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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 12, 1999
                           PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                              JOE LOCKHART 
                           The Briefing Room   

2:55 P.M. EST

MR. LOCKHART: Questions.

Q Joe, can you describe what the President was doing during the vote?

MR. LOCKHART: Let me tell you, I talked to him just before he went out about this morning. Let me talk a little bit about -- obviously, what he said was something that he wrote for himself. He spent some time thinking about it last night; got up this morning, spent some time -- his mother-in-law is here and staying over in the residence, so they spent some time this morning.

I think late in the morning he went over and had his daily exercise and was working out --

Q Can you be specific, Joe, what daily exercise he was doing?

MR. LOCKHART: I can ask.

Q What is his daily exercise?

MR. LOCKHART: I didn't ask. So I guess I can't be specific. Let's see. After that, he spent some time with the First Lady who had some friends. They chatted for a while and then he talked to his staff a little bit about -- on the phone -- about what the plans for the afternoon was; went away to think about it some more, draft -- work some more on what he wanted to say.

John Podesta, the Chief of Staff, called him after each vote and informed him of how the votes went.

Q He did not watch?

MR. LOCKHART: He did not watch, no.

Q Why?

Q Why not?

MR. LOCKHART: He chose not to.

Q Was Mrs. Clinton with him or did he have a priest with him or a minister?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think for part of the votes he was finishing his exercise, and for part of that time he was probably beginning to work on the statement. But he did not watch; was informed by his Chief of Staff.

Anyway, he finished figuring out what he wanted to say, how he wanted to do it, and he came over here, and you just watched.

Q Is it fair to say he was working on the statement at the moment the vote was being taken?

MR. LOCKHART: I can't be that exact.

Q Did he make any phone calls thanking anyone?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't believe he did this morning. I expect this afternoon he'll make some calls. I'll try to let you know.

Q Was Mrs. Clinton with him this morning, at all?

MR. LOCKHART: For part of the time.

Q You met with him; would you describe his mood? Was he relived? Was he --

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, I think, naturally, this coming to an end brings relief both to the President and to people here at the White House. But I think you can judge for yourself, based on what he had to say to you.

Q What did he say when Podesta told him about the votes?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not sure. They were very short. I was on John's end, so I -- but they were very short conversations. John let him know what the votes were -- obviously, all the Democrats had gone one way. John let him know who had gone the other way, and I didn't get much from the other end.

Q Did you say that he spent time with the First Lady and a group of her friends?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I know that she was there with some people, and he wandered by, spent some time with them, then went to work.

Q What group was that?

Q Joe, is this still a gloat-free zone now?

MR. LOCKHART: Absolutely.

Q Joe, can you be specific about Podesta's end of the conversation? I mean, did he say Chafee voted, so-and-so voted, so-and-so voted?

MR. LOCKHART: No, he said that -- on the first vote, I think there were nine or ten, and then five, and he listed who had voted which way, and that was it.

Q So he listed the Republicans --

MR. LOCKHART: I think so. I don't --

Q Why did he want to know that?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know that he asked to know that. I know that it seemed to be a relevant piece of information at the time, and John chose to pass it on.

Q But he did ask for the overall vote, too, didn't he?

MR. LOCKHART: No, John called him to tell him. So, I mean, we could go around and around on whether he asked or he was told, but that wouldn't be productive.

Q Joe, has this President received any phone call from any world leaders?

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

Q Joe, you felt all along that you would prevail in the end. Is this vindication today?

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, I'm going to avoid using words like that, that can mean many things to many people. I think the President expressed to you the responsibility he takes for the action -- for his actions, and I think the lawyers did a very credible job of presenting the legal case and it prevailed.

Q Though he did not say it today, does he still feel what he has said in the past, that he believes that he has been unfairly targeted by the Independent Counsel and others?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of any change in his thoughts on that.

Q Joe, what are his plans for the rest of today?

MR. LOCKHART: He will, at about 3:15 p.m., go into the trip meeting to look forward to the trip to Mexico, which will start on Sunday and be Monday. He'll get a briefing from his national security team about what to expect. That will take probably about an hour. And then he's just got some phone and office time for the rest of the day. I expect he'll use that until the end of the day.

Q Would you describe this overall, Joe, as a legitimate process with a legitimate end?

