Thursday, July 31, 2008
view this web page to learn more about the offices for the White House Press Corps
Brady Briefing Room Website and Video Tour
view this link to the Brady Briefing room and view the short video about the room
White House Correspondents Association Web Site
If Barack Obama wins the presidency, we may see the first Web-friendly Oval Office, according to a piece in the Atlantic Monthly. Marc Ambinder discusses his thesis.
Questions to Consider:
- What do you think about having a President and a White House that is more open?
- Would increased transparency help governing?
- Do you think many citizens would look at the materials posted by Obama or McCain on the White House homepage?
- Is Obama the first internet candidate?
Link to Radio Interview:
To listen to the interview that was reported on NPR's Day to Day on May 29, 2008, please click here. This interview is 4 minutes and 9 seconds long.
"Is Network News Coverage of the President Biased?"
This article looks at measures of bias in reporting and considers whether or not coverage is biased in favor of negative reports about the president?
When reading this article, please consider the following questions...
- What is favorable coverage v/s unfavorable coverage?
- When does the President typically received unfavorable coverage?
- What role does presidential approval play in coverage of the President?
- Is most coverage considered to be favorable or unfavorable?
- What do networks consider to be newsworthy results from opinion polls
Press Conference by the President
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
10:22 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. It's been a difficult time for many American families who are coping with declining housing values and high gasoline prices. This week my administration took steps to help address both these challenges.
To help address challenges in the housing and financial markets, we announced temporary steps to help stabilize them and increase confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two enterprises play a central role in our housing finance system, so Treasury Paulson has worked with the Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke so that the companies and the government regulators -- put the companies and the government regulators on a plan to strengthen these enterprises. We must ensure they can continue providing access to mortgage credit during this time of financial stress.
I appreciate the positive reaction this plan has received from many members of Congress. I urge members to move quickly to enact the plan in its entirety, along with the good oversight legislation that we have recommended for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is a part of a -- should be part of the housing package that is moving its way through the Congress. And I hope they move quickly. The newly proposed authorities will be temporary and used only if needed. And as we work to maintain the health of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we'll work to ensure that they remain shareholder-owned companies.
To help address the pressure on gasoline prices my administration took action this week to clear the way for offshore exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. It's what's called OCS. Congress has restricted access to key parts of the OCS since the early 1980s; I've called on Congress to remove the ban. There was also an executive prohibition on exploration, offshore exploration. So yesterday, I issued a memorandum to lift this executive prohibition. With this action, the executive branch's restrictions have been removed, and this means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress. Bringing OCS resources online is going to take time, which means that the need for congressional action is urgent. The sooner Congress lifts the ban, the sooner we can get these resources from the ocean floor to refineries, to the gas pump.
Democratic leaders have been delaying action on offshore exploration and now they have an opportunity to show that they finally heard the frustrations of the American people. They should match the action I have taken, repeal the congressional ban and pass legislation to facilitate responsible offshore exploration.
Congress needs also to pass bills to fund our government in a fiscally responsible way. I was disappointed to learn the Democratic leaders in the House postponed committee consideration of the defense appropriations bill, and they did so yesterday. They failed to get a single one of the 12 annual appropriations bills to my desk. In fact, this is the latest that both the House and the Senate have failed to pass any of their annual spending bills in more than two decades.
There are just 26 legislative days left before the end of the fiscal year. This means that to get their fundamental job done, Congress would have to pass a spending bill nearly every other day. This is not a record to be proud of, and I think the American people deserve better.
Our citizens are rightly concerned about the difficulties in the housing markets and high gasoline prices and the failure of the Democratic Congress to address these and other pressing issues. Yet despite the challenges we face, our economy has demonstrated remarkable resilience. While the unemployment rate has risen, it remains at 5.5 percent, which is still low by historical standards. And the economy continued to grow in the first quarter of this year. The growth is slower than we would have liked, but it was growth nonetheless.
We saw the signs of a slowdown early and enacted a bipartisan economic stimulus package. We've now delivered more than $91 billion in tax relief to more than 112 million American households this year. It's going to take some time before we feel the full benefit of the stimulus package, but the early signs are encouraging. Retails sales were up in May and June, and should contribute, and will contribute, to economic growth. In the months ahead we expect more Americans to take advantage of these stimulus payments and inject new energy into our economy.
The bottom line is this: We're going through a tough time, but our economy has continued growing, consumers are spending, businesses are investing, exports continue increasing, and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy, and I believe we will come through this challenge stronger than ever before.
And now I'll be glad to take some questions from you. Mr. Hunt.
Q Mr. President, are America's banks in trouble? And does the rescue of Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac [sic] make more bailouts inevitable by sending the message that there are some institutions that are too big to fail and that it's okay to take risks?
THE PRESIDENT: First, let me talk about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A lot of people in the country probably don't understand how important they are to the mortgage markets. And it's really important for people to have confidence in the mortgage markets and that there be stability in the mortgage markets. And that's why Secretary Paulson announced the plan this weekend, which says that he needs authorities from the Congress to come up with a line of credit for these institutions, if needed, and that he ought to have the authority to invest capital, if needed.
And so the purpose was to send a clear signal that, one, we understand how important these institutions are to the mortgage markets, and two, to kind of calm nerves. The truth of the matter is, by laying this out, it is -- makes it less likely we'll need to use this kind of authority to begin with, which, by the way, is temporary authority.
As you -- talked about banks. Now, if you're a commercial bank in America and your deposit -- and you have a deposit in a commercial bank in America, your deposit is insured by the federal government up to $100,000. And so, therefore, when you hear nervousness about your bank, you know, people start talking about how nervous they are about your bank's condition -- the depositor must understand that the federal government through the FDIC stands behind the deposit up to $100,000. And therefore, which leads me to say that if you're a depositor, you're in -- you're protected by the federal government.
I happened to witness a bank run in Midland, Texas, one time. I'll never forget the guy standing in the bank lobby saying, your deposits are good. We got you insured. You don't have to worry about it if you got less than $100,000 in the bank. The problem was, people didn't hear. And there's a -- became a nervousness. My hope is, is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government.
So these are two different instances -- mortgage markets on the one hand, banking on the other.
Q And banking -- do you think the system is in trouble?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the system basically is sound, I truly do. And I understand there's a lot of nervousness. And -- but the economy is growing, productivity is high, trade is up, people are working. It's not as good as we'd like, but -- and to the extent that we find weakness, we'll move. That's one thing about this administration, we're not afraid of making tough decisions. And I thought the decision that Secretary Paulson recommended on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the right decision.
Q Mr. President, you mentioned the latest retail sales, but they actually show a smaller boost than economists had expected from the government rebate -- rebate checks. Given the latest economic data, are you still insisting that the United States is not headed for a recession? And are you willing to consider a second stimulus package if needed?
THE PRESIDENT: Matt, all I can tell you is we grew in the first quarter. I can remember holding a press conference here and that same question came about, assuming that we weren't going to grow. But we showed growth. It's not the growth we'd like; we'd like stronger growth. And there are some things we can do. One is wait for the stimulus package to fully kick in and not raise taxes. If the Democratic leaders had their way in Congress, they would raise taxes, which would be the absolute wrong thing to do.
Secondly, they can pass housing legislation that reforms FHA, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And by the way, a part of that, as I mentioned in my opening statement, a part of that reform will be a strong regulator to help these institutions stay focused on the core mission, which is mortgages.
They can pass energy legislation. I readily concede that, you know, it's not going to produce a barrel of oil tomorrow, but it is going to change the psychology that demand will constantly outstrip supply. As I said in my remarks, it's going to take a while to get these reserves on line. But it won't take a while to send a signal to the world that we're willing to use new technologies to find oil reserves here at home.
And the other thing Congress can do is work on trade legislation. One of the positives in the economy right now is the fact that we're selling more goods overseas, and they need to open up markets to Colombia and South Korea and Panama.
Q Mr. President, just to follow up with Terry's question a little bit. You talked about the mortgage markets and banks. Are there other entities in the economy that are so crucial to the stability and confidence in the economy -- I'm thinking particularly of General Motors, which today is cutting jobs, announcing they're going into the credit market to raise billions of dollars -- are there other entities that are so crucial to stability that require government action to show support for them?
