THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts) _______________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 22, 1997
PRESS BRIEFING BY BARRY TOIV
Edgartown Elementary School Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
11:05 A.M. EDT
MR. TOIV: Good morning. Bonjour. First, an important personnel matter. As you all know, Capricia Marshall is going to become the White House Social Secretary. She'll also be coming up -- she has also arrived at Martha's Vineyard to take over for Kelly Craighead's responsibilities on the trip. But as White House Social Secretary, Capricia will be in charge of some of the most important parties in the country, including Kelly Craighead's 30th birthday party, which takes place tonight. And Kelly would have thought it -- I would have been remiss in not mentioning her 30th birthday.
Q Is that open press?
MR. TOIV: Invitations will be issued, I believe.
Q You are not issuing one to us?
MR. TOIV: I am not issuing one, but I believe that Capricia will.
The other thing is yesterday, as some of you may know, the President and the First Lady had several intense exchanges of words. Some of them earned triple word scores, some of them did not. They spent yesterday playing Scrabble, including yesterday evening -- to update you on their day yesterday.
Q Would it be fair that a marathon session?
Q Did the President get a 79?
MR. TOIV: I think it was a marathon session. The President exceeded 79 in Scrabble. (Laughter.) I think you're going to have to read their respective memoirs to find out who won.
Q Is anybody keeping the President informed of what's going on in Little Rock?
MR. TOIV: I don't know. He's out on the golf course.
Q Will anybody keep him informed as the day goes on?
MR. TOIV: Don't know. But I would suggest to you if you have any questions on that subject you ask them of Bob Bennett.
Q Well, that's just the point. Bob Bennett is not here, he doesn't know if the President is being kept up to speed on what's going on out there. Only somebody here could answer that question.
MR. TOIV: Well, I'm referring you to his attorney on that, and if Bob Bennett keeps him updated, then Bob Bennett can let you know.
Q Exactly. Will he be talking to Mr. Bennett today? Do you think that he might find time to do that? I mean, would you expect him to want to get updated on what happens?
MR. TOIV: I don't know if he plans on doing that or not.
Q I see.
Q Was the President informed of the decision to overturn the Teamsters election, and does he think that in any way endangers the UPS strike settlement?
MR. TOIV: As far as the UPS settlement, I'm not aware of any impact on the settlement. We don't have any comment on the action itself. As far as whether the President knows, I suspect he hasn't learned yet, since he's out on the golf course and I think that happened pretty recently. But I'm sure he will be informed of it.
Q Barry, can you explain both the policy of this Piscataway case change and also, isn't that kind of strange politically to have initially filed defending the school board and now filed today in which you say the school board's action is indefensible?
MR. TOIV: That filing is going to take place today, and we will have a statement from Chuck Ruff on that as soon as that happens. And that could happen very shortly. But this is -- just to go beyond the statement a little bit, this is an action that's perfectly consistent with our most recent action in that case. Justice -- our previous filing in the case suggested that this was not an appropriate case for the Supreme Court to take, and what we are saying today is that this is a case that should be decided on narrow grounds and should not be used in the way that the appeals court used it as a broad -- to take broader action on these issues.
Q Can you describe the outreach to civil rights and other groups who have been interested in this case in terms of as the administration prepared this filing, was there an outreach process?
MR. TOIV: Don't know the answer to that one, John.
Q Barry, can you explain briefly the distinction between why it's okay to hire someone on the basis of their race, but it wouldn't be generally okay to fire someone on the basis of their race?
MR. TOIV: I think we're going to have to rely on Chuck Ruff's statement for any more substantive response to that. I think he wants his statement to be the White House statement on the substance. And I think you can also -- more importantly, you can look at the filing, which we might even get a copy of up here, and that will serve as our explanation, as our answer to that question, I think.
Q What was the President's role in this decision?
MR. TOIV: He's aware of it.
Q Aware of it? Was he a party to it?
MR. TOIV: Yes, he is aware of it.
Q But it was not his call?
Q Barry, has the President be in touch with Secretary Glickman?
MR. TOIV: He has not talked to him directly, but he has been kept informed of the Secretary's actions, strongly supports them.
Q When you say the President was aware of the Piscataway case, was it passive or did he have some role in deciding?
MR. TOIV: He approved of this action.
Q Did they seek his approval before Justice decided to do this, or did they simply inform him that that was their call?
MR. TOIV: I'll check on that, Ann.
Q Can you give us a heads up on what's on tap for today? What's on tap for today?
