View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 4, 1998
                            PRESS BRIEFING BY
                              JOE LOCKHART

                            The Briefing Room

1:15 P.M. EST

MR. LOCKHART: Good afternoon. Welcome to the last daily briefing of this week. Questions?

Q Are you happy?

MR. LOCKHART: Very happy, very happy. Questions?

Q The question is you have another letter from the committee, or a staffer, asserting that Mr. St. Clair was, in fact, questioned -- himself was questioned. Do you dispute that?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think my quick search of history reveals that Mr. St. Clair made two appearances, one as a witness; the second one, which is similar to the circumstances that I believe our counsel will go up next week, which is, in effect, to give a closing argument, make a last presentation, and in the second appearance he was not questioned. He was given an hour and a half and was not questioned.

But the broader point is and remains -- that we remain firmly on is that the committee has chosen to use the Watergate standards when they believe it fits their purposes and to discard them. Now, let me give you some examples. They never called the prosecutor in the case to come and make a presentation like they did with Mr. Starr. The documents that the prosecutor sent to them remained under seal and still remain under seal. So there were no major document dumps like we've seen in this case.

The committee voted on their procedures twice on a bipartisan manner and had a fully bipartisan vote twice on how they were going to move forward. The committee allowed Mr. St. Clair unlimited time to cross-examine all witnesses. I don't think you've seen the President's counsel up there except for one witness, that we were not invited, we were not welcome at the hearing this week.

They have not called any fact witnesses. The committee in 1974 had a long debate and a productive debate on what the standards they were going to use to judge impeachment; this committee has not done. So I think you'll find that the use of the Watergate standard is used when they believe it's in their interest and it's not used when they don't believe it's in their interest.

Q Isn't that what Tuesday is about? They're getting time to cross-examine witnesses? If your lawyers wanted to cross-examine the witnesses that were there this week, why don't they call them on Tuesday?

MR. LOCKHART: The particular question this morning was, are they following the Watergate standard? And the answer is no, they are when they want.

Q In all due respect, that wasn't the question I asked.

MR. LOCKHART: Okay, well, that was the point I was making this morning, which I presume elicited the letter from Mr. Hyde's counsel.

Q The letter says they want you to desist asserting that St. Clair was not questioned.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, when Mr. St. Clair went up to give his closing argument, he was not questioned, and that's a matter of fact. It's July 24, 1974; they can check the record.

Q Joe, is that why Congressman Rangel was here today, to meet with some people --


Q -- in OEOB about comparing between Watergate and now, what's happening now?


Q Are you sure?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes. He just came for the event.

Q He met with some people after the event.

MR. LOCKHART: No, it was not why he was here.

Q He just left 10 minutes ago.

MR. LOCKHART: Okay, it was not why he was here.

Q Joe, are the President's lawyers willing to undergo questioning when they make their presentation on Tuesday?

MR. LOCKHART: The President's lawyers are, as I told you this morning, going to communicate with the committee, both majority and minority. That communication has not happened as of yet today. I expect it to happen in the next few hours. They will clarify some of the questions that they had based on yesterday's letter, and based on that information make our intentions for Tuesday's hearings known to the committee. When and if that happens, I will make that known to you all.

Q What do you mean by clarify?

Q Will it be by phone that they will be talking --

MR. LOCKHART: I don't expect them to be going up to the Hill, so I think phone is probably the most likely logistical method.

Q Will you release the list of witnesses, Joe?

MR. LOCKHART: That's a speculative question. I'll tell you what I can tell you based on what comes out of the phone call or whatever the communication is.

Q When and if that happens, meaning when and if they make their intentions known?

MR. LOCKHART: When and if they have this discussion, which hasn't happened yet so I can't report on the results of it.

Q But by the end of the day they will announce what they're going to do?

MR. LOCKHART: That's the intention, yes.

Q What is that you want to clarify?

MR. LOCKHART: There are issues that we're going to take up with the committee. For right now it will be between the White House Counsel's Office and the committee and I'm not going to broadcast them here.

Q But you don't have a fundamental objection to White House --

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to get into what our view is. We're going to have this conversation in private with the committee and I will report on it when I can.

Q So you're saying you do not have a fundamental objection to White House lawyers being questioned?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't believe that there is any fundamental question of that. I think that where this got raised this morning was in a broader question of whether the standards of Watergate are being applied to this case. And clearly, they are in some cases and in some cases they're not. Which raised the question of why selectively apply the standards of Watergate.

