on that point. The role that Director Freeh played in those deliberations I'm not certain enough about to comment upon, but it would be more appropriate, in any event, for him to comment.

Q Does the White House --

Q Is anyone at the White House looking into that, Mike?


Q -- information requested before Gore's trip and was it provided?

MR. MCCURRY: Say it again.

Q Was similar information requested before Vice President's Gore trip, and was it provided?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that any additional information was requested from the Justice Department. The information that we requested was in advance of Secretary Albright's trip to Beijing.

Q Mike, now that this story is out there, is anyone from the White House looking into it to see if, in fact, information was withheld? And is that not considered something that might be quite serious here?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, look, we make it real clear what we did. We made a request to the Justice Department to provide information necessary for the President's conduct of foreign policy in his role as President and Commander in Chief. The Justice Department responded with the information that they thought was relevant to that request. We also made it very clear that we were not requesting information that might impede any ongoing investigation, and for that very reason, requested that any information provided to us by the Justice Department we would expect would simultaneously be given to House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees so there would be no question of any effort on the part of the White House to impede any ongoing investigation.

Now, what the Justice Department decided to provide to us or not to provide to us is within their province to discuss with you. I'm not going to attempt to do that here.

Q So, at this point, you have no discomfort level --just to follow up, you have no discomfort level with what was provided?

MR. MCCURRY: We would be discomforted if there was anything withheld from the President that was necessary for him to have in order to fulfill his constitutional obligations to conduct this nation's foreign policy. As to whether or not that information was withheld from the President, you'd have to ask the Justice Department. We're not in a position to know.

Q But are you trying to find out?

Q Does that mean that you're dissatisfied or satisfied with the level and quantity and quality of the information that was eventually provided?

MR. MCCURRY: We've accepted the information that was provided and acted on it accordingly.

Q So you feel comfortable that you did get the information necessary to carry out his --

MR. MCCURRY: We've accepted the information provided and acted on it accordingly.

Q That's not the same thing as knowing whether you got what you needed.

MR. MCCURRY: We don't know whether we -- we don't know what we didn't get. We can't tell you what we didn't get because we don't know. We're not in a position to know.

Q Are you looking into that?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's not the issue. The issue --look, we made a very specific request, Helen. We said, we need information that allows us to act on a matter of national security and to conduct foreign policy. And we made it clear that we did not want any information that the Department itself might impede.

Q You don't even know if you got that information.

MR. MCCURRY: That's correct. And we're in --

Q But that's tough -- I mean, that's impossible.

MR. MCCURRY: -- a difficult position because apparently the Justice Department has an investigation underway. Now, whether or not there was information they felt they couldn't provide to us because of that investigation, I don't know the answer to that. You've got to go ask them.

Q But you don't have any interest in finding out?

Q Mike, what takes a higher priority -- the FBI's need to conduct its investigation or the President's need to conduct foreign policy?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President has an answer to that and the President's obligations under the Constitution to manage the affairs of the nation and to help conduct this nation's foreign policy are the highest priority because he's acting in that case in the interests of all Americans. Now, the FBI and the Justice Department clearly have got law enforcement obligations, too, but the President has a larger interest in making sure that we conduct our foreign policy according to the best interests of the American people. We were in a position, as Secretary Albright has said, to act diplomatically on the basis of the information that we receive.

Q So just to follow up, it's your opinion, or the White House's opinion, that in a conflict that the Department of Justice might have faced between providing information that the President needed for foreign policy and withholding information that might be pertinent to their investigation, they should have erred on the side of providing the information so the President could conduct foreign policy?

MR. MCCURRY: No. I'm suggesting that the Justice Department most likely had to make a difficult call, but we had specifically requested that they not provide information that they felt might impede on an ongoing investigation.

Q Are you confident that Vice President Gore in his meetings with the Chinese this week has all relevant information involving this investigation that he needs to have to conduct useful meetings with the Chinese?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm confident that he has been able to conduct his diplomacy consistent with the foreign policy concerns we may or may not have with respect to this specific matter, yes.

Q Mike, I still didn't get a sense of whether or not you have any kind of formal inquiry going on or informal inquiry going on as to whether you got the full information you requested.

MR. MCCURRY: We are not investigating the FBI and the Justice Department.

Q But you're not investigating whether the FBI and the Justice Department gave you the information you requested? You're not looking into that or even talking to them about it?

MR. MCCURRY: They gave us what they felt they were in a position to give us and we acted on it accordingly.

Q So it's for them to decide?

Q You have no recourse?

Q Is it for them to decide? You've left the impression of a President flying blind.

