Press Briefing by George Stephanopoulos
The Briefing Room
12:28 P.M. EDT
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I just have a quick announcement. The President has invited the President of the Republic of Argentina Carlos Saul Menem to the White House for a working visit on June 29th. President Menem has accepted the invitation and this meeting will provide an opportunity for the two Presidents to advance their common agenda of promoting democracy, human rights and expanded trade and investment throughout the hemisphere.
Anyone want to ask about that?
Q: The President seems to be a little bit more hopeful that this weekend's referendum in Bosnia might result in something positive. He said he's skeptical but it may produce something, he says. Can you tell us what the thinking is? What do you think this weekend's referendum will produce?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think that -- I'm not sure that's an exact characterization of what the President said. I think we don't put much stock in the referendum and we've always held out that what's important are the deeds of the Serbians and the deeds of the Bosnian Serbs, not the words. Clearly, we'll watch and see what happens this weekend, but the most important thing is what they do on the ground, not what they say.
Q: Can you explain to us how having a deficit reduction trust fund will be different than simply meeting your budget targets and reaching the deficit reduction that you're already planning to reach? What is the difference?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, one thing it does, this an added insurance policy and it shows the American people clearly that we are doing what we intend to do. And if for some reason by some actions by Congress or something else happens where these targets aren't met, the American people will know that and will hold us accountable. This is one more step in accountability and enforcement of the agreement that we intend to make.
Q: Isn't it fact that the President has proposed fewer spending cuts than Congress has? Congress has been more aggressive about deficit reduction than the President.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President has fully endorsed the spending cuts in the bills before the Congress right now. He has called for spending cuts. He has consistently called for spending cuts, and he looks forward to working with the members of Congress on this deficit reduction trust fund and on achieving the full package of his entire deficit reduction package. And we feel good about that right now.
Q: Can you describe a scenario in which this trust fund actually comes into play, and what exactly would have to happen?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. What this trust fund will show --
Q: The caps on the discretionary side already guard against the burst of spending on that side that would wipe out your deficit savings. So this would have to obtain on the other side of the budget. What would have to happen for this trust fund to actually make a difference?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think it makes a difference from day one. It's another layer of insurance. By displaying very clearly --
Q: I know, but other than as a statement of intentions and a sign of good faith or a signal of good faith or whatever --what as a practical matter --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, as a practical matter if --
Q: what would actually happen in a scenario under which the trust fund actually would make a difference?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: If, as a practical matter, some action in Congress would result in more spending --
Q: On that side of the budget?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: On that side of the budget, it would then --
Q: But wouldn't that have to be --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That would take away from the savings number in the trust fund. So the American people would know that and be able to hold you accountable and say, wait a second, you're not making the savings that you said you were going to make.
Q: Right, but wouldn't that have to survive a presidential veto?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely.
Q: So what you're talking about is if Congress got up one day in the years ahead, and two-thirds of them were ready to engage in a spending spree on the entitlement side, this would block that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Congress can always pass a law to overturn laws they've passed previously. There's nothing --
Q: Including this one.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course. Congress can always pass new laws. What this law says is that if you try to increase spending the American people will know it. They will see it and they will hold you accountable.
Q: George, the Ways and Means Committee is about to finish it's work on the tax bill. Do you think the President has adequately convinced the American public that higher taxes are going to be good for them, which is essentially what he said this morning?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, I don't know if I would accept that characterization. The President certainly --
Q: They will understand that in the end, this will all work out much better. Has he adequately made that case to the public?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: First of all, let me comment -- I think we're very pleased with the progress, not only in the Ways and Means Committee this week, but the progress throughout the House committee process. I mean, the bulk of the President's package is going to pass, we believe, the committee process with relatively minor changes. And I think this is a big achievement. We have a long way to go, obviously. This is the first step in the process. We still have to have House passage and Senate consideration. But we are pleased that the House committees look like they're largely going to pass the President's program very close to intact.
At the same time, one of the things that the President has said both in the campaign and since he's been President is that we have got to bring the deficit down. Part of bringing the deficit down is higher taxes on the wealthy, those whose incomes went up in the 1980s; part of it is an increase in the corporate taxes, a responsible increase in corporate taxes so that those who made money in the 1980s again are paying their fair share toward deficit reduction.
But the President's package is also a balanced package. It combines tax increases on the wealthy, responsible increase in corporate taxes, couples it with incentives for the business sector, and couples it with real spending cuts. The package is balanced between spending cuts and tax increases. It's something that some might not point out time and time again, but the deficit reduction trust fund will make that clear.