THE PRESIDENT: Government action -- if you're talking about bailing out -- if your question is, should the government bail out private enterprise, the answer is, no, it shouldn't. And by the way, the decisions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- I hear some say "bailout" -- I don't think it's a bailout. The shareholders still own the company. That's why I said we want this to continue to be a shareholder-owned company.
In this case, there is a feeling that the government will stand behind mortgages through these two entities. And therefore, we felt a special need to step up and say that we are going to provide, if needed, temporary assistance through either debt or capital.
In terms of private enterprises, no, I don't think the government ought to be involved with bailing out companies. I think the government ought to create the conditions so that companies can survive. And I've listed four. And one of the things I'm deeply troubled about is people who feel like it's okay to raise taxes during these times. And it would be a huge mistake to raise taxes right now.
Q Mr. President, you just said twice that the -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should remain shareholder-owned companies. If that's the case, because of the implicit government guarantee that they have, or that is understood, and has been understood by the markets, their exposure is higher and their reserves are lower than any normal business's. Should they be privatized altogether and be subject to normal business rules?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the first step is to make sure that there's confidence and stability in the mortgage markets through the actions that we have taken. Secondly, we strongly believe there ought to be a regulator. That's something -- this is the position I have been advocating for a long time. And the reason why is it's going to be very important for these institutions to focus on their core mission, which is to provide refinancing for the mortgage industry. And hopefully these measures will instill the confidence in the people. And we'll see how things go.
Q But they should still have that public guarantee then?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, there is an implicit guarantee, as you said. They ought to be focusing on the missions they're expected to do. We have advocated reform for a long period of time. But these need to remain private enterprises, and that's what our message is.
Q Mr. President, in February you were asked about Americans facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline and you said you hadn't heard of that at the time. Gas prices --
THE PRESIDENT: Aware of it now.
Q Gas prices are now approaching $5 a gallon in some parts of the country. Offshore oil exploration is obviously a long-term approach. What is the short-term advice for Americans? What can you do now to help them?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, there is a psychology in the oil market that basically says, supplies are going to stay stagnant while demand rises. And that's reflected somewhat in the price of crude oil. Gasoline prices are reflected -- the amount of a gasoline price at the pump is reflected in the price of crude oil. And therefore, it seems like it makes sense to me to say to the world that we're going to use new technologies to explore for oil and gas in the United States -- offshore oil, ANWR, oil shale projects -- to help change the psychology, to send a clear message that the supplies of oil will increase.
Secondly, obviously good conservation measures matter. I've been reading a lot about how the automobile companies are beginning to adjust -- people -- consumers are beginning to say, wait a minute, I don't want a gas guzzler anymore, I want a smaller car. So the two need to go hand in hand. There is no immediate fix. This took us a while to get in this problem; there is no short-term solution. I think it was in the Rose Garden where I issued this brilliant statement: If I had a magic wand -- but the President doesn't have a magic wand. You just can't say, low gas. It took us a while to get here and we need to have a good strategy to get out of it.
Q But you do have the Strategic Oil Petroleum Reserve. What about opening that?
THE PRESIDENT: The Strategic Oil Petroleum Reserve is for, you know, emergencies. But that doesn't address the fundamental issue. And we need to address the fundamental issue, which I, frankly, have been talking about since I first became President -- which is a combination of using technology to have alternative sources of energy, but at the same time finding oil and gas here at home. And now is the time to get it done. I heard somebody say, well, it's going to take seven years. Well, if we'd have done it seven years ago we'd be having a different conversation today. I'm not suggesting it would have completely created -- you know, changed the dynamics in the world, but it certainly would have been -- we'd have been using more of our own oil and sending less money overseas.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. It is a good morning.
Q It is.
THE PRESIDENT: Every day is a good morning when you get to serve the country.
Q Absolutely. And we know you prize loyalty, so I wonder whether you felt betrayed by Scott McClellan's assessment of the war in Iraq? And moving forward, since there have been positive signs on the ground in Iraq, Senator Obama is about to take a trip there -- what would be your advice to him as he tries to assess the situation on the ground?
THE PRESIDENT: I have had no comment on -- no comment now on Scott's book.
Secondly, I would ask him to listen carefully to Ryan Crocker and General Petraeus. It's -- there's a temptation to let the politics at home get in the way with the considered judgment of the commanders. That's why I strongly rejected an artificial timetable of withdrawal. It's kind of like an arbitrary thing, you know -- "We will decide in the halls of Congress how to conduct our affairs in Iraq based upon polls and politics, and we're going to impose this on people" -- as opposed to listening to our commanders and our diplomats, and listening to the Iraqis, for that matter. The Iraqis have invited us to be there. But they share a goal with us, which is to get our combat troops out, as conditions permit. Matter of fact, that's what we're doing. Return on success has been the strategy of this administration, and our troops are coming home, but based upon success.
And so I would ask whoever goes there, whatever elected official goes there, to listen carefully to what is taking place, and understand that the best way to go forward is to listen to the parties who are actually on the ground. And that's hard to do. I understand for some in Washington there's a lot of pressure; you got these groups out there -- MoveOn.org, you know, banging away on these candidates, and it's hard to kind of divorce yourself from the politics.
And so I'm glad -- I'm glad all the -- a lot of these elected officials are going over there, because they'll get an interesting -- they'll get an interesting insight, something that you don't get from just reading your wonderful newspapers or listening to your TV shows.
THE PRESIDENT: You call them TV shows? Newscasts, yes.
Q Following up on the question about oil, in the past, when oil prices have gone up a lot, they've wound up going down a lot afterward. But I wonder if you're able to say that oil prices in the future are going to come down a lot.
THE PRESIDENT: I can't predict, John. I mean, look, my attitude is, is that unless there is a focused effort -- in the short term -- unless there's a focused effort to bring more supplies to market, there's going to be a lot of upward pressure on price. We got 85 million barrels a day and -- of demand and 86 million barrels of production. And it's just -- it's too narrow a spread, it seems like to me.
Now, I'm encouraged by, you know, the Caspian Basin exploration. I'm encouraged that the Saudis are reinvesting a lot into their older fields. And remember, some of these oil fields get on the decline rate, which requires a lot of investment to keep their production up to previous levels. So one thing we look at is how much money is being reinvested in some of those fields. I'm encouraged by that.
I am discouraged by the fact that some nations subsidize the purchases of product, like gasoline, which, therefore, means that demand may not be causing the market to adjust as rapidly as we'd like. I was heartened by the fact that the Chinese the other day announced that they're going to start reducing some of their subsidies, which all of a sudden you may have some, you know, demand-driven changes in the overall balance.
But, look, if we conserve and find more energy, we will done -- have done our part to address, you know, the global market right now. And the other thing is that this is just a transition period. I mean, all of us want to get away from reliance upon hydrocarbons, but it's not going to happen overnight. One of these days people are going to be using battery technologies in their cars. You've heard me say this a lot. I'm confident it's going to happen. And the throw-away line, of course, is that your car won't have to look like a golf cart.
But the question then becomes, where are we going to get electricity? And that's why I'm a big believer in nuclear power, to be able to make us less dependent on oil and better stewards of the environment. But there is a transition period during the hydrocarbon era, and it hasn't ended yet, as our people now know. Gasoline prices are high.
Again, I don't want to be a "I told you so," but if you go back and look at the strategy we put out early on in this administration, we understood what was coming. We knew the markets were going to be tight. And therefore, we called for additional exploration at home, plus what has been happening, which is an acceleration of new technologies -- including ethanol technologies -- to get us less dependent on crude oil from overseas.
Let's see here, Steven Lee. Steven Lee.
Q Mr. President, thank you. I wonder in light of the Supreme Court's decision if you could tell us what you plan to do with Guantanamo?
THE PRESIDENT: Steven Lee, we're still analyzing -- "we" being the Justice Department -- are still analyzing the effects of the decision, which, as you know, I disagreed with. And secondly, we're working with members of Congress on a way forward. This is a very complicated case; it complicated the situation in Guantanamo.
My view all along has been either send them back home, or give them a chance to have a day in court. I still believe that makes sense. We're just trying to figure out how to do so in light of the Supreme Court ruling.
