THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY JOE LOCKHART The Briefing Room
12:40 P.M. EST
MR. LOCKHART: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm going to try to be very brief today. I don't have much for you. You all probably want to get back to your TVs and watch Mr. Ruff.
Q Are you watching? Are you and the White House folk watching?
MR. LOCKHART: I watched a little bit this morning. Probably the first hour, and then I got sidetracked. But I do plan to watch Mr. Ruff.
Q What do you think about the proposal of Governor Weld?
MR. LOCKHART: As we've said in the past, we think the people who come forward in good faith with proposals to deal with this matter, we will look at and we will listen. I think it's most appropriate for Governor Weld to put this proposal to the members, because it's the members who have to make this decision.
Q Is there anything in the Weld proposal that's objectionable, out of hand?
MR. LOCKHART: I think from what I know about it, which is only -- I didn't actually see his proposal, nor did we see it beforehand. We would probably need more information on a couple of the points, based on what I saw in the reporting.
Q I'm sorry to press, but which points would those be that are of most interest to you?
MR. LOCKHART: If we do look at this, we won't be doing it here, and if I have something to say about it, I'll say it.
Q What about the specific notion of the President accepting a censure that would not clear him of any potential criminal liability in the future?
MR. LOCKHART: David, I'm not going to get into negotiating this from here.
Q That's a fairly basic issue.
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not. Next?
Q Has the President been watching at all?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Well, has he done anything in terms of --
MR. LOCKHART: I think I told some of you yesterday that he had spent some time reviewing the submission to the committee, talked to Greg Craig about his testimony. He talked to Mr. Ruff yesterday afternoon about the presentation he'll make, so he's certainly aware. He believes that both the panels that have gone up there and Mr. Craig and Mr. Ruff, who will go this afternoon, they've made a very effective presentation.
Q Joe, is the President asking any members of Congress not to vote for impeachment?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of.
Q Would you know, Joe? Have you asked the President?
MR. LOCKHART: I believe that the President talks to members. I don't think he's making any proactive calls out on this issue. I cannot preclude anything definitively, based on not hearing all the conversations. But I'm not aware of any effort to lobby members.
Q Just to wrap that up, would that be considered proper or improper by the White House? I mean, is it reasonable for the President to contact members of Congress and say, don't vote for impeachment?
MR. LOCKHART: I wouldn't believe that was unreasonable, no.
Q Did he know what Weld was going to say in the committee?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q He did not?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q But can we assume that you wouldn't have put a witness up there that the White House didn't agree with?
MR. LOCKHART: I think we had some sense of his view of the criminal justice system, but we had no specific knowledge of how he would testify, particularly on the issue of censure.
Q Considering the gravity of what's at stake here, is it the President's deliberate strategy to say absolutely nothing publicly about this?
MR. LOCKHART: Listen, there's a lot being done publicly over the last two days. You cannot turn on a television any place and not see these hearings. We're setting forth a very serious and comprehensive defense of allegations that have been raised. This has been going on 11 months.
Now, I know that there are many in this room who want to focus on calls for the President to say something, but this is a serious matter. We are doing it, I think, in the proper way. I think we're bringing credit to the process by doing it within the committee, and that's what our focus is for these two days.
Q With all due respect, the allegations are about his conduct, not the conduct of his staff or his administration.
MR. LOCKHART: That's correct.
Q And my question is, the President has not offered a word in his own defense during this intensive hearing
MR. LOCKHART: That's just not true, and you know that.
Q I said, in this recent week, in the concentration on the House today, he has not offered a public word in his own defense.
MR. LOCKHART: Okay. I suggest that you check with your library on the many comments he's made, and I'll be glad to point out the dates and times of them.
Q Are you saying it would not be useful for the President to make some sort of statement?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm saying that we believe we're making the best and most effective presentation we can by going up in a legal way and making a presentation to the committee on the facts and the law, and that's what's appropriate right now.
Q What do you think of Chairman Hyde saying that after the committee votes articles of impeachment -- if, indeed, they do -- he'll then allow a vote up or down on censure?
MR. LOCKHART: I think the Democrats in the committee have made the case that they want to bring a vote of censure before the committee, so I think it's appropriate that they be allowed to do that.
