THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Denver, Colorado)
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NSC JIM STEINBERG, AND DEPUTY SECRETARY LARRY SUMMERS
Brown Palace Hotel Denver, Colorado
3:34 P.M. MDT
MR. MCCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We're going to do a couple things -- there are several stories I think you're pursuing at this hour. I just want to do a couple of housekeeping things to start off with.
The President began his day this morning meeting with staff, preparing for the bilaterals he had. He also had a 20-minute phone call with President Fernando Enrique Cardozo of Brazil. The government of Brazil announced today that they are joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the first time Brazil has been granted accession to the NPT. The President called to congratulate President Cardozo on that.
They chatted a bit about the President's enthusiasm as he looks forward to his trip later this fall to Brazil. They talked a little bit about some of the themes that will likely be covered during that trip -- certainly, trade liberalization, sustainable development, educational cooperation and joint efforts to combat crime and drugs -- a good preview of the upcoming trip the President will take.
In part, it turns out the two Presidents' schedules will not overlap -- they had looked forward to maybe seeing each other in New York next week -- and that's why the phone call was arranged today.
The President, during the course of the morning, obviously had several updates from Washington on our understanding of the status of the tobacco talks. The President has now made both a written statement and a statement just moments ago during the meeting with President Chirac. That's available to all of you. I can take some questions on that.
Here to brief you on the President's bilateral meeting with President Yeltsin is Jim Steinberg and Deputy Secretary Summers is here, too, to tell you more about the very important announcement concerning Russia's membership in the Paris Club.
We'll start with Jim, and then Larry.
MR. STEINBERG: Thank you, Mike. President Clinton and President Yeltsin met today for about an hour in their scheduled bilateral. It was quite a good meeting. President Yeltsin was very vigorous, the discussion was very animated. And it was one -- it was really characterized in a very striking way about the really productive quality of their discussions these days. They worked through a large number of issues, moved some things forward, and it really was two men who are now very used to working with each other, familiar with the problems that they're having to deal with, also familiar with the opportunities of trying to do things together. And so they were able to accomplish quite a lot and cover a lot of ground in a very brief period of time.
They're really building on these regular meetings. This is the third time they've met in the last several months. They met in Helsinki in March; they met in Paris last month in connection with the NATO-Russia agreement; and here today.
The discussions began, not surprisingly, with a discussion of how President Yeltsin was feeling. He told the President that he was feeling terrific, but his suits were a little too big and he had to deal with that challenge. He noted that he lost almost 30 kilos over the last year. And he also noted -- he said, "My brain is always moving fast, but now my body is also moving with more energy."
They began with a brief discussion -- President Yeltsin indicated Russia's interest in hosting an Olympic Children's Games in 1998, and that we're working with the Olympic Committee on that. The President agreed to look into that and see how we could be supportive.
The President then congratulated President Yeltsin on the successful conclusion of the Paris Club negotiations, which Larry Summers is going to talk to you about. The President said it was very good news; that when they had met in Helsinki they had identified this on the economic front as one of the early possible steps that could be taken in terms of integrating Russia into international economic organizations. He noted it had only been 13 weeks since they had undertaken to do that and he was very pleased that they were able to come to such a good agreement.
Yeltsin noted that this had been a very productive period of several months. In addition to the NATO-Russia agreement, there had been some very important agreements between Russia and Ukraine and particularly with respect to the Black Sea fleet. He also pointed to the progress that had been made in resolving the political problems in Moldova and the Transdnistria region, including the possibility of not being able to move the Russian troops from there.
They talked a bit about their common efforts with President Chirac to address the problem in Nagora-Karabakh. The three Presidents are releasing a statement today, talking about their common efforts and the proposals that they've been making to try to move that process forward. Both President Clinton and President Yeltsin identified it not only as an area of considerable danger if the problem were not solved, but one of great promise in terms of enhancing regional stability if they could make progress. And they made a joint commitment to push hard on that, seeing a real opportunity in the near future to move forward.
They next turned to their arms control agenda. The President recalled that when they were in Helsinki they made a particular point of putting emphasis on the desirability of reaching a framework agreement on CFE, ideally, before the NATO Madrid Summit. Yeltsin noted that senior officials including Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Primakov had been working very hard on this issue and that there had been real progress and that it was quite possible that they could reach an agreement on the framework before Madrid, although there was a lot of work yet to do. And those discussions will continue on the margins here.
