Several retired generals have called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Today, the Washington Post reported on its front page the retired commander of key forces in Iraq said Rumsfeld to step down.
That story prompted a series of questions to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan about Rumsfelds' status at today's briefing. McClellan gave Rumsfeld a vote of confidence and bid a fond farewell to Chief of Staff Andy Card, who is wrapping up his long tenure to tend to occupational burn-out.
(McClellan did not say, "Rummy, you're doing a great job," which would have signaled the defense secretary was out the door.)
Subj: PRESS BRIEFING BY SCOTT McCLELLAN
Date: 4/13/06 2:03:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (WH Press Releases)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 13, 2006
TOPIC PAGE #
Secretary Rumsfeld confidence..................2-3, 6-7, 9, 13
Iraq war funding...........................................3-4
Iran...........................................4-6, 7-9, 16-17
Immigration reform.........................10-13, 13-14, 18-20
* * * * *
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 13, 2006
PRESS BRIEFING BY SCOTT McCLELLAN
James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:03 P.M. EDT
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone. I just want to take one
brief moment to use this opportunity to talk about Andy Card, who is in
his last week here at the White House, after having served the President
and the American people for more than five years. The President has
talked about what a great Chief of Staff Andy has been, having served
the nation with honor and distinction. And just on a more personal
level, I think it's really hard to fully express the high regard with
which the White House staff holds Andy. Andy has earned our highest
respect and admiration, and those of us who have been honored to serve
with Andy are really going to miss him. We wish him all the best.
And with that, I will be glad to go straight to your questions.
Q Is there a group that greeted him this morning on arrival?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, there were some. I was not here quite that
early, but there was a group that wanted to wish him well and be here
when he got here. You know that Andy arrives very early in the morning
here at the White House, before most people are even here. And I know
that Andy was there to greet the President in the Oval Office this
morning, as he does just about every morning. And I know that Andy will
be there to say goodbye to the President and Mrs. Bush as they depart
for Camp David this afternoon to join their family and spend the Easter
Jessica, go ahead.
Q Does the President --
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me go to Jessica, and then Helen. I'm sorry,
I'm going down in order here.
Q Scott, a number of members of the military have called for the
resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Does the President
still have full faith and confidence in him, and is there any plan to
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I think that a -- to the first part of your
question, when you asked about confidence in him. I think that you
said, members of the military. I think there have been some former
members. So I think we ought to draw that distinction, because if you
go and look at what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the
other day, he was speaking his own personal view, and he is someone who
is held in very high regard and has earned the respect of all those
serving in the military.
General Pace said, as far as he is concerned, this country is
exceptionally well served by Secretary Rumsfeld. He went on to say
that, "Nobody, nobody works harder than he does to take care of the
PFCs, and lance corporals, and lieutenants and the captains. He does
his homework. He works weekends, he works nights. People can question
my judgment or his judgment, but they should never question the
dedication, the patriotism, and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld."
So I think you have to put that in context and look at what General
Pace himself said --
Q And with respect, those are --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- who has worked with him closely over the last
Q Those are General Pace's views. Does the President share
those views, and does he have full faith and confidence in him?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing
a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history.
The Secretary has led the Department of Defense during two wars -- wars
that resulted in the liberation of 25 million people in Afghanistan and
25 million people in Iraq. The Secretary is also overseeing the
transformation of the military, so that we are better prepared to
confront the threats that we face in the 21st century. We are a nation
at war and we are a nation that is going through a military
transformation. Those are issues that tend to generate debate and
disagreement, and we recognize that.
Q Does the President think that he can continue to conduct a war
without end, without raising taxes, which money -- the cost of this war
is expected to go up -- almost $2 trillion. Guns and butter, you cannot
-- who is going to pay for this?
MR. McCLELLAN: You bring up a very good point.
Q Future Presidents?