MR. LOCKHART: Let me say that when we started talking about this five or six weeks ago, we looked for a process that was fair, bipartisan, constitutional, and I think by and large the process has been that.

Q Is that just because the vote came out the way you wanted it to?

MR. LOCKHART: No, it's because we set forward a criteria and I think that criteria was meant.

Q Has he called his daughter?

Q Were you pleased with the vote count, Joe?

MR. LOCKHART: We're pleased that a majority of the Senate said that on neither charge was the case made.

Q Joe, you're still dealing with a Congress that is sort of half of which in both Houses voted to impeach the President. The President wants to move forward. What's the first step in trying to move forward with the Congress split like that?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think the President tried to reach out a hand just a few moments ago to Democrats and Republicans saying that this needs to be and must be a time of reconciliation and renewal. That's obviously I believe the right sentiment for today. Congress will go off for a recess and for time back in their home constituencies, and when they come back we'll be ready to work with them.

Q -- legal team and Mrs. Clinton about the acquittal?

MR. LOCKHART: He certainly talked to the First Lady. I don't know that he's spoken to his legal team.

Q Since the President has been frequently photographed while playing golf with many different people. I'm wondering if you could tell us, has he ever played golf with OJ Simpson and would he be willing to do so if invited?

Q Oh, please --

MR. LOCKHART: Mmmm -- I don't know.

Q Will he seek a meeting with the House majority leaders?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think over the last couple of days we've indicated that, when Congress comes back, there will be an appropriate time for the President to get together both with the Democrats, and then with the leadership across party lines. We've got a very aggressive legislative agenda. The President, as you know, wants to reserve most of the surplus to save Social Security, Medicare. We have an aggressive education agenda; health care; raising the minimum wage. These are all issues that, because of the nature of our government, we're going to have to reach out and get Republican support for. And I expect that when they come back, at the appropriate time we'll all get together and start working on that.

Q Joe, in the back?


Q Joe, is it a sign of victory today that the President's legal team came out through the Northwest Gate to go to lunch? Because normally they do not do that.

MR. LOCKHART: Normally they don't do what? Go to lunch? (Laughter.)

Q No, leave out of the -- no leave out of the -- come in our view, to leave out of the Northwest Gate.

MR. LOCKHART: Let me make two points. One is, I'm going to stay away from words that can mean many things to many people, and if you think walking out through one gate over another is some sort of signal to someone, you're overthinking.

Q Joe, they normally don't do that, though, you know that.

MR. LOCKHART: It's because they normally eat at their desk, and they got a well-deserved break today.

Q Joe, half the President's remarks were almost word for word what he said just before the House impeachment vote, and this was a very short statement. Doesn't the President have more to say about something this momentous?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think the President thought that what he had to say was appropriate for the moment, and he said what he felt was the right thing to say.

Q Joe, is it important at all that not even a bare majority in the Senate voted for either article? What do you make of that?

MR. LOCKHART: I make of that that those who were trying to prosecute this case did not provide the necessary evidence to make their case, and those who were defending the case made a compelling case.

Q Joe, did the President have his regular morning meetings, with the staff and with Sandy Berger? And also, has the President -- or did he talk to the Thomassons before he made the speech?

MR. LOCKHART: The who?

Q Linda or Harry Thomasson?

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, not that I know of. And he met with John probably early in the afternoon, and I think he'll see Sandy in a little bit. I don't think he had the normal --

Q Did he exercise in the gym? Or this was just in the residence and not the gym?

MR. LOCKHART: I think the gym in the residence. Let's see, the butler in the --

Q Has he talked to Chelsea?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know.

Q -- residence in the gym, Joe?

MR. LOCKHART: That's what I -- thank you for helping from the back. (Laughter.) And because you helped in the back, any questions from the back? (Laughter.) Yes?

Q Is the fact that half the Senate voted to remove the President any source of vindication for the House managers?

MR. LOCKHART: I'll leave that for the House managers to either seek vindication or interpret.

Q Back to the President's schedule. You didn't mention him having lunch. Did he have lunch someplace in here?

MR. LOCKHART: I forgot to ask.

Q Does his legal team believe that he still may be in jeopardy from Starr, as far as a possible indictment, either now or after he leaves the presidency?

