THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY JOE LOCKHART The Briefing Room
12:41 P.M. EDT
MR. LOCKHART: Everybody out there getting familiar with each other again? (Laughter.) The name tags aren't ready yet. They'll be ready tomorrow, because I think they'll be much more helpful for all of you. I know you all, but -- let me start with a brief statement concerning action on the Senate floor last night.
Last night, Senate Republicans attempted to force a floor vote on Ted Stewart, a District Court nominee from Utah. Senate Democrats prevented the vote, not in order to defeat Stewart, but in an effort to compel the Republican leadership to allow a floor vote on other judicial nominees, including Richard Paez and Marsha Berzon of the 9th Circuit, who have been waiting far longer for an up or down vote on the floor. Paez has been waiting for almost four years, and Berzon has been waiting for 18 months, to receive their votes on the floor.
We at the White House want to work through this impasse expeditiously and hope that the Senate will provide for votes on all of our judicial nominees, including Stewart, Berzon, and Paez. As Chief Justice Rehnquist has stated, the Senate is by no means required to confirm our candidates, but it does have an obligation to vote judicial candidates up and down. We hope the Senate will take his advice to heart and move forward on all of our judicial nominees.
Q Do you support the action last night then?
MR. LOCKHART: We support the action that the Senate Democrats are taking to make sure that there's an up or down vote on people who have been waiting for as long as four years for a vote. The Senate does have within their power to vote people down if they object to them, and not provide preferential treatment for one candidate that they have a particular interest in.
Q Joe, a retired --
MR. LOCKHART: April. You can wait. (Laughter.)
Q Thank you.
Q I don't want to hate anybody from Baltimore. (Laughter.)
Q I yield.
Q Joe, this GOA report is citing some problems with this Africa trip, saying it was $43 million and that the entourage was so lavish and it was a large entourage. Do you find -- does the White House find that this GAO report is wrong and could you give us a reason to why it was wrong?
MR. LOCKHART: I haven't read through the report, so I don't know whether their methodology accurately accounts for all of the funding. I mean, I think I addressed this yesterday in talking about the reasons that the foreign travel is expensive and the reasons why going to a place like Africa adds additional expense, because of infrastructure issues.
You know, I think what stands out, though, from the comments that were made about that report, where some of the comments characterizing the trip by some of the Republican senators. And I think, put very bluntly, the comments are just ignorant. They're ignorant of what the trip was about, they display ignorance of the importance of Africa in the global economy and what goes on there. And it's ignorant in relation to how important a part of the world Africa is to sort of glibly label an important and historic trip like that as some sort of apology tour or something like that is just -- there's just no other word for it but ignorant.
Q Joe, the President -- there's word that the President may be considering strongly about going back to Africa next year. Would this GAO report change his opinion --
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not ready to make any announcements on travel, but the President does have an enduring interest in promoting democracy, trade, market development in Africa, and I certainly wouldn't rule out him making another trip there.
Q Joe, a retired New York police officer who was blinded and maimed by an FALN bomb said yesterday on Capitol Hill -- and this is a quote -- "Who cares about us? Certainly President Clinton doesn't." What's your comment, Joe, and I have a follow-up.
MR. LOCKHART: I think the President cares very deeply about law enforcement officials in this country, particularly police that are out on the street. But I think as his letter that he sent to Congressman Waxman indicates, he balanced many different people's beliefs, passionate beliefs in coming to the decision he came to.
Q Joe, I recalled you were saying right there that among the clergy supporting the commutation of the FALNers, which Cardinal O'Connor, whose spokesman, Joseph Swilling (phonetic), emphatically denied this.
MR. LOCKHART: I don't have this with me, but I'd be glad to provide to you both quotes that he said about the importance of dealing with mercy in the situation and the letter that he wrote, urging the Attorney General to consider clemency for them.
