THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
The Briefing Room
1:35 P.M. EDT
Q Vetoes? Have you got any bills around?
MR. MCCURRY: Hasn't come down yet. Double-check again, because we didn't check for about -- double-check and see if the Clerk's Office has gotten anything from the Hill.
MR. LOCKHART: I checked about 15 minutes ago, but I'll check again.
MR. MCCURRY: And it hadn't come in. All right. That's good enough.
Q Do you expect it today?
MR. MCCURRY: Do you think? (Laughter.) Look, the House took off for a four-day weekend. Do you think they would give us the pleasure of vetoing this thing and then all weekend long reminding them that they should not have left town until they got this disaster assistance passed? I doubt it. I think not.
Q Your credibility is good on the President's speech -- he did write it. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: Thank you. Thank you for that compliment, Helen. (Laughter.)
Q Everything but the kitchen sink.
MR. MCCURRY: Hey, we're going to ease into the briefing today, sort of go slowly. Make C-SPAN try to figure out when it actually began and didn't begin. I had a call -- Senator Russ Feingold called me and he made a very good point. He called to say, look, I want to be 90 percent complimentary for what the President has said on campaign finance reform and the support we have gotten from you guys on passage of the legislation, but there's just one little minor adjustment. And then he -- remember when we were talking about the petition earlier in the week, and I said, look, this bill doesn't look like it's going to go anywhere, so that's why we need to explore other options -- he said, we actually have been doing hard work on trying to get momentum behind the legislation.
He pointed out that Senator Susan Collins from Maine has now signed on as a co-sponsor, another Republican co-sponsor, and that they're working to get additional sponsors. And he remains very hopeful that they can continue to press hard to try to move the legislation later in the year. So I told him I would go and eat crow and say I should not have been so pessimistic about the legislation's chances.
Q But obviously not July 4th.
MR. MCCURRY: Clearly, not July 4th, but he said, look, we think we are making progress and engendering support for it and we're going to continue to press hard. And I think, obviously, the President, as you heard from a number of us, in no way feels that pushing forward with the Federal Election Commission diminishes the effort we can make to enact this feature of campaign finance reform because it would be preferable, as we said all along, to enact the legislation.
Q There are now three Republicans that support this legislation?
MR. MCCURRY: I guess so. I mean, I think that's right. They're working on getting additional co-sponsors. They're up to, I think, 32, the Senator said. So they're working hard on it. And I appreciate it.
Q He's not going to withdraw his bid then to the FEC?
MR. MCCURRY: No, we will continue to pursue that, but we see that as a complementary effort.
Q On the issue of campaign finance, what does the White House think of dead people making contributions to the Democratic National Committee?
MR. MCCURRY: Not much.
Q Would you like to enlighten us with any further thoughts on the subject?
MR. MCCURRY: Dead people should not contribute to campaigns. (Laughter.) They should not vote either.
Q What does it say about the appearance of these things when, apparently, there are a total of some -- according to an eminent newspaper -- some 20 checks from fictitious donors, both corporate and individual?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, one thing, only because there was some confusion about this earlier, these are contributions that were directed by and large to the Democratic National Committee, so they can tell you more about the whole audit procedure they went through and how they screened the donations. But it really would be -- they made an exhaustive look, audited their contributions to try to find exactly this type of problem, and they can tell you more about what they found and what the circumstances suggest. I don't think I can enlighten you much more.
Q Well, let me just ask this -- since these contributions apparently came through the auspices of the President's friends John Huang and Charles Trie, would the President consider asking those two gentlemen to step forward and testify?
MR. MCCURRY: I believe we've already done that. We've encouraged people to be supportive and cooperative.
Q Would he personally try to do that if he could reach them?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't even know if he knows where they are, but I think we've said generically and the President has said publicly that we urge people to be supportive and to provide information.
Q How about specifically, for those two men? Is he willing to specifically call -- usually people don't say no when the President asks them to do something.
MR. MCCURRY: Look, they have all got lawyers, they're being represented by lawyers. We have said we think people ought to cooperate. We are cooperating. We have provided thousands and thousands of pages worth of documents from the White House. We've worked with the DNC. The DNC has provided thousands and thousands of pages worth of documents.
