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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 11, 1998
                          PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                             MIKE MCCURRY 

The Briefing Room

1:55 P.M. EDT

MR. MCCURRY: I have very happy news, ladies and gentlemen. Rahm Emanuel and Amy and little boy Zack have a new member of their family -- Ilana Merritt, born this morning, 7 pounds, 4 ounces. A little baby girl. And Rahm has called in a couple of times and is as happy as he can be, and mother is doing well, too. So some good news before we turn to other news.

Q How can you respond to a report you don't have? Or do you have it?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, you can't. I think, as the attorneys for the President have made clear, this is a preliminary response based on the numerous leaks that have occurred about the OIC referral that's been made to the House of Representatives. Much of what we have given you is based on the assessment we've seen as reported by many of you in the room.

But we do expect to get -- by the way, we do not have the report yet. We're going to get notified here if it arrives while this briefing is in progress. And then our current plan is at 4:30 p.m. we'll have Chuck Ruff, the White House Legal Counsel; David Kendall, the President's private attorney; some of the other attorneys who have been working on this -- Nicole Seligman, Cheryl Mills, Lanny Breuer -- they will be available in the Roosevelt Room to your pool and to however many other people we can fit in. And after we accommodate the regular pool we have, we'll draw names in a hat and try to take additional people.

Q Will that be available on camera?

MR. MCCURRY: I have no objection to that.

Q It won't be on the mult, in other words?

MR. MCCURRY: We can feed it to the mult, can't we? I'm out of my league when it comes to technical details.

Q Because of the interest, why not have it here?

MR. MCCURRY: Larry, for a good reason and one that we all need to think about maybe that the Association can help. This space here is not accessible to people with disabilities, and so we will --

Q -- how can that be?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know how that can be. That's a very good question. And it's one that I intend to look into as one of my last official acts.

Q We could hand him a mike here.

MR. MCCURRY: No, we're going to do it in the Roosevelt Room. I'm not going to negotiate the details.

Q How late was the President up last night. He said it was very late. And also, he looks like he scratched himself.

MR. MCCURRY: That's a little bit of his rosacea, which comes out from time to time. He got back here at 10:00 p.m. He worked on this until early this morning -- I don't know how late. But he wrote it out himself on three pages of White House note paper.

Q Mike, why did he decide it was important to apologize to Monica Lewinsky?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to try to get into the President's head. I think he gave a very personal, poignant, heartfelt set of remarks today that stand on their own, and they don't need a press secretary or flak to say anything further about that.

Q Does he mean by that that he's had a conversation with Ms. Lewinsky, or is he just talking in the abstract?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I think that was an apology. Whether he follows up with any additional apology, I'll check. And if he does, I'll let you know.

Q So you're saying that he has not so far had a conversation with Ms. Lewinsky or any member of her family?

MR. MCCURRY: That's correct.

Q And when he said that he's asking for pastoral support, what does he mean by that? Is he saying that he's going to seek some kind of counseling?

MR. MCCURRY: No, in the ministry to him and to his family by people of faith that he respects, part of the pastoral care that's being given to him is the kind of pastoral counseling one would expect. Beyond that, given how private and personal this is, and how directly it affects the President and the First Lady, I'm just not going to talk about it. I mean, whatever the President wants to say about it, that's entirely his business. He's told you what he told you today. I think I have some obligation to tell you only about the things that we normally report here.

If it's something involving -- a medical condition was involved, we do report on the President's medical condition. I've talked to his physician. He's not under any kind of medical treatment for anything involving a mental condition.

Q Let me be clear, Mike, are you saying that he is not seeking any kind of psychological counseling?

MR. MCCURRY: He is seeking pastoral support and that of other caring people so that they can hold him accountable to the commitment he's made for repentance.

Q Who would those other caring people be?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to speculate on that.

Q Mike, on the medical -- on Wednesday Senator Hatch said that the President has a problem and needs help regarding his reckless conduct. Maryland historian -- citing John Moses, M.D. --

MR. MCCURRY: That's the local angle you're pursuing. (Laughter.)

