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Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers

February 05, 1993

The Briefing Room

5:59 P.M. EST

MS. MYERS: Tomorrow the President meets with, as you know, Prime Minister Mulroney from roughly 11:00 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m. They'll do an availability at the end of that. And then between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. he's meeting with mayors from the National Conference of Mayors in the Library at the Residence.

And that's it. The rest of the day is taken up mostly with meetings in his office.

Q: He's not addressing AARP tomorrow?

MS. MYERS: He may have a meeting with them. It wouldn't be an address.

Q: He's not going over there, they're coming here?

Q: Doesn't he go there?

MS. MYERS: I don't believe so. I thought that was possibly going to be here. But we may do a pool op. The details of that are not firm, it's a tentative on the schedule.

Q: Is he going to appear with Judge Wood to make the announcement? (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: You know something I don't know. You want to fill us all in?

Q: Several news organizations are saying that Judge Wood is either the leading candidate or selected, depending on what --

MS. MYERS: The President has not yet made a decision. When he does, we'll announce it.

Q: Can you tell us he has not made a decision, or he has not necessarily told you? Do you know for certain that he has not made a decision, that he has not called anyone and offered them the job at this time?

MS. MYERS: To the best of my knowledge, he has not called and offered anyone the job. Now, in his heart of hearts he may have made a decision. I can't speak to that. But there is nothing scheduled tomorrow and I don't expect an announcement tomorrow.

Q: Is he waiting the FBI background check, and that's why you're saying he hasn't made an announcement?

MS. MYERS: That's certainly part of the process.

Q: So he may have made up his mind, but he's waiting for the FBI to complete it?

MS. MYERS: I just said I can't speak to what may be in his mind.

Q: Has he ordered FBI background checks on more than one person?

Q: It's not a question of what --

MS. MYERS: It's routine. Yes, it is.

Q: It's not a question of what's in his mind, it's a question of what he's waiting for administratively.

MS. MYERS: Well, he has not called anyone and offered them the job. As far as I know, he has not made a decision. He's certainly not made that announcement or made that clear to people on his staff. And FBI background check is a part of the process.

Q: How would you characterize the likelihood of a Saturday or Sunday attorney general announcement?

MS. MYERS: I think it's unlikely. At this point the President is planning to do only the radio address this weekend.

Q: What time?

MS. MYERS: Noon or 1:00 p.m. I don't know if it's been worked out.

Q: Who are you coordinating -- who are you working with on that? Are you planning to have WHCA do it? Are you working with any of the bureau chiefs, any particular radio network?

MS. MYERS: It's being set up out of the media relations operation, Jeff Eller's shop, and I just don't know what the specific details are.

Q: They should know that those of us who are in radio have been receiving calls from our affiliates all over the country, all day, wanting to know what time it's going to be and --

MS. MYERS: We'll get you the details as soon as we have them.

Q: You don't know at this point what time?

Q: Does the White House have anything to say about the situation in Haiti with Caputo leaving, having very unsatisfactory meetings?

MS. MYERS: No, he hasn't said anything about it.

Q: Do you have any readout on the meeting with the German Foreign Minister? Did they reach any common thinking about Bosnia or --

MS. MYERS: No, they didn't. It was a very brief meeting, just a few minutes. And they talked just generally about the need for a good bilateral relationship. I believe the Foreign Minister said that Kohl would like to meet with President Clinton sometime in the near future. And they didn't agree to any specific date, but the President would certainly like to meet with Kohl at some point.

Q: Dee Dee, on a different topic, the Vietnam letter and Clive Pettit -- whose language is that in the letter that Mr. Pettit presented to the Hanoi officials?

MS. MYERS: Well, it's signed by then-Governor Clinton. I don't know who drafted it within the Governor's Office.

Q: Is that language that he may have dictated and asked that the Governor --

MS. MYERS: I don't know what the process was that went into the letter. I mean, the letter does not signal any change in Clinton's position towards Vietnam, and Mr. Pettit was not operating in any official capacity, and the letter was not meant to imply that he was.

Q: It says that he was working toward the normalization of relations between Vietnam and the United States, which suggests --

MS. MYERS: I think -- it was on Governor's letterhead, it was on Arkansas state letterhead. And, again, the President's position toward Vietnam has not changed. The letter was not meant to imply that Pettit was operating in any official capacity.

Q: Can you give us an elaboration on the HIV policy question? As I understand it, the HHS officials have recommended that this HIV policy be lifted. Why does this situation at Guantanamo have a bearing on that? Why couldn't that policy be lifted and then deal with --

MS. MYERS: I'm checking to see just where that is. And I had talked to -- earlier and said I'd get back to him. I just don't know where that is in the process. I think the President said during the campaign that it was his intention to take HIV off the list of communicable diseases, but I just don't know where it is in the process and how that would affect the people at Guantanamo. But I'm checking, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Q: Can you give us any more details about Wednesday's trip to Detroit -- any additional events?

MS. MYERS: No, nothing is confirmed yet.

Q: Will that be overnight in Detroit?

MS. MYERS: It's just unclear. Still making those decisions.


Q: The President met with Senator Feinstein. Can you tell us anything about that meeting?

MS. MYERS: Yes, they talked mostly about -- she wanted to talk to him about the state of the California economy. They talked about, generally, the economic issues and specifically about defense conversion. And that was it.

Q: Was there any promises, any -- did she didn't have any specific requests of the federal government?

MS. MYERS: Oh, I think she had some ideas and I think she handed those off on a staff level, but she didn't discuss them with the President -- didn't make specific requests to him.

Q: How many attorney general candidates has he met with?

MS. MYERS: I don't know how many. He's met with several.

Q: George this morning confirmed that Wood was -- that was the only one that he confirmed, though. Can you confirm the other ones? Why is it you choose to confirm her name, but not the other names?

MS. MYERS: I didn't see that part of the Today Show when George confirmed it. But generally, our policy is not to confirm meetings or the short list or people that he might be considering.

Q: So was he disciplined for that infraction?

MS. MYERS: I had him into my office for a good tonguelashing. (Laughter.)

Q: But when the President announces the attorney general will he announce a Justice Department team, some of the subcabinet positions?

MS. MYERS: I think he'll announce the attorney general first. I don't know -- I don't expect it will come as a team. It could, but I don't think it will.

Q: George was asked about whether Mrs. Clinton was in on any of these conversations with any of the candidates, and he wasn't sure. He was going to check that out. Do you know any more on that?

MS. MYERS: No, I don't know if he got an answer on that, or not. I'll see if I can find out. He said he didn't think that she was, but that she had been providing her advice and counsel on it.

Q: I think the questions were: Was she in on any of the meetings, or did she have separate conversations?

Q: What did the President think of Judge Wood when he talked to her?

MS. MYERS: He has high regard for Judge Wood.

Q: Dee Dee, what time is Mulroney?

MS. MYERS: At 9:30 a.m.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 6:05 P.M. EST

William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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