The problem we've got right now with this whole subject is the Republicans are seemingly unwilling to get into the other side of the equation, which is what was going on with Republican Party abuses. And you heard Senator Glenn, who I can tell you personally is fairly mild-mannered and not the most partisan individual on the face of the Earth, get exercised to the point of really making a very angry comment about this yesterday. So what we want -- we want fair, balanced hearings. We want people to cooperate. We want them to get on with it.
Q Do you think the White House operators could find Charlie Trie?
MR. MCCURRY: I have no idea.
Q Mike, you spoke to the audit, but in making such an audit, doesn't this sort of speak to an issue of intent on the part of those who are raising money on behalf of the party, in terms of whether or not there were any sort of misleading motives with the use of "dead donors" and mystery money?
MR. MCCURRY: I have not a clue what you're asking. What are you trying to ask?
Q I'm asking you, do you think that now that this is coming to light again with the dead donors and the mystery money, so to speak, that there's a question of whether or not there was intentional bad tactics in fundraising on behalf of the party.
MR. MCCURRY: I don't -- it's not "coming to light again." There's been one story today and it's the story that covers the whole general subject now -- we've talked about the whole thing in general; that question has been long ago answered.
Q Mike, Trent Lott seemed to indicate -- he didn't say specifically, but he seemed to indicate on this CR and census sampling issue and the supplemental spending bill that if the President vetoes it they're going to send it back with those provisions. But he kind of hinted that they might not be the exact same provisions that they have in there now. What kind of compromising --
MR. MCCURRY: It's inconceivable to me that the Majority Leader would just turn right around and pass the same legislation the President has vetoed. And as I said earlier today, that just is a formula for gridlock, it doesn't make any sense. So something is going to have to give after the President vetoes this legislation and it pretty clearly will be their insistence on attaching these completely objectionable and extraneous measures to a disaster relief bill.
Q How do you know that?
MR. MCCURRY: Because I just have a great hunch that that's what's going to happen.
Q What's the progress? Are you talking to them about a possible compromise after he vetoes --
MR. MCCURRY: They have tried to -- they've floated some ideas and they've been -- and we're always available to talk and try to resolve these things. It's our obligation as the Executive Branch to work with Congress and to get on with business. But they knew exactly what was going to happen and the delay now is not only the delay as a result of not failing the act before the recess, but now to pass something that clearly is going to be vetoed. So it's going to be well into next week before they can get back -- I believe Senator Daschle said earlier today it's going to take most of next week to grind through some kind of compromise on this.
And it was all unnecessary from the beginning. That's the point. And we are pretty confident that the public understands why the President is acting this way and we're pretty confident the public understands that the census and squabble about government shutdowns that look very partisan has nothing to do with helping communities and people who need disaster assistance. So I think the public has gotten the message here, and maybe the majority in the Congress will sooner or later, too.
Q What about the rights of way and law enforcement provisions? That's something else that the administration --
MR. MCCURRY: Look, when the President vetoes this legislation there will be a long recitation of some of the objectionable features, and there all addressed item by item. I think the ones that are principally of concern to the President because they really fly in the face of everything we've been trying to do to work together to accommodate the views of the Congress are the provisions regarding the automatic CR and the census.
Q Mike, what are the tactical reasons as to why the Clinton administration told the Supreme Court not to take up the New Jersey school board case?
MR. MCCURRY: As the Solicitor General said at great length in the brief and as he has said subsequently to some of you, it's just not the right case to settle such momentous matters.
Q Isn't it kind of controversial just before the speech at the University of San Diego?
MR. MCCURRY: Not at all. We've worked very closely with civil rights, and I think many of them understand our thinking on this issue. And I imagine a great number of them share the view that this is not the case to bring before the Court as well, on these matters.
Q You probably discussed this earlier, but I just want to understand, notwithstanding any separate decision about whether General Ralston should or should not be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, does the President agree with Secretary Cohen's analysis that the adultery issue on its face should not disqualify him?