Q Mr. President, last week China joined Russia in blocking the sanctions -- Mugabe and Zimbabwe. I can't imagine it's pleased you very much. Do you have any reaction to -- particularly the Chinese move? And also, where do you go from here to try to make sure that the regime doesn't --
THE PRESIDENT: You read my reaction right, I was displeased. We spent a lot of time on this subject at the G8, and there was great concern by most of the nations there -- well, with the G8 nations that were there -- about what was taking place in Zimbabwe. And it's, frankly, unacceptable, and it should be unacceptable to a lot of folks.
And so we discussed the need for, you know, U.N. Security Council resolutions. And I was disappointed that the Russians vetoed. I didn't -- I hadn't spent any time with the Chinese leader talking about -- specifically talking about any Security Council resolutions; I had with President Medvedev.
And so I think the thing we need to do now is for us to analyze whether or not we can have some more bilateral sanctions on regime leaders. After all, these sanctions were not against the Zimbabwe people; these were against the people that -- in the Mugabe regime that made the decisions it made. We got the Treasury Department and State Department -- are now working on a potential -- potential U.S. action.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I have a two-part question on the war, in light of increasing violence in Afghanistan. Do you believe current U.S. troop levels in Iraq are hindering efforts to put more U.S. troops into Afghanistan?
And secondly, this morning in his prepared remarks, Senator Obama will say this: "By any measure, our single-minded, open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe. In fact, as should have been apparent to President Bush and Senator McCain, the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq and it never was."
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as you know, I'm loathe to respond to a particular presidential candidate, and so I will try not to. My view is, is that the war on terror is being fought out on two simultaneous fronts that are noted -- noticeable to the American people, and on other fronts that aren't. And so the first question that anybody running for President gets: Is this a war? Or is this like law enforcement? Is it a -- does this require full use of U.S. assets in order to protect the American people? As you know, I made the decision that it does require those assets.
Secondly, that these are two very important fronts, both of which are important to the future of the country. And therefore, we got to succeed in both. Thirdly, one front right now is going better than the other, and that's Iraq, where we're succeeding, and our troops are coming home based upon success. And Afghanistan is a tough fight. It's a tough fight because, one, this is a state that had been just ravaged by previous wars, and there wasn't a lot of central government outreach to the people.
Secondly, there is a tough enemy, and they're brutal, and they kill at the drop of a hat in order to affect behavior. It's a little bit reminiscent of what was taking place in Iraq a couple of years ago, where the enemy knows that they can affect the mentality of the American people if they just continue to kill innocent folks. And they have no disregard [sic] for human life. And it's really important we succeed there, as well as in Iraq. We do not want the enemy to have safe haven. Of course -- unless, of course, your attitude is, this isn't a war. So if that's the case, it wouldn't matter whether we succeed or not.
But it is a two-front war. And I say there's other fronts, but there's other fronts where we're taking covert actions, for example.
Q Should Americans expect a troop surge in Afghanistan?
THE PRESIDENT: We are surging troops in Afghanistan this way, and committed --
Q Even more?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we'll analyze the situation, of course, make a determination based upon the conditions on the ground. But we did surge troops. We surged troops. France surged troops. I said in Bucharest, we'll add more troops. And then, of course, we got to make sure the strategy works -- you know, have a counter-insurgency strategy that not only provides security but also provides economic follow-up after the security has been enhanced.
The question really facing the country is, will we have the patience and the determination to succeed in these very difficult theaters? And I understand exhaustion and I understand people getting tired and -- but I would hope that whoever follows me understands that we're at war, and now is not the time to give up in the struggle against this enemy; and that while there hasn't been an attack on the homeland, that's not to say people don't want to attack us. And safe havens become very dangerous for the American people, and we've got to deny safe haven, and at the same, win the struggle by advancing democracy.
This is an ideological struggle we're involved in. These people kill for a reason. They want us to leave. They want us to -- you know, not push back. They don't want democracy to succeed. And yet if given a chance, democracy will succeed. And so these two theaters are the big challenge of the time and the war itself is the challenge.
Q Thank you, sir. I want to follow up on Matt's question about a second economic stimulus --
THE PRESIDENT: On whose question?
Q Matt's question about a second economic stimulus package.
THE PRESIDENT: Brilliant question. Now they're going to start quoting you, you know. Congratulations. (Laughter.)
Q Maybe I missed it, but did you rule out one or --
THE PRESIDENT: I said we ought to see how this one, first one works. Let it run its course.
Q Is it too late to consider a second one in your administration?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, we -- we're always open-minded to things, but I -- let's see how this stimulus package works and let us deal with the housing market with a good piece of housing legislation, and the energy issue with good energy legislation, and the trade issue with good trade legislation.
People say, aww, man, you're running out of time, nothing is going to happen. I'll remind people what did happen: We got a good troop funding bill with no strings; got a GI Bill; we got FISA. What can we get done? We can get good housing legislation done. We can get good energy legislation done. We can get trade bills done. I mean, there's plenty of time to get action with the United States Congress, and they need to move quickly. We can get judges approved.
And so I'm -- we'll see what happens up there. I'm confident if they put their mind to it we can get good legislation.
Let's see here -- yes, Mark.
Q Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?
THE PRESIDENT: They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not. I mean, you know, it's interesting what the price of gasoline has done, is it caused people to drive less. That's why they want smaller cars, they want to conserve. But the consumer is plenty bright, Mark. The marketplace works.
Secondly, we have worked with Congress to change CAFE standards, and had a mandatory alternative fuel requirement.
So no question about what you just said is right. One way to correct the imbalance is to save, is to conserve. And as you notice my statement yesterday, I talked about good conservation. And people can figure out whether they need to drive more or less; they can balance their own checkbooks.
Q But you don't see the need to ask -- you don't see the value of your calling for a campaign --
THE PRESIDENT: I think people ought to conserve and be wise about how they use gasoline and energy. Absolutely. And there's some easy steps people can take. You know, if they're not in their home, they don't keep their air-conditioning running. There's a lot of things people can do.
But my point to you, Mark, is that, you know, it's a little presumptuous on my part to dictate to consumers how they live their lives. The American people are plenty capable and plenty smart people and they'll make adjustments to their own pocketbooks. That's why I was so much in favor of letting them keep more of their own money. It's a philosophical difference: Should the government spend their money, or should they spend their own money? And I've got faith in the American people.
And as much as I regret that the gasoline prices are high -- and they are -- I also understand that people are going to make adjustments to meet their own needs. And I suspect you'll see, in the whole, Americans using less gasoline. I bet that's going to happen. And in the meantime, technologies will be coming on the market that will enable them to drive and save money, compared to the automobiles they're using before. And as you notice, the automobile industry is beginning to adjust here at home as consumer demand changes. And the great thing about our system, it is the consumer that drives our system; it's the individual American and their collection that end up driving the economy.
Q Could I follow up on a couple of points, please?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q `You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all of the sources they have out there, including offshore? And on Iraq, will you sign an interim agreement with Prime Minister Maliki on American operations in Iraq, leaving it to your successor to do a more permanent agreement?
THE PRESIDENT: There are -- let me start with Iraq. We're in the process of working on a strategic framework agreement with the Iraqi government that will talk about cooperation on a variety of fronts -- diplomacy, economics, justice. Part of that agreement is a security agreement, and I believe that -- you know, they want to have an aspirational goal as to how quickly the transition to what we have called overwatch takes place. Overwatch will mean that the U.S. will be in a training mission, logistical support as well as special ops.
In order for our troops to be in a foreign country, there must be an understanding with the government. There must be authorities to operate, as well as protections for our troops. We're in the process of negotiating that, as well. And it needs to be done prior to the year because -- unless, of course, the U.N. mandate is extended. And so there are two aspects to the agreement -- people seem to conflate the two -- and we're working both of them simultaneously.
Let's see here.
Q American oil producers?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, what was the question again on that?
Q You talked about offshore --
THE PRESIDENT: What about them -- do I think they're investing capital to find more reserves with the price at $140 a barrel? Absolutely. Take an offshore exploration company. First of all, it costs a lot of money to buy the lease, so they tie up capital. Secondly, it takes a lot of money to do the geophysics, to determine what the structure may or may not look like. That ties up capital. Then they put the rig out there. Now, first of all, in a federal offshore lease, if you're not exploring within a set period of time, you lose your bonus; you lose the amount of money that you paid to get the lease in the first place.
