THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
The Briefing Room
11:15 A.M. EDT
MR. MCCURRY: There. Enough said. Anything else you want to know about before we call it quits?
Q Where did the President see the fight?
MR. MCCURRY: He saw it up at Camp David.
Q How? I mean, $50?
MR. MCCURRY: They downlinked it some way or another, I don't know how. (Laughter.) The White House Communications Agency got it, and whether they plunked down their $54, or not, I don't know.
Q -- about the revelations in the news magazines this week that some of the troopers down in Arkansas got apparently paid off?
MR. MCCURRY: If there's anything to be said about it, it will be said by Mr. Bennett.
Q Who watched the fight with the President?
MR. MCCURRY: I think Mrs. Clinton did. Is that what you got the impression? They were settling in to watch it.
Q Mrs. Clinton was watching the fight?
MR. MCCURRY: We don't know who all watched it. We know the President did because he talked about it.
Q How much money do you expect to take in in Boston?
MR. MCCURRY: You'd have to refer those questions to the road because they'll know the answer.
Q Mike, to what extent will the Internet event tomorrow deal with the indecency issue?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President expressed some desire to at least talk about it in light of the Supreme Court ruling. The focus of this is more on the question of government regulatory policies or market-driven policies that would interact with the explosive growth we expect to see in electronic commerce on the Internet over the next decade and into the next century. But the President does want to address that question of how we can protect kids from smut on the Internet in some fashion. We'll have to see how that happens tomorrow.
Q Are you talking about taxation in particular?
MR. MCCURRY: I think our views on taxation on the Internet are pretty well known, ever since the Treasury Department circulated its draft saying that we did not foresee a role for federal taxation.
Q Is President Clinton interested in renewing the search for product liability reform, working with Senator McCain specifically?
MR. MCCURRY: There have been some very preliminary discussions with staff about how they can look at the issue of liability reform, tort reform, generally, but they've not progressed to the point of an initiative being tabled that I'm aware of. But there have been some discussions and at least some thought given to how we can address the question. Of course, the President in his veto messages in the last Congress set forth very clearly the criteria that he would use for tort reform.
Q Is it the hope that eventually he will develop an initiative on this?
MR. MCCURRY: I think there's desire in the Congress to move ahead on that legislation and we're working at the staff level to see if we can work together with Congress to fashion something that would be acceptable to the President.
Q -- the report on NAFTA coming out?
MR. MCCURRY: NAFTA report? Probably next week, I'm told.
Q Mike, on the subject of the Tyson fight, is there any feeling on the part of the President to -- fights not to be banned?
MR. MCCURRY: No, the President didn't have any thoughts beyond those that he shared already today. He thought it looked like it was a good fight, it was pretty appalling what happened, but he thought the referee had acted in the right way. And however boxing is regulated in Los Vegas, that's where they ought to start.
Q Is Holyfield going to come here to the White House? (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: I don't anticipate that.
Q What's his big focus this week? Is he preparing for --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, twofold. One, we're obviously doing some more work on advancing our ideas with respect to the future of a very important sector of our economy, which is going to be the growth in financial transactions that occur on the Internet. But we'll also be working to advance this tax proposal you've just heard about today, along with the rest of the President's agenda for this Congress. And then, of course, preparing for next week's very important summit of NATO leaders in Madrid. The President expects to receive briefings later on this week on that subject, and we will probably be briefing you on Wednesday.
Q Is there anything new on the racial initiative? Anything more about an apology for slavery?
MR. MCCURRY: Nothing new on the second point; a lot of work going on on the initiative itself and some tentative planning that's being done by the Chair of the President's Advisory Board, John Hope Franklin. But they're beginning to sequence some of the things that they'll turn to later in the year.
Q And the first monthly event is a monthly event in July? I mean, when do those actually begin?
MR. MCCURRY: I had heard it probably more likely after the summer break, but we can check in with Sylvia and let you know.
Q As a follow, did you get any sense whether or not the President is go ing to Pittsburgh to the NAACP conference?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't have anything on that at this point.
Q On NATO, has a consensus developed that there is a consensus for just three, or is that still going to be a fight going into Madrid?
MR. MCCURRY: There have been -- some governments are beginning to express themselves on that question. I think a lot of them are beginning to see the value in getting consensus prior to the arrival of the leaders at Madrid, but I don't rule out the possibility that the leaders themselves are going to have to take up that question when they gather in Madrid.
Q Is it true that when Blumenthal and Begala come aboard you're going to see tremendous changes and big ideas and new programs?
MR. MCCURRY: The President of the United States sets the tone for the administration and has already defined his goals and his direction for a second terms. I think that's quite clear and what the worker bees --
Q -- those two guys are for?
MR. MCCURRY: What the worker bees buzz about is probably more of an interest to the very small quantity of people who pay attention to those matters. And most people are interested in what the President thinks and what he's doing and that's abundantly clear.
Q Well, we're interested in his staff changes.
MR. MCCURRY: Oh, I tend to be interested in his staff from time to time, too. But only sporadically. (Laughter.)
Q It has no meaning?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't think any meaning whatsoever. I don't think any of them are going to get their ears bitten off. (Laughter.)
Q Why are they coming aboard?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, because we have some vacancies that are going to be coming up later in the summer. Some people are moving on, as anticipated, and you've got to fill vacant positions. We've got plenty of good people to choose from.
Q Mike, I know how much you like logistical questions. Do you know when we and he are leaving for Madrid -- or Majorca or wherever we're going?
MR. MCCURRY: I've heard two different versions -- one is Saturday morning and one is Friday at midnight, after the fireworks. I don't know --
MR. TOIV: He's leaving on Saturday. I'm not sure when--
MR. MCCURRY: We're not sure when the press charter is going to leave.
Q You mean, he's changing his mind again?
MR. MCCURRY: Well -- (laughter.) Helen's on -- you put yourself on Air Force I, didn't you? And you want to leave --
Q Saturday. I want a Saturday departure.
MR. MCCURRY: I think the White House Travel Office will have to work it out for you. I can't help you on that.
All right. We will see you -- we have a briefing tomorrow after the event, whenever that is. Otherwise, we're going dark here for the rest of the day and transferring up to Mr. Lockhart.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:30 A.M. EDT