They talked about the ABM-TMD demarcation agreement which was another of the important decisions that had come out of Helsinki, where the principles for that agreement were set up and experts now meeting to try to put that into a formal document. There's an experts group session scheduled for July, and they both agreed that they would try to use that session to try to finish off the agreement.
They also had a conversation about their mutual interest in getting the START II extension protocol ratified by the Duma so that it would be possible to go on to START III. The President indicated that he was very eager to move forward with that, saw it very much in the strategic and economic interest of both countries.
Yeltsin agreed; he said that although there were a lot of things on his plate, that he was determined to give it a real push with the Duma. And the President expressed appreciation for that, and also appreciation for the efforts of Foreign Minister Primakov in trying to move that forward.
They discussed in a little bit of detail their efforts to move forward on implementing the NATO-Russia Council that was agreed in Paris. They both chastised their bureaucrats for not moving fast enough on this and promised to give a real push to that effort.
They then turned to the third element of the Helsinki agenda, that is the economic issues. The President congratulated President Yeltsin on some of the progress that had been made in enacting reforms, including tax reforms, and the successful recourse of the financial markets that Russia has recently been able to do in terms of its bond sales.
They came back and talked briefly again about the Paris Club accession, and the President indicated that this really provided momentum to move forward towards a WTO agreement, that there was a real need for our negotiators to get together to intensify their efforts. And President Yeltsin indicated that he shared the desire to move quality as possible on a WTO agreement.
The President briefly touched on one concern about a law that's now pending in the Russian Duma concerning registration of religious groups and the concern that this could cause problems in terms of the free expression of religion in Russia. And President Yeltsin said that he understood the President's concern and he would look into that.
The two Presidents also had a brief discussion about Iraq. In particular, they discussed the report of the UNSCOM Director Ikeus and the problems that he had identified in trying to carry out the inspections under the regime. Both Presidents, including President Yeltsin, expressed concern about the failure to comply and the need for a strong statement coming out of the U.N. and they promised to work together and directed their officials to work together to see if they could reach a common position to be taken at the U.N.
They concluded their discussions with a sort of look into the future. They both talked about the possibilities of deepening and broadening the U.S.-Russian partnership for the 21st century and their desire to try to find ways to capture their new spirit that prevails in U.S.-Russian relations. And they both promised to give some thought to measures that they might take as we move towards the year 2000 that really reflected the possibilities of the U.S.-Russia partnership as an engine of progress on a whole range of issues coming into the next century.
As they were parting, President Yeltsin noted that he was going to be talking to Prime Minister Hashimoto during his time here and his hope that they could make some progress in Russian-Japanese relations, and President Clinton urged him to do that and hoped that they would have some success in moving forward on that important relationship.
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: At about 5:30 a.m. this morning, an agreement was reached between Russia and the Chairman of the Paris Club on principles for Russia's accession to the Paris Club. President Clinton and President Yeltsin had committed in Helsinki three months ago to work as rapidly as possible to permit Russia to enter the Paris Club, and that is now what has been achieved and was welcomed by the two Presidents in their meeting.
The Paris Club is the international body, the international group of nations that works together to work out the debt of developing countries to major creditor nations. It includes almost all of the world's major industrialized countries.
In a real sense, this agreement represents the financial end of the Cold War. What is involved is an agreement that Russia, along with the other creditor nations, will work together to address the debt problems of developing countries, to collect debts owed where possible, and to make appropriate adjustments where necessary.
As part of the agreement for Russia to join the Paris Club and join the international financial community in this way, an agreement was reached through which Russia's debt claims on developing countries would be adjusted prior to their joining the Paris Club. The adjustment reflects the Russian exchange rate regime of the former Soviet Union and it reflects the fact that much of this debt was Cold War military debt.
The magnitude of the adjustments vary from case to case, depending upon the exact nature of the debts, between 30 and 80 percent. This agreement is a financially significant one since Russia has approximately -- a little bit more than $120 billion in outstanding claims on developing countries. What it means is that henceforth, as the world addresses the debt problems of developing countries, Russia will be a full participant.