Q: Do you think that he's convinced the middle class that the taxes they're going to get hit with are worth it?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, again, let's remind everybody that 70 percent of the taxes here are going to go to the wealthiest Americans -- 70 percent of the taxes. The average middle class family is going to face new taxes on the average of about $15 a month. And that, we feel, is -- we don't like taxes of any kind, but we feel that's a fair distribution of the burden. Most of the taxes are going to go to the very wealthiest.
Q: Beyond what you feel, we're trying to find out what is your sense of the public reaction -- will you be able to sell it to the public?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the President had a good week out in the country this week -- in Cleveland and Chicago and New York.
Q: Do they all want higher taxes?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, what they want is -- what the American people want and what we saw yesterday is the American people want the deficit to come down because they want to turn this economy around. And that's --
Q: I mean, are they willing to accept -- are you saying they will?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think most of the American people are willing to accept a responsible increase in taxes on the very wealthiest Americans, those earning over $100,000 and $200,000; yes, I think that most of the American people believe that that's the right way to reduce the deficit.
Q: George, the President is going to California, which is still not out of this recession yet, people there are still slowly trying to recover. Can you take that message to people in California and on the West Coast that they're going to be paying more in taxes?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But again, I don't think that that's the message of the President's bill. It's not the substance. Part of -- the message of the President's bill is that we have to do something to turn this economy around and bring the deficit down. And that's what the package does. The President does that by increasing taxes on the very wealthiest Americans, but also by reducing government spending. By having real cuts in government spending; 200 cuts in government spending and he brings the deficit down.
Q: Will he talk about cuts?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President has talked about the cuts. I mean, look at what's happening in this budget. There is a delay in pay for federal workers. There are real cuts in entitlement for the first time in a dozen years. It' hasn't happened before. The President is saying that the wealthier Social Security recipients are going to pay a little bit more. The President has made the tough choices and is bringing spending down. Part of the balance there is also higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and that's where the bulk of the taxes in this package are.
Q: I guess what I'm asking is when you go to the area of the nation which is still hurting, what is the balance of the pitch you make to them when you get there next week?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The pitch you make to them is that this a fair package. It balances between spending cuts and tax increases. It makes sure that those who made the most pay the most in taxes and it makes sure that the middle class is treated fairly. Does the middle class have to contribute along with everyone else? Yes, a little bit. But all in the interest of bringing the deficit down and getting this economy moving again, and creating jobs in the future.
Q: One part of that package is supposed to be additional spending this year for summer jobs, things like that. Folks on the House Appropriations Committee say they've now basically thrown in the towel on increasing -- on putting additional summer jobs into the pending supplemental appropriations bill. Is there still any possibility of any of that getting appropriated before the summer or have you also thrown in the towel on that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think there's a possibility of getting some small increase in summer job funding. I mean, clearly, the President has said for several months that he believes that investment in jobs this year is an important investment. He fought for that investment, but Republicans in the Senate blocked it -- made it clear that it couldn't go through. The President tried. He has been looking for ways to get those investments, but it doesn't appear that we're going to be able to get as much as the President hoped for. But we'll look -- we'll try to get what we can.
Q: Well, what would be the vehicle for -- if it's not going to go into the supplemental that they're working on now, which it looks like it's not, what would be the vehicle for getting anything passed before the summer starts?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, again, I don't know that we necessarily can before the summer starts. I mean, one thing we have to do is focus now on the budget reconciliation package. I don't know that we've given up yet on the supplemental of getting any funding through the supplemental. But beyond that we are going to focus on the budget.
Q: What's a summer jobs program that doesn't have money by the summer?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, I didn't -- what I said was, we haven't given up on the supplemental yet.
Q: But you said that you don't know that you'd necessarily be able to get this money before the summer begins. So what high school student looking for a job could benefit from a program like that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, clearly, if the Congress didn't pass the program it wouldn't -- the funding wouldn't go through. I mean, that's self-evident. But we're trying -- we're still working on that. And we're going to work with the appropriations committees.
Q: Have you decided not to seek -- I mean, you'd have to do it pretty quick for the summer jobs program. Have you basically made a judgment that you're not going to be able to get significant additional funding for summer jobs?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It appears that there is -- that the Appropriations Committee -- we're still going to send up a letter to the Appropriations Committee trying to get some funding paid for for the summer jobs this year. It's unclear what they're going to do with it at this point.
Q: You're going to send them a letter that says what? Says you want some additional funding but you save what vehicle you want to use to --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, on the supplemental.
Q: How much?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't have the figures.
