THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
The Briefing Room
3:39 P.M. EST
MR. MCCURRY: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House for the last daily briefing of this week and the last daily briefing until we return from our travels. In fact, this will be -- we won't have to do this again until December.
Q Yes, you do.
MR. MCCURRY: Why?
Q You'll be back on Wednesday, won't you?
MR. MCCURRY: We're not going to be back. Oh, I was thinking, since we get back so late on Tuesday I was going to give everyone the day off. But since Helen is insisting that I come in a brief -- we'll probably give you the day off.
I have some happy announcements to begin with. I think many of you know that no good deed goes unpunished at the White House, so Kris Engskov, who has served so ably as our pool wrangler in the lower press office, has been elevated to the position of Presidential Aide. For those of you who do not know, that is the single most powerful job in the U.S. government because it's the single person closest to the President each and every moment of every day, because it's the person who really keeps the President going exactly where the President is supposed to be, saying what he's supposed to say, having all the papers he's supposed to have, having all the remarks nicely in place. So it is, arguably, the single most powerful job in government, I would think. (Applause.)
Mr. Engskov will begin those new assignments on December 1st. And as his replacement, I am delighted to introduce someone you all know well, Michael Teague, who has worked in the White House Travel Office, taking care of you on so many occasions. (Applause.) And he will now continue to render his splendid service to all of you in his new position as Director of Pool Operations. I asked what the title was and told it didn't have one, so I had to make one up. (Laughter.)
Q What happened to his predecessor?
MR. MCCURRY: Mr. Goodin has further announcements about his career, but he has some exciting opportunities that lie ahead. I'll leave that to him.
I also want to say a fond farewell, since today is his last day at the White House, to His Excellency, the Honorable David Johnson -- (applause) -- United States Ambassador to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. And one signpost of what an important position this is and how valuable it will be that we have someone of David's skill in that position is the work that will occur in Bosnia this weekend, as the Srbska Republica has national assembly elections. The OSC has been very involved in that election monitoring process, and David. as our Ambassador to that organization in Vienna, will be able to bring a wealth of experience that he has accumulated as one of the best of the career professionals in the foreign service, as someone who served me and kept me out of trouble non-stop at both the State Department and then here at the White House. He will be sorely, sorely missed, because he is one hell of a good guy.
So, David -- he'll still be around here for a while. We'll have proper farewells later, but it is his last day. And, customary as it is that he's always thinking of you, first and foremost, his very last piece of work for the White House press operation is "Ambassador Johnson's Rough Guide to Vancouver." (Laughter.)
Some of you, given all of his stellar credentials over the years, you might have forgotten that he was once Counsel General in Vancouver. So he has very nicely prepared for all of us, and I will share with all of you, his recommendations for things to do and the very best dining establishments. His only regret is he's not there to dine out on your expense accounts. (Laughter.) But he strongly encourages all of you, if you see any of your favorite White House staff members in Vancouver, to treat them to some of the splendid two-, three-, four-star establishments that he highly recommends in this document. (Laughter.) We'll have copies of this that we will distribute on the plane.
David, thanks for all your service.
MR. JOHNSON: Thank you.
MR. MCCURRY: The suits are leaving now. (Laughter.) Back to the real job.
One other housekeeping item before we move on. I wanted to let you know that we'd already announced that the President will hold the Race Town Hall on December 3rd in Akron, Ohio. It will be held at the E.J. Thomas Performance Arts Hall at the University of Akron. It will be in the late morning -- they're still fixing the time. And there will be a cross-section of people, including business, education and religious leaders in attendance for the town hall discussion that the President very much looks forward to.
Q What's the subject?
MR. MCCURRY: It's a race town hall, part of the President's race initiative.
Moving on, just moments ago in New York, this live report, those who have been participating in the preparatory talks in connection with the President and President Kim Yong-Sam's proposal for four-party talks on the future of Korea have just announced that they have reached an agreement that will allow a plenary session of four-party talks to commence in Geneva on December 9th. The parties participating clearly recognize the importance of reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the need for a durable peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The preparatory talks had been looking to see if there was a way of structuring the formal four-party talks, and that has now occurred. The agenda will be the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and issues concerning tension reduction there. There will be further details to be announced prior to December 9th, about the composition of the delegations, which has not been determined at this time.