Q Well, the ruling said you were wrong, but I'm wondering if the President --
MR. LOCKHART: Let me put this a little more clearly and maybe you'll get it. I'll be glad to provide to you the letter he wrote to the Attorney General that indicates he's requesting --
Q Why would his own spokesman saying that you're wrong, Joe? Is the spokesman uninformed, or what?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to get into --
Q One last --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, before you get to your last question, let me finish my answer. I'm not going to get into a war of words with anyone's spokesman, at least not today. But if -- I mean, if there could be a benefit here, I'd be willing to chip in on paying for your flight up there to ask him yourself as long as you'll stay for a while. (Laughter.)
Q Joe, I have just one follow-up, I promise. I'm wondering if the President was aware that one of the clergy who did support commutation, was retired Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore, who supported Maria Cuato (phonetic), was a national Episcopal Church staffer who sent over $90,000 Episcopal to her boyfriend's apartment where the police discovered 200 sticks of dynamite?
Q I'll pay, too, Joe. (Laughter.)
Q Is he aware of that? Is he aware of that?
MR. LOCKHART: Listen, I'm not going to take checks, guys. If you want to give me cash, that's fine. (Laughter.) I sincerely doubt it.
Q Let me ask about this GAO report again. In addition to the trip to Africa, the essential complaint that the Republican senators were making was that these trips are, a, too costly and, b, he's spending too much time out of the country.
MR. LOCKHART: Let me address that, because you can't have an argument in a vacuum. They said he traveled more than President Bush did, and the facts don't bear that out. And if you look at when President Bush -- fortunately, given the results of this administration, I think the American people spoke clearly that they wanted a change, and President Clinton won the election. He only served four years. In his first four years, the only legitimate way to compare this, he traveled more than President Clinton. Not by much, but about the same.
And I think you also need something to compare the trips to. I mean, I think those of you who have been around for a while will remember President Reagan took a trip in the middle of his term that one of the people who has been here for a while was telling about yesterday that, if you're looking at in 1999 dollars, was $5 million or $6 million for a four-hour trip to Grenada, a place that had no infrastructure, a place where they had to go in and do things.
I think there are important national interests here that the President pursues. I think there's been a consensus that it's important for the President to personally represent our interests around the world. And the arguments made by some yesterday ring a little hollow as they didn't try to compare it to anything and they offered no solution beyond sound bites of saying don't travel so much. That doesn't strike me as thoughtful, constructive criticism.
Q Joe, when the President travels, many people just see this ceremonial thing, when he comes in they greet and this that and the other. What is the breakdown, the ratio of serious work versus this ceremonial --
MR. LOCKHART: Oh, please. All of you -- I think all of you know from traveling, which is -- and I've heard the complaints that at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, why can't he take more time down, or why can't he just -- this is a President who maintains a very vigorous schedule, whether it's at home or abroad. And I think you just take a day out of the Africa trip, when he met with all the leaders at the Entebbe summit, that meeting has an impact, an impact on peace in Africa. The process that we put in place has saved lives. And for people to glibly criticize the trip without knowing about it just is why I used the word I did.
Q Joe, you used the word "ignorant," which is often used as sort of a synonym for people who are racially intolerant. Do you think there was a racist element to anything that any of these Republicans said about --
MR. LOCKHART: I wouldn't go that way. I don't think that -- I think what it showed was a lack of knowledge, lack of thought, and it should be seen as such. Others will make up their own minds on this, but I don't view it that way.
Q On the tobacco lawsuit, some of the representatives of industry have said that this is a bid to achieve through lawsuits what you can't achieve through Congress, which is a greater regulation of tobacco. And I was wondering if you could respond to that. And also, former Labor Secretary Reich also made this point that he thinks that sometimes you're trying to achieve regulatory results through lawsuits.
MR. LOCKHART: I think we approach trying to make -- pursuing our public health agenda through a variety of ways, and there are a variety issues, both legislative, regulatory and judicial, that are available to us, and we use all of them in a manner consistent with pursuing our public policy agenda.
Q Joe, if I could follow up, Rahm Emanuel, who used to work here, obviously, said at one point --
MR. LOCKHART: Who? Did he used to yell at you guys as much as he yelled at me?