MR. LOCKHART: I think the President's legal team would prefer that I don't get into those issues, and I plan not to.

Q Did the President meet with or talk to his legal team while they were here?

MR. LOCKHART: Today? No. No, I don't think so. Q Will he?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm sure he will find some time to talk to them.

Q Have they disbanded?

MR. LOCKHART: No, they're still at lunch. (Laughter.)

Q That's pretty good.

Q No, it's not very good.

MR. LOCKHART: I'm -- look, I'm sorry, Helen. Serious question and serious answer.

Q Have they disbanded, in terms of having Kennedy still as a spokesperson and so forth?

MR. LOCKHART: Where's Jim? Jim, you're fired. (Laughter.) No, I expect some of the lawyers will move back to either what they were doing previously, or back to their private sector, cushy assignments. But the bulk of the legal team will continue doing all of the other work that the White House Counsel's Office is charged with.

Q Joe, follow on to legal team? Will we ever get an accounting on how much was spent in legal fees by the President and his staff members?

MR. LOCKHART: You'll get a sense from the President through the legal defense trust that reports on a biannual or an annual basis. Tony Essaye, who is the guardian of that trust, I'm sure will be glad to help you with that. As far as individual employees here, that is up to them to disclose.

Q Joe, two days ago -- I think yesterday -- you mentioned the possibility of a formal press conference.


Q Now that everything is over, can we count on a press conference in the month of March? I think that's what you implied the other day.

MR. LOCKHART: I hope to be able to tell you about that sometime in the near future. I can tell you, without giving away too much of the week ahead, that we will have a session on Friday with President Chirac of France, who will be in for a working visit. That will be the standard joint, sort of -- several questions from each side.

Q Why not a general news conference in February? Why wait until March?


Q I mean, that's half a month there.

MR. LOCKHART: Don't get too greedy, Sam. I'm working on it.

Q Joe, the President on several occasions has said that he is sorry for the inappropriate relationship and sorry for deceiving the nation. But has he expressed regret, or is his statement today an expression of regret for the conduct that was the focus of the House inquiry? In other words, it may not have been illegal, but the President's own legal team said it came close to the line. Does he feel that, as he looks back at his conduct, that it was a mistake for him to do some of these things that were clearly ambiguous?

MR. LOCKHART: That's certainly the way I read it.

Q Joe, regarding Senator Feinstein's calling the President a "reckless, shameless, deceitful, misleading, demeaning trust violator," doesn't her reluctance to vote to replace him with the Vice President inevitably suggests that Mr. Gore is worse? (Laughter.)

MR. LOCKHART: No, no. No, does not.

Q In an interview on NBC this morning Linda Tripp suggested that there were threats on her life that came indirectly from the President. Do you have any response?

MR. LOCKHART: I think any suggestion from Linda Tripp or anyone that the President has made threats is absolutely ludicrous.

Q When it comes to criminal activity at the White House, she said she witnessed --

MR. LOCKHART: I'll leave Ms. Tripp to explain Ms. Tripp. I certainly -- that would be a task that would be well beyond my abilities.

Q Joe, she also said that the President held a meeting in July 1997 that was about her. Any idea if that is so?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know anything about that.

Q Joe, do you think that the outcome today will have any impact on the politics of personal attack, that whole way in which politics is conducted from now on?

MR. LOCKHART: I certainly hope that if that's the one positive that we take from this that it could be that. We believe, as the President has talked about for six or seven years on the national stage, that we've fallen into a cycle of politics of personal destruction and we need to find a way out of it. And I think if both sides can look back at the events of the last year and take from that that the cycle needs to end and it needs to break, and by reaching across party lines we can do that now, that would be a positive.

Q Joe, Henry Hyde said today that he did not believe that Ken Starr should indict the President. Is it time to put all of this away, never to be revisited?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think on that subject the time has come. But it's an issue that the Independent Counsel will have to search his own sense of whether the time has come to wrap this up.

Q Joe, can I go back to my question of a minute ago, because I remember I asked you about this in December at a time when Chuck Ruff said reasonable people might think that he crossed over the line, and you said, the President doesn't regret the fact that he came close to the line in the Paula Jones, for example, because he thought it was an illegitimate lawsuit. I'm trying to get a sense of whether -- we all know the President is sorry for the inappropriate relationship and for deceiving, but the conduct that was the subject of this debate -- I mean, does he feel that he made errors in judgment, even if not violations of law, in what he did? What is he sorry for, is precisely what I'm trying to get at.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I can't decipher down to that level of detail. I think he has spoken in a way that he believes is appropriate to this. I'm going to leave it there.