Q -- and writes that the problem may be satyriasis. And my question is, have you ever seen all of the President's medical records so that you are able to rule out satyriasis?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm very well familiar with the President's medical records since that was so extensively debated in the 1996 campaign. I have spoken to the President's physician; the President is not under any medical treatment for any psychiatric or mental condition.

Q But, Mike, this is titled "The Preliminary Response" and it notes that people that wrote it didn't have access to the report and when you get the report there will be a more detailed response. Can you give us some sense of the time frame -- I mean, you'll get it a little later you said. Are we talking about tonight, tomorrow, the next day --

MR. MCCURRY: I think I will hold that in reservation for the folks who brief at 4:30 p.m. because they are the ones that will be preparing whatever additional response we make. We need to see the report, see what other allegations or issues arise, and see to what extent they've been addressed by this document, see whether we need to put out any kind of amendment or additional document. But I don't think we will know that until they have some opportunity to go through the document.

Q Do you think it's appropriate, Mike, that the Ken Starr report includes salacious details of the sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky?

MR. MCCURRY: I think that's addressed in the document we've given you.

Q How are you going to mount a --

Q -- the beginning of the debate in the House there was some strong words already and it doesn't sound terribly bipartisan at the outset.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we will follow that debate, and I think the leadership of both sides of the aisle have tried to advise members of the proper tone and decorum, and we intend to try to maintain the dignity of that process in the statements we make here.

Q Mike, in the meeting yesterday with the President and the Cabinet, The Washington Post has a story today of a very contentious debate between the President and Secretary Shalala --

MR. MCCURRY: I've heard much different accounts from participants. I've heard that that incident as reported was a small fraction of what was a remarkable meeting. But it was private, and beyond that, I'm not going to go further.

Q Mike, the President said earlier that he wasn't contrite enough in his first apology. Do you think if the President had been more contrite, left out attacking Ken Starr, and apologized to Monica Lewinsky the first time that we wouldn't be going through this --

MR. MCCURRY: I just have no possible way of imagining what the answer might be.

Q Well, do you think it would have lessened --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to try to guess.

Q Does the President still intend to stay the course, and does he still have no intention of resigning?

MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely.

Q Does the President have any announcements about additional staff people coming on board?


Q Do you have any information for us about when that might be happening?

MR. MCCURRY: They been talking to people how to round out whatever team is needed for the President as they go into this next phase of this issue. And we will report personnel amendments, additions, as we need to. I'm not aware that we're going to have any anytime soon.

Q Can you just describe what -- when you are looking for these people, what will they do? What are you looking for --

MR. MCCURRY: They would help the President with our basic strategy, which is to make the strongest possible case that there has not been an impeachable offense here. I want to repeat because some of you have asked that I at least do some of our rebuttal here, but I think right at the beginning of the report it about sums up the argument here. And I want to give it to you.

"The simple realty of this situation is that the House is being confronted with evidence of a man's efforts to keep an inappropriate relationship private -- a personal failure that the President has acknowledged was wrong, for which he apologized and for which he accepts complete responsibility; a personal failure for which the President has sought forgiveness from members of his family, members of the Cabinet, members of Congress, and the American people.

Such a personal failing does not, however, constitute treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors that would justify the impeachment of the President of the United States.

The President himself has described his conduct as wrong. But no amount of gratuitous details about the President's relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, no matter how salacious, can alter the fact that, one, the President did not commit perjury; two, the President did not obstruct justice; three, the President did not tamper with witnesses; and four, the President did not abuse the power of his office."

So what the President will assemble is a team of people that will help him make that case as vigorously as he can.

Q Mike, in two weeks the President will face the world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly session. Do you think he'll be effective? And also the U.N. is calling that the U.S. has not paid its dues --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm confident that the President will be effective in those meetings. He is well respected by his counterparts in this world. They enjoy doing business with him personally. They know the importance of doing business with the United States of America. And I know that the President will represent the American people ably and confidently when he meets with leaders at the U.N.

Now, one issue that will arise is U.N. arrears and our obligation to pay our bills. And I'd be happy to have P.J. and David and others who can go into that and brief a little bit on that if you'd like right now.

