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Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer - September 13

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 13, 2002

Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Andrews Air Force Base

11:00 A.M. EDT

MR. FLEISCHER: Good morning, everybody. Let me do the week ahead and then take questions.

This afternoon, the President will have no public events when he gets back to Washington. He's going to have a quiet day, actually, in the White House.

Q -- going on today, or something?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, he's got some people, I don't know who. He's got friends or family coming in for dinner tonight. It's not business related, no staff. I don't know who they are. I didn't ask him.

What's that?

Q At the White House? Not going out?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes. So I think he's going to start having a quiet afternoon. He will have some meetings when he gets back, and then basically spend the rest of the day down.

Saturday morning, the President will depart for Camp David, where he will host the Prime Minister of Italy for a meeting and lunch, then will return to Washington on Sunday.

Monday, the President will travel to Davenport, Iowa, where he will tour Sears Manufacturing and make remarks on the economy and fiscal restraint. The President will then attend a Nussle for Congress luncheon before returning to Washington Monday afternoon. Then the President will participate in the presentation of Theodore Roosevelt Medal of Honor in the Roosevelt Room.

Tuesday morning, the President will make remarks on Constitution Day and the teaching of American history and civics. The President will then travel to Nashville, Tennessee, where he will attend an Alexander for Senate luncheon and participate in a Pledge Across America event in Carter-Lawrence Magnet School.

Wednesday, the President will meet with the President of the Czech Republic in the Oval Office. Later that morning, the President will make remarks on cancer screening awareness with Lance Armstrong. That evening, the President and Mrs. Bush will host the President of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Havel for a social dinner at the White House.

Thursday, the President will make remarks at the Republican Governors Association fall meeting in Washington.

Friday morning, the President will meet with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Defense Minister in the Oval Office. They're going to talk about the Treaty of Moscow and the implementation of the Treaty.

Q Friday?

MR. FLEISCHER: Friday.

Also, later in the day -- I'm sorry?

Q I'm sorry. What was that Tuesday morning thing? Something about civics? That's an event before he goes on the trip?

MR. FLEISCHER: Right. Later this afternoon, you're going to get a notification. You've seen these before, the extension of various deadlines that are part of the laws or the regulations. This one deals with -- I should have brought the language with me -- but it deals with a one-year extension of the basic terrorism alert that we put out that allows the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Treasury to have more authority to deal with the terrorist emergency, particularly the ability to call up Reservists for the Secretary of Defense.

I bring that to your attention now because, when you get it, I want you to know that this is in the context of the ongoing war against terror, Afghanistan, et cetera, so you don't make more of this than you're going to see when it comes out. How could you not extend it, given where we are in the ongoing war against terrorism? It's not over.

Q It's not an alert increase or anything like that?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. That's why I want to let you know about this before it comes out. The name of it is, I think, extending the terrorism alert or emergency, something along those lines.

Q It gives who authority, DOD and who?

MR. FLEISCHER: Treasury.

Q Why Treasury, if it has mainly to do with calling up Reserves?

MR. FLEISCHER: For DOD, it deals with Reserves. For Treasury, my background information did not specifically list what Treasury could do with this authority. I'll see if I can't draw on that before we put it out.

Q When was it first issued, Ari?

MR. FLEISCHER: September 14th, last year, I believe, September 13th last year.

Q Has the President been briefed on any part of what's going on in Florida?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I can just tell you this, we're reviewing this. I don't know if it's risen to the President's level or not yet. We're reviewing it and, right now, it's just -- it's not clear if there is or is not any connection to anything broader. So it's under review. Federal authorities are on the ground in Florida working with state and local authorities. But at this point, there's just nothing to report.

Q Ari, on the U.N., on the Iraq statements, yesterday the people were -- people have seen a change now, saying yesterday Bush was conciliatory, now he's insisting on deadlines. He's sort of laying out his case for the U.N. You know, is he hardening his tone, hardening his expectations of the U.N.?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think the U.N. understands how important it is for them to show their determination to enforce their own resolutions. The world is watching, and it's important for the U.N. to fulfill its mission so that Saddam Hussein's unilateralist rejections of the U.N.'s multilateral approach will not prevail.

Secretary Powell will have his meetings today with the Perm Five, has already begun the discussions, and the President wants to send the U.N. a helpful message that he wants them to be relevant, he wants them to come out with something that is strong and concrete and around which the world can rally.

Q Apparently Aziz has rejected unconditional weapons inspections resuming in Iraq. Do you guys have any reaction?

MR. FLEISCHER: Obviously, they have something to hide.

Q For next week, does the President have any events or will there be any opportunities for him to continue to make his case about Iraq, meetings with congressional leaders? What next on this front?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I mean, I think the President will continue to meet and consult with Congress. And, of course, the hearings begin next week. So the hearings, I think, will be important and the American people and the Congress will be able to hear from the Administration secretaries directly. And they will be able to ask them many of the questions they have at these hearings; that's why they're important.

Q Will we have a news conference next week, to be able to ask questions?

MR. FLEISCHER: I haven't talked to the President about it. You had a mini one today.

Q We'd like a full-fledged one so all reporters get to ask a question.

Q So Bob Deans gets one in, yes.

MR. FLEISCHER: Many people in Central Africa now know the name Fournier. Many of those leaders spoke French, I noticed, and so the name Fournier was very comfortable for them as the President enunciated all of its many syllables.

Q Ari, the President was asked today what are the chances that -- I forget how Ron put it -- that basically Saddam would comply with the U.N. resolution. He said, highly doubtful.

MR. FLEISCHER: Right.

Q And doesn't this really confirm what many people suspect all along, which is that Mr. Bush is not interested in a U.N. resolution that would resume inspections of any kind, that what he's really interested in is getting international support for the military action, the regime change that he feels is necessary?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Wendell, I think what it shows is that the President is interested in exactly that, and that's why he's pursuing this path --

Q And international support for the regime change that is necessary?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President is asking for the U.N. to express itself in the forms of resolutions that will put teeth behind the resolutions they passed in the past. But what it shows is that the President is interested in getting this done, but he's a realist. And your background briefer yesterday gave you the same answer. It's important that the world do this for the sake of the world, the sake of peace. But it's important for the world to do this and the U.N. to do it with its eyes wide open. Nobody should underestimate Saddam Hussein's determination to acquire these weapons and use them.

Q The message today seemed to be that war is inevitable. Is that a fair assumption?

MR. FLEISCHER: -- not his message today; his message today was he's a realist.

Q Let me understand what you're saying now. You're saying the President's interested in international support for regime change?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, the President -- well, the policy -- let me say this -- remains regime change, of course. And we'll let Secretary Powell work his work at the United Nations. Okay.

Q Thanks, Ari.

END 11:07 A.M. EDT

**Clarification to the Gaggle**

During the gaggle, Ari was asked a question about who receives authority under the "Notice of a Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks," which the White House is releasing today. Background material provided to Ari stated it was the Department of Defense and the Department of Treasury. Treasury is incorrect. The notice extends the authority for the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation (the Coast Guard) to order members of the Reserve to active duty.

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