MR. MCCURRY: I think the President believes the Secretary is correct that the issue is good order and discipline and not necessarily adultery. And if you looked at what they briefed at the Pentagon yesterday, they went at great length through that and Ken Bacon did a good job I think of explaining what the real issue is.
Q But can I just have the answer to my specific question -- does he agree that on its face this issue and the General's behavior should not disqualify him from consideration --
MR. MCCURRY: The President has not evaluated the facts and Secretary Cohen is doing that. And we've got a lot of confidence in his ability to do it and get it right.
Q What do you see --
MR. MCCURRY: -- issue over there.
Q What do you say to critics, though, who are concerned that they see a double standard?
MR. MCCURRY: Look, I really encourage you to take a look at Ken Bacon's briefing yesterday, because double standard in that allegation are made by people who don't recognize that each and every one of these case have got their own separate facts and they need to be evaluated based on facts. We don't just sort of lump everything together and make judgments based on perception -- particularly when it comes to sensitive matters that involve justice. Justice in this country is a case-by-case proposition. We have to look at facts and look at the underlying facts of any situation. And that's what they're doing at the Pentagon.
Q But I think the argument -- the broader issue around the double standard question is that some of the women in the military and people who consider themselves to be gay and in the military feel that they've been subject to a witch hunt for years and there was no concern about that. There are a number of women in the military who believe that their sexual lives are under constant scrutiny and that if they rebuff advances then they're subject to these rumors, and there hasn't been any concern about that.
MR. MCCURRY: It's incorrect to say there's been no concern about that.
Q What does the President think of the call by a group of women Congress House members to have a high-level review of the military code as far as sexual behavior?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think as Secretary Cohen, himself, has said, there needs to be an examination of standards and they ought to be exacting standards, high standards, and they ought to be fairly applied. I think how you arrive at that is something that the Secretary will deal with and we believe will deal with very appropriately.
Q When do you think he'll get Secretary Cohen's recommendation?
MR. MCCURRY: He said yesterday, and I think Ken said on his behalf, not for another week or two.
Q Mike, two questions. Is Marine General Sheehan now the front runner?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to speculate on individual candidates. We've had one public discussion of a candidate, a leading candidate. I'm not going to get into other names.
Q Does the White House believe that the military should revise its rules on adultery?
MR. MCCURRY: Asked and answered. That was just that question.
Q Mike, Indonesia has cancelled orders for F-16s and pulled out of U.S. military exercises in protest over criticism from Congress on their human rights record. Do you --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's from Congress, and as you know, the administration itself has been somewhat critical in our annual human rights report. We regret the decision by the government of Indonesia. We have a bilateral relationship in which we cooperate in a number of areas, but we do have some disagreements with respect to human rights, worker rights issues. But we stick by our concerns.
Q Are you going to try and get them to reconsider this? Is anybody putting any --
MR. MCCURRY: I think at the moment, I think the State Department can tell you better about how we will proceed, but my guess is that they will try to find some other purchaser for the planes. Remember, this is a transaction in part that alleviates the obligation we have to the government of Pakistan, which originally purchases the planes.
Q Back to the military for a second. I think what the congresswoman said was that there should be a moratorium on any further action vis-a-vis adultery cases while a review were to take place. You seem to have signaled that you would support a review. Do you also think that there should be a moratorium?
MR. MCCURRY: I think it would be better for Secretary Cohen to address that. He's ultimately responsible for those types of reviews within the Department. He has been on the Hill today talking to members of the Armed Services Committee. I think he wants to make sure that we see the standards correctly drawn and fairly applied.
We go through these episodes occasionally when we go through a feeding frenzy or a very highly controversial crisis and the rules of the road are reestablished. And it feels like we're going through a moment like that now. But I think that the President is confident that the Secretary is the right person to drive that process to make sure that we end up in the right place.
Q Mike, is there concern at the White House that if Ralston is nominated, the battering that the Pentagon make take during hearings, the issue is sure to come up at hearings, and given these fights recently on the allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination and the Pentagon's poor handling, can they afford to take another beating?