Q Mike, has Secretary Shalala had any follow-on conversations yesterday after meeting this morning with the President? Do you expect her to remain in the administration?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know for a fact that she has, but she was there this morning at the breakfast and I think had the opportunity to talk to the President.

Q Have there been resignations on the staff or Cabinet?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, mine. I'm aware of mine, but I don't know about others.

Q Mike, I understand that the President's very narrow definition of sexual relations is being used to refute any possible charges of perjury. But do you think that distinction between sexual relations or sexual contact or stimulation, or whatever you want to call it, will fly with the American people?

MR. MCCURRY: The American people will decide to make of this whole matter what they want to make of it. I'm not going to attempt to kind of get into that issue because I imagine that's one you're want to prefer to hear from the President's attorneys.

Q Did I understand you right when you said that the President has not sought and is not seeking psychological counseling?

MR. MCCURRY: I was very clear on that point, yes.

Q Has the first family discussed Chelsea taking any time off from school to help her father through this?

MR. MCCURRY: If they had, it would be entirely private and up to them to report to you if they had.

Q The report at the end, in the summary, says, where is Whitewater, and it talks about no charges involving FBI files, White House Travel Office. Is the White House confident that there are no possible indictments pending for any of those cases?

MR. MCCURRY: I'll refer that to the lawyers. I'm certainly not aware of any.

Q On a related question, are there any indictments related to --

MR. MCCURRY: Look, you can't ask me about possible indictments. You have to go to Mr. Starr and to his associates to ask those questions. I can't answer those for you.

Q But the report says very confidently, Mike --

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think that's probably based on knowing what the testimony has been of the individuals involved and seeing what kind of progress, or lack thereof, has been made to date on those matters.

Q Mike, some of this report hinges on what the President's lawyers or the legal team believes to be the testimony of Betty Currie. How did they get that information?

MR. MCCURRY: Precisely because of a question like that is why we're going to make them available to you later.

Q Two questions. Did any staff people see the President's remarks before he made them? Did he have any hopes that they would change the atmosphere in which the report was received?

MR. MCCURRY: He did not discuss with anyone on the staff before he made them. He did discuss the breakfast in a general briefing about the breakfast itself with staff before it happened, a regular event briefing, but not what he was going to say himself. And this breakfast today, as you all know, has been scheduled for quite some time, long before we knew that today would be the day that this report was being made available.

Q Mike, is the President prepared to at some point call on the American people to express their support for him to help him get through this?

MR. MCCURRY: He has not elected to do that to this point.

Q Mike, how would you describe this day? Is this the saddest day of the Clinton presidency?

MR. MCCURRY: I'd have to think about that. No, I think the days in which we've dealt with the tragic deaths of people, the day that Ron Brown lost his life -- I mean, I don't know how you could possibly compare this day to any of those days.

Q Are there letters and calls coming into the White House in unusual volume, and what are they saying?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I think there are just a lot of hits on our web site -- which is, by the way,, where you can get our prebuttal. I also should say that we would extend our gratitude to Chairman Hyde, who has agreed to post that document that you have now received along with the Starr report when it's made available. Our understanding is that they will be made available electronically simultaneously so people can see them side by side, and we take that as a sign of good faith that they're going to extend to us the opportunity to make the case that we believe needs to be made on behalf of the President.

Q Mike, will you be releasing any of the exchanges between the President and Monica Lewinsky later or at some point, that have been referred to in this document?

MR. MCCURRY: I'll have to take that question or maybe you can direct that to the attorneys later.

Q Will he be using any personal lawyers, or the government lawyers to defend himself?

MR. MCCURRY: He would be using a combination of both. As you can see from this document, both White House lawyers and his private attorneys have participated together in crafting this document, as is necessary and absolutely appropriate given that we are now dealing with the constitutional process of impeachment.

Q Mike, in the President's talk this morning before the ministers, he talked about letting go of his own anger and talked about atonement. He clearly left the impression that he understood that character assassination and attacks on some of the people who had been his adversaries are not what he has in mind anymore, if he ever did. But there's reports of White House staffers leaking stories about sex --

MR. MCCURRY: Carl, and those have been categorically denied by the individuals involved and, as best as I can deny them here or say that that has not been any part and parcel of the work that we've been doing here out of this White House or that we've instructed anyone that we're affiliated with outside the White House to do.

