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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 17, 1998
                              PRESS GAGGLE
                             BY MIKE MCCURRY

Mr. McCurry's Office

MR. MCCURRY: We already did the Girls' Nation thing. Clinton, right now, is actually visiting with the 1963 reunion class of Boys' Nation -- those that were in the Rose Garden with him when he was shaking John F. Kennedy's hand, because they've had a two-day reunion to celebrate their 35th reunion the last couple of days.

Q And where is that?

Q Was that his class?

MR. MCCURRY: They're over in the State Dining Room. But they've been here -- they've been doing a bunch of events, like they had a reception at the Hotel Washington last night, and they're having dinner down in Georgetown tonight.

Q Was that his class, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, this is the group that he was in -- and who now are in all walks of life doing successful things, apparently.

Then, the President departs, as you know, for Little Rock, and you've got the schedule on that.

Q Any fundraising on that trip?


MR. MCCURRY: Yes, he's doing the Arkansas State Democratic Party. And is he doing a separate event for Blanche?

MR. LOCKHART: He's doing a DSCC event honoring Blanche Lincoln, who's running -- who's the Democratic nominee for the Senate.

MR. MCCURRY: And then he heads off to -- I'll just do the week ahead now.** He then goes off to New Orleans and he talks to the AFT on Monday. Tuesday, we've got an event yet to be determined. We'll do an event on crime Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The President has a working visit with President Sanguinetti of Uruguay on Thursday. We'll do some type of health care event, probably in the afternoon, on Thursday. And then we see the Boys' Nation group next Friday, 9:15 a.m., and we're still working on the details of that.

Let me tell you about the radio address tomorrow. Tomorrow, the President is going to have some things to say that follow up on the meeting that he had with Senator Daschle, Secretary Glickman, and other Congressional members from farm states. That's his choice of topic for tomorrow. And we're going to do -- we would normally would try to get something done sooner, but for a bunch of different reasons, we are going to have Secretary Glickman here at the White House at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, pipe that sound down to Little Rock, so you can tell your colleagues who are in Little Rock that they will hear that down there, and then the President will do the live radio address at 10:06 a.m. Eastern.

Q Where will that --

MR. MCCURRY: In other words, the 9:00 a.m. Eastern event here is going to be 8:00 a.m. in Little Rock. And we're doing it that early because when so many people said that they really needed it because of early deadlines.

Q Where will he be when he's doing the radio -- any special setting there, or just -- mother-in-law's house?

MR. MCCURRY: Is he doing it live, or are we doing it --

MR. LOCKHART: He'll be doing it live at the hotel. I think it's the same hotel where he gives the speech tomorrow. He goes right after the radio address and speaks to --

Q They're going to do it a --

MR. LOCKHART: -- at the Embassy Suites, to the Arkansas Democratic Committee.

MR. MCCURRY: Holding room at the Embassy Suites.

Q And Glickman is in the Briefing Room live?

MR. MCCURRY: No, he'll be in the briefing room, but it'll be embargoed, because he'll be doing it at 9:00 a.m. Eastern so it'll be embargoed for an hour.

Q So he's 9:00 a.m. Eastern, Clinton's 9:00 a.m. Central?

MR. LOCKHART: Correct.

Q And Glickman is just a basic briefing with whoever comes here to talk to him at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we're going to call. Just so you know, we will call -- make a special effort to call, like, rural ag reporters. And so there will be, hopefully, a group here that will ask knowledgeable questions. So, you can tell your -- (laughter) --

Q We don't have to feel guilty about leaving -- (laughter) --

Q Is the news in this radio address that it's worth bringing in an ag writer on a Saturday?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. You should have your ag reporter come in.

Q Regional ag guys will like this.

Q Is the whole family going?


MR. MCCURRY: I don't think so. I don't know if any -- it's just the President, right?

MR. LOCKHART: Just the President.

MR. MCCURRY: And then, I think as we just told you, he'll probably do a little poking around on his library while he's down there, in addition to the political chores. And then he'll see some friends and just do some visiting with folks. Is he going to play golf?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, probably today and tomorrow.

MR. MCCURRY: And that's the weekend.