Q Now that this drama is over --

Q Is he going to celebrate tonight?


Q He's not going to celebrate?

Q Do you think this drama is over -- do you think the President -- it will make any difference for the President to do his job for the American people --

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think the President has been doing his job, and that in large part is why the President continues to enjoy solid support from the American public and he'll continue to do that.

Q Why wouldn't the President celebrate? And by celebrate I'm not suggesting gloat or any of that, but having been acquitted on these two very serious charges, why wouldn't he celebrate in some way?

MR. LOCKHART: I think given the circumstances of this matter that has gone on for this long, we can be relieved it's over, but there's really nothing to celebrate.

Q Joe, I think that a lot of people were very impressed with your wonderfully ironic statement, I can't think of a worse or more dumb strategy than going after people based on whether they're House manager or not. Could you give us your comment on --

MR. LOCKHART: With more proper syntax this time? (Laughter.)

Q No, no, I just want to get your comment on Democratic National Committeeman Bob Mulholland. Do you know what he said?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't.

Q Well, he said --

Q You're about to get it. (Laughter.)

Q -- this was on House manager James Rogan -- he said, he's "going to need an oxygen tent to live. He's dead meat. He doesn't need Dr. Kevorkian to help him, he's dead. We're going to bury him. Forget about Rogan, he's gone, gone, gone." What's your comment on that, Joe? (Laughter.)

MR. LOCKHART: Myself, I do not share the sentiments of Mr. Mulholland.

Q Joe, If I could follow on to John's question before?


Q The President has previously said he misled the American people, but he did not lie. Is that still his position?

MR. LOCKHART: As far as I know.

Q You've already indicated that you want to meet with the GOP leaders on Social Security. Can you just give us a better idea of the time frame? Is that going to happen very quickly after the recess?

MR. LOCKHART: I expect that both the President and the leadership of the House on both sides of the aisle will be anxious once they come back to town to get together. I can't give you a time because I don't know the time. But I think in a very quick fashion the leadership will get together and will get moving on the agenda that the President has laid out.

Q -- item that offers the most opportunity to kick off some bipartisanship?

MR. LOCKHART: I think both parties agree that we have to get to Social Security. I think most of -- I think the way the President has laid out his agenda, it's important that we get to Social Security and get some of these issues resolved because the President believes that as far as what we do with the surplus, we have to look at saving Social Security and Medicare first. And then we can look at the issues of the USA accounts and some of the other domestic and military priorities that the President has laid out.

So I think, while other issues -- we will continue to move forward on education, health care, and others, I think you'll see discussions hopefully across party lines on the issue of what we do with the surplus and paying down the national debt.

Q Is there any way to find out how the President was able to sustain himself through this one year where he was called everything in the book, by friend and foe -- what is it that kept him going? What do you think it was?

MR. LOCKHART: I think it's a couple things, and I talked to him about this. One is while accepting the responsibility for what he did, he believes and has said that the way to make it right is to rededicate himself to doing his job, doing the best he can. I think, secondly, the President believes that when all is said and done, when all of the partisan rancor has died down, the American public has a very good sense of fairness in what's going on. And I think he took some heart in that, and focused on doing his job. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

Q Joe, this morning from the Linda Tripp interview, she said she was fearful of many things. And now with these acquittals, do you feel that she should be fearful of her job now?


Q Have you heard him say at all whether he thinks this whole thing has damaged the presidency?

MR. LOCKHART: I think, without assigning to any particular place, that there has been damage here to our institutions, and I think the President spoke to working hard and rededicating ourselves to repair any damage that has been done.

Q Will the President now rededicate himself or emphasize more some of the danger spots in the world -- China, North Korea, other areas --

MR. LOCKHART: I think the President has a constant focus on those issues, as is his charge as Commander in Chief, and has never lost focus.