For example, what this agreement means is that for some of the poorest countries in Africa, once Russia becomes a part of the Paris Club, with the discount that is applied to Russian debt as it joins the Paris Club, and then Russia becomes part of the international effort to reduce debt further, that as much as 90 to 95 cents of each dollar of Russian debt will be written off for some of the poorest countries in Africa.
This is a win-win agreement. It is a win for Russia because it is now part of the international community's regularized process for handling debts to developing countries. It is a win for developing countries because Russia has agreed to adjustment of debts to reflect reality in light of current circumstances. And it is a win for the United States and for France, that played a key role in brokering this agreement, because it serves the objective of bringing Russia in to the international community, which has been our task over these years.
Q Secretary Summers, can you talk a little bit more about the adjustment, as you call it, before an accession into the Paris Club? Have you got a dollar figure for the overall adjustments they've got to make? And what are their criteria to determine who's going to get 30 percent and who's going to get 80 percent?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: I don't have any more dollar figures. That will depend upon the full agreement with the Paris Club and the collection of data and so forth. The nature of the adjustments will depend upon the income level and economic circumstances of the country involved and the special circumstances where Russia -- where the Soviet Union was the predominant military creditor, as well as a variety of complexities involved in valuing Soviet era claims.
Q Have all of the issues been resolved now, or are there still some negotiations that will be required to get them fully into the membership into the Paris Club?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: This is, as I said, an agreement in principle between Russia and the Chairman of the Paris Club. It is not a -- it does not take formal effect, of course, until it is agreed by all the members of the Paris Club, since the Paris Club operates on the basis of consensus.
Q Is there any -- that Yeltsin will go to Madrid?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: I will leave questions about Madrid to Mr. Steinberg.
Q The full agreement, when do you expect that to happen?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: Soon, but I don't know exactly when.
Q -- 5:30 a.m. in Paris, 5:30 a.m. here? Where?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: The meeting took place at the New York Federal Reserve Bank between representatives of Russia, and it was chaired, of course, by the Chairman of the Paris Club and representatives of the G-7 countries. The United States was represented by Assistant Secretary David Lipton who played a crucial role in brokering this agreement.
Q Have they met through the night, or did they just schedule a 5:30 a.m. meeting?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: No, they met all night. This has been an effort that has been underway for a number of years, when Russia has expressed a desire to be part of the Paris Club, but it found new energy and there's been a kind of full-court press since President Clinton and President Yeltsin agreed in Helsinki to get this done in 1997.
Q Secretary Rubin said on Monday that he didn't expect this to be announced here. What broke the logjam in the last three days?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: Effective diplomacy and, I think, a real political will in Russia and on the part of the G-7 countries to reach this agreement.
MR. MCCURRY: And the Secretary's canny ability to lower expectations.
Q What's the total amount of Russia debt from Africa?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: I don't have a figure for you from Africa. The total amount of Russia debt to developing countries that becomes -- that will now be addressed through the Paris Club process is $120 billion, but as I -- it is a little over $120 billion. But as I indicated, that debt will be adjusted as part of Russia's joining the Paris Club by numbers in the 30 to 80 percent range depending upon circumstances.
Q It is all Soviet era debt?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: It's all Soviet era debt, yes.
Q Two questions for Jim. One --
MR. STEINBERG: Can I just answer before we go on? As you all know, before President Yeltsin arrived, he stated that he was not planning on coming to Madrid. He confirmed that fact to President Clinton today, but indicated that Russia would be sending an appropriate senior representative to the meeting there.
Q Two questions -- one, was there no discussion of NATO between the two leaders other than what you mentioned about the council? And secondly, the President said that this was a cause of celebration to have Russia here as more of a full member. Was there anything from Yeltsin to indicate he felt any different about his status here?
MR. STEINBERG: The only discussion of NATO was the discussion of implementing the Partnership Council and the work that remains to be done to get that underway. I think that there was a real sense on the part of President Yeltsin that he really was a full participant. I think in the past, as he's come to these meetings, there was some concern about whether it could move forward in terms of Russia's participation. That was not a real subject of the discussion today because there was so much of a sense of belonging to this meeting. It's a little bit reading between the lines, but I had a real sense that President Yeltsin felt comfortable, fully a part of this and really looking forward to the discussions.
