THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Hilton Head, South Carolina) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release December 30, 1998
PRESS BRIEFING BY LINDA LESOURD LADER, PRESIDENT OF THE RENAISSANCE INSTITUTE Palmetto Dunes Resort Hilton Head, South Carolina
3:45 P.M. EST
MS. DOWGWILLA: My name is Peg Dowgwilla, and I'm a banker from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And Linda Lader has graciously asked me to help with press relations over the weekend. I'm not sure, as one of my oldest friends, that that's quite the honor that I would like it to be.
But, anyway, I am here to help you do your job. If you need anything, if you would like to speak with some of our guests, et cetera, you have fact sheets, first of all, in the very back of the room, that will give you a list of some of our attendees and some of the panels. As you know, the panels have always been and will continue to be off the record -- so, unfortunately, we can't share with you exactly what is happening day to day.
But if you do need anything else, if you have a question or whatever, please give me a call. I can be reached through the Hyatt, 785-1234, and just ask them to page Peg.
I did want to introduce Linda Lader. She is the President of the Renaissance Institute and a long-time friend. And without further adieu.
MS. LADER: Good afternoon, we'll be very brief. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Renaissance Weekends, as you know from your fact sheet, began in 1981. This is our 35th weekend, because we have more than one a year now. We have them in other parts of the country, in Santa Fe, in Colorado -- Beaver Creek. Also we've had them in Aspen, we have one in Kiawah Island in Charleston in March.
So these are all very similar. The programs are very similar in that they are very brief panel opportunities for people to say a few words, to talk about many different issues. We try to cover everything under the sun, from medicine to ethics, the arts, media, government, law, religion, sports, technology -- everything we can possibly get people to talk about. And we also talk about family issues and questions of values and current events.
Many people come who have absolutely no interest in politics. It's actually very much a family retreat -- that's our hallmark, is the importance of families and the chance to recreate together. The children's programs are unusual in that they are just as important to us as the adult programs. The teens have a very active program. And everything from astronauts to TV producers to Pulitzer Prize winners to elected officials meet individually with small groups of children and teens so that they can serve as role models for the young people.
And I think families find that when they leave Renaissance Weekends they have a lot more to talk about among the generations. So we try to bridge generation gaps. We try to bridge people across different philosophical, geographical divisions; and especially we try to get people from all kinds of professions and points of views.
So I'm happy to take any questions you have about this weekend.
Q Do you know what the President is going to be going to, which of the sessions?
MS. LADER: No. He'll look at the program again. It's been sent to the White House, obviously, before now; he and the First Lady always study it very carefully, as they have the 15 years they've been coming. And then he will decide spontaneously, on the spot -- nobody really knows what he'll want to go to.
Q Can you tell us traditionally what they have gone to in the past, the types of things that they've participated in and what they're most interested in?
MS. LADER: I couldn't begin to tell you what they're most interested in. I can tell you just that they've gone to a wide array of programs and I know that they -- the President is especially interested in going to programs with the younger generation. So he often will pick out those to attend.
Q Linda, will the President's status as an impeached President change in any way the tone of the gathering or the welcome he receives? He's always been received very warmly, from what we can see on the outside -- would that change in any way?
MS. LADER: You have to remember that this group is very much different from political points of view and I see nothing to indicate there will be any difference this year. It's a very upbeat, enthusiastic group and I've heard not a rumbling of any change.
Q Do you expect him to be asked to address his impeachment issue at some point during the proceedings?
MS. LADER: People can talk about anything they want. I can't predict what people will ask. I'm sure that subjects -- any current subject will come up. I'm sure it will come up in private conversations, at least.
Q Will they still do the New Year's Eve question and answer session that they've done in the past?
MS. LADER: I did not put that on this year. So that is my decision. I learned too late for my printed program that they were happy to do that again. But I had to go ahead and go to press with something, so I had some other people speaking and then I'm going to talk to them when we see them at the airport and just tell them I'd love for them each to speak. But I don't really have the time or the wherewithal to do the Q and A. So that's my call.
Q You made the decision because the White House had not responded to you in time?
MS. LADER: Well, yes. I mean I, frankly -- if I can just say this as background (ON BACKGROUND) -- I just thought there were more important things for them to address and so I didn't hassle them about it this year. (ON THE RECORD)
Q Does the fact sheet have how many are registered this year?
MS. LADER: It's about 1,350, which is more than last year and more than most recent years. The numbers just vary slightly over the years.
Q And does it have seminar topics?
MS. LADER: I think it does have seminar topics.
Q Linda, the "Character - What Is It?" session, is that one you've done before?
MS. LADER: We have done a character and leadership and that sort of thing. And as you know, we have six different academies on technology, wired society, on science. So it's one of the six that's being addressed.
Q I can't help but asking, does it, again, take on some new significance this year? Is it likely that the President's current fix is going to be discussed there?
MS. LADER: One can always speculate. I know, having talked to the person who's in charge -- and I really -- one thing that's fun about the academies, for me, is that we find very good leaders and then I give them great license to run it as they choose. And I was told by the man who does lots of this sort of thing -- Marshall Goldsmith, who's leading it -- that he's going to have people talk about their own character and what they'd like it to be and how they could get there. So who knows what else they'll talk about, but that's his call.
Q A lot of parents discuss that issue, vis-a-vis, the President at the moment. Does Marshall Goldsmith -- what is his background? I'm not familiar with him.
MS. LADER: I know that he is an author and he works a lot with companies -- do you have the background?
MS. DOWGWILLA: -- specializing in leadership.
MS. LADER: He does a lot of this sort of thing and he's been coming for years and he's just a very good director. I can give you a little more background.
Q But did he indicate to you that in his leading of this discussion that the question of Oval Office character is going to come up?
MS. LADER: This did not come up in our conversation when we talked about it. Other questions?
Q In your preparations, your plannings, did the issue of the sensitivity toward the President's situation come up in any way? In other words, were there --
MS. LADER: We talk about the issues of the year every year. Obviously, the current events of the year figured into the discussion and I'm sure they will be addressed. But I have to tell you, it has not been different this year.
Q But in terms of your preparations and so forth, it didn't alter how you were doing things in any way.
MS. LADER: Not a bit. Anything else? Okay. Thank you. I'll be available and reach Peg if you have any other questions.
END 3:53 P.M. EST