MR. MCCURRY: It's a question based on hypothesis because it assumes a recommendation from the Secretary that the Secretary has not made. And I'm just not going to get into it.
Q Can you give us any color from the graduation?
MR. MCCURRY: I won't because I was not there, as you know. But your pool, I am told by Marcia Berry, has gotten a pretty good color readout. They are due back here -- I understand the President and the First Lady were greeting people who attended the ceremony and they were still up there visiting with Chelsea and her friends and her friends' parents. So they should be back soon and there is a pool report that's got some of that color.
Q What is the President doing this weekend? Does he have any plans?
MR. MCCURRY: We don't know, do we? We'll check later on. I'm not aware -- I think he's got some family and friends in town.
Q Algerian election reaction?
MR. MCCURRY: Did you get anything on that? Why don't you find that. Come back to that in a second and I'll do something for you.
Q Mike, just one thing on the graduation. Do the Clintons feel like they have successfully protected her childhood from media scrutiny and so forth and allowed her to grow up in a normal fashion.
MR. MCCURRY: The President has very often complimented all of you for your willingness to give her the privacy to let her go through her teenage years and reach a proud moment that in many ways and many respects is the beginning of adulthood in a real way. And they're very grateful for that.
And I think it's not so much that they protected her or shielded her, but they just tried to create circumstances in which in this very unusual setting she could live as normal a life as possible. And I think, to your credit, to Chelsea's credit and I think to her parent's credit it worked. And that was good news. And I think that today, in part, she gets launched off to the next part of her life in fine fashion as a result.
Q Well, they did let her speak abroad, but never around us and we've had no sense of who she is, what she is, but she does make public appearances when she goes to Asia and Africa.
MR. MCCURRY: She's a very capable, beautiful young lady, probably in part because of that.
Q Because she doesn't speak to the United States?
MR. MCCURRY: Because she doesn't sit down and do interviews with Helen Thomas every morning at 7:00 a.m.
Q Gee, that's too damn bad. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: But I want you to know since I sit there and talk to you every morning at 7:00 a.m., I have grown through the experience. (Laughter.)
Q Senator Daschle says we hear from our Hill folks that the flood bill won't get to the White House until Monday. So do you think you'll negotiate over the weekend and see if you can affect the timing?
MR. MCCURRY: Of when the bill comes down here?
Q No, henceforth -- what are you going to do after Monday, how are you going to handle it when it gets here?
MR. MCCURRY: They'll send it down Monday so that they don't have to sit there with the President's veto message ringing in their ears all weekend. But the President will veto it on Monday and we'll get back to seeing -- I don't think the House comes back in until Tuesday, anyhow, and we'll get on with seeing if we can't work this out.
Q No, no, no, my question is, you could talk over the weekend to see if you could figure out what to do after --
MR. MCCURRY: They left town. There's not anyone around to talk to.
Q What's the radio address on tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: The radio address will be about the repugnant crimes that occurred based on bigotry, intolerance in this country, and the effort that we need to make to deal with that. And the President has some ideas on how in the coming year we might better address the question of hate crimes.
Q Is that related to the church burnings report that's coming out this weekend as well?
MR. MCCURRY: In part, because it is a related topic, not necessarily directly related, but as part of an ongoing effort this President is going to make to combat intolerance, bigotry, prejudice and racism in our society.
Q Mike, since you're rolling up for the race relations commencement address and speeches are being written, do you have any information that you can give us on the initiative that's coming out?
MR. MCCURRY: I think Joe laid out pretty much where we are yesterday, a little snapshot. I will tell you, we are going into a period where we're consulting more closely with a wide variety of people outside the White House now. And so we're going to fine-tune and perfect some of the -- mostly some of the process that the President will present next week. I think substantively the President's got a good sense of how he wants to address issues next weekend, but we will be sort of fine tuning aspects of our initiative as we go into next week.
Q Following up, has the White House decided if there will be a White House Conference on Race?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President, as I may have just hinted, will have some thoughts about a specific question related to that in the radio address. And he, of course, will be outlining a way in which we can use the coming year in a very positive way to address questions of diversity, tolerance and coming together as one America as we prepare for his speech in San Diego.