Q Can I follow up? Is the President going to make sure that people on the staff know that?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, he already has very clearly instructed all of us to conduct ourselves in a way consistent with the tone of the message he delivered today. And we are trying to do that.

Q Mike, has the President apologized individually to staff members, as he has to Congress and the Cabinet?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, he has, and it's up to them to say what they want to say about that.

Q Mike, you described the President's state of mind today. Has he been able to remain concentrated --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't need to because you had as revealing a glimpse into his heart and soul as you could possibly have today in his own words, so I don't need to say anything further.

Q I don't mean particularly what he was feeling today. I mean, how has he been able to focus on his work?

MR. MCCURRY: He has been and he couldn't have been clearer about that today.

Q The Senate Democrats yesterday indicated that one of the reasons this matter needs to be dispensed with very quickly is because he's not paying -- he's not able to pay sufficient attention to domestic and international affairs. Are they just wrong about that?

MR. MCCURRY: I didn't hear any of them say that.

Q Daschle said that.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I don't believe that to be the case.

Q What's the radio address on?

MR. MCCURRY: Something appropriate for the occasion. I don't know. (Laughter.)

Q Mike, the President has said he wants to move ahead and go forward with the nation's business, but is it possible to do that and simultaneously --

MR. MCCURRY: It's not a question of whether it's possible to do it, it's mandatory. We have to. The work of this government, the work that we do in this world, the responsibilities for leadership the United States of America has on this planet don't stop because of Monica Lewinsky, and they never have. And the President has continued to do the job he's been elected to do all throughout the last eight months. Now, you all can choose to report on that or not report on that as you see fit. But the President has known from the very beginning, day one, that he cannot break that fundamental bond and that contract he has with the American people, which is to do the job he was duly elected to do.

Q Well, Mike, in this process of repentance and making sure that it's sustained that he talked about this morning, does he have anything special planned -- any kind of event where he's going to be trying to rebuild the American people's trust, or is just to go forward as he has been?

MR. MCCURRY: He will first and foremost do the job he was elected to do and do it to the best of his ability. And that's the most fundamentally important thing that he can do to restore trust.

Q How about a regular news conference --

MR. MCCURRY: He's having a press conference next Wednesday, as I already told you.

Q -- saying on the Hill that the President needs to heal right now. But how can he deal with these domestic and world issues and heal at the same time? I mean, this is a very serious situation he's going through.

MR. MCCURRY: He's got the capacity to do that. He's extraordinarily talented.

Q Mike, wasn't the President's speech today the one he should have given on the 17th of August?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to -- look, what use would there be in me saying yes to that?

Q Mike, the Chancellor of New York's Jewish Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Bishop of New York said yesterday that the President's moral presence in the country has been undercut so badly that he cannot lead.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, you had access to a number of religious leaders who were here earlier day, and you could have interviewed them and their different points of view.

Q May I finish?

MR. MCCURRY: No. (Laughter.) All right, go ahead.

Q -- from the president of his own denomination, which is the biggest Protestant --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm aware of that. He has taken issue with his denomination from time to time on things like the Disney boycott and others. They're entitled to different points of view.

Q But one of those that came today was --

MR. MCCURRY: We'll come back.

Q Mike, during last night's Cabinet meeting, did the President invoke the name of President Kennedy and his personal record in any kind of personal defense or for any other reason?

MR. MCCURRY: It was a private meeting, and we're going to elect not to talk about it.

Q Back in January, it wasn't private. And Secretary Shalala and Albright and Daley came out here, and they personally put themselves on the line for Clinton, and now it's private?

MR. MCCURRY: Many of them came out and talked to you last night. I don't recall giving a readout on it --

Q None of the four people who were out here in January came out last night.

MR. MCCURRY: -- and those people have been heard from.

Q No, they haven't --

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, they have. I've got a statement from Albright right here if you haven't seen it.

Q The President said he'd been getting a lot of personal support. Anything in the last 24 hours -- calls from international leaders, anything like that that you'd like to tell us about?

MR. MCCURRY: There have been -- he has received a lot of support domestically. I think there is a chance that he will have a call with at least one foreign leader, but that has not occurred yet. If it does, I'll let you know.