Q He said the Justice Department would not have considered this nearly as seriously or as early without a real push from the White House. Can you talk a little bit about the interaction between the White House and Justice?
MR. LOCKHART: You know, I think you all watched the President's State of the Union address. This is something that he believes strongly in. But this -- it was the Justice Department that looked at the legal issues, developed the litigation plan and made the announcement that they made today.
Q Since you've filed suit, doesn't this mean that for practical purposes, you've just given up on the idea of getting anything out of Congress in terms of regulating big tobacco?
MR. LOCKHART: I think we're going to continue to work with them. We're going to continue pushing, for instance, as this is a public health issue, continue to push for increasing the price of cigarettes as both a good and sound fiscal issue and also a public health issue.
Q While you were waiting to get $20 million from Congress for this suit --
MR. LOCKHART: I know that there is money available in FY'99 to go forward and we are pushing for money for FY 2000.
Q My question is, I mean, this is a lawsuit that will take many, many years and will cost --
MR. LOCKHART: Presumably.
Q -- millions of dollars more than you have in your budget. I mean, I think if I remember correctly, you were asking for $20 million over a long period of time. I'm just wondering, what confidence do you have that this will be continued by a future administration? Because it will have to be. It won't be finished by the time you guys leave.
MR. LOCKHART: I mean, the case will be filed. I can't imagine somebody in the middle of the case trying to withdraw. And I also equally can't imagine Congress trying to withhold funds on such an important public health issue.
Q Is it possible to say that seeking the monetary penalties against the industry is more important than the public health issue, which is regulation?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I wouldn't rank them. Like most public policy issues, this is complex and we pursue our agenda through all available avenues.
Q Joe, the point was made at the Justice Department announcement that the suit was being filed under the RICO statute to recoup money that was gained by the tobacco companies under deceptive and corrupt practices, and limited only to that. But if what has been said is true over the years that all of the sales of tobacco were based on those deceptive and corrupt practices, that would include all the monies that the tobacco industry has made through the sale of cigarettes. And recouping that money, would that not put them into a position of bankruptcy, and does the White House support the idea of trying to bankrupt the tobacco industry?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't think there's anyone trying to bankrupt anyone here. I think the Attorney General clearly stated what the basis for this suit is and I think what's important now is this is going to get out of the arena of people like me talking about it and people who represent the industry, and it's going to go into a court and we're going to decide this on the law.
Q Joe, you said this is something he believes strongly in. I was wondering if you could tell me why he continues to use cigars. Doesn't that send a mixed message to young people. Even if he doesn't like cigars, isn't that sort of a --
MR. LOCKHART: I think the President believes that's a bad habit, but it's a habit he hasn't broken.
Q Joe, you've said before that a tobacco tax increase could help solve some of the spending limit problem. What are you planning to do to push for tobacco --
MR. LOCKHART: We're going to continue to push it. I think you'll hear more about it in the days to come. I think as you watch the process now and you look at how the numbers are getting added up, the Republicans are moving quickly towards spending the Social Security surplus and we think there's a better way to do that.
Q Is he going to talk about that when he vetoes the tax --
MR. LOCKHART: It's possible.
Q And when is he going to do that?
Q Has he broken his other bad habit?
MR. LOCKHART: Bill, if you want to sit there and articulate them, I'll take them one at a time.
MR. LOCKHART: Go ahead. We want to descend further and mark a new low. Not impossible.
Q The federal government in the past has encouraged tobacco smoking, for instance, in the military during the second world war. Do you see any responsibility from the federal government for the problem that you face today?
MR. LOCKHART: I think we certainly -- the federal government has shouldered the burden of the health care costs of that. But I think -- I'm just not going to get into how this case is going to get litigated. It's now ongoing litigation and I think all sides would be best to confine their arguments to the court room where it matters.
Q When will he veto --
MR. LOCKHART: I expect he may do that tomorrow. I don't have a time, though.