Q Joe, you said that the President would work for all Democratic candidates, not target particularly any one, meaning the Republican managers. Now that the process is over, will the President spend more time raising money or --

MR. LOCKHART: No -- the political schedule and the fundraising schedule, because of the nature of it, gets set well in advance, as I think I said yesterday or was -- I'm not sure -- if it came up. He's got about a day a month over the next five months that is devoted to party building and fundraising, and that will remain the same. And sometime in the next couple of months we'll look at the second half of this year and see what's appropriate.

Q If the First Lady decides that she does want to move to New York and run for the Senate, is the President supportive of that?

MR. LOCKHART: If she decides that she doesn't want to move to New York and run for Senate? If she decides she does?

Q -- from his point of view, should she go for it if she wants to?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think while -- up until the point that I know what the decision is, I'll leave it be, and then I'll say that he supports either way. (Laughter.)

Q Anything new on Kosovo?

MR. LOCKHART: Nothing new to report.

Q Is the President still consulting with ministers about this whole matter, and when did he last consult and how long did he --

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know. I view those consultations to be something that is private, so I have not inquired on that.

Q Well, you told us the day he was impeached that they were here.

Q -- thrust of my question was really how --

Q Excuse me, Helen -- the day he was impeached in the House, you told us that the ministers were here.

MR. LOCKHART: Sam, one of the reasons I told you was one of the fine reporters from CNN got an interview with him on the way in. So it was hard for me not to acknowledge that he was here.

Q But the thrust of my question --

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, was it you, Sam? (Laughter.)

Q My question was, does he always have -- did he have some sort of inner stamina that was able to withstand all of this?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, I think, based on the second part of the answer I gave you, that the American public generally gets it right and understands, he believed that when the dust settled on this, the Senate would come out the way it did today.

Q Joe, with the President turning to the legislative agenda, many on Capitol Hill, even in his party, have described him over the last year as untrustworthy. How can the President convince the people in Congress, in the House and Senate, that he is trustworthy and is a person they can do business with?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think the President is going to have to work hard at talking about the issues and the agenda. He will work hard, he will reach out across party lines, and we're very confident that we're going to get a lot done this year.

Q Joe, are you personally relieved this is over? Is the end of this trial going to make your job any easier?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think about half the room won't be here on Monday, which is encouraging.

Q We'll be in Mexico.

MR. LOCKHART: In Mexico. There you go, the whole row. (Laughter.)

Q Nice try, Lockhart.

MR. LOCKHART: Tuesday.

I think that those of us who -- as I think I've repeated over and over again, the vast majority of people who work at the White House do not worry about the issues that I spend most of my time talking about. But for the people who don't, but who still live here in Washington and read the paper from time to time, it hasn't been particularly easy. But they, to their credit, I think, have done an amazing job of staying focused and doing the people's business. And I think the President appreciates that, and that's, again, why I think he gets the kind of support he does from the American public.

For those of us who have had to engage on this on a daily basis, relief is the most descriptive and accurate word that I can use. There's no great high or low from a day like today, except relief that it's over and we can all move on to hopefully more interesting subjects.

Q Joe, now that, again, the thing is over, nobody can accuse the President of wagging the dog anymore, should Saddam Hussein worry? You know, -- incident, and --

MR. LOCKHART: Well, it may come as a surprise or shock, or you may take some offense, but despite all that talk, we took very little to none of that into account in making our decisions. The President makes decisions based on the national security interests of this country, and what he thinks is in the best interest of our security interests around the world and the interests of our troops around the world. And all the mindless speculation to the contrary really has no bearing.

Q How about the week ahead?

Q Week ahead.

MR. LOCKHART: Absolutely.

Q Joe, one more question, to follow up on an earlier discussion. You talked about how you want to get a Social Security compromise with Republicans. Could you rate the chances of that as good, poor at this point, from your outlook?

MR. LOCKHART: I think as everyone moves their attention up on Capitol Hill back to the issue, they'll -- in particular, when they go home over the next week or so, they're going to get a full dose of how much the American public wants this done. And I expect that when people come back to work, they'll be committed to getting this resolved. And I think the public by and large thinks the idea of paying down the debt, reserving those savings for Social Security and Medicare, and returning more than $500 billion to help people with their pensions and savings is a very powerful idea. And I think we're going to move forward in a very aggressive and hopefully successful way.

Q Other than repeating the plan again, does the White House have a campaign to keep this --

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, we're going to keep repeating the plan.