Q Well, does it matter?
Q Do you have any concerns that a vote in the committee might be used as an argument by Republicans to preclude, then, a vote on the full House floor?
MR. LOCKHART: I think there are some concerns that the House leadership takes actions that contravenes the majority of the House. And if a majority of the House wants a vehicle to vote on some other option than impeachment, then they should be given that. That's a matter ultimately, though, for the House to decide in the leadership.
Q Do you mean to preclude that the President will make any statement up to and including --
MR. LOCKHART: Absolutely not, and I have said that over and over again to you all. But I think somehow focusing on this narrow issue while we're presenting a very well thought out and comprehensive defense minimizes what we're doing in the Capitol for the next two days, and that shouldn't be done.
Q You've got a White House Conference on Social Security going on across the street.
MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
Q Obviously, no one's paying attention to it.
MR. LOCKHART: It appears that way.
Q How long do you think that monopoly will continue? And if it does continue, how do you see that affecting the President's ability to get Social Security --
MR. LOCKHART: That is an issue that everyone in this room is uniquely qualified to speak on and I'm not. But the President believes that a long-term solution for perpetuating the solvency of the Social Security system is crucial, he's talked about it repeatedly this year, invested a lot of time and will continue to.
Q Joe, on the proactive question, you're saying the President is not making any proactive calls, but I assume that White House staff are.
MR. LOCKHART: As we've said over the last several weeks, people in this building talk to members all the time. Those conversations continue.
Q Forgive me, but you're being coy on this issue -- I'm sorry, Jim. You don't seem to be answering this question flatly and directly. Is there any White House effort, even among Cabinet officers, to talk to members of Congress and encourage them not to vote for impeachment?
MR. LOCKHART: As I've said -- let me be as clear as I can on this, Scott. People in this building and I'll include Cabinet members, talk to members all the time. There is no secret that we believe there's nothing in these allegations and the facts that have been presented to the committee that rise to the level of impeachment. We are not shy about repeating that or articulating that argument.
But I think anyone who has been around here knows what a lobbying effort is, when this White House goes out and lobbies -- whether it's on a piece of legislation, whether it's on a treaty -- and they know what it isn't. And I don't think you've seen that in this case because we don't believe that that would be the appropriate way to pursue this.
Q When you've been making these calls all the time to members, what are you hearing back from them in the last two days?
MR. LOCKHART: I think by and large, from what I've heard, is people have been impressed with the seriousness and the quality of the discussion that went on in the committee yesterday and this morning.
Q But is there anything that you're hearing that makes you more optimistic about the vote on the House floor?
MR. LOCKHART: I can't put a scorecard on it.
Q Why do you say that the lobbying -- that included these people in trying to make a personal, convincing argument -- even for the President himself -- would not be helpful?
MR. LOCKHART: I didn't make that case. We're trying to decide what the most appropriate way to move forward. And we believe --
Q Well, is it just ad hoc?
MR. LOCKHART: And we believe that the most appropriate way, at this point, is to do what we're doing over yesterday and today. This is an enormous effort to lay out, and to deal in a very serious way, with the substantive issues that we've been discussing here for the last 11 months. We believe that this should be done; we have an obligation, we have a right to do this, and that's what our focus has been on the last two days.
Q Why would it be inappropriate to put out a full-scale lobbying effort? How could that hurt you?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not sure that -- by saying something, that we're doing the appropriate thing, I'm not sure that by doing something else would be inappropriate. We are going to continue to do what we think is appropriate. If members have concerns, questions, issues that they need clarification on, we are always available to answer those questions.
Q How could it be worse to do a full-scale lobbying effort? After all, if it were a piece of legislation, you wouldn't do a halfway --
MR. LOCKHART: It's an academic question, and I clearly don't have much to offer.
Q Should the full House vote articles of impeachment, or an article of impeachment, would the White House regard that as Constitutionally suspect because it's a lame-duck Congress?
MR. LOCKHART: I think that the arguments that Professor Ackerman articulated yesterday are certainly worthy of further study. It's a serious argument, and I don't know that we have a view, based on the Constitutional arguments that he set forward. But it is something that I think people will have to look at, should Congress move forward.