MR. MCCURRY: No, I hope I haven't. I said that we needed information necessary to conduct foreign policy; the Justice Department weighed that request; they gave us material; we acted upon that material. If they did not give us any material, it's for them to tell you what they didn't give to us because we don't know. But we did specifically ask that they not give us information that might impede any ongoing criminal investigation. It's pretty clear what I'm saying, I think.

Q So it was their call?

MR. MCCURRY: It has to be their call because we wouldn't attempt to override a decision that they had to make for whatever reason related to any ongoing criminal investigation they might have underway.

Q How do you describe the relationship between the White House and the FBI right now?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, it's a very good working relationship, and if you think of what we have to do in the area of national security, we're dealing right now with a very delicate matter related to the Khobar bombing. We've had to transact business with them with respect to a number of issues related to terrorism, related to protecting America's national security interests overseas, and we have a good relationship and it is not altogether unusual for national security needs to come into conflict with any ongoing investigation they might have underway. That's why we have good counsel-to-counsel relationships that allow law enforcement needs and national security needs to both be considered and both be protected.

Q Is it accurate to say that the White House feels it has no reason to believe it did not receive any information that it otherwise should have?

MR. MCCURRY: No, it's not accurate. The accurate thing to state is the White House is not aware of any additional information that may or may not be in the position of -- the possession of the Justice Department that may or may not have been relevant to the request submitted by the White House Legal Counsel. We don't know what we don't know.

Q Mike, your statement that you have a good working relationship with the FBI is an extraordinary statement on its face. I mean, the FBI is part of the Executive Branch. As a result of all --

MR. MCCURRY: That is fairly ordinary and routine statement of what you would expect relationships to be, which are multifaceted and include a lot of different people and include a lot of different issues that are underway. I mean, any given day here we have to transact business with the Bureau on any number of issues. And those working relationships proceed and people get work done and work continues.

Q But it's part of the Executive Branch. I mean, it sounds like, as a result of all these investigations, the Executive Branch is broken down into a number of separate feifdoms.

MR. MCCURRY: Gene, that's just not true. We have competing interest here, which clearly can arise and do arise on occasion. You've got law enforcement needs. You have national security needs. Those balance out. And you do your work and proceed accordingly. We're confident that we got information from the Justice Department that we could then use in the name of the Secretary of State to act diplomatically. That's what we did.

And if there was additional information that should have been provided to the President that wasn't provided, the only people who are in a position to know that at this moment are at the Justice Department.

Q Well, is the President hamstrung --

MR. MCCURRY: No, he's not hamstrung.

Q Can the President -- can the White House go directly to the NSA and get the information it seeks without going through FBI?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we wouldn't do anything that would impede any ongoing criminal investigation.

Q Pardon?

MR. MCCURRY: We would not do anything that would impede an ongoing investigation.

Q The investigation hadn't been going on all that time. This intercept, whatever it was, was before.

MR. MCCURRY: You know more about it than I do then.

Q You just said that the President is not hamstrung. But that conflicts with what you said a minute ago that you don't know what you don't know. How does the President know that he's not hamstrung? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: Well, at the moment, he is hamstrung, as you know, having just had knee surgery.

Okay, any other questions?

Q Let me follow, though -- how can you say that the President --

MR. MCCURRY: Because the President would expect --

Q -- is not hamstrung unless you really know what the Justice Department did or did not know?

MR. MCCURRY: The Attorney General who was in the position of being the responsible action officer on the request from the White House Legal Counsel has said publicly the nature of the information that was transmitted to the White House and that she would act, I'm sure, consistent with the need to protect the President's ability to conduct his constitutional duties. I'd be surprised if she didn't, and I have no reason to believe that she didn't.

Q Well, then, why not say that you're satisfied?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, because we can't render judgment. We just accepted what they've given, we acted on it, we moved ahead. I guess in that sense, we are satisfied.

Q Can you explain why it was the White House Legal Counsel who sought this information rather than someone from the NSC?

MR. MCCURRY: That's consistent with our policy of contact with the Bureau that's established for reasons that you know and that we're painfully aware of.

Q Will you consider releasing Ruff's letter to the Justice Department?

MR. MCCURRY: No, it's classified top secret. It refers to intelligence gathering methods, and I will not.

Q Mike, do you have an answer to the taken questions from yesterday?

MR. MCCURRY: Let me go -- taking questions? Now that the President -- we've asked him again, in light of the documents from those submitted by Mr. Ickes with respect to the phone calls suggested to him by the DNC, does he have any recollection making those calls. He says, no. In fact, he has more of a recollection that he did not make calls as suggested by the DNC. They sent over a call sheet as they've indicated. The Democratic National Committee has now indicated they have no information that would suggest the President made those calls.