Q Did the President review the final suit, or at what point did he last have an input on --
MR. LOCKHART: I don't -- I know that we were given a heads up last evening that they were planning to move forward. There had been some stories in the paper. I think those of you who called me in the last couple of days asked, but I demonstrated my ignorance of this quite clearly by not knowing what was going on. But this is something that has been in the hands of the Justice Department for quite some time. They made the judgment on the legal basis for going forward. They developed the litigation plan and they will prosecute this case.
Q Has the President talked to anybody on the Hill about what to do after the bill is vetoed about which way he wants to go, what he thinks they can get?
MR. LOCKHART: He's had ongoing conversations with Democratic leaders up there, periodic conversations with some of the Republican leaders. But I'm going to leave it until tomorrow for just what the veto message will be.
Q As a practical matter, does he believe that in vetoing this, it effectively kills any chance of a tax cut this year?
MR. LOCKHART: The President believes that it should not. The President has put forward middle-class tax relief. If you look at the Republican plan, it's hard to find, but there's middle class tax relief in there, and the President is open to working with them on providing it. What he's not open to work on, which he'll make imminently clear, is a large, risky tax cut that can't be paid for and would be paid for on the back of Social Security and Medicare.
Q Is the President going to veto the defense bill because it contains the Energy Department reorganization that Secretary Richardson opposes?
MR. LOCKHART: I think we continue to have concerns about some of the accountability provisions of DOE reorganization. There's obviously things in the bill that we like -- pay raise, some readiness things. So we're going to look at this and when we have a decision, we'll let you know.
Q Joe, has the President turned down the offer to give the annual Jefferson lecture?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I mean, contrary to some belief, I don't think we ever accepted it, right? But the offer had been made; we had not accepted it as was reported, but he will not be attending. I think the President believes that -- yes, that he didn't want the important work that they do to be called into question.
Q Did he give -- the impression that he would, because he certainly thought he was --
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I know of, but I'm not aware of every conversation.
Q Did he think it was inappropriate for a politician to give a lecture you would reserve for scholars?
MR. LOCKHART: No. I think he felt that he didn't want the work they do to be called into question.
Q You mean, he wanted to do that, but was afraid it would somehow cause the -- problems?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of any forum that he's not interested in speaking to, so -- (laughter) -- I think there is a legitimate issue. I think any continuing of debate might have the effect of calling what they do into question, and that the President wanted no part of that.
Q Joe, back to budget matters. We're just over a week away from the fiscal year. Are we about to have the proverbial train wreck?
MR. LOCKHART: Oh, no, I think there's been discussion of a CR to move forward, so I don't think there is any danger that the last day of the fiscal year that, somehow, the government will shut down. I think we are getting to the end of the game that I've been talking about here now for some time of shuffling the cards around on the table and using gimmicks which Senator Specter proudly talked about blue smoke and mirrors, how smoky is it, how blue are the mirrors. You know, I think the numbers all have to be added up eventually, and we ought to -- we're going to need to move forward and make sure that we fund our priorities, but we do it in a responsible way.
You know, again, it brings us back to tobacco, I think. When faced with what we think is a win-win, good fiscal policy allowing for investment in our priorities and as a part of our public health agenda, on teen smoking. It's much more attractive than some of the other alternatives that have been put forward by the Republicans.
Q Joe, you don't expect the President to give Republicans any trouble with the CR, no threat to veto that --
MR. LOCKHART: You know, it depends on what comes down here. There's a big difference between a clean CR and something that seeks to pursue other agendas. So I'm not going to give up any blanket statements here, but I want to be clear that we don't see any reason to head into October 1st with the anticipation of a train wreck.
Q Joe, do you anticipate any vetoes of the appropriations bill because of environmental riders on some --
MR. LOCKHART: Oh, there's a series of senior advisor, Cabinet officer veto threats on environmental issues that I can get you the SAPs on that.