Q Could you be clear on the concept, though, of how it is that you -- what your view is of them now questioning --

MR. LOCKHART: I don't have any particular information of an objection to that, but all of the details of how this session can proceed on Tuesday is a matter to be discussed between the White House Counsel's Office and the committee. That conversation has not happened yet so I am not going --

Q You mean there's going to be another letter going out?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to try to forecast what's going to happen in that conversation, what decisions are going to be made and how that conversation will take place. I just don't know.

Q Is it the President's preference that this matter be disposed of this year?

MR. LOCKHART: It is our preference that the committee look at this in a serious, bipartisan way, they sit down whenever their vote is in the committee and they don't vote out an article of impeachment because you don't believe that there's anything in the allegations that rises anywhere near the level of an impeachable offense. That is our wish.

Q Yes, but I asked the question of timing because there are some people --

MR. LOCKHART: We would like that to happen today. If it can't happen today, we'd like it to happen tomorrow. If next week is the date they set, we'd like it to happen next week.

Q -- full House picking this up, given that there's been an election that intervened between the beginning of this process and the end, do you see it as more appropriate that the 106th House deal with this?

MR. LOCKHART: The direct question is what would we like. We'd like the committee to take --

Q I'm asking about the full House. I know what you said about the committee.

MR. LOCKHART: But this is in the committee now, it's not before the full House. What we'd like to do is we'd like to get back to -- and I'm going to repeat some of the things I said this morning, and excuse me if the repetition bores you, but we'd like to get back to where this process started and the standard that Chairman Hyde set when he opened these hearings. And let me repeat again some of the things he said.

He said this process is "of immense consequence, a process which our Constitution thrusts on the House of Representatives. The solemn duty that confronts us requires that we attain a heroic level of bipartisanship and that we conduct our deliberations in a fair, full and independent manner." He goes on to say, "the American people deserve a competent, independent and bipartisan review of the independent counsel's report. They must have confidence in this process. Politics must be checked at the door. Party affiliation must become secondary and America's future must become our only concern. I will not condone or participate in a political witch hunt."

So we want to get back to a point where they meet the standard which they haven't met to this date, they take this seriously, they look at the standards by which they should test these allegations -- and they are just allegations. And if that was done, our belief is it wouldn't move past the committee.

Q What do you make of this L.A. Times article about Chairman Hyde?

MR. LOCKHART: I think the Chairman shows remarkable dexterity in applying standards when it comes to the subject at hand. I think in 1987 he made a rather impassioned and convincing argument that circumstances allow lying. And so I think, given the fact that those comments were made, his remarks now -- his impassioned remarks on this subject indicate more about politics than about conviction.

Q Joe, are you saying the circumstances should allow President Clinton to lie?

MR. LOCKHART: No, because I'm not conceding or saying that he has. I'm talking in particular about comments that Chairman Hyde has made this week, last week, and comments he's made in the past.

Q If the article is accurate about the quotes, it seems that he said in 1987 that Oliver North's misstatements, lying to Congress were understandable because national security was involved, and he was pleased when Colonel North was relieved by an appeals court of his conviction.

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not sure his remarks were made subsequent to being relieved at the appeals court.

Q Well, I was referring to the article which said that he was with him and clapped him on the back when his conviction was overturned, but --

MR. LOCKHART: My reading of the article is that he made these comments during the process.

Q My question is, does the President believe lying under oath is, in fact, serious?


Q And punishable under the law?

MR. LOCKHART: Certainly.

Q Do you have any comment on the documents released today of the court case from last April, the judge deciding that Lewinsky was not denied the right to call her attorneys?

MR. LOCKHART: Only that this is -- I mean, I have no specific comment, but I only draw your attention to the fact that my understanding is that this proceeding took place before they had testimony from the people involved. I think Ms. Lewinsky had not been immunized at that point and had not testified. But beyond that, I don't know anything more than what I read in the paper.

Q But that is the document that Ruff and Craig were asking for?

MR. LOCKHART: That is one of them, yes.

Q It was the first one they asked for, right?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, that is one of them.

Q What is the President doing --

Q What was the purpose in asking for that document?

MR. LOCKHART: Because there were questions being asked at the hearing of Mr. Starr that were on that -- that pertained to that subject and there was a back and forth between members and Mr. Starr based on information that we don't have. And fundamental fairness says we ought to have the same information in mounting a defense that the committee has.