Q Was there any discussion on the Japanese Northern Territories question? Did the President encourage Yeltsin to move on a political settlement of that issue?
MR. STEINBERG: As I said, at the end of the discussion President Yeltsin indicated that he was looking forward to talking to Prime Minister Hashimoto about that. They didn't discuss in any detail the specifics of the Northern Territories, but simply the desire to develop stronger and closer relationships between Russia and Japan.
The President encouraged him in that direction and indicated that it was very important. He said that he thought in the future, over the next 20 years, that there was a tremendous possibility for the relationship between Russia and Japan and he really looked forward to their making progress on the political issues so that that relationship could reach its potential.
Q Jim, are you planning on -- is the President planning on making any other stops after Madrid in addition to Copenhagen?
MR. STEINBERG: The President has made no decision on any travel beyond the travel that you know about, which is to go to Copenhagen.
Q Secretary Summer, was the debt outstanding to the Russians good debt? Was it being paid? And the discounting, was that a difficult pill for them to swallow? I realize what the prize was, but was it costly for them?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: In some country cases, the debt was being serviced; in other country cases, the debt was not being serviced. Clearly, this was a negotiation and I think everybody went into it with the objective of finding the kind of win-win solution that I talked about, where Russia would benefit from the regularization of its financial relations with these countries through its participation in the Paris Club and the countries. And the countries' other creditors, in turn, would benefit from the adjustment of Russian debts to take account of factors like the special valuation of the Soviet Euro, ruble and the military character of some of the debt.
Q -- 10 years ago, Russia was not only kept away from this kind of summit, but that it was the target of the policies, many of the policies that came out of these kinds of summit. Was there any discussion or expressions about that evolution, that journey from then to now?
MR. STEINBERG: Well, I think -- I mean, obviously it is true and I think that it is one of the things that both Presidents feel strongly about.
I think the one thing that the President did say is he talked about -- he congratulated President Yeltsin on the leadership he's shown. After President Yeltsin went through a number of these achievements that they've accomplished over the last several months, the President indicated that it really was a testament to President Yeltsin's leadership and his continued commitment to democracy.
He also said that to the press at the beginning of the meeting, that he really sees President Yeltsin as being an important, driving force to continue this process of integration and really a remarkable three-month period since Helsinki.
Q Could you take a few tobacco questions before deadline?
Q But there's no looking back to those bad old days when they were on the outside?
MR. STEINBERG: I think -- I feel that there is so much that they're working on and the progress. I mean, certainly President Yeltsin is very focused. It was a very -- the meeting, they sort of kept working through these issues because they really see these meetings as an opportunity to continue to make progress on the agenda.
And, as I say, when we laid out the agenda in Helsinki, if you think about just how much has been accomplished during that period of time -- two of the very important early objectives, which is getting the NATO-Russia agreement, was done in two months time; the Paris Club accession, in three months time. They're looking forward to the possibility of completing the ABM-TMD demarcation agreement next month.
So it's really a kind of -- they really look forward to getting together because they see each other. They frequently chastise their officials and their bureaucrats for not getting on with getting this business done and getting more and more progress in a relationship.
Q Is Cuba one of the countries that will get debt relief from this arrangement?
DEPUTY SECRETARY SUMMERS: Cuba will not get debt relief from this arrangement. The arrangement to recall simply provides that as Russia joins the Paris Club there will be an upfront adjustment of Russia's debt. There then won't be -- no action will take place unless the Paris Club reaches an agreement with the country in question. And since Cuba does not have regularized international financial relations, it would not be affected by this agreement.
If I could just make one other observation on something that Jim touched on. I remarked that in a sense this represented the financial end of the Cold War. That's really true in two senses today. One is this Paris Club agreement that we've been talking about; the other is the success of the Russian government in accessing the international capital market with its first successful 10-year borrowing since 1913 on purely private terms.
MR. MCCURRY: I'm going to -- in a minute we're going to, by telephone, have Sandy Berger give you a readout on the meeting with President Chirac. But I think for the networks who are coming up on their deadline, they need some tobacco questions.