Q The meeting with the President in New York yesterday -- the Venezuelan President Chavez is making the rounds here in Washington. The State Department has at various times raised concerns about the concentration of power in his hands. Did the President raise that yesterday? Can you give us a sense of what issues the President did raise with him?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I think that the transition that's going on there was very much on the agenda, and I think the President stressed the importance of successful democratic political change in the context of the constitutional reform that's going on there. And for President Chavez's part, he reaffirmed his commitment to democracy and the democratic process.
Q Joe, can you give us the outline for the CR as you see it at this point? I mean, would it just continue spending at Fiscal '99 levels?
MR. LOCKHART: This is something that's being worked out up on the Hill. I don't know -- I don't have a briefing on what it's going to look like.
Q -- FBI official testified yesterday that he viewed the FALN people who accept clemency as terrorists who continue to pose a threat to the U.S. What was the President able to weigh against the view by the FBI that these people still pose a threat?
MR. LOCKHART: I think the President made the judgment that with the renunciation of violence as a condition of the people's parole, and given the humanitarian pleas from many quarters, that on balance they did not pose that threat.
Q Congress also got a draft of the letter from Louis Freeh, saying that the FBI was "unequivocally opposed" to the clemency offer. Was that not covered by your claims for executive privilege?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know what the circumstances of that draft letter going to Capitol Hill are. I don't -- again it's a draft letter, so I don't know how to -- what weight to give it. But it has been acknowledged and has been spoken privately and now publicly that law enforcement officials did not agree with this decision.
Q So what is it that executive privilege is intended to protect if this squabble between the White House and law enforcement agencies --
MR. LOCKHART: Again, I don't know the -- what I said is I don't know the circumstances for that being transmitted to Congress. But the internal deliberations are covered under executive privilege, and you just have to ask the Justice Department.
Q So conversations within the White House --
MR. LOCKHART: Let me repeat one more time to be clear. I don't know the circumstances for that document being transmitted to Congress. I can tell you what our executive privilege argument is, but you'd have to ask the Justice Department for why that particular document was transmitted and others weren't.
Q But I was asking you, you're just saying that the privilege applies to deliberations inside the White House, as opposed to things that may or may not have --
MR. LOCKHART: No, not necessarily. I mean, the President has the right and the ability to get confidential advice from people within the administration, which goes beyond the people just generally on the staff here.
Q Do you think perhaps the President and the FBI Director don't see eye to eye on what's covered by executive privilege?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know the circumstances for the transmittal of that document to Congress.
Q Joe, in 1996 in Oklahoma City --
MR. LOCKHART: Can we let Mara finish?
Q Is there a legal definition of what things are confidential and what things he can't claim executive privilege on, or can he decide -- can he pick and choose among the documents that he wants to claim privilege on or not? This seems like confidential advice --
MR. LOCKHART: Again, this isn't a decision made here, so I can't either explain it, defend it, criticize it. I don't have a particular view. I think within the agencies, they understand what constitutes internal deliberations and what doesn't. So why this one, as you -- using your words, suggests internal deliberations, was transmitted, I don't know the circumstances.
Q Joe, in 1996, in Oklahoma City, you'll recall the Vice President said, "If you plot terror against American citizens we'll hunt you down and stop you cold." And later he said, "President Clinton and I have pledged to the families of victims of terrorism we're going to take the strongest measures possible." But now Mr. Gore refuses to comment on the FALN commutations, which so many fellow Democrats have opposed. And my question is, since the Vice President said that the President's conduct with Ms. Lewinsky was inexcusable -- quote, quote -- does the President want him to suggest by silence that commuting terrorist gang members is not as inexcusable as oral sex in the Oval Office?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not even sure where to start there. Let me answer that very briefly by --
Q Well, why don't you start anywhere. Why is the Vice President silent on this?
MR. LOCKHART: -- by saying I reject many of the characterizations in the questions, some because they're wrong, some because I think they're not relevant to what we're discussing here and questions you should rightfully put to me. But what I will say is that the record that this President has put together on fighting terrorism at home, around the world, through all -- whether it be chemical weapons, biological weapons, cyber-terrorism -- I think is unmatched by any other President, and it's something to be very proud of.