Q But the committee didn't have that information either. It was a sealed court decision.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think the committee -- I'd be hard pressed to know how they could have asked some of the questions if they didn't have it. I don't know whether the committee had that or not, but there was indications that they had access to information and we were seeking to have the same access.

Q Would you not consider that Judge Starr is exonerated with regards to the question of whether he pressured Lewinsky --

MR. LOCKHART: I think that's a question left for the judge and the ruling and I think there is a mixed result in there from -- there is certainly evidence in there that DOJ practices and standards were not followed. I will leave it to others to make a final judgment.

Q Joe, to what extent has the White House engaged in conversations about censure alternatives to impeachment?

MR. LOCKHART: As we've said in the past, we believe that it's more appropriate for members of Congress to describe -- to discuss and prescribe whatever alternatives to impeachment they feel is appropriate. We're in a position, as we've said in the past, of listening to what they have to say. I'd say as we get closer to the date, as they move, we are aggressively listening. There are people here who talk to members all the time. I think we're aware of some movement within different groups. But this is something that is more appropriate for the members to decide among themselves.

Q Would the President be willing to pay a fine if that turns out to be what a resolution calls for?

MR. LOCKHART: I think if members in good faith want to pursue that option and approach representatives here at the White House with that option, we will listen and take anything they say seriously. But I am not going to predict what might happen in a hypothetical incidence.

Q Since the President is shunning all questions, what is he doing in his own defense? What can we write about him?

MR. LOCKHART: What do you mean by "shunning all questions"?

Q He is.

MR. LOCKHART: Describe for me what you mean by that.

Q He didn't answer any questions yesterday --

MR. LOCKHART: We answered questions Wednesday and you had a chance -- there were two different groups that came in and for 10 minutes he answered questions, so I don't think he's shunning.

Q But he doesn't answer the questions.

Q Well, he's not answering --

MR. LOCKHART: You know what, there is a difference between you not liking the answers and not answering. So I think he does answer them.

Q What is his involvement?

MR. LOCKHART: His involvement is he, as I've told you repeatedly from here, he is focusing on the job the public elected him to do.

Q I don't accept that totally, he can't be --

MR. LOCKHART: Helen, I'm sorry if you don't accept it, it's the truth.

Q Is he totally detached from what's going on?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I have also reported to you this week he spent some time with the lawyers as they were preparing the response on Wednesday to send to the committee. I mean, that was probably 30 minutes at most. He has important things to do. He's concentrating on the important things the public elected him to do. And he's leaving to others, like he's told you, this matter.

Q Joe, the reason we don't particularly completely accept that -- look at the history. Others have told us from this podium that the President had nothing to do with the Secret Service assertion of a new claim of privilege, that he knew nothing about it, that it was up to the Treasury Department. Bob Bennett, his own lawyer, in a document then made public subsequently, disclosed that the President did follow that --

MR. LOCKHART: In a document made -- what do you mean by "made public subsequently."

Q We didn't know it at the time we were --

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, you did. It was made --

Q -- listening to these assertions.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I'm sorry if you didn't know, but it was made public.

Q My point is it then says the President was following that closely, did have an imput from the standpoint --

MR. LOCKHART: You're discussing apples and oranges here. There was a particular part of this case that involved the Paula Jones civil litigation where the President's attorneys were asked what their opinions were; they expressed them. There was a much broader and wider litigation with the Office of the Independent Counsel in which the President deferred to the experts and, in fact, as you well know, those judges who made their decision argued that the submission and assertion of privilege would have been much stronger if the President had made it. But the President made the decision that he would leave it to the experts, he would leave it to others because that would be more appropriate.

Q The fact that he did follow the case and he did have some conversations about it according to Bennett.

MR. LOCKHART: And I'm not making the argument that he's not aware of what's going on. I'm telling you the reality is he is concentrating on other matters, and that is appropriate and right.

Q Why wouldn't he be concentrated on his fate?

MR. LOCKHART: Because as he said to you one of the times when he talked to you in the Cabinet Room, that this is out of his hands, that this is to others. He has people working on this; we have a small group here at the White House who spend a lot of time on this who are very involved, but that does not include the President.

Q It's not entirely out of his hands in the sense that he provided the 81 answers. What is the response to -- the folks on the Hill, Republicans and Democrats, who feel like that has hardened the --

MR. LOCKHART: I think the President answered those questions in a good faith way.