Q The White House, then, would be of the view that this is a question that should be tested further?
MR. LOCKHART: We are of the view that this certainly needs to be studied further.
Q Joe, when you say the President is not making proactive phone calls on this issue. The other people in this building who are making -- who are talking with members and the Cabinet members -- are those phone calls proactive, and are they being coordinated by anyone?
MR. LOCKHART: As I've said, we talk to a lot of people a lot of the time. Some --
Q But are the calls --
MR. LOCKHART: Please, let me finish my answer. Some calls are about other issues, where this issue may come up. Some calls are about this issue or other issues may come up. These are relationships that are longstanding and it's just across a wide plane of issues.
Q Is it being coordinated?
MR. LOCKHART: We have a Legislative Affairs Office. We coordinate all of the activities and conversations as far as legislative issues and other issues with members of Congress.
Q And this is falling under their purview? These phone calls are falling under --
MR. LOCKHART: There are a lot of people involved in this.
Q Is Larry Stein leading an effort to lobby Congress?
MR. LOCKHART: You all know that there are people, whether they're in Legislative Affairs or they're in the Political Office or in the Chief of Staff's Office, there are people who work with members of Congress on a wide variety of issues.
Q Joe, it a legitimate question for us to ask whether or not someone is saying, you call this person, you call this person, you call this person.
MR. LOCKHART: I accept that. I think it's equally legitimate for me not to open up for you exactly how things get done here in the building.
Q Have any members of Congress called the White House asking to speak to the President on this matter?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of but, again, I can't preclude that some members haven't.
Q Regarding the President's trip to the Middle East, with the growing unrest in the West Bank and growing turmoil in the Knesset over the Wye Agreement, where the Israelis seem to not want to continue the planned withdrawals, is there not consideration in the White House that there is an increased security threat in this situation to the President, and wouldn't you reevaluate the necessity of making this trip at this point?
MR. LOCKHART: As far as the issue of security, I think as you all well know, we don't discuss those issues publicly. I think the President believes that it's important to take this trip, this was agreed as part of the Wye Agreement. It demonstrates our commitment to the implementation of the agreement and moving forward for peace in the region that will benefit all of the parties.
Q Who invited the President to go on this trip?
MR. LOCKHART: The agreement for the President to go was part of the discussions at Wye.
Q Who initiated the idea that the President might go?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know. It was part of the agreement. I don't know where the idea came from.
Q Joe, throughout the 11 months of this controversy, the President's been very protective of the prerogatives of the office of the presidency, the precedents that get set for his successor. Does the issue of financial payment, either through the pension or other kinds of monetary penalties that the Congress would impose on a president, does that not raise any of those issues?
MR. LOCKHART: We haven't considered the issue of finance, because we haven't been presented with any sort of plans, so I don't know.
Q Well, wait a minute, you've signaled that he'd be open to that.
MR. LOCKHART: Right, but we haven't been presented. No one has come to us with a plan that has support within the committee, so I don't know that it's been thought through to that point.
Q Weld presented the Congress and the whole country with such a plan as part of your defense.
MR. LOCKHART: Right, and as I said and -- well, as part of our defense team can be a misleading statement, because I think I was very clear that this is something that was his idea that we didn't know anything about. And I think if you have any doubt on that subject, you should ask Governor Weld.
Q You're looking at this as an absolute surprise. Are you listening to what Weld's saying -- or, you know, this was the first time any of you guys heard this was when those words were coming out of his mouth.
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. My understanding is as they walked into the committee room and sat down, Governor Weld told Mr. Craig that he was going to offer this. And I don't see anything inappropriate in that.
Q This is kind of astonishing. He's your witness and it's concerning --
MR. LOCKHART: No, he is a witness and -- let me make a broader point here, which is many of the Republicans have talked today and tried to somehow denigrate some of the witnesses because they've been called by the White House. These are, if you look at that panel today, it was bipartisan and more Republican than Democrat. These are people who believe in the criminal justice system and have serious points to make, and I think they made them very well.