Q: George, when you were asked if you -- what makes you think that people support the new taxes that the President wants Congress to pass, you said, well, they support deficit reduction. Do you see those two things as interchangeable?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No --
Q: Support for deficit reduction and support for taxes?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: What I did say is I think the American people, the bulk of the American people believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay their fair share. That's what the President's package calls for. And 70 percent of the taxes in this package goes to the very wealthiest Americans. And that's the heart of the President's tax plan.
Q: When is the administration going to earmark exactly how it -- what areas it wants to cut in order to get its investment package through to the Appropriations Committee? The Appropriations Committee's been complaining that they were not -- the subcommittee chairmen were complaining that they didn't have any earmarked areas.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Chairman Panetta's been working with the Appropriations Committee chairman. He'll continue to work with them on the cuts to pay for the package, and that we're in discussions everyday.
Q: Do you know that they've actually proposed cuts to pay for those investments?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I know that we've given out ideas on how to pay for the investments, and we're going to continue to do that.
Q: George, can you give us some insight into what went into the President's thinking on the extended remarks that he had yesterday in New York on a crisis in believe and hope and this long statement about the need for faith? What led to --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, I think what the President believes -- I mean, this is something he's always believed; it's something is at the heart of his convictions about government and about life -- is that you have to preserve in the face of challenges.
Q: Does he feel that this is something that --
Q: It wasn't about perseverance, though, it was about faith.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Faith is part of that -- is essential to that perseverance.
Q: Does he feel that he's inherited some sort of a national -- I hesitate to use the word malaise but --
Q: Go right ahead.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Somebody had to do it. What day is this? (Laughter.)
Q: Strike that word. (Laughter.) Was this his malaise speech?
Q: It just -- it was a -- I know he's said some of these things before, but putting them altogether was sort of an unusual formulation --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I just don't agree. I think that the President obviously is an optimistic person. The core of that optimism is faith -- faith that things can work out for the better; faith that if you work hard, you can overcome challenges. And that's at the core of what the President was talking about.
Q: George, the President spent the beginning of this big railing against lobbyists and special interests, and this afternoon you've set up a photo op with the campaign finance reform team. Yet last night he went to this glitzy fundraiser to slurp up special interest money. (Laughter.) Is there not some --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: All the editorial comments in the questions today.
Q: contradiction between rhetoric and action?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not at all. We're not going to engage in unilateral disarmament. (Laughter.) The President is the only one who's out there and proposed real reform. The President has a proposal on the table. It has real spending limits and reduces PAC contributions. It calls for an end to contributions from lobbyists.
Q: Even when he appears before a group of special interests who contribute millions of dollars to the Democratic Party, and much of it soft money?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: They do that under the current system. The President is trying to change the current system and that's why he's come forward with a proposal.
Q: Why not with deeds, not words?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The deeds are we're trying to push it through the Congress. That's exactly what we're doing right now.
Q: Is this watch what we do, not what we say; or watch what we say and not what we do, or what?
Q: saying nothing should be done. Why should he set an example?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: He is setting an example and that's why he's come forward with a real proposal and introduced it to the House and the Senate, and asked for it's immediate passage.
Q: Until the rules change, he'll take advantage of the rules as they are.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, until the rules change, he's going to play by the rules. The President always plays by the rules and that's what he's going to continue to do. (Laughter.)
Q: How much did they clean up?
Q: George, two on foreign policy. Anything new on Macedonia, the troops to Macedonia?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Nothing new on that, no.
Q: Has he talked to any foreign leaders?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No.
Q: Is the President disappointed that the Middle East talks have broken down? Is he trying to offer any bridges?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the President just going to continue to work with the parties to move the talks along.
Q: Will he see them at all?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think there's anything planned on that right now.
Q: Is Ira right that a lot of the health care package is going to be financed by employer mandate, and if there is going to be an employer mandate, is that going to cost jobs?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Ira's certainly right that no decisions have been made on the health care package yet and I'm certain that he said that. The President is going over those options right now, and he will certainly look for reforms that over the long run will certainly help create jobs by bringing down health care costs.
Q: Well, has the employer mandate been ruled out because the President during the campaign came out against a play or pay kind of situation. And an employer mandate sure walked like playing and paying and quack like --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President just hasn't made any decisions yet and we're still looking at a number of options.
Q: George, what's the reaction to the Peck and Schwarzkopf comments of the Armed Services this week? And secondly, the Committee seems to be moving towards a don't ask about it, don't flaunt it compromise. What's the administrations feeling on that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We're waiting for the Pentagon report and we'll have more to say after that.
Q: Coming back to the President's comments on lobbyists the other day. He went on at some length about the lobbyists for Sally Mae and how bad this was --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It worked.