Q What can we expect in the Monday speech in New Orleans?

MR. MCCURRY: We will talk -- he will do a lot about education and sort of set out once again the fundamental elements of his education initiative and why they are so important. He will connect them to the future strength and health of the U.S. economy and why we need to make investments in elementary secondary education and then also open up college education opportunities for the future. He will not address the Coverdell issue, because that'll probably happen later in the week, correct?

MR. TOIV: It'll happen later, yes.

Q In the week?

MR. TOIV: Not later that day.

MR. MCCURRY: Not later that day, but later in the week.

Q And no new initiatives are expected in?

MR. MCCURRY: I haven't heard. I think this is kind of coming back and hitting the major points on education, and again, kind of setting out exactly why the President thinks we have to preserve the opportunity to make those investments in school modernization, class size, teacher enhancements, the literacy program, all those things that are kind of the bedrock core of his education initiative. This is a prelude to what we think will be rifle-shot efforts in the appropriations process to drive at some of these issues and see what we can get from the Congress, building up to September, when we have some kind of major budget deliberation, presumably.

Q What the status the head of his detail -- Secret Service?

MR. MCCURRY: I do not know. You have to ask the Service.

Q Has he been removed?

MR. MCCURRY: I had seen reported that they have temporarily taken him off the head of the detail, but the Service has to address that. I'm not authorized to speak on behalf of the Service.

Q Mike, what do you make of Starr asking the Secret Service who have been subpoenaed there and their attorneys to be down at the courthouse at 12:00 noon?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't make anything of it.

Q Mike, there are reports that the White House is looking to topple Saddam Hussein?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't comment on intelligence matters.

Q Has the President asked for an expansion of authority in the area of covert operations?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't comment on covert operations; that's why they're called covert operations.

Q I'm not asking about the operations, I'm asking about the President's authority in this area.

MR. MCCURRY: The President's authority is defined by law and by the Intelligence Act.

Q And has he asked that that be broadened in any way?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to comment on that -- broadened -- I'm not aware that we have asked for any -- we have not proposed any rewrite of the Intelligence Act, that I'm aware of.

Q I don't think that's quite what I'm asking, but -- and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get to what I'm asking, but, you know, you're not helping me much, either.

MR. MCCURRY: If you figure out what you're asking, come back and pose a different question.

Q Mike, do you -- does the administration or the President have any response, though, to the fact that Larry Cockell has been temporarily removed -- I mean, any personal feeling about that change?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, you've heard us all saying -- I said yesterday, Larry's a good guy and we don't like to see anyone's career impacted for questionable reasons, but --

Q His career has been impacted?

MR. MCCURRY: He's off the case. He's the President's head of detail.

Q Did the President have anything to do with him being off?

MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely not.

Q Really?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to talk about this further because you should go and talk to the Service. The Service is the one that answered questions from all your news organizations last night, and they're the ones authorized to talk about it. But do we like the guy? Do we think he's a real professional? Do we think he does a decent job? Of course we do.

Q But, Mike, how can you say --

MR. MCCURRY: We look forward to having him -- coming back as head of the detail as soon as possible.

Q Mike, how can you say that it has nothing to do with the President or the situation? I mean, he's been taken off the detail because of an alleged relationship between Lewinsky and the President.

MR. MCCURRY: That is not true. He's been taken off the head of detail because this prosecutor is insisting on his testimony at the Grand Jury. That is not a fair question.

Okay, what else do you want to talk about?

Q What about Russia? The Duma has passed some of the posterity measures, not all of them. Has it done enough?

MR. MCCURRY: Our assessment so far of what the Duma has done is that they've taken a very complicated, fairly expansive economic program that has got enormous potential -- in the view of the United States and in the view of the International Monetary Fund -- and they are working through it in a very deliberate way and demonstrating that Russia's Parliament will support the work of the government to provide financial stability to Russia's economy. We think that's a very positive thing. Now, there were -- the Duma and the government are -- they're not 100 percent in synchronicity on all elements of the program so far. But the debate is continuing. We're watching it, but so far, we consider the results encouraging. That's about right, right?