Q You've indicated before that even the tobacco tax alone wouldn't fill in the revenue gap. So what else would be needed to make all the numbers add up?
MR. LOCKHART: Oh, I don't have -- I mean, I can't do the calculations here, but what I can tell you is that we can solve many of the investment problems that we have with revenue that would be generated by increasing the price of a cigarette, a pack of cigarettes. And it's certainly a preferable way to go than to raid the Social Security surplus.
Q Joe, Majority Leader Armey said yesterday that he didn't think there would be a vote on China's accession to the WTO in Congress this year, and I think he indicated that there shouldn't be one. Do you have any response to that?
MR. LOCKHART: You know, this is an interesting case, where I think some of the comments that come out of Congress on the issue of WTO have been quite irresponsible. Congress will have a chance to move forward and decide on an up or down basis whether they think that China entering WTO is in the interests of American workers, American families, America's business.
We believe that it manifestly is. We think it will open up markets, and create jobs, and be a very positive force. But you can disagree with that. You can make other arguments, as some have.
But to publicly undermine the U.S. negotiators, by Senator Lott saying there's no chance of passing, "we won't have time for that this year," and Representative Armey making his statements at a critical time as negotiations have just restarted just doesn't strike me as responsible leadership.
Q WTO, that has to be an initiative of Congress, unlike MFN, where they merely block it.
MR. LOCKHART: Right. There's some Jackson-Vanik waivers, I think, that have to be --
Q That's permanent MFN --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, at a minimum, I think they have to deal with some Jackson-Vanik issues for China to be allowed into WTO. So we can't just decide we want to do this.
Q Joe, are you saying that there is sufficient time?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm saying that if our negotiators, through tough negotiations, cut a good deal for America -- for our workers, for our business -- then Congress ought to find the time to consider it.
Q Well, why are they obligated to remain silent on the issue of negotiations that they don't support?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I think what -- it would be fine if they said, we don't think this is in the interests of American business. It's hard to understand why the Republican leader of the Senate and the Republican leader of the House would oppose the Chamber of Commerce, and oppose every business group around, and say we shouldn't have China in WTO.
But opposition is a perfectly legitimate position, if they look at a deal and say, that isn't in America's interests. But to send the message publicly, to the Chinese, that even if you find a way to make the concessions we're seeking, and make a deal that's in the U.S. national interest, we're just not going to look at it this year. That's wrong.
Q But their point is, they don't like the behavior of the Chinese government. So they're not looking at it on economic grounds, they're looking at it on moral grounds. What's wrong with that?
MR. LOCKHART: They should say -- then they should make an argument that we shouldn't deal with the Chinese, that we should cut off relations. But to try to undermine the negotiations, as they've done here, I don't think serves America's interests.
Q Joe, on that question, can we look at it a different way? I mean, when would you -- given that Congress will be out of session sometime in November, one presumes, I mean, when is a sort of drop-dead date, when you could reasonably expect Congress to --
MR. LOCKHART: You know, given the pace of appropriations, I can't predict when Congress will be out. But what I can say is that I think it's wrong to make a blanket statement four to six weeks before they know they're going to go out, that they're just not going to find the time no matter what the deal is. And that's what they've said.
Q Joe, what about Vieques Island, and the --
MR. LOCKHART: What about it?
Q The Puerto Rican -- they say there's going to be a mass rally in Puerto Rico with these people that he commuted, have said they're going to meet together, which will violate the terms of the --
MR. LOCKHART: You're doing two different issues here. Which one do you want to ask me about?
Q They're protesting the fact that the Navy uses it for gunnery practice.
MR. LOCKHART: Correct. Correct.
Q Now, how does the President stand on that?
MR. LOCKHART: There is a commission that the Secretary of Defense has put together that's taking an independent look at this, and we await their recommendation.
Q And if these commuted people do get together for this mass rally in Puerto Rico, they will be arrested, won't they, Joe?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, these people have very specific obligations under their parole, and if they violate them, they'll find themselves back in jail.