I have for you a statement from the President of the United States, who says -- quote -- "I am pleased with the agreement reached today in New York to begin plenary talks on December 9 in Geneva to achieve a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. It carries forward the four-party peace initiative President Kim Yong -sam and I launched in April of 1996. In Geneva, the four parties --the United States, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the People's Republic of China -- will together discuss how we can secure a stable and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. There's a lot of hard work ahead, but this is an important first step and the United States is prepared to be a full partner in helping the Korean people build a future of peace."
Q What caused the breakthrough? Was there any straw that broke the camel's back?
MR. MCCURRY: Those who have been following the preparatory talks know that much of the discussion has been around the nature of the agenda and the modalities of the talks themselves -- that is at the working level that these preparatory talks have been conducted -- has been a very -- I wouldn't say difficult, but very textured negotiation, and I think that the diplomats involved in that succeeded in bringing to fruition now a prospect of formal talks that could bring a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Q So the North Koreans dropped their insistence that the United States withdraw its military forces from South Korea?
MR. MCCURRY: There are some discussions underway now in New York. I doubt that they will get much into the substantive detail of these preparatory talks, but the President, as he has indicated, is satisfied that the outcome is a process that will allow the concerns that all -- that both sides of the conflict on the Peninsula have -- allow them to bring those to the table for discussion.
Q Mike, are the Koreans coming to this out of desperation -- the North Koreans?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't want to assess their motives. They participated as equal partners in these preparatory talks and the concept of four-way talks is that they will seat as equals with the other delegations.
Q On the other Korean crisis, Mike, can you confirm that the South Koreans have requested bilateral assistance from the United States? Is the United States going to commit to any financial assistance to South Korea --
MR. MCCURRY: I can repeat I think much of what you've probably already heard from the Treasury Department, but we understand that Korea has chosen to approach the IMF for support. We look forward to working closely with Korean authorities, the IMF and others in their efforts to restore confidence in the Korean economy. The key, we believe -- the United States believes -- as has been expressed already by Deputy Secretary Summers, is that restoring confidence in the long-term prospects of the Korean economy will depend on the adoption of a strong package of policy measures, particularly forceful and decisive action to strengthen Korea's financial system.
At this point we're not going to make judgments about any contingent U.S. funds that would be necessary to provide any kind of second line of defense to supplement whatever the IMF might do. I think it will be important for the United States to work closely in and around the IMF to see what type of facility is available as they deal with this request from the government of the Republic of Korea.
Q Can we do that without Congress' approval? I mean, we didn't get the money you asked for in --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the IMF has resources; the United States has made commitments -- or has budget authority for commitments to international financial institutions. We had sought a specific line item related to Asia and that was not passed before Congress took its recess, but we've indicated in a variety of ways that we want to continue to seek to have those resources available, particularly as we, working within the IMF, attempt to address the financial issues that are rising in Asia.
Q Back on the four-party talks. Did I understand that the talks going on in New York separately, that there is serious consideration being given to North Korea's demand that the U.S. forces be removed from South Korea?
MR. MCCURRY: I think our position, the position of our government is quite clear on that and there would not have been any opportunity to arrive at an agreement to move to the plenary if that had been a contingency. The diplomats who participated in those discussions I understand are going to be available up in New York and tell you more about that. But I think it's fairly obvious that our commitment, as it exists in that region generally, and as it exists specifically with respect to our treaty ally, the Republic of Korea, would not be in jeopardy, even as we move toward discussions that bring the prospect of a peaceful resolution to that conflict.
Q Is reunification on the agenda, or is that very far-fetched?
MR. MCCURRY: The agenda, as I indicated to you, was carefully worded and is the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and issues concerning tension reduction there. A peace regime could take, obviously, many different forms and issues related to the peaceful reunification of the Koreas, and an end to the conflict -- which has always been a goal of U.S. foreign policy in that region -- would be something that the parties themselves will no doubt want to address as this discussion begins in Geneva.
Q Mike, is there any commitment for additional food aid to North Korea?
MR. MCCURRY: We, as you know, have never directly linked these discussions to the provision of humanitarian aid, which is done by the United States through the World Food program in recognition of the humanitarian suffering that the people of the North are facing because of a variety of conditions. We have always been open to appeals from the World Food program when they are attempting to generate the kind of resources necessary to deal with that humanitarian situation.
Q Mike, do you think that the South Korean economic crisis has any bearing upon the four-party peace talks as they get underway?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's a question that would take, I think, someone more learned than me to address. It is true that so many of the things that affect the quality of life on the Peninsula impede and intrude sometimes on discussions that are fundamental about the nature of that conflict and the way in which it might be resolved. There are a host of factors. But I certainly will not attempt to speak for the government of the Republic of Korea. If I'm not mistaken, I think I saw on the wires somewhere they have addressed much of that question and I think it would be proper for them to address it.