Q: Does he have any feeling about people who have been closed to him in the past who are lobbying on Sally Mae's behalf? Does he find that objectionable?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think that what the President believes is that we have to change the current system and that's what he said. And he was very gratified by the vote in the House Education and Labor Committee supporting his proposal on direct funding.
Q: But in the meantime, he doesn't have any objection to prominent Democrats and people who used to work for him working together --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President hopes that everybody he knows will get behind his proposals.
Q: George, what the administration's analysis so far of Bosnia's conduct -- or rather Serbia's conduct on it's own promise to stop supplying the Bosnian Serbs?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that clearly it's not complete yet. There has been some lessening of the flow between Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs and we've noticed that. But it's clearly not complete.
Q: Is it getting better, or is it getting worse?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We know that there's been a diminished flow of supplies across the border.
Q: How are you monitoring that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: There's lots of monitoring and I can't get into that.
Q: George, on the operations -- the accounting for the deficit reduction trust fund -- normally, when you have a trust fund and you're running an overall deficit, when you dip into the assets of the trust fund you have to pay back with interest. The Social Security trust fund, when they get T-bills they get paid back with interest. Is that going to be the same way?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I just don't have all the details on that. I can take the question or have Gene get back to you.
Q: If you follow the pattern that now obtains with Social Security, actually you're going to provide more in deficit reduction because Treasury would be obligated to pay that fund interest.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's assuming that there were a breach, but I just don't have those details.
Q: George, can I ask you two questions -- one on Argentina and one on Haiti? You said it's a working visit, the 29th of June?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes. I think it was the -- I'll check again. I thought it was the 26th.
Q: Could you double-check the date?
MS. VOLES: The 29th.
Q: Okay. I was right. He's the first Latin American leader to visit President Clinton officially. Any particular reason for choosing Argentina to be the first one from Latin America?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I know that he spoke with President Menem right after the election and they -- I think that this is just the timing has worked out and he's looking forward to the visit.
Q: Now the Haiti question. There seems to be more optimism coming out of Secretary Christopher after he met with Boutros-Ghali. What does the White House feel?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not much to add to that, except to say there was a good meeting with the U.N. Secretary General yesterday. We continue to support the efforts of Mr. Caputo and we look forward to a resolution.
Q: There are 150 Haitians in Guantanamo with the AIDS virus are still -- I think they're going on strike.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I just don't have anything on that today.
Q: Do you have any comment on the Wall Street Journal report regarding new Pentagon planning on air strikes alone without the arms embargo?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, the President has set forth a clear approach. We're continuing to pursue that approach.
Q: Is there a new approach which is --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No.
Q: this story is that the Air Force is planning a new --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No.
Q: The story is wrong?
Q: Does the President believe that air strikes alone would be effective?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President has set forward a clear approach, and we continue to work with our allies on --
Q: What is this clear approach? (Laughter.) Can you fill in the blanks?
Q: Yes, what is it?
Q: These two things were supposed to be interdependent. The question is whether or not you're pursuing an avenue that basically --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, we continue to pursue the --
Q: drops the arms embargo and do you now believe that air strikes might in themselves be effective?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. The President continues to believe that the approach he laid out to the Europeans is the way to go and we're going to continue to work with them on that.
Q: Is this free-lancing by the Air Force, or is this just a wrong story?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. I said I'm certain that there are contingency plans and options being pursued at levels of all kinds, but the President is working on his approach with the allies.
Q: Did your plan always include action to stop fighting between Croats and Muslims, or is it being expanded to include that now?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know if there's anything to be expanded to. I mean, this is a problem we're aware of and it's something that we have to continue to monitor, and it's certainly a complication.
Q: You're going to take action to try and halt the fighting between Serbs and Muslims. Would you not try to do something at the other end of the --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We want all sides to come to the negotiating table and work for peace.
Q: So the plan is not necessarily targeted against the Serbs, it's anybody who is --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. The Serbs have clearly been the aggressors here, and they're the focus of our activity. But we're going to do what we can to stop the violence on all sides.
Q: I mean, does your plan, whatever it includes -- whether it includes air strikes or arms embargo -- that envision air strikes possibly against Croats?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The Serbians are the focus of the President's plan. They have been the aggressors, they have been the ones engaged in ethnic cleansing. Obviously, there have been other instances of violence that we have to get a handle on as well and we take seriously.
Q: Do you expect the President to make a formal announcement tomorrow on Bosnia? There have been some hints.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not necessarily, no.
Q: Not necessarily?