And once you explore, your first exploratory, if you happen to find oil or gas, it is -- you'll find yourself in a position where a lot of capital is tied up. And it becomes in your interest, your economic interest, to continue to explore so as to reduce the capital costs of the project on a per-barrel basis. And so I -- I think -- I think they're exploring. And hopefully a lot of people continue to explore so that the supply of oil worldwide increases relative to demand.
Now, people say, what about the speculators? I think you can't help but notice there is some volatility in price in the marketplace, which obviously there are some people in the -- buying and selling on a daily basis. On the other hand, the fundamentals are what's really driving the long-term price of oil, and that is, demand for oil has increased, and supply has not kept up with it. And so part of our strategy in our country has got to be to say, okay, here are some suspected reserves and that we ought to go after them in an environmentally friendly way.
A buddy of mine said, well, what about the reefs? So I'm concerned about the reefs. I'm a fisherman, I like to fish, reefs are important for fisheries. But the technology is such that you can protect the reefs. You don't have to drill on top of a reef. You can drill away from a reef and then have a horizontal hole to help you explore a reservoir.
It's like in Alaska. You know, in the old days, you would have had to have -- if you ever go out to West Texas, you'll see, there's like a rig every 20 acres, depending upon the formation. In Alaska you can have one pad with a lot of horizontal drilling, which enables you to exploit the resources in a way that doesn't damage the environment. These are new technologies that have come to be, and yet we've got an old energy policy that hasn't recognized how the industry has changed. And now is the time to get people to recognize how the industry has changed.
Q Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Two questions. One on energy and another on Sudan.
THE PRESIDENT: On what?
Q Not energy, I'm sorry, the economy. When, in your guesstimation, will this country see a turnaround as relates to the softening economy? When will it become strong again?
And also, on the Sudan, the Sudanese government is looking to the United Nations for help in this situation with the ICC. And this is a body that they have ignored before. What are your thoughts about what's happening with the Sudan?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're not a member of the ICC, so we'll see how that plays out.
My thought on Sudan is, is that the United Nations needs to work with this current government to get those troops in to help save lives -- AU hybrid force. I talked to Williamson, who's the Special Envoy to Sudan, yesterday. There's two aspects to the Sudanese issue. One is the north-south agreement, and he was talking about the need to make sure that there is a clear understanding about how oil revenues will be shared between north and south in a certain part of the border region there, so as to make sure that there is -- that this agreement that Ambassador Danforth negotiated stays intact and stays full.
And the other aspect, obviously, is Darfur. And that's a very, very complex issue. We're trying to make -- we're trying to work with the rebel groups so that they speak more with one voice. We're trying to work with Bashir to make sure he understands that there will be continued sanctions if he doesn't move forward. We're trying to help get this -- AU troops in Africa, throughout Africa into Sudan. And we're working with the French on the issue of Chad.
And it's a complex situation, and sadly enough, innocent people are being displaced and are losing their life. And it's very difficult and unacceptable. And as you know, I made the decision not to unilaterally send troops. Once that decision was made, then we had to reply upon the United Nations. And I brought this issue up at the G8 with our partners there. There's the same sense of consternation and the same sense of frustration that things haven't moved quicker. I talked to Ban Ki-moon about the issue and he told me -- I think he told me that by the end of this year a full complement of AU troops will be there. Then the question is, will the government help expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid?
Anyway, the other question?
Q Yes, the other question --
THE PRESIDENT: When will the economy turn around?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not an economist, but I do believe that we're growing. And I can remember this press conference here where people yelling "recession this, recession that" -- as if you're economists. And I'm an optimist. I believe there's a lot of positive things for our economy. But I will tell you it's not growing the way it should and I'm sorry people are paying as high gasoline prices as they are. And all I know is good policy will help expedite a -- will strengthen our economy.
Q Do you think it will change before you leave office?
THE PRESIDENT: I certainly hope it changes tomorrow. But it's -- I'm also realistic to know things don't change on a dime. But nevertheless, the economy is growing. There's obviously financial uncertainty. We've talked about the decisions on the GSEs here. People need to know that if they've got a deposit in a commercial bank the government will make good up to $100,000 worth of their deposit. There's no question it's a time of uncertainty. There's a lot of events taking place at the same time. But we can pass some good law to help expedite the recovery.
One such law is a good piece of housing legislation. The Congress needs to get moving on it. Another such law is to send a signal that we're willing to explore for oil here at home. I fully understand that this is a transition period away from hydrocarbon, but we ought to be wise about how we use our own resources. I think it would be a powerful signal if we announce that we're going to really get after it when it comes to oil shale. There's enormous reserves in the western states. And I think if the world saw that we're willing to put a focused, concerted effort on using new technologies to bring those reserves to bear, which would then relieve some pressure on gasoline prices, it would have an impact.
The other thing is, is that -- I'm sure you know this, April, but we haven't built a refinery, a new refinery in the United States since the early '70s. It makes no sense. And yet you try to get one permitted, it is unbelievably difficult to do. People aren't willing to risk capital if they're deeply concerned about how their capital is going to be tied up in lawsuits or regulations. And we import a lot of gasoline, refined product from overseas.
So there's some things we can do to send signals that it's important that we can get the economy -- take advantage of the positive aspects and get it moving stronger again.
The other thing is trade. It is -- I don't understand the decision on the Colombia free trade market -- free trade agreement. The Congress has given preferential treatment to goods coming out of Colombia through the Andean Trade Preference Act. In other words, Colombia businesses can sell into our country relatively duty free. And yet we don't have the same -- we don't get the same treatment. Now, why does that make sense? It doesn't.
Trade, our trade or exports have helped keep the economy growing, April, as paltry as it may be. Doesn't it make sense for us to continue to open up further opportunities to sell goods? I think it does. I do not understand why it's okay for Colombia to be able to sell into our country close to duty free, and we don't have the same advantage. And secondly, turning our back on somebody like Uribe makes no sense at all. He is a courageous fighter against terrorists. And yet our Congress won't even bring up a free trade agreement with Colombia.
Anyway, it's -- politics is just choking good sense. And the other thing is, is that once we get moving on Colombia, we need to get moving on Panama and South Korea. It's in our country's interest we do that.
Q Yes, sir. Can I follow up on --
MS. PERINO: He looks like -- (Laughter.)
Q Following up on Bret Baier's question --
MS. PERINO: -- Olivier. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I know who Olivier is. I was just winking at Myers, you know. (Laughter.) Yes, Olivier.
Q Thank you, sir. Following up on Bret Baier's question --
THE PRESIDENT: What was the question, Olivier? I'm 62, I'm having trouble remembering a lot of things.
Q It was about Afghanistan, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Good, yes.
Q Okay. Afghan President --
THE PRESIDENT: I remember it now.
Q Afghan President Hamid Karzai has blamed Pakistan's intelligence services for a recent terrorist attack in his country, and recent reporting suggests that al Qaeda has regrouped to pre-September 11th levels along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Is President Karzai correct, and do you think the new President -- the new government in Pakistan is willing and is able to fight the terrorists?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, we'll investigate his charge and we'll work with his service to get to the bottom of his allegation. No question, however, that some extremists are coming out of parts of Pakistan into Afghanistan. And that's troubling to us, it's troubling to Afghanistan, and it should be troubling to Pakistan. We share a common enemy: That would be extremists who use violence to either disrupt democracy or prevent democracy from taking hold.
Al Qaeda is -- they're there. We have hurt al Qaeda hard -- hit them hard, and hurt them in -- around the world, including in Pakistan. And we will continue to keep the pressure on al Qaeda -- with our Pakistan friends.
I certainly hope that the government understands the dangers of extremists moving in their country. I think they do. As a matter of fact, we'll have an opportunity to explore that further on Monday with the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Pakistan is an ally, Pakistan is a friend. And I repeat: All three countries, United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan, share a common enemy.
I remember very well the meeting I had at the White House with President Musharraf and President Karzai. And we talked about the need for cross-border cooperation to prevent dangerous elements from training and coming into Afghanistan, and then, by the way, returning home with a skill level that could be used against the government.
And there was some hopeful progress made. Obviously it's still a tough fight there. And we were heartened by the provincial elections in that part of the world. We will continue to work to help the government, on the one hand, deal with extremists; and on the other hand, have a counter -- effective counterinsurgency kind of strategy that uses aid to foster economic development. And it's a challenge. And the three of us working together can deal with the challenge a lot better than if we don't work together.
Okay, I've enjoyed it. Thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it.