Q Is there any intention to offer any further statement from him, any further clarification or --

MR. LOCKHART: Well, we are obviously -- what we've been talking about for the first part of this briefing is the conversations that are going on about presenting a defense of the President before the committee.

Q Will that include a statement from the President himself?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know what it will include. We'll have to wait to see later today or until Tuesday.

Q Are you going to send a letter to the Hill today?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know whether it will be a letter. If it's a verbal communication I will try to read that out to you.

Q Do you have any comment of yesterday's meeting between President Clinton and a bunch of Greek Americans here at the White House regarding Turkish claims against Greece and the Republic of Cyprus?

MR. LOCKHART: I can tell you that the President briefly joined the meeting that the National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger had yesterday with Greek Americans and Cypriot Americans representing their various respective organizations. The meeting lasted about an hour. The President was there for almost 30 minutes. Joining Mr. Berger were Mr. Podesta, Deputy National Security Advisor Don Kerrick, NSC Director Don Bandler, NSC Director Miriam Sapiro and Ambassador Tom Miller.

As far as what was discussed at the meeting, the President reaffirmed that making progress next year towards resolving the Cyprus conflict and reducing tensions between Greece and Turkey are among his highest foreign policy priorities. Discussion focused in particular on ways in which greater progress on Cyprus can be made. There was a good exchange of ideas. We believe it was useful meeting and part of our overall outreach to the affected communities here in the United States.

Q Any discussion on the Aegean issue?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't have any details to go beyond what I've told you.

Q Joe, why are you complaining so loudly about Chairman Hyde when you've alleged that the person really calling the shots is Bob Barr?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, the article this morning that has gotten some attention has to do with statements that Chairman Hyde has made and I'm offering a response to those questions.

Q Why do you think Democrats like Bill Bradley feel that they want to try to explore running for President in the year 2000? Do you think it reflects any dissatisfaction with the Clinton-Gore program?

MR. LOCKHART: I think it reflects their ambition to try to run for President and nothing more. I can't prescribe anything to that.

Q Challenging an incumbent Vice President who clearly wants to make --

MR. LOCKHART: I think Bill Bradley is an articulate leader of the Democratic Party. He can best address that question.

Q Joe, Schumer is now saying in New York that things have changed quite a bit in the last couple of weeks and he thinks it will be a very close vote and impeachment is much more likely than it was a few days ago. Does the White House share that view?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know that we share the view. I think it's impossible to assess. I think it does indicate that some of the claims that this is a vote of conscience and that there is no vote counting and no whip counting on the Republican side are somewhat hollow. I think if you talk to people up there, you'll find just the opposite. You'll find that the leadership operation to the extent that Mr. DeLay is running this portion of it, has, from what we've heard, been quite aggressive about making this a Republican Party vote and sending a message.

Q You're saying that their assertions that they are not whipping this vote --

MR. LOCKHART: I'm saying that I would go talk to members, but there seems to be some anecdotal evidence that that's not the case.

Q But, Joe, you sound pretty confident that you know how these members would vote if it was a vote of conscience.

MR. LOCKHART: I don't. I started this -- go back to the beginning of the answer, which is, I don't know. And there is no way to really accurately assess at this point.

Q But you just suggested that the fact that DeLay is making the case that this is not a vote of conscience anymore, that it is being whipped. You seem to know that they would vote against impeachment --

MR. LOCKHART: I don't. I'm saying that Mr. Schumer's assessment could be based on the atmosphere on the Hill where pressure is being put on members to make this a party-line vote.

Q Does the President want it to be a vote of conscience on both sides of the aisle?


Q Joe, then what is the White House doing, conversely?

MR. LOCKHART: The White House is very openly and unashamedly making the case as we've made, and I've made repeatedly from here, that there is nothing that's gone on here, there is nothing in any of these allegations that rise to the level of impeachment; and, secondly, that this shouldn't be about politics. This shouldn't be about trying to make a statement. This shouldn't be about saying, well, we'll just send it to the Senate because nothing will happen there and we will have made our political statement.

This is, as Republican Congressman Wamp said, short of war the most important thing members of Congress will ever do. This vote, when and if they take it, will not be about a political statement, it will be about impeaching the President, removing the President, undoing the will of the people. This is a serious matter. It should be taken seriously. And that's the case we've made.

Q Joe, in the process of doing all of this aggressive listening, as you described it, what are you looking for in these censure proposals?