Q: What does not necessarily mean?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not --
Q: Not necessarily or no? Which?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not necessarily -- comma -- no. I mean, I don't think so. I mean, it's nothing that's being contemplated right now. That's the best answer right --
Q: Do you expect him to make an announcement prior to the referendum?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not necessarily.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. (Laughter.)
Q: George, getting back to the Croatians, is there any -- can you confirm that there's any feeling in the administration that the attacks by the Croatians have undercut the attempts to lift that arms embargo against the Bosnians?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. Clearly the attacks by the Croatians and the violence is a problem. We are looking to ways to limit the violence, stop the killing, and prevent a wider war. This is inconsistent with those goals.
Q: But is that changing the thinking in the administration at all on lifting --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It's something we're looking at, but, no, it hasn't changed the direction of the President's policy.
Q: A couple of months ago, the President sent the Secretary Brown to California on a fact-finding mission to see how his economic program could specifically apply to California's problems. What is the update on where that trip and the study group was at this point? And next week will the President have anything specific to offer California?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: One thing I would point out, the President's economic package, the stimulus package, would have provided $1 billion to California. Unfortunately, it wasn't successful in the Senate. That was one outcome. Secretary Brown has gone back several times. He will continue to go back. I don't have a formal report at this time. But I don't know if the President will have any kind of a formal announcement.
Q: Can you give us a progress report on the appointment of the welfare reform task force?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I have nothing on that today.
Q: Secondly, is it true as reported that Vice President Gore declined or refused to attend the Ozal funeral?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know anything about that.
Q: What was the question?
Q: Would you take the question?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes.
Q: What was the question?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Did Vice President Gore decline to attend the Ozal funeral.
Q: What is the status of the investigation of the Iraqi plot against Bush in Kuwait?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We're still waiting for a report.
Q: Is that team still over there?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I assume that there are some people who might still be over there, but I know that we're awaiting a report at some time -- I think either this week or early next week. I know the trial is supposed to start.
Q: Any comment on the request by the French government to renegotiate the Blair House Agreement?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I would refer you to USTR. We don't have anything here.
Q: What about the meeting between Reno and Sessions today?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Go to Justice. We don't have anything on it.
Q: Do you expect -- is that -- we were led to understand that that was pretty much a done deal, getting rid of Sessions. And now it sounds like your back to saying it depends on whatever Reno says.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think we've ever said anything different from that.
Q: The U.N. plan for monitoring the border contemplates increasing the number of people monitoring. Would Americans be included in that U.N. force?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not in the plans. The President has always said that in Bosnia he expects that ground troops would only be used to enforce a peace agreement.
Q: What about elsewhere along other borders?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It's just not in the plans.
Q: George, on Tuesday in L.A., is the President going to help the Democratic candidate for mayor in any fashion?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't have anything on that today.
Q: Does the President believe the Croatians has any aggressors? I mean, were they provoked by the Muslims? Who does he think is --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President's concerned about the fighting between the Croatians and the Bosnians, and he's looking for ways to put it to an end and to have all sides come to the table.
Q: George, are you backing away from the idea that U.S. troops might be in a multinational force in Macedonia or Kosovo?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No.
Q: You just said it's not in the plans to send U.S. troops --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It was the border between Serbia and Bosnia.
Q: George, some Democrats on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate have raised some doubts about Webb Hubbell's appointment to Judiciary because of his membership in the country club in Little Rock. Does the President still think that Webb Hubbell is the best candidate for the nomination?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely.
Q: In spite of his membership?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: In spite of his membership at an integrated club.
Q: That's not the way the NAACP sees it in Arkansas.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, the President stands by Webb Hubbell, believes he's the best person for the job.
Q: If it was a mistake for the President to play there, why is it not a mistake for Webb Hubbell to belong there?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The country club in Little Rock is an integrated country club.
Q: The President said, it was a mistake for me to play there. Why is it not a mistake then for Webb Hubbell to belong?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It was -- the President's comments in the campaign stand for that. The President stands by Webb Hubbell at this time.
Q: At this time?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President stands by Webb Hubbell at this time and tomorrow, and the day after and the day after and the day after.
Q: George, why doesn't he drop his membership in the club? It's not like he's going to get to use it anyway if he stays in Washington. Wouldn't that put an end to it? (Laughter.)
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I have nothing more to say on that.
Q: George, yesterday the President in the Rose Garden said he hadn't changed his mind, he just didn't know if he had been able to change somebody else's mind on the Bosnia situation. Is he still talking directly to the European leaders?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: There are still consultations -- they're certainly every day.
Between the President or --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President hasn't done anything in the last day or two.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 12:56 P.M. EDT
William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by George Stephanopoulos Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/269320