Q Mike, you touched a few minutes ago on Senator Glenn's anger, but didn't delve into the part that -- the whole bipartisan process on campaign finance or investigations seem to be falling apart. Could you elaborate on what the White House's thinking is on that?
MR. MCCURRY: As I said before, we have believed all along that it's important to fairly and impartially review the facts and circumstances surrounding campaign finance issues in the 1995-'96 election cycle. Or even more generally, the question of how we finance campaigns in our country -- because, among other things, the President believes the conclusion will be abundantly clear that we need to reform campaign finance laws. And that's why, in a sense, we've already put forward the President's thinking on that by endorsing the McCain-Feingold/Meehan-Shays legislation.
It's important, if the American people are going to have any confidence in the process of looking at the campaign, that it be done in a fair and balanced way. And what seems to be breaking down now on the Hill is any sense that hearings in either the Senate or the House are going to be fair, because they clearly are going to be designed to suit the whims of the majority.
Q More to the point, do you see a rescue strategy, so to speak, to try to keep a very fragile process together that the White House would be engaging in? If it's falling apart, what are you going to do to put it back together?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's not the responsibility of the Executive Branch to hold together fragile Senate and House hearings. I mean, that's the job of committee chairs working with ranking members. And that's where the process is falling apart now, is at the committee chair level and that requires leadership and it requires the congressional leaders to be directly involved.
Q But do you agree you have a vested interest in it?
MR. MCCURRY: In having them fall apart or come together?
Q Either way.
MR. MCCURRY: I think we have a vested interest in making sure the facts come out, that we continue to cooperate and that the truth be learned about the '95-'96 campaign cycle. We've actually already tried to do our part by being as forthcoming as we can, by providing documents when we can, by trying to answer as satisfactorily as we can questions from you when we're in a position to do so. So we're going to continue to do that work. That's how we'll proceed.
Q You say it's the committee chairman -- it's falling apart at the committee chairman level. So you're faulting Senator Thompson for not maintaining a bipartisan process?
MR. MCCURRY: No, I'm just saying it appears from our distance down here that they're having trouble keeping this fair and balanced, and that's the point that Senator Glenn was making yesterday. And I think those of you who know them, know that he would probably do so somewhat reluctantly.
Q Yes, but the key relationship here, in addition to how he's getting along with Democrats, is how he's getting along with you. I mean, there is regular correspondence. How is it from your perspective?
MR. MCCURRY: From our perspective, we continue to cooperate. We've had some disagreements, but we tend to try to resolve those disagreements. I think that our ability to cooperate will probably be similarly affected as the minority side has been affected, as the hearings -- if they do take on a more partisan cast.
Q What's your understanding of where the process stands with this advisory commission on cloning?
MR. MCCURRY: That they meet tomorrow. Among other things, they are preparing a final report to the President that I think, depending on the outcome of their deliberations tomorrow, would come to the White House sometime fairly soon. I'm not that they've set a deadline.
Q -- what happens?
MR. MCCURRY: Whatever their recommendations are, the President will duly consider them.
Q Based on what you know about what they're considering, the private research can go forward, but not to actually make humans out of the embryo research --
MR. MCCURRY: I wouldn't make any -- I wouldn't rush to judgment about what their conclusions are.
Q So would you say that the reporting on what their preliminary conclusions are is incorrect?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I don't know that it's incorrect. I just think the thrust of their recommendations I don't think are going to be too surprising, given the widespread concern expressed in both the scientific and the ethical community about human cloning. It's likely going to be a recommendation that we not start cloning human beings.
Q Right, but is there anything in those recommendations that you would object to so far? Or are you waiting for the final report?
MR. MCCURRY: We're going to see it and evaluate it, but I think the general headline I just gave you is pretty obvious.