MR. LOCKHART: We have said that the members of Congress have to decide for themselves. We have repeatedly said, as I've just articulated, that there is no grounds for impeachment here. If they feel it's appropriate to find some other form to make a statement about what the President has done, which is, as we've said, not defensible, but not impeachable, then that's something that's appropriate for them to decide as members of Congress.

Q Joe, is the White House personally lobbying members of the Democratic Party -- or the Republican Party -- but Democrats on their vote? Either people working at the White House, Cabinet secretaries or people working on behalf of them --

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think people, to anyone who will listen, will make the case that I just made and are open to listening to any ideas that are made in good faith.

Q So, in other words, people on behalf of the White House are calling Democrats and saying, look, he didn't do anything that's impeachable so you should be voting against impeachment.

MR. LOCKHART: I can't tell you who is talking to who. People in this building talk to Democrats, Republicans all the time. Anybody who asks that question will get the answer that I think I've just given here.

Q No, I understand the content of what you would say to them, what I'm asking is, are you taking a proactive effort here to contact Democrats and say, look?

MR. LOCKHART: We take a proactive effort every day to talk to members, Republicans, Democrats, on a wide variety of issues. The phone lines burn up every day on lots of subjects. This subject comes up from time to time and the case I think that I've just articulated is the case that we would make privately and publicly.

Q Is Mrs. Clinton as detached as you say the President is from working on defense strategy?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of what her role is. You would have to check with her people.

Q Did she meet with the lawyers on this matter?

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

Q You say you have anecdotal evidence about delay and aggressive tactics. Can you tell us about what that is?

MR. LOCKHART: Some of this is, again, just anecdotal from reports of conference calls, people -- whip counts. I mean, Congressman DeLay is on the record quoted as talking about his vote count. You don't get your vote count by walking out and saying I think I know what the vote count is. You get the vote count by going out and talking to people and saying how are you voting and that's the essence.

Q Is it just counting the votes or is it something more than that?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know. That's a question that's more appropriate for Republican members up there.

Q Why isn't that aggressive listening?

MR. LOCKHART: You know, it could be. (Laughter.)

Q The Democrats are not counting votes; is that your view?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware that there is any sort of formal whip operation going on on this.

Q The President isn't interested in this point, in what the vote might be?

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, I'm sure he is.

Q But you seem to be saying that vote counting in and of itself, there is something wrong with that.

MR. LOCKHART: No, there is nothing wrong with knowing where your voters are, and there is nothing wrong with whipping a vote. The only thing wrong is if you say you're not doing it and you are doing it. It's a simple question.

Q Joe, if the House leadership announces formally, before a vote by the full House on impeachment that it will not allow a measure of censure to come to the floor, do you think that would hurt the President in pushing moderate Republicans and some Democrats to vote for impeachment because that's the only thing they will be able to vote on?

MR. LOCKHART: I think that's a measure and an issue that the full House is going to have to take up, and they should -- our hope is that they would respond to what the will of the House is.

Q When the lawyers go up next Tuesday, will they be presenting actual evidence to counter what --

MR. LOCKHART: That's a different way to ask the same question I've already been asked which I can't answer.

Q What is the administration doing now to try to force Saddam Hussein to comply with the U.N. resolutions?

MR. LOCKHART: UNSCOM has been back into Baghdad and Iraq for several weeks. They are actively testing Iraq's compliance and cooperation with the commitments they made. That process is ongoing. The results are incomplete at this point. The President is staying actively involved. I believe he'll be briefed later this afternoon by his foreign policy team on this issue. And we will remain vigilant and watchful as UNSCOM continues testing and continues to try to get an answer to the ultimate question of whether they can be effective.

Q Is it not correct that the documents Mr. Butler spoke of have still not been turned over?

MR. LOCKHART: I've said that the test is ongoing and the information to date has been incomplete.

Q How long will it go on before the President feels he must take some action?

MR. LOCKHART: I can't tell you, nor will I put a timeline on this, except that we are very vigilant in keeping in touch with the efforts of UNSCOM, and that ultimately Iraq has to live up to its commitments, and UNSCOM must be allowed to be effective in their duties.

Q What is the meaning of the word "ultimately"?

MR. LOCKHART: "Ultimately" is another way for you to get me to put a timeline on it, and I'm not going to do that. (Laughter.)

Q Well, if Saddam knows he has all year --

MR. LOCKHART: I'll repeat to him that Sam thinks you have all year.

Q The tension in the Mideast in implementing the Wye Plantation agreement, is that having any effect on the President's plans to travel there?