Q Mike, on Haiti, is the administration evaluating its position in light of a possible end to the presence of a U.N. force there?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm haven't followed any recent discussions within our government related to Haiti. I know that there is a schedule sometime in January --
COLONEL CROWLEY: November 30th.
MR. MCCURRY: -- November 30th, in which the current U.N. mission authorization would expire. It has been, in the past, the custom that they continue to reauthorize the international presence there. Our presence, as you know, is not directly in connection to the U.N. mission there. It is in support of, as an independent, unilateral deployment related to the support group that's down there now.
Q The possibility of renewal, for various reasons, seems less likely this time than in the past. And my question really is, what would happen to the unilateral presence -- or is there discussion about what to do about the unilateral presence in light of the possibility that the U.N. presence would evaporate?
MR. MCCURRY: I think it has been true in the past that those participating nations as part of the U.N. force have seen the U.S. deployment there as being critical to their own presence. But as to whether the international community has made any judgments about what the life of that mission should be beyond, I have not heard. I'd have to check further at our U.S. mission.
COLONEL CROWLEY: The Pentagon has not made judgments yet on what kind of bilateral assistance will happen after November.
MR. MCCURRY: There would have to be some further discussion no matter what type of military-to-military contact might exist.
Q Mike, for the cameras, what's the administration's response, or the White House response, specifically, to the settlement, the apparent out-of-court settlement announcement for the Piscataway court case?
MR. MCCURRY: I believe the Justice Department has probably spoken in greater detail on that. If I'm not mistaken, I think they've said, and I would reiterate here, that the White House is certainly gratified that both sides were able to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the case.
We've stated before, we think the facts in Piscataway were unique and they made that case in an appropriate vehicle for adjudicating larger constitutional issues about non-remedial affirmative action. But it is good that the parties have reconciled their differences.
Q Did the White House or the Justice Department play any role in encouraging this settlement or negotiating it? Were you apprised of the details before they were made public?
MR. MCCURRY: When I checked on it this morning both here and over at Justice, the best I could learn, people found out about it when they heard the news this morning.
Q As a follow, is there a -- what's the next case you're looking at as far as a test for the future of affirmative action?
MR. MCCURRY: I'd have to refer you to the Solicitor General's Office. They probably are watching that.
Q Is the President seeing a congressional leader this afternoon?
MR. MCCURRY: Did that come off, or not? Why don't you check.
Q On Iraq, I know it's early, but do you have any readout yet on how the inspectors are being received there --
MR. MCCURRY: I have not heard. I know that the Special Commission is still meeting in New York -- and that's Chairman Butler's meeting with his 21 fellow Commission members who are really the technical experts -- and it would be proper for any report coming from the inspection monitors to go directly to Chairman Butler. He has been in session with his Commission, so I would imagine that would be the best place to look to see if there's been any report.
Q Mike, other than his comments this morning -- this afternoon -- on the Middle East, has the President done anything in the last recent times to try to prod the parties privately the way he did publicly today?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, he's followed very closely the discussions that have occurred both here in Washington and then also was fully briefed on the conversations that Secretary Albright just had in London. That has been the venue in which we've most recently had very high level contact with the parties, and the President has indicated that he will continue to follow and support and help facilitate the dialogue. But I think he made it quite clear today that he wants that dialogue to get much more serious much more quickly.
Q What's the update on a possible Netanyahu meeting?
MR. MCCURRY: They have exchanged dates -- they proposed a date that didn't quite work for us; we proposed a date that is now being pursued -- or maybe that's vice-versa -- but in any event, they're looking at dates for a meeting.
Q Mike, are you prepared to say what the U.S. is looking for in Iraq with respect to the inspection teams when you say you want a stronger presence?
MR. MCCURRY: We are looking for UNSCOM to be satisfied that they have the capacity they need to do both the work they had been doing and to do the catchup work necessary to determine what has happened over the last three weeks. And that is a largely technical question that I think Chairman Butler himself can address.
Q Our people with Butler are hearing that what he's going to propose as part of catchup is increased access to some sites, more flights by helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft, and that this would imply -- this extra work would imply a need for extra people. Is that your understanding as well?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think it's accurate to say that Chairman Butler has proven, given his capacity in that position, that he can make determinations about what they need to do the job that they've been assigned by the United Nations. So he would be in the best position to tell you that.