He doesn't believe he made those calls; he just doesn't want to foreclose the possibility at some point during four years he may have asked someone to be supportive of the party and the party's efforts.

And on the second thing, the President still, to the best of his recollection, says that he was not aware of Mr. Hubbell's retention by the Lippo Group until he read about it in the press. As the Special Counsel has said before -- here, Mr. Davis -- the President never asked or suggested anyone hire Webb Hubbell. The President does think he may have heard from either Bernie Rapoport or Truman Arnold that they had intended to hire Mr. Hubbell -- we've said that previously. And I have no knowledge of anyone else -- who else at the White House may have been aware of Lippo's retention of Mr. Hubbell as Mr. Lindsey was aware -- was satisfied to taking questions from yesterday.

Q Mike, the question on Lindsey was actually, have you asked Mr. Lindsey whether he was aware of any other aides.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. To my knowledge, he doesn't recall having a specific conversation with others about that matter.

Q But does Mr. Lindsey know whether any other aides knew at the time?

MR. MCCURRY: He's not in a position to know authoritatively what every other person working at the White House knew.

Q But that's not the question. The question is, you say he doesn't recall a conversation, but the question was --

MR. MCCURRY: Did he know if anyone else knew.

Q That's right -- does he know of anyone else who knew?

MR. MCCURRY: He's not in a position to know what other people knew at the time, and it's not a fair question.

Q But is the answer to that, Mr. Lindsey did not know of anyone else --

MR. MCCURRY: The answer is, it's just not a fair question to ask of Mr. Lindsey. He's not in a position to possibly know what each and every other member of the White House staff may or may not have known. He's not aware of anyone having known.

Q She's not asking for Lindsey to take a survey of all the White House staff. The question is, did he know of anyone else who may have known.

MR. MCCURRY: Who may have known. Apparently not, but I'll go back and double-check that.

Q Mike, is the President going to ask the FEC to do something to curb soft money -- large, unlimited contributions?

MR. MCCURRY: It's under consideration. If he does so, we'll let you know.

Q How would that work?

MR. MCCURRY: If he does it, we'll tell you. There would be a petition to the FEC and ask for them to initiate a rule-making process similar to the way you would ask other rule-making bodies to act.

Q What needs to be completed for him to decide --

MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's a long, lengthy process and I'm not going to detail it until it's something more than a hypothetical question.

Q -- question about whether that could be accomplished absent campaign finance legislation?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the best way to do it would be to enact it into law. The issue is, is there another way to do it through executive rule-making, and if we decide to proceed that route, we'll let you know.

Q Mike, is there an answer to the question whether Mrs. Clinton knew about Hubbell's employment at the time?

MR. MCCURRY: Same answer. I think neither the President, nor Mrs. Clinton ever asked or suggested anybody hire Webb Hubbell. And as Counsel has said, they were not aware of it until they read about it -- or the President was not aware of it and -- is your question, was Mrs. Clinton aware? I believe she has indicated in the past that she did not know, but I'll have to go back and pin that point down.

Q And the Lindsey thing --


Q Have Gore and Clinton spoken since Gore has been in China --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know whether they've talked directly because they're counter-clockwise at the moment, but they -- I know that we've been getting good reports in from the Vice President's trip, it's been going exceedingly well, and the President's very satisfied with the reports he's getting on the Vice President's conversations with senior Chinese leaders.

Q Is the President's statement on not making any phone calls based on his disinclination to make such phone calls, or was it because he felt that making such phone calls as President was inappropriate or perhaps even illegal?

MR. MCCURRY: No, as the President said, it's not like -- it's as he told you in his press conference, it's not how he likes to spend his time, as a general practice. He also believes he was working pretty hard to raise money, as you are all abundantly clear on by this point, and he felt he was doing his share to help generate funds for the party and for the campaign. And his general view was, I don't like sitting around asking people for money on the telephone and I don't think I need to be responsible for that because there are other people who can do that piece of work, and I'm doing plenty of work on my own to raise money. And I think we've substantially substantiated that point, have we not?

Q Mike, a Wall Street Journal article today says, A, that the F-16 sale to Indonesia is stuck, perhaps permanently because, B, the White House has become hypersensitive to any appearance of doing any favors for Indonesia. Is A or B true or false?

MR. MCCURRY: It looked to me like it was stuck more because the policy process had not advanced the sale to the point that it could proceed. Concern about campaign-related issues or contribution-related issues are not a factor under consideration by those who are actually dealing with questions of the sale. There are a lot of different issues involved. The progress that we're making, or lack of progress we're making, with respect to certain human rights issues is certainly a factor. And there are a number of other issues, as well.