END 11:04 A.M. EDT
To view the link from the White House page to this press conferences, click hereTo listen to audio of the press conference,click here and for video, click here
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, Congress voted to expand a vital program that is saving lives across the developing world -- the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, also known as PEPFAR. I thank members of Congress from both sides of the aisle for working with my Administration to pass this important bill, and I will be honored to sign it into law next week.
PEPFAR is the largest international health initiative dedicated to fighting a single disease in history. And it is a testament to the extraordinary compassion and generosity of the American people. When we first launched this program five-and-a-half years ago, the scourge of HIV/AIDS had cast a shadow over the continent of Africa. Only 50,000 people with AIDS in sub-Sahara Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Today, PEPFAR is supporting treatment for nearly 1.7 million people in the region. PEPFAR has allowed nearly 200,000 African babies to be born HIV free. And this program is bringing hope to a continent in desperate need.
The new legislation that I will sign next week will build on this progress. We will expand access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs. We will help prevent millions of new HIV infections from occurring. And we will also bolster our efforts to help developing nations combat other devastating diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.
Fighting disease is one part of America's larger commitment to help struggling nations build more hopeful futures of freedom. Over the past seven years, we've learned how advancing the cause of freedom requires combating hopelessness. This is because the only way that the enemies of freedom can attract new recruits to their dark ideology is to exploit distress and despair. So as we help struggling nations achieve freedom from disease through programs like PEPFAR, we must also help them achieve freedom from corruption, freedom from poverty, freedom from hunger, and freedom from tyranny. And that is exactly what we're doing.
America is using our foreign assistance to promote democracy and good government. We have more than doubled the federal budget for democracy and governance and human rights programs. And through the Millennium Challenge Account, we have transformed the way we deliver aid, so we can support developing nations that make important political and economic reforms.
America is promoting free trade and open investment. Over the long term, we know that trade and investment are the best ways to fight poverty, and build strong and prosperous societies. So we have expanded the African Growth and Opportunity Act to increase trade between America and Africa. We have put eleven new free trade agreements into effect since 2001. And we're striving to make this the year that the world completes an ambitious Doha Round agreement, so we can tear down barriers to trade and investment around the world.
America is leading the fight against global hunger. This year, the United States has provided more than $1.8 billion in new funds to bolster global food security. We are the world's largest provider of food aid, and we have proposed legislation that would transform the way we deliver this aid to promote greater self-reliance in developing nations.
America is leading the cause of human rights. Over the past seven years, we've spoken out against human rights abuses by tyrannical regimes like those in Iran and Syria, Cuba, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. We've spoken candidly about human rights with nations with whom America has good relations, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia and China. And to ensure that our Nation continues to speak out for those who have no other voice, I recently issued a directive instructing all senior U.S. officials serving in undemocratic countries to maintain regular contact with political dissidents and democracy activists.
With all these steps, we're helping defeat the forces of violent extremism by offering a more hopeful vision of freedom. And as this vision takes hold in more nations around the world, America will be safer here at home.
To listen to Bush's Radio Address, please click here
To be taken to the webpage for this address, please click here
Thank you for listening.
Press Briefing by Dana Perino
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
12:43 P.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: A special welcome to the Frattos. A couple of announcements, so bear with me here
In his speech on the freedom agenda earlier this morning you heard the President discuss PEPFAR, which is the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He noted the importance of continuing our commitment to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases in the poorest countries. He emphasized that "nations afflicted with debilitating public health crises cannot build strong and prosperous societies for their citizens." And today the House is set to vote on final passage for the legislation to reauthorize PEPFAR and other diseases, the treatment for them. The President looks forward to passage of one of his highest priorities, and commends the many members from both sides of the aisle who worked to get it done. The bill will ensure that we are able to keep our commitments to replace disease and despair with healing and hope.
Also, it's come to light that Congressional Democrats plan a maneuver today to turn off what's called the "Medicare trigger." It was passed in 2003 and created a warning system whenever Medicare spending began to take a larger percentage of federal spending. Basically it required that when Medicare spending from general revenue exceeds 45 percent in two consecutive trustees' reports, the President would be required to propose a plan to Congress to reduce spending. Congress -- the Democratic leaders in Congress have decided not to take action, and would have the responsibility for acting on the proposals under expedited procedures.
Because they haven't acted and they ignored the warning, they have not fulfilled their obligations. Well, today, apparently Speaker Pelosi intends to do away with the trigger altogether for the remainder of the Congress, not only abandoning any responsibility to deal with runaway entitlement spending now, but to even get rid of the warning system altogether. This is the legislative equivalent of pulling out the fuse lights in your car, or the fuse in your car, when the "check engine" light is flashing.
The growth in entitlement spending, as you have heard the President say, is coming decades to -- in the coming decades will pose a tremendous risk to the United States economy. He has proposed ways in his budgets to deal with it, both on Medicare and also on Social Security. And we know that the Congress is reluctant to act on that as well.
There's another troubling aspect to all of this, and that is that actions by Democratic leaders to change the rules of the game when it gets to be uncomfortable, and we saw this with the Colombia free trade agreement. So instead of playing by their own rules, they just decided to change the rules altogether. And we're quite disappointed by this, and we'll be watching for further action.
That's it. Go ahead.
Q I wanted to ask about the housing bill. You all obviously decided to support it. I'm curious, though, what the White House estimates are of how much this will help, especially given the magnitude of the problem. We're talking about possibly getting new mortgages -- new, more attractive mortgages for about 400,000 people when some estimates put the number of foreclosures coming at about 6 million. How has the White House calculated that this will help? Is it because it would have a broader domino effect, or is 400,000 enough people to get help to? What's the calculation there?
MS. PERINO: There's several different aspects of the bill. You've mentioned a couple of them, but one of the things that we thought was most important, and the reason that the President decided that it was too important to have a prolonged veto fight -- that we were sure we would win and we proved that we would win yesterday -- is because Secretary Paulson has said that we need to have the GSE reform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order for us to be able to help stabilize the markets and provide confidence to the markets, which would not only help homeowners, but would help the overall economy. So that was the largest part of the bill.
Certainly, there are going to be some people that we are not going to be able to help that are going to have foreclosures. But we have been able, through HOPE NOW and through FHA Secure, two programs where we worked with the private sector and with HUD, to try to make sure that people could rework their loans. That will help, and this bill will provide some more help.
One of the things that we did not like about that $4 billion that the Democrats wanted to include in the bill is that it's an incentive for lenders to foreclose. Without that money -- if they think -- if the lenders think that they're going to get bailed out by the federal government, they're more incentivized then to foreclose on a property. What we would prefer is to not have that type of a bailout and to have the lenders be incentivized to try to work with the current homeowner to rework the loan in a way that the lender -- or that the homeowner can pay. So that -- those are the broad parameters of the bill.
Q Dana, is the President concerned about the new unemployment numbers that came out today -- 406,000, the worst since September of 2005 after Katrina?
MS. PERINO: Well, we've had certainly a slowdown in our economy, and we want everybody in America who wants to have a job to be able to find a job -- and we've been working to do that. We've said for a while that it was going to take some time for the stimulus package that we passed in February, for it to have an effect on job numbers. We also realize that the headwinds that were caused by rising gas prices and also the housing crisis that we just talked about are all having an impact. But we do think that towards the end of the year we'll be able to see some better growth, and that means jobs, too.
I would say that our unemployment rate in this country remains low by historic standards, but that doesn't mean that for the individual who is out there who is looking for a job or is concerned that they might lose their job, that the anxiety that comes with that makes for a less happy and productive life. And so that's why we want to try to get ourselves back on a path to job growth.
Q Dana, following on what Jennifer was asking about -- so the figures about sales for existing homes come out and it shows a downward trend, and the same share prices for Freddie and Fannie that were boosted yesterday as soon as the President said he wouldn't veto go back down. And it seems to suggest a real sort of brittleness to the situation that may be beyond any kind of housing bill or government -- any kind of legislative approach. Do you fear or worry that the tremors, especially in the housing market, are beyond something that the government can fix right now?
MS. PERINO: Well, we have said for a while that the housing crisis is something that we needed to deal with. In fact, it was last August 31st when President Bush saw the -- listened to his advisors, who recognized that the housing crisis was coming, and asked Congress to act. We're 11 months now from that time frame and we think that if we could have acted sooner, we could have helped do a couple of things, such as on this GSE reform getting a strong regulator in place to make sure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are focusing on their core missions, which is to help homeowners, and in particular, help low-income homeowners. We think that's what they should be focused on because that is their mandate in the statute.