Q Yesterday Sandy and others said that you would be watching for any signs that UNSCOM was anything less than autonomous or professional, although he seemed to be saying that you're going to follow Butler's lead on this. If the percentage of Americans goes down among the inspectors, is that okay with you?
MR. MCCURRY: The percentage of Americans has fluctuated according to whatever the Chairman of the Commission deems necessary and who's available and who's got the expertise that they need. Our point was that those were decisions to be made by the Chairman of the Commission, not by -- not influenced or negotiated or arbitrated by the government of Iraq.
Q You're saying that as long as Butler -- whatever Butler decides is okay with you as far as --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, we have a strong interest in the vitality of that inspections regime. And as you heard Mr. Berger say the other day, we believe we've got some important expertise that we bring to it, and I think that's widely recognized within the Commission and by the Chairman, as well.
Q On that point, it's reported that while six Americans were on the team that came out, only four Americans went back in. That's not of concern?
MR. MCCURRY: They've already indicated in New York that that is part of a rotation process that they have with some of the folks that they use there who go in and out on a regular basis.
Q What if Butler's mix of the personnel feels or smells political to you?
MR. MCCURRY: He's not -- the discussions he's having today are with technical experts and not with people who represent sort of the political side of the foreign ministry operations that operate in the permanent delegations at the U.N. I mean, it's kind of a technical arms control. Sandy had it right yesterday, they have kind of arms control wonks and they work at doing exactly the type of work they need to do and tend to ask very detailed, technical questions, as my understanding is, they're doing now in New York.
Q Mike, a short while ago Army Secretary West -- he may still be holding, in fact, a news conference at which he announced that they were releasing the names of, I think it was 63 people who received waivers during the current administration for burial at Arlington. Mr. West apologized to the families whose privacy we now invade, he says, but we need to do this. Is the President frustrated, resentful of the congressional pressure that prompted this?
MR. MCCURRY: Not only the President, but I think everyone who works here is outraged that members of Congress would assist in the dissemination of lies, distortions, baseless allegations, even when they were in possession of information that would have made it possible for them to know the truth. And they continue to persist, even today, in propelling a story that had no basis in fact and no basis being disseminated in the first place. They continue to assist in trying to pump that story up.
It was a calculated, partisan, political effort to destroy the reputations of people now in government and, in the process of doing so, besmirching the honor of people who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And it's an outrage, and it's an outrage that that kind of behavior has accomplices in an otherwise free press.
Q Well, who are you blaming for the perpetuation -- not "perpetuation," for the original story?
MR. MCCURRY: The people who spread the lies. The people who spread the lies in the first place. And we've seen this for five years now. It's the hate machine that basically figures out a way to get stuff into the mainstream discussion by using various avenues. And you laugh at us when we make the suggestion -- we just had a perfect case history of how this works, and I hope there will be some debates within society's professional journalists about --
Q You mean this has been going on a long time, this particular --
MR. MCCURRY: It's been going on for five years. It's probably been going on longer than that.
Q Whose decision was it to release the names?
MR. MCCURRY: Secretary West. But I think that others at the Defense Department indicated, too, that they were in the position -- forced in the position of proving that accusations were wrong, proving innocence, and in doing so, you know, no doubt causing some discomfort to people who are properly buried in Arlington National Cemetery and their families and their survivors.
Q As a follow, how should someone like Senator Specter feel for issuing the challenge in the first place?
MR. MCCURRY: Ashamed. I would suggest that shame ought to extend to people who fail to report and make editorial judgments about whether they want to pursue stories before they put them in print and put them on the air, too.
Q Has the President talked to anyone personally about this on the Hill?
MR. MCCURRY: No doubt he will.
By the way, someone asked earlier if we had a meeting -- Trent Lott will be here at 4:15 p.m.
Q About what?
MR. MCCURRY: About a whole variety of things, but not Arlington National Cemetery.
Q That will be on the agenda with Trent Lott?
MR. MCCURRY: No.
Q Well, what is he talking about?
MR. MCCURRY: They've got a range of things related to the agenda next year and the work we're going to do together and the fundamental need for bipartisan cooperation if we're going to get some things done around here.
Q How about recess appointment?
MR. MCCURRY: -- unnecessarily to the partisan as we got to the end of the last session, I think the President wants to see if we can't get things back on track, get people working together so they can get some things done for the American people.
Q And give him a Dutch uncle talk?
Q -- could we just follow up on the Trent Lott thing? Will the President feel him out on how he feels about recess appointments, as you've done in the past?