Q Mike, Mike Moore today called this agreement historic and yet, it's still early in the process. Is he calling it historic too early from the point of view of the White House?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it's also too early to call it history. I think there are a lot of things that we want to look at very carefully as we evaluate the settlement that has been reached. The President, as you know, has complimented the attorneys general for the work that they did. But remember when we entered into the regulatory process and the President took, I think, the courageous decision to launch the FDA regulatory proceeding, we did so only after the most meticulous of reviews. And the President believes that same type of review ought to apply now to this settlement. There are many aspects of this settlement that we don't fully understand, even though we know a lot about the nature of the dialogue between the parties during these months of negotiation.
Attorney General Moore this afternoon is meeting with Bruce Reed, who's now been designated by the President to, I think, along with Secretary Shalala, conduct this review. That will be our first formal opportunity to really see in detail the nature of the agreement. And we then expect to begin a very rigorous and meticulous evaluation to see if it is consistent with those public health policy objectives that underscored the FDA's rule-making process in the first place.
Q There was at least the feeling while this was going on that nothing would be agreed to that didn't at least have a chance of being approved by the White House. Did they check with you first? Was there a signal to them that you can live with what they were about to come up with?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, they attempted, I think, as everyone here knows, many times, particularly in the closing hours of this negotiation to get definitive signals. And one thing that we feel confident at is that the likelihood that this agreement will pass muster was increased by the fact that we refrained from sending that kind of signal. We have not indicated approval for the agreement.
I think we've made it, at the same time, very clear what the President was looking for in a settlement: first and foremost, something that protects the public health objectives that he has long articulated, something that protects America's children from the damaging effects of tobacco use. So they knew what they had to measure against.
The President had been clear about that both publicly and then in the private comments we'd extended to the parties. And I think they worked very, very hard and got -- certainly the attorneys general got concessions even at the 11th hour that moved this settlement in a direction that will make it easier for us to evaluate.
Q And my I follow just one second? So there were some private discussions, as you just said?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, obviously we were in contact with the parties, as we've told you all along, not so much as to signal yes or no on elements, but to make very clear two things: one, that our criteria for evaluation would be whether or not any settlement meant the public health objectives put forward by the President; and two, to make it abundantly clear that we were not going to, in a sense, intervene in the negotiation by helping them get over any final hurdles. And I -- the President believes that was the proper posture and also believes that probably produced terms in this settlement that will certainly be more advantageous for those who are interested in protecting the public health of the American people.
Q This is a two-part, related question. Is there anything in this agreement that would restrict the tobacco companies as far as their international sales and marketing are concerned? And B, is that a factor -- one of the elements that the President wants as part of this deal?
MR. MCCURRY: Wolf, I don't know the answer to that. I think, in general, during the course of the negotiations, Mr. Lindsey has been in a position to be most familiar generally. Now, as we look at the settlement specifically, we will be able to answer questions like that in greater detail. I just don't know the answer.
Q Will the President only be interested in the impact on American health and American children, or is he interested in the health of people outside of the United States?
MR. MCCURRY: I think the President is interested -- obviously, he has an humanitarian concern -- interested in public health elsewhere in the world. At the same time, we have never said that tobacco is not a legal product, certainly a legal product for export. We know that, and the only thing we ask is for fair access to markets when those markets are available to a product made in the United States.
At the same time, we respect the public health policies of countries that, like the United States, seek to restrict certain aspects of tobacco marketing or access to tobacco products for certain categories of citizens -- i.e., minors. And the President has made clear that through our export promotion policies we'll acknowledge and respond to and honor the public health policies of other nations.
Q Moore talked about a $25 billion trust fund to be guided by the recommendations of a presidential commission. Was that element of the deal in any way coordinated with you? The fact that it's referred to as a presidential commission suggests that they know that you would like that.
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I'm not familiar enough with that provision myself. To my knowledge, we did not screen any particular element. I think there's an advisory commission t already exists with respect to some aspects of tobacco use, and that may be a reference there. But again, we will await a little further briefing after we talk to Bruce Reed, who is now in a position to give greater detail on the agreement, and certainly from Bruce Lindsey, who is now on his way here and will be in a position to help the President understand the agreement better.