But we also recognize that the GSE reforms would help stabilize the market, and that's one of the things that without this housing bill -- even though the housing bill -- even though the President said yesterday he wouldn't veto it, it still hasn't passed.
So -- I'm not a market analyst. Things go up and down in a market all the time. I think it's wrong for me from this podium to try to judge why that's happening. There's lots of financial experts and I'm sure you can talk to them. But I think let's take a look and see if we can get this bill signed and into law once the Congress passes it and up to the President, and then take it from there. But we do think it will have an impact on the overall health of the market in terms of stability and confidence in the financial markets.
Q Dana, the provincial elections in Iraq have been seen as necessary for reconciliation between the different groups there. They're on indefinite hold right now over objections from the Kurds. And Ambassador Crocker, in an AP story today, says he thinks it might take decades for the country to settle its economic and social problems. Does that have any implications for how long the U.S. would be in that country?
MS. PERINO: No, I don't think -- what Ambassador Crocker was talking about was long-term political gains and long-term democratic institutions that could solidify. I think that we've already said that we think that we'll be able to start bringing -- keep bringing troops home based on success, given that we've been able to have a lot of the surge implementation take place over the past year, and it's taking hold in many places. But as we've said, the gains aren't irreversible.
I don't think that Ambassador Crocker was suggesting in any way about troops, especially combat troops, being there for decades. I think he was just talking about the reality of when you take a country that was broken by a dictator and you try to rebuild it. Iraq is certainly going to be a lot farther along than Afghanistan, just given from -- where they started from.
Q So that wouldn't require U.S. military or diplomatic participation to resolve those problems?
MS. PERINO: I don't know what future troop posture would be, but I certainly don't think anybody is forecasting that. Now, we do have presence in countries where we -- countries that we used to be at war with, such as Japan and Germany, Korea. But those are different configurations altogether. So I think that what we'd like to do is get them stabilized and able to take on more of their own responsibility for their security. But they've also improved a lot on the diplomatic side of things.
But there's deep-rooted tensions, and some hatred, even, inside Iraq and then outside within the region. But they've made great strides. We now have an ambassador coming to Iraq from Kuwait, which is the first time since -- for a couple of decades. You have the UAE, who has just agreed to forgive their debt. You have Turkey playing a more helpful role. You have Jordan playing a more helpful role; Saudi Arabia has suggested that they would send an ambassador.
So it is going to take some time, but it's moving in the right direction.
Q And is the administration still hopeful that those elections could happen this year?
MS. PERINO: We are hopeful that they are, but I think that, as Ambassador Crocker said and the Iraqis have said, that the hope for an October time frame is unrealistic at this point because the election law was vetoed by both of the -- I think the President and the Prime Minister. So it goes back to the legislature, and hopefully now that they can work out their differences.
But one of the big issues is the Kirkuk region, and it's going to be something they have to work through. But they will do that. Just remember that the Iraqis now are trying to solve their problems in the parliament; they're not trying to solve them in the streets with violence. And that's remarkable in itself, given where we were a year ago.
Q On -- earlier today the President talked to Prime Minister Singh and they discussed the trade talks. India's negotiator in Geneva has said that they have nothing new to offer. Did the Prime Minister express that to the President? What was his reaction? And do you all still believe you can get the deal by the end of the year?
MS. PERINO: We're working to get a deal by the end of the year. I don't know specifically what the Prime Minister and the President talked about; we'll keep that confidential. Regardless, even though I don't -- I wasn't there; I don't have the exact conversation in front of me, either -- we do think that it's important to get a deal. We've been working hard towards it. We just made concessions ourselves on Tuesday of this week, and we would like other countries to do so as well. It's going to take them moving forward as well as us. So we have to take steps together at the same time. It's one of the reasons the President has continued to work and call individuals. And let's just see how it plays out. We'll try to reach out to USTR and see if they have an update later.
Q And the SPR bill that's moving through Congress, do you all have an opinion on that yet, a veto threat, or --
MS. PERINO: I think there's a SAP that we will have, a statement of administration position, that will be coming out soon. The House Republicans, the only thing that they're asking for, when it comes to adding -- I'm sorry, I shouldn't say just -- House and Senate Republicans, what they are both asking for when it comes to increasing supply in our country is the ability for them to vote on the issue. And so -- and that's on the overall issues.
When it comes to the SPR, we have made our points clear about this before. The SPR, when it first came into being, was set up for national emergencies. It's the nation's energy insurance policy. And we don't think it should be raided for purposes that were -- to try to manipulate price. It's been tried in the past -- it hasn't worked -- and because of action taken by Congress recently, we even stopping filling the SPR. That did not have an impact on price.
And so I think that instead of wasting time talking about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, that they should look to what the House and Senate Republicans are asking for -- and many Democrats -- which is a chance to vote on looking for more resources here in our own country. Don't think the SPR is the right place to get it done.
I think in some cases the Democrats believe that a problem delayed is a problem half-solved, and we've seen over the decades that that is not the case, given that prices continually rise. We used to see this every spring and then they'd slightly go down in the fall. But right now when you look at the issues of supply and demand in the emerging countries like India and China, the demand doesn't seem to be tapering off at all.
So you're going to have to do something on the supply side, and tapping into 700 million barrels of the SPR, which is our national insurance policy, doesn't seem like the best idea, when in fact we could send a signal to the market that we would be willing to look for domestic resources in our own country. For example, the Outer Continental Shelf, they estimate it has 18 billion barrels of oil; up in ANWR, 10.4 billion barrels; and oil shale, 800 billion barrels. Compare that to 700 million barrels in the SPR and I think you can see why the math doesn't add up.
Q So the SAP will be a veto threat?
MS. PERINO: I believe -- we'll have to say that senior advisors will recommend a veto, yes.
Q The price of oil is down $23 a barrel in the last two weeks. Why does the President think that is? Is it just supply and demand? Is it anything about American policy that has caused that pressure to go down on price?
MS. PERINO: Again, I'm not a market analyst and I couldn't tell you why it's gone down in price --
Q I know, but what does the President --
MS. PERINO: And the President -- he puts himself in the same category, as not somebody who predicts the markets or can explain all the different pieces. But we have seen that Americans are starting to drive less, slightly less, which can help reduce demand. But in addition to that, possibly the markets are looking at the fact that there are more people being more serious about looking for resources in our own country, which would send a signal that we would finally start to bring on more supply.
Q Can I ask one on Iraq as well? The Iraqi Olympic athletes have been told they have to stay home. And the problem is that Prime Minister Maliki fired the members of the Olympic committee, and the IOC says you can't do that, and he did it anyway. Did the United States ever offer Iraq any advice on how these international operations work?
MS. PERINO: I'm not sure if we offered any advice. I would refer you to Ambassador Crocker's office because -- obviously that's not really been their focus so much. And I'm sure that they got advice from others, and I don't know the particular details as to why Prime Minister Maliki decided to take that action. But I'm sure that the Iraqi athletes who have trained so hard and were finally going to represent a country that is free and sovereign and working to establish its democracy, they have to be terribly disappointed, and I'm disappointed for the athletes as well.
Q Two quick questions. One, Dana, President has any comments on Senator Barack Obama's global foreign policy --
MS. PERINO: No.
Q And second, Dana, as far as his comments, or both candidates have been saying, especially Senator Obama, as far as immigration is concerned will play a major role. But do you think President is going to push this immigration bill, or going to ask Congress again before the elections?
MS. PERINO: No, we -- Congress is about to take yet another recess and they don't seem to be the mood to pass much of anything.
Go ahead, Savannah.
Q Back on oil supply for a second.
MS. PERINO: Okay.
Q There are reports that a proposed rule from the administration this week would allow about 100 new oil and gas leases on Colorado's national forest. Can you confirm that?
MS. PERINO: It sounds like something that the Department of Interior might be doing in terms of leasing that would be underway. But that's not something we would detail out of here at the White House.
Q Okay. In general, do you know of an effort -- I mean, I know oil shale, for example, is one of the areas --
MS. PERINO: In general, I know just from my own history that there are people who are trying to develop the technology that would allow to be able to develop resources in the West. I don't know if that's particularly oil shale or not. There are other types of resources out there -- geothermal, et cetera. So I'd have to refer you to Interior Department.
