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President Bush and boycotting some of the China Olympics. Is his position clear?

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WASHINGTON--White House spokesman Dana Perino has back and forth with reporters on Tuesday over whether President Bush will/will not be attending the Bejing Olympics opening ceremony and summer games.

Read the except from the briefing and decide what she is trying to say.

Q Can I just follow on the Olympics, since you said the President's position has been clear? Is he attending the Opening Ceremonies then?

MS. PERINO: We haven't provided any schedules on the President's trip.

Q There's doubt about it then, right?

Q Dana, to follow up on that --

Q But, I mean, can I just follow on -- does that leave the door open to the President not attending the Opening Ceremonies, but attending some of the games to support the athletes?

MS. PERINO: I wouldn't put it that way, no.

Q Is the decision to attend the Olympics irreversible, or might it be affected by developments?

MS. PERINO: Any time the President -- the President can always make a change. But the President has been clear that this is a sporting event for the athletes, and that pressuring China before, during and after the Olympics is the best way for us to try to help people across the board in China, not just Tibetans. And we are calling on the Chinese to reach out to the Dalai Lama, or to have -- or to reach out to the Dalai Lama's supporters and people, as they used to have a dialogue and we think that that was quite useful, and we are encouraging them to do that again.

Q Wouldn't it be a better plan --

MS. PERINO: You had two questions.

Q -- if he pulled out? Wouldn't that be a good protest?

Q I just wanted to be specific. Is it being considered to attend the games and skip the Opening Ceremony? Is that under consideration?

MS. PERINO: I would not put it that way, no.

Q You would not put it that way that it's even being considered?

MS. PERINO: I would not put it that way.


Q Dana, what's the worst-case scenario to prevent the President from going, as there's a lot of pressure? I mean, you guys saying that you're watching what's going on, you're watching what's happening to the torch -- what is the worst-case scenario that could prevent the President from going just to even watch his athletes perform?

MS. PERINO: I don't think that that's a question that I can answer from the podium. I think speculation on worst-case scenarios are better left to people other than me.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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