MR. MCCURRY: When they talk, both of them tend to guard the privacy of the conversation because it's a good way for them to do business. And I imagine that's what it will be.
Q Where are they meeting, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: Here. Either at the residence or here.
Q So they will talk about recess?
MR. MCCURRY: I didn't say what they would talk about, because I doubt they will tell anyone afterwards.
MR. MCCURRY: Because they like to get business done.
Q What's the impact on Togo West's future now because of this flap?
MR. MCCURRY: None. He handled himself completely honorably and I think that's manifestly clear now.
Q Does your statement reflect the President's view, can we say?
MR. MCCURRY: I think it reflects not only his view, but the view of a good number of people around here and a good number of people who have talked about this issue in the last 24 hours.
Q Does he intend to respond to Senator Specter's letter?
MR. MCCURRY: No. Absolutely no. We've more than responded sufficiently for the Senator, thank you very much. The Senator could have done a little homework and looked into this matter himself. Bodies in Congress have had this list of names since June, and before they pop off, he could have looked into it.
Q Mike, does the President invite the Speaker to discuss the Race Commission with him, or respond in some way to this --
MR. MCCURRY: If I'm not mistaken, we did. Sometime ago we had asked for his ideas and his input and --
Q And he responded with a list of 10 points --
MR. MCCURRY: He sent back a form letter, back in September. But if he wants to be seriously engaged in the dialogue, the President welcomes people who want to be seriously engaged.
Q Would that extend to inviting him to come and discuss the issues before the race panel?
MR. MCCURRY: If he expresses some strong interest to declaim himself of views, I can't imagine the board wouldn't want to hear from him.
Q Mike, the President is scheduled to make a statement on APEC tomorrow in Denver on his way out there. Will he specifically mention South Korea's economic crisis? Or do you have any outline or idea what he's going to talk about?
MR. MCCURRY: He will mention the importance of our engagement in that region and the strength of our economy and its dependence on export-driven economic activity, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. I don't think he's going to do much of a preview of the coming meetings. I expect he might -- the closest he'll come to do sort of setup statements will be when he thanks Prime Minister Chretien on Sunday for hosting the APEC meetings. But I expect he probably will mention it when he's in Seattle.
Q Speaking of statements, is he going to make on here before he goes?
MR. MCCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no. No plan to do that.
Q Are the four-party talks agreement having an impact on the APEC conference in any way?
MR. MCCURRY: There will be strong interest in that issue, and as the President talks to some of his counterparts, that subject will no doubt come up. Of course, the purpose of the discussions there is largely economic and not regional security issues, but I think there is very strong interest in the status of security on the Korean Peninsula.
Q One last one on Iraq. Does the U.S. have any evidence that Russia might have triggered this crisis in the first place in order to try to get the sanctions lifted and make more money in Iraq?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to -- it's virtually impossible to speculate on their motives. They don't always follow a logical path.
Q In the exchange of dates on Netanyahu, does that take in the realm of this year or --
MR. MCCURRY: They've been talking about -- I think we've said they've been trying to talk about getting together before the end of the year, yes.
Q Yesterday, Mr. Tarullo said that he didn't expect there to be any specific discussion of South Korea at APEC. In light of the fact that South Korea has now requested an aid package, do you think there will be extended discussions of South Korea at APEC?
MR. MCCURRY: It's difficult to say. I think that most governments have now reacted to the announcement by the Republic of Korea and they've pointed the importance of working within the IMF. Whether or not it will be part of the discussion is hard to say. I think the status of economies that have been experiencing difficulties in Asia broadly defined will certainly be a discussion.
Q Mike, there have been a series of hate crimes, as you might know, in Denver. Do you know if the President plans to address that at all when he's there?
MR. MCCURRY: He will probably be alerted to it on the way out, but I don't know whether he plans to address it or not.
Q What does the President think of Chairman Greenspan's remarks about the Social Security fund being in big trouble? Does the President -- do you think he'll propose some initiative on this?
MR. MCCURRY: The President has made it clear that he shares a large part of that sentiment -- I don't know that we've checked -- I haven't certainly checked exactly anything specific that the Chairman recommended in connection with that, but the President would be the first to acknowledge the importance of the long-term stability of the funds, the need to move smartly in the course of the next year or to, to take advantage of the opportunity to address that now while we don't face the burden of large volumes of the baby boom retiring as we will well into the next century. And the President, I think, has on several public occasions indicated his willingness to take that issue on and to work towards a bipartisan solution that could be adopted before the end of this century.
Q Do you think he might do it next year?