MR. LOCKHART: No, the President looks forward to

traveling to the region, in part to articulate the need to implement the agreements made at Wye River, and in part to highlight the benefits and advantages for all parties involved to move forward with the peace process.

Q Is the President not at all concerned that the recent violence is threatening those --

MR. LOCKHART: Obviously, we condemn acts of violence. This has never been an easy process, nor does anyone here believe it's an easy process. But we believe the parties need to keep the commitments that they made at Wye, implement the accord, and it's in the best interests of all parties.

Q Joe, has a decision been made on where the President's plane will land?


Q Is that a matter of dispute between the parties?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know. I haven't really looked at the trip.

Q Joe, given that the President was willing to pay $850,000 to settle a case in which he acknowledged no wrongdoing, and that he has acknowledged some wrongdoing in the Lewinsky matter, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume he'd be willing to pay a similar amount to make this impeachment mess go away?

MR. LOCKHART: I have no way of assessing whether that would be reasonable.

Q On the Paula Jones settlement, Bob Bennett says he doesn't know where the money's coming from. Do you?

MR. LOCKHART: Let me check for sure. My understanding is it's in part from an insurance policy and in part from the legal defense trust. But let me go back to the lawyers and find out if my understanding is absolutely correct.

Q Joe, is the President upset that the recent trips of Jesse Jackson, Susan Rice and Commerce Secretary Daley to Africa have gotten little to no press attention?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think there's important work that they've done. I noticed that Reverend Jackson got a large crowd of reporters around him yesterday, so that was encouraging. And they each, and there are a variety of issues that each of them work on, each of which are important, and the President is encouraged and grateful that people of that kind of talent and ability are applying it to our issues with the continent of Africa.

Q What can you tell us about tomorrow?

MR. LOCKHART: Actually, I'll do the week ahead and do it as part of that, if there's nothing else.

Q Joe, speaking of Reverend Jackson and kind of following up with what Ann said, last evening Reverend Jackson did say he was thinking, in January, of making a statement of whether he will run for 2000. Isn't it a slap in the face for Vice President Gore, who is expected to announce that he's going to run, for Jesse Jackson to say that he is going to do this?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't see any of this as a slap in the face. I think people have the right to exercise what they think is in the best interests of themselves and what's in the best interest for the future of this country. And I think it's a somewhat myopic way to look at it, not in terms of what people have to offer and what they may be talking about, and just look at it in terms of how it impacts somebody else.

Q Joe, have you said this week what the White House thinks of the National Park Service reconstruction and overhaul of the White House grounds?

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, Mark, I did a big dance on that two days ago and -- (laughter) --

Q I withdraw the question.

MR. LOCKHART: -- and I couldn't repeat it, because I don't have the slightest idea what I said.

Q The week ahead.

MR. LOCKHART: Week ahead, okay.

Q Can you tell us about tomorrow?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, it's part of the week ahead.

Q Joe, in the back?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, I'm sorry.

Q On the Social Security issue, although you're not planning to come out with any details from the conference, is it likely that there will be some details, or some set of principles, or even part of the subsequent State of the Union?

MR. LOCKHART: I wouldn't rule that in and I wouldn't rule that out, but I certainly am not going to preview now what is going to be in the State of the Union.

Week ahead.

Q Week ahead.

MR. LOCKHART: Thank you. The President will depart the White House tomorrow morning at about 9:30 a.m. He will fly into Memphis and will motorcade up to Wynne, Arkansas. I misspelled that, by the way, this morning; it's W-y-n-n-e. I apologize. He will attend a noon luncheon at the Wynne Presbyterian Church, followed by a funeral at 2:00 p.m. We expect he will return to the White House and arrive back at Andrews Air Force Base about 8:45 p.m.

Q Will he eulogize at his friend's funeral?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't have that here. We will let you know.

Q What about coverage? Will the pool be allowed to --

MR. LOCKHART: I can only tell you from past history of these things, we generally have allowed a print pooler to go in and listen. We have fed out if he has something to say in a eulogy, but have not allowed electronic coverage.

Q I think you allow the writers -- all the writers, to go in.

MR. LOCKHART: Not the last two that I've done, but we'll see. Either Mr. Toiv or Ms. Weiss will handle this tomorrow; I'll leave it to their discretion. Who's doing it? (Laughter.) Will the person who's attending please stand up? Come on.

Q 8:30 a.m., did you say?

