George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters in Orlando, Florida

June 21, 2002

FBI Alert on Fuel Tanker Trucks

Q. [Inaudible]—the threat warning that your administration has put out with regard to fuel tugs—tanks, rather, or trucks, what Americans need to be aware of?

The President. Well, anytime we get any kind of threat that we think is serious, we'll put it out, and people need to respond accordingly.

Q. Nothing more specific on this threat?

Situation in the Middle East

Q. Mr. President, what is your current thinking on the Middle East? When can we expect to hear from you?

The President. My current thinking is, is that there are obviously some in the Middle East who want to use violence to destroy any hopes for peace. And the world must do everything in its power to prevent the few from creating misery for the many.

I—and if you're talking about the speech, I'll give the speech when I'm ready to give the speech. [Laughter] But—wait a minute; let me finish—but I strongly condemn this series of attacks. I fully recognize that Israel's got the right to defend herself. And all parties who are interested in getting on the path to peace must do everything they can to reject this terror. It is outrageous, and it is—it's got to be stopped.

Q. Sir, do you agree with your wife that the building of an electronic fence by Israel is not particularly helpful to two states living side by side in peace?

The President. Israel has a right to protect herself.

Q. Including an electrical fence?

National Economy/Corporate Responsibility

Q. Mr. President, yesterday business executives who saw you said that you saw several things weighing down the market— the state of the economy, fears of terrorism, and a loss of confidence in corporate accounts.

The President. Yes.

Q. Do you think the market is just not going to bounce back until you address all three of those?

The President. I think we are addressing all three of those. And I think, obviously, corporate profits are important. People are going to make their decisions based upon their view of the future and the P/E ratios at the moment. Obviously, there is concern in our society about possible terrorist attacks. I think most people in America know we're doing everything we can to deal with it, particularly chasing these people down.

I don't know if you took note, but there was a significant event that took place in the Philippines. The head of the Abu Sayyaf is now dead. We want to congratulate Gloria Arroyo for being tough and firm and strong to help rid the world of this particular threat.

But I do think there is an overhang, over the market, of distrust. Listen, 95 percent or some percentage, a huge percentage of the business community are honest and reveal all their assets and have got compensation programs that are balanced. But there are some bad apples. And—well, let me finish—and there are some bad apples, and the business world must clean up its act. I mean, people have got to have confidence as to whether or not the assets and liabilities are good numbers. They've got to have confidence that the leadership has got the shareholder and employee in mind when they make decisions.

And so I'm concerned about that, and I spoke very plainly about it. You've heard me, in many of my speeches, say in this era where we expect for there to be personal responsibility in America; we expect there to be corporate responsibility as well; that part of a responsible era is, those who run corporate America understand they have a responsibility.

And so I believe it's being addressed. I've got confidence in the future of the country. I've got confidence in our economy. I've got confidence we're doing everything we can to stop terror. And I've got confidence in the good faith of those who run corporate America.

Thank you.

[At this point, the President's tour of the Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex continued.]

2002 Elections

Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about outpacing your predecessor when it comes to fundraising, which you're about to do?

The President. Got good candidates. Right here. One of the great candidates in the history of Florida.

Q. You're one of the best fundraisers, right?

The President. No, no. It's the candidates, Stretch [Richard Keil, Bloomberg News]. It's the candidates.

NOTE: The exchange began at 2:33 p.m. during the President's tour of the Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex. In his remarks, the President referred to Abu Sabaya, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group who was killed June 21 by Philippine military forces; and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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

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