MR. McCLELLAN: You bring up a good point. We are a nation at war,
and that's why it's important that we keep our -- that we make sure we
meet our priorities --
Q Who is paying for it?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's what I'm getting to. It's important that we
meet our most important priorities during this time of war, and it's
also important that we work extra hard to hold the line on spending
elsewhere in the budget. And that's why the President talked about the
importance of making sure that we're spending the taxpayer dollars
wisely. And earlier today, he talked about how over the last two
budgets, we have actually cut non-security discretionary spending. This
last budget, we were able to get Congress to pass a reduction in the
growth of mandatory spending, as well. That's a significant step
forward. It's a good start. But there is more to do. And the
President is going to continue urging the importance of, one, keeping
our taxes low, and, two, spending the taxpayer dollars wisely --
Q That will handle the cost of the war?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's absolutely critical to keeping our economy
strong. Our economy is strong. The President talked about that earlier
today. We saw just on Friday that more than 200,000 -- well, 211,000
jobs were created in the month of March alone. We've had more than 5.1
million jobs created over the last two, two-and-a-half years. And so we
have an economy that is moving forward, it is growing very strong, and
if we're going to keep it strong, then we need to keep taxes low.
And this is an important debate that comes up in a year like this:
who is going to protect our taxpayer dollars. And the President laid
out what the debate is. The debate is between those who want to keep
taxes low to keep our economy growing, and then those who want to raise
taxes. And we've seen many Democrats --
Q You can have the guns and butter --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- many Democrats want to raise our taxes. And the
President has pointed back to what they said a few years ago, when they
said that tax cuts would do nothing to create jobs. Well, more than 5.1
million times, they have been proven -- they have been proven wrong.
And we are engaged in a global war on terrorism. And the cost of
inaction is far higher -- we are laying the foundations of peace for
generations to come. But we're going to make sure that our troops and
our military has everything they need to complete the mission and do the
job when it comes to prevailing in the war on terrorism. And that's why
the President has outlined budgets that meet our most important
priorities and hold the line on spending elsewhere.
Q I'm wondering what you might have about ElBaradei's trip to
Iran. If you haven't heard anything yet, when do you expect to hear
something? And do you think a report will come before the end of the
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that it's expected at the end of the
month, around the 28th or 29th of this month. And certainly we look
forward to seeing his report. The Director General of the International
Atomic Energy Agency is in Iran to evaluate the nuclear programs that
they are engaged in. And that's going to be an important thing to look
at by the United Nations Security Council and others.
Q Would you characterize -- would you characterize him as your
best hope right now for verifying what, if anything, is true about
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that is the purpose. The IAEA board passed a
resolution calling on the regime to take certain steps, to come clean,
to fully suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activities. They
made an announcement the other day, saying that they are moving forward
on their enrichment activities. That is in clear violation of the Paris
Agreement they made with the Europeans, and it also continues to show
their defiance toward the will of the international community that was
expressed by the Security Council in a presidential statement
reiterating what the IAEA board said.
And so what's going to happen is that he is there, he will evaluate
their activities, he'll report back to the Security Council, and the
Security Council will look at those issues. There are consultations
that are going on. Our Undersecretary, Nicholas Burns, is going to be
engaging in some more consultations with his counterparts. I know that
the Permanent Five is continuing to have some meetings -- the Permanent
Five of the Security Council.
So we'll continue to talk with the Security Council, we'll continue
to talk with our other friends and allies about what steps to take if
Iran continues on its current course. The regime is showing continued
defiance, and it is time for the Security Council to act on the
diplomatic front if they continue down that path.
Q But who is he meeting with today, and what have you heard
about today's meeting?
MR. McCLELLAN: You'll have to ask the International Atomic Energy
Agency about his meetings; what he has seen. I'm not going to try to do
an on-the-spot report on where he is.
Q Does the President think that retired generals, by virtue of
no longer being in service, have less valid opinions about Secretary
MR. McCLELLAN: I've never heard him express it that way. People
are going to express their opinions; they have the right to do so.
Q Does the President consider their views or their perspective,
since they're not in the chain of command and might be freer to speak?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President looks to -- well, first of all,
I think that that is somewhat insulting to our commanders, because our
commanders are people of high honor and integrity. General Pace spoke
the other day in the briefing at the Department of Defense, and he
talked about how -- I'm going to go back to his own words.
This is, again, the Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff. He
said, "In the last couple of days there have been several articles,
opinion pieces, editorials about the responsibility of senior U.S.
military officers to speak up, to tell the truth as we know it, and that
is a sacred obligation of all of us who are fortunate to represent all
the members of the Armed Forces and to have the opportunity to
participate at this level."