But we will continue to consider the sale. We have not ruled it out. And there is still an active review underway of whether or not we should proceed.

Q But sensitivities about the campaign issue is not a factor?

MR. MCCURRY: I am told by those who are actually working the issue that that is not an issue.

Q A poll of CEOs out this week shows that an overwhelming majority want to ban soft money. I was wondering what you think that says both about the '96 campaign fundraising, but also the public opinion about ending soft money.

MR. MCCURRY: I think that those who participate in this system as contributors are as anxious to see it changed as those who are on the other side doing the solicitation. I think that the people who work within the system all agree that it's got some bad flaws in it and it's not surprising that senior corporate officials who probably would like to spend their time in other ways, too, share the sentiment of some candidates that something should be done to change the system.

Q Mike, can you summarize the President's assessment of Don Fowler's tenure as chairman? Has that changed now --

MR. MCCURRY: He was a successful DNC chair, helped run a winning national campaign in 1996, has acknowledged that there were certain flaws with respect to a portion of the money raised for the 1996 campaign, but if you look at the results of 1996 -- the successful national campaign, the first reelection of a Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt, and an extraordinary effort around the country to build the base of the Democratic Party in so many ways, it has to be judged a successful tenure.

Q Will the President be announcing members of his health quality commission tomorrow?

MR. MCCURRY: The President said some time ago that he wants to put together an advisory commission on health care quality. I expect him to address that question tomorrow. He'll talk about what such a commission might actually do. And I expect he will have some of the names of those who might participate for you.

Q Can you tell us what the third component of his health initiatives this week will be?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I won't and I won't hint at it, either. But if you followed the news in the last couple of days you know that the National Cancer Institute has been looking at the question of recommendations related to mammograms. But I can't hint at what we might be talking about later. (Laughter.)

Q You just hinted.

MR. MCCURRY: No. That's cause and effect.

Q Can you tell us a treaty that has been substantially altered, fundamentally altered and approved by a majority of both Houses of Congress instead of the Senate two-thirds?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, I expect if we send Mr. Johnson off to research that, he might get us an answer.

Q Are you able to confirm that the DNC fund-raising -- that were part of the Ickes documents were, in fact, seen by the President on a month-by-month basis?

MR. MCCURRY: I have no reason to think he didn't see them from time to time. I can't confirm if each and every document produced by Mr. Ickes was reviewed by the President. I think there is ample evidence that he certainly reviewed some of them and would follow up on some of the reports that he'd get from time to time. I mean, he was obviously interested in aspects of fund-raising, both how they were doing in large-donor fund-raising and then also how they were doing in direct mail with small donors.

And I think that would not be a surprise to anyone who knows how hard the President was working to generate support for the campaign and to raise the money necessary to run an effective campaign. He wanted to know whether the effort was paying off.

Q Then it was clear to the President that the coffees he held were clearly a fundraising device?

MR. MCCURRY: It was clear to the President that they were following up on those coffees and raising money off of them, sure. We've said that all along. In fact, if they hadn't been doing that, they would have heard a lot more from the President on that subject.

Q Mike, initially, the Mexico trip was going to be a solo trip and the Central America and Caribbean aspects were going to be lumped in with the South American trip. That's changed. Can you tell us why Costa Rica and Barbados were added?

MR. MCCURRY: Knee -- that's why. No, no, that was part of the -- part of the original schedule for that period in May was the gathering of the Caribbean leaders in Barbados and the gathering of the Central American leaders in Costa Rica, in San Juan. We've tried to preserve that part of the schedule, moved Mexico a little bit later to give the President a little additional time to recuperate, preserve some of that original schedule and then take the longer distance travel down to South America and push that off to the fall. And we are very, very happy and thank and express gratitude to the governments that have been willing to accommodate the President's desire to do the later trip at a time when he will be more mobile and will be able to see more things.

Q You don't think that takes any of the bloom off the Mexico trip by having it become part of a larger trip?

MR. MCCURRY: No, not at all. It's very important. In fact, we expressed gratitude to the government of Mexico that was clearly sympathetic to our desire to preserve the need for an early meeting. We have a number of issues that we need to work through, and it's a very important meeting in the eyes of the President. He wanted to do it and do it as soon as he felt he would be able to do it, and to preserve simultaneously some of the other aspects of the schedule we had been trying to preserve. But we -- not at all do we think that that minimizes the importance of the trip we'll make to Mexico.

