THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts) _______________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 25, 1997
PRESS BRIEFING BY BARRY TOIV
Edgartown Elementary School Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
10:58 A.M. EDT
MR. TOIV: Welcome to week two of the 24-hour-a-day no news -- all no news vacation. I am here to answer your questions.
Q What's the President doing today?
MR. TOIV: We're not sure what they're going to do today, to tell you the truth. I don't think they've really decided on an itinerary for the day.
Q Is the President concerned that his photograph with a Florida businessman was then used in a multimillion dollar rip-off, and what has the -- has the President asked the DNC to do anything about protecting against that?
MR. TOIV: We're always concerned about misuse of photographs taken of the President. But I would refer you to Lanny, Lanny Davis, for further answers. Lanny is quoted extensively in today's story, and I refer you to him if you have any other questions about it.
Q What about the guest list for the dinner last night at the Hackneys?
MR. TOIV: Yes, I don't have a complete guest list, but I have an apology to make on behalf of the press office. Last night's dinner was at the home of the Styrons. It was cohosted by the Styrons and the Hackneys. But the press office was given some incorrect information last night and, unfortunately, passed it on. And so I want to apologize on behalf of the press office.
There were about a dozen people there, total, including, I believe, some family members of one or both of the host couples. We'll see if we can find out more about the guest, but I have a feeling we're not going to find out more than that.
Q Why is that such a problem to get information like that?
MR. TOIV: Someone who thought they knew the answer gave the press office the answer and -- it was not a problem getting that kind of information. We just --
Q Well, here it is 12 hours later and you say you still need to get -- why --
MR. TOIV: Oh, about guests? Well, it's a private dinner.
Q Barry, any comment on the Florida tobacco settlement?
MR. TOIV: No, we have not had a chance to review that settlement yet.
Q Barry, can I ask, do you think it's a good idea for states to continue to pursue these settlements piecemeal as opposed to wrapping it up in one big package?
MR. TOIV: Well, we're going to -- that's up to states. But we're going to continue our review process of the proposed settlement and we'll probably have more to say about it September.
Q Does this complicate your task, though?
MR. TOIV: Well, we don't think that -- again, we haven't had a chance to review the settlement. Based on the information we have received, we don't think it should have any impact on our review of the proposed national settlement.
Q Well, if states start cutting their own deals, doesn't that take some of the relevance or impact the White House may have out of the agreement?
MR. TOIV: Well, that's all very hypothetical right now. We've only had the two states, I believe, take that action.
Q Barry, when do you think the President will get the recommendations for the settlement?
MR. TOIV: As you saw from a pool report, Bruce suggested that it would not be until September, and I think that's accurate -- until we get back, until the President gets back from vacation.
Q Barry, what about Mike Moore's comments yesterday that the FDA oversight issue has now been negotiated successfully with the industries --
MR. TOIV: There have been discussions on that issue and other issues, but neither that issue nor any other issue has been settled as far as the administration is aware, and our review is going to continue on that and the other issues that are under review.
Q Barry, is the President considering appointing Mickey Kantor as his new chief of staff? I think there's a report out there that suggests that is the case.
MR. TOIV: Erskine Bowles is doing an excellent job as Chief of Staff, and I'm not aware of any plans for his departure.
Q He has said he's departing.
MR. TOIV: Well, at some point, but not imminent departure, and so --
Q That wasn't her question.
Q Is he considering Mickey Kantor as a possible replacement for Erskine Bowles should Erskine Bowles depart?
MR. TOIV: I think I'm going to let the President make that announcement, however, whenever it happens, however far in the future it happens.
Q Has he seen or talked to Mickey lately?
MR. TOIV: I don't know. Mickey is certainly a friend of the President's, though. I'd be surprised if he hadn't.
Q Barry, have there been any other guests at the house in the last couple of days since our last briefing?
MR. TOIV: Any guests at the house? I'm not aware of any guests who have come by.
Q How about Chelsea?
MR. TOIV: Chelsea has not come by, either.
Q When do you expect her back?
MR. TOIV: Probably this week sometime.
Q Back on tobacco. Do you think he'll even be briefed on today's developments by Bruce, or will he just remain blissfully ignorant of all this?
MR. TOIV: No, I suspect that Bruce will mention it to him. But beyond that, I don't expect any extensive discussions or review up here.
Q There is no reason to believe that this is going to move the schedule forward in terms of his action?
MR. TOIV: No, not at all.
Q Barry, with the President's knee, is it possible for him to indulge in activities such as horseback riding or bike riding, or any other thing he might want to try on vacation besides jogging and golf?
MR. TOIV: Bike riding I think is okay. In fact, I know that bike riding is okay. Horseback riding might be a little bit -- might not be looked in quite so positive by the doctors -- not because of the riding itself, I think, but just because of the potential for a spill.
Q Can we talk about golf for a few minutes?
MR. TOIV: Sure.
Q Yesterday, the President used a phrase after teeing off that is unfamiliar to some of us who are not players. "Sit down, Alice," I think is what he said. What does that mean? (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: What does it mean?
MR. TOIV: I don't know. I didn't see the shot, so I'm not sure. But I suspect that anybody who saw the shot might have had an idea of what he meant. He apparently wanted the shot to go somewhere where it wasn't going.
Q What did he shoot yesterday?
MR. TOIV: Don't know.
Q Could you take the question?
MR. TOIV: I'll take the question.
Q And who is Alice? (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: We're going to find Alice -- we're going to conduct a nationwide search.
Q Rumors that you plan to leave this podium -- is it the pressure of the questions or the -- would you like to let Joe come in and field questions for a while?
MR. TOIV: I'm going to go home. I have several friends leaving for school, leaving for college in the next couple of weeks -- (laughter) -- so I need to -- I'm going to depart. But it has nothing to do with the intensity of the questions, the intensity of these briefings. (Laughter.)
Q Is the President in a news vacuum while he's here? Does he have TV, does he watch the news, does he read the newspapers, or is he keeping up on things?
MR. TOIV: He's not in a news vacuum, no. But he is paying a little bit less attention than he normally does. But he is not in a news vacuum.
Q Do you deliver newspapers to him every day and that kind of thing?
MR. TOIV: He gets clips when he wants to see them.
Q Which is every day?
MR. TOIV: And he wants to see them sometimes.
Q Why would the President say, "sit down, Alice"? Why wouldn't he say, "sit down, Alex," or "sit down, Andrew"? (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: I'm stumped, stumped on that one, Gene.
Q I have a question. He lost his ball -- or for a time lost his ball in the tall grass yesterday around the 13th hole. There were a number of agents out there with him. Were they helping him look for the golf ball, or is that not a function that they perform?
MR. TOIV: I don't know if an agent out of courtesy tried to find the ball while that was going on. Clearly, though, the agents would have been spending most if their time looking out to make sure that nobody was around who wasn't supposed to be.
Q So you haven't a clue what he's going to do today?
MR. TOIV: Not yet, no.
Q Do you have a guess?
MR. TOIV: No more than you.
Q What about the report, Barry, that the trip to Nantucket was cancelled for financial reasons related to the travel budget?
MR. TOIV: Not aware of a trip to Nantucket.
Q Are you denying that that one was scrubbed for financial reasons?
MR. TOIV: I'll have to look into it.
Any other penetrating questions? Okay, thank you.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:10 A.M. EDT