THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Chicago, Illinois) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 25, 1998
PRESS BRIEFING BY BARRY TOIV Filing Center Civic Opera House Chicago, Illinois
1:45 P.M. CDT
MR. TOIV: Just go right to the week ahead, Terry? Okay, sounds good to me.
Q Wait a minute. Would you like to respond to the Senate Majority Leader today, Barry, who is accusing the President of taking a gratuitous slap at Congress and then leaving town for three days of fundraising? He said he's trying to distract attention from his own problems by attacking Congress for not enacting his own legislative agenda.
MR. TOIV: I don't know how he can say that. It's not the President who has eked out a total of one appropriations bill in nine months, with only five days left to go in the fiscal year. It's not the President who is five months behind in enacting a budget. It's not the President who has failed to approve education spending. It's not the President who has failed to approve a patients' bill of rights. It's not the President who has failed to pass funding for the IMF.
Look, the Congress needs to get its work done. I think that's the point the President was trying to make today. And the President and the administration have been working very hard with the Congress to try and get this legislation enacted. But if the Republican leadership is unable to get the votes to pass these important pieces of legislation, then the only thing we can do is to continue to urge them on.
Q On another subject, has the President authorized his attorneys to work out some kind of a financial settlement with Paula Jones?
MR. TOIV: I'll have to refer you to his attorney, Mr. Bennett.
Q Barry, Mack McLarty's cousin, a pastor in Odessa, Texas, and apparently was a boyhood friend of the President, has written the President a letter asking him to resign and apparently preached a sermon. Has the President received the letter that you know of? Has he responded to it?
MR. TOIV: I don't know. I can check on that for you.
Q Barry, the President said that Congressman Poshard did not come because he had to stay and vote against a tax cut for America. You said earlier it was fast track. Is it one or the other or both?
MR. TOIV: Well, as you know, both votes are taking place today, and from our perspective -- from the President's perspective, we're very pleased that he's there to support the President's effort to save Social Security first. I think the Congressman feels that it's important that he be there for both votes.
Q Isn't the tax vote tomorrow?
MR. TOIV: There's a tax vote today. There's a very important vote on the Democratic alternative. I'm not sure what form that is taking, but as I understand it, it's the primary vote that will enable Democrats to offer their view that any tax cut should not cut into Social Security, and any tax cut -- I think their proposal is that any tax cut should take place only after we've achieved a balanced budget, excluding the Social Security surplus.
But you are right, there are some key votes tomorrow, as well.
Q Is the President worried that his attacks on Congress might work against him when it comes to the possibility of impeachment proceedings?
MR. TOIV: What the President is focused on, Mr. Knoller -- thank you for keeping this going -- (laughter) --
Q Always happy to help.
MR. TOIV: What the President is focused on is getting the work done that needs to be done before the Congress adjourns in October, which includes the appropriations bills, with their funding for education and other key issues; it includes funding the IMF and a host of other issues that I've already mentioned. And that's what he's focused on. And he will continue to press very hard for the Congress to act on these issues.
Q Republicans say that Poshard missed 71 percent of the votes between January and March. Do you know why he was so eager to get on these votes, to record on these votes when he missed so much earlier in the year?
MR. TOIV: Well, my understanding is that he has made a very big point of being in the Congress, staying there for as many votes as he possibly could during this campaign. I know he's there from -- that's my understanding. And a very good authority on Chicago politics told me that.
Anything else? Week ahead.
Q Do you have some announcement to make on Saudi energy issues? Is there anything you can say about that? James Rubin said the White House is putting out --
MR. TOIV: Maybe we'll be putting out paper later. I don't know anything about it. I don't have an announcement to make.
Do I have an announcement to make, Nanda? No? Okay.
The week ahead. The President will deliver the radio address tomorrow. The subject will be our fight against cancer. As you all know, there is a very big march in Washington tomorrow on cancer, and the Vice President will be attending that march. He'll be speaking there. And the administration has made a very substantial proposal for funding the fight against cancer, for funding cancer research. And this is something that is actually very important not only to the President, but the Vice President as well. And this is the subject that the President will address in his radio address tomorrow.
It will be taped sometime today, probably not until he gets out to California. But whenever it is taped, we will give it to you on an embargoed basis. We'll have some paper for you and we'll be able to answer questions for you.
You all know the weekend. We get back late Sunday night. On Monday, the President will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, as you all know. That will take place in the morning, but we don't have a time yet. And at sometime later in the week he will also meet with Chairman Arafat.
Q Barry, news conference?
MR. TOIV: I have not heard about a news conference. The structure of the meeting is still to be determined, but I haven't heard anything about a news conference.
That evening he will end a DSCC fundraiser of Senator Boxer. Tuesday, nothing scheduled yet for Tuesday, but stay tuned. Wednesday, the President will participate in an economic event at the White House. Thursday, the President will participate in an education event. And that evening he will attend a Unity fundraiser in D.C.
And on Friday --
Q I'm sorry, what fundraiser?
MR. TOIV: Unity, the Unity campaign, combined for DNC, DCCC and the DSCC.
Q How about Thursday?
Q That was Thursday.
MR. TOIV: That was Thursday. On Thursday is an education event and then the Unity fundraiser. Wednesday was an economic event.
Friday, the President travels to Cleveland and Philadelphia. In Cleveland he will attend a fundraising lunch for Senate candidate Mary Boyle. In Philadelphia he will attend a reception for the DNC in the evening and then return to the White House late that evening. And the President is off on Saturday and Sunday of next week.
Q Along the lines of who's coming, who's not, do you know whether Boxer or Gray Davis will be at any of the fundraisers in California?
MR. TOIV: Yes, I think they're both going to be at the fundraiser Saturday night.
Q The Unity dinner?
MR. TOIV: Yes, the Unity event. A number of members I have here who we expect to be there from California --I know they will be there; Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Sanchez, Phil Angelides, who I think is running for State Treasurer. Boy, my knowledge of the California congressional delegation is a few years old. Congressman Sherman -- or Congresswoman Sherman -- I actually don't know who that is. And obviously Congressman Gephardt, Senator Daschle, and others will be there.
Q Barry, do you know anything about the President attending a golf tournament on Monday?
MR. TOIV: I haven't heard anything about that.
Q And does he have any response, or the administration, to a piece that Susan Tierney, a former, I believe, assistant secretary of energy, wrote in the Boston Globe yesterday expressing her disappointment with the President and saying that he's let down the Clinton movement?
MR. TOIV: I don't know if he's aware of that piece.
All right. Thank you.
END 2:00 P.M. CDT