Q Joe, you said you wouldn't consider financial fines, whatever the details of the censure motion might be until you're presented with an offer. You're saying that the White House will not respond until it has a concrete offer that has what?
MR. LOCKHART: Listen, this was a secondary question about, well, if you take this offer, does it raise these concerns. And what I'm not going to do is going to get into a hypothetical series.
Q I wasn't talking about Weld, I was going back to the earlier, broader question that John was mentioning, which is, you know, has the President considered this? I mean, are you saying that you're not going to respond to the general notion until you get a concrete offer and not something --
MR. LOCKHART: Let me go back to what I've said, which is we are open to listening to any people who come forward in good faith, but this is clearly an issue that members have to talk to other members about and reach some sort of consensus.
Q Joe, John's question is the President's aides, according to people on the Hill -- congressman and congresswomen -- have signaled to them a willingness on the part of the White House to accept some sort of fine in the course of a deal. The question is, doesn't that raise questions about a Congress fining the President on a separation of powers? Are you not worried about that?
MR. LOCKHART: And I am not prepared, standing here today, to get into that level of a speculation game.
Q What is the U.S. position, should the President need it, to make a direct appeal to Congress before it votes on articles of impeachment? And would he, if he feels that it would help him?
MR. LOCKHART: That's again, double speculative, double hypothetical. We all know when the vote is.
Q So obviously there is time left. Would the President --
MR. LOCKHART: You've answered your own question.
Q Would the President make a direct appeal to Congress?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of any plans for the President to make a direct appeal.
Q Would he do so should he feel it necessary?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to answer a question that has "would" and "should" in it. (Laughter.)
Q You talked about other Cabinet members, people in the White House making other phone calls and, perhaps, bringing up this other subject. What other major issues are you all working at this point? What are you trying to --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think Social Security is the one that obviously is taking a lot of attention. But we're also working very hard here, under the direction of Jack Lew and others, to put the budget together. There's a lot of work being done by the President's policy councils on putting the State of the Union speech together.
So I think there's a lot of work that often doesn't get a lot of attention until the speech, the State of the Union, is delivered, or the budget is unveiled. But I think there's a lot of people who are busily working away on those subjects.
Q I'd like to clarify one thing about the White House position. Several of the witnesses called by the White House have said even if there were perjury in this case, it would still not be impeachable.
MR. LOCKHART: Correct.
Q Is that also the White House position -- even if there is perjury, it's still not an impeachable offense?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I don't think we've been -- I don't think we need to take a position on that, because we don't believe there is perjury.
Q I know, but --
MR. LOCKHART: There are experts who have clearly made that case. I think there are experts who have made the case on the other side.
Q But I'm curious to know what is the White House position if there were perjury here?
MR. LOCKHART: There are a lot of things that we need to take a position on. That's not one of them. We have made the case, Mr. Ruff will make it again today, that that hasn't been the case, and I don't know why we would venture into that land that could go on ad nauseam.
Q Joe, can you characterize the present situations with both Libya and Iraq? And are military options still a possibility with those two countries?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think that what's been moving most with Libya is, with the U.N. Secretary General's visit to Libya, we believe strongly that the time has come for Libya to get the message on living up to their agreement as far as turning over the two suspects. We believe the U.N. Secretary General delivered that message and the time has come for them to comply with the agreements they've made.
Q And Iraq?
MR. LOCKHART: On Iraq, as Chairman Butler announced, they are going through a series of tests of Iraqi compliance, both inspections, interviews, document requests. We are waiting now to hear from Chairman Butler on the level of compliance and look forward to his report.
Q If Libya doesn't comply, what will we do about it? If Libya does not comply?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, we certainly would have no discussions about lifting the sanctions.
Q Do you find it hard to ask for bipartisanship with the Social Security budget, with the Social Security talks, while you have total partisanship on the Hill?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I don't think so. I think one of the things that we all took comfort from in yesterday's session was the level of bipartisanship, the level of commitment -- notwithstanding party affiliation -- to getting a solution to this problem. The President will spend, very shortly, some time with a bipartisan group of Social Security leaders from Capitol Hill, and we think we can move forward, notwithstanding what's going on in some other committees.