And then he went on to talk about some of the views that have been
expressed by others in the lead up to the -- or the planning going into
Iraq. And he said, "We had then, and have now, every opportunity to
speak our minds. And if we do not, shame on us, because the opportunity
is there. It is elicited from us; we are expected to." Then he went on
and talked about -- with Congress, during the confirmation process, how
he was asked, "Will you, General Pace, if confirmed, give your personal
opinion when asked?" And he said -- and the answer to that question is,
"Yes I will, sir. And I have been for almost five years now, asked my
personal opinion multiple times by members of the Congress of the United
States in testimony, and I have spoken my personal opinion. I've given
my best military advice to the Secretary and to the President, as have
the other officers who have the privilege of being Joint Chiefs or being
combatant commanders. Our troops deserve and will continue to get our
best military thinking."
So he was talking about that to talk about how the system works,
and how he has observed it over the last several years. And I think
it's important to listen to what he had to say. He has a good firsthand
account of it.
Go ahead, Sarah.
Q Thank you. My question has been answered in part, but has the
President talked to, or does he intend to talk to, the five generals who
are now saying Defense Secretary Rumsfeld should resign?
MR. McCLELLAN: I know of no plans. He's well aware of their
Q Scott, going back to Iran, in the meeting Wednesday, that just
happened with the Ghanian President, is that the first personal meeting
by phone or in person the President has had since all of this Iranian
issue about --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, the first?
Q Is this the first meeting with someone from the U.N. Security
Council that the President --
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, President Kufuor?
Q Yes. Is this the first meeting President Bush has had with a
member of the U.N. Security Council personally --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he's had some discussions -- no, he stays in
close contact with Prime Minister Blair, as you know. He talks to him
on a weekly or every-other-week basis. He stays in pretty frequent
contact -- well, Germany is not on the Security Council, but he stays in
pretty frequent contact with Chancellor Merkel of Germany. They are
certainly someone who have been involved in the negotiations that were
going on. But we've seen that the regime is not interested in moving
forward on those negotiations.
Q So what was the the conversation --
MR. McCLELLAN: So he's had a number of conversations.
Q So what was the conversation between President Bush and
President Kufuor on the --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, they discussed a range of issues. First of
all, they talked at length about the -- some priorities when it comes to
Africa and Darfur and fighting HIV/AIDS. They did talk about the
Security Council and they talked about the issue with regards to the
Iranian regime and its pursuit of nuclear weapons under the cover of a
civilian program. The President brought that up and he expressed the
views that you have heard him expressing publicly.
Q So there was nothing new? Did he ask the --
MR. McCLELLAN: This is an issue that -- and we have talked about
it in our National Security Strategy. This is one of the greatest
challenges facing the world. And the international community is united
in our concern about the regime developing a nuclear weapons capability
or know-how or nuclear weapons.
And so the President tends to bring this issue up in meetings he
has with world leaders, whether they're phone calls or meetings in
person here at the Oval Office -- in the Oval Office. The President
brings this issue up on a regular basis. It is an important priority
that needs to be addressed. It is a threat that the Security Council
needs to act on to address.
Q So do you think the President -- would you classify it as the
President bringing this U.N. Security Council member up to date, or
trying to talk to him about what the plans are --
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. He expressed -- the President expressed his
views of where things stand, and Secretary Rice has expressed our views
very publicly yesterday when she said that it's time for the Security
Council to act on the diplomatic front if the regime continues down this
course. The regime has -- the regime's announcement the other day is
only another signal of their defiance of the international community.
And it only further isolates the regime from the rest of the world.
Q Secretary Rumsfeld in the past has said that he's offered his
resignation to the President, but the President has refused. Has
Secretary Rumsfeld recently offered --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any update. That would be a question
to ask him. I don't have any update.
Q And can I just ask you to explain a little bit, why do you
feel it's so necessary -- if you could explain why it's necessary to
distinguish between a retired member of the military and an active in
talking about evaluating their opinion?
MR. McCLELLAN: I didn't think I said that. I just said that --
Q Well, with Jessica --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q But with Jessica, you made it a point to clarify that right
MR. McCLELLAN: That was General Pace. Or, was that Kelly, I
think, was bringing up former -- you said military officials, and I was
just saying these are some former members of the military.
Q And why is that?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's just a fact.
Q But are you somehow suggesting that --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think you are.
Go ahead, Goyal.