Q Mike, yesterday you said that you were still sort of trying to decide what and how to do about releasing the documents, the rest of the Harold Ickes documents. Some of them came out on the Hill yesterday.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, I think -- maybe when I expressed ambivalence, that encouraged the committee and they seemed to have done a good job of putting the documents out. I'm not sure -- I haven't looked at what they actually put out versus what was actually submitted by Mr. Ickes. But they'll --

Q A small part of it was put out. So the question is, are you going to now release the rest of the documents that have been sitting here all these many weeks?

MR. MCCURRY: We certainly will look at doing that at some point. Our real focus at the moment is preparing a very large quantity of documents that are going to the committee on behalf of the White House. Our real concern has been focusing in on those documents that we will be providing. These are third party documents, they're Mr. Ickes' documents in which he had in his possession at the time, but in and around releasing future materials that we provide to the committee, we'll see if -- there's some overlap, obviously, with the Ickes documents.

Q When you release these documents to the committee, will you release them to us simultaneously?

MR. MCCURRY: We're looking at seeing how we will actually do that. We may not wait -- we have other multiple -- requests from news organizations that I would like to get material out on that might overlap with the committee, and we want to be responsive to the committee and help them assure the integrity of their process. But at the same time I want to satisfy the multiple requests we have from news organizations so we're going through a discussion now about when we can provide additional information.

Q Mike, you don't think that's unlikely this week? I'm sorry, you had said yesterday it's really unlikely --

MR. MCCURRY: I think probably unlikely, given what the Counsel's Office is working on. They're working on the larger volume requests that we have to satisfy, and most of those folks are tied up doing that.

Q A procedural question. You had referred yesterday to written requests from news organizations. Is this a situation where if we're going to want to get this stuff we need to put it in writing to you as opposed to --

MR. MCCURRY: We'll we've gotten from your news organization multiple requests pending -- orally, written, in multiple forms. No, I just would -- a lot of people have helped us because a lot of your news organizations have 10, 15, 20 reporters working on the story, we get a lot of overlapping requests, and sometimes one reporter thinks their request is more important than another reporter's so we've asked editors of your news organizations to sort out those and prioritize them. We've now tried to look at that and say, all right, with all the multiple requests we got, what seemed -- what are the ones in common that people sort of all seem to want. And we're seeing if we can't make some of that available.

Q So it will be general? I mean, you're talking about putting this stuff out generally, not a situation where we better get everything in writing if we think --

MR. MCCURRY: No, no, we're trying to -- look, everybody's got a lot of questions and a lot of people got the same questions. We're just trying to figure out, can we get some of that together and move forward.

Q Has Sandy Berger been in touch yet with Senator Lott on the ABM demarcation agreement?

MR. MCCURRY: Not that I am aware. And I know the President wanted to touch base with Senator Lott, but I don't know whether that's occurred yet. I think some of his leadership calls were pushed over to today, and whether or not that issue arises it would be hard to say.

Q Because from Bell's briefing yesterday, the indication was that this would be resolved rather quickly, the business was whether you go to both houses or only to the Senate. Do you expect that this week or --

Q I think, first and foremost, we just want to make sure that members are well briefed on what exactly happened. Now, they are in recess now, so we're doing that primarily at the staff level. Any questions about you handle any treaty modifications or amendments or what the congressional procedure should be is something that we'll probably have to wait and do down the road.

Now, Mr. Bell thought it could be resolved relatively quickly. I think he's right. But they are in recess, so we'll need to work the issue a little bit.

Q Back to Allison's question, if I could. When you do make this initial release of information available, based on, I guess, the questions that news organizations have written, will you disseminate it generally or will you at least let every news organizations know that the stuff is available? Or are you just only go to pass it out to the organizations that have made specific requests for --

MR. MCCURRY: We won't forget you. We'll keep you -- no, I think we -- I prefer to do that in a way in which it's available to everyone, although it's difficult -- it's going to be difficult. I just want to warn people they're not going to be able to fairly take care of every individual news organization in the same fashion because we're talking about thousands and thousands of pages of documents that are eventually going to have to be released. We may have to work out a way in which we take care of those who have got urgent needs, and obviously we would protect those who have got immediate broadcast or wire transmission needs, and then work with those of you who have got longer lead deadlines and see what we can do.

Q What's the status so far on the policy that you're looking at for hiring a welfare recipient for the White House?

MR. MCCURRY: We've announced that we are doing it and we are proceeding to implement it.

Q When does it start?

MR. MCCURRY: I haven't -- we can find out from Bruce Reed. They're actually implementing the procedures now, as we announced several Saturdays ago.

Okay, thanks.

END 2:14 P.M. EST