Q Turning back to Iraq. The blocking of the inspection today, Butler has said flatly, this is a violation. How much more definitive do you need to get to --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think that he is doing a series of tests, a series of inspections and other things to test their compliance, and we look forward to hearing from him. He will report back to the U.N. Security Council and then we will comment at that point.
Q So no judgment on what's happening there until the series is complete?
MR. LOCKHART: We look forward to getting Chairman Butler's report -- we look forward to hearing Chairman Butler's report to the U.N. That is the appropriate process for doing this.
Q Joe, following up on something you said earlier. What has the -- what action has the House leadership taken that contravenes the sentiments of the entire House?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think if a majority of the members of the House -- which I don't have any way of knowing if that's true -- but if a majority of members of the House seek to vote on some option other than impeachment, they should be able to.
Q Well, wait a minute. Is that the only criteria? What if a minority of the members of the House want to vote for impeachment?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think --
Q Nobody says that there's a majority that want to vote on censure.
MR. LOCKHART: Pardon?
Q You're saying -- what if the number of members that want to vote on censure is less than a majority? Do you think they also should --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, again, this is an internal matter for the House, and I think that if a minority -- I mean, if people want to vote against it, they can vote against it. I think there's a sense, among the Democrats and some Republicans, that they ought to have another option. And I think that if that represents the true will of the House, they ought to be able to move forward with it.
Q Are you referring to statements that DeLay and others have made, is that what --
MR. LOCKHART: Congressman DeLay has said publicly, with cameras rolling, that he does not intend to allow any other vote. So I think that's a hint. (Laughter.)
Q That's what you base that original comment on?
Q Joe, who do you expect to make the President's case in the floor debate on impeachment, and are there already discussions with members of Congress about how to do that strategy?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of how that will happen. We've been concentrating on making a presentation to the committee in the last few days.
Q Chairman Hyde, in responding to the White House's 184-page defense, singled out the line about, alone and not being in a geographic area. I wonder if you think that that meant the White House test of no technicalities, no legalities.
MR. LOCKHART: I think this involves legal issues and some issues have to be dealt with in terms of how relevant they are to legal standards and in legal interpretations. I think if you read the entire report, you'll find it makes a compelling case that there's nothing in these allegations that rise to the standard of impeachment.
Q Let me ask you this. Greg Craig said yesterday that when it comes to sex, the President considers that a dictionary definition of what sex is or what it isn't ought to apply. Does he not feel the same way about the word "alone"?
MR. LOCKHART: Pardon?
Q I said, when it comes to the definition of sex, the President thinks that a dictionary definition ought to apply. I'm saying, does he not feel the same way when it comes to the word "alone"?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not interested in playing semantic games. There is a very serious presentation of facts there. I would commend everyone to read the whole thing, and if you want to try to find one sentence that you think makes the case of the whole report, then I think you're doing the document an injustice.
Q Well, wait a second. The semantic games is a big issue in this debate. Semantic games --
MR. LOCKHART: I think if you look at the report as a whole that was sent up to the Hill, it makes a strong case.
Q How do you feel your presentation to the committee is going? Do you feel like you're getting a fair hearing?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I think yesterday we laid out very important constitutional and legal and historical issues. And I think this morning the committee was outstanding and starting to go through go through the actual allegations and the charges and underscoring the fact that when you look at all of the documents that the committee has, that these allegations do not stand a real test.
Q Joe, one more on Iraq. Does the White House have any comment on Scott Ritter's comments, that the only way to settle this is to bomb Iraq?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q Any reaction to the British decision to allow extradition of --
MR. LOCKHART: I don't. I just became aware of that as we walked out, so I don't have any specific reaction. We can come back to you later in the day.
Q Do you have a reaction to the comments made by the family of Letelier and other victims of the bomb attack here that say that the United States should reopen the case and be as strong in terrorism that happens here as it is in --
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding is that the case remains open, and they continue to work that case. I'd refer you to the Department of Justice for further details.
Q Joe, are you able to give us some kind of a readout of the Social Security Conference so far, what's gone on in there this morning?
MR. LOCKHART: I expect you'll have Mr. Sperling later in the day to do that for you.