Q Scott, I have two questions. One, yesterday at the Johns
Hopkins University, a media-type tycoon, with -- newspapers in Pakistan,
he was speaking and he said that press is not free in Pakistan, and also
the Pakistan -- has been seized by the military. And at the same time
this week, General Musharraf has announced that he will stay another
five years as is, as a General, not under the democracy in Pakistan. So
do we --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure -- I don't know whether I saw that
announcement. I'll have to take a look at that specific issue. But the
President had -- the President had a very good visit with President
Musharraf when he went to Pakistan just recently. They had a
discussion, certainly, about the importance of continuing to move on the
path of democratic reform. You heard very clearly from President
Musharraf at that press availability in Pakistan speak to these issues
and express his commitment to continue moving down that path.
And we will continue -- Pakistan is a very good ally of the United
States. This is something that -- a relationship that has changed in
the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. We appreciate what they're
doing to go after former members of the Taliban and al Qaeda members and
bring them to justice. We appreciate their efforts, and we will
continue working closely with them in the global war on terrorism. And
we'll continue talking about these important priorities, as well, moving
forward on reform.
Q My second question is on -- according to The Washington Times,
the day-before yesterday, President Bush said that in 2008, he will not
take any sides as far actual presidential election is concerned, as far
as the candidates are concerned. Does he support the first woman,
Hillary Clinton in 2008?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President made very clear that he would
be supporting the Republican nominee in 2008. I don't think she will
Q Go out on a limb.
Q Is there speculation?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Scott, the President today accused Harry Reid of blocking a
vote on immigration reform. Reid's people say that what he's opposed to
are amendments that Republicans have offered that would undermine the
guest worker provision. Is the President comfortable that amendments
coming from Republicans on this side are not actually aimed at
sabotaging the President?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, Wendell, let's step back to
last week when this agreement was reached. This was a broad bipartisan
agreement that was reached by members of the Senate. The President
expressed his appreciation for Senator Frist's leadership, for Senator
Hagel and Senator Martinez, Senator McCain, Senator Kennedy -- many
people came together to support this compromise agreement and get moving
on a comprehensive piece of legislation to fix our immigration system.
It was an agreement that would help us better secure our borders, and
help us move forward on a rational and humane temporary guest worker
And there was a reasonable number of amendments -- there were a
reasonable number of amendments that the Senate thought should be
considered. That's part of the legislative process. That's part of
debating issues in the Senate. It was a reasonable number of
amendments. It's important for people's voices to be heard. This is a
difficult and complicated issue. The President has spoken about that.
And we need to continue to work through these issues.
But let's be very clear about what happened last week. It's been
noted in editorials around the country, it's been noted by many members
of Congress: The Senate Minority Leader was the one who singlehandedly
stood up and thwarted the will of the American people and stopped the
bipartisan compromise from moving forward and getting passed. He put
partisan politics above progress for the American people.
Go ahead, John.
Q So -- I'm sorry -- so the President is comfortable, then, with
the 15 amendments Senator Sessions offered, and does not believe that
they would have undermined the bill --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I expressed last week that it's important for
voices to be heard, particularly when you have such a difficult and
complicated issue like immigration reform, and for those amendments to
be considered on the floor of the Senate.
Q Thank you, Scott. Let me ask a follow-up question. I asked
you when Congress was in session twice about whether the President would
veto a measure that did not include the guest worker program. You said
at first it was early in the game, and then second you said that we had
to wait until Congress had done what it had to do in dealing with the
MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, I think I said that we wanted a
comprehensive piece of legislation. That's what the President has said,
as well, and that's what we're pushing for. And members of the Senate
came together on a comprehensive piece of legislation, yet the Senate
Minority Leader blocked that. He used procedural gimmicks to block a
comprehensive reform bill from moving forward.
And so there was a lot of good progress being made in the Senate,
and we were encouraged by the bipartisan agreement that was reached,
because it would keep this legislation moving forward. It was a
promising agreement, as the President talked about last week, and it was
important to keep this legislation moving, to get it to conference
committee, so that we could all work together and iron out some of the
details and get a comprehensive bill passed.
Q Well, let me see if I understand you correctly. If it comes
out of conference and does not include a guest worker program, it
doesn't fit your definition of a comprehensive bill?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first, the Senate Minority Leader needs to
end his blocking tactics so that it can go to conference. But the
President wants a comprehensive piece of legislation, and that's what he
will continue to emphasize. It's still early in the legislative
process. Leaders in the Senate have said they are committed to
continuing to move forward on comprehensive reform, and we look forward
to working with leaders as they do so.