Q Oh. (Laughter.)

Q Joe, the President said that he, too, needs to forgive. Who does he need to forgive?

MR. LOCKHART: I'll try to get a list. (Laughter.)

Q Is the President's sense of relief tempered at all by public opinion polls that show a large majority of Americans believe he did commit perjury and obstruct justice? And secondly, how do you react to those who say that the White House officials will spend at least part of their energies over the next 23 months trying to reverse those polls by demonizing House Republicans?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes and no. Sure, I think I've said to you before that it's something that's hard, when the public believes that you've done something that you don't believe you've done. But no one in the next 23 months is going to spend time trying to demonize those who did it. We're going to get on with the business that is at hand, because that's good policy. It's good for the American people. And we think, ultimately, it's the best politics -- that, if we get a lot done and we move forward to the year 2000 with a strong presidential candidate and strong senatorial and congressional candidates around the country, campaigning on Democratic ideas, ideas that the President leads the Democratic Party with, the Democrats will do quite well.

Q Joe, what are the President's plans this evening? Is he dining with friends or anything like that?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't know. Let me check. I'm not aware of any special plans.

Q Has the President talked to Larry Flynt this afternoon?


Q Joe, Congressman Gary Ackerman, Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India, has written a letter to President Clinton asking him to lift the World Bank and IMF sanctions against India, because they are essential to the normal people in India.

MR. LOCKHART: I think, as I've said before, we're engaged in wide-ranging discussions with the governments of India and Pakistan. We've seen some progress. There's more work that needs to be done. And I don't have any announcements today on any new measures.

Q Joe, you talk about bipartisan legislation. What about -- is he going to work with Senator Rockefeller or Mikulski on steel imports --

MR. LOCKHART: I think he has been working quite hard over the last two or three months on this issue. As the Commerce Department announcements today indicate, we've had some results as the result of our diplomatic initiatives and our trade enforcement. And there's still more work to be done, so the President will continue to work.

Q Joe, there is a small group of people here at the White House that -- in the Counsel's Office and elsewhere -- that spent most of the last year working on this matter. What are those people going to do now? Are they going to be reassigned, or --

MR. LOCKHART: Oh, I assume that, as I said earlier, that there are some that will go back to other pastures that are outside the White House and government service, and many will go back to just doing one job instead of doing the two jobs they've been doing over the last year.

Q Joe, what's on the schedule for Valentine's Day for the First Couple?

MR. LOCKHART: Sounds like a week ahead question.

Q Okay, well, give us that first in the week ahead, please.

MR. LOCKHART: The President will do his radio address tomorrow at 10:06 a.m. No public schedule for the remainder of the day.

Q On what?

MR. LOCKHART: I'll let you know later in the day if I can.

Sunday, the President and the First Lady will depart the White House at 3:15 p.m. for Mexico. There will be an open press arrival ceremony, following which the President and the First Lady will attend a private dinner with the President and Mrs. Zedillo, and that will be it for the day.

Q Anything romantic on that day for the First Couple, together?

Q Or apart.

Q That's a valid question.

MR. LOCKHART: I ain't telling.

Monday morning, February 15, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President Zedillo. There will be a pool spray at the top of that meeting. On the afternoon, the President and President Zedillo will address local residents and government leaders at a joint signing ceremony, which is open press. The President will then hold private meetings with U.S. and Mexico congressional delegations and U.S. embassy staff before departing back to the White House. Should get here at about 9:40.

Tuesday, February 16th, no public schedule.

Q That won't hold, will it?

MR. LOCKHART: Wednesday, February 17th, the President will hold a Social Security event at 2:00 p.m. in the East Room. Thursday, February 18th, the President will travel to New Hampshire. He will participate in a health care event in Dover, attend a private lunch in Merrimack and a dinner for the New Hampshire State Democratic Party that evening in Manchester, arriving back to the White House about 10:30 p.m.

Friday, the President will host President Jacques Chirac for an official working visit. The visit will include a bilateral meeting, followed by lunch and a joint press conference. Time and location TBD. Friday evening he will address the NAACP's 90th anniversary dinner at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Saturday, no public schedule.

Q Thank you.

MR. LOCKHART: See you in Mexico.

END 3:25 P.M. EST