THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Denver, Colorado)
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
Knight Fundamental Academy Denver, Colorado
1:05 P.M. MST
MR. MCCURRY: Let me tell you what you've got coming and that will save some time. I told the pool on the plane about the President's call to Yeltsin, which took place at the White House -- there was some confusion about that. The President yesterday placed some calls to world leaders. President Yeltsin was the first that he was able to connect with because President Yeltsin called back this morning. And they spoke for about 40 minutes, had a discussion that ranged through a number of subjects, including Iraq.
There is more coming in your pool report on background from a Senior Administration Official that goes into the call at some great length.
I think we're trying to do a transcript of that backgrounder, too, so you'll have that if you're interested in that. And that was about all.
On Reno, I said -- say it the same way because it was already on the wire. It would be no doubt more proper for Mr. Kendall to respond, so I'm not sure the White House would respond in any event. But given that this is speculative information, it wouldn't be proper to comment anyhow.
Q Is he going to talking any more at these fundraisers about the skinhead incidents here?
MR. MCCURRY: He may volunteer some comments. He is expected to meet right now with the wife of the slain police officer, Bruce Vander Jagt; he was going to meet Anna Vander Jagt. And Barry is up at the mansion now and we'll let you know if that in fact happens. We were attempting to arrange that, but Barry will fill in either the pool or phone us in here.
Q -- the nurse or the black guy who was killed?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't know that he has had an opportunity to -- I think that is so recent I don't know that they've had an opportunity to establish any contact with the next of kin or with the family.
Q On the call to Yeltsin, basically was Yeltsin saying that we ought to lift the sanctions and the President said no?
MR. MCCURRY: The backgrounder at some great length addressed that.
Q Yes, I understand, but we don't have it now.
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not doing that on the record here. And they've already filed on that, Terry. Barry has filed extensively on that.
Q Do you have information on the fundraisers -- how much and all that kind of stuff?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, I gave that to the pool. Let me see if I've got it here. I think there was a total of $450,000 here, two-tiered. Terry says it's on the paper.
Q There are fact sheets, but are they correct?
MR. MCCURRY: What do they say?
Q They say between $400,000 and $500,000 here --
MR. MCCURRY: I think it was $450,000 total for the two.
Q In Seattle it adds up to $650,000.
MR. MCCURRY: Actually, Seattle we have not heard yet because it was a DSCC event that was being coordinated with Senator Murray. So if you've got it in there, that's the best confirmation we've got.
Q Mike, when did the Democrats drop their voluntary ceiling of $100,000 per soft money contribution?
MR. MCCURRY: I believe Governor Romer indicated that just -- that was decided in the last couple of days. The President was notified of that decision and didn't have any objection.
Q Why didn't he?
MR. MCCURRY: Because we were out-spent five to one in 1997, so it's clear that the effect of that -- the intended effect of that ban served no useful purpose. We were attempting to coax the Republicans into voluntary reductions in contribution limits that didn't work.
Q So the principle behind it only works if both sides agree to it?
MR. MCCURRY: It was designed to get a reduction across the board competitively in contributions, and it serves not only -- defeats the purpose in the principle, but in fact does some damage to the Democratic Party and to competitive elections if one party goes on receiving $1 million, $2 million, $5 million contributions as a program for $250,000 givers when Democrats put a ceiling of $100,000 per person in contributions.
Q How about the other restrictions in foreign money?
MR. MCCURRY: The DNC indicates that they are under review. I don't have anything further on that.
Q I thought it was a point of principle at the time that you were trying to show that you were trying to hold the line on soft money.
MR. MCCURRY: That's exactly right. And the other party didn't and so we can't.
Anything else? All right. We'll catch you -- probably won't see you until Vancouver because I think the Seattle event is -- happens fast enough tonight that most people are going to go -- some people are going straight to Vancouver and other people are briefly in Seattle.
Q What's he doing all day tomorrow, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: He's going to have a bilateral meeting in the morning with Prime Minister Chretien and then a bilateral golfing outing with Prime Minister Goh and Prime Minister Chretien.
Q -- bilateral?
MR. MCCURRY: That happened quickly after -- that happened shortly after the call -- or shortly after the incident. And the President made light of it very quickly.
Anything else? Okay. Good.
See you all tomorrow. We'll do some kind of -- after the bilateral meeting tomorrow -- do a read-out and some type of briefing.
MR. MCCURRY: Probably after -- shortly after the bilateral is over -- after he goes. I think he goes out for golfing straight after. It will be about mid-day out there.
END 1:11 P.M. MST