Q So if I understand you correctly, if the final version doesn't
MR. McCLELLAN: You're ahead of the legislative process at this
point. The President is going to continue talking about the importance
of comprehensive reform and working to get comprehensive reform passed.
Q So you're not going to say whether he'll veto anything or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: I can't be more clear than what I said, I'm going
Q Scott, I'm not sure if this was asked before, but does the
President believe that these criticisms -- aside from the resignation
criticisms -- that these generals are making have some bearing?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know why they're expressing such opinions.
You'll have to ask those generals that.
Q Scott, a two-part.
MR. McCLELLAN: I would just point out, of course we greatly
appreciate the service of these retired generals, as we do appreciate
the service of all those who have worn the uniform. And we will be
forever grateful for their service.
Q Scott, a two-part. Last May, the Council on Foreign
Relations, in its major report titled "Building a North American
Community," urged the U.S. to de-emphasize its borders with Mexico and
Canada, and to encourage an even easier cross-border migration between
the three countries, saying rather than beef up the U.S.-Mexican and
U.S.-Canadian borders, we should instead concentrate on toughening up an
outer security perimeter all -- around all of North America. And my
question: Does this match the President's thinking?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has expressed what his
thinking is when it comes to doing more to secure our borders. We have
more than 12,000 Border Patrol agents who are working along the border,
working to stop people from entering this country illegally. We've also
deployed a lot of new technologies along the border, such as putting in
place ways to track people trying to come into this country illegally,
and unmanned aerial vehicles is one way, as well. We've talked about
that before. We've continued to work to increase the number of Border
There's more -- we've made some good progress to better secure our
borders. The President talked about how since he came into office,
we've stopped some 6 -- or returned some 6 million people from coming
into this country illegally. And we need to continue to move forward.
There's more that we need to do, and that's what the President is
committed to doing.
Comprehensive reform begins with securing our borders. And it also
includes interior enforcement, and a temporary guest worker program is
important if we're going to have a rational solution to the problem.
And that's why the President has talked about how a guest worker program
will help relieve pressure on the border, because what you have is a
number of people that are coming from countries because they want to do
more to improve the quality of life for their families. That's why
they're coming here.
And so there are some longer-term solutions in terms of expanding
trade and opportunity and improving the quality of life in those
countries for those individuals, so they'll be less likely to want to
But we also have to deal with reality. The reality is, we have a
number -- a very high number of illegal immigrants in this country.
They're meeting an important economic need. And we are a nation of
laws, and we're a nation of immigrants. And if we're going to address
the real threats, then we need to have a temporary worker program to
allow our Border Patrol agents to focus on the criminals and the thugs
and the terrorists and the traffickers and smugglers that are trying to
come into this country illegally. That's what all of us want to see
happen. But I think there's broad support from the American people for
Q From San Antonio, The Washington Times reports this morning
that the gravesite of Gregorio Esparza, who was killed in action
defending the Alamo, is now missing. And my question: Does the former
governor of your state believe that Esparza's grave should be searched
for, restored, and honored?
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't taken a look at that issue, Les. But
I'll be glad to take a look at it.
Q Get back to me?
MR. McCLELLAN: As someone who is a Texan, and certainly someone
who has followed Texas history very closely, as well.
Q You're a Virginian, you keep telling us.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q You are registered to vote in the --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm a Texan.
Q -- in the commonwealth of Virginia?
MR. McCLELLAN: Born and raised in Texas. Temporary resident of
Virginia, which is a great state, too.
Go ahead. (Laughter.)
Q When did the administration become aware of the Pentagon
report that talks about mobile trailers?
MR. McCLELLAN: The only update I have on that matter is what the
Pentagon said yesterday. The Pentagon put out a statement and talked
about how that was a preliminary report from a DIA -- meaning Defense
Intelligence Agency -- sponsored technical exploitation team, and that
information was sent to the DIA. And then they said that the CIA-DIA
joint white paper that was released publicly on May 28th reflected the
position of the intelligence community at the time, and that the
findings that you're bringing up were vetted with other intelligence
analysts during the summer of 2003. So that's a statement from the
Pentagon, and that's the only update I have at this point.
Q So if it had been vetted then would you have known about them
by, say, September 2003?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you'll remember, the view of the
intelligence community was expressed in the white paper that was
released on May 28th. It was a joint white paper by the CIA and the
Defense Intelligence Agency. And that's what the President's comments
were based on. I know that there were still -- and that view prevailed
for quite some time period. You can go back and look at that time
period, because there's a lot of discussion about it. And then you had
the Director of the CIA talking as late as February, saying that there
was not a consensus on this issue -- February of the next year. And
these findings were incorporated into the Iraq Survey Group, which
completed a final report in September of 2004.