Q Well, how has he received that when you said you hadn't been getting any unusual --

MR. MCCURRY: We've been getting -- no, I did -- we've been getting --

Q I thought you said you just have been getting a lot of hits on your web site.

MR. MCCURRY: No, we've been getting calls and the regular things through our comment line and that sort of thing.

Q Mike, does the United States government have any reason to believe that the mass shooting on the Russian nuclear submarine today indicates a deterioration in the nuclear command and control in Russia?

COLONEL CROWLEY: It was an attack submarine --

MR. MCCURRY: P.J., do you know -- come on up. You want to do it? (Laughter.) I've been otherwise occupied.

COLONEL CROWLEY: Clearly, the Russian defense establishment has been going under some stress as they've gone through the same kind of downsizing that the United States military has gone over the years. This was an incident on a Russian attack submarine. I honestly don't know at this point how it's been resolved, but it has nothing to do with the safety of their nuclear forces.

Q Mike, next week you are leaving the White House and you have been working with the President for so many years. What are you taking with you, and what are you leaving behind? How will you remember this President -- here in the White House?

MR. MCCURRY: I haven't had a chance to pack yet, so I don't have an answer.

Q Mike, let me ask you two questions on foreign policy. Now that Yevgeniy Primakov has been ratified by the Duma, does the President intend to speak to him? And, number two, Richard Holbrooke seems to be having problems with his ratification. Can you address both issues, please?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we have a statement from the President on Ambassador Holbrooke's nomination. There are some matters that need to be resolved before we can in due course forward that nomination to the Senate. But the President is confident that he will be in a position to do that as soon as these reviews are resolved, and he's confident that they will be resolved in a way that allows us to proceed with the nomination of someone who is going to do an extraordinarily good job at the United Nations for us.

On the first question, he obviously intends to continue to have dialogue with Prime Minister Primakov. My strong guess is -- and maybe we can get some help -- my guess is that Vice President Gore will probably more immediately have contact with him because at that level we want to continue the working relationship that the Vice President has traditionally had with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. So I imagine that will be the first point of contact. But, of course we will be extending the President's good wishes to him as he forms his government.

Q Mike, just to go back to this notion that he might try to make some extra efforts to rebuild trust with the American people, if he has a press conference next week with Havel, that will be the third time in as many weeks that he has to answer questions about this matter with a foreign leader standing by his side. Has he given any thought to having just a straightforward press conference by himself?

MR. MCCURRY: We have given a lot of thought to a lot of different ways in which he would address the matter, and if we decide to have a press conference, I'll certainly let you know.

Q Will the President stay in this country while the impeachment proceeding is going on? I mean, is anything on --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know how long the House will be occupied with the matter, but we have a program of activity that we will pursue. The President has responsibilities coming up --

Q Even travel out of the country?

MR. MCCURRY: The President has got responsibilities coming up that involve travel to Asia for the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum. And I think, particularly at a time when we are facing turmoil in the region -- in the economy of the Asian region, and we've got a chance to meet with the leaders of the economies of that region, it would be irresponsible for the President not to continue to pursue his work as Commander in Chief and as the chief of America's foreign policy.

Q -- reaction to the Congress adjourning to campaign in October and leaving this whole matter hanging, or should they remain in session and deal with it and close it?

MR. MCCURRY: As we are here now, we don't know what schedule the House of Representatives will pursue as they undertake to review this matter, so I don't think it would be proper until we know for certain what they plan to do.

Q Senator Daschle and the other Democratic leaders proposed to the President that there be a lame duck session or Congress just stay in session. What does he think of that?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think the President wants to see this expeditiously resolved. If we have a specific point that we want to make on that issue, I'll come back to you on that.

Q Mike, if I could follow that -- given the President's desire to see this expeditiously resolved --

MR. MCCURRY: Hey, wait a minute, you guys are on the same team, so you -- (laughter) -- are you deferring to him?

Q I'm deferring to the senior correspondent.

MR. MCCURRY: All right, go ahead.

Q -- the importance of the matter is weighing, would he not want lawmakers to wrap this up before going, and not put it on hold to go back to their own districts?