Q Is there any thought around here or any talk that it might be helpful to the President's case if Mrs. Clinton made another defense of him?
MR. LOCKHART: I haven't heard that kind of talk.
Q Joe, is there some set of principles that guides the White House when you're responding to the different censure proposals that members are circulating or bringing forward?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes, the set of principles that people who bring forward to that we're willing to listen, but the more appropriate place for this to be discussed is among the members so that something can be brought forward with the support of a majority of Congress.
Q Why do they call there? You don't say anything in response when members call up here and say, I'm planning on offering this? You just say, good luck?
MR. LOCKHART: No. We have conversations and I have no intention of detailing what those conversations are about.
Q At what point would you pass judgment on whether the White House would agree --
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know at what point we would, but there are two separate questions of whether we pass judgment on it or whether we talk openly about it from here. I don't know the answer to the first, but I don't think I'll be talking about it much from here.
Q Did the President clear the summation that Ruff is going to give?
MR. LOCKHART: I know the President spent time with him yesterday, and Mr. Ruff laid out in general what he was planning to say.
Q Will the President be watching any of Mr. Ruff's testimony?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, he certainly won't be watching the beginning of it, because he's got the Social Security Conference. I can't rule out he won't flip the TV on at some point this afternoon.
Q On the President's time, two days ago he spent meeting with his lawyers, right, and then yesterday, as well?
MR. LOCKHART: I would say -- that's Monday -- I know he was reviewing the documents. I don't know that he actually sat down with them, but he was looking at the presentation that we gave you yesterday. And I know yesterday he sat down with Mr. Ruff and some others to talk about what Mr. Ruff was going to present.
Q For roughly how long?
MR. LOCKHART: My guess, it was about an hour. I can't be precise.
Q What changes did the President suggest or order in Mr. Ruff's presentation?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know that he ordered any changes. I know that as far as his guiding principle as far as the earlier document and Mr. Craig's presentation was he wanted to make sure that people who speak for him are very clear on the level of contrition that he feels. And he wanted to make sure that we presented our information, our legal arguments, in a way that was strong and factual, but avoided a confrontational tone.
Q Joe, if the White House will share its views privately on different censure proposals with lawmakers when they call here, but you won't share them publicly here with us -- is that a matter of some principle, or is that just simply shrewd negotiating on your part not to sort of lay your hand down publicly?
MR. LOCKHART: You're asking me if I have principles, or am shrewd? (Laughter.) I give up. Help me out, Terry.
Q I just don't get it. You'll share your views privately with people when they call, but it's for some reason not appropriate you share your views publicly.
MR. LOCKHART: I am not going to make this podium a negotiating spot. I don't believe that's my role here and I don't intend to do it.
Q Would you characterize what you're doing with the Congress as negotiating?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I've characterized it, I think, very clearly as listening. And that's what we're doing.
Q How can you expect to get Iraq's cooperation on UNSCOM when Sandy Berger is out talking about ousting Saddam Hussein? How do you --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, we expect it because they said very clearly what they would do. They said that they would comply, and we believe firmly that they understand what the potential consequences for not complying are.
Q Joe, if the President wants his own lawyers not to be confrontational, does he disapprove of the very confrontational tactics taken by Democrats on the committee?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I think the Democrats are raising important issues. And, again, I haven't talked to him about any particular presentation or the questioning of any particular presenter, because I don't think he's watched -- he's followed it that closely. But I don't think he has any particular problem.
Q How about that historian? Some people really took offense at the tone of his remarks.
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think again, we brought in a series of people who are constitutional or law experts, but who are very independent, evidenced by the fact that there were things that were said that I don't think -- I'm not going to make a judgment whether it's appropriate or inappropriate -- but we clearly did not script. (Laughter.)
And I'm not going to be critical of anybody expressing views. These are serious, qualified people who, I think, have a right to be heard.
Q Also, what do you think of Hyde's decision to allow such a vote? Is it just symbolic? A vote on a censure motion, is it symbolic or does it indicate he's being more fair than --
MR. LOCKHART: I'll leave it to the Democrats on the Hill to make a judgment there who, I think, know more about it than I do.
Q Thank you.
END 1:10 P.M. EST