White House Daily Briefing, November 21, 2003
THE WHITE HOUSE
PRESS GAGGLE WITH CLAIRE BUCHAN
Aboard Air Force One
11:13 A.M. (Local)
MS. BUCHAN: Let me go over the President's schedule. And then I'll have a little bit more on the week ahead for next week, if you'll kind of remind me here at the end.
The President, this morning, taped his radio address on Medicare. He then participated in the Queen's official farewell. He will be -- when he gets to Sedgefield, be going to Myrobella House, which is the Prime Minister and Mrs. Blair's home in Sedgefield. He will have tea in their home. And then they will go to the Dun Cow Inn, which is a local restaurant, where they'll have lunch with constituents of the Prime Minister.
They will then go to Sedgefield Community College. Sedgefield Community College is sort of the equivalent of a U.S. magnet school. It has students aged about 11 to 18, and it's a sports specialist school. They also have drama and music programs, and they've produce four professional soccer players, members of the national ice skating team, and badminton teams, and also a youth sailing champion. The President will receive a briefing on their team-building exercises. He'll also view a skills demonstration of soccer.
And then the President and Mrs. Bush will depart Sedgefield and return to the White House this evening. I do expect the President might be making some calls throughout the day, and we'll keep you posted on those.
With that, I'll take your questions.
QUESTION: Has he called Erdogan?
MS. BUCHAN: He has not. I expect he will later today. We'll let you know when he does.
Q: What's the point of this visit to the school? What message is he trying to send or pick up while he's there?
MS. BUCHAN: The President and the Prime Minister have many shared values, including not only fighting the war on terrorism, but as you saw yesterday, they had a roundtable on combating global AIDS, and today they'll be highlighting the education initiative at Sedgefield Community College. And the President looks forward to going to the Prime Minister's home district to visit with his constituents and have an opportunity to talk with some of them in the restaurant, as well as see the students at the community college.
Q: Is he going to make remarks at the community college then? I mean, that will be the --
MS. BUCHAN: No, not remarks.
Q: He'll make -- we're not going to hear from him, really, the whole time?
MS. BUCHAN: I don't expect formal remarks of any --
Q: What is the coverage of that? Pool?
MS. BUCHAN: There is pool coverage at the Dun Cow Inn, and there is also some pool coverage I believe on the soccer demonstration field at the community college.
Q: Claire, some people are saying that, Bush came here and he's asked a lot of Tony Blair, but he hasn't given much to Tony Blair. He didn't give him anything on Guantanamo or steel tariffs. I mean, what is Blair getting out of this visit, do you think? What is the White House giving --
MS. BUCHAN: The President regards this trip as having been a tremendous opportunity to highlight the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom. The President has described it as one of the great alliances of mankind. And this was an opportunity for him to highlight that, to meet with the Prime Minister and to talk about their shared goals. The Prime Minister is a steadfast supporter of the war on terror. And the two had a good opportunity to meet yesterday. They talked about a broad variety of issues of interest to both of them. And it was a very successful trip.
Q: Did the President watch any of the coverage of the protests last night?
MS. BUCHAN: Well, he had the reciprocal dinner for the Queen, so I'm not aware if he was watching TV. I think he was pretty busy with the dinner for the Queen.
Q: How does he feel the white tie went down?
MS. BUCHAN: How does he feel the what?
Q: The white tie and tails went down? I mean, there was some worry, wasn't there, that he wouldn't look good in them, some talk about whether he should wear them. What happened in the end?
MS. BUCHAN: I'm not aware of that. I know he rented them, and was pleased to do so for the occasion.
Q: Where did he rent it from?
MS. BUCHAN: I don't know the name of the store.
Q: Did the Queen have any comment on the Tex-Mex dinner?
MS. BUCHAN: I think the Queen very much enjoyed herself. It was an intimate dinner. And Andrew Lloyd Webber performed for them, performed some pieces from his new play, and I think all the guests enjoyed it very much.
Q: Dr. Rice talked broadly about U.S. aid to Turkey yesterday -- anything they want type of thing. Do you see a specific offer of aid, assistance, law enforcement, investigation?
MS. BUCHAN: Well, we'll keep you posted on this phone call. When the President talked to the Prime Minister last week he expressed the commitment of the United States to help Turkey.
Q: Is it fair to say that the events in Turkey, although they were horrible and plainly shocking to everyone concerned, actually helped, in a sense, to solidify the visit and to bring the two men together, because it was a way of them hitting home their main message, that there is still a war going on on terrorism and that people have to choose which side they're on?
MS. BUCHAN: Well, the President and the Prime Minister I think made very clear that the acts yesterday in Turkey were acts of hatred and acts of terrorism, and we deplore those acts. We are very resolved to fight this war and we're united in our resolve.
Q: Claire, is there any comment on the latest attacks in Baghdad? The Palestine Hotel was attacked.
MS. BUCHAN: I don't have any updates on that.
Q: Claire, sorry I missed at the beginning. What's he making calls on?
MS. BUCHAN: We'll keep you posted. He will call Prime Minister Erdogan later today. And if there are other phone calls, we'll keep you posted on those, as well.
Q: Is he doing anything on Medicare, calling anybody, working that at all?
MS. BUCHAN: He may. If he does, we'll try and keep you posted.
Q: So he hasn't --
MS. BUCHAN: Others have been very involved in making phone calls, talking to members. The President has been being briefed, been asking questions about the progress. And if he does make calls, I'll try and keep you posted on that.
Q: Did the steel tariffs issue come up yesterday when Bush and Blair met? Did they talk about steel?
MS. BUCHAN: I believe the President said that the Prime Minister raised it three times.
Q: All right, is anything closer to happening on that?
MS. BUCHAN: The President said he has not made a decision.
Q: Week ahead?
MS. BUCHAN: Okay. Actually, first, before we do week ahead, today on Ask the White House, at 10:00 a.m. EST, we will have Ask the Turkey Guy, who -- as a Thanksgiving treat, and Ask the Turkey Guy will be able to talk about all the history behind the pardoning ceremonies of the turkey and anything else you want to know. At 3:00 p.m. EST, Secretary Veneman will also participate in Ask the White House. She will be talking about her most recent trip to Iraq.
And on Monday, the President will pardon the aforementioned national Thanksgiving turkey, which, by the way, on the website, the contest continues for the naming. And right now, it's between "Stars and Stripes" and "Pumpkin and Cranberry."
The President will then sign the National Defense Authorization Act at the White House. He'll then travel to Fort Carson where he will have lunch with soldiers, and he will also make remarks to soldiers and families.
Q: Fort Carson?
MS. BUCHAN: Fort Carson, Colorado. Fort Carson is -- there are many troops at Fort Carson who are providing some of the critical work in Iraq. And the President looks forward to going there to thank them for their service and to express his appreciation for all that they're doing in this war that has such high stakes.
Q: Isn't it also where some of the soldiers who were downed in the helicopters were from?
MS. BUCHAN: Yes.
Q: Is he going to meet with the families?
MS. BUCHAN: Yes. He'll meet privately with families, as well, while he's there.
Q: Families of those victims?
MS. BUCHAN: Of fallen soldiers.
On Tuesday, he'll travel -- well, he'll remain overnight at the ranch on Monday night. Tuesday, travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he will make remarks on Medicare and medical liability. Then he'll attend a Bush-Cheney 2004 luncheon. Then he'll travel to Phoenix, Arizona, and participate in a conversation on Medicare, and then attend a Bush-Cheney 2004 reception. He will then return to the ranch and -- to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. And he will remain there through the weekend.
END 11:24 A.M. (Local)
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