MR. MCCURRY: I think the President would like to see it expeditiously resolved. I'm being careful here because I don't think it's the place of the executive branch to instruct the legislative branch how to proceed when an impeachment proceeding is underway. This is fundamentally a constitutional process, and I don't think the presidency gives instructions to the House of Representatives on how to consider the matter of impeachment. I think that would be highly irregular.

Q But would you like it before the election, or after?

MR. MCCURRY: As a political matter, the President wants this expeditiously resolved for all the reasons that a politician would want this matter resolved, particularly because, as you now see, we believe we have a very strong case to say that there should be no consideration of impeachment because nothing arises that warrants impeachment. But I'm being careful here because I think we all have to be careful as we proceed in something that is a constitutional process.

Q Mike, is it your sense after the apology this morning that this the last of the apologies we'll hear from the President, or is it possible that there is even more to come?

MR. MCCURRY: I can't predict how the President will want to address this matter as a human, as a personal matter, in the future. I think he said in enormous amount today of a personal nature about how he feels about this. I don't know of any plans for him to address it in such a fashion again, but I think we have to leave open the right for him to do what he feels he needs to do.

By the way, Joe says we have now -- as of, let's call it 2:18 p.m., we've received the referral of the independent counsel -- or our copy of it.

Q In what form?

MR. MCCURRY: It came from the Hill and it came in a hard copy? Brought it back in hard copy form.

Q Mike, do you foresee any possibility that the President might eventually conclude that for the good of the country and for the good of his party he would resign?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't foresee any such possibility.

Q Does he sympathize with the Reverend Henry Lyons, who has had the same kind of problem? And would he be inclined to pardon him for the embezzlement charges?

MR. MCCURRY: He sympathizes with the resolution that his church has passed pertaining to the President's own matter.

Q Mike, in all of the President's expression of regrets, what we haven't heard is an explanation for his recklessness, I mean, why he would risk his presidency for this relationship and then to lie about it --

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I would take some issue with that. If you think about, in the context in which the President spoke, the humility with which he described his own actions, I think that you might consider otherwise.

Q Mike, was Henry Lyons invited to this breakfast?

MR. MCCURRY: Not that I'm aware of.

Q Mike, if I can follow up, how much has President Clinton robbed himself of his own moral authority? And how much moral authority does he have left?

MR. MCCURRY: Can I ask you a question? Why do you ask me a question like that, which you know you're not going to get an answer that's going to be useful to anyone? That's an argumentative question just designed to look good.

Q Mike, a follow-up question on the trip to Asia. Is it still his intention to go to India and Pakistan?

MR. MCCURRY: We still have that matter under review, and it has been under review since the nuclear testing by both questions.

Q Do you have a timeline for --

Q Mike, many members of Congress -- the President's trip to India and Pakistan, and also when the First Lady was in India, she promised the people there that "if my husband wins the second term, I will bring him to --

MR. MCCURRY: Right. Well, that, for the reason I just described, their government put in jeopardy the President's ability to make that trip under the right circumstances because of the conduct of a nuclear test that was contrary to all the interests in the world community in a more peaceful order.

Q Mike, is the President in a weak position going into the usual budget end game because the fate of Congress is in his hands?

MR. MCCURRY: You all have hired so many pundits and prognosticators, you've got access to people who have got knowledge who can answer that question for you.

Q Mike, in this speech this morning, the President talked about his recognition that the August 17th speech was not the right tone and it was insufficiently contrite. Can you talk about, if you know, the evolution of his recognition of that? Were there pivotal moments? Was it just an accumulation of different things he heard from outside people?

MR. MCCURRY: I think he's thought and obviously prayed a lot about it in recent days. He's talked to ministers outside the White House, some of whom were in attendance this morning. He's pondered and meditated on some Scripture, which you could obviously tell from his remarks today. So I think it comes from contemplation more than anything else.

Q It had nothing to do with the fact that political pressures from Democrats has been mounting?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, it had something to do in the way in which those remarks were received and what people have told him about them, and how he sees it as looking back through the prism of the way others have heard and received the remarks, sure. I mean, the whole context in which the matter has been absorbed by people here in Washington and by the American people gave rise to him thinking that he had more that he needed and wanted to say.