Q Back on disaster relief just for a second, accepting for the moment that the Republicans are making mistake, let's say, hypothetically, someone has got to rise above this and go forward. I mean, some sort of compromise has to be forged, right? Do you see a way for the White House to encourage that process? Is there anything he can do?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, I think -- under our Constitution, that's what a veto is designed to do, and that's exactly what will help this situation, is when the President makes it very clear to Congress that we need to get disaster relief to the communities and people who need it. And we can't gum up that bill with things that are clearly going to be objectionable and are going to remain objectionable. Congress will hopefully get that message and act accordingly -- send us a bill that the President can sign. That's the way the process works, and it works pretty well.
Q Which is not necessarily a clean bill? I mean, are you saying you can accept some things?
MR. MCCURRY: Look, the disaster all along -- with bipartisan agreement, the disaster bill has also included some peacekeeping funding for our forces in Bosnia, because they need to have the financial support that's been requested, too. So there are other measures that are in there. But we're talking specifically about things that are not germane to the subject of disaster relief that are being attached to this bill because it's a fast -- supposedly fast-moving legislative vehicle that don't have -- that are controversial enough that they shouldn't be there holding up a bill that needs to pass.
Q But, Mike, what is, therefore, the greater good --vetoing objectionable elements that you may or may not be able to live with, or getting the disaster relief out and running? What's the greater good in terms of where you want to go, as far as accepting or rejecting the bill?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the greater good is to do business efficiently and in a bipartisan way the American people elected a Republican Congress and a Democratic President to do. And we've had some success in doing that this year. That's why this is kind of a bizarre setback, because it goes back to more the climate of the 1995-'96 budget disagreements, which we think -- we thought was largely settled and largely settled in ways that would have prevented a recurrence of that type of partisan bickering.
Q Mike, getting back on the race issue, Reverend Jesse Jackson says that his comments are falling on a deaf ear here at the White House. He's calling for more minorities and women to have power positions in the White House, judgeship positions. What doe you say about that? What does the President say?
MR. MCCURRY: I think he's right. We need a new Press Secretary, for example. (Laughter.) No, look he's --
Q Who are you going to get?
MR. MCCURRY: He's advocating -- April. (Laughter.) Look, there is a -- he has forcefully and in a very articulate way made that argument. He's made that argument for a long time. We've responded saying we think we have done well on that criteria that he raises in those criticisms. But we have always respected his voice and always listened very, very carefully to him, and not necessarily always agreeing with everything the Reverend says, but a lot of us -- and the President included -- admire his guidance, and we listen and hear him out and try to do the right thing -- not always doing exactly what he wants, but doing what the President thinks is in the best interest.
But without any doubt, broadly speaking, I think the President and the Reverend share the same vision of what we want to see happen in this country with respect to diversity, minority empowerment, the advances that we want to see all Americans make together as one America.
Q But you reject those specific criticisms that he made the other day after meeting with the President?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I don't know that --
Q Specific criticisms about the EEOC and the senior White House staff?
MR. MCCURRY: I mean, on the EEOC, we -- look, we have reduced a backlog that was well above 100,000 cases. We cut it in half. The President wouldn't say that he is at all satisfied with the progress because there is still a backlog of cases. But remember, we've gone out and sought additional funding for the agency to try to retire that backlog, and Congress has said no every time we've requested it. So we're managing to reduce the backlog even though it's not perfect.
I think -- look, there is -- and the Reverend, I think, understands this well. There is advantage in having pressure coming from that side all the time because it makes it possible for us to advance the argument that we have to try to move forward. It sometimes ends up being compromised, but it's not at all out of line for there to be criticism because I think that helps create an environment in which we can address some of these issues more effectively.
Q Does the White House agree that there needs to be more minority women?
Q So you're saying you value his input, but you disagree with the specific --
MR. MCCURRY: We disagree with some of his -- I mean, we have a different interpretation of some of the specific areas he raises, put it that way.
Q What about the White House staff?
MR. MCCURRY: We think the White House staff --
Q Senior positions.
MR. MCCURRY: In senior positions, we can work up numbers and everything for you, but we are very satisfied that in terms of diversity we've compiled an exemplary record.
Q He says Frank Raines is not enough.
MR. MCCURRY: Well, he's not alone. That's the answer. Look around. I mean, he may not know some of our new people who are working in high-level positions, too.