MR. MCCURRY: I wouldn't rule that out.
Q On the Race Board, Speaker Gingrich is of the opinion that the Race Board doesn't want to hear from views that contrast with the President's on affirmative action.
MR. MCCURRY: You know, he could have easily have checked with us and learned that we plan to do exactly that, and we have said that and I think it's been quite clear that we want to hear different view points. He was reacting to one meeting on one day that had to deal with diversity in higher education, and it was no surprise that we brought people in who were committed to diversity in higher education to speak to it. And we are going to be hearing from people who take contrary points of view, and there will be further announcements about the folks we're going to have in.
Q Wouldn't it have made sense at that meeting, though, to have somebody for a contrary point of view?
MR. MCCURRY: Given the three panels and the narrow areas they were looking at, it would have been a detour from those conversations. And I think the President's interested in having the board hear a more comprehensive discussion of contrary views on things like affirmative action at some point. Affirmative action and the utility of affirmative action as a tool in dealing with race discrimination was not the point of any of those three panels, but there will be a point in which he wants to provoke a good, substantive, healthy exchange on that issue.
Q But isn't what Chairman Franklin said the other day and what you just said is the fact that you're only interested in hearing from people -- at least at this last meeting -- who are committed to diversity in higher education -- aren't you saying that people who are against affirmative action are not permitted to diversity in education?
MR. MCCURRY: NO. I was saying that in those panel discussions, at the meeting this week, it would have been hard to work that entire subject into the narrow confines they had in those three meetings. But I think we do want hear that at some point.
Q But is it the White House view, as Chairman Franklin seemed to suggest, that Ward Connerly is not committed to diversity in higher education?
MR. MCCURRY: He's not committed to a tool that can help achieve it. That's our view.
Q But you would hear him out, wouldn't you?
MR. MCCURRY: I suspect we might. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if we do. I think he's got a -- you know, if you hear him, and I have heard bits and pieces of him talk, I think he's got a very -- he has a rational argument, even if one disagrees with it, it is a rational, provocative, thoughtful voice on these issues, which is contrary to the thinking of the President, perhaps, but it is certainly worthy of being engaged as we move ahead with this dialogue. This dialogue ought to be a dialogue, and it should not be a monologue. And the President fully well recognizes that.
Q And the President wants the board to hear those people? MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely, and I imagine they will. Q Well, have you gotten that word to Franklin? MR. MCCURRY: Yes. Q Are we ready to go to the week ahead now? MR. MCCURRY: Any of you can -- can one of you do the week ahead.
It's just APEC and Thanksgiving. I don't know what -- we had an hour and a half briefing yesterday on the week ahead.
MR. TOIV: Wednesday is Turkey Freedom Day.
MR. MCCURRY: I still want to go with my idea, though.
MR. LOCKHART: You also announced Camp David for the balance of the week.
MR. MCCURRY: I thought I had already announced Camp David.
MR. LOCKHART: You did.
Q When is he going to Camp David? On Wednesday?
MR. MCCURRY: We expect him to go up Wednesday. We expect him to come back Sunday, but he may come back for an event. There may be an event over the weekend that would -- I heard something about that.
Q Is he going to participate in the arrival of the Christmas tree next week?
MR. MCCURRY: It arrives, I believe on the day that we pardon the turkey. Maybe we can roll them all into one. You notice how Christmas is beginning well before Thanksgiving, now. You notice that?
Q Sure do.
MR. MCCURRY: Christmas began on Halloween. What is the deal? We're going to miss Thanksgiving altogether.
Q In that spirit, do you have anything else planned here this afternoon besides Mr. Lott that's going to keep early morning travelers around late?
MR. MCCURRY: Just taping the radio address. What about that big dump that Lanny was working on? Is that going to be today? (Laughter.) Oh, that's the -- we're doing that like 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. (Laughter.)
Q Is Lott coming out?
MR. MCCURRY: When they take the -- you know, they've been showing the reel of videos, and when they take their break at 2:00 a.m. they're going to have some additional documents they're going to make available. (Laughter.)
Q Is he planning to come out, or are you discouraging him?
MR. MCCURRY: Who?
MR. MCCURRY: He is always free to do what he wants to do on that. He tends to enjoy these -- I mean, I can't speak for him, but the President enjoys the conversations with Trent, and they tend to keep them very private and they just tend not to share many of the details with members of staff here, I think in part so they can --
Q Will he give him a Dutch uncle talk?
MR. MCCURRY: -- use it to build future business.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 4:15 P.M. EST