Q Thank you, Dana. Two questions. On Bloomberg Television, Washington State's Democrat U.S. Senator Cantwell said that Democrats don't want to increase oil supplies because they want to wean Americans off petroleum and into "things like wind and solar that can help us with our high cost of natural gas." And my question: Does the White House believe this is at all helpful to our present rising costs of more than $4 a gallon?
MS. PERINO: We have said that we believe there needs to be a transition period between the traditional oil and gas use that we have today to when we would able to run on alternatives and renewables, and it's going to take a little while of time. That's why we think that we need to open up more of our own resources here at home so we can add more supply to the market.
Q Thank you.
Q What -- does the White House --
MS. PERINO: Hurry up.
Q No, he had one more.
MS. PERINO: I know. That's why hurry up.
Q Does the White House believe that our nation's media should strive for neutrality in covering the presidential race? And do you believe that most of them are neutral, or that most of them are biased in support of one candidate?
MS. PERINO: I'll answer the first, but not the second. Yes, I think that everyone should try to cover candidates equally. But it will be up to everybody else to analyze.
Q Why won't you answer the second? (Laughter.)
Q Thank you.
END 1:00 P.M. EDT
Here is the link to this press briefing
Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En route Peoria, Illinois
11:40 A.M. EDT
MS. PERINO: Okay, we're on our way to Peoria, Illinois. The President taped his radio address this morning before his briefings, and in it he will thank Congress for passing PEPFAR, which is the largest international health initiative dedicated to fighting a single disease in history. He will sign the bill on Wednesday at the White House, at an event. We'll get you details on that soon.
The President also in the radio address will discuss how America is using our foreign assistance to promote democracy and good government through the Millennium Challenge Account. And he will discuss how America is leading the fight against global hunger and for human rights.
As I said, he had his briefings and then we are going to attend -- he is going to attend the Schock for Congress and Congressional Trust 2008 Luncheon, and then we'll be back at the White House at 4:50 p.m.
I've got a week ahead -- do you want me to do it now or later?
Q Go ahead.
MS. PERINO: Okay. He'll be at the White House this weekend. On Monday at 11:15 a.m. he meets with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister Gillani. At 3:20 p.m. he will participate in a photo opportunity with members of the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program in the East Room. That will be open to still photographers.
Then on Tuesday the President will travel to Cleveland, Ohio, to participate in a tour of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Incorporated. He will make remarks on energy and the economy there. And then he will also participate in another one of these Congressional Trust 2008 receptions, and that will be in Gates Mills, Ohio.
Then on Wednesday there will be a Cabinet meeting --
Q Did you say coverage on the economy thing? Open?
MS. PERINO: Well, for the tour? To be determined; probably pool. And then for the remarks, open. I just don't know how large the space is.
Wednesday, the 30th, he will have a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room -- all right, no laughing? I said the Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room and I got no laughs, nothing. (Laughter.)
Q We're so busy writing down what you said. We're being diligent.
MS. PERINO: Then that afternoon at 3:05 p.m. he will sign the PEPFAR bill. Then on Thursday he will have a photo opportunity with the Scouts in Action -- I'm sorry, with the recipients of the Scouts in Action Commendation on the North Portico for still photographers. And then at 10:25 a.m. he will make remarks at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association; that's in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Then he will travel to Kennebunkport, Maine, then return -- well, then go to Camp David on the Sunday. So between Friday, August 1st, and Sunday we have no planned public events.
There's your schedule.
Q He leaves Monday, right?
MS. PERINO: Yes, they will leave Monday the 4th for the Asia trip, first going to South Korea, then Thailand, and then China for the Olympics. Two week aheads for the price of one. And then probably to the ranch later that week; date to be determined.
Q Dana, Obama cancelled a planned visit to a military hospital in Germany based on recommendations from the Pentagon. It would be deemed as campaigning or electioneering. Did the White House have any role in persuading that to be cancelled, or did McCain? Or, how did that all come about?
MS. PERINO: I have no idea. I'd refer you to the Pentagon. I don't think we had anything to do it with it, no. I'd refer you to the Pentagon.
Q And anything to say about the status of the World Trade Organization talks in Geneva; whether they're on the brink of collapse at this stage?
MS. PERINO: Well, you know, look, I think that for a couple of years now, people have thought that these talks were going to collapse, and they've kept going because leaders have -- enough leaders have recognized that -- how important it is to try to help these developing and very poor nations through free trade. So I have not heard that, Matt.
Earlier this week -- it was Tuesday that we put a new offer on the table to reduce our subsidies in exchange for market access. And as you heard, the President called Prime Minister Singh yesterday to encourage the process along. And so let me find out if there's anything more I can get from the U.S. Trade Representative's office. But right now we still are plugging along, trying to get it done.
Q Can I ask kind of a process question about that. When you guys put an offer on the table about subsidies, do you have some sort of tacit or preliminary agreement from members of Congress that they would go along? I mean, obviously that's such a difficult thing to get through Congress.
MS. PERINO: I'm not exactly sure how Ambassador Schwab runs that process, but I do know that they have a very robust legislative affairs shop. And so in order to make sure we bring people along to know that we would -- bring people along with our position, I'm sure they have outreached to them. I know that certainly with the groups -- like the farming industry, the manufacturing goods, all those different types of industries -- have regular contact with the U.S. Trade Representative, because if you don't have them with you, then it's even harder.
So -- and I think all of the groups have been generally supportive. And typically if they're okay, then the members of Congress will be okay. So I'll see if there's anything more they can add.
Q Dana, there's been a lot of talk this week about closed fundraisers. We're on our way to another closed fundraiser today. Can you give us some idea of whether or not we'll see the President in more open fundraisers, or preview what his campaigning will look like as the election draws closer?
MS. PERINO: Sure. I think that Scott Stanzel talked to you a lot about this story this morning, but I'll repeat it for you here. Yes, there have been a couple of closed press fundraisers. There have been many. One of the things the President has done over time is helped to build up capacity in the committees, like the RNC and the NRCC and the NRSC, the victory committees, these congressional trusts, in ways that he can maximize the use of his time raising money for several clients -- not "clients" -- candidates, excuse me -- several candidates all at once.
I remind you that for the first time in 14 years, the President is not on the ballot. He is not running for office, nor is he going to be serving with anybody that he is helping to elect. And so you will see the President out. There's more demand than supply can meet. The President could be out doing -- you know, out on the road almost every day doing fundraisers, but he also has responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief.
And so you'll see him do -- he'll be out on the road doing some, but remember he's not on the ballot. Senator John McCain aspires to be the leader of this party and we intend to make sure that the light can fully shine on him, as it should, as he heads into the last 90 days before the election.
Q Can I ask another just kind of related question about that. In previous election years, whether it be midterm or presidential, he -- a lot of times when he goes out to do fundraisers for campaign events he pairs an official event on the same trip, and we've seen a little bit less of that, it seems, in recent weeks or so. (Inaudible) given you numbers --
MS. PERINO: It varies. It varies. I mean, some --
Q Do you think that will stick or is that part of helping the spotlight shine more on McCain?
MS. PERINO: I think it varies. I know of instances where we are planning to be at -- in an area for an official event and then somebody there, maybe the state party or the victory committee or RNC or one of the candidates, will say, while you're here would you mind also doing a fundraiser. But sometimes there's not an official event to do at the same time. So sometimes you just have days like today where you just have a fundraiser.
Q Can I ask an unrelated question?
MS. PERINO: Sure.
Q We saw Tony's family getting a tour of the plane. I know this question -- I just wondered, did they have a moment with the President? They're not on board --
MS. PERINO: Yes, they're here. They're on board. They're on board. The President invited them to come on a trip with him if they ever wanted to and the family decided that they would like to, so they're on board. They got a tour of the plane and they're up with the President now, and they'll be coming with -- just coming along for the ride, for the event. And hopefully we'll be able to show them a little bit about what Tony Snow did on a trip like this, and hopefully give them a little bit of comfort along the way if we can.
END 11:50 A.M. EDT
You can find the link to this gaggle by clicking here
Thinking about the role that White House Press Secretaries play in the PR Arm of the White Houses, please watch this short clip which talks about some of Snows's accomplishments.