Q Mike, what's the status of a meeting with the congressional bipartisan leadership? Is that going to come off next week? And is the Lewinsky matter intended to be discussed at that, if it does?

MR. MCCURRY: Still under consideration, not yet scheduled, and no.

Q Mike, do you foresee any major activity around here over the weekend related to this?

MR. MCCURRY: I hope not, but that will depend on whether the lawyers deem it necessary to prepare additional information. And by 4:30 p.m., when they're down to talk to you, they might have a better idea of that.

Q Mike, did the President know that one of the clergy that he invited this morning was Jimmy Carter's campaign manager for Illinois, even though he edits a tax-exempt magazine called "The Christian Century"? Was he aware of that, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: I have not a clue whether he was aware of that or not.

Okay, we're going to do the radio address live tomorrow, and I think they still actually are haggling over the topic.

Q Mike, if I could just get your reaction officially -- the document, the Ken Starr report, has now officially been released on the web, and the accusation include lying under oath --

MR. MCCURRY: Okay, Wolf, we've got lawyers that will be here at 4:30 p.m. and their purpose in being there is to respond. And you've got our document we've talked about already.

Saturday we've got the radio address. Sunday the President will not have any scheduled events, but he plans to be stay here. He'll be at the White House. Monday we've got the speech up in New York --

Q Going to church on Sunday?

MR. MCCURRY: We don't know. We never know until that day whether he goes or not.

Monday we've got the speech up in New York and the events -- the political events afterwards.

Q What time does he go up?

MR. MCCURRY: He leaves at roughly 9:30 a.m.

Q And that's a foreign policy --

MR. MCCURRY: He's going to talk at the Council of Foreign Relations on the global economy, the interdependence of regional and domestic economies in the era that we live in and the importance of moving forward with things that can help restore stability and coherence to the global trading system and to the global economy -- IMF funding in particular.

Q He's going to the theater?

MR. MCCURRY: He's got the event at the Lion King Monday night in New York. That's part of the fundraiser that they're doing up in New York.

Tuesday the President will attend a military readiness conference at Ft. McNair. This has been a very important and somewhat contentious issue in budgetary matters, as most of you know, and he wants an opportunity to talk to the commanders in chief and the service chiefs, the regional commanders in chiefs on readiness issues. He'll be back from Ft. McNair late afternoon. And he's got a fundraiser that night for the gubernatorial candidate down in Arkansas.

Wednesday is the state visit by President Havel we've already talked about, and a state dinner that night.

Thursday the President travels to Cincinnati, leaving the White House at 10:45 a.m. He's got a fundraising lunch out there and he goes back to Boston for one of the Unity receptions that we're doing with the campaign committees up in Boston. And then back here late in the evening, early in the morning.

Friday, he's got a meeting of the President's race board initiative. He'll be making remarks to them, and then they've got one of our millennium lectures that evening in the East Room, commemorating American jazz -- something to preserve for the future.

Q Mike, the New York State Democratic Party asked the White House not to come on Monday, because they said it would interfere with the fundraising efforts for the -- New York Senate race.

MR. MCCURRY: I saw -- I had meant to look into that and I'm aware that there had been some criticism of that. These are dates that we arranged with the DNC, the DCCC, the Senate Campaign Committee, and my understanding is, because they wanted to build the event in New York around this performance of the Lion King, that was the only day they could get it because Monday being the day that theaters are usually dark they had to schedule it that day. Beyond that, I think the DNC folks have been able to give more information about what our contact was with the local party leaders up there.

Q Does he think that Congressman Hoyer of Maryland's denunciation of a Reuter's reporter in Moscow makes up for Governor Glendening's leaping off the sinking ship?

MR. MCCURRY: Somebody should be taking a flying leap somewhere -- (laughter.) No, he's --

Q Are you suggesting that for the Governor of Maryland?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I had more -- kind of you in mind. But that's -- (laughter.) No. No, that's not fair.

Larry, did Steny ever call you?

Q Yes, we talked already. I don't want to -- (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: Does anyone have something really serious to get? No, yes? Good-bye.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 2:30 P.M. EDT