Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers
Edgartown Elementary School Filing Center
Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
11:25 A.M. EDT
MS. MYERS: You guys feel so far away. You're usually so close. We'll just do a few minutes of this, any questions you all have. This is the Gwen Ifill Memorial Give us Color briefing.
Yesterday afternoon the President arrived at the McNamara house. He unpacked and he and Chelsea went for a walk and strolled around the grounds. As you know, they then left for the Jordans around 8:30 p.m. They arrived, were greeted by Mr. and Mrs.
Jordan -- Vernon and Anne Jordan. They had cocktails on the deck and then they had dinner inside.
There were tables of eight, four or five of them it's unclear. And then after dinner there were toasts. Vernon Jordan toasted the President. Mrs. Clinton toasted the President and Chelsea offered a toast to her father. He received some gifts including an inflatable saxophone, a sweatshirt that said "Bubba's Summer Place," a sweatshirt and cap that said "Clinton's Trip to Martha's Vineyard," and a couple of books.
They came back -- arrived back around a quarter to one. Chelsea left a little early; she left around midnight.
And this morning, the President, as you know, canceled his golf game. He just wanted to relax. He slept in, went for a walk around the grounds this morning again and spent most of the morning reading the newspaper out on the porch at the McNamara home.
The President is staying in the guest house at the McNamara residence. And the other staff -- agents, the doctor, personal aide and one other person are staying -- the military aide
- are staying in the main house at the residence.
And that's it. That's -- and the rest of his schedule is unclear. Oh, tonight they're going to have dinner at -- they're supposed to have dinner at Kay Graham's this evening. The rest of his stay is completely unscheduled.
Q: So nothing this afternoon that we know about? What
about all this agriculture fair stuff?
MS. MYERS: He may choose to drop by there at some point. He knows about it and is interested in going, but he doesn't
have any formal plans.
Q: Drop by where?
MS. MYERS: There's an agricultural fair here and the
President has expressed some interest in going by, but he has no formal plans. So he may or may not do that this afternoon. I think it he --
Q: It's going on for a week, right? I mean, he could go --
MS. MYERS: Yes, it's going on, I believe, until next Saturday. So he could go anytime over the course of the next --
Q: The fair closes Sunday morning.
MS. MYERS: Oh, it does? So tomorrow's the last day?
Q: Saturday night in --
MS. MYERS: Okay,
Q: When the President sleeps in, what time is that?
MS. MYERS: He wasn't seen walking around until close to 10:00 a.m. this morning. And Chelsea and Hillary still had not been seen as of much later than that.
Q: Can you give us the guest list for this evening's party?
MS. MYERS: No, we're not going to give out any guest
lists. If the people who were there or the hosts choose to talk about it after the fact --
Q: How big a party is it?
MS. MYERS: Tonight? I don't know. Last night was around 30, I believe, but tonight I don't know how many people are going.
Q: You won't give a list of last night's party?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q: Could you get us a text of the Hillary and Chelsea toasts? will you take that question, please?
MS, MYERS: No. No, there will be no texts of the toasts, although I'm told it was -- that she toasted her father and
it was a very sweet toast.
Q: What's his presidential business schedule in terms
of national security briefings, et cetera?
MS. MYERS: Colonel Jim Reed is here from the National Security Council. He is providing -- they're treating it like a weekend. Jim is passing on to the President briefings in written form and is to meet with him on a needs-to basis. So he will not have a regularly scheduled daily briefing. He'll receive the daily briefings on paper and then talk to Jim as events develop.
Q: Are you the only staff member here?
MS, MYERS: Yes -- Well, there's other, obviously advance staff and Kelly Craighead and, yes, I'm the -- I'm rounding
out the team here.
Q: What's Chelsea going to be doing while she's here?
MS. MYERS: I think she just plans to spend as much time as she can with her dad -- swimming, probably do some boating, perhaps go horseback riding. They don't have any formal plans. They got a list of activities around the island from the advance team. And I think that as the days progress they all just decide what they want to do. I think they plan to keep this very loose and unscheduled. I think they'll wake up every morning and decide, based on the weather and how they feel, what they want to do just like a normal vacation.