MR. LOCKHART: 8:30 a.m. (Laughter.) Why do I think I'm going?

Q Radio address, yes.

MR. LOCKHART: Okay, the radio address. Has the President recorded it? Okay, if he hasn't recorded it, he's doing it very soon. It will be on --

Q He's not going to do it live from Wynne?

MR. LOCKHART: He will not do it live. He had always planned to record it today. It will be on the subject of the President's crime agenda, with a particular emphasis on some of the new laws on -- National Instant Check, the Brady system, and he'll have some comments, I believe, about the lawsuit that has been filed against -- for those who are against that system.

Sunday, the President and the First Lady will be hosting the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House -- pool press, remarks only -- and will attend the Kennedy Center Honors later that night -- pool press. Honorees include Bill Cosby, Willie Nelson, Andre Previn and Shirley Temple.

Monday, the President will participate in a health care event in Room 450 -- open press, time still to be determined. He and the First Lady will host the annual congressional holiday ball later that evening, which is closed press.

On Tuesday morning the President will address the White House Conference on Social Security at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Later that evening the President and the First Lady will attend the Peace Links Dinner at the Capitol Hilton.

Q Attend the what?

MR. LOCKHART: Peace Links. Press TBD. The President will go on to an NDI, National Democratic Institute dinner at 8:00 p.m. where he will be joined by leaders involved in the Irish peace process and will be awarded the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award.

Q How long is he going to stay at the Social Security thing, just to speak or is he participating for part of the day?

MR. LOCKHART: I think he's participating.

Q He's in the first panel.

MR. LOCKHART: He speaks and he's in the first panel. We'll get a more detailed schedule.

Wednesday the President will continue his participation in the White House Conference on Social Security, details to follow. Later that afternoon he will award Lt. General Davis of the Tuskegee Airmen a fourth star making him a four-star general, in 450 OEOB. General Davis will be joined by 22 of his fellow Tuskegee airmen. That evening the President and the First Lady will host the Pageant of Peace ceremony on the Ellipse.

Thursday the President and the First Lady will host an event honoring the 50th anniversary of Human Rights Day.

Friday I have no public schedule. Saturday I have the President and the First Lady departing the White House for the trip to the Middle East.

Q Saturday will be the day that the committee votes on articles of impeachment. Have you already thought about how you might have a presidential response -- I guess in Israel?

MR. LOCKHART: It depends on when they vote.

Q When is departure, Joe?

MR. LOCKHART: Once they let us know we'll come up with a strategy for response.

Q When is departure?

MR. LOCKHART: Departure is sometime Saturday. I don't have an exact time.

Q Would the White House ask that they avoid doing that while he is out of the country?

MR. LOCKHART: Okay, I'm sorry, I misspoke. I've got a note here. It's good the people can watch this so I can contemporaneously be corrected. It is not the Legal Defense Fund, so I will have to find out the other source of --

Q A lot of aggressive listening going on. (Laughter.)

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, very good.

Q We commend those who corrected you in the back room.


Q Now, did the people who knew it wasn't the Legal Defense Fund know where the money was coming from? (Laughter.)

MR. LOCKHART: They didn't write it on this little piece of paper.

Q Joe, what's the health care event on Monday?

MR. LOCKHART: It's a health care event. It will be about health care. It will be about things like health and care. I'm not going to tell you. (Laughter.)

Q -- not to vote on this while he's traveling abroad?

MR. LOCKHART: No. We are concentrating and focusing on the agenda, which includes international issues. We're going to go forward with our agenda. We could twist ourselves up constantly on this. We could argue with them that we don't really want to go up on Tuesday because we want Social Security to be the focus. But we're going to go ahead and do what we do. They need to set the schedule. And we're not going to second-guess their scheduling.

Q You don't worry that it undermines the President of the United States to be representing the United States abroad while at home --

MR. LOCKHART: I don't think they've done much -- I don't think the way they've handled this process has done much for America's prestige anywhere, but I'm not worrying about their scheduling.

Q So the President is not going to do anything between now and Saturday to make his case for avoiding impeachment?

MR. LOCKHART: We'll, it's not on the week ahead.

Q What are the holiday plans of the First Family? Can you give us any guidance on that?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I can't. No, I can't at this point. I've been checking. I checked as recently as today, but I don't have anything definite yet.

Q Could you get back to us on the tobacco settlement payment?


Q Thank you.

END 1:55 P.M. EST