Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters Following a Meeting With Tilden Middle School Students

March 04, 1993

Health Care Task Force

Q. Mr. President, can you explain to us why your health care task force won't be open to the public?

The President. No working group of the Government before they have a proposal—that would be like opening the White House at every staff meeting we have. We can't do that. I mean, they've got 400 people over there, working continuously on thousands of different issues. Nobody ever does that. We would never—we can't get anything done.

Also, what we've done has been publicly reported. Most of the papers have been released or leaked. But they have to be able to work. It's an ongoing project. It's like any other staff work the White House does.

Q. But how do we know that there is no conflict of interest since we don't know who is working on it and we can't attend any of the meetings, the public meetings?

The President. It's just like any other—how do you know that about anything we do here at the White House?

World Trade Center Bombing

Q. can you be any more reassuring on the whole terrorism question, sir? This is obviously what people are going to be most worried about.

The President. I think that people should be very reassured by the incredibly rapid work done by the law enforcement officials involved. It is very impressive. All resources were put into this from the moment the explosion occurred, and I think they did a remarkable job. I don't think I should say more than I know now. And I think you should wait until the statement is made tonight by the appropriate officials, and I'll be glad to give you further comments. But I think the American people should be very much reassured by the speed with which the law enforcement folks responded to this circumstance.

NOTE: The exchange began at 3:25 p.m. in the North Foyer at the White House. A portion of this exchange could not be verified because the tape was incomplete.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Following a Meeting With Tilden Middle School Students Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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