Q: She didn't bring a friend, did she?
MS. MYERS: No, she didn't bring any friends, although there are some other kids on the island, families, that are friends of the Clintons, so she may spend some time with them depending --
Q: Any day trips planned?
MS. MYERS: Nothing planned.
Q: What about the rumor that he's going to Miami?
MS. MYERS: They're scheduled to stay until the 29th.
Q: That's not a denial, now --
MS. MYERS: Scheduled to stay until the 29th. I expect them to stay.
Q: There's a rumor he is considering a trip to Miami this week.
Q: A rumor out of Florida.
MS. MYERS: That the -- McKee is spreading bad rumors
here that the President's considering going to Florida.
Q: Not spreading them, I've asked you to knock them down. (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: There are no plans to go to Florida.
Q: What's the radio address topic tomorrow?
MS. MYERS: The radio address topic is the economic plan and health care, and we'll have a text of that. We should have it already.
Q: He recorded it before he left?
MS. MYERS: He recorded it yesterday, yes.
Q: Can you tell us what role the President played in the sale of Jets to Saudi Arabia?
MS. MYERS: Obviously, we would support any decision by the Saudis to buy American airplanes, but the Saudis will announce that at a time when they -- once they make a decision about it.
Q: Has he played a role in helping push that decision forward?
MS. MYERS: Well, he did speak to King Fahd on Tuesday afternoon. And beyond that, it's a decision that the Saudis will make. The President doesn't want to comment beyond that other than to say he would certainly welcome any purchase of U.S. aircraft by the Saudis.
Q: Any purchase?
MS. MYERS: Well, U.S. commercial aircraft -- what's
being considered now is commercial aircraft. And obviously, the President believes that U.S. manufacturers make the finest commercial airliners in the world.
Q: Any incentive given to the Saudis -- any incentives offered to them?
MS. MYERS: I just don't have anything else for you beyond that.
Q: Does the administration have any reaction to the shooting of the abortion doctor in Kansas?
MS. MYERS: Obviously, we deplore that -- that kind of violence. It's just -- it's reprehensible.
Q: What was the question?
MS. MYERS: The question was, any reaction to the shooting of the abortion doctor.
Q: And the answer?
MS. MYERS: Just deplore that kind of violence. It's reprehensible.
Q: Does this change your mind any about pursuing federal legislation to protect abortion clinics?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q: I mean, the head of the National Organization for
Women Patricia Ireland says the Clinton administration hasn't spoken out as strongly, the President hasn't spoken out as strongly
as he might on this kind of clinic violence. Do you agree?
MS. MYERS: No, I think the President's position has
been clear. He's condemned clinic violence whenever it's happened.
There's absolutely no excuse for it. And I think the President's position on choice has been clear, and he's, I think, reversed many
of the policies of the previous administration in that regard. And
we'll continue to support choice and do what the administration can
to protect that right -- the right of women and the right of them to proceed safely at clinics.
Q: Dee Dee, there was a report in a local paper here earlier in the week that the President might be looking for a house
here. Do you have any idea if there's anything to that?
MS. MYERS: No, they're vacationing here and their vacation plans do not include real estate shopping.
MS. MYERS: The question was, there was rumor that the President was looking for real estate on the island.
Q: What about next week, what kind of briefings can we get?
MS. MYERS: As few as -- I would like to keep it to a minimum. I think everybody would like that, since we haven't done anything. I think what we'll do is do it on an informal basis
where I'll be here in the briefing center -- unless there's a main objection to that, we can talk about it later. Put what think we'll do is set a schedule where I'll be here for a couple of hours
every morning and people can just --
Q: Office hours.
MS. MYERS: Yes, office hours, drop-in clinic. And people can just come and ask whatever questions. Unless news breaks out, and then, of course, we'll make a decision based on that. If it remains like it is, which is fairly quiet, we'll probably just have office hours and people can come in and get answers.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:32 A.M. EDT
William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/269251