So that was a year later, more than a year later when the Iraq
Survey Group completed that report. And if you go back to, I think,
October of 2003, David Kay was still saying that it wasn't exactly
clear, or something along those lines, in terms of what these might be
Q Well, the report had said it was absolutely clear what these
could and couldn't be used for, that they couldn't be used for --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I just pointed out that at the time
there was a preliminary report coming in from the field, and that it was
evaluated and assessed over a period of time.
Q When was -- one second one. When was Congress briefed on the
contents of this?
MR. McCLELLAN: You might want to talk to the Defense Intelligence
Agency. It was in the Iraq Survey Group report, which was a public
document incorporated into the bipartisan Robb-Silberman Commission
report which looked at the intelligence relating to Iraq, and then made
recommendations about how to improve our intelligence.
Q The Vice President, as late as January 2004, was still stating
that they were weapons labs.
MR. McCLELLAN: There were a number of people who were still
talking about that issue for quite some time.
Q Scott, the President has said, you have said, as well, that
the U.S. is pursuing diplomacy regarding Iran. When the President looks
at the recent statements and actions by the Iranian government and
particularly the President, does he have a hope, does he have any real
reason to believe that there can be a peaceful resolution?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you can understand why we are skeptical,
given the regime's history. This is a regime that has a history of
hiding their nuclear activities from the international community and not
abiding by their international obligations. That's why the Security
Council issued a presidential statement and said, you need to fully
suspend your enrichment and reprocessing activities, you need to come
into compliance with your obligations, and you need to negotiate in good
faith -- abide by the Paris Agreement and negotiate in good faith. The
Paris Agreement was what the regime reached with the Europeans, saying
that, we will suspend our enrichment and reprocessing activities.
That's an issue of trust. It's an issue of confidence-building.
This is a regime that has shown they can't be trusted when it comes to
their nuclear program. It's not a matter of whether or not they should
have civilian nuclear power; they've had options to move forward on
civilian nuclear power. It's an issue of trust and can they show the
world that what they are doing is for peaceful purposes. So far they're
only showing the world defiance. And we want to see cooperation and
negotiation. But as long as they are continuing down this path, then we
believe it's time for the Security Council to take some steps to address
Q So is the President -- could you describe him as disheartened
or pessimistic about those chances?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I just said "skeptical."
Q Will the President attend the egg roll on Monday?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q Will the President attend --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any update on his schedule for Monday.
We'll keep you posted.
Q Well, I have the speech in Sterling. We know he's sort of out
of town during the day, but no decision yet on whether he'll be at the
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll keep you posted on his schedule for Monday.
Q Scott, has the White House ever stated its outright opposition
to the felony provision in the House immigration bill?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the Department of Justice has been working
with members of Congress on that very issue. I think Chairman
Sensenbrenner talked about some of that outreach. We've been working
very closely with members on that very issue, and I saw the statement
that Senator Frist and Speaker Hastert put out the other day, as well.
Q Scott, this just crossed from Senator Reid --
MR. McCLELLAN: Instant reaction.
Q Yes. "President Bush has as much credibility on immigration
as he does on Iraq and national security. If he were actually committed
to comprehensive immigration reform, he would have stopped his own party
from filibustering it twice last week. If the President is serious
about moving forward then he should join me in calling on Senator Frist
to bring immigration reform back to the Senate floor when we return."
Will he do that?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Senate leaders have committed to coming back to
immigration reform. This is a Democrat leader that is on the defensive
because of what he did to stop us from moving forward on comprehensive
reform. He singlehandedly stopped the Senate from moving forward, and
he's having a tough time defending his position in front of the American
people, because the American people expect us to work together to get
things done, and the Senate did work together, came to an agreement, and
Senator Reid was the one who singlehandedly thwarted the will of the
American people and stopped that bipartisan progress from moving
Q Has the President flexed the full force of his muscle yet on
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has remained -- has been very engaged
in this issue, and he will continue to be. So it's a high priority for
all of us. And that's why Senator Reid needs to allow this process to
move forward and stop engaging in procedural gimmicks to block those
Q Thank you.
MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.
END 12:35 P.M. EDT