President Bush's Last Speech to the Radio and TV Correspondents 94th Annual DinnerPresident George W. Bush makes his last appearance as President at the 94th Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. CBS Late Night Pres. George W. Bush makes his last appearance as President at this ever popular dinner. Bush had an amazing rapport with the press and this last dinner shows his relationship with the press and the back and forth nature that they have had throughout his presidency.
Midterm Presidential Approval Ratings - from Roosevelt to Bush 43
More Presidential Approval Ratings Over Time
An example of President Bush and Symbolic Activity
President Bush Sends Condolences to Victims of Flooding
Cathédrale Américaine de la Sainte Trinité
12:13 P.M. (Local)
THE PRESIDENT: Laura and I had the joy of worshiping here in Paris. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering from the floods in our country; I know there's a lot of people hurting right now and I hope they're able to find some strength in knowing that there is love from a higher being.
Also I want to wish all the fathers in America happy Father's Day. So Dad, if you're listening, happy Father's Day.
Thank you all.
END 12:14 P.M. (Local)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Personalized Results 1 - 20 of about 102,000 for Obamessiah. (0.08 seconds)I suppose the 102,000 result count of Obamessiah makes the most sense, when the word is pronounced aloud. I doubt we will ever know who coined either word.
Personalized Results 1 - 20 of about 23,500 for Obamamessiah. (0.15 seconds)
Obamamessiah search results even starts off with a blogspot blog ("Is Barack Obama the Messiah?") entitled with the word.
Obamessiah search results begin with a Michelle Malkin article. That probably carries more weight. Should I rename my series?
Ultimately the show has a lean towards futurism and new technologies, angles that are for automobiles that consume less petroleum, which is fine, because of increased cost and geopolitical baggage, as well as for the price (which is caused more by geopolitical baggage than market prices, yet still causes by growing world market problems), and the difficulty of procuring it (thanks to the American politicians, but that is not mentioned in the show). I like that.
I don't like this:
The emphases (in green, naturally) are mine. That excerpt is essentially the final paragraph of the show, the point of the writers and producers. This is an advocacy of Green Fascism, otherwise known as Eco-Fascism. These scientists, engineers, near-incompetent futurists,
JOSEPH ROMM: We can't wait. We have to reduce our emissions starting in the next few years. If we don't we're going to find it virtually impossible to avoid catastrophic warming.
NARRATOR: But is there too much at stake to be left in the hands of carmakers and consumers?DAVID GREENE: We're not able to rely on individual decisions in the marketplace to solve the problem of climate change, to solve the problem of oil-dependence. It takes collective action. It takes government action.
JOSEPH WHITE: It's asking a lot of the auto industry to force the change all on its own. It's not really their job.
BETH LOWERY: If we decide we really want to reduce dependence on petroleum as a society, then we have to have the collective will to do so. And that includes making sure we have the right government policies in place, that we have the right vehicles in place, the right fuels, and the customers understand that that's really a priority.
and pseudo-scientists recognize that an intelligent market economist employed by the a facet of the automotive industry is going to react more immediately to what is immediately available in technology and where that crosses over with the demands of the market and the American population. This does not fit the worldview of the Nova people, so they wish to use force, to literally force the issue upon the public, including the individuals who work for and own the major relevant actors within the private sector.
The alteration of the market to fit the visions of the few (rather than the needs of the many), regardless of how many desire or need an actual commodity is in response to a vision of the future that involves global warming. It was even in the opening narration: "not to mention, melting ice caps from global warming". Of course that is intentional, and cited to "many experts". The problem lies in the reality that global warming is a phenomenon that many Americans are persuaded is true, although the process has not been proven in any form that resembles the accidental and artificial apocalyptic event that is popularly propagated. In other words Nova, PBS, advocates government intervention and force to prevent something that may never come to pass, but these precious and annoying few certainly believe is destined to pass without the government intervention.
Such is the nature of Eco-Fascism.
The words/phrase in question, "this is our moment. This is our time," was used by the Democrat Presidential candidate (at least) twice. The first, of the two prominent moments, was on June 3, 2008 in Minnesota. The second was in Berlin, Germany on July 24, 2008. The audience for both addresses was, in person, greatly different yet the media were prime attendees. What great show. The Obama excerpts take place in Berlin.
Bono is the frontman for the rock band U2 and the excerpts from him are from a brief speech he made at the Live 8 concert/event in 2005.
It is only theft because it was never credited.
It really does not matter, but it is annoying. Live 8 bothered me too.
I hate this 'citizen of the world' crap, let alone appeals for government policy for humanitarian concerns. Only free individuals can be charitable.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Module 4 - Additional Readings, Videos, Etc. Related to the President, Political Parties and Interest Groups
The Presidency and Organized Interests: White House Patterns of Interest Group Liaison>
This article "Presidency and Organized Interests: White House Patterns of Interest Group Liaison" by Mark A. Peterson. 1992. American Political Science Review 86(3): 612-625. This article is linked on this page but it can also be found on JSTOR via the MSU Library and the Electronic Resources.
This article discusses the types of interest group relations in the White House. The author looks at interest groups from a different perspective than other authors. This author establishes a typology to help explain the relationship between interest groups and the White House. Do not worry about the methodology used in the article, instead focus on what the major findings are and think about how you would answer the following questions below.
- What are the four kinds of interest group liaising that occurs withing the White House?
- What White House(s) are used as an examples in this article?
- How does the author look at interest group relationships within the various administrations?
- How has liaising changed since FDR's time in office?
- The author identifies two terms - "interest group liaison" and "public liaison" - how are these terms different from one another?
- What is the typology of interest group liaison activities?
Do Special Interest Groups Hurt Candidates? an article by Josh Clark
This is a very short article discussing the relationship between interest groups and campaigning. This article is relevant to our current campaign and also to this module as it addresses the role of interest groups in politics. When reading through this article, please think about the following questions:
- What is the name of the Act that prohibits lobbyists from bestowing gifts and travel onto lawmakers?
- What is the name of the Act that limits massive contributions to political parties by banning soft-money contributions during federal elections by corporations, special interest groups and the wealthy? (Hint - one of our candidates helped name this Act)
- What things can special interests do to help candidates?
- What types of things does the article suggest are part of the "darker side" of interest groups? What examples does the article list?
- What is the name for groups that are named after a section of the US tax code that gives them leeway in raising and spending money on behalf of candidates?
George Bush as Party leader
Please watch the following video which depicts some of the best quotes during President Bush's tenure as President. Specifically these quotes focus on his rhetoric in the area of foreign policy. Although President Bush may not be the best leader, this video shows the varying rhetoric he has displayed throughout his presidency on an important topic such as foreign policy. As you watch this video, I would like for you to think about the rhetoric used here.
President Bush Singing at Gridiron Dinner - March 8, 2008
The Gridiron Club was founded in 1885, is the oldest and most prestigious journalistic organization in Washington, DC. Its 65 active members represent major newspapers, news services, news magazines and broadcast networks. Membership is by invitation only and has traditionally been offered almost exclusively to Washington newspaper bureau chiefs. Recently, however, it has begun opening its doors to such non-newspaper media figures as Tim Russert of NBC News, Bob Schieffer of ABC News, and Mara Liasson of NPR. In 1958, the club established the Gridiron Foundation, which makes charitable contributions and provides scholarships, including underwriting five journalism students at the University of Maryland each year known as Gridiron Scholars, as well as a Gridiron Fellow pursuing a master's degree. The Gridiron Club is best known for its annual dinner which traditionally features the US Marine Corps Band, along with satirical music skits by the members and remarks by the President of the United States and representatives of each political party. The skits and speeches by various politicians are expected to be self-deprecating or otherwise sharply comedic. Every U.S. President except Grover Cleveland has spoken at the dinner since 1885. Hillary and Bill Clinton have both spoken at Club dinners, and the 2008 dinner marked the sixth time that that President George W. Bush attended during his presidency. At this particular dinner on March 8, 2008, President Bush gave a farewell message to the club that will surely go down in history.President Bush shows how he is the "Party Leader". When watching this video, think about what is being said here and what this means for President Bush and for the next President's relationship with this group of people.
"Top 10 W Moments" - Dave Letterman via satellite at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner
Top 10 Favorite George W. Bush Moments as given by Dave Letterman at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner on April 21, 2007.