Q Mike, you and the President both addressed the issues involving the FDA's power to regulate tobacco and the public health questions. But what about this whole concept of absolving tobacco countries from liability? What's the administration's view of that concept and will that be part of the -- will the Justice Department become part of this review process, too?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the limitation on punitive damages for past misconduct is not necessarily a deal-breaker for us. We understand that the attorneys general extracted substantial concessions from the tobacco companies for this limitaton and we'll evaluate whether the agreement as a whole advances the nation's public health interests. But on that specific limit, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker.
Q In the exchange with the pool the President first spoke about the agreement must be judged on its public health considerations. And then later he said the number one thing for us would be the nature of the FDA jurisdiction. Which is the top priority of the administration?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the assertion of FDA jurisdiction is the way that we guarantee that the public health interests that the President has first and foremost in his mind is guaranteed. That is, in fact -- remember, it is the assertion of jurisdiction by the FDA that likely got the industry in a position where they wanted to negotiate in the first place, and that's not something the we are willing to give up because the President will insist that the FDA continue to have necessary authority to regulate nicotine and tobacco products.
Q But is that the top priority, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: No, the top priority, generally speaking, is to assure the nation's public health by achieving the President's public health objective: discouraging tobacco use by young children.
Q Mike, why shouldn't the American public essentially see this agreement as a massive tax increase on cigarettes and not cigarette smokers?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, because it's much more than that. It is a proposed settlement which will look back, address claims that are made by some individuals. But it also looks forward and addresses ways in which we can discourage tobacco use by young people and accomplish many things that the public health community has long advocated.
By the way, on tobacco taxation, tobacco revenue, there was another development on a separate venue on that subject and we have always supported the use of tobacco revenues when it comes to the purpose of addressing children's health and the critical needs of young people. And just not long ago we were in the position because a specific proposal fell within the limits of the balanced budget agreement, i.e., the Kennedy-Hatch proposal that we had to indicate that that was not within the framework of the balanced budget agreement. But, apparently, now the Republican leadership believes that the measure considered by the Senate Finance Committee can co-exist and was within the framework of the balanced budget agreement.
And, of course, we have no objection to taxation provided that the revenues from tobacco taxation are used for children's health care and the critical needs of young people. That is the problem with the Senate Finance Committee action, because they have now used some of these revenues for the benefit of corporate and special interests. We believe all the proceeds from any increase in tobacco taxes should be devoted to children's health care and the critical needs of young people and their families.
Q It's been reported that Bruce Lindsey at one point offered a -- suggested a compromise for the two parties as they were negotiating. Did he have that role in the negotiations or was he more of an observer?
MR. MCCURRY: No, he had the role that we have described.
Q To follow up on your point you just made about the Senate Finance Committee bill and the tobacco tax -- would you be willing to support that tax if the proceeds of that were shifted to expansion of health insurance for children as part of the budget agreement?
MR. MCCURRY: We clearly, given now the agreement by the Republican leaders in the Senate that this measure is not constrained by the balanced budget agreement -- that it represents, we believe, a different point of view from prior measure in a separate context by Majority Leader Lott -- we would support the use of revenues for the expansion of health care insurance along the lines that we have indicated, above and beyond the $16 billion that has already been agreed to in the balanced budget agreement.
But our concern is that the current measure as marked up would divert some of the proceeds from that tax to corporate and special interests -- real estate taxes and state tax forgiveness -- even though some of it does go to expansion of health care coverage. We'd like to see all the proceeds from that increase in the tax go to health care, the needs of families, the needs of young people in particular.
Q On a different subject, do you have any comment on how the arrest of Kansi -- what impact, if any, that will have on U.S.-Pakistani relations?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to comment on that.
Q Mike, how long do you anticipate this review is really going to take?
MR. MCCURRY: We have not set any arbitrary time deadline. We expect it will be a matter of weeks, not months.
Q -- the deal could disintegrate on its own while the White House is pondering it?
MR. MCCURRY: If it does, that means it probably didn't pass muster with the American people and with those who advocate public health concerns. And that may, in fact, happen. The converse may happen as well, that it might be seen as a real opportunity and public support might build. We just don't know at this point.
We have several different scenarios on what we're going to do at dinner depending on what happens at dinner. Very often at meetings like this the leaders take control and decide to do things that the planners and staff hadn't planned for, and so we'll see what happens. Our current plan is just to go with a readout to your pool, and we think that will suffice. But we will alert people if there's some change in plan.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 4:14 P.M. MDT