Q A disaster relief question. I don't understand why -- if the President has an interest in delivering this aid to these people, why wouldn't he make a phone call over the weekend to reach out to the congressional leaders to say how can we get thing --
MR. MCCURRY: We have had ongoing consultations with them -- senior members of the staff. The President has said I'm on standby if there's something that's going to move this. But you've heard the Majority Leader speak and you know that there's not likely going to be movement on this issue over the weekend. We're here, we're available. If they wanted to stick around in town and try to work something out this weekend, I think the President will be more than available to do it.
Q Dick Morris is probably on standby, too. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: To do more commentary on CNN, no doubt.
Q Ooooh. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: Ooooh. That was fair. Come on, how often do I shill for you? (Laughter.)
We don't have anything good on the Algerian election results because we're waiting for reports from international observers in our embassy on the election before we comment on the results and the fairness of the voting. That's why there wasn't anything brilliant to say on top of the briefing.
Q Mike, do you have what's coming up next week?
MR. MCCURRY: I can put that out in a minute, and tell you that we've got a couple of pieces of paper coming. We've got still the radio address we've not put out, right?
Q You're going to put the radio address out today?
Q That was taped or live?
MR. MCCURRY: No, it was taped. It was already taped, so we can put that out on an embargoed basis.
Q What's the labor thing?
MR. MCCURRY: We'll try to get that out early. We are doing the -- are we finalizing -- remember that whole question about executive order versus a memoranda on the project labor agreements? I think we've now finalized -- it's been reported by many of you already where we are going with that memoranda. I think they finalized that memoranda. So let's try to get that out relatively quickly. Anything else for the afternoon? And that will pretty much be it, so we'll try to get everyone out of here reasonably early.
Q Mike, is there any substantiation to a report that the U.S. is planning to hold military -- joint military operations with Taiwan?
MR. MCCURRY: No. We do not conduct joint military exercises with Taiwan.
Q Mike, I had heard that the President may be meeting with labor leaders from some of the G-7 countries on Monday. Is there any truth to that or is that --
Q Labor ministers or labor leaders?
Q Labor leaders, not labor ministers.
MR. MCCURRY: That's interesting. What is that? Oh, that's right. There is a -- has been traditionally a discussion, growing out of both the -- I think it began -- maybe it came out of Tokyo or it came out of the Naples meeting -- a convention that there is a general discussion of labor and employment issues early on. That would certainly be consistent with the President's view that employment issues and expanding job creation. And by the way, I'm sure you all reported dutifully on the fact that unemployment is at 4.8 percent and 12.3 million jobs have been created since Bill Clinton has been President of the United States. I know that was probably right up there in the leads on everything you filed.
But job creation and how we do job creation is something that the President and Prime Minister Blair agree ought to be a focus both of the Denver summit and then the Birmingham summit next year. So we'll keep you posted on it.
Q Are labor leaders going to attend the Summit of the 8?
MR. MCCURRY: We obviously don't know yet. Oh, some of them do, because in some countries the labor minister, in some cases, has the economic portfolio, along with finance ministers and others. But we'll check further. It doesn't sound like we're announcing it, and I did not see it on the week ahead. But if we formalize that, we'll let you know.
Q Is there anything on the week ahead other than --
MR. MCCURRY: Nothing except what you guys already know about the Emir of Qatar is here on Wednesday. The President is going to address a juvenile justice conference on Wednesday. He's got the annual meeting of the Business Roundtable, the President will address Thursday afternoon. And Friday we head out to California for the graduation speech at UCSD.
Q Anything specific on a juvenile justice speech that he's going to focus on?
MR. MCCURRY: He'll have some specific ideas, but it will be designed to promote the President's juvenile justice strategy and our legislation.
Q Can you reconsider and give us a news conference here before the President goes out to Denver?
MR. MCCURRY: No, it's not going to be possible. And we will be able to do a full-scale press conference in Denver, as I told you earlier. That's the 22nd.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
MR. MCCURRY: Bye. Happy weekend.
END 2:08 P.M. EDT