Q Mike, given that economic statistics released this week are affected by the GM strike, does the President plan to speak out on the strike, or take any actions related to it?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we are monitoring it very carefully and we have been getting pretty much daily reports from the Secretary of Labor. Secretary Herman has been in direct contact with the parties, has offered to make available federal mediation and conciliation services, which to those of you who follow the auto industry knows, is fairly unusual, because in six decades I don't think the UAW and the major autos have ever called in federal mediation. But it has been made available now by the Secretary of Labor. And we are, obviously, encouraging the parties to make progress in their discussions and said that federal mediation is available if they want to call in a federal mediator.

Q Are you encouraging them to take the mediation?

Q Does the President --

MR. MCCURRY: We are listening carefully to the disposition of the parties and hearing what they report on their own deliberations. I'm not going to go beyond that. Go the Labor if you want more.

Q Has the President spoken to Steve Yokich (phonetic) or Jack Smith since the strike started?

MR. MCCURRY: Spoken to who?

Q The President of UAW or the Chairman of General Motors?

MR. MCCURRY: The President has not spoken directly to the parties.

Q But does the President himself have --

MR. MCCURRY: -- the Secretary of Labor has, as she's indicated publicly.

Q Does the President have plans himself to speak on this at any time?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to move it beyond what I just gave it.

Q Have they agreed to federal mediation?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to move it beyond where I just gave it.

Q Mike, the President was quite adamant about tax cuts today. Is there any room for some more targeted, modest tax cuts?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, sure. I mean, we've got targeted tax relief proposed in our budget. I mean, we've got a lot of different ways in which you could begin to provide some tax relief, and we have heard not -- we've heard some proposals that have merit for discussion from Congress, but we're not talking about wholesale, across-the-board tax cuts that would violate the principle of saving Social Security first.

Q Of the type that the Speaker proposed yesterday, right?

MR. MCCURRY: He had -- the President had a very good response to what the Speaker said yesterday.

Q Can you give us any more on the crime event Wednesday, what that's going to --

MR. MCCURRY: I can't. I don't have anything more on it here.

Q Would you consider a higher among of targeted tax cuts than proposed in the budget -- I mean, above --

MR. MCCURRY: Clearly, if we get into serious discussions about budget, there are going to be a lot of issues in play and we'll see where we go.

Q Has the IRS bill gotten here yet?

MR. MCCURRY: Say again.

Q IRS bill?

MR. MCCURRY: Has not come in yet.

MR. TOIV: Hasn't arrived yet.

Q Is it possible if that arrives by next Tuesday that that could be the event that is now --

MR. TOIV: Signing the bill on Tuesday, is that what you're asking?


MR. TOIV: We don't have the bill yet. And we don't know when we're going to get it.

MR. MCCURRY: We don't know when we're going to get it either.

Q I know the clerk's office number just like you do.

Q Mike, is there anything new on Kosovo, reports about the Serbs --

MR. MCCURRY: We still have been putting enormous pressure diplomatically on the Serbs and we are very concerned about what the Serbs have been doing to disrupt efforts by the Kosovar Albanians to form some coherent political structures that they engage in negotiation. But meanwhile, you have to acknowledge the Kosovar Albanians have done a better job on the ground militarily, and that has affected, somewhat, the climate for what we believe is everyone's preference, which is -- or should be everyone's preference -- which is peaceful resolution of the conflict. Where we've got -- Chris Hill is continuing to work it, Ambassador Holbrooke continues to have contact with folks over there, and there has been pretty active diplomacy by other Contact Group nations, as well.

Q On Monday, are you going to gaggle or brief?

MR. MCCURRY: No, because we're out of town Monday, right? Joe's out of town.

Q Mike, just for our guidance, what's your plan here when this court ruling, or however -- whatever the disposition of it is comes down at noon? Are you going to have a written statement from Mr. Ruff or --

MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely not. You've got the President who's commented on this issue already today and said all that needs to be said from the White House on it.

Q When he said "consider the source", does he know Silverman?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know the answer to that.

Q He knows his political pedigree, right?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't think I need --

Q Well, then, how should we interpret that comment?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't think I need to interpret that for you.

Okay, see you all next week.

END 11:25 A.M. EDT