MR. TOIV: The President is on the golf course and I think that is what he is going to spend most of the day doing. That's about the size of it.
Q What kind of national security briefing is Clinton getting --
MR. TOIV: He gets a written briefing in the morning and if he has questions, he can talk to the -- obviously, he can talk to anybody, but there is an NSC aide who is always here with him.
Q Do you have anything at all on this story about an offer to ex-trooper L.D. Brown of $100,000 at 2:00 a.m. in the morning on a bus outside London to shut up?
MR. TOIV: I think Mr. Davis was referring reporters yesterday to Mr. Kendall on that question, and I'll do the same.
Q Do you have any word on tonight's plans? Is the President going to some party, perhaps at Katherine Graham's place?
MR. TOIV: I'm not aware of him attending a party at Katherine Graham's place, but I don't know. And if he does attend any parties tonight, which I wouldn't rule out, I think we'll have to wait until he does so.
Q To what extent was the President briefed on the problems with the Mir operation this morning?
MR. TOIV: That is part of his national security briefing, and he was aware that this operation was going on, and so that's the briefing. I'm not sure -- I checked to see if he had actually been watching and, unfortunately, he was already gone by the time we asked that question, so -- by the time I asked that question.
Q I'd be curious to know if he's expressed any new concern in light of the difficulties they had this morning, about U.S. participation in this project.
MR. TOIV: I think you know where we stand on that. We're still reviewing -- as far as the other American astronaut going up on Mir, we're still reviewing that issue.
Q Can you put us in the loop on one of the week's burning issues? Were you able ever to determine whether the President was given anything at all for his birthday?
MR. TOIV: I'm going to get a -- yes, he was, and I've had a little bit of trouble getting a full description, but I know he received, I understand, a very lovely sculpture from the First Lady.
Q Can you describe it?
MR. TOIV: That's the part I'm having trouble with. (Laughter.) But I should be able to get that information today, actually, from the person who knows about it.
Q Was it a person, an animal, a thing?
MR. TOIV: I've given you all I know about it.
Q What about from Chelsea?
MR. TOIV: And Chelsea, I'm going to find out today, too.
Q Regarding his private schedule for today, do you have them going to Carly Simon's restaurant, and do you know what Hillary's doing?
MR. TOIV: I think I answered that question.
Q What about -- do you know what Hillary is doing today?
MR. TOIV: Today? No, don't know. I don't know what her plans are for today. She has -- other than where you've seen her attend various parties and such and sailing, she's been sticking to the home front. But I don't know if she's planning any outings today.
Q Do you have anything more on last night? Did Mrs. Clinton cook dinner, or did Mr. Clinton cook dinner? What did they have?
MR. TOIV: Don't know what they had; believe they did cook dinner, though.
Q Is Mrs. Clinton doing the cooking for the two of them at the house?
MR. TOIV: I'm not sure who did the cooking. I believe they did the cooking last night. I don't know which one of them or whether it was both of them.
Q And does he do dishes?
Q -- about the weekend, radio address, that kind of thing?
MR. TOIV: No, Kelly does not do dishes.
Q But she does read the transcripts. (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: I hope she reads this one.
Q Anything about the weekend, radio address and other things they might have on tap?
MR. TOIV: Yes, he's going to tape the radio address today, probably not until late this afternoon and we'll get a transcript to you.
Q Do you have a topic?
MR. TOIV: Topic? It will probably be fast track.
Q Anything new on fast track? He's giving up on it?
MR. TOIV: He's going to point out why fast track is so important for Congress to approve this year.
Q Barry, is there any White House reaction to the California Appeals Court decision on Prop 209?
MR. TOIV: We're going to be reviewing that decision.
Q Is Chelsea coming back?
MR. TOIV: Yes. Next week sometime, probably.
Q Do you plan to brief over the weekend?
MR. TOIV: No, but we will obviously keep you informed of what they're doing, and I'll be available all weekend in terms of -- for whatever comes up. But I don't think we'll do daily briefings here. I don't think that will be necessary.
Q How can we live without them?
Q How will we get all our information?
Q Do you know if the President approved the use of American Apache helicopters and other U.S. troops in the stepped-up NATO operations in Banja Luka this week?
MR. TOIV: We support those actions.
Q Did it go to the President for specific approval, do you know?
MR. TOIV: I will check on that.
Q Can you give us a preview of what kinds of things --
MR. TOIV: No.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:20 A.M. EDT