George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters in Kansas City, Missouri

March 26, 2001

National Economy

Q. Are we in the middle of an economic downturn?

The President. We'll let the numbers speak for themselves. I'm concerned about our economy. I'm confident, however, if we do the right things, we can have economic growth, the likes of which we've had in the past. We'll watch the numbers carefully. The numbers will speak the truth.

The last quarter of last year was a very slow growth quarter, and we'll see how it is in the first quarter of this year. I think a lot of experts believe that it's going to be slow.

Q. Do you believe in Ari's formulation, that we're in the middle of an economic downturn?

The President. Pardon me?

Q. Do you agree with your spokesman's formulation, that we're in the middle of a downturn?

The President. It has slowed down, and we better do something about it. And that's one of the reasons I'm here in Kansas City, to talk about tax relief as part of an economic stimulus package. And by the way, you looked very sharp the other night. Where did you rent it? [Laughter]

Airline Labor Disputes

Q. Mr. President, are you going to intervene in the Comair strike?

The President. The National Mediation Board did not make—did not rule. In other words, they did not give me the right to move in on the strike. Therefore, the parties are going to have to settle it themselves.

Q. Are you still determined to prevent a season of airline strikes, sir?

The President. I am worried about what the airline shutdowns could do to the economy. I would urge that all parties come to quick resolution on the matters that— you know, on the table. Yes, I'm concerned about what airline strikes could do.

Q. But your hands are tied in this case?

The President. In this case they are, as you know. Thank you.

NOTE: The exchange began at 10:49 a.m. at the First Watch Restaurant. A reporter referred to Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters in Kansas City, Missouri Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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