Q Joe, when the President was in North Carolina, he suggested that he would find money if it was necessary, both to repair roads and also to help farmers. You've got senators down there saying that it may cost another $1 billion to help farmers just in North Carolina, and the President talked about adding to the emergency funding. Is he going to propose that additional money be added to the emergency funding for farmers?
MR. LOCKHART: We don't have a proposal, given the -- this is something that just happened last week. Obviously, we're going to have to look at what the damage is. I mean, there is a good bit of FEMA contingency money that was released last week. We'll have to look at the adequacy of that, compared to what the needs are. You know, again, without speculating on what we will do, there is a difference when it comes to emergency spending between Hurricane Floyd and the Census. The Census we've been doing since 1790, I believe, every 10 years; you can set your watch up by it. Hurricane Floyd, it's just not the kind of thing you know is coming along. I think the President committed to doing what we need to do, we'll do that, and as the situation develops we'll probably have more to say.
Q Who will make the determination about how much aid is necessary for farmers in North Carolina?
MR. LOCKHART: Any aid -- we'll be working with the OMB, we'll be working with the relevant agencies and the relevant state and local officials.
Q Joe, when the President appears on Friday before the DNC's annual fall meeting, what will be his aim? Will it be to rally the party-faithful around the Vice President, or will he sort of just unite the folks around issues that Democrats are united about?
MR. LOCKHART: Let me look at that. To tell you the truth, I haven't looked that far again, and I'll -- ask me again tomorrow, and I'll have a well-crafted and thoughtful answer. So ask me later today, and I'll look into it.
Q Joe, did you ever find out if the President worked on the book of race while he was --
MR. LOCKHART: I know that he did some work on it. I know he's got a new draft that the staff who have been helping him with it completed. He's taking a look at that, and we'll just see where we go from here.
Q Major changes?
MR. LOCKHART: I haven't read it. I just know there's a new draft.
Q There's a new draft away from Chris Edley's --
MR. LOCKHART: There's a new draft. I'm not going to characterize it in terms of --
Q Who wrote the new draft?
MR. LOCKHART: We've got staff here who have been working on it, so I'm not going --
Q Like who?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to get into who's writing what.
Q Joe, Osama bin Laden now wanted by the --
MR. LOCKHART: That's the Globe you were holding up, right?
Q Right. Yes, that's right -- $5 million reward is there. And now he has called on Jihad against India and the United States, and also he has asked the Pakistan-based militants to join him, which they have already, are now joined hand-in-hand with him against the United States and India. If the President has spoken about this issue with any world leaders in New York at the U.N., and what is the future now of this --
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think the President takes the opportunity with most world leaders he speaks to, to raise the important agenda item of fighting terrorism, particularly terrorists like Osama bin Laden. And I think it is a subject that does take up a good bit of the President's time when he's meeting with leaders around the world.
Q I'm sorry, to follow -- just any words by the Secretary of State or the President with the Pakistani Foreign Minister on this particular issue, that Pakistani militants are ready to join bin Laden against the U.S. and India?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't have any words in particular to transmit.
Q Joe, when is the timetable now, if there's a new draft for this book?
MR. LOCKHART: The timetable is, as we've said before, the President will look at this, and if he's satisfied with it, we'll move forward with the release of it. If he believes there's more work to be done, we'll go back and do more work.
Q It was supposed to be out -- if I'm correct, you said from that podium around the summertime. So it wasn't --
MR. LOCKHART: But I think what I also said is the President wants to get it right. And he'll take as much time as he thinks he needs to get it right.
Q Is he prepared to release it, perhaps, after he leaves office, rather than while he's here?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I suspect it will be done before he leaves office.
Q Joe, there's also talk among the Republican leadership about setting up a special panel to investigate Justice Department handling of Waco, campaign finance, and so forth. Would that be a good idea?
MR. LOCKHART: I'd just say, there they go again.
Q Thank you. (Laughter.)
MR. LOCKHART: Thank you, Terry.
END 1:15 P.M. EDT